Events Archive

The CVC has a video archive available upon request.

Please contact us if you would like to view a particular lecture from Fall 2018 – Present.

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CVC Events 2023 – 2024

Annual Theme

“Labor and Resistance”

Over the course of the academic year, we will consider both the visual culture of labor and the labor of visual culture. We define labor broadly to include recognized and unrecognized participation in the work force alongside informal economies, as well as creative and affective labor. As part of this theme, we also propose to think about precarity and the refusal of labor in the form of strikes, anti-work movements and other forms of resistance to the logic of capital.


Tony Buba


“Zombies, Steeltowns, and Documenting Your Hometown”

Friday, September 22, 2022
2:00 PM CDT
Vilas Hall 4070

In this workshop with UW-Madison faculty, staff, and students, Buba will discuss his varied career, screen clips of his work, and reflect on his approach to filmmaking. The discussion will be moderated by Communication Arts Professor Eric Hoyt. For anyone curious about using film to tell the stories of their hometown, or in building a filmmaking career outside of one of the entertainment industry’s capitols, this workshop is for you.


Friday, September 22, 7 p.m. 

USA | 1988 | DCP | 80 min. 

Director: Tony Buba

A once thriving community, Braddock, PA was one of the country’s largest producers of steel. After the first steel mill closings in the 1970s, filmmaker and Braddock resident Tony Buba began chronicling the decline of his hometown with a series of short documentaries, culminating with this wildly creative feature-length movie. Against a backdrop of shuttered businesses and crumbling homes, Buba attempts to complete a film project centered around the eccentric, combative, tough-talking, and frequently delusional Braddock denizen, Salvatore “Sweet Sal” Caru, who credits himself for Buba’s success. Mixing humor, music, and a great deal of heart, Buba’s magnum opus has been compared to the work of Errol Morris and Michael Moore, and has earned the praise of Werner Herzog. This screening will be preceded by Buba’s latest addition to his Braddock Chronicles, Mon Valley Trilogy (2023, 5 min.). After the program, Tony Buba will discuss his work and answer questions.

Saturday, September 23, 7 p.m.

USA | 1977 | DCP | 95 min. 

Director: George A. Romero

Cast: John Amplas, Elayne Nadeau, Lincoln Maazel

Made between Romero’s landmark zombie movies Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead. The horror master’s modern-day take on vampire mythology stars Amplas as Martin, a shy, sensitive young man who believes himself to be a vampire. Sent to live with his superstitious uncle in Braddock, PA, Martin tries to fit in and stay out of trouble while continuing his bloodsucking ways, but trouble arises when Martin falls for a lonely, depressed housewife (Nadeau). Atmospheric, suspenseful, and touching, Martin was Romero’s personal favorite of his films and stands as a towering achievement in psychological horror and American-independent filmmaking. After the screening, a discussion with Braddock resident Tony Buba, Martin’s sound recordist and a frequent Romero collaborator.


TONY BUBA has been producing documentaries since 1972. Buba received his M.F.A from Ohio University in 1976.

Tony’s films have been screened at Sundance, Toronto, Berlin, Black Maria, Athens, and other major international film festivals. He has had exhibitions at more than 100 universities and museums, including The Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Museum Ludwig-Cologne, Anthology Film Archives, and Pacific Film Archives.

Some of Tony’s awards include fellowships from the NEA, AFI, Rockefeller and Guggenheim Foundations, The Alfred I. duPont Columbia University Award as well as grants from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. His most recent feature documentary Ghosts of Amistad aired on PBS, and in 2015 was awarded the John E. O’Connor Film Award from the American Historical Association.

Tony has also appeared onscreen as well; Tony appears in George A. Romero’s Martin and Dawn of the Dead, and has a cameo in the 2015 Sundance hit, Me, Earl and the Dying Girl. In 2018, Tony did a Moth Talk about working with George A. Romero on Martin. The talk is titled, The Rosary, The Vampire and George Romero.

Tony’s 1988 film Lightning Over Braddock was named in the Oct. 14, 2020 edition of the New Yorker magazine as one of the 62 most influential documentaries ever made.

Meghan Moe Beitiks


Refractions and Consequences

Monday, September 25, 2023
5:00 PM CDT
Elvehjem L150

Artist Meghan Moe Beitiks discusses the use of reflected sunlight in her recent works Untitled (Desert Refractions) (2021) and Shut Up (2022), as well as a developing work Angles of Consequence. 


“Performing Resilience and Systemic Pain”

Friday, September 22, 2023
12 – 2 PM CDT
Sterling Hall 3331

*Registration is mandatory for participation in the workshop. Please register by emailing

While reflecting on her multidisciplinary work “Systems of Pain/Networks of Resilience,” artist Meghan Moe Beitiks considers bodies of knowledge in Trauma Theory, Intersectional Feminist Philosophy, Ecology, Disability Studies, New Materialism, Object-Oriented Ontology, Gender Studies, Artistic Research, Psychology, Performance Studies, Social Justice, Performance Philosophy, Performance Art, and a series of first-person interviews in an attempt to answer that question. Beitiks brings us through the first-person process of making the work and the real-life, embodied encounters with the theories explored within it as an expansion of the work itself. Embodied encounters prompted by the experience of the research and material in the book will lead to a workshop of creative exploration and communal brainstorming.

“On Light and Justice”

Tuesday, September 26, 2023
9:45 AM CDT
Sterling Hall

*Registration is mandatory for participation in the workshop. Please register by emailing

An exploration of the possible meanings of light as an entity in catalytic art and performance. Participants will form a mini-think tank, engaging with and discussing light and its role in creative activism.


Meghan Moe Beitiks (she/they) works with associations and disassociations of culture/nature/structure. She analyzes perceptions of ecology through the lenses of site, history, emotions, and her own body in order to produce work that examines relationships with the non-human. The work emerges as video, performance, installation, writing or photography depending on what arises from her process of research and improvisation.She received her BA in Theater Arts from the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she studied playwriting, acting, movement and scenic design. She has an MFA in Performance Art from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she studied Bio Art, Social Practice, Environmental Chemistry, and performance methodologies.She has presented work in California, Chicago, Brooklyn, Wales, London, Latvia, Australia and Russia. She has been a Fulbright Student Fellow in Theater to Latvia, a MacDowell Colony Fellow, an OxBow LeRoy Neiman Fellow, a Bemis Artist in Residence, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s recipient for the Edes Foundation Prize for Emerging Artists.  She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Theatre at Concordia University, with a focus on Ecology, Performance and Design.

Art Relief Mobile Kitchen (ARMK)


A Recipe for Disaster

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Elvehjem L160
Zoom link for lecture:

The lecture will tell the story of how a motley group of artists, led by photographer Alex Baluyut and his wife, cultural worker Precious Baluyut,  changed the emergency food relief landscape in the Philippines.  They founded the Art Relief Mobile Kitchen (ARMK), a non-profit organization that cooks hot comfort food for people in times of disasters. ARMK was borne out of a fervent desire to cook hot meals for the thousands of survivors of Typhoon Haiyan (2013),  one of the most powerful storms to ever hit the country.  In the course of a decade, ARMK has cooked more than 700,000 meals and has served at ground zero of the most catastrophic natural and man-made disasters in the country.


“Ordinary Comfort”

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

*Registration is mandatory for participation in the workshop. Please register by emailing

Workshop participants will cook and eat together while sharing memories and insights on their experience of comfort and hunger.  The session will delve on how food translates into compassion in the day to day; on days of passage, celebration and rituals; and especially in times of emergencies.

BiographyIn 2013, Precious Leano and Alex Baluyut co-founded the Art Relief Mobile Kitchen (ARMK) as a response to the s devastation brought by Typhoon Yolanda (International Name: Haiyan) in 2013. Since then, ARMK has set up community kitchens in ground zero of disaster areas to cook hot meals for victims of natural and man-made disasters. Precious and Alex lead missions to cook for evacuees/affected populations of disasters in any part of the country including volcano eruptions, floods, typhoons, earthquakes and the pandemic.

Precious Leano is a cultural worker – a curator, theater actor and copyright advocate. She co-curated “Serene Light,” an exhibition of photographs by Butch Baluyut at the Cultural Center of the Philippines and was the founding curator of the Crucible Art Gallery. She is the creator of WiSiK, an annual local artist gathering/show and tell from 2012-2020 and co-organized “Nothing to Declare,” an international exhibition held in Manila (2011). Since 1982, she has acted on and off in local productions in Los Banos and Manila. On copyright, she represented the Philippines in copyright fora in 2009 in Japan and Singapore; as a Fellow of the Advanced Training on Copyright and Related Rights in 2010-2011 in Oslo, Norway in Hanoi, Vietnam; and is one of the founders of the Filipino Visual Arts and Design Rights Organization (FILVADRO), the country’s first copyright organization for visual artists. Precious worked for various cultural and government institutions in the country as well as international organizations as communications consultant from 1983-2020.

Alex Baluyut is a pioneer in Philippine photojournalism and documentary photography. Driven by the lifelong search for truth, he is known for his powerful and uncompromising images of rebellion, repression and resistance in the Philippines. Alex became a photojournalist during the height of Martial Law under President Ferdinand Marcos. His body of work during this period affirms how the Filipino people endured and struggled despite the dictatorship, civil war, crime and conflict. In 1987, he won a National Book Award for his first book “Kasama”, which captured daily life within the New People’s Army. He won a second National Book Award for the book “Brother Hood, (1997)” where he explored the web of relationships among hardened criminals, juvenile offenders, and authorities mandated to protect citizens. For his body of work, Invisible Photographer Asia named him as one of Asia’s most influential photographers. In 2013, he founded the non-profit Art Relief Mobile Kitchen to help survivors of Typhoon Haiyan. To date, ARMK has served some 800,000 meals to communities displaced by manmade and natural disasters throughout the country.


Jen Rae


“Reorienting practice: The role of artists in the climate adaptation emergency”

Wednesday, October 25, 2023
5:00 PM CDT
Elvehjem L160

Zoom link for lecture:

In the climate emergency context (or more appropriately, the ‘adaptation emergency’ since the window to adapt to catastrophic climate impacts is rapidly closing), it has become starkly apparent that the challenges climate change poses are far more severe and complex than anticipated, with existing systems and ways of thinking poorly equipped to manage. Without the luxury of time, there is an urgency in finding new ways to collaborate, experiment, plan and shift the paradigm of climate emergency engagement and disaster resilience.

At the same time, the climate emergency presents the greatest threat to the arts and culture ecosystem. The ways in which we practice and the resources that support our livelihoods and wellbeing are finite in a future impacted by climate change. It is plausible that within our lifetime we will see our venues, galleries, studios, audiences, and other platforms where we create, tour, and present affected.

Therefore, we are in a critical time as practitioners to reconsider how we might reorient our practices, bolster our capacities and voices, and how we might untether from our ways of conventionally working within and across institutional structures to adapt to the challenges ahead.

The lecture will draw on the experiences and lessons learned through Art House’s REFUGE project (2016-2022) – a multi-year transdisciplinary project – where artists, emergency service providers, local government and communities work together to rehearse climate related emergencies and explore the impact of creativity in disaster preparedness; the creative methodologies underpinning the success of Fawkner Commons – a Covid-19 response food hub; and, how speculative practices and Indigenous pedagogies might offer valuable insights in how we prepare for a future impacted by climate change.


“Pimîhkân/Pemmican do-it-together workshop and palaver”

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

*Registration is mandatory for participation in the workshop. Please register by emailing

Pimîhkân/Pemmican is a Métis traditional food and historically was a staple in the diet of many Indigenous people of Turtle Island (North and Central America). The name comes from the Cree word ‘pimi’ – meaning fat/grease. It is the quintessential ‘survival food’ – nutrient dense and traditionally made with dried meat, rendered fat, seasonal berries and sometimes sweetened with honey or maple syrup. Once traditionally prepared, it can have a shelf-life of decades. In this do-it-together workshop, Jen Rae will guide the making of pimîhkân/pemmican and hold a space for a participatory palaver – a knowledge circle guided by protocols from the Centre for Reworlding to explore food futures and sovereignty in the climate adaptation emergency context.

Elena Gorfinkel


Not Only: Barbara Loden’s Poetics of Fatigue

Thursday, November 9, 2023
Vilas Hall 4070

Discussions of the work of actor, director and writer Barbara Loden begin and end with her singular and single feature film Wanda (1970). Loden’s only feature before she passed away of cancer in 1980, Wanda is a landmark work of American film history, a bracing tale of an exhausted working-class woman’s drift and rejection of the ordinances of social reproduction, as she casts off her role as wife and mother to meander through Pennsylvania mining country, attaching herself to several terrible men. Due to the difficulties Loden faced in producing another feature despite the critical success of her first, in cinephile cultures Wanda and Loden’s legacy have become fused, an acute emblem of all the unknown, unmade, and unfinished works that constitute the wide span of women’s film practices. Drawing linkages across Wanda’s themes of fatigue and suspension, to the details of Loden’s unfinished, unproduced film projects and creative life in the 1970s – including her work as acting teacher and theater director – this talk aims to revise the narrative of Loden as site of lack and loss. Rather it takes up the premise of abundance, piecing together an aesthetic dispensation towards worn out, fed up feminist subjects and a seeking of new approaches to performing weary subjectivity. To do so it contests an understanding of women’s cinematic authorship as bounded by medium, prolific production, and scale. Contending with an expansive archive of materials and looking at the weft between life and work this talk aims to illuminate some of the animating fantasies, blind spots and imperatives of feminist film history when confronted with the creative labours of a putatively “minor” subject.


Film Writing & Forms of Description

Friday, November 10, 2023
University Club Room 212

Taking account of histories of film writing and approaches to observation, thick description, microhistorical case studies, uses of ekphrasis, and ways of describing archival ephemera and drawing on my own practices of film writing in public venues, this workshop will look to the humble practice of description to ask: what is at stake in the work of description for the film writer and visual culture scholar? How might an ethics of description be used to attend to works that fall out of conventional legibility, due to form, medium, or mode of production? How can description be used to excavate archival materials? We will also touch on questions of the poetic or speculative turn in the humanities and the pressures of public facing scholarship and its reification of “impact” as measure of research instrumentality.

Reading excerpts from Mark Strand, Lesley Stern, Erika Balsom, Elena Gorfinkel


Elena Gorfinkel is Reader in Film Studies at King’s College London, the author of Lewd Looks: American Sexploitation Cinema in the 1960s, and co-editor of Global Cinema Networks (2018), and Taking Place: Location and the Moving Image (2011). Forthcoming in 2024 are two books, The Prop (with John David Rhodes) and Wanda (BFI Film Classics.) She was the recipient of an Andy Warhol Arts Writer Grant (2018) for her current book project on cinemas of exhaustion. Her film criticism appears in Criterion, Sight & Sound, Artforum and other venues.

Jorella Andrews


Working with resistance towards a non-dual ‘poetry’ – and politics – ‘of truth’

Thursday, February 8, 2024
3:30 PM CST
Memorial Library Room 126

The words “work”, “resistance”, and indeed “truth”, tend to connote difficult terrain. As such, they evoke associated practices which, at best, are taken to require a fighting spirit, closed fists, and gestures of opposition. Or, at worst, responses characterised by fright, flight or frozenness. But to what degree is this due to the dualistic conceptual frameworks in which these terms are constantly positioned, particularly at the levels of everyday speech and experience (work versus leisure or laziness; resistance versus compromise; truth versus lies), frameworks that so often immerse us in polarising double binds?

What happens to “work”, “resistance”, and “truth” when non-dual, transcontextual models are foregrounded, with their attendant ambiguities, their detours/detournements, and their hospitality to what the French realist author Stendahl called “true little incidents”? Particularly within contexts of public space and public discourse? This lecture will consider these questions by foregrounding expressions of “paraconsistent logics” and pictorial rationalities discoverable in the work of phenomenological, (new) materialist, and indigenous thinkers. Specifically, I will foreground insights from the French phenomenologist Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s short essay “On New Items” from 1954, in which [competing] aesthetic/anaesthetic approaches to the stewardship of public space are identified and untangled. I will also reflect on a personal, informal example of object-making involving the delicate intra-actions of clay, a support, air, and sandpaper – my Holdings (2020-23) which offer a material meditation on the politics of open-handedness. They were exhibited in a group show about touch, Behold, at Hypha Studios, London, 2023.


“Extravagance, Liveliness, Livelihood: Intertwining Body, Materials, and Action: A Conversation with Leah Durner”

Friday, February 9, 2024
University Club Room 212

In “The Challenge of Constraints,” a chapter in E. H. Gombrich’s The Sense of Order: A Study in the Psychology of Decorative Art (1979), Gombrich presents encounters with material resistance, with natural and mathematical laws experienced as limiting, and with forms of learned psychological constraint, as threshold scenarios capable of enabling creative practitioners to enter fresh imaginative and stylistic terrain. More recently, in her 2021 essay “William Morris: The Poetics of Indigo Discharge Printing” the scholar Caroline Arscott addresses analogous terrain by thinking with and through textile lessons she sees Morris to have learned as he navigated the practical problematics of dying and printing with pigments and fibres that were, naturally, and differently, resistant to one another. Arscott is interested in how, along with the visual and symbolic content of his textiles, he allegorised these technical processes to elicit insights that informed his approach to politics and the politics of change.

In this workshop, we will work with a range of textiles that overtly utilise resist techniques to produce their patterns, most obviously blocking (with wax or paste) winding with thread or fibre, and resist- and mordant-dyeing. To this, we might add the role of textile resistance in the production of stitched work such as embroidery (piercing and knotting) and pulled and drawn thread work. The workshop will include a short, practical “extreme list-making” exercise, allowing participants space for individual reflection before we turn to a period of experience- and insight-sharing.

“Working with resistance – What can textiles teach us?”

Monday, February 12, 2024
12:30 PM CST
Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection
*This workshop requires registration. Please contact:


Jorella Andrews is Professor of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London. Having trained as a fine artist, worked in media, and re-trained as an art theorist, her work examines the relations between philosophical inquiry, the image-world, and art practice. Her current focus is on the practical potential of aesthetics and image-based phenomenological research to intervene in key areas of contemporary concern such as the development of non-ego-centric approaches to personal and collective identity, the importance of self-directed, situated learning in academic and non-academic contexts, and the development of non-coercive approaches to change-making in personal and public life. A key publication on this topic is the essay ‘Interviewing Images: How Visual Research Using IPA (Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis) Can Illuminate the Change-Making Possibilities of Place, Space, and Dwelling (2020). She is the author of several monographs including The Question of Painting: Rethinking Thought with Merleau-Ponty and Showing Off! A Philosophy of Image (2018 and 2014, both Bloomsbury) and series editor for the Sternberg Press/MIT series Visual Cultures as … Jorella is a Trustee for the Association for Art History in the UK and in her spare time is Chair of a Trust that cares for a Public Open Green Space in London. Link:

Leah Durner


“Extravagant Painting and Radical Generosity”

Wednesday, Feb 7, 2024
2:30 PM
Elvehjem 150

Extravagance is a term artist Leah Durner uses for a constellation of concerns—including radical generosity, largesse, superfluity, flesh, materiality, painting, abundance, richness, wandering, and wild being—that are of central theoretical interest to her practice These concerns continue to grow and expand fed by many sources, among the most fundamental:  phenomenology, with which Durner has been engaged alongside her interest in painterly painters since the mid-1990s. Durner’s engagement with largesse was sparked by Jean Starobinski’s essay for Largesse, the small exhibition he curated for the Department of Graphic Arts at the Louvre in 1994 in which he demonstrated the gift as the most fundamental of gestures. Durner is also influenced by George Bataille’s The Accursed Share—with his discussion of the restricted economy based on scarcity and the general economy based on superabundance. These ideas are important to Durner because poverty and austerity are matters of life and death—not simply for the basic survival of human beings but for our thriving. Extravagance, as Durner develops it, is both a way to lave the wounds caused by a solely or primarily utilitarian approach to life and an entirely other realm of being.

Durner’s presentation will cover her oeuvre from 1983 – present. Durner will address how she has met with and continues to meet with transformations in theoretical approaches to painting across the lived history of this important 35+ year period which encompasses anti-painting and postmodernism to the more recent revival of painting within a new, expanded context. As an artist deeply engaged with art history Durner will also discuss earlier historic works that influence her, including the Italians, Flemish, and Spaniards of the 16th and 17th centuries, as well as the Baroque and Rococo painters of the 18th century.

While Durner’s primary practice is in large-scale abstract painting, her practice also includes works on paper, political work, collages, fashion and design collaborations, fashion drawings, and interventions/détournement on found ephemera. Therefore, her presentation will include discussions of her interest in design – fashion, objects, interiors; as well as collage, ephemera, drawing, writing, and politics.


“Extravagance, Liveliness, Livelihood: Intertwining Body, Materials, and Action: A Conversation with Jorella Andrews”

Friday, February 9, 2024
University Club Room 212

Is there a way to invent a new way of life and a word that identifies human action and effort as joyful? Andrews and Durner will discuss possibilities for opening up new ideas and paradigms for livelihood and liveliness, for the fully provisioning all human beings and caring for, preserving,and restoring what we call the environment. The workshop aims to examine “work’ and to imagine new structures for human action and provisioning – to transform what we have been calling “work,’ for millennia.Since “work” has been based on concepts of suffering, difficulty, and human value for millennia, how can we ask new questions now? One possibility is to envision a new word/concept to emerge during the course of the workshop is that will replace “work,” and its various alternates including “labor,” “toil,”“travail,” – all of which have roots in ideas of suffering, torment and constriction – with a new, open, loving, and kind concept that includes human action, agency, and joy.The workshop will also be informed by Painting, Largesse, and Life: A Conversation with Leah Durner, a wide-ranging, illustrated conversation Andrews and Durner on Durner’s oeuvre from 1983-2018 and its relation to practices and histories of painting in the context of Durner’s involvement with phenomenology.


Leah Durner is an artist and writer living in New York. Durner’s painting is based in psychedelia and process art with deeper roots in the exuberance of the Baroque and Rococo. Durner pulls her color from the fashion and design worlds as well as from graffitied trucks, construction sites, street signs,  and all the richness that occurs around her in her New York City home. As Durner says, “It’s like I take the world I see around me, melt it down, and then pour it out as painting. It is not the world abstracted, but the world reconstituted as paint.” Culture writer and artist David Colman has noted that Durner’s work “combines realms that have different social valences” from high fashion, design, and streetscapes to philosophy, literature politics and architecture. Durner has had solo exhibitions of her work at Loretta Howard Gallery, 571 Projects, Nye Basham Studio, Wooster Arts Space, Berry College, and Limbo. Durner’s work is in the collections of the San Antonio Museum of Art, Portland Museum of Art (Maine) and Wake Forest University Art Collections. In addition to her work as an artist, Durner has curated exhibitions, published art theory, and lectured and written on a number of topics.Extravaganceis Durner’s ongoing artistic and theoretical project that encompasses radical generosity and openness across disciplines. Critics and scholars who have written on Durner’s work include: Jorella Andrews (Department of Visual Cultures, Goldsmiths, University of London; David Cohen (critic and publisher); Michael Sanders (philosopher), and John Yau (poet and critic).

In 2018 Bloomsbury Press published The Question of Painting: Rethinking Thought with Merleau-Ponty by Jorella Andrews in which Durner’s work is discussed along with that with other historic and contemporary artists in relation to contemporary painting. Durner’s painting, Rousseau (2006), is the book’s cover image. Painting, Largesse, and Life: A Conversation with Leah Durner, an intensive conversation between Andrews and Durner on her oeuvre from the period 1983-2018 and its relation to practices and histories of painting and Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy, envisioned as a companion to Dr. Andrews’ The Question of Painting, is in proof state and forthcoming. Durner is lead co-chair, with Jorella Andrews as co-chair, of the panel fashion: tissue, textile, toile at the College Art Association 112th Annual Conference in Chicago on February 17, 2024. Durner received her B.A. from Wake Forest University and her M.F.A. from Rutgers University where she studied painting with Leon Golub, performance with Geoffrey Hendricks, and art theory with Martha Rosler. Durner also studied with Gary Kuehn, Bob Watts, Joan Semmel, and Hal Foster.


Jamie Jones


“Extractive Nostalgia: Obsolescence and Skeuomorphism in Rockwell Kent’s Moby-Dick”

Thursday, February 29, 2024
Elvehjem L150

Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick was a flop when it was first published in 1851, but it finally became a hit in 1930, when Lakeside Press issued a new bestselling new edition of the novel with Rockwell Kent’s iconic black and white illustrations. Kent’s images look like wood engravings, but they were actually pen-and-ink drawings made to look likewood engravings. In other words, they were skeuomorphs: objects made in one medium made to look as if fabricated in another, older medium. This lecture explores the politics and aesthetics of Kent’s skeuomorphic illustrations for Moby-Dick, critiquing the way Kent understood his art as an expression of his commitments to communism and labor. Drawn from my first book, Rendered Obsolete: Energy Culture and the Afterlife of U.S. Whaling (UNC Press, 2023), this talk also contextualizes the 1930 edition and the 1851 novel in the massive energy transitions of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in the United States, when the accelerating extraction of fossil fuels gave rise to new regimes of energy and labor.


“How to See Energy: Visualizing Extraction, Labor, and Resistance”

Friday, March 1, 2024
University Club Room 212

Jones’s book and talk are about the way that the concept of “energy” itself got bound together with fossil fuel extraction, settler colonialism, and extractive forms of labor in the massive energy transitions of the 19th and early 20th centuries.  In this workshop, Jones will provide a short overview of energy humanities methodologies and the history of fossil modernity, in which the very concept of “energy” got bound together with fossil fuel extraction and exploitative labor regimes.  Then, we will look together at objects drawn from UW-Madison collections and think together about how to see—and resist—exploitative energy and labor regimes in visual and material culture.  No preparation needed:  please come prepared to look and think together about the energy culture we’re stuck in—and how we might imagine other and better energies.


Jamie L. Jones is an Assistant Professor in English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  At UIUC, she also holds appointments in the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory and at the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and the Environment. Her research explores the historic pivot in energy use in the nineteenth century, when whale oil and other organic energy sources gave way to fossil fuels.  Jones considers the way that U.S. literature, art, and popular culture represented that energy transition, and she finds that those cultural representations in turn have shaped our perception of environmental change, our practices of energy extraction and consumption, and our imagination of the world’s oceans. Her research has been published in American Art, Configurations, Resilience, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The New York Times, and elsewhere.  Her first book, Rendered Obsolete: Energy Culture and the Afterlife of U.S. Whaling, was published last fall by UNC Press.


Sangita Gopal


“The Labor of Reflection: Feminist Mediawork in India”
Thursday, February 15, 20244 PM CDTVilas Hall 4070

This lecture will explore two recent films – Deepa Dhanraj’s We Have not Come here to Die (2019) and Payal Kapadia’s Night of Knowing Nothing (2021) to reflect further on the many modes of labor entailed in the making of a documentary film where a filmmaker is compelled by events to gather footage without any clear outcome in mind. Dhanraj and Kapadia both say they were forced to make these films to somehow document the student protests that were roiling the length and breadth of India in 2016-17 and the harsh responses to them by authoritarian state actors. Both Dhanraj and Kapadia perform the work of documenting these protests but this work of accumulation – enabled by digital technology – elicits other forms of ethical, aesthetic and political labor that transform these found footage into films that reflects not only on the events but more broadly on the media ecology the film is a part of. I will conclude by suggesting that the labor of reflection is a propensity of feminist mediawork that has distinct genealogies in the epistemological debates that characterized womens’ movements in India.


“Workshop on Inter-Imperiality”
Friday, February 16, 2024
University Club Room 212

The concept of Inter-imperiality comes from Laura Doyle’s book Inter-Imperiality: Vying Empires, Gendered Labor and the Literary Arts of Alliance (Duke, 2020) and while Doyle is a literary historian, the concept provides an interesting opening to think about the work of power, resistance, negotiation and alliance in the past and present and to ask how cultural work is informed by the geopolitics of inter-imperiality at macro and micro levels. If spaces are traversed by multiple imperial formations that are political, economic, social and cultural, how are these vectors scaled at the level of the everyday to position subjects and how, in turn, does relationality and the labor of care entailed therein sustain communities and shield them from the predations of vying empires? How has/does cultural work functionin an inter-imperial world order – what are its horizons and limits, challenges and potentialities? How might this concept generate thinking through concepts such as de-imperialization and decoloniality?

