2021-01-11 19:19:33 来源:参考消息网 责任编辑:张威威

How to Remember a Plague 如何铭记一场瘟疫

Laura Bliss 劳拉·布利斯

In normal times, future historians probably really wouldn't care about what you had for breakfast, or saw on the way to work, on any particular day. But that changed in 2020, and so did the instinct to document. In a pandemic that touched virtually every person and aspect of life on Earth, the ordinary was imbued with world-historical significance, inspiring an outburst of archival projects to capture how regular people lived through an unprecedented year.

Universities, libraries, and local historians on at least four continents are leading many such memory-preservation efforts. Some are managed by revered institutions, while others are scrappier, intimate. In the former camp is the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., which has crowdsourced more than 1,700 photographs of American Covid experiences from Flickr users since September.

In truth, the Library has always done this. In the 1930s and '40s, the Farm Security Administration funded a photographic archive that, employing now-iconic photographers like Dorothea Lange and Walker Evans, deeply influenced how lawmakers and the public understood the hardships of rural poverty. And its collections are full of images and documents that reveal how everyday Americans lived through countless world-changing events, including the 1918 influenza pandemic, the most recent public health crisis that is comparable in scale. Recent acquisitions include new works by Camilo J. Vergara, a photographer known for documenting urban change, depicting the outer boroughs of New York City transformed by face masks and tented test sites billowing in the wind.

But unlike the Spanish flu, Covid-19 struck humanity in an era of hyper self-awareness. Swaddled with smartphones, 5G, and user-generated digital media, millions of people were equipped to understand how huge of a deal this was, and had the tools to document it. For that reason, the coronavirus crisis will likely create a different kind of impression in the historical record than its predecessors, said James Connolly, a professor of history at Ball State University.

“One of the most striking things about the 1918 flu pandemic is that no one really talked about it afterwards,” Connolly said.“If you go back to the 1920s, it was not front and center in that period. I don't think that will happen with Covid — it's being documented in so many ways, particularly by middle-class, educated people who have resources to record their experiences. I think that the memories will be intense.”

The pandemic also physically marking the landscape, in ways that may be permanent. In the U.K., a Twitter account called the Viral Archive has been tagged in more than 2,000 individual posts of photographs of the Covid-19 landscape around the world. Similar to the Library of Congress initiative, the project has collected a massive range of familiar pandemic sights, though this one — led by a group of archaeologists — has a special focus on “signs, marks and graffiti” left on built and natural environments. It's important because the social-distancing stickers, hand sanitizer pumps, and wishing walls will disappear one day, leaving behind only photographs for future study, said Rosie Everett, a Ph.D student in archeology at the University of Warwick who helps lead the archive effort.

若在平时,未来的历史学家可能真的不会在乎你哪天早餐吃了什么,或者上班路上看到什么。但情况在2020年发生了变化,同样发生变化的还有记录的本能。在一场几乎影响到地球上每个人和生活各个方面的大流行病期间,普通人被赋予了世界历史重要性,这催生了一大批档案项目,这些项目旨在记录普通人是如何度过这史无前例的一年的。

至少四个大洲的大学、图书馆和地方志专家正带头开展许许多多这样的记忆保存工作。其中一些由受人尊崇的机构负责,其他则是更零散的私人行为。前者包括位于华盛顿哥伦比亚特区的国会图书馆,自去年9月以来,它已经从图片分享网站Flickr的用户那里征集了1700多张关于美国新冠疫情经历的照片。

事实上,国会图书馆一直在做这样的工作。20世纪三四十年代,美国农场安全局资助了一个摄影档案,它雇用了多罗西娅·兰格和沃克·埃文斯等现今具有代表性的摄影师,深深影响了议员和公众对农村贫穷困境的认识。它收集了大量图片和文件,展示了寻常美国人是如何度过无数改变世界的事件的,其中包括1918年的流感大流行,那是最近的一次与当前疫情规模相当的公共卫生危机。最近收录的照片包括以记录城市变化著称的摄影师卡米洛·J·贝尔加拉的新作,这些作品描绘了纽约市除曼哈顿以外的行政区因为口罩和随风鼓起的帐篷检测点而改变的面目。

但与那场西班牙流感不同的是,新冠肺炎对人类的袭击发生在一个自我意识超强的时代。借助智能手机、5G和用户生成的数字媒体,数以百万计的人能够了解这是一次何等重大的事件,并且拥有记录它的工具。因此,州立鲍尔大学历史学教授詹姆斯·康诺利说,这场冠状病毒危机很可能会在历史记录中留下不同以往的印记。

康诺利说:“1918年流感大流行最值得注意的一点是,事后没什么人谈论它。追溯到20世纪20年代,它不是那个时期的焦点。我认为新冠肺炎不会这样——人们正以许许多多方式将它记录下来,尤其是有办法记录自己经历的、受过良好教育的中产阶级。我认为这些记忆会非常深刻。”

这场大流行病还正在以可能具有永久性的方式为景观留下有形印记。在英国,一个名为“病毒档案”的推特账号在2000多条发布世界各地新冠疫情景观照片的个人帖子中被添加为标签。与国会图书馆的计划类似,该项目收集了大量为人们所熟悉的疫情景象,不过这个由一群考古学家牵头的项目特别关注建筑和自然环境中留下的“标志、记号和涂鸦”。协助领导这项档案尝试工作的沃里克大学考古学博士研究生罗茜·埃弗里特说,这个项目非常重要,因为提醒人们保持社交距离的贴纸、洗手液泵和许愿墙有朝一日会消失,只留下照片供未来研究所用。(李莎译自1月1日彭博新闻社网站)

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