VIRUS Semicolon

This issue of VIRUS casts the spotlight on nostalgia, memories, stories, as well as the inherent imperfections they come with.

Through the cataloguing of the iconic Rochor Centre before its impending demolition, five photographers were each armed with only a disposable (perhaps somehow befitting to the theme) camera to capture its inner spaces and people.

A space with its own beauty and rawness, where abandoned furniture accompany communal, lively resting areas, something appearing to be unkempt and unsightly to one may perfectly embody the spirit of the space to another.

This issue of VIRUS is largely influenced by the grotesque. As Rémi Astruc suggests, hybridity is an important trope of the grotesque, which is used to conceptualise alterity and change. As such, colourful facades and well-polished appearances are eschewed in favour of seeking out the raw, gritty found in Rochor Centre, portraying another perspective that captures its beauty and significance in equal measure.

Seeking to subvert the traditional definition of beauty, this issue of VIRUS is characterised through its planned disorder and intentional imperfections. Through random illustrations, multiple photo collages, graphic illusions intended to dilate the reader’s eyes, and irregular page sizes in different signatures, VIRUS aims to evoke the raw and visceral nature of memories and emotions that often bleed into one another, leaving one inseparable from the other. These different, independent moments are etched deeply in our subconscious, but over time, merge together through similarities in time and space to form an amorphous, malleable product of memory.

The aluminium foil cover is raw, imperfect, yet visually distinctive – an apt embodiment of Rochor Centre. Used in the protection and preservation of items, aluminium foil is thin, but when layered over repeatedly, much like nostalgia, it forms a dense protective layer from the ravages of time. The cardboard material is also collected from the forgotten elderly living inside the corridors and void decks and used as our colophon.

Finally, the process of change and loss comes with nostalgia. Nostalgia lends significance to our memories, emotions and stories. This begets the question if what we cherish is due to personal choice and significance, or just a relentless pursuit and following of what is deemed relevant. The spread of Xs and Os captures this, reflecting how pervasive and extensive this tension and paradox has seeped into our everyday lives.