Nadine Botha | The Orders of the Undead

The Orders of the Undead

In collaboration with Henry de Vries (Department of Infectious Diseases, Public Health Service (GGD), Amsterdam, and Department of Dermatology, Amsterdam University Medical Centres (AUMC))

This work explores the colonial origins of contemporary narratives of infectious disease, race, violence, and apocalypses through zombie films.

The result of a collaboration between research designer Nadine Botha and skin infections specialist Henry de Vries, the project highlights how our popular entertainment perpetuates colonial tropes of the white-savior complex through fatalistic fear mongering of an impending apocalypse. Through four short films, the work draws attention to the war-like language and metaphors of contagion that are used to racialize and ‘other’ people. Mindful of the current constraints due to COVID-19, the project manifests both physically in the gallery and digitally through an annotated online archive and social media image filters available on Instagram and TikTok that invite participation through reflection on these themes in our daily surroundings.

Nadine Botha is a research designer preoccupied with the unseen social, political, economic, scientific and cultural values embedded in our material reality. Her work explores how these values design our objects, bodies, homes, cities, technologies, experiences and knowledges. In 2018 she co-curated the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial—A School of Schools. Originally from South Africa, she graduated from Design Academy Eindhoven in 2017 and is now based in Rotterdam.