Discourse of a Viral Boundary
In viewing the COVID-19 pandemic from a human cultural perspective, we can note that despite humans collectively reacting to the virus in real-time through technological advances and policies, we have had a harder time keeping up with the outbreaks on an emotional level. If we regard human culture and man-made objects as a part of Homo sapiens’ evolution, then it can be said that the evolution of human emotions and culture is obviously failing to keep pace with the evolution of our environment, which has resulted in the appearance of eccentric behavior. At the same time, humans have tried to establish a biological boundary between our immune systems and the virus through the narrative of infectious diseases, and we have also extended this boundary to the material world as an externalization of our immune systems through face masks, face shields, and sanitizers. The various bizarre actions taken by human beings during the pandemic can also be seen as efforts to construct a “boundary” between ourselves and the virus.
Discourse of a Viral Boundary was inspired by various human behavior stemming from the COVID-19 outbreak. Through the lens of “spiritual evolution,” the artwork examines how human beings, as members of the natural world, have to work in tandem with viruses to create a future together. As a species faced with the unmatched speed of viral evolution, we tried to develop a set of cultural tools to observe every person’s definition of the “boundary of immunity” and the possible behaviors and methods of enforcing this boundary.
The first half of Discourse begins with Pei-Ying Lin’s Speculation, Resistance, Compromise: a set of storytelling tools that guide participants to create their own viral outbreak stories. Through virtual and in-person workshops, members are asked to compose scenarios concerning the virus and to examine any correlated hidden desires or fears.
In the latter half designed by Yi-Fei Chen, people who participated in the first event are asked to delve deeper and uncover their characters’ needs—material or psychological—triggered by the changes brought about by the virus in their stories. By further reflection on how these changes result in the creation of various man-made objects and services, this work hopes to form a more comprehensive picture of the global epidemic.
Yi-Fei Chen, Pei-Ying Lin
Sponsors:Hong Chien Ching-Hui, Hong Foundation