We will read from Doyle and some other writing around this concept.

Sangita Gopal is associate professor of English at the University of Oregon. She is coeditor of Global Bollywood: Transnational Travels of Hindi Film Music. Her teaching and research interests are in the areas of cinema studies, comparative media studies, postcolonial theory and feminist studies. She has particular expertise in South Asian cinema and literature.

CVC Research Forum

Visual Culture Research Forum

Friday, March 15, 2024
9 AM – 4 PM  CDT
University Club Room 212
***Free Lunch


9:00 Coffee, Tea and Bagels
9:30 Faculty Presentations

Annie Menzel  (Gender and Women’s Studies)
Darcy Padilla (Art)
Mercedes Alcalá Galán (Spanish & Portuguese)
Timothy Portlock (Nelson Institute)

10:45 Break
11:00 Discussion moderated by Michael Peterson (Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies)


12:00 Buffet Lunch
1:00 Graduate Student Presentations

Anamika Singh (Art)
Gloria Morales Osorio (Spanish & Portuguese)
Kean O’Brien (Gender and Women’s Studies)
Kuhelika Ghosh (English)
Meg Wilson (Art History)

2:15 Break
2:30 Discussion moderated by Christine Garlough (Gender & Women’s Studies)
3:30 Coffee, Tea and Cookies

Kay Dickinson


Stand-Ins and Extras: Challenging Precarious Migrant Film Labour

Thursday, April 11, 2024
Memorial Library Room 126

Without many overseas audiences ever even noticing it, hundreds of big budget multi-location film productions – Bollywood, Chinese and Hollywood – have routed through the United Arab Emirates. To name but a few, Star Wars: The Force Awakens (J.J. Abrams, 2015), Furious 7 (James Wan, 2015), Independence Day: Resurgence (Roland Emmerich, 2016), Kung Fu Yoga (Stanley Tong, 2017), Dune (Denis Villeneuve, 2021), Pathaan (Siddharth Anand, 2023), and threeMission: Impossibles were all partially shot there. Such operations abide by the principles of “supply chain cinema,” a mode of manufacturing that nimbly and opportunistically routes production through wherever is most amenable and efficient. Much of the appeal of the UAE resides in its superlative logistics and services, staffed by a predominantly migrant workforce enduring weakened (labour) rights and pay scales calibrated to each’s home country’s cost of living. There exist no mechanisms by which to petition for asylum and most workers depend on a system of temporary sponsorship that renders them both expendable and in a job-needy suspension favourable to short-term employers like these film companies.

The UAE markets itself to incoming projects as a somewhere that can stand in for any number of locations where it can be tricky or dangerous to shoot, be that Pakistan or Iraq. Off screen, migrants from these self-same nations populate the “local” crew; they build sets, freight, drive and cook for these productions. On screen, their neighbourhoods and their bodies lend visual plausibility to fictional recreations of places from which they have been displaced by war or economic privation. When they take part as extras (walk-ons and background performers), non-citizen inhabitants must simultaneously substitute for a home where maybe they cannot currently dwell and embody a social diversity in and for a territory that opportunistically refuses to fully absorb them as anything much other than economic agents. Constrictions on citizenship thus intensify their status as “extras,” their temporary tenure in the UAE lending a further “disposability” that benefits the lean, casualizing regimes of labour in the globalized film industry.

With many arriving fresh from revolutionary contexts or countries with sophisticated vocabularies of workplace activism and organization, what scope is there to challenge these injustices? Thinking more transnationally, as these blockbuster films often themselves do diegetically, what possibilities also exist for moving and multiplying struggles across the self-same networks that make their manufacture possible across borders?


Supply Chain Education: Resisting the Precarities of Academic Labour

Friday, April 12, 2024
University Club Room 212

This workshop will build on a pre-circulated excerpt from Supply Chain Cinema: Producing Global Film Workers, which examines the complicity of higher education in creating a cadre of creative sector employees inured to the vicissitudes of exhausting, competitive and forcefully casualized labour. University workforces, of course, can now, in the main, be characterized so as well. What overlapping myths underpin “making it” in both the cultural sectors and the academy? What exploitable narratives of grafting on low or no wages in the present promise increasingly unpredictable future success? Together, we will unpick how training for these elusive careers gets repeatedly framed and strategize for fairer access to and conditions within them.


Kay Dickinson convenes the Creative Arts and Industries programme at the University of Glasgow and teaches in Film and Television Studies. She is the author of Supply Chain Cinema: Producing Global Film Workers (BFI, 2024), as well as Arab Film and Video Manifestos: Forty-Five Years of the Moving Image Amid Revolution (Palgrave, 2018), Arab Cinema Travels: Transnational Syria, Palestine, Dubai and Beyond (BFI, 2016) and Off Key: When Film and Music Won’t Work Together (Oxford University Press, 2008).


CVC Events 2022 – 2023

Annual Theme:

“Aesthetics for Times of Crisis: Horror, Humor, Hunger”


This year-long lecture series looks at the intersections among historical, political, and affective visualities, including still and moving image art, theater and performance, and theoretical approaches that call attention to an array of iconographies and performative practices. We are especially interested in visual responses to crisis that engage modes of horror, humor, and hunger that may explore how vulnerability, precarity, and sociality relate to the affective modes of crisis. In framing this year’s theme in terms of the potentials of aesthetics for times of crisis, we have invited talks and other events that focus on a wide range of approaches to how art’s visceral modes— including weird, shocking, or weak/minor modes of affect, aesthetics, and practice—can help us rethink crisis.

Romina Paola


“Seeing, Hearing, Speaking: Rendering Life through Images and Words”

Thursday, September 29, 2022
5:00 PM CDT
Elvehjem L150

I began acting in theater and in film, and writing fiction. Then I began to write plays and direct them. Together with a group of artists, I co-founded a theater company in Buenos Aires. I then went on to direct my first film, in which I also acted as protagonist. For years I have been working in all these areas: I was never any one of them. They mutually constitute one another. This talk is a journey through my work and a reflection on the specific procedures afforded by different languages — how and why an idea takes shape as narrative (the novel or short story), as theater, or as film. I will explore how doubt and uncertainty are engines for my choices and the work that emerges and the forms that it takes. And I will explore how producing fiction requires at once an intense inner concentration and receptivity to the world. In the words of Agnès Varda, “If we opened people up, we’d find landscapes.”


“Language’s Migration”

Friday, September 30, 2022
12:00 PM CDT
University Club Rm 212
432 East Campus Mall

Based on the concept of the migration of languages, this workshop seeks to reflect on a project in which an idea is translated/ transposed/made to migrate from one language to another, interrogating in the process its specific procedures. Each participant will choose a work that speaks to them and translate it into another language: thus, a novel might become a painting, a film, a short story, a song might become a video.


Romina Paula (Buenos Aires, 1979) is an Argentine novelist, playwright, actor, and film and theater director. Her plays Algo de ruido hace (2007), El tiempo todo entero (2009), and Fauna (2013), as well as her novels Agosto (2009) and Acá todavía (2016), have received critical acclaim across borders. As an actor, she has appeared in films such as Santiago Mitre’s The Student (2011), Matías Piñeiro’s The Princess of France (2014), and Mariano Llinás La Flor (2018). Her first film as a director, De nuevo otra vez [Again Once Again] (2019), was nominated for a Bright Future award at the International Film Festival Rotterdam and won the San Sebastian Film Festival Horizontes Award. Her current film project, Gente de noche, was recently selected by San Sebastian’s 9th Europe-Latin America Co-Production Forum. Her works explore the intertwinement of cultural forms and embodied experience by bringing together disparate languages, genres, and aesthetic traditions, including autobiography, poetry, folklore, pop music, and German romanticism.

Both events are free and open to the public. They are possible thanks to the generous financial support of the Anonymous Fund. The Center for Visual Cultures would also like to thank the Departments of Spanish and Portuguese; Art; Communication Arts; English; Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies; the Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian Studies Program, the Institute for Research in the Humanities, and the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research.

Melissa DuPrey and Miranda González

Screening and Discussion


Thursday, October 13, 2022
5:00 PM CDT
Elvehjem L150

Brujaja tells the story of Ifé, an accidental witch, who, after living above her mother’s botánica her whole life, finally finds her purpose by tapping into her ancestral power to fight the larger fight against oppression and wellness. Written by Melissa DuPrey and directed by Miranda González, Brujaja is a theatrical filmed experience, meant to be performed live but when COVID arrived, it was videotaped and debuted at the Destinos 2021, the 4th Annual Chicago International Latino Theater Festival. This event features a forty minute screening of Brujaja, followed by a thirty minute moderated discussion between audience and writer Melissa DuPrey and director Miranda González about the play’s themes of crisis, oppression, fulfillment, community, family, diaspora and spiritual homes as well as the Urban Theater Company’s experience of creating art in the midst of the COVID pandemic.


“The art of risking self when writing / directing / performing autoethnographically”

Friday, October 14, 2022
12:00 PM CDT
University Club Rm 212
432 East Campus Mall

DuPrey and González will draw from their experiences as Latinx artists to lead students in discussion and small group activity meant to aid students in developing their own approaches to this question.


Melissa DuPrey is a multidisciplinary artist and performer with roots from Humboldt Park, Chicago. She is a critically-acclaimed solo artist whose work spans over a decade highlighting the intersections of Blackness, queerness, healing, and sexuality. DuPrey is also a community organizer and spiritualist who also launched The Good Grief Project- an extension of the social justice component from her play GOOD GRIEF where communities of color are connected to local, accessible and multidisciplinary mental and spiritual wellness practitioners of color. She has performed stand-up comedy in Chicago, New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles. She is credited with playing DR. SARA ORTIZ on “Grey’s Anatomy” (Season 17 and 18). She’s also been seen on “Empire” (FOX), “The Resident” (FOX), “Chicago PD” (NBC), and “The Chi” (Showtime). Her theater credits include works at Court Theater, The Goodman Theater, Steppenwolf, Free Street Theater, UrbantTheater Company, Victory Gardens, The Greenhouse Theater, Oracle Theater, and Teatro Luna, She is currently an Ensemble Member at UrbanTheater Company and Artistic Associate at Sideshow Theater.

Miranda González is currently a Producing Artistic Director at UrbanTheater Company (UTC) in Humboldt Park, has a background in operationalizing DEI strategy, and created content addressing anti-blackness in the Latine community. She was a founding ensemble member of Chicago’s All Latina Theater company Teatro Luna and has devised and developed plays since 2000. She is a two time 3Arts nominee and recipient of the International Centre for Women Playwrights 50/50 Award. She recently was invited and recorded a TEDx talk  “The Fear of Decolonization” in the theater industry. Her most recent play Back In The Day: an 80’s House Music Dancesical, World Premiered as a part of Chicago Latino Theater Festival Destinos Festival at UTC in the fall of 2019.  She is currently developing a play that discusses the history of the underground railroad to Mexico as a part of Latino Theater Company’s Imaginistas cohort in Los Angeles. Previous directing, writing, and script development credits include; Thank You for Coming. Take Care by Stacey Rose at Court Theatre, Ashes of Light by Marco Antonio Rodriguez, La Gringa by Carmen Rivera, Of Princes and Princesas by Paola Izquierdo at the 2010 Goodman Latino Theatre Festival, Crossed, GL 2010, The North/South Plays a workshop at the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs; F.O.P and Crime Scene Chicago with Collaboraction; and Melissa DuPrey’s Sushi-Frito at Free Street Theater. She is also an Executive Producer for the web series 50 Blind Dates with Melissa DuPrey and has written for web series Ruby’s World Yo created by Marilyn Camacho, Season 1 episode 3 and Season 2 episodes 1-4.

Both events are free and open to the public. They are possible thanks to the generous financial support of the Anonymous Fund. The Center for Visual Cultures would also like to thank the Departments of Spanish and Portuguese; English; Theater and Drama; Gender and Women’s Studies; Art; Art History; Afro-American Studies; Chicano and Latino Studies; Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies; and the Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian Studies Program.


Samhita Sunya


“Why is the world organized this way?’:
Cinema, Cinephilia, and the Global 1960s via Bombay”
Monday, October 24, 2022

5:00 PM CDT
Memorial Library Rm 126

How do our understandings of world cinema and cinephilia shift when approached through an account of Bombay films’ prolific global circulations that, according to some accounts, reached their apogee in the 1960s? Drawing from chapter 3 of my book Sirens of Modernity: World Cinema via Bombay, I engage this question through the instance of Pardesi / Khozhdenie Za Tri Morya, a 1957/8 India-USSR coproduction. The film was adapted from the Russian literary-historical memoir of Afanasy Nikitin, a 15th-century merchant who traveled to India by sea. In the climactic moment of a star-crossed romance that gets stirred into the film, Afanasy thunderously challenges God, asking why the world is “organized” to prohibit love across boundaries of nationality, religion, race, and caste–but only to retract his rage and uphold a “homosocialist” exaltation of work over the apparently trivial matter of love. I identify the film’s reflexively homosocialist manifesto for its own coproduction as revelatory of a broader historical pattern: wherein progressive Leftist investments in cinema were often blinkered by gendered assumptions of scale. However, suspicions of love and romance were as often belied by a wider embrace of cinephilia–that is, love of cinema–in practices of production, distribution, and reception, which beheld cinema as an especially potent medium of cultural diplomacy in a Cold War-era period of the long 1960s.


“Visual Cultures in Transregional Contexts”

Tuesday, October 25, 2022
12:00 PM CDT
University Club, Rm 212
432 East Campus Mall

In contrast to “world” or “transnational,” what does “transregional” offer as a frame of analysis in cultural histories and in accounts of the present? This interactive workshop invites attendees to consider how this question may be relevant to their own projects, to discuss methods and challenges of undertaking such work, and to compile a set of ideas and resources for proceeding with research or collaborations across “areas” that are frequently contained within national or disciplinary boundaries. Recommended Reading: Askari, Kaveh, and Samhita Sunya. “Introduction: South by South/West Asia: Transregional Histories of Middle East–South Asia Cinemas.” Film History: An International Journal 32, no. 3 (2020): 1-9.


Samhita Sunya is Assistant Professor of Cinema in the Department of Middle Eastern & South Asian Languages & Cultures at the University of Virginia, and Director of Programming for the volunteer-run Shenandoah Film Collaborative. She is author of Sirens of Modernity: World Cinema via Bombay (University of California Press 2022) and guest co-editor of a 2020 “South by South/West Asia” special issue of Film History. Her published work, on Hindi film/songs in the world, includes contributions to positions, Jump Cut, Film History, and Jadaliyya.


Both events are free and open to the public. They are possible thanks to the generous financial support of the Anonymous Fund. The Center for Visual Cultures would also like to thank the Department of Communication Studies; the Center for South Asia; the Institute for Research in the Humanities; and the Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies Program.

Kareem Khubchandani


“Aunty Aesthetics, or More Ways to be an Aunty”

Thursday, November 17, 2022
5:00 PM CST
Elvehjem L150

South Asian aunties in public culture are figures bound to horror, hunger, and humor. They are known to be terrifying figures, domineering and difficult, overbearing to younger generations. They are especially known for managing and curtailing desire, whether shaming you for that extra piece of cake you are eyeing, or blabbing to your parents about your nighttime escapes. As such, they have become the butt of the joke, particularly in meme culture that critiques older generation’s outmoded style and politics. This talk revisits the hegemonic figure of the South Asian aunty in TV, literature, and visual culture to detail what paying attention to her aesthetics can teach us about the queer and trans futures she makes possible rather than forecloses.



“Divas, Drag Queens, Aunties, and Other Academic Personas”

Friday, November 18, 2022
12:00 PM CST
University Club Rm 212
432 East Campus Mall

The academy requires us to perform, to conduct our bodies in a governed and regimented way, to speak and dress and travel and teach according to rules often unspoken, but quickly learned. What if we take this call to perform seriously, and assert control and limits over this performance demanded by neoliberal institutions? This discussion draws on Dr. Khubchandani’s creative, research, and pedagogical practice to imagine the possibilities of performance in surviving and enjoying academia. Must watch (35 mins) in advance.


Kareem Khubchandani is Associate Professor in theater, dance, and performance studies at Tufts University. He is the author of Ishtyle: Accenting Gay Indian Nightlife (University of Michigan Press, 2020), which received the 2021 Association for Theatre in Higher Education Outstanding Book award, 2021 Dance Studies Association de la Torre Bueno book award, 2021 MLA/ASA Alan Bray Memorial Prize honorable mention, and the 2019 CLAGS: Center for LGBTQ Studies Fellowship. Kareem is also co-editor of Queer Nightlife (University of Michigan Press, 2021) and curator of


Both events are free and open to the public. They are possible thanks to the generous financial support of the Anonymous Fund. The Center for Visual Cultures would also like to thank the Departments of Gender and Women’s Studies; Afro-American Studies; English; the Institute for Research in the Humanities; and the Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies Program.


Julia A. B. Hegewald


“Islamic Aesthetics for Jaina Temples in Crisis:
Dependency, Destruction and Creative Adaptation for Survival”

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

The arrival of Islam in the Indian subcontinent drastically changed the political, religious and cultural landscape. While historic accounts and inscriptions portray a situation of crisis for indigenous religious groups and destroyed statues and temples are still visible today, the available architecture also displays a surprisingly creative response to this threat. Despite at times violent persecutions of the Jainas, the stylistic influence Islamic art has had on Jaina religious buildings is startling. Jaina Temples, especially those of the fifteenth, sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, frequently have Islamic decorations and arches, tiles, bulbous domes, minar-like towers and niches resembling mihrabs. Islamic stylistic features did, however, not only remain on the surface but also influence the underlying planning layout of Jaina architecture. Jaina temples were constructed following the principles of courtyard mosques as well as Islamic tombs. This presentation draws attention to this fascinating phenomenon and considers a series of possible reasons for this hybrid style.



“Mimicry, Appeasement or Expression of Power: Reasons for a Jaina Hybrid Style”

Thursday, February 16, 2023
12:00 PM CST

Following the lecture on Tuesday, we will together aim at finding explanations for the striking approach, which builders of Jaina temples took during the period starting from the fifteenth century onwards, which strongly expressed Islamic design principles and regularly followed Muslim planning rules. We will debate whether it was the concept of mimicry, of pretending to be Islamic in order to shield off attacks, which drove Jaina builders to construct temples in the style of a community which severely threatened their hegemony. It is questionable, however, if such buildings could ever have been mistaken for true Islamic structures. Was the aim perhaps more simply to please or at least not to offend the new Islamic rulers of an area by avoiding figural representations and instead building in a style understood and favoured by Muslims in order to prevent raids and destruction? The period of the fifteenth and later centuries, however, is not usually marked by such violent persecution any longer and this might indicate that Islamic design features had become widely accepted and part of a new artistic repertoire. Despite this general acceptation of Islamic approaches in art and architecture, the Jainas appear to have been especially open towards adopting Islamic ideas in their temple constructions. We will examine these and other possible explanations and it is likely that it was not simply a single but in most cases a series of reasons which might have led to the creation of this intriguing hybrid style of architecture.


Julia A. B. Hegewald is Professor of Asian Art History and Head of the Department of Asian and Islamic Art History at the Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies, the University of Bonn. She was Reader in Art History at the University of Manchester (2007–2010), a postdoctoral Fellow at the South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University (2005–2007) and a Research Fellow at University College Oxford (1998–2005). She studied at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), the University of London, from where she also holds a Ph.D.

Her books include: Water Architecture in South Asia: A Study of Types, Developments and Meanings (2002), Jaina Temple Architecture in India: The Development of a Distinct Language in Space and Ritual (2009, 2018), The Jaina Heritage: Distinction, Decline and Resilience (2010), In the Shadow of the Goldgen Age: Art and Identity from Gandhara to the Modern Age (2014), Jaina Painting and Manuscript Culture: In Memory of Paolo Pianarosa (2015), In the Footsteps of the Masters: Footprints, Feet and Shoes as Objects of Veneration in Asian, Islamic and Mediterranean Art(2020), Jaina Tradition of the Deccan: Shravanabelagola, Mudabidri, Karkala (2021) and together with S. K. Mitra, Re-use: The Art and Politics of Anxiety and Integration (2012).  For more information see:


Both events are free and open to the public. They are possible thanks to the generous financial support of the Anonymous Fund. The Center for Visual Cultures would also like to thank the department of Art History, the Center for Culture, History, and Environment, the Institute for Research in the Humanities, and the Center for South Asia.


Sur Rodney Sur

“Fly in the Buttermilk of the Contemporary Art World”

Thursday, March 23, 2023
5:00 PM CST
In-person location to follow

“Archiving Your Art Works”

Friday, March 24, 2023
12:00 PM CST
University Club Rm 212
432 East Campus Mall

*To attend the workshop please RSVP to
All are welcome!


Enigmatically recognized as an artistic collaborator, curator, writer, archivist and community archivist —Sur Rodney (Sur) is most renowned for his former position as co-director of the East Village landmark Gracie Mansion Gallery from 1983-1988 . During the early to mid 1990s he served as a curator and archivist at Kenkeleba House, a Lower Manhattan African-American art institution, and was hired to archive the New School University’s Vera List Center for Art and Politics contemporary art collection, visible in all their campus buildings. His work with artists estates, many at cause to the HIV/AIDS pandemic, led him to serve on the board of Visual AIDS, beginning in 1994, and help establish the Frank Moore Archive Project to assist artists with HIV/AIDS, and their estates. The archive is used as a resource for curators, publishing and launching exhibition projects while also providing a monthly on-line web gallery by invited curators internationally. Sur is currently editing a collection of writings on his experiences with the New York art world that begin in 1972. He manages the studio of African American conceptual artist/writer Lorraine O’Grady, he has archived the work of his photographer father for the Special Collections at Concordia University in Montreal and is creating the Cloudsmith Archive of his late spouse of 23 years, the Fluxus artist Geoffrey Hendricks.


Both events are free and open to the public. They are possible thanks to the generous financial support of the Anonymous Fund. The Center for Visual Cultures would also like to thank the departments of Art History, Art, Afro-American Studies, Communication Arts, Gender and Women’s Studies, as well as the Chazen Museum of Art, the Institute for Research in the Humanities, and the Center for the Humanities.


Carlos Martiel

Thursday, April 6, 2023
5:00 PM CST
In-person location to follow

Friday, April 7, 2023
12:00 PM CST
University Club, Rm 212
432 East Campus Mall

*To attend the workshop please RSVP to
All are welcome!


Carlos Martiel is a multi-disciplined, performance artist whose work exists in the context of notions of the global apartheid, and calls attention to the violence and the cultural, political, and economic exploitation enacted by the US and Europe against Black people. Moreover, his performance work seeks to visibilize historical Black trauma as an effective tool for investigating and confronting the unresolved history of Black people’s dehumanization by Western societies, and to offer modes of resistance to it, often using his own nude body. In the works here, Carlos uses his body to inject these topics into his performances, effectively forcing the viewer to think about Blackness in the context of the Western colonial project, but also to think about what remains of those systems, how these systems have transformed in the present, and our own positionality to these systems.


Both events are free and open to the public. They are possible thanks to the generous financial support of the Anonymous Fund. The Center for Visual Cultures would also like to thank the departments of Spanish and Portuguese, Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies, English, Chicano and Latino Studies, Theater and Drama, Gender and Women’s Studies, Art, Art History, Afro-American Studies, and LACIS.


Jisha Menon

“Panic, Property, and Precarity in Neoliberal India”

Thursday, April 13, 2023
5:00 PM CST
In-person location to follow

Friday, April 28, 2023
12:00 PM CST
University Club Rm 212
432 East Campus Mall

*To attend the workshop
please RSVP to
All are welcome!


Jisha Menon is a scholar of postcolonial theory and performance studies whose research interests lie at the intersection of law and performance; race and the carceral state; affect theory, cities, and capitalism; gender and sexuality; cosmopolitanism and nationalism. She is the author of the forthcoming book, Brutal Beauty: Aesthetics and Aspiration in Urban India (Northwestern UP, 2021,) which considers the city and the self as aesthetic projects that are renovated in the wake of neoliberal economic reforms in India. The study explores how discourses of beauty are mobilized toward anti-democratic ends. Sketching out scenes of urban aspiration and its dark underbelly, the book delineates the creative and destructive potential of India’s lurch into contemporary capitalism. Her first book, The Performance of Nationalism: India, Pakistan and the Memory of Partition (Cambridge UP, 2013), examines the affective and performative dimensions of nation-making. The book recuperates the idea of “mimesis” to think about political history and the crisis of its aesthetic representation, while also paying attention to the mimetic relationality that undergirds the encounter between India and Pakistan. She is also co-editor of two volumes: Violence Performed: Local Roots and Global Routes of Conflict (with Patrick Anderson) (Palgrave-Macmillan Press, 2009) and Performing the Secular: Religion, Representation, and Politics (with Milija Gluhovic) (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017.)


Both events are free and open to the public. They are possible thanks to the generous financial support of the Anonymous Fund. The Center for Visual Cultures would also like to thank the Institute for Research in the Humanities.


Jazmin Llana

“Gut Feeling Hunger Action”

Thursday, April 27, 2023
5:00 PM CST
In-person location to follow

Lecture Abstract:

How do we end hunger? We eat. We cook or organize food. We feed people. One person or community at a time wherever we have the opportunity with whatever means we find and with whoever is doing hunger action. It’s a gut feeling/filling hunger action that is not bound to any grandiose plan, driven only by a radical hope in being able to act to end hunger. It’s hunger action that runs on empty, provisioned only with the good graces of pakikipagkapwa-tao (a Filipino term for and concept of solidarity) that wonderfully translates into crates of supplies and volunteers who come to cook and distribute the food. This is the experience of the Art Relief Mobile Kitchen who has been feeding survivors of calamities in the Philippines, but a similar story can be told about the A.J. Kalinga Center that has been feeding the homeless of Manila, or De La Salle Philippines’ Hunger to Hope project, or about my own activities with Spatula&Barcode and various collaborators across the Philippines this past year. The lecture will be a sharing of these experiences and the critical work being done on how these have anything to do with art and performance.

Friday, April 28, 2023
12:00 PM CST
University Club Rm 212
432 East Campus Mall

*To attend the workshop
please RSVP to
All are welcome!


Jazmin Llana is a professor in the Department of Literature, De La Salle University, Manila, Philippines whose research focuses on issues of performance, theatre, and politics, as well as environmental studies and activism. Her more recent work delves in issues of hunger and food studies through site-specific performances for action.


Both events are free and open to the public. They are possible thanks to the generous financial support of the Anonymous Fund. The Center for Visual Cultures would also like to thank the departments of Art, English, and Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies, as well as the Center for South Asia and the Institute for Research in the Humanities.


Visual Cultures Research Forums

Faculty Research Forum

Friday, February 3, 2023
12:00–2:00 PM CST
University Club Rm 212
432 East Campus Mall

Guillermina De Ferrari, Spanish & Portuguese

Anirban Baishya, Communication Arts

Christine Garlough, Gender and Women’s Studies

Jill Casid, Art History


Graduate Student Research Forum

Friday, March 3, 2023
12:00–2:00 PM CST
University Club Rm 212
432 East Campus Mall

Jalessa Bryant, Curriculum and Instruction

Quanda Johnson, Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies

Gabriel Chazan, Art History

Elaine Cannell, English–Literary Studies

Praveen Maripelly, Art


CVC Events 2021 – 2022

Annual Theme:

“Ways of Seeing and Doing: The Return of the Gaze”


Through the prism of global pandemic and protest, this year-long theme confronts visuality and power via the emergent ways of seeing and doing that manifest in and through visual cultures – with particular attention to the dynamics of lives lived ever more via the online interface. We aim to go beyond the recognition of COVID-19 as the great revealer, to think with and at the limits of who has access to new modes of online communication and how increased visibility of political protest in the face of exacerbated structural inequity and heightened surveillance at the intersections of BIPOC, queer, feminist, ecological, crip activism and theorization visualize our constant struggles. In framing this year’s theme in terms of the potentials of the return of the gaze, we have invited talks and other events that focus on a wide range of approaches to how art, theatre, performance, film, bodies, and theorization in and through practice explore these topics.

