Jana Vanecek

Virale Kriegsmethaphorik

2020/21 | Direct Print on 5mm Forex with handcolored Typecut | Installation Size: Variable | Size of single picture: 50cm x 50cm | Edition: 3 + 2AP

The image series «VIRALE KRIEGSMETAPHORIK» (Viral Metaphors of War) thematises the conspicuous spread of "battle images" in media reporting. While the image of the Coronavirus, with its aesthetically perfect structures, became a global icon within a few weeks, the language pattern of the news reports was reminiscent of the genre of war reporting. In addition to nationalistically coloured front positions and the heroisation of individual male protagonists, battle scenarios with militaristic terms defined the interaction relationship between the images of the virus and journalistic information texts.

In favour of accelerated communication and the immediate accessibility of scientific concepts, a standardisation of "collective symbols" is probably inevitable, especially during a global pandemic. In this context, however, it is necessary to consider the complexity created by these forms of re-addressing or commenting on these images. Nevertheless, it would be wrong to claim that we are merely dealing with simple illustrations for laypersons in these popular science representations. Instead, an interaction between scientific and political discourses takes place, which, in turn, can be formative for the perception and determine the thoughts and actions of an entire generation.

The original images for the series «VIRALE KRIEGSMETAPHORIK» are edited cryo-scanning electron microscope images of SARS-CoV-2 virus particles from the NIAID-RML (National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases-Rocky Mountain Laboratories).

In this series of images, the militaristic terms most commonly used in the media form a parasitic message that first activates the idea or concept of what should be recognisable in this image. Although the terminology could be virtually the only meaning-giving element of the picture, they stand somewhat disparately in the pictorial space. This effect is reinforced by the bright colours on the black-and-white background of the image in a coarse half-tone grid.

This work was one of 39 selected works out of 683 entries from the Visarte Switzerland Corona Call Competition.