Quarantine Aesthetics – Reflections on Arts, Visualities and Body Experience in (Post-) Pandemic Latin America

Prof. Dr. Miriam Oesterreich, Institute for History and Theory of Design (IGTG), Berlin University of Arts, Germany   

Latin America has suffered immensely from the Covid-19 pandemic. The media coverage of Covid-19 news has been accompanied by un-seen images of healthy, quarantined, sick and dead bodies circulating globally and re-shaping the Latin American imaginary. Therein, globally perceived images of bodies and the global mapping of ‘infected individuals’ oftentimes contrast with local and individual body experiences. Radical social changes – such as psychic isolation and dangerous migration conditions – go thus hand in hand with new conceptions of the corporeal as well as with experiences of distancing and proximity being visualized in the images of bodies. Visually transported information on the special threat situation for indigenous communities in Brazil and other regions also evoke the epistemologies of artistic and graphic images of former infectious diseases in the Southern part of the Americas, especially of smallpox in the process of colonizations when the colonial power matrix was also exercised via the control over infections. The workshop will focus on Latin America to discuss the entanglements of arts, visualities and body experience in order to cope with Covid-19 and the aesthetics created alongside the pandemic and post-pandemic imaginaries.