Collectives, a photographic artbook, challenges us to consider Covid-19

Art has traditionally played an important role in holding up a mirror to the world, and helping make sense of it. But although lockdown is the most profound event that most of us have experienced, there hasn't really been a lot of art that has addressed it. Well, until now, that is.

Collectives is a new photographic art book that offers a strong and challenging point of view on the drastic transformative events of 2020. But don't get the wrong idea: this is not a series of photographs taken during lockdown. Instead São Paulo based photographer Cássio Vasconcellos presents images from the pre-Covid era, in a way that makes us think about how the world has changed.

Over ten years, Vasconcellos has painstakingly converted hundreds of aerial shots into a series of assembled images that could be seen as a near-dystopian view of the world – a sea of endless cars stranded in a massive gridlock, hundreds of aircraft neatly grounded at an imaginary airport, a building block so monumentally large that its windows look like tiny coloured dots. These images reveal an idea of urban life that's overwhelming and inherently chaotic, but also alluring and visually engaging.

The idea for the new book was to reinterpret this body of work in the light of our daunting collective experience during the global pandemic. Kramarz's approach was to add a layer of graphic interventions that bring 'distancing' into the equation, and what it means in relation to our awareness in engaging with each other as well as with the world around us.

Designed by Kenzo Mayama Kramarz, co-founder of London-based design studio Make, Collectives can be purchased from Quarentena Books, and profits will support Projeto Rizoma, which assists the most vulnerable people affected by Covid in Brazil.


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