Accepted Paper:

Technology, aesthetics and pain: the music of Chikungunya  


Gabriela Vargas-Cetina (Universidad Autonoma de Yucatan)

Paper short abstract:

Travel communications have transported and medical technologies have traced the chikungunya virus and infection. This paper looks at technology and the music surrounding the chikungunya epidemic in the 21st century.

Paper long abstract:

This paper focuses on the chikungunya virus and infection by looking at the technology that has made it possible for it to be diagnosed and traced, the travel facilities that have helped it travel, and the music that has accompanied it from Europe to the Caribbean and then across the American continent. Symptoms of chikungunya fever include fever and pain in the joints. It is caused by the chikungunya virus, which in turn is transmitted from one human to another by mosquitoes. The virus seems to have originated in Tanzania in the 1950s or before. From there it spread to many countries in Africa and Asia during the second half of the twentieth century, and as of 2000 the epidemic expanded first through Europe and then through much of the world. The medical establishment has developed a global strategy to deal with this health problem. Along with the spread of the epidemic there has been a surge of music around chikungunya that includes music motifs and lyrics about the virus, its transmission, its symptoms, and the possible ways to avoid catching it. As a result, the chikungunya virus has left not only a stream of pain, but also a stream of music, in many languages and in different rhythms and styles.

Panel WIM-GF05
Technology, movement, and the cultural production of meaning