Presentation Title

Spillover

Presenter Information

Alexandra WebsterFollow

Major

Biology

Anticipated Graduation Year

2021

Access Type

Open Access

Abstract

The graphite piece “Spillover” depicts the theme of a spillover event where infectious pathogens normally found in an animal host “spills over” to the human population. It was inspired by the novel Spillover by David Quammen where he addresses that spillover events are ecological and evolutionary problems—evocative of our current global health crisis. As bats are common hosts for zoonoses, they were chosen to depict the spillover event in this art piece; the bat is shown as an abstract use of negative space to symbolize how the source of infection is often the missing link to understanding the disease itself.

Comments

Spillover

Alexandra Webster

American

Class of 2021

Graphite on Strathmore 400 Series Paper

The piece “Spillover” depicts the theme of a spillover event where infectious pathogens normally found in animal hosts “spills over” to the human population and infects them. It was inspired by the novel Spillover by David Quammen where he addresses that spillover events are ecological and evolutionary problems with examples such as the Hendra virus and Ebola which eerily are evocative of our current global health crisis. In Quammen’s book, bats were found to be the reservoir host for the Hendra virus after much confusion about how exactly humans were being infected by horses—the amplifier host. The reservoir is an organism that carries the pathogen while suffering little to no illness itself whereas the amplifier sees the infectious agents multiplying rapidly and serves as the source of infection for humans. The same seems to be true for SARS-CoV-2 where we believe that bats served as one of the reservoir hosts for the single spillover event that led us into this global pandemic. As bats are a common host for zoonoses, they were chosen to depict the spillover event.

The bat is depicted as an abstract use of negative space in the art piece to symbolize how the source of infection is often the missing link of understanding the disease itself—as evident in the Hendra virus and COVID-19. The flowers, which are also depicted using negative space, represent the transmission of the spillover event from one host to another—humans—and that they begin to spread throughout the image. Graphite was used to symbolize that at first glance the idea seems simple but upon closer inspection reveals precise detail that adds depth and complexity to the piece—much like the spillover event itself.

https://www.davidquammen.com/spillover

Creative Commons License

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

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Spillover

The graphite piece “Spillover” depicts the theme of a spillover event where infectious pathogens normally found in an animal host “spills over” to the human population. It was inspired by the novel Spillover by David Quammen where he addresses that spillover events are ecological and evolutionary problems—evocative of our current global health crisis. As bats are common hosts for zoonoses, they were chosen to depict the spillover event in this art piece; the bat is shown as an abstract use of negative space to symbolize how the source of infection is often the missing link to understanding the disease itself.