Anirban Baishya

Image: Alina Sanchez [column with B/W images]: Lopez ( Erma Fiend [column with the “sweaty eddie” image]: ( Meltem Şahin [column with the hand-drawn figures]: (



“GIF(ted) Bodies:
Embodiment, Affect, and Gender in GIF Art”

Thursday, September 23, 2021
4:00 PM CST Zoom Webinar

The Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) has been a staple of internet culture since it was first introduced by Compuserve in 1987. Although not all GIFs are animated, it is perhaps the potential for animation itself that has kept the format alive for so long. Previous work on GIFs has explored the GIF’s capacity for animation by framing its genealogy within a range of pre-cinematic and cinematic cultures. However, when we speak of GIFs today, we refer most often to presumably authorless, reaction GIFs that have become a staple of phatic communication online. Current work in GIF-making demonstrates a re-appropriation of the format by artists and animators who use the medium to explore both its cinematic roots (for example, by reversing GIF-making by printing them out into flipbooks or as zoetropes), as well its potentials for exploring questions of body politics and gender identity. This talk explores these tendencies in GIF-art through an examination of the work of artists and animators such as “Erma Fiend” (Lee Friend Roberts), Meltem Şahin and Alina Sánchez López among others. Fiend’s work explores the GIF as a medium for self- portraiture and an unpacking of what she describes as “the semiotics of identity [and] the aesthetics of performed femininity.” In that sense, the use of the GIF by Fiend is not unlike the video auto- portraiture of feminist video artists in the 1970s and 80s. While Turkey-based artist Meltem Şahin does not use her own body in her GIFs, her work is equally invested in questions of embodiment and gender identity. In fact, Şahin takes things a step further, by describing her augmented reality Instagram filters as embodied GIFs that live on the body of the user. Şahin has also curated an exhibition titled OhMyPMS! which brings together a set of globally dispersed women animators exploring the affective and emotional vagaries of premenstrual syndrome through the medium of the GIF. Finally, Mexico-based artist Alina Sánchez López explores the GIF as a form of community art practice. While López describes her own GIF work as manifestation of her artistic response to the social problems she faces as a woman in Mexico, her broader work also explores the possibilities of collaborative artmaking across space. In 2017, López initiated the Opera Prima project, a live-edited “GIF-Film author event.” More recently, during the COVID-19 pandemic, López has curated “pandemic GIF labs” to collaborate with students and artists to give expression to their anxieties, which has resulted in a virtual exhibition space “GIF Pandemia Gallery.” Although the work of these artists varies in style, they have a shared conviction in the affective and artistic potentials of the GIF. This talk will undertake both a formal examination of the GIF’s connections to cinematic and performative cultures, as well as explore the range of themes and affects mobilized in the work selected artists. The affordances of the format and its capacity for looping, repetitive movement then, make the lightweight and seemingly ephemeral format of the GIF a powerful medium for queer and feminist art practice—something that GIF-artist and animator Miranda Javid describes as “quiet art with a big presence.”


Anirban Baishya is an Assistant Professor at the Communication and Media Studies Department, Fordham University. His current research examines selfies and the rise of digital selfhood in India. He is currently working on a book project titled Viral Selves: Selfies and Digital Cultures in India. His research interests New Media and Digital Cultures, Social Media & Political Culture, Media Aesthetics, Surveillance Studies, and Global and South Asian Cinema & Media. His work has been published in International Journal of Communication, Communication, Culture & Critique, South Asian Popular Culture, Porn Studies and South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies and Media, Culture and Society. He is also the co-editor of “South Asian Pornographies: Vernacular Formations of the Permissible and the Obscene,” a special issue of Porn Studies which was published in March 2020.


Both events are free and open to the public. They are possible thanks to the generous financial support of the Anonymous Fund. The Center for Visual Cultures would also like to thank the Departments of Art, Art History, Center for South Asia, Communication Arts, and English.



Patrick Anderson

Image: still from body-worn camera footage captured during an incident on October 6, 2019 in San Francisco. In the image, the shadows of three human figures can be seen on an asphalt surface. One of the figures appears to be grabbing the back of another figure, and has an arm raised as if to strike. On the opposite side of the image is the shadow of what appears to be a hand holding a gun.


“‘Someone is Dying Before Your Eyes’:
performance theory and police violence”
Thursday, October 7, 2021
5:00 PM CST
Conrad A. Elvehjem Building

This talk considers the state of contemporary policing in the US from the perspective of membership on a community oversight board, and investigates the surprising appearances in that work of cherished concepts from the field of performance theory.

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“Oversight for Artists”
Friday, October 8, 2021
12:00 PM CST
University Club, Room 212
432 East Campus Mall

This workshop will include training in the work performed by community boards and commissions charged with enacting oversight of their local law enforcement agencies. Professor Anderson will engage participants in a mock case review, drawing connections between this work and the training provided by various fields within the broad discipline of Visual Culture Studies.


Patrick Anderson is a Professor in the departments of Communication, Ethnic Studies, and Critical Gender Studies at the University of California, San Diego. He is the author of Autobiography of a Disease (Routledge, 2017) and So Much Wasted (Duke University Press, 2010) and the co-editor, with Jisha Menon, of Violence Performed (Palgrave, 2009). With Nicholas Ridout, he co-edits the “Performance Works” book series at Northwestern University Press. He has served as Director of the Critical Gender Studies program and founding facilitator for the Social Justice Practicum at UC San Diego; as Vice President of the American Society for Theatre Research; and as Editorial Board member for the University of California Press. In 2018, he was appointed by the Mayor and City Council of San Diego to the Community Review Board on Police Practices; he is now a Commissioner on the Commission on Police Practices), which represents the community in reviewing complaints against the police, officer-involved shootings, and in-custody deaths. A former Fulbright Scholar and Berkeley Fellow, Anderson holds a PhD in Performance Studies (Designated Emphasis: Women, Gender, and Sexuality) from the University of California, Berkeley; an MA in Communication and Cultural Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and a BS in Performance Studies and Anthropology from Northwestern University. In 2020, he completed his Death Doula certification at the University of Vermont.


Both events are free and open to the public. They are possible thanks to the generous financial support of the Anonymous Fund. The Center for Visual Cultures would also like to thank the Departments of Art, Art History, Gender and Women’s Studies, Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies, and the Institute for Research in the Humanities.

Jorge Marcone


“With Natural Lighting: Painting and Filming History and the Invisible Amazonia”
Thursday, November 4, 2021
5:00 PM CST
Conrad A. Elvehjem Building

Even a non-specialized audience can recognize that indigenous visual arts and cinema are self-representations of Amazonian subjects alternative to those of the mass media. Indeed, they are representations arising from indigenous policies for the defense of cultural identities and/or their relations with territories populated by human and non-human beings. It is a powerful communication strategy when language diversity and literacy are obstacles to fostering contact and collaboration between Amazonian communities and other actors. However, the success of activism seems to postpone the resolution of the following question. How to think the visual arts for Amazonian cultures where the ontologically important is invisible to the eyes? Can it be both the representation of the history of indigenous peoples and the visualization of invisible realities? Are the Amazon visual arts comparable to the visionary events in which non-human beings communicate with humans? Contemporary Amazonian visual arts often suggest the possibility of considering them as fundamentally shamanic, but this option that does not end up curdling yet.

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“How to Tow a Net: Reciprocity and Collaboration in Amazonian Visual Arts”
Friday, November 5, 2021
University Club, Room 212
432 East Campus Mall

With the participation of Diana Iturralde, Ryan Pinchot, Carolina Sánchez, and Katia Yoza. Graduate students in Art History and Spanish and Portuguese, Rutgers University.

The task we propose is, first, an introduction to the project “Secreto Sarayaku” by Ecuadorian artist Misha Vallejo (Ecuador). In this project, Vallejo seeks collaboration between different media and proposes a way for practicing reciprocity between the kichwa community of Sarayaku and those who approach it in search of their knowledge. Next, and taking Vallejo’s proposal as a framework, the workshop proposes to involve its participants in the conversation on three other proposals of collaboration and reciprocity. First, the urban murals of the Amazonarte collective (Peru); then, the photographs by Juanita Escobar (Colombia) which focus on the border between Colombia and Venezuela; and finally on the place of comics and B-movies in the visual culture of the Amazon in Colombia.


Jorge Marcone is a faculty in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, the Program in Comparative Literature, and the Environmental Studies Major at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. His research and teaching focus on how literature and culture from Latin America, especially from Amazonia, can inform and are impacted by social-ecological crises and resilience. Marcone serves as co-director of the Scientific Advisory Board of the South American Resilience and Sustainability Studies Institute (SARAS) based in Uruguay. SARAS’s mission is to catalyze perspectives and collaborations between academic disciplines and other forms of knowledge. Marcone is a collaborator to the Microbiota Vault Initiative, and the GloMiNe-Peru initiative. The Microbiota Vault is a global non-profit and non-governmental foundation focused on conserving the diverse microbiota to ensure long-term health for humanity.


Both events are free and open to the public. They are possible thanks to the generous financial support of the Anonymous Fund. The Center for Visual Cultures would also like to thank the Departments of Art, Communication Arts, Institute for Research in the Humanities, LACIS, and Spanish and Portuguese.

Paula Amad

“F.W. Brinton and Model Airship,” c. late 1880s. Special Collections, University of Iowa Main Library.

“Cin-aereal attractions: F.W. Brinton and the Technical and Fantastical Correspondences between Early Aviation and Cinema”
Thursday, November 18, 2021
4:00 PM CST Zoom Webinar

In a 1913 essay that explores the multiple functions of cinema, Louis Haugmard mentions the important legacy of cinema’s usefulness to science by citing the benefit in the late nineteenth century of chronophotography to aviation: “Instantaneous photography has allowed scientists to verify the accuracy of certain equestrian poses on the frieze of the Parthenon. The chronophotographs of Monsieur Marey concerning the flight of birds have produced precious pieces of information for the warping of airplane wings.” Six years later, Jean Cocteau resumes discussion of the connections between aviation and cinema when he states that “From the time of its discovery the cinema was made to serve old ideas…But America made films in which theater and photography slowly gave way to a new form because they were better equipped than we were and they acted like engineers who instead of stripping the airplane completely of its wings simply reduced them slightly.”  This talk returns to the origins of these intriguing technological and industrial correspondences between aviation and cinema by exploring the unique case study of F.W. Brinton, one of Iowa’s first film exhibitors who also happened to be a passionate airship inventor.  The talk begins with an overview of the affinities between the sciences of aerodynamics and chronophotography as demonstrated by figures such as Nadar, Marey and the Wright brothers, before illuminating the cinematic outcome of this cin-aerial crossover in the craftmanship and showmanship of the inventions and exhibition formats that characterized Brinton’s Entertainment Company. I ultimately argue that early aviation forms a crucial missing link in the “cinema of attractions” model that frames our understanding of the broader cultural landscape from which films emerged, and that the nexus between these two iconic machines of modernity has consequences for a diverse range of popular and avant-garde embodiments of what I call “cin-aereality.”

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“‘Shadow Sites’: Clouded Vision in the Archives of Aerial Photography”
Friday, November 19, 2021
12:00 PM CST Zoom Meeting

Emerging from one of the first post-war application of aerial photography in the new domain of aerial archaeology, the term “shadow sites” refers to evidence from the past that only becomes visible from the air and under certain conditions of light. Taking inspiration from the photographic and archival suggestiveness of that term, this workshop explores the conceptual and methodological questions for visual studies raised from the research I have conducted in diverse aerial photography archives in France, Britain, Germany, Australia and the US for my book Cin-aereality: Aviation, Cinema, and Modernity. I will draw upon Alan Sekula’s seminal essay from 1975 “The Instrumental Image” in which he critiqued the archive-denying celebration of abstraction in the aerial photographs ‘authored’ by Edward Steichen, while also interrogating Sekula’s own blind-spots.  In order to do so, the workshop turns to a group of “shadow sites” that I have discovered in diverse military aerial archives in the form of “cloud” photographs shot by pilots during their reconnaissance missions.  I will seek to give voice to the “mute” context behind these archival apparitions in order to generate further discussion of interest to research across media, visual and art history regarding the multiple “shadow sites” within visual-based archives.


Paula Amad is an Associate Professor of Film Studies and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Cinematic Arts, University of Iowa. She is the author of Counter-Archive: Film, the Everyday and Albert Kahn’s Archives de la Planète (Columbia University Press, 2010) and numerous articles, in, amongst other journals, Feminist Media HistoriesModernism/ModernityRepresentationsCamera ObscuraHistory of PhotographyCinema JournalFilm History, and Framework. Her research has been supported by awards including a J. Paul Getty Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (2006-7), and an International Grant for Philosophy and Photography Research, from The Shpilman Institute for Photography (2011), and she is also the recipient of the 2014 Katherine Singer Kovács Award for Outstanding Essay by the Society for Cinema and Media Studies for her article in Cinema Journal titled “Visual Riposte: Looking Back at the Return of the Gaze as Postcolonial Theory’s Gift to Film Studies.” She is currently completing a second book focused on the airplane and camera as the twin vision and dream machines of early twentieth-century modernity. Her essays have been translated into French, Italian, German, and most recently Chinese.


Both events are free and open to the public. They are possible thanks to the generous financial support of the Anonymous Fund. The Center for Visual Cultures would also like to thank the Departments of Art History, Communication Arts, English, French and Italian, and the Institute for Research in the Humanities.

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Sini Anderson

Image: Production still of Bekah Fly from So Sick

So Sick: special advance screening and talk-back conversation with celebrated filmmaker Sini Anderson on crip, queer and feminist art activism
Wednesday, March 2
5:30 – 7:00 PM CST (in person)
Elvehjem L160

Screening and Conversation: 

What can art do to confront the structural conditions that make us so sick? As the pandemic becomes endemic and many of us were already fighting misdiagnosis, lack of treatment and disbelief around chronic illness before Covid-19, creative practices of intervention and radical care emerge as ever more crucial. But what are tactics for these times of political abandonment, death-dealing and disposability in which just because we can all get sick doesn’t mean that we are exposed in the same way or treated the same when we do? Join us for a screening of advance clips from So Sick, the documentary on the gender and sexual politics of late-stage Lyme disease and long Covid by celebrated feminist filmmaker Sini Anderson who co-founded the queer feminist performance poetry collective Sister Spit with Michelle Tea in 1994. This special screening of in-process takes from So Sick will be framed by screening parts of Anderson’s acclaimed 2013 documentary The Punk Singer that reveal feminist punk icon of the Riot Grrrl movement Kathleen Hanna’s life-altering experience with Lyme disease. The screening will be followed by a talk-back conversation with Anderson on crip, queer and feminist art activism, speaking truth to power from the authority of embodied experience, and the risks of putting oneself on screen and doing auto-theoretical work facilitated by Professor Jill Casid.


“Life as Art + Art as Activism”
Thursday, March 3
4:00 – 6:00 PM CST (in person)
Sterling Hall, Room 3425

*To register for the workshop, please RSVP to

Workshop Abstract:

Centered on acclaimed feminist filmmaker Sini Anderson’s award-winning film Catherine Opie, b. 1961 commissioned by LACMA, the workshop explores the work of documentary video as a form of curation. Taking the example of how Anderson pulls the connecting threads across the landscapes and bodies in seemingly disparate aspects of Opie’s body of work and draws Opie out on the emotions and commitments both intimate and political that animate it, the workshop considers the curatorial ethos and queer-feminist punk ethics of care in the curation of a queer feminist artist’s life work and legacy. Both practical and theoretical, this workshop gets grounded and real about the conditions and how-to of queer feminist video praxis, documentation, and curation.


Sini Anderson is an award-winning film director, producer, video art maker, and feminist art activist who lives in New York City. Her first feature-length film, The Punk Singer premiered at SXSW in 2013 and was acquired by IFC Films. Sini is in the final phase of her second feature length film, So Sick. The documentary is an exhaustive look at women/gender non-conforming people who are suffering so called “mystery illnesses” like Late-stage Lyme disease, Fibromyalgia, ME/Chronic Fatigue. 50-Million Americans been diagnosed with Autoimmune Illnesses, 85-90% of them are Women. So Sick uncovers infuriating truths behind women’s health care and the health care of people of color and calls out American Medicine, Medical Education, and Bio-Medical Research, whose non-compliance with federal laws demanding Equality within government funded research, has only stoked the myth of “hysterical women” who are making themselves sick.


Both events are free and open to the public. They are possible thanks to the generous financial support of the Anonymous Fund. The Center for Visual Cultures would also like to thank The Departments of Art History, Gender and Women’s Studies, and Communication Arts.

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Maksaens Denis


“Vodou, LGBTQI Activism, politics and electronic music“

Tuesday, March 8th
4:00 PM CST (virtual)

Through a presentation accompanied by photos of my installations and excerpts of videos that I have made I will explain my personal relationship with each of these themes and explain how they fit in a recurring way in my work, individually or mixed together. I will also talk about the aesthetics adopted to treat these different themes during my more than 20 years of career.

Maksaens Denis is a multimedia artist from Haiti who divides his time between Port-au-Prince, the Dominican Republic, and Paris. He is also a dj and vj who comes from a classical music background. Appropriately, what might first appear to be unwieldy about his work has the exactitude of classical composition.

Like most popular forms in the Caribbean, Denis’s artwork maintains a political consciousness while weaving together spiritual affirmation and visual poetics in playful and seductive ways. In their video installations and performances, Denis juxtaposes a range of images—scenes from daily life and religious ceremonies, digital animations, video clips of the landscape, Vodou symbols—alongside improvised soundtracks, to communicate associatively, to create an experience. His work has been shown all over the world, including the Caribbean Undercurrents exhibition. Known for his artistic video practice, Maksaens Denis is a visionary pioneer of the moving image, whose influence has global resonance. Here is a link to his website:

Sponsors: Both events are possible thanks to the generous financial support of the Anonymous Fund. The Center for Visual Cultures would also like to thank the departments of Art, Art History, English, French and Italian, Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies, LACIS, Spanish and Portuguese.

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Frederick de Armas


“Cervantes’ Architectures: Don Quixote and the Dangers Outside”

Friday, April 8
4:00 PM CDT (in-person)
Van Hise Hall, Room 114

In this talk, I provide a glimpse of some of the topics discussed in my forthcoming book, but limit my remarks to Cervantes’ Don Quixote. Although the Spanish author was acquainted with Vitruvius and Hernán Ruiz, he was not an expert on architecture. However, his readings together with his observation of structures familiar to him led him to understand the primacy of place for human beings and for the characters in his works. He would wonder if we can accept unreservedly the notion that place, the inside of a home, church or castle implies safety, guarding us from the dangers outside. This talk will consist of four main sections. The first will look at composite and metamorphic architectures as a study becomes a jail and then a palace.  The second will look at the most utilized building in the first part of Don Quixote, the inn.  Thirdly, we will discuss the Roman Pantheon to understand its importance for the novel’s architectures. We will end with a brief look at the church in El Toboso, which knight and squire had taken to be Dulcinea’s palace. A careful reading of the novel in terms of architecture leads to a series of surprises: how the awful din of a jail is muted by a new façade; how a study is furnished in melancholy; or how a tower indicates that a journey will never be completed.


“Seeing and Soaring Aloft:
Longinus’ On the Sublime and the Theater of Early Modern Spain”

Friday, April 8
12:00 PM CDT (in-person)
UClub Room 212
432 East Campus Mall

The notion of the sublime, emerging from an obscure Greek fragment, a treatise probably composed in the first century AD, has captured the imagination of the modern world, be it in philosophy, art or literature. Of course, much of its impact has been augmented and its ideas transformed through much later treatises by Edmund Burke and Emmanuel Kant. At the same time, the ancient, Renaissance and early modern influence of Longinus’ On the Sublime has received much less attention.

Although translated into Latin as “sublime” the original Greek title of Longinus’ treatise was Peri Hupsous, meaning “aloft” or “on high.” While referring to great writing, it also points to the vertical. As Yi-Fu Tuan explains, “A mountain wrapped in mist and difficult of access suggests the abode of the gods.” This sublime height in nature can also correspond to human architecture. We will examine Longinus’s treatise in order to reach a high tower, a godlike view, a transcendent experience. We would ask how such an experience can be attained not just by single inspired lines in a text, but by spaces and places that take us aloft. The treatise will be examined in relation to two early modern Spanish plays, Cervantes’ La Numancia [Numantia], and Calderón’s La vida es sueño[Life is a Dream]. We would also be happy to hear from those working on the sublime in English and French literatures, among others.


Professor De Armas is a literary scholar, critic and novelist who is Andrew A. Mellon Distinguished Service Professor in Humanities at the University of Chicago. His scholarly work focuses on the literature of the Spanish Golden Age (Cervantes, Calderón, Claramonte, Lope de Vega), often from a comparative perspective. His interests include the politics of astrology; magic and the Hermetic tradition; ekphrasis; the relations between the verbal and the visual particularly between Spanish literature and Italian art; and the interconnections between myth and empire during the rule of the Habsburgs.

Sponsors: Both events are possible thanks to the generous financial support of the Anonymous Fund.
The Center for Visual Cultures would also like to thank the departments of Art History, Spanish and Portuguese, LACIS, English and the Center for History of the Environment.

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Image: Gamaliel Rodríguez, Collapsed Soul, 2020-21. Ink and acrylic on canvas, 84 x 112 in. (213.3 x 284.5 cm).

Courtesy the artist and Nathalie Karg Gallery NYC. © 2021 Gamaliel Rodríguez.


“Latinx Art: Representation, Exhibitions, and Institutions”

Thursday, April 21st
4:00 PM CDT (virtual)

Despite making up almost 20% of the US population, Latinx as an identity and as a lens through which to look at art remains severely understudied. In this presentation, Dr. Marcela Guerrero, Jennifer Rubio Associate Curator at the Whitney Museum, will introduce the public to the ways Latinx art has been interpreted and represented in the different institutions where she has served. The lecture will conclude with a look at what is next for the field of Latinx art at the Whitney Museum and beyond.


“Maria’s Wake: Hurricane Maria & the Arts”

Wednesday, April 20th
4:00 PM CDT (virtual)

In this workshop, Dr. Marcela Guerrero will share the behind-the-scenes of her next exhibition no existe un mundo poshuracán: Puerto Rican Art in the Wake of Hurricane Maria and will discuss the flourishing of the arts that has taken place in Puerto Rico in the almost five years since the hurricane. Students are encouraged to share examples of creative projects that have emerged in the face of this or other catastrophic events that push against simplistic narratives of suffering or resilience.


Marcela Guerrero is Assistant Curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. Prior to joining the Whitney, she was a Curatorial Fellow at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles working on the exhibition Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960-1985. She has also been a Research Coordinator at the International Center for the Arts of the Americas, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Her writing has appeared in exhibition catalogues and art journals such as caa.reviewsArtNexusCaribbean Intransit: The Arts JournalGulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts, and Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Guerrero holds a Ph.D. in Art History from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Sponsors: Both events are possible thanks to the generous financial support of the Anonymous Fund. The Center for Visual Cultures would also like to thank the departments of Art History, Spanish and Portuguese, and LACIS.


Affiliate Events 2021-22

Date: Through September 22

The Home Stretch Art Festival, a “distributed festival” of small artistic acts in Madison, recently added five additional participatory artworks, bringing the total number of projects to 17. The festival, created by Spatula&Barcode, continues through Wednesday, September 22 and features several UW–Madison faculty!

Dulcé Sloan

Sunday, September 5, 2021
7:00 PM

Comedienne Dulcé Sloan presents a free performance exclusively for current UW–Madison students at Shannon Hall in the Memorial Union! Sloan is known as one of the sharpest, fastest-rising voices in comedy. Seating is available on a first come, first served basis the day of the event, and students must present valid Wiscards for entry.


September 16-26, 2021

University Theatre presents the fall production of Rashomon, a play about the elusive nature of truth. Performances will take place in Mitchell Theatre in Vilas Hall. Tickets go on sale August 30!

Check out the website for the Center for Design and Material Culturewith their full list of Fall events, including:

Designing Afro-Futures

Thursday, November 4 @ 5:00 pm CDTOnline via Zoom

D. Denenge Duyst-Akpem presents on her multi-hyphenate practice as an award-winning, self-described “space sculptor”, designer, writer, performance artist, and educator whose practice and scholarship bridge disciplines of design, ritual and ecology. This lecture highlights Duyst-Akpem’s ongoing engagement with site, body, visibility, and identity via audience-interactive performances; through design for healing and protection; and in mobilizing radical pedagogical approaches to creating new futures of equity and possibility. She will discuss virtual performances and museum installation activations, looking over two decades of practice in the realm of Afrofuturity, considering artistic agency within digital space amidst pandemic, and exploring how art can serve as catalyst for transformation.

Duyst-Akpem is Associate Professor, Adjunct, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she is core faculty in the Low-Residency MFA Program and offers cross-disciplinary courses in art history and designed objects, among other departments. She received a 2018 Marion Kryczka Excellence in Teaching Award, an inaugural Diversity Advisory Group 2016 Teaching Awards for Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion, and is a 2020 LaBecque Laureate, 2016-17 Rebuild Foundation/U-Chicago Place Lab Fellow and 2014 NEH Institute Fellow. Her work has been featured in museum exhibitions and publications worldwide including ICA London, Red Bull Arts, MCA, AGO, U.S. Library of Congress, U-Minnesota Press, MIT Press, and more. Through Denenge Design and In The Luscious Garden, focused on holistic, conceptual approaches to human-centered design, Duyst-Akpem creates fantastical interactive environments and performances to interrogate, titillate, decolonize, and empower, inspired by Sun Ra and asking: “Who controls the future?”

This event is free and open to the public. 

This event is part of the Equity & Justice Network Design Series and co-sponsored by the Design Studies Department.

Image Credit: D. Denenge Duyst-Akpem in the Original Camo Coat, Lurie Garden, Millennium Park, Chicago, Winter 2018. Photo courtesy Hilary Higgins/Chicago Tribune.

Professor Marcus Milwright,
University of Victoria

“Words, Landscape, and the Viewer:Perspectives on the Inscriptions of Early Islamic Jerusalem”

Thursday, November 4th
@ 6:00 PM via

“Asking Questions: Analyzing the Visual Languages of Early Islamic Art and Craft”

Workshop for faculty and grad studentsFriday, November 5th
@ 12:00 PM via

Public Lecture and Workshop sponsored by the Anonymous Fund, Medieval Studies Program, History Department, Art History Department, Institute for Research in Humanities, Middle East Studies Program, and Center for Religion and Global Citizenry.

University Opera Presents:

Tuesday, November 237:30 PM CDT IN PERSONMusic Hall

After presenting two successful and innovative video productions in 2020-21, University Opera is back on stage with the Wisconsin premiere of Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s moving chamber opera, Two Remain (Out of Darkness). This memory piece, full of exquisite and evocative music, tells the stories of Holocaust survivors Krystyna Zywulska and Gad Beck. Many years after the war, both are haunted by the memories of those they lost and what they had to sacrifice in order to survive.$27 general public; $22 senior citizens; $10 UW-Madison studentsVisit the Mead Witter School of Music website for more information and to purchase tickets.

CHE Environmental Colloquium withZakiyyah Iman Jackson

“On Measurement: Apparatus and Variable in the Ecology of Race”

Wednesday, December 8, 202112:00 pm CDTVirtual via Zoom

In Jacques Derrida’s Of Spirit, the late philosopher provocatively asks, “Is a metaphysics of race more or less serious than a naturalism or biologism of race?” Jackson’s lecture will offer a meditation on the material consequences of the metaphysics of race for “the body” by asking another question, “Is ‘the body’ metaphysical?” Jackson will argue that it is and provide an analysis of what metaphysics does to materiality, nature, and biology as well as our conceptualization of these terms.Thinking through the black(ened) zone Hortense Spillers has termed “the flesh,” this lecture proceeds by revisiting and elaborating key terms from Jackson’s book, Becoming Human: Matter and Meaning in an Antiblack World, specifically biocentrism, measurement, ecology, variable and apparatus.Funding for this event is provided in part by the University Lectures Kemper K. Knapp Fund. This event is co-sponsored by the Department of African Cultural Studies, Center for Visual CulturesDepartment of English, and the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies.

To learn more about CHE, visit their website.

