“One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious. The latter procedure, however, is disagreeable and therefore not popular.” (Carl Jung)
The corona virus has become an image of death, of the shadow and thus the perfect symbol of projection for everyone’s fears and prejudices, including my own. Its newness and uniqueness means it inhabits the territory of the unknown and undiscovered. As its identity is not fully formed peoples imaginations are free to construct mythologies and narratives around its creation and evolution. Many of those fears that people are projecting are justified and represent an apprehension of our modern world but if we truly are in pursuit of truth we have to try and be aware of our own prejudice and consider how it is colouring our perception.
Most of the following examples could be the reality but in the absence of a definitive understanding, our beliefs will incline our perceptions. Those who have a fear of modern technology will often see it as a manufactured entity, biologically manipulated like a viral Frankenstein. A grotesque mutant that has escaped and is out of control from the lair of its creator. We are the villagers ready for it with our pitchforks. Another narrative to the escaped biological experiment is that it is doing its creator’s bidding, fulfilling some sinister plot. A eugenics virus pruning the population under the control of its masters who desire the world only for themselves. Amongst the upper classes over the centuries, there has been a consistent belief in culling the herd, The Queen’s Husband Prince Phillips comment that he would like to reincarnate as a deadly virus a famous example of this.
Some even doubt the exitance of the corona virus, that the illness is really the product of new technology that people fear such as 5G mobile internet or nanobot technology. The virus narrative being a smokescreen for what is really happening
Depending on our political views or associations we probably see the creation and spread of the disease either as a failure of capitalism or communism. In reality, there are probably elements of them both at play but we will use the situation to bolster our beliefs and use it as an example of the superiority of our chosen system.
Even those who claim to have no fear of the virus, it being nothing more than another version of flu and that it is just hype by the media in order to control and manipulate us are exhibiting their own fear. A fear of agendas and manipulation of those in control, a fear of untruths and propaganda. Which again is probably a very real concern to have. Whatever the ultimate discovered nature of the virus is revealed to be it is evident that much of what is being communicated by governments and organisations is more based on achieving an agenda of control than communicate the truth of the situation.
While there are many that will swallow whatever narrative the Who and national governments utter, more and more are becoming aware of the contradictions and holes in their stories. For example, initially stating face masks are effective in easing the spread of the virus and then as it becomes evident that the supply cannot fulfil this demand, suddenly masks become something as negative, although of course, medical professionals will be wearing them.
It is interesting to note the anger of some people who feel it is all hype with no substance against those that are concerned and preparing for the worst. Almost as though the reality of the situation is entirely based on what one believes.
The virus has been seen as something as ‘other’. Seeming to evolve out of china in the west it was associated with Chinese people and more widely Asian people. USA Vice President Mike Pence has recently infuriated the Chinese by referring it as the Wuhan virus. Stormzy always outspoken about perceived racism decided to cut all the Asian dates on his tour. At a time when only china had a notable outbreak in Asia. Imagine the outcry if someone cancelled a tour to the whole of Africa if only say Nigeria was affected.
As the virus spread a cruise ship became effected and this created another sense of otherness. Now cruise ships and their passengers were seen as ‘the virus’. While the virus spread like wildfire on the Diamond princess another ship, the Holland America Westerdam with mainly western passengers with no corona virus affected passengers was denied entrance to port after port in Asia. In the west we saw the virus as Asian, in Asia they saw the virus as western tourists.
The reason that we do this as humans is that we want to consider it as something that ‘other’ people get not us. As the virus continues to spread to more and more countries this is going to be increasingly more difficult.
So now I am going to get into a more personal account of my inner relationship with the corona virus. I was working for a company that supplies the branding, like badges and buttons for a lot of the major fashion brands in the UK. A lot of the manufacturing came out of the far east and china and I would be in communication with Chinese suppliers daily, I became very disillusioned with the whole process. All the shipping around the world to me seemed needless and I became very wary about the state of affairs, something felt off about it and I couldn’t continue the job anymore. I finished just before Christmas, and I decided I would spend an intensive month finally finishing a book on my personal experiences of synchronicity. I was always wary of the downside of globalisation and it seems as I finally gave up my hopes for this economy a threat began to appear for it with a short term impact and ultimately long term repercussions.
The corona virus, as well as the obvious medical concerns and loss of life, has essentially shut down the factory to the world that is China. This has had extreme effects to supply chains and even if the corona virus stops as suddenly as the SARS virus in the immediate future, the ripples have already been sent that will sweep throughout the world’s economies. Like a globalisation 911, companies will now have to review their dependence on supplies from other countries. This has happened at the same time as decentralised technologies are coming through like 3d printing, that bring the possibilities of economically efficient inhouse manufacture that decreases the need for overseas factories.
On finishing my job I felt a real compulsion to get the book out and set myself just over a 6 week deadline to complete the task, it felt like the time was right. I remember saying to someone that I have an energy to get it done now, I may not in the future so I need to take advantage. In the time I was working on the book the story of the corona virus broke into the media initially starting as a trickle through to the flood and domination of the media today.
The theme of my book was on synchronicity and a lot of the examples were the synchronicity that came through art projects I had worked on. I believe the states of art creation can be related to meditation giving greater potential access into the personal and collective unconscious where the boundaries of time and space become more blurred.
