I have been developing some new pieces to accompany the original OUTBREAK game and Viral Bar Billiards for an exhibition at the new STEAM gallery in Wigan, 53 Library St, Wigan, WN1 from 11 May 2017. The exhibition of my work will sit alongside photographic images of viruses under the microscope. This should be an interesting combination.
As well as my OUTBREAK game I will also be exhibiting a range of work including this WHITE VIRUS TRIO
An old bar game of billiards transformed by spiky white ceramic viruses. These pieces are inspired by viral forms but also the fragile beauty of underwater coral. The one red piece that sits on its own definitely found its inspiration there.
I have also been experimenting with filling chemistry jars with viral shapes. I like the contrast of their sharp fragility with the shiny glass walls of the jars. In the smaller jar the viruses are almost tipping outside of their protective container.
I am intending to turn all my viral work into one mad viral laboratory. Nearly finished making them. Just watch this space……
The black and white photograph shows off the cheerfully cartoonish shapes and humorous outlook, despite the ghoulish subject matter.
Black and white baubles sit on the ripped game board surrounded by small red humanoid figures. These bright, red blood cells soldier across the board together in a pack looking out for any viruses that may come their way. Look out, they’re watching you. Pop Art shapes and colours provide a deceptively cheerful vision of Bio warfare.
These posts describe how the pieces in OUTBREAK embody the character of each viral chess piece and the blood cells that carry them. The ceramic pieces are designed to give a suggest of the power and function of each.
There are more pawns than any other pieces and they are easily removed from the game. The Pawn can move from straight ahead only. From its starting square, the pawn can move 1 or 2 squares straight ahead.
RED AND WHITE BLOOD CELLS have two main functions; the carriage of oxygen and defence against microbial attack.
The artist, Helen Birnbaum, presents a startling vision of our modern battle with viruses that may be organic or computer generated. Each cartoon-like piece represents a different virus. The pieces can be as delicate as coral or as startling as sea mines. As an Outbreak player you can control this world – but maybe not?
ROOKS can move any number of squares in horizontal and vertical directions, but cannot jump over any other piece. In the OUTBREAK this is Avian Flu.
AVIAN FLU Commonly called bird flu this virus is transmitted by breathing it in, or when a person touches something that has the virus on it and then touches their mouth, eyes, nose or mouth.
These aggressive warriors look like nail bombs. The Knight can move from one corner to the other of any 2 x 3 rectangle of squares. The Knight is also the only piece that can jump over any other chess pieces. In OUTBREAK they are Hepatitis B.
Hepatitis B is a contagious liver disease that ranges in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, lifelong illness. It is spread when blood, semen, or other body fluid infected with the Hepatitis B virus enters the body of a person who is not infected.