Spectacular Evidence: Theatres of the Observed Mind

24 Mar 2017

Regular hours

09:00 – 18:00

Cost of entry

£10/£6 concessions
*Includes one free drink at the end of symposium.

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A one-day symposium, Spectacular Evidence, will include presentations, performances, screenings and talks from the fields of visual art, medicine and critical theory.


A one-day symposium, Spectacular Evidence, will include presentations, performances, screenings and talks from the fields of visual art, medicine and critical theory.  

Drawing upon histories of madness and its exhibition, and considering how it has been staged as cultural performance, this event will consider behaviours and ‘performances’ exchanged between viewer and physician in relation to patient.


10.30  Registration

11.00  Dr Zoë Mendelson: Short introduction to proceedings

11.00 – 13.00  Session 1: Madness and aesthetic spectacle
Zoe Beloff
Dr Anna Harpin
Florence Peake

13.00 – 14.00  Break for lunch

14.00 – 15.40  Session 2: Case studies/Studies of cases
Dr Michelle Williams Gamaker
Eddy Dreadnought
Sal Anderson
Dr Caterina Albano

15.40 – 16.00  Break for coffee

16.00 – 18.00  Session 3: Madness, space and object
Dr Zoë Mendelson
Dr Monika Ankele
Dr Joanne Morra
Rosemary Cronin

18.00 – 19.00  Drinks in ArtsAdmin Café (one free drink per person with ticket)

Speaker Biographies:

Caterina Albano is a Reader in Visual Culture at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London. She curates, lectures and publishes in the fields of art, cultural history and cultural theory, in particular emotion and affect, memory and consciousness; and on the theory of curating. She is the author of Memory, Forgetting and the Moving Image (Palgrave MacMillan, 2016) and Fear and Art in the Contemporary World (Reaktion Books, 2012). Her curatorial work includes the exhibitions Psychoanalysis: The Unconscious in Everyday Life (Science Museum, London, 2009-10). 

Sal Anderson is a science-trained drama and documentary filmmaker whose Wellcome Trust Arts Award films include collaborations with neuropsychiatrists and psychiatrists on visual agnosia and epilepsy. Films directed by Sal have been shown in international festivals including Toronto, Chicago and Rotterdam and as part of the best short films of 2006 screened by the British Council at the Cannes Film Festival.

Dr Monika Ankele studied history in Graz, Vienna and Berlin and did her doctorate on the Prinzhorn Collection, focusing on ego-documents from female psychiatric patients. She worked as an art educator and was part of the feminist artist collective Schwestern Brüll. Since 2012 she has been a scientific researcher at the Department of History and Ethics of Medicine in Hamburg and working on the DFG-funded project Bed and Bath: Objects and spaces of therapeutic acting in psychiatry of the 19th and 20th century. At the moment she holds a research fellowship at the International Research Center for Cultural Studies in Vienna. Her current research interests are focusing on material cultures of psychiatry.

Zoe Beloff is an artist working in film, installation and drawing. Her work focuses on drawing new time lines between past and present to help us think against the grain of reactionary ideology. She is currently producing an exhibition ‘Emotions go to Work’ about the commodification of affect and the Internet of Things. Zoe’s work has been featured in international exhibitions and screenings. Venues include The Whitney Museum, Site Santa Fe, the MHKA museum in Antwerp, the Pompidou Center in Paris and Freud’s Dream. 

Rosemary Cronin is an artist, writer and lecturer with a research-based practice focusing on gender, psychoanalysis, subcultures and subversion; currently researching the matchgirl strike and contemporary female burnout. The work is realised through performance, print and sculpture. Cronin has exhibited at South London Gallery, ICA London, National Portrait Gallery and The Wallace Collection. In 2016 her film 'Reverie' was selected by the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, as part of the 'Under the Same Sun' screenings at the South London Gallery. Cronin was also awarded the Lifeboat Award by UAL.

Up until 10 years ago Eddy Dreadnought was an NHS community psychiatrist. Now he is a contemporary artist working in Sheffield. Eddy’s work uses performance, drawing, writing, video and significant research. It aims to raise questions, but open questions posed in a poetic way. It is preoccupied with horizontal structure, as opposed to the hierarchical vertical. 

