Science Gallery Bengaluru exhibits season on ‘Contagion’

New Delhi (IANSlife) Science Gallery Bengaluru is presenting a uniquely first online exhibition-season, ‘Contagion’, that explores the infectious nature of not only diseases but also emotions, behaviours and information.

Showcased in collaboration with Robert Koch Institute, the Indian National Science Academy, and DBT/Wellcome Trust India Alliance, the exhibition will run full steam up to June 13, and with reduced live programming until December 31 this year.

Curated by Danielle Olsen, International Cultural Producer at the Wellcome Trust, and Jahnavi Phalkey, Founding Director, Science Gallery Bengaluru, ‘Contagion’ features 16 interactive exhibits and more than 40 live programmes that seek to reduce the distance between human and natural sciences, arts and technology, breaking down barriers between research and the public.

Through the themes of Trigger, Transmission, Spillover and Hindsight, the 16 exhibits trace various outbreaks through a multidisciplinary lens – �A Cluster of 17 Cases’ explores the night of February 21, 2003 in the Metropole Hotel, Hong Kong, the epicentre of the global SARS outbreak; �Mapping Cholera : A Tale of Two Cities’ maps cholera outbreaks in both New York City and Port-au-Prince; plagues are visited in the interactive �Drawing the Bombay Plague’; �Fluid Dialogues’ presents the life experiences of HIV positive individuals addressing the stigma around it.

The exhibition also captures the transmission of emotions in �When The World Was a Laugh’ and �The Chameleon Project’. Other exhibits demystify the spread of fake news, showcase catchy computer viruses from the 80s and the 90s, and explore global anxieties in the current scenario.

Ant carrying leaf fragments; from the exhibit ‘Putting the Ant into Antibiotics’. Image Courtesy of John Innes Centre

Ant carrying leaf fragments; from the exhibit ‘Putting the Ant into Antibiotics’. Image Courtesy of John Innes Centre

“‘Contagion’ shares a multiplicity of voices and perspectives � contemporary and historic,artistic and scientific, individual and collective � to support better understanding of what we are all living through. Covid-19 has been with us for more than a year. The pandemic has upended our lives and illuminated longstanding challenges. In these unsettled times � much more so for some than for others � trustworthy evidence about what is happening changes rapidly. What we have retrieved from this, our very own moment, and in history, are works backed by research that put into relief the reciprocity, empathy, care and knowledge that can develop across disciplines and across experiences at different scales.

“‘Contagion’ examines the transmission of emotions, behaviours, ideas and diseases, their fascinating and sometimes frightening spread and why all of this matters to the lives we hope to lead and the futures we can imagine,” reads the curatorial note.

“Living with Covid-19 has highlighted our connectedness and the importance of nurturing international collaboration. We very much hope Contagion � with its wonderful range of voices and perspectives � provides an opportunity for all to make meaningful sense of these uncertain times,” says Danielle Olsen.

“‘Contagion’ presents a multiplicity of voices to better understand our collective experience of the Covid-19 pandemic. Knowledge about the unfolding situation is being revised rapidly for more than twelve months. After all, how do ideas, behaviours and diseases spread and to what consequences? We open doors to research, to creative responses, and hands-on activities that will help us all formulate relevant questions as we make our way through this demanding moment,” says Jahnavi Phalkey.

The exhibition is shaped with the advice of a multidisciplinary panel of scholars consisting of historian of medicine Sanjoy Bhattacharya, virologist Shahid Jameel and physicist/biologist Mukund Thattai. It can be viewed for free and is available in both English and Kannada. View it online at

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