2021 SGCI Lifetime Achievement in Printmaking Award and Keynote Address by Enrique Chagoya

Friday, March 18 @ 4-5pm

Location: Memorial Union, Shannon Hall, Free with valid WISC ID

Enrique Chagoya is a Mexican-born Amer­ican painter, printmaker, and educator. The subject of his artwork is the changing nature of culture. Chagoya teaches at Stanford University, in the department of Art and Art History. He lives in the San Francisco. Drawing from his experiences living on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border, and also in Europe, Enrique Chagoya juxtaposes secu­lar, popular, and religious symbols in order to address the ongoing cultural clash between Western and non-Western societies with surreal sense of humor. His paintings, prints and multiples offer untold versions of colonialism and inequality. Chagoya has been exhibiting his work nationally and internationally for over two decades in many major museums, alternative spaces, and galleries. He is Full Professor at Stanford University’s department of Art and Art History. He has been recipient of numerous awards such as two NEA artist fellowships, one more from the National Academy of Arts and Letters in New York, residencies at Giverny and Cite Internationale des Arts in France, a L. C. Tiffany Fellowship, an Honorary Doc­torate from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2017, a National Academy of Design Induction and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Southern Graphics Confer­ence International in 2020, and a J. S. Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in 2021. His work is in the permanent collections of many national and international muse­ums, including MoMA, The Met, and the Whitney Museum in N.Y.C; SFMoMA, The de Young Museum, and the Achembach Collection at The Legion of Honor in S.F.; The Museo Nacional de la Estampa and Museo Nacional de Arte in Mexico City, Instituto de Artes Graficas de Oaxaca in Oaxaca City; and Artium Centro-Museo Vasco de Arte Contemporaneo, Vittoria-Gasteiz, Spain among others. In conjunction with solo exhibition, ENRIQUE CHAGOYA: DETENTION AT THE BORDER OF LANGUAGE at Edgewood College Gallery, 1000 Edgewood College Drive, Madison, February 4 – March 20, Tuesday – Sunday 11am-4pm.

2022 SGCI Lifetime Achievement in Printmaking Award Keynote Address by Mel Chin

Saturday, March 19 @ 5-6pm

Location: Memorial Union, Shannon Hall, Free with valid WISC ID

Mel Chin is a conceptual, visual artist. The Lifetime Achievement in Printmaking Award is awarded annually to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the professional development of printmaking as a fine art. This year’s Awards Committee expands on the definition of “the print” and recognizes Mel Chin’s lifetime contribution to community action through printed matter in collaborative projects such as Operation Paydirt/Fundred Dollar Bill Project. Historically, printmaking has contributed to political, cultural and social circumstances in the same way that themes of Chin’s artwork is carried out through an interdisciplinary approach and the expansion of print media.

Mel Chin received a B.A. (1975) from the Peabody College of Vanderbilt University. He has served as a visiting professor or fellow at numerous institutions. Chin is a 2019 MacArthur Genius Fellow and the recipient of awards including the Pollock/Krasner, Joan Mitchell, Rockefeller, and Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundations, among others. Chin’s work was documented in the PBS program, Art of the 21st Century. He is known for the broad range of approaches in his art, including works that require multi-disciplinary, collaborative teamwork and works that conjoin cross-cultural aesthetics with complex ideas. Chin also insinu­ates art into unlikely places, including destroyed homes, toxic landfills, and even popular television, investigating how art can provoke greater social awareness and responsibility. He developed Revival Field (1989-ongoing), a project that has been a pioneer in the field of “green remediation,” the use of plants to remove toxic, heavy metals from the soil. From 1995-1998 he formed the collective, the GALA Committee, that produced In the Name of the Place, a conceptual public art project conducted on American prime-time television. In KNOWMAD, Chin worked with software engineers to create a video game based on rug patterns of nomadic people facing cultural disappearance. His film, 9-11/9-11, a hand-drawn, 24-minute, joint Chilean/USA Production, won the prestigious Pedro Sienna Award, for Best Animation, National Council for the Arts and Cultures, Chile, in 2007. Chin also promotes “works of art” that have the ultimate effect of benefiting science, as in Revival Field, and in the recent Operation Paydirt/Fundred Dollar Bill Project, an attempt to make New Orleans a lead-safe city (see In conjunction with MMOCA solo exhibition, Mel Chin: There’s Something Happening Here and Operation Paydirt/Fundred Dollar Bill Project. Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, 227 State Street, Madison, March 5 – July 31, Friday, Saturday, Sunday 12-6pm.


Mapping Planetary Humanities: A Conversation with Will Alexander

Poet, novelist, aphorist, essayist, playwright, visual artist, and pianist, Will Alexander has written over 30 books. Recipient of the PEN Oakland for his novel Sunrise In Armageddon, and of the American Book Award for his essays Singing In Magnetic Hoofbeat, he is also a Whiting Fellow and a California Arts Council Fellow. At present, he is Poet-in-Residence at Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center in Venice California. His last book is Refractive Africa: Ballet of the Forgotten (New Directions Publishing, 2021).

This event is sponsored by the Borghesi-Mellon workshop “Alien Earth: Introduction to Planetary Humanities.” Our workshop aims to draw together an interdisciplinary consortium of scholars from across the humanities and sciences to explore the intersections of astronomy, colonialism, critical race studies, and environmental justice.

This lecture will be the opening keynote lecture for the Graduate Association of Medieval Studies (GAMS) 9th Annual Medieval Studies Colloquium. All GAMS Colloquium lectures and conference sessions are free and open to the public.

Michael Lower

Professor, History, University of Minnesota

“The Age of Diplomacy: Franks and Ayyubids in Western Asia, 1229–1244”

Thursday, April 7th, 2022
5:00–6:30pm CT
Conrad A. Elvehjem Building, Room L140

Abstract: Christians and Muslims often fought over Jerusalem in the Middle Ages. In the 1230s, though, Christian Franks and Muslim Ayyubids effectively shared the city. In this talk, Michael Lower explores how a prolonged bout of peace-making broke out in an age of crusade and jihad.

Sponsors: Professor Lower’s public lecture and workshop is sponsored by the Anonymous Fund, the Program in Medieval Studies, Department of History, Department of Art History, Institute for Research in Humanities, Middle East Studies Program, Center for Religion and Global Citizenry, and the Graduate Association of Medieval Studies.


This lecture will be the second keynote lecture for the Graduate Association of Medieval Studies (GAMS) 9th Annual Medieval Studies Colloquium. All GAMS Colloquium lectures and conference sessions are free and open to the public.

Micah Goodrich

Lecturer, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, University of Connecticut

“Trans Natures and Alchemical Salvation”

Friday, April 8th, 2022
4:00–5:30pm CT
Conrad A. Elvehjem Building, Room L140 and Virtual [Zoom link forthcoming]

Abstract: Medieval alchemists were interested in the salvific potential of creating the “Philosopher’s Stone” – a stone that, if created, would be filled with vitality – it could heal sickness, reproduce matter, and access the secrets of the divine. The alchemist’s final goal of creating the “Philosopher’s Stone” is rarely depicted in its metallic register. Instead, it is imagined as the “rebis,” a trans/nonbinary figure that represents both the presence of multiple fixed boundaries and binaries as well as the absence of these multiplicities. This lecture will discuss the trans animacy of alchemy’s magnum opus. Animacy is the discursive framing that shapes the conditions in which we apprehend something as animate or not and reveals the political ethics of alive-ness. It operates as an invisible mover of things, entities, and persons. Mel Chen’s recent work on animacy expands its queer and racialized dimensions to show how social attitudes creep into language to alter the agency of things. Expanding animacy through movement, trans animacy extends how life can cross between, through, and beyond seemingly fixed boundaries and binaries of animate/inanimate, male/female, alive/dead, hot/cold, etc. In medieval and early modern alchemy, the liveliness of compounds like sulfur and mercury are coded as male and female and when combined they (re)animate matter into new forms and functions. Alchemy reminds us that the act of being alive is most potent when matter is not reduced to being one thing but rather becoming many, multiple, and manifold.

Sponsors: Dr. Goodrich’s public lecture and workshop is sponsored by the Program in Medieval Studies, Department of Art History, Department of History, Department of English, Department of French & Italian, and the Department of German, Nordic, and Slavic +. This lecture and workshop is also funded in part by an Associated Students of Madison (ASM) viewpoint neutral grant. For accessibility accommodations, please contact:

Karlyn Griffith

Associate Professor, Art History, California Polytechnic State University, Pomona

“Devotional Entertainment: Sacred and Secular Interpretations of Illustrated Apocalypse Manuscripts”

Saturday, April 9th, 2022
4:00–5:30pm CT
Conrad A. Elvehjem Building, Room L140

Abstract: The Book of Revelation permeated medieval life, and the manuscripts visualizing John’s vibrant account of the End of Days contributed to medieval culture in a myriad of ways beyond an obvious eschatological purpose. Apocalypse imagery appeared across all media in the Middle Ages, but by far illustrated Apocalypse manuscripts were the most common and complete visualizations. After surviving Books of Hours and Psalters, Apocalypses are the most luxurious and numerous, with 174 extant manuscripts containing Apocalypse imagery made between 800 and 1500. Unlike Books of Hours and Psalters, illustrated Apocalypse manuscripts maintained consistent popularity until the era of printed books.

Despite the crucial role of Revelation throughout the Middle Ages and the popularity of illustrated Apocalypses, the past 100 years of scholarship on these books has been almost exclusively limited to mapping iconographic families and offering devotional interpretations. Rather than seeking to explain Apocalypse art in terms of its obvious sacred purpose, biblical exegesis, or erudite theological texts, I look at these manuscripts from a secular—or lay and non-doctrinal—perspective to explore why these books were so popular and the different ways that the Apocalypse could fire the medieval imagination. The aim of this talk is to challenge the prevailing paradigm in medieval art history that privileges sacred interpretations of art to the exclusion of popular culture. I prefer the term “popular” to “secular,” and I see the dichotomy between “sacred” and “secular” in medieval culture more so as between high, monastic, or scholastic versus low, lay, or common. In this talk I explore late medieval illustrated Apocalypses within vernacular literary culture, legend, and court culture, and I argue that some imagery in Apocalypse manuscripts can be linked to these aspects of popular culture. These images performed diverse functions for the Apocalypse reader-viewer, from expressions of identity, entertainment, to addressing practical concerns of personal eschatology.

Sponsors: Professor Griffith’s public lecture and workshop is sponsored by the Program in Medieval Studies, Department of Art History, Department of History, Department of English, Department of French & Italian, and the Department of German, Nordic, and Slavic +. This lecture and workshop is also funded in part by an Associated Students of Madison (ASM) viewpoint neutral grant. For accessibility accommodations, please contact:

“The Lost Royal Tombs of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem”

Professor Lisa Mahoney

DePaul University
Thursday, April 21st, 2022
5:00–6:30 PM CT
Conrad A. Elvehjem Building, Room L140

Sponsors: Public Lecture and Workshop sponsored by the Anonymous Fund, Medieval Studies Program, History Department, Art History Department, Institute for Research in Humanities, Middle East Studies Program, and Center for Religion and Global Citizenry.



CVC Events 2020 – 2021:


Zoe Leonard, The Fae Richards Photo Archive, 1993-1996.


“The Speculative Archive:
Early African American Cinema and Film Historiography”

Thursday, September 24, 2020
4:00 PM Zoom Webinar

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Something Good-Negro Kiss:
Rediscovering Early Film, Reassessing Racialized Performance”

Friday, September 25, 2020
1:00 – 2:30 PM Zoom Meeting

Lecture abstract:

While African Americans produced films starting around 1909, no prints or fragments survive prior to 1920. This cinematic absence—a lost decade—is a great challenge for Black visual historiography, but also offers an opportunity for a more flexible and imaginative reconstruction of Black filmmaking practices, something that a number of contemporary artists have taken advantage of. Through a focus on William Foster, a well-known yet elusive figure in American film history, this talk considers how a speculative archive can be mobilized not only to give form to what’s absent but also to create the visual material anew. With Foster, as with other early Black filmmakers whose work is lost or only survives in scant fragments, I’m interested in how what we can’t see informs what we do see—and what happens when we focus on these zones of absence. The speculative archive attempts to account for these absences, restoring their presence to film history and, in doing so, to enable them to speak to the concerns of Black filmic representation and authorship that extend to today.

Workshop abstract:

In 2017, the film archivist at the University of Southern California discovered a c.1900 nitrate film print of an African American couple laughing and embracing repeatedly in a naturalistic and joyful manner—an incredible departure from the racist caricatures prevalent in early cinema. After some detective work, the film was identified as Something Good-Negro Kiss, made in Chicago in 1898 by William Selig with well-known vaudeville performers Saint Suttle and Gertie Brown. The film was named to the National Film Registry in 2018 and received widespread attention, including from a number of high profile celebrities drawn to the film’s moving depiction of Black love that continues to resonate. This attention led to further rediscoveries of Black performance in early films, thought lost. Taken together, these early film artifacts require a radical rethinking of the relationships between race, performance, and the emergence of American Cinema. And they have much to tell us about the cinematic expression of African American affection and how it can serve as a powerful testament to Black humanity at a time of rampant misrepresentation.


Dr. Allyson Nadia Field is a scholar of African American cinema, her work combines archival research with concerns of film form, media theory, and broader cultural questions of representation across periods and practices. She is the author of Uplift Cinema: The Emergence of African American Film & the Possibility of Black Modernity (Duke University Press, 2015) and co-editor with Jan-Christopher Horak and Jacqueline Stewart of L.A. Rebellion: Creating a New Black Cinema (University of California Press, 2015). She also served as a co-curator of the L.A. Rebellion Preservation Project of the UCLA Film & Television Archive. With Marsha Gordon, she is the co-editor ofScreening Race in American Nontheatrical Film (Duke University Press, 2019). Her current book project is on African American film historiography, the challenge of evidence, and the “speculative archive.”


Both events are free and open to the public. They are possible thanks to the generous financial support of the Anonymous Fund.

The Center for Visual Cultures would also like to thank The Department of Afro American Studies, Communication Arts, English, and The Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research.



Manuel Benabad, “Partial View: Old Mexican School Painting Gallery, Academy of San Carlos,”
ca. 1898, albumen print.


“Catholics, Conservatives, and the Academy of San Carlos:
Writing a History of Art in Nineteenth-Century Mexico City”

Thursday, October 22, 2020
6:00 PM Zoom Webinar

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“‘Ni de aquí, Ni de allá’ (‘Neither from here nor from there’):
Current Issues in the Project of U.S. Latinx Art History”

Friday, October 23, 2020
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM Zoom Meeting

Lecture abstract:

In the mid nineteenth century, the Academy of San Carlos in Mexico City, founded in 1783 by the Spanish Bourbon monarchy, like other cultural institutions in the capital, was dominated by political conservatives. The conservatives, unlike the opposing liberals, valued the involvement of the Church in Mexico’s social and political life. Given the conservative presence at the academy, conservative ideals structured or guided the institution’s instruction, programs, and art production from the 1840s through the 1860’s. One of the academy’s most notable projects during this period was the addition of a gallery dedicated to the Old School of Mexican Painting. The first publication on the history of painting in Mexico was inspired by and based on the painting galleries at the academy; the text in question thus exhibits a conservative reading of history. In this talk, I will discuss the role that conservative politics played at the Academy of San Carlos and examine how those ideals shaped what was the first art history in modern Mexico.

Workshop abstract:

Given the immigrant status of many Latinx individuals living in the U.S., members of these communities tend to be seen as recent arrivals and thus as aliens or outsiders to the U.S. American experience. The fact that Mexican Americans or Chicano/as had been inhabiting U.S. territory west of the Mississippi since the sixteenth century and that Puerto Rico, although not a state, is part of the United States complicates the dominant narratives and representations of Latinxs circulating in popular media and in the popular imaginary of most Anglophone Americans. Artists from these communities face numerous challenges, given these larger perceptions and tendencies. A significant problem has been the marginalization, if not complete erasure of Latinx artists in the study of U.S. art. Not Latin American and mostly seen as not American, Latinx artists occupy a liminal space and have largely remained invisible to museums, the academy, and collectors. In recent years, there has thus been much discussion about the form and content of a U.S. Latinx art history. In this seminar, I wish to address a few of the main issues Latinx artists and art historians are facing as they work on this project, issues related to such things as, racism, classism, national origin, language, and qualitative criteria seen as inherently biased.


Ray Hernández-Durán completed his Ph.D. in Art History at the University of Chicago in 2005 and is currently Professor of Art History in the Department of Art at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. He specializes in the History of Spanish Colonial Art and Architecture with secondary areas of specialization in Pre-Hispanic Art, U.S. Latinx Art, and Museum Studies. His courses cover the Spanish Americas from 1492 through 1898 with a concentration on the Viceroyalty of New Spain (1521–1821) and nineteenth-century Mexico. His research has focused on eighteenth-century colonial painting and nineteenth-century museography and historiography. His book, The Academy of San Carlos and Mexican Art History: Politics, History, and Art in Nineteenth-Century Mexico (Routledge, 2017) will be followed by a second monograph, A Historiography of Colonial Art History in Mexico (1855–1934) (University of New Mexico Press, forthcoming 2021) and an edited volume, A Routledge Companion to U.S. Latinx Art (projected 2022), for which he was invited to serve as editor. At UNM, Ray is affiliated with the Southwest Hispanic Research Institute, Latin American Studies, and the Latin American and Iberian Institute, and is faculty advisor for the graduate journal, Hemisphere: Visual Cultures of the Americas and Chief Co-Editor of Chamisa: A Journal of Literary, Performance, and Visual Arts of the Greater Southwest. He has been a member of the College Art Association Conference Committee and the AP Art History Development and Curriculum Review Committees, and is currently on the Spanish Market Standards Committee for the Spanish Colonial Arts Society in Santa Fe, as well as serving on the Arvey Book Award Committee of the Association for Latin American Art, an affiliate of CAA.


Both events are free and accessible to the public. They are possible thanks to the generous financial support of the Anonymous Fund and the Material Culture Program. The Center for Visual Cultures would also like to thank the Department of Art History.



Photograph by Javiera Santos


“The Transitivity of the Image:
Performance, Photography and Graphics of the University Feminist Movement”

Friday, November 6, 2020
4:00 PM Zoom Webinar

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“Social Movements in Images: Protest and Visuality in Latin America”

Friday, November 6, 2020
12:00 PM Zoom Meeting

Lecture abstract:

In 2018, the struggle of the feminist university movement occupied for several months an important part of the Chilean news agenda, both for the forcefulness and seriousness of its demands and for its organization and political effectiveness. A significant part of its visibilization strategy -as happened with previous student movements in 2006 and 2011- was achieved through the deployment in the public space of artistic forms of protest, from the exhibition of canvases to performance, including intervention in the body of the demonstrators (artivism, Adelaide Mazwarira). The art actions of the students, among which I highlight the performative ones, participate in the ephemeral quality of the present moment of the march, but they are also conserved in the registers. They give rise to at least three “referential” archives, two external and one of their own: the photos taken spontaneously by the march’s participants; the journalistic photographs, whose primary objective is communication in the press and which is adapted to the editorial agenda of each medium; and, finally, the photos taken by the members of the movement -particularly by the art students-, which are conceived at the same time as a record of the act of protest and its continuation. Probably the first archive, but certainly the journalistic archive and the own archive of the students, are integrated into a dynamic and complex circuit of image circulation, characterized by transitivity (Guadalupe Álvarez de Araya). I distinguish at least four moments of this circuit: (1) The controlled diffusion of journalistic photography, characterized by the cutting of the event and the anchoring of the image through the informative/interpretative text; (2) the alternative diffusion of one’s own photographs that amplify both the aesthetic effect and the political content of the artistic actions deployed in each event; (3) the a posteriori appropriation of both registers, which continues its circulation in other media or supports such as social networks and publications, and (4) the creation of new images from the photographic archives, which dialogue with and reinterpret them. The present work attempts to briefly outline this route through an approach to these four stages, understanding them as moments in a process of generating a visual identity.


Carolina Pizarro Cortés is Professor at the Instituto de Estudios Avanzados (IDEA), University of Santiago, Chile. She is the director of the Master degree in Latin American art, philosophy and culture and Coordinator of the editorial project “Colección IDEA.” After receiving her PhD in Literature at the University of Konstanz, Germany, she received a postdoctoral research fellowship at the University of Santiago under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Ana Pizarro. Her main research interests include contemporary Latin American culture, with an emphasis on the constitution of historical imaginaries. She has published Nuevos Cronistas de Indias. Historia y liberacíon en la narrative latinoamericana contemporánea (2015) and Revisitar la catástrofe: prisión politica en el Chile dictatorial (2016, ed. with José Santos Herceg). She is the main researcher of the project Formas narrativas del testimonio: relatos de prisión politica en Chile, Argentina, Brasil y Uruguay.


Both events are free and open to the public. They are possible thanks to the generous financial support of the Anonymous Fund, the International Studies Program, and LACIS.

The Center for Visual Cultures would also like to thank the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, LACIS, Research Centers and International Programs, the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies, The Women’s and Gender Studies Consortium, Art, Art History, Communication Arts, the Center for Humanities, Institute for Research in the Humanities, and the Center for Culture, History, and Environment.




“Split Britches”

Monday, March 8, 2021
5:00 PM CST Zoom Webinar

Film Screening:

To view the film Last Gasp: Work From Home,  please send an email to and we will send you a link and passcode.

We recommend viewing the film before the lecture.
It will be available until March 10, 2021.

Lecture abstract:

In the wake of canceled performances, Split Britches were keen to maintain momentum for their new live work Last Gasp while having to ‘work from home.’ Last Gasp WFH was developed in a site-specific Zoom format using their quarantine-home as a structural visual anchor. A house becomes a stage for the experience of sheltering in place, serving both as an intimate capsule of sequestered time and an apt reflection on the precarious nature of our bodies and the planet we call home.

Experimenting with new ways of making and finding joy in a pandemic Split Britches collaborated with lighting and video designer and editor Nao Nagai, sound designer and composer Vivian Stoll, and choreographer Morgan Thorson to create a new format for performance that could be shared from a time of quarantine. Playing with the fragility of technology, particularly the unpredictability of Zoom, the team found new avenues to the classic Split Britches aesthetic of broken down theatrical conventions, exposing the self on stage.



Founded in New York in 1980 with Deb Margolin, Split Britches continues with the duo and solo work of Lois Weaver and Peggy Shaw which spans satirical, gender-bending performance, methods for public engagement, videography, digital and print media, explorations of ageing and wellbeing, and iconic lesbian-feminist theatre. Split Britches’ collection of scripts, Split Britches Feminist Performance/Lesbian Practice, edited by Sue Ellen Case, won the 1997 Lambda Literary Award for Drama. In 2012, Split Britches was presented with the Edwin Booth Award by City University of New York in honor of their outstanding contribution to the New York City/American Theater and Performance Community. Lois and Peggy were named Senior Fellows by the Hemispheric Institute of Performance in 2014, an award given to scholars, artists and activists affiliated with the institute whose work illustrates the highest achievement in the field of performance and politics.

Over the past 40 years Split Britches’ interconnected repertoire of performance and engagement work has rapidly expanded and projects have increasingly fed into the development of one another. Last Gasp is the result of research undertaken during the 2018-2019 Split Britches Call and Response Tour throughout the US and UK, a tour of the performances Unexploded Ordnances (UXO) and Retro(per)spective which housed sustained conversation in connected engagement activities and platforms.

Link to Split Britches website.


The lecture and film screening are free and open to the public. They are possible thanks to the generous financial support of the Anonymous Fund.

The Center for Visual Cultures would also like to thank the Art Department, the Department of Gender & Women’s Studies, and Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies.



Image: Ana Viotti


“Theater as a Remake of the Past”

Monday, March 15, 2021
12:00 PM CDT Zoom



“My Documents Workshop”

Wednesday, April 28, 2021
12:00 PM CDT Zoom

Lecture abstract:

Can art be a way to revive the past? How do reality and fiction overlap? What can we understand by the expression documentary art? What kind of writing processes enable these types of projects? In which ways is a play a living and autonomous organism?

Through videos and materials of her works, the Argentinian director Lola Arias offers a videoconference talk about her experience in the field of documentary art and interdisciplinary projects using theatre, film and visual arts in the last decade. Arias will approach different aspects of the genesis and development of her works, where she problematizes the relationship between aesthetics and politics, reality and fiction, art work and social experiment.

Workshop abstract:

My Documents is a lecture performance program where artists from different backgrounds present personal research, a radical experience, a story that secretly obsesses them. It has a minimal format: artists with their documents. A way of bringing to light the kind of research that often gets lost in a nameless folder in a computer. The program seeks to delve into the genre in search of a contagion among conceptual art, research, and theatre. A space where speeches, formats and audiences from different disciplines can come together. The program has been held since 2012 in Buenos Aires, Vigo, Milan, Lisbon, with artists from different disciplines.

During the pandemic in 2020, Lola Arias invited several artists, from dance, documentary film, visual arts and theatre to delve into their personal archives for a new global and online version of the program called MY DOCUMENTS | SHARE YOUR SCREEN. In this new version, artists from different parts of the world were virtually there, in their new domestic stage, showing their archive on a shared screen with the audience. The audience could see the performance live, make comments and exchange visions and insights afterwards.

In MY DOCUMENTS WORKSHOP, Lola Arias will share videos of the program and discuss the tools to make a lecture performance based on an archive. The participants should bring a photo, a letter or any kind of object from a personal archive to make a small exercise.


Lola Arias (Argentina, 1976) is a writer, theatre and film director. She is a multifaceted artist whose work brings together people from different backgrounds (war veterans, former communists, migrant children, etc.) in theatre, film, literature, music and visual art projects.

Arias’ productions play with the overlap between reality and fiction. “Sitting in the theatre, wandering a site-specific location or watching a film, we are inculcated into others’ narratives, wound into their complexities, joys and disappointments. At the same time, we are also invited and at times confronted, in an extraordinary and acute way, to reflect on the contingencies and fragilities of our own stories, individual and collective, as well as on our shifting, unresolved relation to the precarious and dangerous machinery that is social and political history.” (Etchells, in Re-enacting Life, 2019).

Link to Lola Aria’s website.


Both events are free and open to the public. They are possible thanks to the generous financial support of the Anonymous Fund and the Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian Studies Program (LACIS).

The Center for Visual Cultures would also like to thank Art, Art History, Gender and Women’s Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies Consortium, Spanish and Portuguese, Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies, Center for Humanities, and the Institute for Research in the Humanities.



Image: Roshini Kempadoo (2019) from the series Like Gold Dust


Black Gold to Dust:
visualizing narratives and slow violence”

Tuesday, April 6, 2021
12:00 PM CST Zoom Webinar


Black Gold to Dust:
Sustaining futures and reimagining black Atlantic worlds”

Thursday, April 8, 2021
12:00 PM CST Zoom Meeting

Lecture abstract:

In 2015 via announcements made by ExxonMobil, I learned of the offshore exploratory work for potential oil and gas extraction off the Essequibo coast, northwest Guyana in the disputed ocean waters with neighboring Venezuela.  This artists presentation will present the artwork Like Gold Dust which was created while on the Artist International Residency at Artpace San Antonio, USA (2019). The artwork evokes narratives about everyday survival, economics, and special powers needed for the 21st century.  Its starting point is women’s narratives from two terrains, Guyana[1] and Texas, to explore relationships between environments and present life.

They are, as Wynter suggests, ‘hybrid-auto-instituting-languaging-storytelling species,’ narrating themselves into existence. Slow violence (Nixon, 2011) recognizes efforts by writers, activists and artists including Wynter, Da Silva, Roy, Maathai and Saro-Wiwa who rethink environmental activism for a planetary future. They enact responses to pernicious violations to the terrain and life experiences, particularly those who are disempowered and involuntarily displaced, caused by ecological neglect, corporate greed and colonial aftermath.

Like Gold Dust registers our time of increasing racism, violence, volatility, and the precarity that women of color (as queer, bisexual or heterosexual figures) are experiencing in the here and now.

[1] In May 2015 ExxonMobil announced the discovery of more than 90 meters of high-quality, oil-bearing sandstone reservoirs about 200 km off its coastline. The Liza-1 well would make it worth $40 billion at today’s international crude price. ExxonMobil followed by discoveries of further oil fields. ExxonMobil and Hess reported that new discoveries contain estimated resources exceeding 4 billion barrels of oil equivalent, potentially producing 750,000 barrels per day by 2025. The value of oil dwarfs the roughly $3 billion gross domestic product of Guyana. As Exxon continues development, the small nation is likely looking at a windfall in royalties. For a country of less than a million people, the find changes everything.

