News Bites: Chair of MA in Visual and Critical Studies Program Presents at Conference in Africa
Diane Zeeuw, Chair of the Painting and Master of Arts in Visual and Critical Studies programs at Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University (KCAD), was recently invited to South Africa to present at the Third International Interdisciplinary Biennial Conference hosted by the English Department of the University of South Africa (UNISA).
Zeeuw, the only delegate from the United States who was invited to participate, presented a paper entitled “The Haunted Archive: Picturing the Abandoned Psychiatric Hospital as a Place of Radical Otherness.” Numerous other delegates from Africa and Europe were also in attendance.
The conference, focused on the theme of “time,” explored how the concept of time manifests itself as both a natural phenomenon and a social construct.
Zeeuw captured this scenic view of the South African countryside during her trip (credit: Diane Zeeuw)
Of the paper she presented, Zeeuw said, “I was interested in analyzing the plethora of photographic images of abandoned psychiatric institutions published on such sites as failedarchitecture.com and opacity.us. These photographs do not so much serve as memory maps, but rather as embodied fantasies of the other by equating the disordered decaying hospital interior to the deranged, addled mind—in effect reinforcing what Erving Goffman has referred to as ‘spoiled identity.’ The official narrative propelling many of these websites is ostensibly one of documentation: an attempt to preserve history as numerous structures continue to deteriorate with the passage of time. However, the rather overt subtext reads much more like a horror story thinly veiled via simplistic social critique.”
To learn more about KCAD’s MA in Visual and Critical Studies program, visit kcad.edu/mavcs.
To learn more about KCAD's Painting program, visit kcad.edu/painting.