Radio Influenza: An artwork by Jordan Baseman.
In 1918–19, an influenza pandemic raged across the globe. The world’s most deadly outbreak of a single disease infected a quarter of the population on the planet, killing between 50 and 100 million people: more than perished during the First World War. No country was left untouched, and the spread of the disease was facilitated by the movement of troops and people around the world as the First World War came to an end.
Radio Influenza is the story of that pandemic, based on in-depth archival research from the British Newspaper Archive. Each day a new soundtrack reports on the devastation of the epidemic through the everyday, using newspaper accounts from exactly a hundred years ago to explore how the profound impact of the flu affected every aspect of life.
Radio Influenza is the story of the beginning of the twentieth century, as told through the experiences of the unwell: hearing news of the flu from afar, fearing the flu, infected by the flu, traumatized by the flu… A spectrum of differing ideas, scientific failures and developments, government inadequacies, contradictory reports, rumours, criticisms, opinions, hopes and speculations all rendered equal, being simultaneously reported.