Curating Covid: Material and Visual Cultures of the Pandemic
While there is so far no known cure for Covid and the disease continues to kill thousands daily around the globe, humanity has spent the better part of this year attempting to make do – some by doing their best to protect themselves and their loved ones as they continue to perform the work essential to their survival or deemed essential by society; others, by sheltering in place, reducing the radius of our daily activities, developing new routines.
How will we know and remember all this? Who is the chronicler of Covid, who are its curators? What will be the sources, not of the political histories and for future medical research, but for narrating the pandemic as experience, for explaining its everyday reality to future generations?
This panel of brief presentations aims to prompt our collective thinking about a Covid archive, and how it will be constructed. Presenters from different disciplines and national backgrounds will be asked to share images or objects that bring our pandemic present into focus and allow us to explore together questions for the future: who is collecting what? What are the objects in which our daily experience materializes, and which might speak to the future? Where and how does the pandemic leave its traces in our visual cultures, and (how) do these differ depending on national contexts? The virus itself knows no borders, but can we discern transnational and global patterns in our responses in an increasingly fractured world?
Sarah Gensburger, Institut des sciences sociales du politique (Paris)
Sara Blair, University of Michigan, Dept. of English (Ann Arbor)
Alexandra Lord, National Museum of American History (Washington DC)
Alexandra Archipova, Center for Theoretical Folklore Studies, RANEPA (Moscow)
Sponsored by: WCEE / CES / CREES, Humanities Collaboratory, Museum Studies Program