Workshop abstract:

This workshop will take as its starting point my artwork and artistic research for Like Gold Dust (2019) to think about a future currently eclipsed by the COVID pandemic, ecological crises and anti-racism movements.

The workshop will be concerned with the exploration of potential artistic methods that centralizes present and future black Atlantic life experiences in relation to ecological sustainability. In particular, we will explore how central artistic narratives/representations about women and queer bodies as activists may be central to shaping an ecological sustainable world.

The workshop will explore questions such as how we might reimagine futures that consider the black experience as central to the challenges of climate change and ecological precarity. Contextual approaches that refer to Caribbean artists’ work (Atkinson, Patterson, Hadeed, Cozier, Rose, Huggins) and writers/critics (Wynter, Da Silva, Roy, Maathai, Sheller and Demos) will be explored as contributions that map progressive and innovative creativity.


Roshini Kempadoo is a media artist, photographer and scholar. Her research, multimedia and photographic projects combine factual and fictional re-imaginings of contemporary experiences, histories and memories.

Roshini has been active in documenting Caribbean communities, events, rights issues, and individuals in the UK and the Caribbean. She was instrumental in setting up Autograph, the Association of Black Photographers in the late 1980s, and worked as a documentary photographer for Format Picture Agency (1983 – 2003).

Her photography and artworks are created using montage, layering, narration and interactive techniques of production. They appear as photographs and screen-based interactive art installations to fictionalize Caribbean, UK and US archive material, objects, and spaces. She has recently completed the Spring 2019 International Artist-in-Residence @ Artpace, San Antonio, US creating the artwork Like Gold Dust.

She is Reader with CREAM (Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media), at Westminster School of Arts, University of Westminster. She is represented by Autograph ABP, London.

Link to Roshini Kempadoo’s website.


Both events are free and open to the public. They are possible thanks to the generous financial support of the Anonymous Fund.

The Center for Visual Cultures would also like to thank the Departments of Art, Art History, Communication Arts, Gender and Women’s Studies, The Women’s and Gender Studies Consortium, The Center for Culture, History and Environment, Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies, The Center for Humanities, and The Institute for Research in the Humanities.



Image: Lorie Novak, Silla, vestido y huesos


“Cor-po/etics: A poetics of the Body in Performance”

Tuesday, April 20, 2021
4:00 PM CST Zoom Webinar


“For Those Who Are No Longer Here:
Exorcizing the Necropolitics of Gender Violence”

Thursday, April 22, 2021
4:00 PM CST Zoom Meeting

Lecture abstract:

A ritual poetics as counter-narrative to the politics of violence.

Workshop abstract:

Luna’s talk focuses on her work For Those Who Are No Longer Here, performative actions to memorialize women killed by gender violence, and against femicide, forgetting, and impunity.


VioletaLuna is aSan Francisco-based performance artist. Her works reflect and inquire upon the relationship between theatre, performance art and community engagement. Working in a multidisciplinary space that allows for the crossing of aesthetic and conceptual borders, Luna uses her body as a territory to question and comment on social and political phenomena. She has performed and taught workshops in the U.S. and abroad in places ranging from the Bay Area to most of Latin America, as well as in countries such as Rwanda, Egypt, India, New Zealand, Japan, and Canada to name a few. Luna’s work has also been featured in several recent and forthcoming books like “Performing Ground: Space, Camouflage and the arts of Blending In,” and “Freak Performance: dissidence in Latin America Theater.” Her collaborations include work with the Bay Area-based immigrant women’s rights organizations Mujeres Unidas y Activas and La Colectiva de Mujeres, as well as the performance collective Secos & Mojados. Luna is a Creative Capital and National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC) Fellow and artistic member of The Magdalena Project: International Network of Women in Contemporary Theatre.

Link to Violeta Luna’s website.


Both events are free and open to the public. They are possible thanks to the generous financial support of the Anonymous Fund and the Department of Spanish & Portuguese.

The Center for Visual Cultures would also like to thank Art, Art History, Gender and Women’s Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies Consortium, Disability Studies Initiative, Graduate and Professional Students with Disabilities Initiative, Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian Studies Program (LACIS), Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies, Center for Humanities, and the Institute for Research in the Humanities.



2019, exhibition installation documentation. Courtesy signs and symbols, NYC.


“Gloom With a View”

Thursday, April 29, 2021
5:00 PM CST Zoom Webinar


“These Unruly and Ungovernable Selves”

Tuesday, April 27, 2021
11:00 AM CST Zoom Meeting

Lecture abstract:

From the AIDS crisis to the current coronavirus pandemic, artist and filmmaker Michelle Handelman talks about her work in the context of survival and longing through the power of transgression.

Workshop abstract:

Michelle Handelman take us under the skin of her collaborative writing and performance process. Her talk focuses on her deep dive research process, improvisational directing, and kindly wrangling superstars.


MICHELLE HANDELMAN uses video, live performance and photography to make confrontational works that that push against the boundaries of gender, race and sexuality. Raised during the late 1960s, Handelman split her time between Chicago, where her mother was a fixture in the art world, and Los Angeles, where her father was a player in the sex industry. Her art developed through great struggle and loss throughout the era of the AIDS crisis and over the years Handelman has voraciously traversed all these worlds, developing a body of work that investigates ways of looking at the forbidden and revealing the dark, subconscious layers of outsider agency.

Link to Michelle Handelman’s website.


Both events are free and open to the public. They are possible thanks to the generous financial support of the Anonymous Fund.

The Center for Visual Cultures would also like to thank the Art History Department and the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies.


Affiliate Events 2020 – 2021:


Join us on Thursday, September 17 at 4 PM CST for a talk by Salomé Aguilera Skvirsky (Cinema and Media Studies, University of Chicago), “The Process Genre: the Aesthetics of Labor.”

Expanding on her ambitious and provocative new book, The Process Genre: Cinema and the Aesthetics of Labor (Duke University Press, 2020), Aguilera Skvirsky will explore the problem of transmedial genres and modes.

RSVP to for Zoom invite and excerpts from The Process Genre. 


Contemporary and Pre-Modern Race and Racism in 5 Objects

Faisal Abdu’Allah, Last Supper I, Inkjet Print, 2010

A Panel Discussion

Monday, September 28, 2020

7:00-8:30 p.m. via Zoom

Nandini Pandey (Professor, Classics/CANES), “Staging Diversity in the Roman Colosseum.”

Thomas Dale (Professor, Art History), “Representing Racial Subjugation in Medieval Sculpture at St Mark’s in Venice.”

Tirumular (Drew) Narayanan (Ph.D. Candidate, Art History),  “Frazetta’s “Death Dealer” and White Nationalist Iconography in the US Military.”

Maxwell Gray (Ph.D. Student,  English), “Beowulf, Madison, Wisconsin, 1878.”

Faisal Abdu’allah (Professor, Art & Director, Faculty Director, The Studio), “Reimagining the Last Supper.”


Residential Design for Health and Longevity


September 23 @1pm via WebEx
(free, registration required)

Cynthia Leibrock is an author, lecturer, and designer focused on health and longevity in residential design. Her firm, EASY ACCESS TO HEALTH, LLC consults on patient centered design planning for independent liv​ing. She has engaged in significant partnerships with The Betty Ford Center, the UCLA Medical Center, automotive Interior Design for Toyota, and a universal design exhibit for the Smithsonian created with Julia Child.

Join Leibrock for a virtual tour of her carefully designed home. Featured on the cover of several publications, Leibrock’s home is a study in design dedicated to health, longevity, and accessibility. Starting with the exterior green design features, Leibrock leads a tour through her home and highlights universal design elements, design that encourages healthy lifestyles, and design that allows aging in place.

Leibrock will be delivering her tour and lecture on WebEx that will be available for students, faculty, and the community. This event is free and co-sponsored by the Design Studies Department. Registration is required. Please follow the link provided.



Black Arts Matter Festival

Thursdays Nov. 5, 12 & 19

This year’s virtual edition of the Black Arts Matter Festival kicks off at 6 pm on Nov. 5 with a pre-recorded performance by spoken word performer Ebony Stewart (pictured) of her one-woman show, Ocean, exploring womanhood and motherhood. A live Q&A with Stewart follows. The festival continues at 6pm on Nov. 12 with a concert and lesson on creating music using looper technology by saxophonist and vocalist Braxton Cook. And the event wraps up on Nov. 19 at 7 pm with a nationwide poetry slam. The events are co-produced by Sasparay Irvin, an interdisciplinary artists, slam poet and UW-Madison alum, and the Wisconsin Union Theater.


The 2020 UW–Madison Diversity Forum will be held virtually on October 27-28. This year’s forum will explore a convergence of contemporary issues from racial equity and social justice to disparities in health care and white privilege during two full days of speakers and interactive sessions. The virtual event is open to the public.

The university’s premiere conference on diversity, equity and inclusion will feature a duo of keynote speakers, both of whom focus on the sociology and impact of race and race relations. On opening day, Tuesday, Oct. 27, the speaker will be Robin DiAngelo, Ph.D., author of the widely acclaimed bestseller “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism.” On Day 2, Wednesday, Oct. 28, the guest speaker will be Austin Channing Brown, author of New York Times bestseller, “I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness.”

To view the full agenda, please visit the Diversity Forum 2020 website.


November is Native American Heritage Month, a month dedicated to celebrating the rich and diverse culture, history, and contributions of Native people. Holding its’ origin with a weeklong celebration during November 23–30, 1986, a proclamation was passed in 1990 to designate the entire month of November as National Native American Heritage Month. Each year, Wunk Sheek and campus partners host a series of events across the university to celebrate the rich history, culture, and heritage of Native people at UW–Madison.

Wunk Sheek, founded in 1968, is an organization that serves students of indigenous identity and members of the UW–Madison community interested in indigenous issues, culture, and history. Wunk Sheek gives students of indigenous identity: A way to socialize with one another. A way to connect with other UW–Madison student organizations. A way to represent indigenous communities to the wider UW–Madison community.

Due to the current situation surrounding Covid-19, programming for Native American Heritage Month will be following UW–Madison Smart Restart, Public Health of Madison & Dane County, and Center for Disease and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for practicing social distancing and group gatherings. Programming for Native American Heritage Month will be utilizing various virtual and social media platforms during the month of November.

For more detailed information on events, please visit the Native November website.


Piracy, Rarities, and Political Fortunes in the Dutch Republic

Lecture by Claudia Swan

November 13, 2020 @ 1:30 PM via Zoom

Hosted by the Center for Early Modern Studies

Please contact Daniel Kapust for a link if you would like to attend.

Professor Swan’s visit is supported by the Anonymous Fund, and co-sponsored by the Center for Visual Cultures, the Department of Art History, the German, Nordic, and Slavic Department, and the Institute for Research in the Humanities.


Chapter 2 of “Indisposable”

#QuarantineLooks: Embracing the Fabulously Mundane with Sami Schalk and Jina B. Kim

Please join PhD Candidate Jessica Cooley this Wednesday, November 18th, 12:00–1:00pm CST, for a joyful afternoon of #QuarantineLooks: Embracing the Fabulously Mundane with Sami Schalk and Jina B. Kim.

How does disability create knowledge essential to surviving a global pandemic? One answer: joy. As an act of pleasure activism and self-care during the pandemic lockdown, Schalk began posting images of herself on social media with sparkly new hairstyles, outfits, and facemasks. The act of dressing up to handle ordinary tasks such as walking the dog or taking out the trash sparked delight and connection with strangers and friends. In her words, “joy begets joy begets joy.” Schalk’s #QuarantineLooks embraces the lushness of her “fat Black femme” body; challenges what depression looks like; and interrogates what it means to look well or unwell.

Chapter 2 of Indisposable: Structure of Support After the ADAwill debut a video essay by Schalk, followed by a conversation with Jina B. Kim, a fellow disability studies scholar and maker of quarantine looks.

Wear what makes you feel fabulous and join us for a break from the mundane. Come ready to answer the question: how are you bringing pleasure into your world in this moment?

From Sami Schalk’s #QuarantineLooks (ongoing) (image courtesy Ford Foundation Gallery; photo by Sam Waldron, Dutcher Photography, @robandsamphoto)


“The Art of State Street:
Politics, Policing, and Protest”

What role does art play in the contested public spaces of our communities? How does art shape social consciousness?  How might we view the aesthetics of protest?

Hear from artists Shiloah Symone Coley (2022 MFA candidate, American University), Yorel Lashley (Director of Arts, UW–Madison PLACE), and Taj Matumbi (2021 MFA candidate, UW–Madison). The conversation will be moderated by Amy Gilman, Director of the Chazen Museum of Art, and Faisal Abdu’Allah, Professor of Art and Faculty Director of The Studio at UW–Madison.

Co-sponsored by the UW-Madison Division of the Arts.

The event photo, featuring a piece by Shiloah Symone Coley, is provided by Nithin Charlly.


“A Place to Call Home:
Women as Agents of Change in Mumbai”

Thursday, November 19, 2020 @ 12:00 PM

Image: A collage of two photos from the resettlement site. Left: a resident looking up to her new high-rise apartment building; Right: sight from within an apartment home.

The contents of the built environment that silhouette an urban terrain may be nowhere more in flux than in Mumbai, India. In her book, A Place to Call Home: Women as Agents of Change in Mumbai, Ramya Ramanath foregrounds experiences of a diverse group of 120 women recently displaced from the slums of Mumbai and resettled in high-rise public housing to show how a history of tumultuous urban planning decisions can help and hinder an under-heeded population of those who call the city home.

For more information, please visit the CSA website.


Day With(out) Art 2020:

Living with More than One Virus:
A Conversation with Kang Seung Lee on Art as a Praxis of Radical Care

Wednesday, December 2, 2020
5:00 PM – 7:00 PM via Zoom

Image caption: Kang Seung Lee,
Untitled (David Wojnarowicz by Peter Hujar_1983),
inkjet print2016.

Please note, this program may not be suitable for all audiences. It contains sexual content.

Facilitated and Organized by Professor Jill H. Casid (Departments of Art History and Gender and Women’s Studies) and Co-sponsored by the Center for Visual Cultures and the Borghesi-Mellon Workshop on Care.

Drawing from her forthcoming book on the new ars moriendi that contests the terms of planetary abandonment in which we are living our dying, Professor Casid will host a conversation with L.A. based Korean artist Kang See Lee. The conversation amplifies and builds on the screening of TRANSMISSIONS, the Visual AIDS program of of six new videos that consider the impact of HIV and AIDS beyond the United States. The video program brings together artists working across the world: Jorge Bordello (Mexico), Gevi Dimitrakopoulou (Greece), Las Indetectables (Chile), Lucía Egaña Rojas (Chile/Spain), Charan Singh (India/UK), and George Stanley Nsamba (Uganda). In offering a platform for a diversity of voices from beyond the United States these videos offer an opportunity to reflect on the resonances and differences between the differential impacts of the two epidemics of HIV/AIDS and COVID-19.

Lee will present his multi-disciplinary art practice, focusing particularly on the way it mines private and public archives (from art collections to libraries) to unearth forgotten or marginalized transnational queer of color histories. As he describes this practice of care for otherwise ungrieved death, “My work comes from the desire to challenge the narrow perspective of the biased and first-world-oriented timeline of history.” And this presentation of his labor-intensive work that often makes a medium of absence and loss will set the stage for a conversation on art and care in pandemic times. The event will be public and will be widely publicized on campus and in the Madison community.

This event is free and open to the public, but pre-registration is required. Kindly share this link with anyone who may be interested in attending.

Kang Seung Lee is a multidisciplinary artist who was born in South Korea and now lives and works in Los Angeles. Lee has had solo exhibitions at One and J. Gallery, Seoul, South Korea (2018); Artpace San Antonio, TX (2017); Commonwealth and Council, Los Angeles, CA (2017, 2016); Los Angeles Contemporary Archive, Los Angeles, CA (2016); Pitzer College Art Galleries, Claremont, CA (2015); Centro Cultural Border, Mexico City, Mexico (2012). Selected group exhibitions include MMCA, Seoul (2020); Daelim Museum, Seoul (2020); Palm Springs Art Museum, CA (2019); Participant Inc, New York (2019); Canton Gallery, Guangzhou, China (2018); LAXART, Los Angeles, CA (2017); DiverseWorks, Houston, TX (2017); Centro Cultural Metropolitano, Quito, Ecuador (2016); Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA (2014); and Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, NC (2012). Lee is the recipient of the CCF Fellowship for Visual Artists (2019), the Rema Hort Mann Foundation grant (2018), and Artpace San Antonio International Artist-in-Residence program (2017). His work has been reviewed and featured in Artforum, The New York Times, Frieze, New York Magazine, Artnet, LA Weekly, among others. Upcoming projects include exhibitions at the 13th Gwangju Biennale, MASS MoCA, Leslie-Lohman Museum and Art Basel Hong Kong 2021.


Paola Bonifazio Virtual Visiting Lecture

“The Shattered Mirror:
Female Fans, Photoromances, and Meaning-Making”

Friday, December 4, 2020
2:00 – 3:00 PM

Professor Paola Bonifazio (University of Texas-Austin), a distinguished scholar of Italian cultural and screen studies, presents her latest research on subversive readership, fandom, and the hybrid genre of the photoromance (also known as the photo-graphicnovel or photo-comics). In her lecture, Bonifazio takes an interdisciplinary approach, intermingling her study of storytelling with gender, sexuality, and society.

Scholars in the humanities are encouraged to attend.


Mapping Planetary Humanities:
A Conversation with Dipesh Chakrabarty

Wednesday, December 9, 2020
11:00 AM – 1:00 PM CST

Dear friends and colleagues,

We are delighted to invite you to the second session of our ongoing speaker series, Mapping Planetary Humanities: A Conversation with Dipesh Chakrabarty. The session will be held on Wednesday, December 9, 11 am – 1 pm CST. A world-renowned postcolonial scholar, Dr Chakrabarty has also posed crucial interventions in the environmental humanities, especially regarding the ways climate change asks us to rethink the project of studying history. He is a founding member of the editorial collective of Subaltern Studies, a consulting editor of Critical Inquiry, a founding editor of Postcolonial Studies, and has served on the editorial boards of the American Historical Review and Public Culture. More recently, in an article we will discuss with him, he proposes conceiving ‘planet’ as a ‘humanist category’.

To understand Dr Chakrabarty’s planetary turn and to fuel our workshop, we recommend reading Dr Chakrabarty’s groundbreaking essay, “The Planet: An Emergent Humanist Category” (2019), as well as a recently published article featuring a conversation between Dr Chakrabarty and Bruno Latour, “Conflicts of planetary proportions—a conversation” (2020). You can access the readings HERE.

This event is sponsored by the Borghesi-Mellon workshop “Alien Earth: Introduction to Planetary Humanities.” Our workshop aims to draw together an interdisciplinary consortium of scholars from across the humanities and sciences to explore the intersections of astronomy, space travel, the Anthropology/Capitalo/X-cene, colonialism and critical race studies, climate change, and environmental justice.

You can join the meeting on December 9th through this Zoom link:

All the best,
The Alien Earth Team


Inclusion and Place:
Planning and Design for the 21st Century American City

Edna Ledesma,
Assistant Professor, Planning and Landscape Architecture Department, UW-Madison

Saturday, February 6, 2021
10:00 – 11:00 AM CST
Meeting URL will be sent after registration

Professor Ledesma’s presentation explores how inclusion in the planning process can build a more pluralistic 21st century city. Drawing from her research, she discusses a collaborative project between academic institutions and local stakeholders that explored the potential restoration of an eight-mile abandoned rail corridor into a new city place designed to address health, mobility, and economic development.

$10 for public, Free for Friends of the Garden

Website (more information and registration)


College Art Association Annual Conference

February 10-13, 2021

The College Art Association of America (CAA) is the principal organization in the United States for professionals in the visual arts, from students to art historians to emeritus faculty. Founded in 1911, it “promotes these arts and their understanding through advocacy, intellectual engagement, and a commitment to the diversity of practices and practitioners.” CAA currently has individual members across the United States and internationally; and institutional members, such as libraries, academic departments, and museums located in the United States. The organization’s programs, standards and guidelines, advocacy, intellectual engagement, and commitment to the diversity of practices and practitioners, align with its broad and diverse membership.

CAA holds its Annual Conference in February every year. The conference moves to different cities each year, returning to New York every other year. Cities that have hosted the CAA Annual Conference include, Houston, Seattle, Boston, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Chicago, and other major American cities. Between four and six thousand members attend each year, depending on the location. The convention is the largest and most important of the year for makers and interpreters of visual art and visual culture. The conference typically includes more than 300 panels and sessions examining a wide array of topics and issues in the art world. This year, the conference is being held virtually.

Visit the CAA website for more information.


Spotlight Cinema

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

MMoCA’s Spotlight Cinema series returns this winter with an extended film series in 2021.  With online screenings of critically acclaimed and award-winning films from around the world, these will be available for viewing beginning in February.

Spotlight Cinema screenings are free for MMoCA members, and prices vary for nonmembers. Become an MMoCA member today for free access to the entire Spotlight Cinema lineup, and enjoy many other great benefits throughout the year!

Spotlight Cinema is curated by Mike King, and is a program of MMoCA’s education department. Funding for the series has been provided by maiahaus, Venture Investors, LLC, and an anonymous donor.

Films will be available starting at 7 p.m. the night of the screening, and will be available to view for a week. Please check back here soon for a link to purchase tickets.

Keep an eye on MMoCA’s website and social media channels for details on the complete Spotlight Cinema lineup.


“Design Bones: Decoding the Correlates of Design Thinking”

A Lecture by Mark Schar

Thursday, March 4, 2021
4:00 PM CST


Design Thinking is all the rage … and everyone wants to be one.  But what exactly is “design thinking” and what makes it different from other forms of “thinking”? Studying people/designers that are associated with design thinking reveals some of the core pillars of design thinking behavior, who might inherently have those behaviors and who are likely to develop those behaviors in the course of their academic and working lives.  This raises important issues for the teaching of design thinking and how it might be tracked in student progress.


Mark is a Senior Teaching and Research Fellow at the Design School within the School of Engineering at Stanford University. He has a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford, an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management from Northwestern University, and a BSS also from Northwestern University. Mark had a 25-year career at The Procter & Gamble, retiring as a Senior Vice President General Manager, followed by a 5-year stint at Intuit as Chief Marketing Officer and Senior Vice President of Tax Services. He teaches classes on Solid Mechanics, Design Process, Team Management, Product Management, and Leadership with research interests on innovative behaviors and the development of a scale to measure engineering, innovation, and design thinking self-efficacy.


CDMC Conversation & Workshop:
Meredith A Bak

“Playful Visions:
Children’s Media Culture before Screen Time”

Friday, March 12, 2021
2:00 PM CST online

Dr. Meredith A. Bak researches historical and contemporary children’s media, toys, and popular conceptions about technology and play. Bak will be leading a workshop about 19th-century optical toys and illusions—kids’ media before screen time. She will also be in conversation with SoHE’s Heather Kirkorian, Faculty Director of the Child Development Lab, to discuss how early optical toys set the stage for the aspirations and anxieties we associate with children’s media today.

Dr. Meredith A. Bak is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Childhood Studies at Rutgers University-Camden. She researches historical and contemporary children’s media, toys, and popular conceptions about technology and play. Bak will be leading a workshop about nineteenth-century optical toys and illusions—kids’ media before screen time. She will also be in conversation with SoHE Associate Professor Heather Kirkorian, Laura M. Secord Chair in Early Childhood Development, Faculty Director of the Child Development Lab, and Director of the Cognitive Development and Media Lab, to discuss how early optical toys set the stage for the aspirations and anxieties we associate with children’s media today.

Event is free and open to the public thanks to the support of The Anonymous Fund, but advanced registration is required in order to prepare for the workshop component of the event.

website and registration:


Textiles from Home:
Local Crafts, Global Conversations

Week-long Event/Conference of the Design Studies Dept. and the CDMC, SoHE, UW-Madison14-20 March 2021

Join us for a week-long (virtual!) celebration and exploration of the connections between textile making, domestic space, and local environments, both historically and today. Events will be scheduled throughout the week of 14-20 March 2021 and we will do our best to accommodate multiple time zones. Though we recognize that not all timings will be ideal for all people, we will aim for a critical mass at all events, as well as building community throughout the week!



Including keynote speakers:
Cord Whitaker, Elizabeth Lapina, and David J. Rothenberg

Link to the conference program


The department of Art History is delighted to announce the recipient of our first annual Transforming the Discipline Graduate Research Award. This new award is granted each year to a graduate student, whose research makes a significant contribution toward transforming the discipline of art and architectural history in terms of its structural inequities. Please join us in celebrating this year’s recipient, Jessica Cooley, who will be presenting her research in a talk called “Crip Materiality and the Care of Eva Hesse” on March 5, 1:30-2:30.








5:00 PM

The Elusiveness of Performance Art

Dan Van Note (Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies)

5:20 PM

“Outside of the playing space”: What to Send Up When It Goes Down as Endurance Ritual

Lily Shell (Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies)

5:40 PM

Las Yeguas de Apocalipsis: Birds, Blood, and Plastic in works by Pedro Lemebel and Francisco Casas Salva

Anna Gebarski (Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies)

6:00 PM

Auqa Chileno: Reenacting a National Traumatic Memory

Andrea Guzmán Giura (Latin American Caribbean, and Iberian Studies)

6:20 PM

Dissensus practice: the case of Qanmicha violador qanmi kanki

Pedro de Jesus Gonzalez Duran (Spanish & Portuguese)



6:45 – 7:30 PM

Panel Discussion with All Presenters

Moderated by Laurie Beth Clark & Michael Peterson

Professors, Art Department, University of Wisconsin

Register at this link;

Abstracts and bios at this link:

For more information contact: or


A Conversation with Achille Mbembe
Wednesday, May 5th, 2021 | 10:00–11:30am CT
Center for the Humanities

This final session of the ongoing speaker series Mapping Planetary Humanities will consist of an interview on the ways that Dr. Achille Mbembe’s work intersects with questions of planetary, decolonization and critical race studies, followed Q&A with the audience.

Dr Achille Mbembe is Research Professor in History and Politics at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. A renowned public intellectual and prolific writer, Dr Mbembe has written extensively on postcolonial theory and African history and politics. His most recent work theorizes the genealogy of the contemporary world through the lens of necropolitics and explores planetary habitability as inseparable from the politics of care, repair and restitution.

To help facilitate our discussion on planetary and decolonization, we invite you to review “Thoughts on the planetary: An interview with Achille Mbembe,” published on September 5th, 2019, with New Frame, as well as Chapter 1, “Planetary Entanglements,” from Out of the Dark Night: Essays on Decolonization, and the Introduction and Epilogue (“The Becoming Black of the World”and “There is Only One World,”respectively) from
Critique of Black ReasonPlease email if you ned help accessing these sources.

Alien Earth: Introduction to Planetary Humanities is hosted by the Center for the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Our workshop aims to draw together an interdisciplinary consortium of scholars from across humanities and sciences to explore the intersections of astronomy, colonialism and critical race studies, climate change and environmental justice.



CVC Events 2019 – 2020:


Image: Night Watch (Mikaela with Liberty), 20’ wide LED screen on barge, Hudson River, 30”X45”/48″X72″ Lambda Photograph, Shimon Attie, 2018, courtesy of Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

Public Lecture:


Thursday, September 26, 2019
Conrad A. Elvehjem Building L150
5:00 PM

– – –

Friday, September 27, 2019
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
University Club, Room 212
Institute for Research in the Humanities Seminar Room

Lecture abstract:

Artist Shimon Attie will present and discuss a selection of his projects across space and time. The presentation will touch briefly on early works, such as his seminal The Writing on the Wall project, a series of site-specific projections in Berlin’s former Jewish Quarter, while examining in more depth recent works realized in the past five years. The presentation will conclude with Attie presenting his most recent project, Night Watch a floating media installation circulating in the waterways around New York City for the month of September in 2018. The piece was made with 12 individuals living in the NYC area, whose lives were saved by having been granted political asylum in the United States.


