Blast Theory: Reflections on Contagion, Cities and Decision Making in Public Health Crises – 30 June

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Spit Spreads Death: The Parade by Blast Theory, Philadelphia, September 28th 2019
Photo by Tivern Turnbull

A Live Online Event, Tuesday 30 June, 6-7.30pm

Led by artists Matt Adams, Ju Row Farr and Nick Tandavanitj, Blast Theory draw on popular culture, performance, technology and games, the work often blurring the boundaries between the real and the fictional. In 2018 they were the first ever artists-in-residence at the World Health Organisation (WHO). They spent time at WHO’s Strategic Health Operations Centre, which monitors epidemics and pandemics across the world and coordinates international collaborative responses. The work prompted by their residency reflects on contagion and cities, and focuses on moments of uncertainty in public health decision making and the 2003 SARS epidemic. A Cluster of 17 Cases, was inspired by the story of 17 unsuspecting people who stayed on the 9th floor of a Hong Kong hotel on the night of Feb 21, 2003. These 17 people were subsequently identified as spreading the SARS virus to at least 546 people around the globe. Blast Theory’s work on infectious disease continued last year with Spit Spreads Death, an interactive parade of light and sound designed to remember the individuals who lost their lives and the health workers who put their own lives on the line in Philadelphia in 1918-19, when more than 12,000 people died in the deadliest flu pandemic the world has ever seen.

Birkbeck’s Centre for Museum Cultures and Centre for Medical Humanities are delighted to present a live, online event during which Blast Theory will discuss their recent work and its implications for the current Covid-19 crisis. An open Q&A will follow the artists’ talk and panel discussion.


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