Initially conceived as a set of postcards, Greetings from Pandemic Island, evolved into a pictorial bridge between the 1918–19 influenza and COVID-19 pandemics. Spanning these hundred years, the series documents the brutal realities of such crises by questioning issues of personal and collective responsibility, humanity and gross indifference but also highlights an intricate web of long existing layers of racial and socioeconomic disparities catalyzed by the epidemic.
Utilizing a wide range of archival photography, turn of the century advertising, public service propaganda, this visual essay functions as a vivid reminder of viral global experiences still unfolding through mass and social media on our devices. But mostly, about the obsessive urgency to simply make something and stay mentally afloat when everything around is sinking.
This urgency to capture and express emotions before they evaporate, dictated that these archival collages work in simple ways, delivering their visual impact through combined fragments, distorted proportions or double exposures. Instead of well thought out detailed manipulation and multilayered effects, photos that strongly attracted my attention during research were embraced and became the cornerstones for new compositions. Unintentionally crossing paths with images demanding to be involved was an integral part of this project’s genetic code.
Viktor Koen is an award winning artist, curator and Chair of the BFA Illustration & BFA Comics departments at the School of Visual Arts in New York. He holds a BFA from the Bezalel Academy of Arts & Design in Jerusalem and an MFA with honors from SVA. His client list includes The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, TIME, Newsweek, Esquire, Nature, National Geographic, Rolling Stone, Wired, ESPN, The Atlantic, Bloomberg, Fortune, Money, Forbes, Penguin Random House, Doubleday, Harper Collins, Rizzoli, Houghton Miflin, Tor Books, Atlantic Records, Virgin the BBC and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.
Frequently featured in books and publications, his work is exhibited in galleries and museums around the world and represented in private and institutional collections. Mr. Koen is a TED speaker and regularly lectures for academic and professional institutions and conferences.
Distinctions include: Communication Arts Award of Excellence, Graphis Gold Awards, Folio Awards, American Illustration, 3×3 Educator of the Year.
Founded in 2011 in Brooklyn, NY, Photoville was built on the principles of addressing cultural equity and inclusion, which we are always striving for, by ensuring that the artists we exhibit are diverse in gender, class, and race.
In pursuit of its mission, Photoville produces an annual, city-wide open air photography festival in New York City, a wide range of free educational community initiatives, and a nationwide program of public art exhibitions.
By activating public spaces, amplifying visual storytellers, and creating unique and highly innovative exhibition and programming environments, we join the cause of nurturing a new lens of representation.
Through creative partnerships with festivals, city agencies, and other nonprofit organizations, Photoville offers visual storytellers, educators, and students financial support, mentorship, and promotional & production resources, on a range of exhibition opportunities.
For more information about Photoville visit, www.photoville.com
Greetings from Pandemic Island
Featuring: Viktor Koen
ON VIEW AT: PhotoCube 43View Location Details Download a detailed map of this location Brooklyn Bridge Park – Emily Warren Roebling Plaza
1 Water St
Brooklyn, NY 11201
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