Pause. Fervour. Reflections on a Pandemic – Journal of Visual Culture/HaFI reader out and ready for download!

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Initiated by the COVID-19 crisis, Pause. Fervour. Reflections on a Pandemic is a collaborative effort by the Harun Farocki Institut, Journal of Visual Culture, and all the project’s contributors.

At the beginning of the first wave, an invitation/call for participation was sent out to artists, designers, editors, collaborations and collectives, activists, educators, curators, filmmakers, administrators, culture workers, and scholars of Anthropology, Architecture, Critical Legal Theory, Art History, Museology, Critical Race Theory, Design and Urban Studies, Environmental Studies, Philosophy, and Visual Cultures.

The call was sent to Journal of Visual Culture’s Editorial Board, and a wide selection of previous contributors and members of its extended communities, describing the task as follows:

‘The SARS-Cov-2 crisis is, will be, and will have been so many things – a disastrous event of unknown scale, an individual and collective tragedy, a historical turning point, a huge biopolitical experiment, and so much more.

At the same time, attempts to act responsibly, caringly, solidarily in the face of this global catastrophe are overwhelming. The planetary dimension of the crisis seems to put everything into question, likewise affecting the knowledge production, visual practice, critical theory, political organizing, scholarly enterprises, research communities to which we are committed (and which are experiencing existential and epistemological shockwave after shockwave on a daily basis).

There is a lot of spontaneous, ad hoc opinion-making and premature commentary around, as to be expected. However, the ethics and politics of artistic and theoretical practice to be pursued in this situation should oblige us to stay cautious and to intervene with care in the discussion.’

As one of JVC’s editors put it in our informal conversations: ‘We are not looking for sensationalism, but rather, moments of reflection that: make connections between what’s happening now and the larger intellectual contexts that our readership shares; to offer small ways to be reflective and to draw on tools we have and things we know instead of just feeling numb and overwhelmed; help serve as intellectual community for one another while we are isolated; support the work of being thoughtful and trying to find/make meaning…which is always a collective endeavour, even if we are forced to be apart.’

As we were forced to be apart, joining forces in this collective endeavour made this a project in mutual aid.

The 48 contributions were published online in the Harun Farocki Institut’s journal Rosa Mercedes 02. The first appeared on 30th March 2020 and the 48th appeared on 1st March 2021. Each was submitted, edited, designed, and posted within 24 hours, giving a real-time sense of the current crisis as it unfolds, and our reflections on it. In this publication these same 48 contributions are arranged into four thematic sections on: the pandemical logic of very late capitalism; lockdown life; biopolitics and governmentality; and new ways of caring.

Equal part powerful and moving, angry and heartbreaking, righteous and desperate, hopeless and demanding of a better future, together this polyphony posits if not an actual antidote then certainly abundant curative reflections to the disease and ways we might navigate this ongoing crisis.

Contributors: Danah Abdulla; Elisa Adami; Alexandra Délano Alonso; Edinson Arroyo; Arts Catalyst with Gary Zhexi Zhang and Valeria Graziano, Marcell Mars, and Tomislav Medak (Pirate Care); Oreet Ashery; Nika Autor; Daniel A. Barber Jordan Baseman; Dave Beech; Sara Blaylock; Katarzyna Bojarska; Kimberly Juanita Brown; Eray Çayli; Teresa Cisneros; Tom Corby; David Dibosa; Death Class; Ruth Ewan; Alessandra Ferrini; Janine Francois; Lina Hakim; Juliet Jacques; Helene Kazan; Dean Kenning; Margareta Kern; Lana Lin and H. Lan Thao Lam Yve Lomax; Laura U. Marks Shannon Mattern; Jordan McKenzie; Joel McKim; Vladimir Milandinović and Stephenie Young; Philip Miller and Marcos Martins; Hana Noorali and Lynton Talbot; Bahar Noorizadeh; The Partisan Social Club; Andreas Philippouloulos-Mihalopoulos; Pil and Galia Kollektiv; Plastique Fantastique; Amit S. Rai John Paul Ricco; Vanessa Schwartz; Jelena Stojković; Jon Thomson and Alison Craighead; Atej Tutta and Valeria Cozzarini; Isobel Wohl; and Andrea Luka Zimmerman.

