Artists and scientists ponder pandemics

Melbourne’s Arts House is bringing together scientists, humanitarian charities and artists for a new inter-disciplinary project. Refuge 2018: Pandemic will examine how society responds to the spread of infectious diseases and explore new ways of working together to reduce their impact.

The project saw artists Madeleine Flynn, Tim Humphrey and Lee Shang Lun take a residency at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity. During that time they worked alongside epidemiologists, and will present their responses as part of Refuge 2018: Pandemic.

Outcomes include audio-visual piece We Contain Multitudes, which explores disease control; Isolate and Contain! Mapping the Pandemic, an interactive experience that follows the spread of a virus; and immersive game Outbreak, where participants have to search for a scientific cure.

Commented Peter Doherty, patron of the Doherty Institute: “It’s fantastic to see clinical and lab-based scientists working with the creative arts community to intrigue and inform the broader community about pandemic infections, particularly influenza, and what we can do to minimise the risks.”

In addition, artist Kate Sulan will present exhibition In Case of…, while Lorna Hannan created community conversation project Ruth Crow Corner.

Partners include Australian Red Cross; Emergency Management Victoria; the University of Melbourne; Resilient Melbourne; SES Footscray Division; St Joseph’s Flexible Learning Centre; and Melbourne General Cemetery. Previous editions of Refuge have explored the impact of fires and floods.

Refuge 2018: Pandemic runs from 28 August – 1 September at Arts House in Melbourne.