©Christian Werner & Isabelle Buckow

19th Entertainment Division New Face Award

Black Death

Website, Reportage

Christian WERNER / Isabelle BUCKOW [Germany]


Black Death employs various media including text, video, photography, sound, maps, and animation as a reportage presented on a scrollable website. Yersinia pestis infection, or “Black Death”, is a historical disease. During the Middle Ages, numerous plague outbreaks lead to a significant population decrease in Europe, causing the infectious disease. In recent years, the plague has been eradicated in most parts of the world thanks to improved hygiene and medical care. Yet, infections continue to be reported in Africa, Russia, Asia and even in the United States, with an annual average of 500 cases recorded since 2009. Through the use of various artistic expressions, this work presents a simple yet innovative methodology for communicating story and information.

Reason for Award

In Black Death, the artists tackle a difficult theme, investigating and witnessing both life and death to present us with a universal message. Information is intentionally displayed without sentiment or dramatic editing, and as a result, conveys earnest urgency. We can only wonder the amount of energy and conflict the artists must have gone through to create this work which is also emotionally taxing on the viewer. Their actions, vision, and the resulting quality are worthy of respect. The fact that it was created by young artists tells us something about the present times, and despite its heaviness, their willingness to confront this theme allows us to have a hopeful outlook. (HIGASHIIZUMI Ichiro)