Anna Harpin is Associate Professor of Theatre and Performance at the University of Warwick. Her primary research area is the cultural history of madness and trauma. She has recently published a book, with Juliet Foster, entitled Performance, Madness, Psychiatry: Isolated Acts, a chapter on Broadmoor Hospital in the Edinburgh Companion to the Critical Medical Humanities, and is completing a monograph called, Disordered: Madness and Cultural Representation. Alongside her academic work Anna is a theatre maker with her company, Idiot Child. The company will be touring a new work about fear and anxiety entitled, What if the plane falls out of the sky? in May and June 2017.

Dr Joanne Morra is Reader in Art History and Theory at Central Saint Martins, UAL. She runs The Doctoral Platform at CSM, and is Founding Principal Editor of Journal of Visual Culture. Joanne has published widely on modern and contemporary art in, for instance, New Formations, Art History, Journal of Modern Art, What is Research in the Visual Arts (eds. Holly & Smith). Recent activities include the exhibition Saying It (Freud Museum London, 2012), Intimacy Unguarded: Autobiography, Biography, Memoir (with Talbot, 2013 -), 50 Years of Art and Objecthood (with Green, JVC, Sage, 2017). Her book Inside the Freud Museums: History, Memory and Site-Responsive Art  with I.B. Tauris will be out later this year.

Zoë Mendelson is an artist and writer. She is Pathway Leader for BA Fine Art, Painting at Wimbledon College of Arts, where she co-curates the network paintingresearch with Geraint Evans. Her work incorporates animation, collage, drawing, installation, performance and fiction writing. Using collation as a methodological framework Zoë creates networks between psychoanalytic theory, psychotherapeutic practice, spatial theory, fine art and critical practice. Her PhD, at Central Saint Martins, was titled ‘Psychologies and Spaces of Accumulation: The hoard as collagist methodology (and other stories)’. This research locates and spatialises systematised archiving alongside seemingly pathological object relations, and includes relationships drawn between urban space and wellness. Zoë’s research engages disorder as a culturally produced phenomenon, in parallel to its clinical counterpart, suggesting its value to knowledge production within Fine Art and critical theory. Her work has been widely exhibited internationally (from Chapter, Cardiff to the Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain, Paris) and she regularly speaks and performs at conferences and symposia including Barbican Centre (2015) and the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Art (2015).

Florence Peake is a London-based artist and choreographer. With extensive training in dance and a background in painting, her performance practice combines a variety of media—from drawing to sculpture—in relation to the moving body. Site and audience, live and recorded text, wit and humour are key to her work. Her interdisciplinary projects, made both independently and collaboratively, have been exhibited and performed nationally and internationally since 1995 in New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Prague, Sweden and Latvia. Peake’s work has also been commissioned and shown at venues such as the National Portrait Gallery (2008), Yorkshire Sculpture Park (2012), Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art (2013) and Hayward Gallery (2014), Somerset house (2015), Serpentine gallery (2016). 

Michelle Williams Gamaker is a visual artist and filmmaker. Current projects include The Fruit is There to be Eaten, Brown Queertopia and the feature films The Imperial and Violet Culbo, featuring brown protagonists to address the historical sidelining of such characters. For over 11 years, with Mieke Bal (Cinema Suitcase) she completed several films and installations exploring migratory aesthetics, mental health and gender ideology.  Since 2009, with artist Julia Kouneski she has explored the psychotherapeutic work of Lygia Clark. She completed PhD in Fine Art at Goldsmiths College (2012), where she now works as a Lecturer in BA Fine Art.

The symposium will take place at ArtsAdmin, Toynbee Studios, London, on 24 March 2017.

Convened by Dr Zoë Mendelson and presented by Camberwell, Chelsea, Wimbledon Graduate School Public Programme, in association with Toynbee Studios.

Tickets: £10/£6 concessions
(Ticket includes one free drink at the end of the symposium)

To book your place, please visit the ArtsAdmin webpage: https://www.artsadmin.co.uk/events/3993

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