Art + Australia, Issue Two (54.1): The Plague | Art + Australia

Plague. It manifests as a pathogenic tsunami that spectacularly consumes the condition or constitution or the very continuance of life. But on the flip side, and perhaps with even more abominably morbid allure, it flourishes as an untimely and unholy mass resurrection. We don’t only need the scenographies of our contemporary zombie apocalyptic to describe such an outbreak. This prospect materialises dramatically when skeletal relics are today unearthed from a medieval plague pit—the grave into which countless virulent corpses had been tossed by survivors desperately attempting to dispose of the contaminant as much as dispose of its victims. This is just the sort of grotesquerie that can be encountered during excavation for the found-ations of a contemporary metropolitan corporate skyscraper. Picture this, as it happened several years ago in London’s financial district. When human bone abruptly juts out of the clay floor or wall of a quarry carved into the city grid, an economic seizure capsizes the Platonic geometric volume that we otherwise routine-ly recognise in the spectacular negative of earthworks footing any construction.

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