The Zombie Index explores the space between individuals and the collective

0 Posted by - October 31, 2013 - Blog, Visual art

Artist George Pfau believes zombies are an irresistible cultural force. But while most of us limit our interest to binging on Walking Dead episodes, or perhaps taking part in a Zombie Walk, for Pfau the study of zombies makes up a huge part of his art practice.

His most recent project is the Zombie Index, a website that explores the ever-expanding breadth of possibilities of what a zombie can be.

“Zombies inspire me because they provide a fascinating middle zone between alive and dead, individual and collective, inside and outside,” Pfau explained.

This particular nature of zombies is reflected in the website, which allows visitors to zoom in to focus on individuals, or zoom out to view the group as a whole. The website also features a collection of names of people who inspired the work, as well as network of links embedded inside various pronouns scattered throughout. The drawing itself was made on paper using graphite, ink, acrylic and watercolour paints.

Pfau elaborates on why zombies are worthy of closer examination:

Zombies span the shambling former-loved-ones on The Walking Dead, to the synchronized dancers of Michael Jackson’s Thriller, to the proletariat rising up against the elite of George Romero’s Land of the Dead, to countless other iterations.

They are labeled: zombies, infected, ghouls, walkers, skels, undead, unliving, deadites, hostiles, stenches, revenants, victims, patients, vectors of contagion, etc. To some they are sub-human others killed for sport, to others they are a race of under-recognized people seeking acceptance and rights.

The zombies in the drawing cover many aspects of this vast category. Emphasis is placed on the amount information needed to portray a humanoid figure, and thus figures range from detailed and recognizable, to iconic stick figures, or from black-and-white outlines to rendered colorful paintings.

I see the word zombie as a constantly mutating entity, defined by its constant use throughout our popular culture. From one film, book, video game, artwork, news report to the next the rules and parameters change.

Explore the zombies for yourself at

The Zombie Index - George Pfau

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