Interview with a virus (after William S. Burroughs)
a project by Vasilena Gankovska
with drawings by
In 2006 I was invited to participate in a biennial for contemporary art in Bulgaria. The work I submitted was about a virus called Mr. Martin, one of the characters in “Nova Trilogy” by William S. Burroughs from the 1960s. Back then I asked few friends to make a drawing of Mr. Martin, under the condition that they depict him as a virus. The outcome varied from complex geometric structures up to a portrait of a man.
In the present days at the beginning of the new dеcade we are confronted with a real pandemic and a virus is spreading rapidly. We have a clear image of it, which spreads even faster than the virus itself.
Mr. Martin says that the humans think in “images” and that all our human activities are “prerecorded”. It is like someone cuts and pastes images in our biological film.
Today I asked again some of the artists who contributed in 2006 to make a new drawing or submit the old one and invited some new friends to share their image of Mr. Martin.
The drawings from 2020 appear at times of lockdown, quarantine and permanent threat. Unlike the 2006 issue they make a strong statement not only by using abstract ideas and literary inspirations. The virus is present in 2020 real time, yet no one managed to make an interview.
*All quotations appearing in the project are from “Interview with Mr. Martin” · William S. Burroughs The Ultimate Collection ℗ 2010 Master Classics Records
**List of the works
Anne Glassner “Mr. Martin”, 2020, chalk and edding on black paper,
21 x 29,7 cm
Emil Kirov, 2020, acrylic on paper, 21 x 29,7 cm
Kamen Stoyanov, 2006-2020, pencil on paper, 21 x 29,7 cm
Jelena Micić, 2020, pen on paper, 21 x 29,7 cm
Miryana Mihailova, 2020, pencils on paper, 21 x 29,7 cm
Martin Wimmer, 2006-2020, pencil on paper, 21 x 29,7 cm
Front poster by Vasilena Gankovska, 29,7 x 42 cm
(c) by the artists