ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Escaping the Future

As life imitates dystopic art this year, perhaps it’s time to reimagine our art.

The modern history of humankind is turning out to be a horror film on loop. Logic seems to have lost meaning, as have cause and effect. The relationship between reality and representation, the word and the world, meaning and material, appears to belong to a bygone era. Randomness is emerging as the dominant logic of our times; it is no longer possible to say whether things materialise after we construct them in our imaginations, or whether actions in the world are forcing our thoughts. The world has indeed become a stage—who are the actors, and who are the spectators, one cannot tell.

American director Steven Soderbergh’s 2011 film Contagion, as the title suggests, is an oracle’s reading of COVID-19, depicting a world that has been taken control of by a novel virus, rapidly turning into a global epidemic. In the film, Beth Emhoff, en route a work trip from Hong Kong to Minneapolis, has a day’s layover in Chicago, where she meets a former lover. Their sexual encounter—a sinful contagion—is followed two days later by Beth’s sudden death, as well as that of her six-year-old son. Soon, people are dropping like flies, from the United States to Japan, and every other part of the world. The virus is out of control, and the search for a vaccine is at full throttle. There is no euphoric conclusion, no grand discovery of a miraculous vaccine, no triumph of human science over inexplicable forces of nature. The conclusion to the film is ambivalent—the “new normal” as we’ve grown to call it, a state of inconclusiveness.

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Updated On : 28th Sep, 2020
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