Pause. Fervour. Reflections on a Pandemic is co-published by the Harun Farocki Institut and Journal of Visual Culture, designed by Simon Pavič, and edited by Manca Bajec, Tom Holert, and Marquard Smith, 245 pages, self-published (by JVC and HaFI), ISBN 978-1-5272-9544-5

Download the book here.


June 15th, 2021 — Rosa Mercedes / 02

Tatsiana Shchurko on the War in Ukraine, Entangled Imperialisms, and Transnational Feminist Solidarity, via LeftEast (May 2, 2022): “[An] uneven knowledge production and the many implications of the war against Ukraine reveal the dire need to develop a feminist anti-capitalist critique of multiple imperialisms. This language should grow from within the occupied and suppressed communities of Eastern Europe and Eurasia. An anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist feminist positionality grasps that the local is part of a global in an effort to build transnational connections of mutual aid and support against state and corporate violence. For example, statements of solidarity with Ukraine expressed by the International Committee of Indigenous Peoples of Russia and Native American communities along with the anti-war feminist march in Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan) on March 8, 2022, pointing out that the war in Ukraine should be of concern for a broad transnational community, may serve as instrumental examples of alternative anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist solidarities that stretch beyond state regulations and macro-politics and foreground decolonial perspectives, necessary in addressing entanglements of multiple imperialisms. Such solidarities also bring to light hidden interconnections of the past that allowed for distant communities to survive and support each other against the violence of imperialist intervention and its attendant capitalist exploitation. Thus, the march in Bishkek reminds of the socialist roots of the International Women’s Day to call for internationalist, intersectional, class solidarity against imperialism and militarism.”

Vasyl Cherepanyn on that “It’ll take more than tanks to ease Germany’s guilt” (via Politico): “Since the Soviet Union’s collapse, Germany has been imposing neocolonial optics on its Eastern European ‘peripheries,’ and on the post-Soviet space in particular, where Ukraine was long considered a gray buffer zone about which the EU was ‘deeply concerned.’ Germany didn’t bother itself much with differentiating between former Soviet countries’ pasts. Even until recently, any Ukrainian agenda in Germany was often ‘balanced’ with a Russian perspective, so as to not exclude the latter by any means.”

An unnamed anarchist and art scholar, who joined the Territorial Defense Forces, quoted by Olexii Kuchanskyi in an essay on “Digital Leviathan and His Nuclear Tail” (via Your Art and e-flux notes): “At dawn, Dima and I talked about cinema. Dima believes that cinema is inferior to literature as a means of expression because you spend much more time with a book than a film. It’s a really interesting point, something to dig into. I studied at the department of art theory & history and I never thought of it. Dima served in the military after school and worked at the factory all his life. He listens to rap, smokes pot, and tries to have fun. He is thirty-eight, his child was born last year. He likes Wong Kar-wai and is a fan of Asian cinema in general. Dima communicates by quoting Omar Khayyam, Confucius, and other awesome guys.”

April 20th, 2022

Vasyl Cherepanyn (Visual Culture Research Centre, Kyiv) on Putin’s “World War Z” and the West’s deadly “foot-dragging”, via Project Syndicate: “The main feature of this Western condition is constant belatedness. The West has always been too late, incapable of acting ahead and instead just reacting to what has already happened. As a Ukrainian joke went at the time, ‘While the European Union was taking a decision, Russia took Crimea.’ Then as now, Ukrainians wondered, ‘What is the West’s red line? What will compel the West to act instead of waiting and discussing when to intervene?’”

Barbara Wurm on Lithuanian director Mantas Kvedaravičius, killed in Mariupol, via Die Welt: “Kvedaravičius unfolded a whole spectrum of visual anthropology over a decade with only three films [Barzakh, Mariupolis, Parthenon]. It now awaits evaluation and exploration. The time will come. The films themselves make possible an infinite immersion in the matter of the world, between dream and reality, horror and everyday life, facts and phenomenal imagology.”

April 5th, 2022

Statement by #AfricansFromUA on Equal Treatment via e-flux notes: “Non-Ukrainian nationals from the war in Ukraine arriving in Germany have been facing very different terms of treatment—both in different federal states and cities but also within the very same city throughout time and different facilities. While some received so called ‘Fictitious Certificates’ for one year without further procedures others were pressured to submit an asylum application with their finger prints registered and passports seized. Again others were given a so called “Duldung” including the threat of deportation.”

April 5th, 2022
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