Aoyin [SARS and the Social Imaginary]

Referencing the Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor's book Modern Social Imaginaries, this work, titled 'Aoyin' (Ow-yin) after a monster of Chinese folklore, is a reflection on the 2020 pandemic and the psychological effect of lockdowns in the face of an invisible foe.

Aoyin are said to be fond of feasting on human brains. An analogy perhaps for the visitation to our lives of SARS-CoV-2 and the attendant fracturing of objectivity in the face of a crisis. A crisis perhaps of medicine—but certainly of media.

This work explores the psychological impact of the pandemic, the confinement of millions, the pervasive mania of safetyism and the surreal confrontation in our homes with an invasive pathogen that can’t be witnessed directly.

SARS-CoV-2 exists as a biological entity, but also as an abstraction, a ‘Social Imaginary’ constructed on all-too-often irrational foundations. A monster of the imagination, a devourer of the mind.

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Black eyed dog
Aoyin [SARS and the Social Imaginary]

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