On exhibition later this year. (1000+1 / 1000+ n; I plague myself / bowed by the drudgery I rise above it)
The years 2020 and 2021 were – and still are – dominated by two simultaneous crises caused by natural plagues, which are globally experienced as life-threatening: The COVID-19 pandemic and the multiple desert locust plagues spreading in Africa and Asia. Mankind perceives these plagues with the Camusian feeling of being at the mercy of others while being exposed and existentially threatened at the global level – all while scientists had recently proclaimed the age of the Anthropocene, an epoch in the history of mankind in which our species has become the single most decisive factor that is determining the fate, the future, and the general sustainability of our blue planet.
Both kind of plagues contain the danger of exponential growth of their threatening risk potential. This is responsible for the same allure of fright that we experience while watching horror films. The existence-destroying consequences of both plagues are accessible to visual perception, but only the manner in which the swarms of desert locusts act are visible to the naked eye. Therefore, it serves at the metalevel of my installation as a symbol for the experience in dealing with plagues affecting the human collective in general.
A small swarm of desert locusts covering a square kilometer can, according to the FAO, eradicate an amount of maize, which corresponds to the consumption of this staple food by 35.000 human beings on a daily basis. A desert locust eats away the equivalent of its own body weight per day.
On each and every single one of the 1300 cardboard boxes at my installation are 5 copies of hand-drawn desert locusts visible, which originate from the 11 sheets of my graphic series “The Plague I“. For each of these 5 desert locusts on the small boxes there are 20 hand counted corns of maize, which equals an amount of 100 maize corns per cube. My own way to experience the bitter impact of a plague therefore was to count 130.000 pieces of sweet corn manually.