The virus speaks

In Tim Morton’s highly recommended ‘We’re doomed‘ on BBC R4 he speaks to George Monbiot about needing to accept circumstances, in Monbiot’s case that his cancer was part of him. It doesn’t mean that Monbiot doesn’t talk about the excellent care he received from the NHS or the reality that the cancer could have killed him, but that treating it as ‘other’ isn’t useful for living.

There are some new pieces of writing, coming from new materialist perspectives, which give Covid-19 a voice. This isn’t the voice of an enemy (we aren’t in the middle of the blitz), but rather of our equal, someone seeking to speak blunt truths to us. This might be a relationship which we don’t want to acknowledge (perhaps as Monbiot is talking about having a relationship with cancer), but the virus is revealing the societies we have constructed.

What the virus said‘ “I’ve come to shut down the machine whose emergency brake you couldn’t find.”

‘The Society of Friends of the Virus’ Vol 1 and Vol 2 as well as a supplement to Vol 2 published by the centre for parrhesia.

If you know of other pieces (written, visual, auditory, etc) that add to this understanding please add them as comments.

2pm 6th April: Also ‘Post Pandemic Provocation no 7: B.C. Before and A.C. After the Coronacene

14th April: ‘What the Virus Wants‘ published by The Contemporary Journal out of Nottingham Contemporary

4 thoughts on “The virus speaks

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  1. You might be interested in this video, if you haven’t seen it already:
    Though I think some of the language verges on dangerous celebration of the virus.. “We are Ally. We are a balancing force.” What does it mean to call the virus a balancing force when it is so clearly impacting people’s lives unevenly? The disproportionate number of black people who have died in the U.S., the people held in detention centers, the underpaid health care workers and maintenance workers, victims of domestic abuse, etc

    1. Thanks for this – it is a tricky area and experiments with language are important. The justice issues are critical and reflect on the society we have constructed and are many powers are unwilling to change.

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