Shimon Attie is an international visual artist whose work spans many media, but he is especially well-known for his site-specific public projections and video installations that focus on migrants, asylum seekers, and the persecuted. For The Writing on the Wall (1991- 1992) Attie projected images of Jews and Jewish life from 1930s Berlin onto the buildings and in the neighborhoods where the images were originally taken. This past fall, Night Watch, a series of video portraits of asylum seekers, many of them queer, was installed on a floating barge equipped with a large-scale LED screen. The floating media installation was on view along Manhattan and Brooklyn’s coast during the UN General Assembly week.  In more recent years, Attie has also created a number of multiple-channel immersive video installations for museum and gallery exhibition.  Currently on view through September 29th at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art is Shimon Attie: The Crossing, an exhibit curated by undergraduate and graduate students in the course Design Thinking For ExhibitsThe Crossing (2017) is an art film made with Syrian refugees who had recently arrived in Europe, many on rafts over the Mediterranean, some just weeks before the filming.  Attie’s current work in progress, Time Twirl (w/t), is a video installation which conflates our current political moment of Donald Trump and Brazil’s Jacir Bolsenaro and their historical antecedents, with Brazilian dance, Mel Brooks and comedic representation of fascism.  Attie has received 12 year-long visual artist fellowships, including from the John S. Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the American Academy in Rome (The Rome Prize), The National Endowment for the Arts, The Pollock-Krasner Foundation, The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, and Kunstfonds (Germany’s NEA equivalent).

Events made possible thanks to the generous financial support of the Anonymous Fund and the Center for Jewish Studies.

We would also like to thank the Women’s and Gender Studies Consortium, and the Departments of Art and Art History.


Image: Hernando de Esturmio, Saints Justa and Rufina, Painting from the chapel of the Evangelists from the Cathedral of Seville, 1555.

Public Lecture:


Monday, September 30, 2019
Conrad A. Elvehjem Building L140
5:00 PM

– – –



Monday, September 30, 2019
12:00 – 1:00 PM
University Club Room 212
Institute for Research in the Humanities Seminar Room

Lecture abstract:

Dr. Antonio Urquízar Herrera’s proposed talk is grounded in a systematic analysis of the cultural and religious appropriation of Andalusian architecture by Spanish historians during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Early Modern Spain was left with a significant Islamic heritage: Córdoba Mosque had been turned into a cathedral, in Seville the Aljama Mosque’s minaret was transformed into a Christian bell tower, and Granada Alhambra had become a Renaissance palace. To date this process of Christian appropriation has frequently been discussed as a phenomenon of hybridization.

Workshop abstract:

The existence of a correlation between public image and noble status was a shared belief in Early Modern Europe. Some fifty years ago, the so-called “theory of magnificence” and the notion of “splendor” offered a historical interpretation for the emergence of the sumptuous artistic decorations of 15th- and 16th-Century Italy. These ideas have been widely used to explain the spread of courtly splendor across Europe. However, magnificence alone does not give us the full picture of the social understanding of the Early Modern households. The purpose of this presentation is to widen the frame in order to propose a recovery of the sources’ stress on the theory of signs as a complement to the traditional theory of magnificence.


Dr. Urquízar-Herrera is Professor at the History of Art Department of the UNED, Madrid. During the past twenty years he has enjoyed short, medium and long-term research stays and visiting fellowships at different universities: Lima, Padova, London (Warburg Institute), Lisbon, New York (IHA), Paris (EHESS and INHA), and Cambridge. He will perform a new stay at Cambridge during spring- summer 2020. He frequently participates as invited lecturer or speaker at universities and conferences in Europe and the US. His several books about early modern art in Spain include Admiration and Awe: Morisco Buildings and Identity Negotiations in Early Modern Spanish Historiography (Oxford UP, 2017), and Coleccionismo y nobleza: signos de distinción social en la Andalucía del Renacimiento (Marcial Pons, 2007). He has recently co-edited the volume Another Image: Jews and Muslims Made Visible in Christian Iberia and Beyond, 14th to 18th Centuries (2019, Brill, Leyden).

Both events are free and open to the public. They are possible thanks to the generous financial support of the Anonymous Fund.

We would also like to thank the Buildings-Landscapes, Cultures Program, the Middle East Studies Program, LACIS, the Art History Department, and the Department of Spanish and Portuguese.



Image: Canon Tables, Zeytun Gospels, Getty fol. 6.

Public Lecture:


Thursday, October 24, 2019
Conrad A. Elvehjem Building L150
5:00 PM

Public Workshop:


Thursday, October 24, 2019
12:00 – 1:00 PM
University Club Room 212
Institute for Research in the Humanities Seminar Room

Lecture abstract:

Art history, histories of genocide, cultural heritage, and the questions of the continuity of the medieval and the modern intersect in the biography of a medieval Armenian Gospels manuscript. Eight of its illuminated pages were discovered in the J. Paul Getty Museum in 2010, prompting a lawsuit. The tale of the separation of the pages from the manuscript tells a story of genocide and survival, and makes the case for a human right to art.

Workshop abstract:

In recent years art historians have paid renewed attention to dimensions of the life of art objects beyond the moment of their creation. In a book interrogatively entitled What Do Pictures Want? (2005), WJT Mitchell suggested that depictions have ‘lives’ and that these lives are only partly controlled by those who create art objects – artists or patrons. We humans may create images; but, once created, objects exist in the social world independently of their creators. One way in which art historians have studied the biographies of objects has been through the study of provenance – an area of art history that has attracted critical attention recently (Feigenbaum, and Reist). Provenance, often presented as a dry list of successive owners of an art object, can reveal much more – an “alternative history of art.” Disagreements over provenance are often at stake in disputes over the ownership of an object and often figure in restitution battles. In this workshop we will consider the social lives of art objects, broadly conceived, and the place of provenance in contemporary art historical debates.


Gail Feigenbaum, and Inge Reist, “Introduction,” pp 0-4 and Gail Feigenbaum, “Manifest Provenance,” 6-28, in Gail Feigenbaum and Inge Reist, eds. Provenance: An Alternate History of Art (Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute, 2013).

Heghnar Watenpaugh, “Prologue” and “Chapter 1: Survivor Objects,” in The Missing Pages: The Modern Life of a Medieval Manuscript, from Genocide to Justice (Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2019)


Professor Heghnar Zeitlian Watenpaugh specializes in the history of art, architecture, and urbanism in the Middle East, including architectural preservation, museums, and cultural heritage. Her first book, The Image of an Ottoman City: Architecture in Aleppo, was awarded the Spiro Kostof Book Prize from the Society of Architectural Historians. She has also received the Best Article Award from the Syrian Studies Association, and the Omer Lutfi Barkan Article Prize from the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association.  Her second book, The Missing Pages: The Modern Life of a Medieval Manuscript, from Genocide to Justice, was published by Stanford University Press in 2019. Her research has been supported by fellowships from the J. Paul Getty Trust, National Endowment for the Humanities, Fulbright-Hays, Social Science Research Council, the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art, and the Office of the President of the University of California. She has served on the boards of the Society of Architectural Historians, the Syrian Studies Association, and the Historians of Islamic Art Association, among other professional organizations.

Events made possible thanks to the generous financial support of the UW Anonymous Fund.

The Center for Visual Cultures would also like to thank the Department of Art History, the Buildings, Landscapes, Cultures Program, LACIS, the Middle East Studies Program, and the Department of Spanish and Portuguese.



Image: Aerial view of the Villa of Séviac (France). Photograph:

Public Lecture:


Tuesday, November 5, 2019
Conrad A. Elvehjem Building L140
5:00 PM

Public Workshop:


Tuesday, November 5, 2019
12:00 – 1:00 PM
University Club Room 212
Institute for Research in the Humanities Seminar Room

Lecture abstract:

The luxury décor of the Late Roman villa of Séviac (France) includes mosaics and statuary, including heirlooms, locally-made elements, and imported items. Though most surviving fragments of statuary are physically small, they provide evidence for up to ten marble statues and statuettes, some of which originated in the East Mediterranean. Moreover, an exceptional portrait wearing an Eastern-style toga suggests a connection to the imperial court or administration. The statuary collection at Séviac provides an opportunity to examine aristocratic networks of acquisition in Southern Gaul around A.D. 400, a period when easy connectivity within the Mediterranean world was declining. Personal travel and networks probably account for the imported items at Séviac.

Workshop abstract:

Researchers in Art History and Archaeology can expect to study old objects, but they may also find that they need to handle old data: Victorian-era publications, original excavation notebooks, or other archival records. These old sources can be tantalizing or frustrating in their brevity or the different expectations of recording (such as an 18-page article in 1903 summarizing the finds from 1200 Roman tombs Sousse, Tunisia). Outmoded assumptions about gender, class, or colonialism may be jarring but provide a good reminder of the intellectual filters through which objects and knowledge pass in reaching us. At the same time, old sources enrich research because they are the eyewitness account of early discoveries and monuments that often no longer exist. Digitization projects have made much early data more accessible. The researcher must seek information, consider social context, and attempt new synthesis to enrich current research. In this workshop, I use examples from my own research projects to explore the problems and rewards of working with old data.


Dr. Stirling is Professor of Classics at the University of Manitoba and held the Canada Research Chair in Roman Archaeology 2002-2012. One stream of her research investigates the role of Roman and late Roman statuary in society. She is the author of the Learned Collector: Mythological Statuettes and Classical Taste in Late Antique Gaul (Ann Arbor 2005) and has published statuary from France, Greece, and Tunisia. Another long-term interest is the archaeology of North Africa, and for many years she co-directed excavations at the Roman site of Leptiminus (Lamta, Tunisia). She is the editor (with David Stone) of Mortuary Landscapes of Tunisia (Toronto 2007).

Both events are free and open to the public. They are possible thanks to the generous financial support of the Anonymous Fund.

The Center for Visual Cultures would also like to thank the Department of Art History, The Buildings, Landscapes, Cultures Program, and The Material Culture Culture Program.



Video still from La confesión, 2015.

Public Lecture:


Friday, March 6, 2020
5:00 PM
Conrad A. Elvehjem Building L140

– – –


Friday, March 6, 2020
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
University Club Room 212
Institute for Research in the Humanities Seminar Room


Dr. Coco Fusco will discuss her recent video works that explore the relationship between poetry and politics in Cuba.


Dr. Coco Fusco is an interdisciplinary artist, writer, and scholar. She is a recipient of a 2018 Rabkin Prize for Visual Arts Journalism, the 2016 Greenfield Prize in Visual Art, a 2014 Cintas Fellowship, a 2013 Guggenheim Fellowship, a 2013 Absolut Art Writing Award, a 2013 Fulbright Fellowship, a 2012 US Artists Fellowship and a 2003 Herb Alpert Award in the Arts. Fusco’s performances and videos have been presented in the 56th Venice Biennale, two Whitney Biennials (2008 and 1993), Frieze London Special Projects, BAM’s Next Wave Festival, the Sydney Biennale, The Johannesburg Biennial, The Kwangju Biennale, The Shanghai Biennale, InSite O5, Mercosul, Transmediale, The London International Theatre Festival, VideoBrasil and Performa05. Her works have also been shown at the Tate Liverpool, The Museum of Modern Art, The Walker Art Center and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Barcelona. Fusco is the author of English is Broken Here: Notes on Cultural Fusion in the Americas (1995), The Bodies that Were Not Ours and Other Writings (2001), A Field Guide for Female Interrogators (2008). She is also the editor of Corpus Delecti: Performance Art of the Americas (1999) and Only Skin Deep: Changing Visions of the American Self (2003). Her latest book, entitled Dangerous Moves: Performance and Politics in Cuba was issued in English by Tate Publications in London in 2015 and in Spanish by Turner Libros in 2017.

Both events are free and open to the public. They are possible thanks to the generous financial support of the Anonymous Fund.

The Center for Visual Cultures would also like to thank The Department of Spanish and Portuguese, The Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies Program (LACIS), Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies, Afro American Studies, Art, and The Women’s and Gender Studies Consortium.


We thank Professor Laurie Beth Clark, who taught the core course for the Visual Cultures PhD Minor and Graduate Certificate, AH 801, for hosting the final two classes of the semester online, as webinars, so students had the opportunity to share their research with the community, and anyone who expressed an interest had the opportunity to log in and learn.

Affiliate Events 2019 – 2020:

Wisconsin Workshop

September 12-14, 2019







Wednesday, October 2, 2019
12:00 – 1:00 PM
206 Ingraham Hall







Thursday, November 14, 2019
4:30 – 6:00 PM
University Club, Room 212

Also, don’t miss Sayak Valencia’s Poetry Reading at
A Room of One’s Own on November 15th at 6:00 PM

*The lecture is hosted by the Department of Spanish & Portuguese and co-sponsored by the Center for Visual Cultures








Every four years, the Chazen showcases art by university faculty. A tradition since the museum opened, the show has usually included only faculty and emeriti from the art department. In celebration of the Chazen’s 50th anniversary in 2020, and in acknowledgement that art-making increasingly crosses disciplines and departments, Faculty Exhibition 2020 welcomed proposals from all departments across the campus that utilize art-making in their teaching and research. In addition, rather than confining the show to a single gallery, the exhibition will showcase parts of the collection and buildings that are often overlooked. Projects will explore relationships between the artist’s own work and specific art works in the museum’s collection, or the artist’s own work and the museum’s public spaces and architecture.

The artists are: Jennifer Angus • Emily Arthur • Spatula & Barcode • Derrick Buisch (photo Russell Panczenko) • Anna Campbell

Jill H. Casid (photo Erika Townsley) • Anthony Cerulli • Li Chiao-Ping (photo Brent Nicastro) • Marianne Fairbanks • Sarah FitzSimons • Aristotle Georgiades • Lisa Gralnick

Stephen Hilyard  • John Hitchcock • Tomiko Jones (photo Maggie Soladay) •  Jean Laurenz • Helen Lee •  Myszka Lewis •  Tom Loeser

Caroline Niziolek  •  Darcy Padilla •  Jason Ruhl  • Fred Stonehouse  •  Michael Velliquette • Tony Wise • Thomas Zickuhr


March 5,  6 p.m.  •  Gallery talk by Jill Casid, Chazen Mezzanine

April 2,  6 p.m. •  Gallery talk with performance, Jean Laurenz, Rowland Gallery

April 9, 12:30 p.m. •  Gallery talk, Anthony Cerulli,  Rowland Gallery

April 22, 1  p.m. •  Wellness Wednesday: meditations and discussions, Michael Velliquette,  Gallery TBA





Thursday, March 5, 2020
4:00 – 5:30 PM
336 Ingraham Hall

Through two of her most recent productions at RESAD, Nuria Alkorta reflects on two complementary ways of understanding theater creation in a pedagogical context. The first example shows a process of staging and interpretation of the dramatic character in a baroque theater fiesta, Hado y divisa de Leonido y Marfisa, by Calderón de la Barca. The second shows a process of collective creation in which actors are the generators of the dramatic material that crystallizes in the play #tiempo de exposición, by Paz Palau. Through these two productions, topics such as: individualization of learning, technique and creativity, expressiveness and expression, process and creative process, rehearsal methodologies, and acting training are central to exploring the nuances of Golden Age theater today. For more information, click here. This event is organized by the Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian Studies Program.



School of Human Ecology
On view in the Lynn Mecklenburg Textile Gallery
February 5 through March 15, 2020

Image: A selection from Unpacked. Image courtesy of nelson

UNPACKED: Refugee Baggage seeks to humanize the word “refugee.” This multimedia exhibit features the sculptures of Mohamad Hafez, a Syrian-born, Connecticut-based artist and architect who re-creates war-torn domestic interiors within suitcases. Each piece is based on interviews with refugees who were forced to leave their homes in countries ranging from Syria and Afghanistan, to the Democratic Republic of Congo, and who now reside in the United States. As visitors view Hafez’s sculptures, they can both hear and read these recorded interviews, which were collected by Iraqi-born Wesleyan University student, writer, and speaker, Ahmed Badr. Included in the series are Hafez and Badr’s own stories, which detail Hafez’s inability to return to Syria, and the bomb that entered Badr’s family home.






CVC Events 2018 – 2019:

OCTOBER 11, 2018

Alongside the performative speech act – the words with which we do things – there has always existed a contrary set of pejorative speech acts – the words with which we undo things. With growing contemporary concern over civility and incivility in American life, this talk will offer a speculative genealogy of the pejorative arts. Focusing in particular on the “profane oath” – a pejorative speech-act broadly considered immoral, uncivil, and illegal in this period – it tracks the hidden history of the pejorative as an enunciatory site from which black and indigenous people could countermand the civilizing mission. The talk examines this pejorative speech-act though a reading of the 1957 MGM film, Something of Value, a film that allegorically maps Native North American resistance onto East African anti-colonial resistance in a manner that offers some useful insights into the intersection of black and indigenous studies today.


Tavia Nyong’o is Professor of African American Studies, American Studies, and Theater Studies at Yale University. He works in contemporary aesthetic and critical theory with a particular attention to the visual, musical, and performative dimensions of blackness, as well as to the affective and technocultural dimensions of modern regimes of race. His first book, The Amalgamation Waltz: Race, Performance, and the Ruses of Memory (Minnesota, 2009), won the Errol Hill Award for best book in African American theatre and performance studies. He is completing a study of fabulation in black aesthetics and embarking on another on queer wildness. Nyong’o has published in venues such as Radical History Review, Criticism, GLQ, TDR, Women & Performance, WSQ, The Nation, Triple Canopy, The New Inquiry, and n+1. He is co-editor of the journal Social Text and the Sexual Cultures book series at New York University press. He regularly blogs at Bully Bloggers.

The lecture and workshop were supported by the Anonymous Fund, the Theater Studies Program, and the Departments of Art and Art History.

OCTOBER 25, 2018

Dr. Posner will give a public lecture designed to attract an interdisciplinary audience. In the lecture, she will reflect on the opportunities and challenges of data visualization and share some of her work with two very different data sets: one from a museum, the other from a commercial retail chain.

Dr. Posner will also lead a hands-on workshop for digital humanists. In the workshop, she will guide participants through the process of curating a data set and applying visualization software to it. Participants will learn hands-on skills, but Dr. Posner will also encourage participants to think critically about the data and its visual expression.


Miriam Posner is an assistant professor at the UCLA School of Information. She’s also a digital humanist with interests in labor, race, feminism, and the history and philosophy of data. As a digital humanist, she is particularly interested in the visualization of large bodies of data from cultural heritage institutions, and the application of digital methods to the analysis of images and video. A film, media, and American studies scholar by training, she frequently writes on the application of digital methods to the humanities. She is at work on two projects: the first on what “data” might mean for humanistic research; and the second on how multinational corporations are making use of data in their supply chains.

The lecture and workshop were supported by the Anonymous Fund, the Center for the History of Print and Digital Culture, and the Departments of Communication Arts and Art.

NOVEMBER 2, 2018

Michel Foucault’s History of Sexuality is often taken as a key theoretical text in the study of sexuality throughout the humanities, and yet some of its critique of the radical rhetoric of the sexual revolution and its discussion of our ‘privileged objects of knowledge’ may seem now historically remote. With the rise of digital media and information technology, we have seen a new sexual revolution in the past two decades, and so how do we revise Foucault for a theory of the influence of the Internet and current media on sexual practices and sexual politics? What are the new ‘privileged objects of knowledge’ in our conception of sexuality? How do they relate formally to the technologies of their representation, including recent innovations in cinema but also in the deployment of sexuality in social media? We will look at Steve McQueen’s 2011 film Shame as a case in point about sexual ideology, sex addiction, and technology.


Ellis Hanson is a Professor of English at Cornell University teaching Victorian and Modernist Literature. He is author of Decadence and Catholicism (Harvard, 1997) and edited the influential volume Out Takes: Essays on Queer Theory and Film (Duke, 1997). Recent work has turned to the exploration and production of mood within aesthetic theory (see Ellis Hanson, “The Languorous Critic,” New Literary History, vol. 43, No. 3, (Summer 2012), pp. 547-564 and the forthcoming essay, “The Style of Decadent Prose” in The History of Decadence, Alex Murray, ed., Cambridge UP). Two new projects consider with the sustained analysis of interiority: the first, The Aesthetics of Suffering, consider the external representation of chronic internal states, and the other, Knowing Children, concentrates on the visual representation of child sexuality in contemporary American culture.

The lecture and workshop were supported by the Anonymous Fund, the Interdisciplinary Theater Studies Program, and the Departments of English, Art, and Art History.

MARCH 5, 2019
Photo of Ni Una Menos Demonstration by Sol Vazquez.

Social Movements are increasingly performative. This means that organizers place a premium on the form that social mobilization takes, both on and offline, not only as a reflection of the movement’s agenda but as a driver of the movement’s development and vitality. Social media campaigns are launched and sustained through images that become vectors for decentered participation, that is, for protesters to appropriate and circulate networked images such as memes and gifs in their own terms. In this talk, I will discuss the visual performative tactics deployed by the Argentine feminist collective Ni Una Menos (NUM) on urban and digital spaces. Focusing on NUM’s use of discursive and visual images such as the collective scream, the feminist tide, and ‘Operation Spider’ as a response to gender-based violence, I will analyze the function of expressive action as a means of collective empowerment and transnational insurgency. I will track how NUM turned mourning into the seeds of revolutionary change in Argentina and beyond by operating simultaneously as a collective, a constellation of performances, and a transnational mobilization that moves through images of its pulsating articulations and accumulations.


Marcela A. Fuentes is Assistant Professor in the Department of Performance Studies at Northwestern University. Her research focuses on performance and networked communication in contemporary social movements and activisms. Her forthcoming book Performance Constellations: Networks of Protest and Activism in Latin America (University of Michigan Press, Fall 2019) argues that bodily performance and new media are process-based tools that disrupt the workings of oppressive regimes and bring forth opportunities for transformative political processes. Fuentes’s work has been published in the Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies, Text and Performance Quarterly, e-misférica and edited volumes on transnational feminist movements, memory, and social change. She is currently a council member for the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics and an external consultant for the Buenos Aires’ Performance Biennial. From 2016 to 2018 she was a member of the Ni Una Menos collective.

Event made possible thanks to the Anonymous Fund and the Departments of Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies, LACIS, and Spanish and Portuguese.

This event was featured in the Badger Herald!

Read the article here.

MARCH 28, 2019
Felix González-Torres, Untitled [Billboard of an Empty Bed] 1991.

There is a tendency in visual culture theory to still abide – probably inadvertently – by Marshall McLuhan’s eventful phrase (1962, 1967) “The medium is the message,” later rephrased as “The medium is the massage,” which proposes that the medium itself will distort “reality” by composing and displaying images meant to force biased contents onto the viewer. I will challenge this persistent idea of a passive viewer by exploring how landscapes and cityscapes – where the subject’s changing position and point of view create an equally changing scene – may lead the viewer to restate meaning and form beyond the visual, thus defying deliberate contents, unleashing the freedom to see in a more complex sensory context, and redefining their visual culture. When discussing the landscape experience, I will focus on anthropologist David Le Breton’s Éloge de la marche (2000) and Tacita Dean’s Place (2005); and, for the cityscape experience, artist Félix González-Torres Untitled [The empty bed] (1991) billboards posted on several Manhattan buildings, and Michel de Certeau’s 1995 essay Practices of Space.

MARCH 28, 2019 @ 12:00 PM

A Workshop by Lilliana Ramos Collado, PhD
School of Architecture, University of Puerto Rico

This workshop is designed as a presentation and conversation about contemporary Puerto Rican art, with special attention devoted to the creation and installation processes. Puerto Rican Arts has become the rage. In the last 5 years, many of our artists have been featured in solo and group shows in New York City, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, Las Palmas (Canary Islands), Mexico City, Havana, London, Berlin, Milan, Madrid, Montreal and Sao Paulo, among other venues. The main reason for this sudden applause is the great diversity of subject matter, materials, approaches, object theory, social commitment, and siting; and the way they transform tradition into something completely wayward and unexpected. From a renewed interest in land art, to the making of gigantic grattages and frottages; from allegorical art to down-to-earth political commentary, our artists are taking art by storm. The painter Arnaldo Roche has taken the self-portrait to a new level. Land artist Dhara Rivera has renewed that concept in a lyrical vein. Jeannette Betancourt has focused on the plight of Puerto Ricans subjected to a monstrous fiscal debt forced upon us but never audited. Ramón Rivera Beltrán is retelling our history as something no longer written in stone… but in brittle concrete. Humor and sadness, anger and beauty are shared by these four artists.Biography:

Dr. Lilliana Ramos Collado teaches architecture theory/history at the University of Puerto Rico in Río Piedras. She has published three poetry books, Útimos poemas de la rosa (Erizo Editorial, 2013) being the latest, and several books on art theory, history and criticism, the latest being Puerto Rico: Gateway to Landscape (2014). Ramos has published widely on art, literature, architecture and heritage in scholarly and non-scholarly journals and magazines, was Puerto Rico Museum of Contemporary Art head curator, and also Executive Director of the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture, a position equivalent to Minister of Culture. Her latest book on architecture and heritage, La patria en ruinas: siete visitas a la catástrofe, is due next May.

Events made possible thanks to the financial support of the Anonymous Fund and LACIS. We are also grateful for the support of the Departments of Art, Art History and Spanish and Portuguese.

THURSDAY, APRIL 4, 2019 @ 5:00 PM
Flag. 1954-55 (dated on reverse 1954). Encaustic, oil, and collage on fabric mounted on plywood, three panels, 42 1/4 x 60 5/8″ (107.3 x 153.8 cm). Gift of Philip Johnson in honor of Alfred H. Barr, Jr.
Image licenced to Isabelle Wallace WALLACE, ISABELLE by Isabelle Wallace
Usage : – 2000 X 2000 pixels
© Digital Image (c) The Museum of Modern Art/Licensed by SCALA / Art Resource

Neither Johns’ first nor oldest extant work, Flag (1954-55) is often described as a personal emblem and point of origin, both for Johns’ oeuvre and postmodern culture more generally. But what kind of emblem is Flag? And, indeed, what kind of origin? With these two questions in mind, this lecture revisits Johns’ much-discussed painting and places it in dialogue with two contemporaneous, but seemingly unrelated developments outside the field of art history: 1) Jacques Lacan’s return to Freud as developed in his Parisian seminars of the mid to late fifties, and 2) the discovery of DNA’s double helix structure by James Watson and Francis Crick in 1953. As I will argue, these never-compared phenomena reflect a profound shift in our perception of the human subject, which is in turn aligned with a profound shift in the conception of art, evident, I claim, in the self-reflexive, mid-century paintings of Jasper Johns.

THURSDAY, APRIL 4, 2019 @ 12:00 PM

What do Olafur Eliasson, Paul Pfeiffer, Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle, and Christian Jankowski all have in common? All are new media artists whose work is engaged with apocalyptic structures, themes, or imagery. In this wide-ranging discussion of art since the year 2000, we will consider several projects that sound a sober note of alarm, or, are notably light-hearted and/or pop-cultural, despite cataclysmic and/or religious subject matter. Our primary questions will be two: how does apocalyptic rhetoric function at the turn of the second millennium? And, what connections might we make between it, technology, and the Judeo-Christian tradition?


Isabelle Loring Wallace is Associate Professor of Contemporary Art at the Lamar Dodd School of Art at the University of Virginia. Her research focuses on a wide range of objects and images, ranging from mid-twentieth-century American painting to early twenty-first-century photography, video, and installation. She has written essays on Manet, Duchamp, Jenny Saville, Wim Delvoye, Steven Meisel and Paul Pfeiffer, and co-edited of two anthologies that reflect her commitment to thinking about contemporary art within broad cultural and historical contexts: Contemporary Art and Classical Myth, co-edited with Jennifer Hirsh (Ashgate 2011) and Contemporary Art About Architecture: A Strange Utility co-edited with Nora Wendl (Ashgate 2013). Professor Wallace is also author of Jasper Johns (Phaidon, 2014) and is currently completing a second book on Johns that considers his work in conjunction with contemporaneous developments in the fields of genetics and psychoanalysis. Simultaneously, she is working on a new project that considers recurring intersections between new media art and assorted Judeo-Christian themes.

Events made possible thanks to the Anonymous Fund and the Departments of Art, Art History and English.

