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VIS Issue 6 | Contagion

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The theme of the current call for the VIS – Nordic Journal for Artistic Research is “Contagion”.

Contagion concerns the transmission of something by direct contact; the transmission is in the touching. But touch itself can refer to a physical as well as an intellectual or emotional connection. And when we speak of being ‘touched’ by art, we are suggesting a process that may begin with a specific contact event but which leads on to something that has a lasting influence. The artwork ‘invades’ our own consciousness and may also be passed on to others with whom we share our experience. There are both parallels and differences between the transmission of biological infection and the ways that artistic works and processes are shared, disseminated and spread – just as there are in terms of the distribution of knowledge, rumours and myths.

Contagion is therefore a potent and multi-faceted concept that can function literally or metaphorically. In the artistic sphere, it may manifest itself as inspiration, imitation, iteration, replication, mimetics, references, whispering games and in many more ways.

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