Shadow Pandemic 2020
Updated: Dec 1, 2020
Title: Shadow Pandemic 2020 Artist: A Maree Mediums: Experimental film, sound art, installation art and digital photography
Shadow Pandemic – is a work of experimental digital art – offering you, the bystander, an opportunity in this context to meditate upon clues of domestic violence (DV). I describe DV as any act of verbal, physical, sexual, psychological, or financial abuse that occurs within the home environment. And can be initiated by an intimate partner/spouse or family member whereby the victim questions their safety. In addition, DV does not discriminate and can afflict people of all genders, ages, races, and sexual orientations Shadow Pandemic follows a tripartite organisation which displays fragments of events that insinuate tentative evidence of coercion and isolation. The first is Distressionist, made from mixed media that includes installation, digital photography, and a flash film sequence. The second is Window Stills, which includes sound art and a visual element. The third is Tea Time, a piece of experimental film art. Each composition invites the audience to consider 2 important questions. 1. If there is reason to suspect that manipulative tactics of coercion occur, what should our role be as a bystander and possible witness? 2. How could we respond whilst respecting privacy rights and ensuring safety? I encourage my audience to think critically and analyse the auditory and visual clues that could count as evidence.
Shadow Pandemic was inspired by the increase of DV in 2020 in correlation with the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time, people throughout the world discovered what vulnerability could feel like on a grand scale. Most sought refuge in their home, a space one would normally consider to be a sanctuary. We were reminded that by doing so would reduce the risk of spreading a virus and therefore minimise harm, especially to those most vulnerable. Unfortunately, the official lock-down measures become the perfect opportunity for perpetrators of domestic violence to further coerce and isolate their victims. Trapped and with limited access to the outside world, victims of domestic violence became more isolated than ever before.
 Bradbury‐Jones & Ishlam, 2020. Campbell, 2020.
 Campbell, 2020.
Distressionist, an experimental multimedia work which comments on the social misconceptions that tend to mask inaction and investigation into private matters. Each portrait is an impressionable clue, a distress call, leaving behind blemished traces often concealed out of shame and embarrassment. The work contains two aspects. 1. The digital flash sequence from digital photographs. 2. The monochrome stills in digital photography. Both reflect the silent screams from those who have experienced domestic violence and brings what was once considered private, into public view.
2. Window Stills
Window Stills is an experimental soundscape providing insight into some of the many feelings and thoughts associated with speaking out about, let alone being able to leave abusive situations. Unmoving but still conscious of memory and time, the bystander becomes conceptually paralysed in what is perceived to be a viewer/victim paradox. Paralysed out of fear – I am afraid for my life. Paralysed from doubt– What if no one believes me? Paralysed out of confusion– How can the person I love treat me this way? And paralysed from guilt– It must be my fault.
3. Tea Time
Tea Time is an experimental film depicting coercive tactics through metaphor. The tea pot represents how victims are emotionally broken down repeatedly by their perpetrators. Victims are reduced to somewhat of an empty shell of their former selves, chipped away, day by day. Momentarily, the audience are prompted to partake when a piece of the teapot collides with the screen. Thus placing the spectator in the posture of a witness of metaphorical violence/coercion, questioning the role and responsibility of the bystander. In addition, the initial sound delay alludes to the different perception of time that can occur with the fight, flight or freeze response when one experiences an act of violence.
Digital Arts Northern Territory (DANT)
Matthew Van Roden
For more information on DV and supportive services available please see the following links
Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria's website is an extensive resource and provides important information and supportive services.
Local domestic violence support services Northern Territory
National domestic violence support services
Alejo, K. (2014). Long-term physical and mental health effects of domestic violence. Themis: Research Journal of Justice Studies and Forensic Science, 2(1), 5.
Bradbury‐Jones, C., & Isham, L. (2020). The pandemic paradox: The consequences of COVID‐19 on domestic violence. Journal of clinical nursing.
Campbell, A. M. (2020). An increasing risk of family violence during the Covid-19 pandemic: Strengthening community collaborations to save lives. Forensic Science International: Reports, 100089.
Clarke, R., Wright, P., Balaam, M., & McCarthy, J. (2013). Digital portraits: photo-sharing after domestic violence. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems (pp. 2517-2526).