Covid Constrained Compositions – 2

“The plague Bacillus never dies or disappears for good: it can lie dormant for years and years in furniture and linen chests”. From The Plague by Albert Camus.

Camus’ novel encourages the readers to ponder on the meaning and values of our society, on the lack of humanity of its social roles when in times of crisis. Are we able to preserve ourselves and each other when the worst descends?

Long before Camus, literature has reflected on social confinement e.g. Defoe’s Journal of the Plague Year, through to Mandela’s “Long Walk to Freedom”.

Have you ever wondered whether you are truly protected from infectious diseases ranging from the common cold to more deadly threats like rabies or bird flu? When you travel, are you protected from the many infections abroad?

According to most histories, the Spanish Flu ended in 1920. This is wrong: it did not end, and the virus did not stop killing. Spanish Flu’s descendants, in fact, are still with us, with different variants; each year carrying the potential to kill.

The reality is that over the years this is likely to lead to coronavirus becoming just another of the seasonal viruses we experience every year. This is not meant to sound morbid but to paint a picture of the “new normal”. Our social interactions have changed already. Even a simple greeting of “How are you?” carries the subtext: “Are you infectious?”


Series C3. 2: Bacilli reflects the bubbles we create to protect ourselves from the ever-present-mutating virus. The image is also positive because, in epidemiology, the aim is to reduce risk as much as possible. I suspect that in creating this work, my recent reading about the pioneering, yet neglected, Swedish abstract artist , Hilma af Klint had a strong influence.

Recently, I overheard someone utter the acronym, BC, which I have always playfully used to represent, “Before Children”. In this case, it translated into, “Before Covid”.

So, returning to the way we were before COVID-19 is not an option. The challenge, and I think the opportunity, is to start the process of thinking about a “new normal” now.