FRIDAY, APRIL 26, 2019 @ 5:00 PM

Our luminous technologies cast shadows that stretch across the planet. Join speculative architect Liam young and an all-seeing smart city operating system as they take a tour in a driverless taxi on a storytelling tour through the flickering screen and beyond the fog of the cloud, to explore City Everywhere, a quasi-fictional city of the near future, extrapolated from the fears and wonders of an increasingly complex present. Seen through the eyes of the machines that we are now designing our cities for, you will visit the autonomous infrastructures, industrial territories and sacrificial landscapes that span from the robot ports on the Siberian coastline to the massive mining excavations carved from the middle of Australia where our gadgets begin their lives.

FRIDAY, APRIL 26, 2019 @ 12:00 PM

In the Post Anthropocene non human actors such as technology and artificial intelligence now compute, condition and construct our world. The data centers, telecommunications networks, distribution warehouses, unmanned ports and industrialized agriculture that define the very nature of who we are today are at the same time places we never inhabit. Instead they are occupied by server stacks and hard drives, logistics bots and mobile shelving units, autonomous cranes and container ships, robot vacuum cleaners and smart fridges, driverless tractors and taxis. This is not a posthuman condition in the sense that term is typically used. This isn’t about body modifications, cyborgs, exoskeletons and genetic engineering. The Post Anthropocene has nothing to do with our bodies, it is more accurately extra-human in that it is outside of us, totally indifferent to us, where we are no longer part of the equation at all. In the context we must shift from human centered Western narratives structures. In the post Anthropocene perspectives such as first person, third person or the Hero’s Journey break down when internet connected toasters talk back and we confess to Amazon Alexa that we are contemplating suicide. In this workshop we explore a series of new stories, myths and perspectives for a world beyond us.


Liam Young is a speculative architect who operates in the spaces between design, fiction and futures. He is cofounder of Tomorrows Thoughts Today, an urban futures think tank, exploring the local and global implications of new technologies and Unknown Fields, a nomadic research studio that travels on expeditions to chronicle these emerging conditions as they occur on the ground. He has been acclaimed in both mainstream and architectural media, including the BBC, NBC, Wired, Guardian, Time, and Dazed and Confused, is a BAFTA nominated producer and his work has been collected by institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Victoria and Albert Museum and MAAS in Sydney. He has taught internationally at the Architectural Association, Princeton University and now runs the ground breaking MA in Fiction and Entertainment at Sci Arc in Los Angles. Liam’s narrative approach sits between documentary and fiction as he focuses on projects that aim to reveal the invisible connections and systems that make the modern world work. Liam now manages his time between exploring distant landscapes and prototyping the future worlds he extrapolates from them.

Events made possible thanks to the Anonymous Fund and the Departments of Art, Art History, and English.

Affiliate Events 2018 – 2019:


Kruger’s most recent book, Imagining the Edgy City, brings together film and fiction, public art, architecture, and history with previous work on theatre and other performances in Johannesburg. The book shows how apparently new claims for Johannesburg as global city hide a long history of images of Johannesburg as the wonder city of Africa and the world, with comparisons both pertinent and impertinent with other cities from Chicago to Paris, Berlin to Bogotá, Sydney to Sāo Paulo. Johannesburg has been called the “Chicago of South Africa” partly because of gangster culture in both places, but Johannesburg also owes a lot to the influence of Chicago architects and urbanists.


Ruth Ketterer Harris Lecturer

Public Lecture: “Gossips, Garlands, and Thirty-Four Cows: The Modern Fold Aesthetic of the Folly Cove Textile Designs”
Thursday, November 1, 2018 @ 7:00 PM
Room 2235, Nancy Nicholas Hall
1300 Linden Drive, Madison
Gossips, 1941 – 1945
Block print mat by Virginia Demetrios, a Folly Cove Designer
Gift from the Estate of Professor Helen Louise Allen, Accession Number: P.D.US.0065


During the 1940s through 1960s, in the small community of Folly Cove in Gloucester, Massachusetts, a network of artists and designers produced block-printed textiles for the mid-century American home. Drawing on the landscapes and cultural icons they saw around them in rural New England, the Folly Cove Designers often incorporated these everyday images into strikingly modern graphics. Started by Virginia Lee Burton, the writer and illustrator of popular children’s books, the Folly Cove Designers worked as a collective, critiquing one another’s work and encouraging attention to detail in design and craftsmanship. The Folly Cove Designers sought to bring fine art to the home, in their case primarily through hand-printed table linens; they also supplied designs to regional and national department stores and fabric companies. The discussion of the Folly Cove Designers will focus on examples collected by Helen Louise Allen and now housed in the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection.

Theron Schmidt

Public Lecture: What kind of work is this? Performance and materialisms in the Biennale of Sydney
Thursday, 8 November 2018, 5pm-7pm, 6191 Helen C. White
Workshop: How we talk about the work is the work: Creative approaches to critical art writing
Friday, 9 November 9am-12pm, Humanities 6321
Advance registration required
Sponsored by University Lectures and Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies. Co-sponsored by Art, Art History, Dance, and the Center for Visual Cultures

“Cultivating Citizens with Art”

Lecture by Prof. Lauren Kroiz
University of California, Berkeley
Thursday, November 8, 2018 @ 6:30 PM
Auditorium, Chazen Museum of Art
Reception to Follow

Sponsored by the James Watrous fund of the Dpartment of Art History with Co-Sponsorship from the Chazen Museum of Art

Flash Gallery Talk: Anna Campbell

Thursday, April 11, 2019
12:30 – 1:00 PM
Leslie and Johanna Garfield Galleries,
Chazen Museum of Art

For this Flash Gallery Tour of Un/Seen, Prof. Anna Campbell will discuss the politics of exposure and image-making, focusing in particular on representation of queer and racialized identities in the work of F. Holland Day (1864–1933) and René Peña (1957– ) as read through Susan Sontag’s 1975 essay Fascinating Fascism.

Held in conjunction with Un/Seen: The Alchemy of Fixing Shadows.


CVC Events 2017 – 2018:

SEPTEMBER 28 – 29, 2017

Durham, N.C. residents pose with toppled statue of a Confederate soldier. | Photo: Twitter / @DerrickQLewis

Nicholas Mirzoeff presented his current project, The Appearance of Black Lives Matter, #Charlottesville in a public lecture on September 28th. Police killings captured on cell-phone video or photographs have become the hallmark of United States visual culture in the twenty-first century. In the lecture, Mirzoeff examined this transformation of visual culture from the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown in the summer of 2014, to the inauguration of Donald Trump in 2017, and most recently to the violence of white supremacists in Charlottesville, VA.

The student workshop focused on the Introduction and Conclusion to his publications How to See the World (2015) along with the Beginning of The Appearance of Black Lives Matter (2017). How to See the World analyzes an unprecedented political shift initiated by the visual revolution of the internet’s image explosion. From Google Images to Instagram, video games to installation art, this transformation is confusing, liberating and worrying all at once. As Mirzoeff reminds us, this is not the first visual revolution; the nineteenth century saw the invention of film, photography and x-rays, and the development of maps, microscopes and telescopes made the 17th century an era of visual discovery. But the sheer quantity of images produced on the internet today has no parallels. Mirzoeff’s recent publication The Appearance of Black Lives Matter studies the formation of the space of appearance, that space where we catch a glimpse of the society that is to come—the future commons or communism. In this discussion, we will focus on the Preface and Ouverture: Black Lives Matter from The Appearance of Black Lives Matter.

OCTOBER 6-11, 2017
OCTOBER 7 & 8, 2017


In collaboration with Chicago Shakespeare Theater and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Center for Visual Cultures welcomed Teatro Línea de Sombra, October 6 – 11. A performance group consisting of Jorge Vargas, Alicia Laguna, Zuadd Atala, Eduardo Bernal, Raul Mendoza, Gilberto Barraza, Vianey Salinas, Jesus Cuevas, and Malcom Vargas, Teatro Línea de Sombra is revered for their transnational pieces that use documentary techniques, video editing, film embedding, site-specific performances, and anti-methodological acting to explore issues of immigration, violence, and human rights awareness.

Baños Roma considers the life of Cuban-Mexican boxer José “Mantequilla” Nápoles, one of the most important characters in Mexican popular culture at the end of the 20th century. His importance lies not only in the achievements he obtained in his sports career but because he is a representative figure of the time. “Mantequilla,” (his nickname meaning “butter” referring to his smooth boxing style), now with dementia, is still a legend that lives in the social imaginary. Today he lives in Ciudad Juárez, a city plagued by its own decay due to the narcos involvement. Teatro Línea de Sombra is interested in that hero of boxing but from the perspective of the ghostly figure that he is now. Thus, two contemporary instances are constructed, on the one hand, reality, based on the bleak look at his life in Ciudad Juárez, and on the other, memory and the fragility it exposes. This binomial could be called “The memorable reality.” Teatro Línea de Sombra is concerned not only with the impossible notion of true events but the group also implies that memory can help imagine the present.

Directors Eduardo Bernal and Jorge A. Vargas of Teatro Línea de Sombra led a two-day workshop where participants explored Teatro Línea de Sombra’s unique methodology that stresses the key concepts of the referent, conviviality, experience, the argument, and the image. Participants also composed either a short scene or wrote a reflexive artistic/academic argument that fused Teatro Línea de Sombra’s  approach to maps, biopolitics, the body, and the environment.

OCTOBER 19, 2017

Presented in partnership with the Center for the Humanities and the Institute for Research in the Humanities

Christina Sharpe is Professor of English at Tufts University and the author of Monstrous Intimacies: Making Post-Slavery Subject and In the Wake: On Blackness and Being. Her research interests are in black visual culture, black diaspora studies, and feminist epistemologies, with a particular emphasis on black female subjectivity and black women artists.

In In the Wake, Sharpe interrogates literary, visual, cinematic, and quotidian representations of Black life that comprise what she calls the “orthography of the wake.” Activating multiple registers of “wake”—the path behind a ship, keeping watch with the dead, coming to consciousness—Sharpe illustrates how Black lives are swept up and animated by the afterlives of slavery, and she delineates what survives despite such insistent violence and negation. Initiating and describing a theory and method of reading the metaphors and materiality of “the wake,” “the ship,” “the hold,” and “the weather,” Sharpe shows how the sign of the slave ship marks and haunts contemporary Black life in the diaspora and how the specter of the hold produces conditions of containment, regulation, and punishment, but also something in excess of them. In the weather, Sharpe situates anti-Blackness and white supremacy as the total climate that produces premature Black death as normative. Formulating the wake and “wake work” as sites of artistic production, resistance, consciousness, and possibility for living in diaspora, In the Wake offers a way forward.

OCTOBER 18, 2017

two banners, one embroidered with

Cauleen Smith

Cauleen Smith (born Riverside, California, 1967) is an interdisciplinary artist whose work reflects upon the everyday possibilities of the imagination. Operating in multiple materials and arenas, Smith roots her work firmly within the discourse of mid-twentieth-century experimental film. Drawing from structuralism, third world cinema, and science fiction, she makes things that deploy the tactics of these disciplines while offering a phenomenological experience for spectators and participants. Her films, objects, and installations have been featured in group exhibitions. Studio Museum of Harlem, Houston Contemporary Art Museum; Yerba Buena Center for Art, and the New Museum, New York, D21 Leipzig and Decad, Berlin. She has had solo shows for her films and installations at The Kitchen, MCA Chicago, Threewalls, Chicago. She shows her drawings and 2D work with Corbett vs. Dempsey.  Smith is the recipient of several grants and awards including the Rockefeller Media Arts Award, Creative Capital Film /Video, Chicago 3Arts Grant, and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Chicago Expo Artadia Award, and Rauschenberg Residency. Smith was born in Riverside, California and grew up in Sacramento. She earned a BA in Creative Arts from San Francisco Sate University and an MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Theater Film and Television. Smith is based in the great city of Chicago and serves as faculty for the Vermont College of Fine Arts low-residency MFA program.

Read more about Smith’s work in a recent ARTFORUM article.

Christina Sharpe is Professor of English at Tufts University and the author of Monstrous Intimacies: Making Post-Slavery Subject and In the Wake: On Blackness and Being. Her research interests are in black visual culture, black diaspora studies, and feminist epistemologies, with a particular emphasis on black female subjectivity and black women artists.

Emmy Award-Winning Michael Wylie
March 5, 2018

Much has been written in recent years of the spate of superb writing for television across many series, but the leaps forward in visual artistry are equally remarkable. Amidst the context of fervid change and experimentation in television, what then is happening to the medium as a centerpiece of visual culture? How are the artistry, politics, craft, economics, and culture of television changing? What does artistic production design for contemporary television entail? This public discussion aimed to answer these and more questions, as Emmy Award-winning production designer Michael Wylie discussed his work across numerous series including the popular television shows Legion, Pushing Daises, Californication, Masters of Sex, and Agent Carter.

Jane Blocker
Echo: Sound Recording and Racial Violence in Contemporary Art History 
April 5, 2018

Jane Blocker is a Professor of Art History and Associate Dean for Art and Humanities at the University of Minnesota.

Her public lecture, “Echo: Sound Recording and Racial Violence in Contemporary Art History” looked back to the infamously politicized 1993 Whitney Biennial and its inclusion of the amateur video showing five white police officers beating Rodney King, to consider the ways in which recorded sound serves as historical document. It drew together critical reactions to the Biennial, the performance practice of Anna Deavere Smith, and the story of Echo to think about the effect of racial violence on historical temporalities.

The student workshop focused on Professor Blocker’s latest research alongside her 2015 publication, “History in the Present Progressive: Sonic Imposture at The Pedicord Apts.”

Affiliate Events 2017 – 2018:

Honor Ford-Smith
Performance: Song for the Beloved
September 21, 2017

Honor Ford-Smith is an artist-scholar whose work intersects performance, installation art, historical memory, death and mourning, as well as racial, ethnic and Caribbean studies. Song for the Beloved is a performance and installation piece she recently brought to Liberty Hall in Kingston, Jamaica, to mourn the death of civilians in the hands of the state or paramilitary groups.

NOVEMBER 2, 2017

Photo of a man in silhouette holding an antennae

What do we mean when we discuss an animation’s “frame rate” or say a photograph is “in development”? What is rastering? What is a signal to noise ratio? Employing photography, collage and sculpture to engage these technical terms and the history of communication systems, Herman uses the analogy of an antenna to query the way structure and rhythm impact both fabrication techniques and a thing’s reception in the world. Engaging methods of reproduction and distribution as a point of departure, Herman’s work exploits “noise” or the break down of data, to explore the role materials and patterning plays in perception. Finding both beauty and intellectual clarity in these disruptions and moments of metamorphose, Herman reveals how symbolic logic and myth continue to resonate in our hyper-digitized world. As part of his presentation Herman discussed his project for Weaving Lab: Digital Residency.

November 8, 2017

Video art in Cuba was introduced by Tania Bruguera’s movement Behavior Art in the 1990s. In general, it is a documentary type of video made with precarious technology. It is mainly used by artists as an extension of their primary practice and incorporated in exhibitions as video installations. Rosa’s lecture and workshop presented a short history of the medium and reflected on how Cuban video relates to both reality and to more academic art practices.

NOVEMBER 9, 2017

How do media — both journalism and entertainment — frame Americans’ relationship to and understanding of race? What roles do they play in dividing or uniting, and to what end?


Informed by the artistic practice of Brazilian artist Hélio Oiticica (1937-1980) in relation to the socio-political conditions and carnival culture in Brazil in the 1960s, What Bodies Can Do: Art and the Social Practice of Resistance seeks to alter our understanding of the art object by re-evaluating the kinship between participatory art, embodied performativity, and social practices of resistance. Premised on the conviction that Hélio Oiticica’s paradigm-shifting Parangolés specifically, and participatory art more broadly, are fundamentally what Judith Butler calls “embodied forms of action and mobility marked by dependency and resistance,” this project will bring together an interdisciplinary group of scholars to create, perform, and ultimately engage in a timely debate about the political, social, and cultural potentials arising from the embodied performativity of art.

In other words, this event will set the stage for demonstrating the potential of art as what Brazilian critic Mário Pedrosa called “an experimental exercise of freedom.” By exercising art making and display as embodied social action, What Bodies Can Do: Art and the Social Practice of Resistance aims to provide a platform for new scholarship and a vital site for public discussion and activism.

What Bodies Can Do: Art & the Social Practice of Resistance is organized by the Visual Cultures Collective in collaboration with the Center for Visual Cultures, Teatro Décimo Piso, and the Chazen Museum, with active involvement from the Departments of Art History, English, Spanish and Portuguese, Art, the UW Center for the Humanities, and the International Student Services

APRIL 6 – 7, 2018

MARCH 2 -3, 2018

This symposium proposes to bring together artists, scientists and scholars across several disciplines for whom color matters in quite different registers, across the globe and across modernity. From the Early Modern era to the present, color theory and practice cross disciplines and sponsor debates about what color is. This 21st century symposium looks forward and back in time to invite collective thought about color’s modernity. The symposium invites scholars, artists and participants to think about how their research addresses two questions: crossovers between color theory and material practices now, among artists and scientists, and as part of the global exchange of color, pigments and artifacts.

MARCH 12 – 13

Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies Colloquium Speaker Sara Freeman, U Pugent Sound; Editor, Theatre History Studies

Contemporary playwrights now often compress the linguistic and imagistic aspects of theatre, distilling spatial and dramatic elements with as much attention to visuality as textuality. Countering Hans Thies Lehman’s position on dramatic theatre, Liz Tomlin asserts that the “dramatic form itself has continuously questioned its own predicates, with a self-reflexivity that has enabled it to dismember the classical dramatic apparatus piece by piece, shape shifting into the absences that are left almost imperceptibly to form new structures that can accommodate the philosophical questions of the time.” Taking up this insight, Sara Freeman argues that divisions between text-based and non-text-based theatre, or dramatic and postdramatic forms, truncate rather than illuminate the innovations of twenty-first century dramaturgies practiced by writers like Caryl Churchill, Naomi Iizuka, and Sarah Ruhl. She details how contemporary directors and designers stage these authors’ work informed by the insights of avant-garde forms, performance art, devising practices, and mediatized culture about how to maximize the phenomenological impact of the linguistic, spatio-temporal, and perceptual experimentation in the writing. Following Tomlin’s recovery of plays-as-texts for postmodern theatre,Freeman explicates the indissolubility of text and staging in twenty-first century dramaturgies and argues for the theatrical and critical necessity of a spatialized poetic vocabulary that owes as much to Bachelard as it does to Aristotle when addressing new Anglo-American writing in theatre.


Antoni Miralda + Alicia Rios
Artist Talk, Workshop, and Performance
April 25 – 29, 2017

Alicia Rios creates multi-sensory works that require the public’s participation, where reality is reinterpreted through food and devoured collectively. Her collective Ali&Cia has produced edible greenhouses, libraries and entire cities and islands, staged for up to four thousand people. Rios is also one of the leading Spanish experts on tasting olive oil, has written several cookbooks, and publishes regularly on culinary themes. Information about her work can be found at:

Antoni Miralda explores the foods of many different cultures in projects that are edible anthropologies and conceptual propositions. He has made shrines in food markets and ritualistic ceremonial banquets. His FoodCultura Museum is a collection of devices and strategies that question common museum protocols to examine and foster participation in culinary cultures from around the world. Miralda currently has a permanent stall at La Boqueria, the largest permanent food market in Spain.  His work was recently featured in the Spanish Pavilion of the Milan Expo and will be part of the upcoming Venice Biennale.  Information about his work can be found at:

On Wednesday, 26 April, Rios and Miralda lectured on their individual oeuvres. Following a short break, there was a moderated dialogue between the two about similarities and differences in their approaches and a discussion of their Madison project. This symposium took place in L160 Elvehjem Building (800 University Avenue) starting at 4:30 PM.

On Saturday, 29 April,  Rios and Miralda will produced their first collaborative project, a procession and mobile exhibition on the theme of food waste.  Assistant and volunteers worked with the artists on Friday in advance of the performance.

These events were funded by the Anonymous Fund, University Lectures Fund, Jay and Ruth Halls Visiting Scholar Fund, Borghesi Mellon Workshops, and Spatula&Barcode. Co-sponsoring units include the Center for Humanities, Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies, Design Studies, Art History, Spanish and Portuguese.

Andy Bichlbaum of the Yes Men
Artist Talk
April 20th, 6pm in Elvehjem L140

The Yes Men are an activist duo and network of supporters created by Jacques Servin (Andy Bichlbaum) and Igor Vamos. Through the use of satire and staged media events the Yes Men primarily aim to raise awareness about problematic social and political issues. Bichlbaum spoke about their activism and art practice.

Sponsored by the Center for Visual Cultures. Co-sponsored by Evil Twin Booking Agency. Funding provided by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Anonymous Fund.

Susan Stockwell
Artist Talk
March 30th, 6pm in Elvehjem L140

Sail Away: Workshop
March 31 & April 1

Susan Stockwell’s work takes many forms from small studies to large scale sculptural installations, drawings and collage. It is concerned primarily with transformation and with issues of ecology, geo-politics, mapping, trade and history. The materials used are the everyday, domestic and industrial disposable products that pervade our lives. These materials are manipulated and transformed into works of art that are extraordinary.

Stockwell spoke on her work during an artist talk on March 30 at 6pm in Elvehjem L140. She also hosted a two-day workshop in which participants had the unique opportunity to work directly with Stockwell to build sailboats (similar to those in the photo above) from discarded currency and maps that were then released on Lake Mendota.

Susan gained an MA in sculpture from the Royal College of Art in 1993. She exhibits in galleries and museums all over the world including, TATE Modern and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, The Katonah and the Neuberger Museums of Art in America and The National Museum of China in Beijing. She has been awarded scholarships, grants and commissions such as a Visiting Arts Taiwan-England Artists Fellowship and commissions from the University of Bedfordshire, Black Rock Investments and the National Army Museum. She has taught extensively and taken part in residencies and projects in Europe, America, Australia and Asia.

David Getsy & Ramzi Fawaz
Cheap: Queer Visual Culture, Salvage, and Reuse
October 13th, 7pm in Elvehjem L140

This event featured a public dialogue between two leading scholars in queer visual culture studies, David Getsy and Ramzi Fawaz, whose recent books explore the uses of throwaway or disposable cultural forms to articulate alternative expressions of sexuality and gender in contemporary U.S. culture.

Getsy’s recent monograph Abstract Bodies: Sixties Sculpture in the Expanded Field of Gender, uses transgender theory to study 1960s abstract sculpture, paying particular attention to found object and salvage metal work that resists traditional forms of embodied representation and figuration. In a similar vein, but with different objects, Fawaz’s new book The New Mutants: Superheroes and the Radical Imagination of American Comics, explores how American comic books, arguably the most disposable popular media of U.S. culture, used fantasy to imagine pleasurable and even politically radical transmutations of the human body.

The participants discussed their recent book projects to introduce a broader dialogue about queer aesthetic practices, both high and low, that revalue “cheap” materials as rich tools for imagining gender and sexuality in new and potentially radical ways: why do cheap materials (from scrap-metal, to low-quality newsprint and comic strips, to garbage) appeal to certain artists engaged in queer aesthetic and political projects? How does cheapness accrue unexpected cultural capital or value despite its denigrated origins? What kinds of beauty, wonder, enchantment, and pleasure might be pulled from salvaged objects, textures, and surfaces? And most importantly perhaps, how does one go about studying objects that are so ephemeral, fleeting, and disregarded?

In this way, the event dovetailed with this year’s Center for Visual Cultures theme, “Visual Cultures: Useless, Decadent, Discarded” by considering what methods currently exist, or might further be developed, for the
study of those visual forms that are actually composed of discarded, cheap, or ephemeral materials, catching the imagination but rarely aiming at permanency. Each participant preparde questions for their interlocutor inspired by the concepts and arguments that stem from their respective works; following this exchange, Getsy and Fawaz engaged with the audience in an open Q&A.

Carlos Garaicoa
Broken Future Line: Urban Landscape/The City’s Social Body

Tuesday, September 27
6pm Elvehjem L140

Carlos Garaicoa’s art focuses on the aesthetic, social, and political implications of ruins–including those in his hometown of Havana–as an expression of history and an inquiry into the future. Working with a variety of materials and media, such as photography, architectural design, and installation, he comments on urban planning and the relationships between political conflicts and their physical expression in the conditions of the modern city.

In this conversation, held on September 18, 2016, Garaicoa discusses his career, latest projects, and inaugural Artist x Artist residency with Michelle Bird and Andrea Nelson (Courtesy of the National Gallery of Art)

Learn more about Carlos Garaicoa and contemporary Cuban photography from the online exhibition catalogue for the exhibit “Apertura: Photography in Cuba Today,” held at the Chazen Museum March 6 – June 21, 2015.


John Bell

Lecture | Performing Crisis: Puppetry and Activist Theater
Friday, April 29th, 4pm
Elvehjem L140

Workshop | Toy Theater
Saturday, April 30th, 9am – 3pm

John Bell is a puppeteer, scholar, and director of the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry. He was a member of the renowned Bread and Puppet Theater for more than a dozen years. He is recognized as one of the preeminent scholars on puppets and performing objects and has written and edited several books on the subject. He has taught at New York University, Rhode Island School of Design, Emerson College, MIT and other institutions. Drawing on folk, avant-garde, and popular theater traditions to address contemporary issues, his Brooklyn-based theater collective, Great Small Works, performs in theaters, schools, galleries, and the streets. Their original toy theater production, entitled “Terror as Usual,” was developed as a portable way to engage the public in the deconstruction of the daily culture of fear promoted by the news after 9/11.

Lecture | Performing Crisis: Puppetry and Activist Theater

A consistent element of community expression in public space, from medieval processional theater to the recent Black Lives Matter and “Je Suis Charlie” demonstrations, is the use of puppets, masks, and performing objects, either in an improvised or well-preconceived manner.  This presentation will consider the nature of objects in public demonstrations as the material performance of political ideas.  What are the dynamics of material, design, movement, chorus, and scale in the context of community expression in the massive spaces of streets, parks, and public squares?

Workshop | Toy Theater

During his visit, John Bell will lead workshop participants in the creation of their own toy theater project based on current events and stories they want to tell through the simple but powerful medium of the miniature.

The workshop will be held Saturday, April 30th in the Humanities building, room 6111, from 9am to 3pm with an hour break for lunch. No previous experience in art or puppetry is needed. Preference will be given to those who see a use for this in their activism, education or art practice and are committed to fully participating in the workshop. Groups who want to develop a piece together are encouraged and should indicate that.

Artist-in-Residence Bahia Shehab

Women, Art, and Revolution in the Streets of Egypt
Bahia Shehab
April 2-10, 2016

Lecture: April 5th, 5pm Elvehjem L140
Film Screening: Nefertiti’s Daughters, April 6th, 5:30pm Elvehjem L150
Workshop: April 3 – 8

Bahia Shehab, one of UNESCO’s 70 most accomplished women speakers, is a Lebanese-Egyptian artist, designer and art historian. Her artwork has been on display in exhibitions and galleries in China, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Lebanon, UAE and the US. The documentary Nefertiti’s Daughters featuring her street artwork during the Egyptian uprising was released in 2015. She is associate professor of practice, director of the visual cultures program and founder of the graphic design program at The American University in Cairo where she has developed a full design curriculum mainly focused on visual culture of the Arab world. She has taught over twelve courses on the topic. Her book A Thousand Times NO: The Visual History of Lam-Alif was published in 2010 and the artwork by the same title is shortlisted for V&A’s Jameel Prize 4. She is a 2012 TED Fellow and a 2016 TED Senior Fellow. Bahia was selected as one of BBC’s 100 Women for two consecutive years, in 2013 and 2014. The American University in Beirut honored her as distinguished alumna in 2015.

Bahia Shehab will give a public lecture on Art and Resistance entitled “We Were Never There” on Tuesday April 5th, 5pm in Elvehjem L140.

The walls on the streets of post-revolution Cairo have been white-washed by the new regime. Street expression is no longer tolerated and artists have suffered arrest, imprisonment and exile. The talk will trace the destiny of artists and activists who were painting on the streets of Cairo during the Egyptian uprising in 2011-2013. It will highlight the different forms of continued protest in what activists consider a time of crisis and what the world sees as an aborted revolution.