An example relating to the coronavirus that spread on social media like its own kind of virus was the Dean Koontz novel The Eyes of Darkness that made reference to a killer virus called “Wuhan-400” – eerily predicting the Chinese city where Covid-19 would emerge. Some consider this evidence of a plot by the elite, Dean Koontz being its mouthpiece but I think far more likely it is just the workings of synchronicity. Examples like this appear in the media all the time, for example,The Simpsons cartoon being a well of predictive storylines and images.
I always had in mind an image that would be for the front cover of the book that unlike all the other artworks that featured in the book did not have a story of synchronicity associated with it. This is something I had decided years before, for no particular reason. The image was created during a live art event that I did for the charity Oxfam in 2010. At the event I painted the image while live music bands played alongside me. I had an idea of an image before the event which would represent a sense of being connected with the earth and the cosmos, being in synch.
Initially, I painted it quite meticulously, but I became quite frustrated and disappointed with it, feeling it lacked energy and life. So I angrily got my pots of paint and started flicking paint at it, Jackson Pollock style, which made me feel better about it. The painting before felt too ordered and controlled and the splattering brought some spontaneity and needed chaos into the work. Also as it was a live art event the action of throwing on paint was perhaps more dramatic to witness as a performance.
It would include a theme that appears in a lot of my work that connected the ancient symbol of the caduceus with the double helix of DNA. The caduceus is further associated with the Eastern concept of the kundalini snake and is of course associated with medicine. Although traditionally the single snake of the Staff of Aesculapius from ancient Greece which can be further associated with the staff of Moses.
The artwork also makes reference to Vitruvian man by Leonardo Da Vinci which visualises his ideas of cosmografia del minor mondo (cosmography of the microcosm). He believed the workings of the human body to be an analogy for the workings of the universe.” There is further reference to the alchemical concept of the sacred marriage whereby the male and female are united in one body. This is the union of opposites, a manifestation of balance and harmony akin to the symbol of the ying yang.
With all the references to balance and harmony and connection with the earth and cosmos many people have criticized the almost aggressive and angry feel of the artwork. There is a piercing intent and stare on the face of the figure intensified by the crowning eagle headdress. The snakes are particularly vicious looking with a destructive stance against the human figure their protruding tongues seeming to penetrate into the body and mind of the figure. My feeling behind this was that as humanity and its societies have fallen out of harmony with the planet and themselves, they have set themselves up against those energies. To become one with the cosmos in our age means feeling the wrath it has against a society that seeks to have domination not harmony with it. Being connected with the earth and cosmos means seeing disharmony of our current culture and direction.
As this artwork was the front cover of my book written and launched as the corona virus unfolded I have increasingly seen a connection between it and the virus. The initial narrative of the virus was that it had jumped inter species speculated to be snakes, bats and Pangolins or a chimera of all of them, this had a sense of nature’s revenge and vengeance for our increasing encroachment on the wilderness. Even as the narrative went on to speculation that the virus was a genetic mutation created in a lab it became a illustration of man’s conceit, an arrogance that it can tinker with god’s creation without unforeseen consequences.
The mechanism of the corona virus is that it essentially hijacks the DNA through a viral RNA strand. As expressed earlier in the article, a caduceus related to the double helix DNA is the centre point of the image. The snakes of the caduceus are particularly vicious. So the representation of an antagonistic DNA is within the image.
So there is an association with the snake but what about the eagle? I have come quite late to the table with historical series called The Vikings and One evening in February 2020 I had arrived at a famous episode in series 2 named blood eagle. A character named Jarl Borg in this episode is quite impressed that the symbol of the eagle is associated with him in a consultation with a seer. The seer will not express if this is a good or bad sign, so Jarl Borg presumes this to be good as the eagle is seen as a majestic creature and often associated with gods and heroes. The seer states that “an eagle hovers over you and that you are also the eagle, the eagle is your destiny”. This prophecy comes all too real but not in a way he imagines, Jarl Borg is defeated in battle and is to be executed with the horrific ‘blood eagle sacrifice’, A human sacrifice to the Norse God Odin. The victim’s back is sliced open, so their ribs and lungs can be pulled out, whilst still alive. Their lungs were then arranged to resemble the wings of an eagle sticking out of their back.
After watching this I decided to look again at the image and the outstretched arms of the sacrifice reminded me of my artwork. I then noticed the paint splats that I had thrown onto the image that are coming from the sun and it made me think of the spikes of the corona virus. Initially I did not make a further connection with the sun but then I came across the origins of the word corona. Corona is a Latin word that relates to the aura of plasma that surrounds the Sun, this is seen to look like spikes so is also related to crowns, wreaths and garlands.
A connection that has not yet manifested in the world but is suggested by the artwork is its relationship to the USA. The nature of the globe means that you can only see one half of it at a time and the only continent in the image is the Americas. In fact, my stylised rendition is not very realistic at all and its almost just a zoomed in Americas with the top of south America, central America and the USA which is covered by eagle feathers. The figure is coming out of the USA, one would expect the figure to be coming from China. I don’t like to make predictions but I would suggest that the USA rather than China is the area that will become more associated with this outbeak as events and information unfolds.
Something else i have noticed in relation to the Latin meaning of corona, as I have already expressed corona is related to the aura of the sun, crowns and garlands. It is interesting to note that the symbol of WHO, an organisation who thus far have been utterly corrupt and inept in there handing of the virus is surrounded by a garland, a corona.