Fran Benavente-Burian e-mail(Login required) , Santiago Fillol e-mail(Login required) , Glòria Salvadó-Corretger e-mail(Login required)

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Fran Benavente-Burian e-mail(Login required)
Santiago Fillol e-mail(Login required)
Glòria Salvadó-Corretger e-mail(Login required)

Abstract

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In this article, we examine the visual motif of the corpse and its presence in the public sphere in times of pandemic from an iconographic, political and anthropological perspective. Through the analysis of the representation of the dead body in images presented by modern media, we reflect on how the formal and iconographic schemes of presentation of death were transformed following the irruption of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020. The pandemic scheme, which is unusual from a political and anthropological perspective, assumes a particular approach to the problem of the representation of the dead body (anonymous body, carrier of a virus), encrypted in a dialectic between systematic omission and censorship and displacement of the representation of death towards the cumulative symmetry of empty pits or coffins that prefigure the corpse to come. Pandemic iconography, often based on science fiction imagery, outlines the dehumanized restlessness of a dystopian future. Under these exceptional conditions, some corpses, which are a priori anonymous, stand out, showing, even in the suspended space of Covid-19, the permanence of structural schemes of violence that must be denounced and fought in the present. With that in mind, we also examine the corpses claimed by Black Lives Matter and their distinctive representations, which are very different from those of the victims of the epidemic. Finally, through these references and based on the media treatment of Diego Armando Maradona’s body, we consider the significance of the return of the iconic corpse to the center of the public sphere, which imposes a regime of extreme visibility and goes beyond the representative limits of pandemic exceptionality.

Keywords

Corpse, visual motif, COVID-19, Balck Lives Matter, iconography, death, visual culture

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Special Issue: Visual motifs and representations of power in the public sphere