Bob Bicknell-Knight

Outbreak, 2020

HD video with sound
1 min 25 sec (looped)

Outbreak is a short, looping video work, depicting Boris Johnson, the current Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, attached to a non-invasive ventilator, lying in a hospital bed. The work is a response to the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and is inspired by Johnson’s seven day stay in April 2020 at St Thomas' Hospital in London whilst suffering from COVID-19.


During his stay, and for some time afterwards, many were suspicious of Johnson actually having had the disease, with conspiracy theorists wondering whether the incident had been a public relations stunt to reassure the public that COVID-19 was easily treatable.


Many of the doctors and nurses who cared for Johnson were asked to sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) and no photographers were allowed to document Johnson’s stay at St Thomas'. Outbreak, therefore, depicts a moment in time that may or may not have happened, and is emblematic of Johnson’s disastrous handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK.