Dispatches from the Melton Prior Institut (3)

The third  delivery from the Melton Prior Institute (meltonpriorinstitut.org). Alexander Roob and Clemens Krümmel have activated their unique archive of non-photographic picture journalism and showcase examples from the coverage of epidemics in illustrated journals of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Today: Le Petit Journal (February 19, 1911), covering the devastating 1910/1911″pest” in Manchuria.

Scholar Mark Gamsa, a specialist in Manchurian history, wrote about “The Epidemic of Pneumonic Plague in Manchuria 1910-1911” in Past & Present, No. 190 (Feb., 2006), 147:

“Swift to spread through an infected organism, and potentially fatal even with modem medical intervention, septicaemic plague (in which bacteria penetrate the blood system) would count as the most dangerous form were it to constitute an epidemic in itself, rather than a complication liable to accompany the bubonic or the pneumonic kind. That last, an extreme type of lung infection, highly contagious and still impossible to cure unless identified within the first twenty-four hours, is the rarest as well as the dead- liest form of a plague epidemic. The Manchurian outbreak in the autumn of 1910 was the worst such epidemic in recorded history.”

 

 

March 29th, 2020, 02 / Rosa Mercedes
Interface

Sara Ahmed on the perfomativity of disgust (from The Cultural Politics of Emotion, 2004): “To name something as disgusting is to transfer the stickiness of the word ‘disgust’ to an object, which henceforth becomes generated as the very thing that is spoken. The relationship between the stickiness of the sign and the stickiness of the object is crucial to the performativity of disgust as well as the apparent resistance of disgust reactions to ‘newness’ in terms of the generation of different kinds of objects. The object that is generated as a disgusting (bad) object through the speech act comes to stick. It becomes sticky and acquires a fetish quality, which then engenders its own effects.”

November 7th, 2020, Tom

David Graeber (1961-2020) on What Would It Take (from his The Democracy Project. A History, a Crisis, a Movement, 2013, p. 193): “We have little idea what sort of organizations, or for that matter, technologies, would emerge if free people were unfettered to use their imagination to actually solve collective problems rather than to make them worse. But the primary question is: how do we even get there? What would it take to allow our political and economic systems to become a mode of collective problem solving rather than, as they are now, a mode of collective war?”

September 7th, 2020, Tom

T.J. Demos on why cultural practitioners should never surrender, via tranzit.sk:  “For artists, writers, and curators, as art historians and teachers, the meaning-production of an artwork is never finished, never fully appropriated and coopted, in my view, and we should never surrender it; the battle over significance is ongoing. We see that battle rise up in relation to racist and colonial monuments these days in the US, the UK, and South Africa. While the destruction of such monuments results from and is enabling of radical politics, it’s still not enough until the larger institutions that support and maintain their existence as well as the continuation of the politics they represent are also torn down. This is urgent as well in the cultural sphere, including the arts institutions, universities, art markets, discursive sphere of magazines and journals, all in thrall to neoliberalism, where we must recognize that it’s ultimately inadequate to simply inject critical or radical content into these frameworks, which we know excel at incorporating those anti-extractivist expressions into further forms of cultural capital and wealth accumulation. What’s required is more of the building of nonprofit and community-based institutions, organizing radical political horizons and solidarity between social formations.”

August 21st, 2020, Tom
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