Presentation Title

Pandemania

Presenter Information

Amrita RehalFollow

Major

Psychology

Anticipated Graduation Year

2022

Access Type

Open Access

Abstract

Pandemania

Amrita Rehal

American

Class of 2022

Acrylic and embroidery floss on canvas

The piece “Pandemania” is inspired by the global COVID-19 pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2. Because present-day human beings are the most technologically and scientifically advanced species to ever inhabit this planet, the ramifications of this impressive virus were completely unprecedented to us. Our modern world relies on a highly globalized network of travel and collaboration. As particularly social beings accustomed to such an extent of interconnectedness, the coronavirus disease which is easily transmissible through indirect person-to-person contact is a formidable enemy of ours.

This coronavirus has been termed “clever” for many reasons. It concentrates on the upper airway and burrows into the lungs, making it easy for the host to shed it to others simply by breathing. The virus is a perfect mix of transmissible and deadly, as the host is contagious long before showing symptoms, thus guaranteed to stay alive long enough to infect others. The spike proteins of SARS-CoV-2 bind ACE2 receptors that allow it to enter human respiratory cells in the alveoli and to take over. This triggers an immune response and the development of pneumonia, or an accumulation of fluid in the alveoli. Gas exchange in the alveoli is hindered and the body is thrust into respiratory distress as the host experiences shortness of breath and chest pain. The virus is made further diabolical through spike protein mutations over time making it more transmissible.

In this piece, the intricate branching of the trachea into the bronchi, bronchioles, and eventually the alveoli of the lungs are likened to the vast social interconnectedness of human beings on planet earth. These are the very social systems which make humans vulnerable to the spread of this infinitesimal enemy as it makes its way to each alveolus. The immune response in the alveoli is obvious, appearing as distinct peripheral “ground-glass opacities” on a chest radiograph. As the virus has its main effects in the alveoli, the lack of oxygen exchange slowly affects the blood supply in the body, leaving it deoxygenated and dwindling.

Perhaps the most fundamental reminder of the COVID-19 pandemic is that viruses have existed long before recorded history and will continue to exist long after we pass. Although we perceive ourselves as such an indomitable people with advanced technology and modern medicine, SARS-CoV-2 has caught us by surprise and terrorized every nation, rendering us as panic-stricken as our ancestors likely were during the Black Death. Human beings have a natural relationship with viruses and a history of devastating pandemics and communicable diseases, some of which include influenza, smallpox, the bubonic plague, measles, HIV, tuberculosis, typhoid fever, and cholera. These illnesses once wreaked havoc upon our ancestors but have been conquered by science and the relentless will to survive; these viruses and bacteria are represented in this piece and have been sewn into the canvas as a reminder of their innate nature to our earth in juxtaposition to human beings as fleeting organisms, merely the temporary inhabitants of this earth and its ecosystems. Despite our evanescence, human beings possess a steady golden armor of science and learning to prevail in the perpetual war against our natural predators.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Share

COinS
 

Pandemania

Pandemania

Amrita Rehal

American

Class of 2022

Acrylic and embroidery floss on canvas

The piece “Pandemania” is inspired by the global COVID-19 pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2. Because present-day human beings are the most technologically and scientifically advanced species to ever inhabit this planet, the ramifications of this impressive virus were completely unprecedented to us. Our modern world relies on a highly globalized network of travel and collaboration. As particularly social beings accustomed to such an extent of interconnectedness, the coronavirus disease which is easily transmissible through indirect person-to-person contact is a formidable enemy of ours.

This coronavirus has been termed “clever” for many reasons. It concentrates on the upper airway and burrows into the lungs, making it easy for the host to shed it to others simply by breathing. The virus is a perfect mix of transmissible and deadly, as the host is contagious long before showing symptoms, thus guaranteed to stay alive long enough to infect others. The spike proteins of SARS-CoV-2 bind ACE2 receptors that allow it to enter human respiratory cells in the alveoli and to take over. This triggers an immune response and the development of pneumonia, or an accumulation of fluid in the alveoli. Gas exchange in the alveoli is hindered and the body is thrust into respiratory distress as the host experiences shortness of breath and chest pain. The virus is made further diabolical through spike protein mutations over time making it more transmissible.

In this piece, the intricate branching of the trachea into the bronchi, bronchioles, and eventually the alveoli of the lungs are likened to the vast social interconnectedness of human beings on planet earth. These are the very social systems which make humans vulnerable to the spread of this infinitesimal enemy as it makes its way to each alveolus. The immune response in the alveoli is obvious, appearing as distinct peripheral “ground-glass opacities” on a chest radiograph. As the virus has its main effects in the alveoli, the lack of oxygen exchange slowly affects the blood supply in the body, leaving it deoxygenated and dwindling.

Perhaps the most fundamental reminder of the COVID-19 pandemic is that viruses have existed long before recorded history and will continue to exist long after we pass. Although we perceive ourselves as such an indomitable people with advanced technology and modern medicine, SARS-CoV-2 has caught us by surprise and terrorized every nation, rendering us as panic-stricken as our ancestors likely were during the Black Death. Human beings have a natural relationship with viruses and a history of devastating pandemics and communicable diseases, some of which include influenza, smallpox, the bubonic plague, measles, HIV, tuberculosis, typhoid fever, and cholera. These illnesses once wreaked havoc upon our ancestors but have been conquered by science and the relentless will to survive; these viruses and bacteria are represented in this piece and have been sewn into the canvas as a reminder of their innate nature to our earth in juxtaposition to human beings as fleeting organisms, merely the temporary inhabitants of this earth and its ecosystems. Despite our evanescence, human beings possess a steady golden armor of science and learning to prevail in the perpetual war against our natural predators.