DURHAM, NC.- A artwork by artist Robert Mihaly entitled Pre-Pandemic Air on display at Duke University predicted the 2009 global influenza outbreak.
The sculpture consists of two parts: A corked bottle of early 2009 atmospheric air and a page of documentation, integral to the artwork, displayed adjacent to the bottle. Numerous visitors have seen the artwork on display at Duke since and the exhibitions second reception, Sunday, March 22, 2009, one month prior to the current influenza outbreak. The two month-long solo exhibition is entitled Pantheon of Modern Gods: An Expedition into Corridors of Power. It features 40 works by Mihaly.
Pre-Pandemic Airs posted documentation confidently predicted a global pandemic in 2009. The original documentation lists two primary reasons for the prediction. The first reason the artist offered quotes a June 17, 1996, U.S.. Air Force unclassified study titled Air Force 2025 which was authored by the College of Aerospace Doctrine, Research, and Education at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama. The quoted study describes a plausible future scenario where influenza kills 30 million people. The 1996 study called the proposed 2009 virus origin unknown, yet feared bioengineered.
The second primary reason the artist stated on the pre-existing wall documentation, was a Canadian Press report on February 7, 2009 of Baxter Pharmaceuticals Austrian facility accidentally contaminating the annual flu vaccine with deadly avian flu virus. Baxter accidentally mixed the deadly H5N1 virus with a mix of H3N2 seasonal flu. Baxter then shipped the resulting contaminated mix to 18 countries. The Canadian Press article was confirmed by a Bloomberg article written by Michelle Fay Cortez and Jason Gale on February 24, 2009.
In his prediction, Mihaly stated, The H5N1 virus on its own has killed hundreds of people, but it is less airborne, but when combined with seasonal flu viruses, which
are super-airborne and easily spread, the effect is a potent, super-airborne, super deadly biological weapon of the sort proposed in Air Force 2025.
Mihaly says he intended on selling many of the $50. bottles of Pre-Pandemic Air. On the bottles label is printed, Absolutely, Unquestionably, a Limited Edition. It turns out the edition is limited to one since Mihaly claims it is no longer be possible to secure such air. He has raised the price 10,000% to $5,000. He now projects a rise in the artworks value to follow the virus toll.
Baxter International board member Walter E. Boomer, a retired four-star General and Assistant Commandant of the United States Marine Corps, could not be reached for comment.