Film Screening: Nefertiti’s Daughters, followed by a Q&A with filmmaker Mark Nickolas and artist Bahia Shehab
April 6th, 5:30pm in Elvehjem L150
Queen Nefertiti returns to join revolutionary street artists on the front lines in the fight for women’s rights and freedom in Egypt today.

Following the film, we will be joined by filmmaker Mark Nickolas and featured artist Bahia Shehab for a Q&A discussion.


Nefertiti’s Daughters is a story of women, art and revolution.
Told by prominent Egyptian artists, this documentary witnesses the critical role revolutionary street art played during the Egyptian uprisings.

Focused on the role of women artists in the struggle for social and political change, Nefertiti’s Daughters spotlights how the iconic graffiti of Queen Nefertiti places her on the front lines in the ongoing fight for women’s rights and freedoms in Egypt today.

Mural Workshop led by Bahia Shehab
“No to the Impossible”

لا للمستحيل

Shehab will lead a mural workshop for UW Students and Madison community, in coordination with the Williamson Street Art Center and local organizations for one week (April 2-9 at Art Lofts Building, 111 North Frances Street Madison). The workshop aims to engage Madison’s community in an interactive activity that would make the residents re-think their relationship with the city in general and with buildings as canvases for art in specific. The choice of an Arabic calligraphy spread on one of the walls of Madison’s local buildings also aims to bridge dialogue between cultures, by sharing a universal message of hope and resilience.

In 2010 Bahia Shehab exhibited “1000 times No”, an artwork documenting the visual development of one Arabic letter form “la” which means No.  During the 2011 Egyptian uprising the artwork took a political turn when Shehab started spraying different “No” messages on the streets of Cairo. Four years into the revolution, the No messages took an international dimension when Shehab started spraying them in different cities around the world, street art is not tolerated in Egypt under the current regime.

Her “No to the Impossible” in Wisconsin-Madison is inspired by “The Butterfly’s Burden” a poem by the famous Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish. The message will be painted as a mural on the street.

During her stay, Bahia Shehab will also visit classes and artist studios.

Fall 2015 Events

Visual Grammars for Seeing Blackness
November 5

Nicole Fleetwood (Rutgers University), “Fraught Imaginaries: Collaborative Art and Activism in Prison”

Herman Gray (University of California, Santa Cruz), “Precarious Diversity: Media, Representation, and Demography”

Jay Katelansky (University of Wisconsin-Madison), “a BLACK amorphous thing: how phantom shifts the narrative”

Peter Cusack
Sounds from Dangerous Places
September 22 & 23
Sounds from Dangerous Places asks “What can we learn of dangerous places by listening to their sounds?” This talk will include recordings and photographs from Chernobyl, the Caspian oil fields and the Aral Sea, Kazakhstan.Peter Cusack is a sound artist, and a research fellow and member of CriSAP (Creative Research into Sound Arts Practice) at the University of the Arts, London.Discussion: “Musical Ecologies in a Damaged World,” a workshop around the work of Peter Cusack, with Gregg Mitman, Craig Eley, Frederic Neyrat, and Andrew Salyer. We will discuss Cusack’s works and several art clips (Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel, John Cage, Pierre Schaeffer, etc).

Sounds from Dangerous Places


The Center for Visual Cultures presented 2015 Artist in Residence Nelson Ramírez de Arellano Conde, artist and Director of the National Photography Museum in Havana.

Lecture: No More Boundaries for Cuban Photography
March 5, 2015
5:30 PM – 6:30 PM
Chazen Museum of Art, Auditorium

This event, free and open to the public, marks the opening of Apertura: Photography in Cuba Today. Funding provided by the UW-Madison Anonymous Fund, UW-Madison Lectures Committee, Center for the Humanities, and by the Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies Program with support from the US Department of Education’s Title VI Grant Program.

Artists featured in Apertura: Liudmila&Nelson, Carlos Garaicoa, José Manuel Fors, Angel Delgado, René Peña, Rafael Villares, Reynier Leyva Novo.

Reception: Apertura Exhibition
March 5, 2015
Live music, refreshments, and cash bar.
Chazen Museum of Art, Witter Lobby

Workshop: Thirteen Ways to Photograph a Blackbird
March 7, 2015
9:00 AM – 12:00 PM, and an optional session 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Pyle Center
Workshop is free, but availability is limited.

This workshop follows a method developed in the Instituto Superior de Arte in Cuba by artist Flavio Garciandía on the basis of Thomas McEvilley’s 1984 essay “On the Manner of Addressing Clouds.” The workshop consists of a morning session, and an optional afternoon session. In the morning, Nelson Ramírez de Arellano will present thirteen objective categories that allow us to evaluate art on the basis of form, content and the relationship between the two as they apply to photography. In the afternoon, there will be practical exercises for students to engage with the concepts and “design” a fictional oeuvre following discussed premises.

Nelson Ramírez de Arellano Conde is the director of the Fototeca de Cuba (Cuban National Museum of Photography). He received the Cuban National Prize for curating the collective exhibition The City and Photography, Habana 1900-2005, and he organized the 9th Havana Biennale in 2006. He is also a conceptual artist working in photography and video as member of the duo Liudmila & Nelson.

CVC Theory-in-Practice Lab: Cassils

Performance: Becoming an Image
Tuesday, Feb 17, 7:00 PM
Wisconsin Union Theater
Free tickets available at the Memorial Union Theatre Box Office.

Ghost: A Workshop with Cassils
Wednesday, Feb 18, 12Noon

Artist’s Talk
Wednesday, Feb 18, 7:00 PM
Location: Elvehjem L150

Meiling Chen and Liu Ding: Contemporary Chinese Time-based Art
Nov. 6, 2014 – Nov. 7, 2014
Elvehjem Building, L140

The Center for Visual Cultures is pleased to announce these upcoming events with visiting artists/critics Meiling Cheng and Liu Ding.

Meiling Cheng
Lecture, Thursday, 6 November, 5:30 PM, Elvehjem L140BX Mini: Multicentric Notations

In this talk, Meiling Cheng will discuss her new book, Beijing Xingwei: Contemporary Chinese Time-Based Art (2013). From cannibalism to light-calligraphy, from self-mutilation to animal sacrifice, from meat entwined with sex toys to a commodity-embedded ice wall, the idiosyncratic output of Chinese time-based art over the past thirty years has invigorated contemporary global art conversations. Beijing Xingwei offers the first in-depth study of such time-based artworks created to mark China’s rapid reintegration into the global communities and its concurrent transformations in the post-Deng era. At a moment when time is explicitly linked with speed and profit, Beijing Xingwei explores multiple alternatives for how people with imagination can spend, recycle, and invent their own time.

Meiling Cheng is Associate Professor of Dramatic Arts/Critical Studies and English at University of Southern California School of Dramatic Arts. She is the author of In Other Los Angeleses: Multicentric Performance Art (2002) and Beijing Xingwei: Contemporary Chinese Time-Based Art (2013), which received the support of a 2006 Zumberge Individual Research Grant and a 2008 Guggenheim Fellowship. With Gabrielle Cody, Dr. Cheng is currently co-editing a critical anthology entitled, Reading Contemporary Performance: Theatricality Across Genres, which will be published by Routledge in 2015.

Liu Ding

Lecture, Friday, 7 November, 10:00 AM, Elvehjem L150
“A Less Visible Ideological Structure”: (Art) Historical Research in the Practice of Art and Curation

This talk will present examples from both my recent artwork and my curatorial practice to propose a model of historical research in artistic practice. This process discovers and envisions connections between historic events and contemporary thinking and practice. I see historical perceptions and the discourses of historical narratives as the materialization of a less visible ideological structure that has gradually emerged since the 1950s in China. We understand the complexities of this intellectual framework poorly, yet we live fully under its influence. I will discuss the urgency of engagement with art histories in the making of artworks, and my process of researching and making exhibitions.

Liu Ding is an artist and curator based in Beijing. His artistic and curatorial practice treats objects, events, and discourses of art history and the foundation of historicization both as materials and as the basis for critical reflection. He initiated the research and exhibition project titled Little Movements: Self-practice in Contemporary Art I, II, in collaboration with Carol Yinghua Lu. He co-curated the 7th Shenzhen Sculpture Biennial, titled Accidental Message: Art is Not a System, Not a World. Publications written and edited by him include Little Movements: Self-practice in Contemporary Art I, II, Accidental Message: Art is Not a System, Not a World, and Individual Experience: Conversations and Narratives of Contemporary Art Practice in China from 1989 to 2000.

In addition, it may be possible to join any of the following events.

Thursday, 6 November, 1130-1, Art Lofts Gallery, 111 N. Frances Street. Public Discussion of the Transmedia Graduate Student Exhibition with Meiling Cheng and Liu Ding.
Thursday, 6 November, 130-3, Lunch and Conversation about Performance Studies with Meiling Cheng. Limited space. Advanced reading will be required. Contact to register.
Friday, 7 November, 12-2, Animal Studies Workshop with Meiling Cheng. Limited space. Advanced reading will be required. Please contact to register.
Friday, 7 November, 12-2, Lunch and Conversation in Chinese with Liu Ding. Limited spaces. Must be able to converse in Chinese. Contact to register.
Friday, 7 November, 5 PM. Reception and Informal Conversation with Meiling Cheng and Liu Ding. Limited Spaces. Off campus. Transportation Required. Contact to register.
A limited number of studio visits with Liu Ding may be available. Open only to Art Department Graduate Students. Contact
The visit by Meiling Cheng and Liu Ding is sponsored by the Center for Visual Cultures and co-sponsored by the Art Department, the Department of Theater and Drama, the Department of Art History, the Center for East Asian Studies, and the China Institute with funding from the University Lectures Committee and the Anonymous Fund.

Guillermo Gómez-Peña and Saúl García-López
The Center for Visual Cultures is excited to announce our Fall 2014 Artist-in-Residence, Guillermo Gómez Peña.  During his residency, from October 6-11, 2014, we present a series of events including a two-day workshop, a performance, and a multimedia performance lecture featuring Guillermo Gómez-Peña and La Pocha Nostra.  This residency is part of our 2014-2015 “Visual Culture in the Performative” series. All events are free and open to the public.

Guillermo Gómez-Peña is a performance artist, writer, activist, radical pedagogue, and director of the performance troupe, La Pocha Nostra. Please click here for more information about Gómez-Peña and La Pocha Nostra.

Exercises for Rebel Artists: Two-day performance workshop led by La Pocha Nostra troupe members, Guillermo Gómez-Peña and Saúl García-López
October 7 & 8, 1:00-8:00PM.

Imaginary Activism: The Role of the Artist Beyond the Art World

Performance, October 9, 8:00PM, Fredric March Play Circle Theatre, Memorial Union
**Please Note: This is a free event, however tickets are required. Please pick up free tickets, available on Friday, Sept 26, at Memorial Union Theatre Box Office.**

Multiple Journeys: The Life and Work of Guillermo Gómez-Peña
Multimedia Lecture Performance, October 10, 8:00PM, Elvehjem Building, L160

Guillermo Gómez-Peña’s Residency with the Center for Visual Cultures is generously supported by the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies Program, Department of English, Department of Art History, UW-Madison Lectures Committee, Fredric March Play Circle Theatre, Memorial Union, and the Anonymous Fund. And generously co-sponsored by: Art Department, Chican@ and Latin@ Studies Program, Department of Gender and Women’s Studies, and Department of Theatre and Drama.


AfricaCartoons presents Godfrey “Gado” Mwampembwa, one of the world’s leading editorial cartoonists.

Exhibition: “Africa and China: The Political Cartoons of Gado.”
Monday, May 5 through Friday, May 30 in Memorial library.
Brownbag: “China in Africa: An African Cartoonist’s View.”
Wednesday, May 7 at 12:00 noon in Ingraham 206.
“An Afternoon with Gado,” informal conversations over refreshments and pizza.
Thursday, May 8 1:00 – 3:00 PM in Van Hise 1418.
Sponsored by the African Studies Program, the African Diaspora and Atlantic World Research Circle, the Department of African Languages and Literature, the Mellon Comics Workshop, the Department of English, and the Center for Visual Cultures.

A.W. Mellon Workshop: Art + Scholarship presents Gregg Bordowitz, filmmaker, AIDS media activist, writer, opera composer.

Screening and Discussion of work by artist Gregg Bordowitz.
Friday, April 25 at 4:00 PM in Elvehjem L150.
Lecture: “Materialist Geography and the Knight’s Move.”
Thursday, May 1 at 7:00 PM in Elvehjem L150.
Brown Bag seminar.
Friday, May 2 at 12:00 PM in Elvehjem L170.
The Gregg Brodowitz events are co-sponsored by the Art Department, Department of Art History, Department of Communication Arts, English Department, LGBT Campus Center, and the Center for Visual Cultures.

The A.W. Mellon Comics Workshop presents “Comics at UW-Madison.”

Friday, April 18 from 2:00 – 4:00 PM in the Design Lab (College Library 2252)
This program is part of the A.W. Mellon Interdisciplinary Workshops in the Humanities sponsored by the Center for the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin – Madison with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Co-sponsored by the Center for Visual Cultures.

Henry J. Drewal, Evjue-Bascom Professor of African and African Diaspora Art History with the Department of Art History and Department of Afro-American Studies, UW – Madison.

Lecture: “Embodied Knowledge: Making Sense of Art.”
Thursday, April 17 at 6:00 PM in Elvehjem Building L140.
Presented by the Center for Visual Cultures.
Part of the Center for Visual Cultures year-long lecture series on “Global Affect, Materiality, and the Senses.”

Ronald Radano, Professor of Musicology and Ethnomusicology with the School of Music, UW – Madison

Lecture: “Fleshy Sound: Racial Embodiment and the Global Circulation of Black Music.”
Wednesday, April 16 at 5:30 PM (had to be cancelled and postponed for a later date)
Presented by the Center for Visual Cultures.
Part of the Center for Visual Cultures year-long lecture series on “Global Affect, Materiality, and the Senses.”

Mike Konopacki, syndicated political cartoonist.

Lecture: The A.W. Mellon Comics Workshop presents “Organizing comics: cartooning truth to power.”
Thursday, March 28 from 2:00 – 4:00 PM in the Design Lab (College Library 2252)
This program is part of the A.W. Mellon Interdisciplinary Workshops in the Humanities sponsored by the Center for the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin – Madison with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Co-sponsored by the Center for Visual Cultures.

Dr. Melinda Barlow, Associate Professor of Film Studies at the University of Colorado.

Lecture: GradForum presents “Enchanted Objects: Stories Women Tell about the Things They Keep.”
Thursday, March 27 at 6:00 PM and Friday, March 28 at 5:00 PM in Elvehjem Building L140.
Presented by Art History GradForum and the Department of Art History. Co-sponsored by the Center for Visual Cultures and the LGBT Campus Center and made possible through generous funding by the Anonymous Fund and additional support from the Department of Art History.

P.A. Skantze and Matthew Fink: “Methodologies in Motion: Manifesto, Workshop & Public Performances for a Political Aesthetics of Affective Attention.”

Lecture: “Methodologies in Motion: Public Manifesto and Conversation toward a Political Aesthetics of Affective Attention
Wednesday,” March 26, Elvehjem Building, L140 at 6:00 PM.
Workshop and public performance: “All that Fell and A Workshop in Physical Radio”
2-Day Workshop from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM on Wednesday, March 26 and Thursday, March 27 in the Center for Visual Cultures in Memorial Library room 218.
Public Performance on Friday, March 28 at 8:00 PM, Elvehjem Building, L160.
Workshop Discussion and Rehearsal and Public Performance of “afterKLEIST anORATORIO”
Workshop Rehearsal from Noon to 2:00 PM on Friday, March 28 and Saturday, March 29 at the Center for Visual Cultures in Memorial Library room 218.
Performance on Saturday, March 29 at 6:00 PM at the University Club.
Sponsored by the Center for Visual Cultures and organized by Jill Casid, Professor of Visual Studies with the Department of Art History and Coordinator of the Visual Culture Cluster. Co-sponsored by the Mellon Workshop on Art and Scholarship, in Theory and Practice, the Department of Art, and the Department of Theatre and Drama. Funding courtesy of the Anonymous Fund and the Mellon Workshop on Art and Scholarship, in Theory and Practice.
Part of the Center for Visual Cultures year-long lecture series on “Global Affect, Materiality, and the Senses.”

Professor Swati Chattopadhyay, Professor and Chair of the Department of the History of Art and Architecture at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Lecture: “Of Small Spaces Forgotten.”
Thursday, 6 March 2014 at 5:30 PM in Elvehjem 140.
Presented by the Center for Visual Cultures. Co-sponsored by the Center for South Asia and Department of Art History. Funding courtesy of the University Lectures Committee with additional support from the Center for South Asia and the Department of Art History.
Part of the Center for Visual Cultures year-long lecture series “Global Affect, Materiality, and the Senses.”

Dr. Christiane Gruber, Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the History of Art department at the University of Michigan.

The Mellon Postdoctoral Fellows Program presents “Images of the Prophet Muhammad In and Out of Modernity: The Curious Case of a 2008 Mural in Tehran.”
Thursday, February 6 at 6:00 PM in Elvehjem 140
The event is sponsored by the Mellon Postdoctoral Fellows Program, the Department of Art History, and the Center for Visual Cultures.

Agnes Lugo-Ortiz from the University of Chicago.

Lecture: “Portraiture and Enslavement: A Transatlantic Account.”
Thursday, December 5 at 5 PM in Elvejhem Building L150.
Sponsored by the Spanish and Portuguese Studies Program; the Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies Program; and The Center for Visual Cultures.

Stuart Horodner, visiting curator.

Lecture about professional practices, career strategy, and the reasons who someone wants to be an artist and how they sustain their creative curiosity over a lifetime.
Monday, November 18 at 4:30 PM in Elvehjem Building, Room L160.
This lecture is presented by the Art Department with funding from the University Lectures Committee courtesy of the Anonymous Fund. Co-sponsored by the Department of Art History, the Center for Visual Cultures, and the Chazen Museum of Art.

An afternoon symposium

“Data in the Humanities plus Art”
Friday, November 8 at 1:00-5:00 PM in the DeLuca Forum, Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery
Co-Sponsored by the New Arts Venture Challenge, the Humanities Research Bridge, the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, the UW-Madison General Library System, the Department of Statistics, the Department of English, and the Center for Visual Cultures.

Workshop and Lecture by Visiting Scholar, Elizabeth Freeman, Professor of English at the University of California, Davis and Editor of GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies.

Workshop: “Sacramental Time in Djuna Barnes,” led by Professor Elizabeth Freeman on Thursday, November 7 at 10:00 AM in The Center for Visual Cultures’ meeting room, Memorial Library, Room 218.
Lecture: “Feeling (un)timely: the anachronic and synchronic as modes of becoming,” a lecture by Professor Elizabeth Freeman on November 7 at 6 PM in Elvejhem Building L140.
Presented by the Center for Visual Cultures. Co-Sponsored by the Departments of Art History, English, and Gender and Women’s Studies. Funding courtesy of the Anonymous Fund with additional support from Art History and English.
Part of the year-long lecture series for The Center for Visual Cultures on “Global Affect, Materiality, and the Senses.”

Symposium: “Coordinated Seeing? Thinking with Vision, Hand, and Mind: a symposium exploring the intersections of brain research, vision science, and the humanities.”

Morning keynote will by Trenton Jerde, PhD, Center for Cognitive Sciences, University of Minnesota, “Functional Organization of Space and Movement in Human Frontoparietal Cortex.” The afternoon keynote by Lynda Barry, Art Department; Image Lab, Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, UW-Madison, “Hand Jive: Drawing Fast and Slow.”
Friday, November 1 from 9:15 AM to 12:15 PM; 1:15 PM to 4:00 PM in the Chazen Auditorium of the Chazen Museum.
Presented by The Center for Visual Cultures and the McPherson Eye Research Institute. Co-sponsored by Art, Art History, & Life Sciences Communication departments.

“Where Media Practice Meets STS: A Collaborative Workshop in Visual Science & Technology Studies.”

Thursday, October 31 and Friday, November 1. in the Wisconsin Idea Room of the Education Building, 1000 Bascom Mall
Funded through the generous support of the Robert F. and Jean E. Holtz Center for Science and Technology Studies at the University of Wisconsin- Madison, the Critical Media Practice program at Harvard University, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Co-sponsored by the Center for the Humanities and the Center for Visual Cultures.

A.W. Mellon Comics Workshop Presents a Workshop with Lynda Barry.

“Drawing Words and Speaking Pictures: The Mysterious Thing We Call Comics”
October 25 1-3pm in the Media Studio (College Library 2252).
In partnership with the Center for Visual Culture and the Center for the Humanities.

Exhibition and Opening: “Our House!! Unsettling the Domestic, Queering the Spaces of Home.”

Curated by Lex Lancaster, featuring works by Anna Campbell, Jill H. Casid, Jay Ludden, Portia Danis, River Bullock, Ruthie Rolfsmeyer, and Sylvie Rosenthal.
Exhibition Opening Thursday, October 17th, 2013, 5:00 – 8:00 PM.
Open until November 8
Sponsored by the Department of Art History and co-sponsored by The Center for Visual Cultures.

Professor Shiela Reaves, Professor of UW Life Sciences Communication and affiliate faculty member of UW American Indian Studies

Lecture: “The Visual Brain: The First Two Seconds.”
Thursday, October 10 at 6pm in Elvehjem L140.
Part of the year-long lecture series for The Center for Visual Cultures on “Global Affect, Materiality, and the Senses.”

Visiting Scholar: Mary Celeste Kearney, Associate Professor of Film, Television, and Theatre at Notre Dame University

Lecture: “Sparkle, Glitter, Shine: The Postfeminist Luminosity of Contemporary Girls’ Media.” Complicating Angela McRobbie’s theory of the “postfeminist masquerade.”
Thursday, October 10th from 4 to 5:30 pm in Chazen L140.
The lecture is co-sponsored by the Departments of Communication Arts, and of Gender and Women’s Studies, by the School of Library and Information Studies, and by the Center for Visual Cultures. Funding courtesy of the Kemper K Knapp Bequest Fund.

Esther Dischereit (Berlin/Vienna), Holly Handman-Lopez (Oberlin: Dance, with UW-Madison participants), Todd Hammes and Chana Dischereit (percussion).

“Transforming Words,” a word-movement-sound performance.
Tuesday, September 24 at 6:00 PM at the DeLuca Forum, Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery (University Ave/Orchard St.)

Jill H. Casid, Professor of Visual Studies in the Department of Art History.

Lecture: “Queer Projection: Theses on ‘The Future of an Illusion.”
Thursday, September 9 in Elvehjem L140.
Part of the Center for Visual Culture’s series on “Global Affect, Materiality, and the Senses.”


Visiting Scholar Barbara Browning, Associate Professor of Performance Studies, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University

Public Lecture:“I’m Trying to Reach You: performing fiction/performing scholarship”
Thursday, November 10, 2011
4:00 pm
Room L140, Chazen Museum of Art

Co-sponsored by the Department of English and the Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies Program (LACIS).

Visiting Scholar Patty Chang, performance artist and filmmaker

Lecture and Workshop with Patty Chang
Thursday and Friday, February 9-10, 2012
Elvehjem Building, Chazen Museum of Art

Sponsored by the the Anonymous Fund and Global Studies/International Institute Seminar Series.

Visiting Scholar Lowery Stokes Sims, Curator at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York

Lecture and Workshop with Lowery Stokes Sims
Thursday and Friday, March 1-2, 2012
Elvehjem Building, Chazen Museum of Art

Sponsored by the Anonymous Fund, the Global Studies/International Institutes Seminar Series, the Department of Art History, the Department of Afro-American Studies, the Art Department, the African Studies Program, and the Gender and Women’s Studies Research Center.

Visiting Scholar Dr. Alfred Sommer, Professor of Epidemiology, Ophthalmology, and International Health

Lecture and Workshop with Dr. Alfred Sommer
Monday, April 23, 2012
Biochemistry Building, 420 Henry Mall

Dr. Sommer’s visit was supported by the International Institute Seminar Series and the Anonymous Fund and is co-sponsored by the Eye Research Institute.

Visiting Scholar Nicholas Mirzoeff, Professor of Media, Culture and Communication at New York University

Lecture, Workshop, and Reception with Nicholas Mirzoeff
April 22-24, 2012

Organized by the Aesthetic Relations Mellon Workshop of the Center for Humanities. Supported by the International Institute Seminar Series and the Anonymous Fund.

Visiting Scholar Jaqueline Berndt, Professor of Art and Media Studies at Kyoto Seika University, Japan

Lecture and Workshop with Jaqueline Berndt
Friday and Saturday, April 27-28, 2012
Elvehjem Building, Chazen Museum of Art

Sponsored by the the Anonymous Fund and Global Studies/International Institute Seminar Series.

CVC Brown-Bag Presentations


Visiting Scholar Dr. Michael F. Marmor, Stanford University
Public Lecture: “The Artist’s Eyes: Vision and the History of Art”
September 28, 2010 at 5:30 pm
Health Sciences Learning Center, 750 Highland Avenue

Dr. Marmor was presented in conjunction with the 2nd Annual Eye Research Institute Vision Science & Visual Art Poster and Gallery Session

Visiting Scholar Suzanne Anker, Professor at the School of Visual Arts and a visual artist and theoretician working with genetic imagery
Public Lecture:“Laboratory of Art’s Knowledge”
December 9, 2010 at 6:00 pm
Town Center, Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery
330 North Orchard Street

Suzanne Anker was presented in conjunction with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Illuminate: Year of the Arts and the UW Arts Institute Interdisciplinary Artists-in-Residence Leslie Hill and Helen Paris.

Click here to see images from the UW Arts Institute performance and symposium event “Inside Story: Performance, Biography & Biology,” (December 4–12, 2010).

Visiting Scholar Sylvester Okwunodu Ogbechie, Associate Professor of Art History at the University of California–Santa Barbara and African arts entrepreneur.
Public Lecture: “Who Owns Africa’s Art? Museums, Knowledge Work and the Economics of Cultural Patrimony”
March 3, 2011 at 5:00 pm
Chazen Museum of Art, Room L140
800 University Avenue

Visiting Scholar Dianne Harris, Professor of Landscape Architecture, Architecture, Art History, and History and Director, Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities.
Public Lecture: “Displaying Race: Material Culture, White Identities, and the Postwar House”
March 28, 2011 at 5:30 pm
Chazen Museum of Art, Room L140
800 University Avenue

Fred Wilson, Artist and Independent Curator.
Public Lecture: “The Silent Message of the Museum”
April 5, 2011 at 6:00 pm
Chazen Museum of Art, Room L160
800 University Avenue

Additional Lectures and Events
A.W. Mellon Workshop in Visualities beyond Ocularcentrism

CVC Brown-Bag Presentations

The Center for Visual Cultures events are presented in conjunction with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Illuminate: Year of the Arts


Visualities beyond Ocularcentrism, a 2009-2010 Series of Public Conferences on Sense Perception and Experience before and in the Wake of the Digital

October 5-6, 2009: Race as Ocularcentrism
Mini-conference with Jennifer González, including a public lecture and workshop.

October 8-9, 2009: Seeing Beyond the Art-Science Divide
Mini-conference with Stephen Palmer, including a public lecture and workshop.

October 29-30, 2009: Neuroarthistory and the Nature of Visual Culture
Mini-conference with John Onians, including a public lecture and workshop.

November 16-17, 2009: The Newtonian Slave Body
Mini-conference with James Delbourgo, including a public lecture and workshop.

December 10-11, 2009: The West Indian Front Room: Domestic Material Culture in and across Migrant Diasporas
Mini-conference with Michael McMillan, including a public lecture and workshop.

February 26, 2010: Thinking Through Diagrams
Mini-conference with Michael Whitmore, John Bender, Michael Marrinan, James Elkins, Tom Conley, Dalia Judovitz, Daniel Rosenberg, and Daniel Selcer, including public lectures, workshops, and a research colloquium.

March 5-6, 2010: Material Images, the Senses, and Religious Experience in the West from Late Antiquity to the Early Modern
Mini-conference with Eric Palazzo, Bissera Pentcheva, Pamela Sheingorn, Kellie Robertson, Cynthia Hahn, Walton O. Schalick, and Thomas E.A. Dale, including public lectures, workshops, and a symposium.

April 8, 2010: See me if you can! Philosophy, Performance, and the Aesthetics of Personal Being
Mini-conference with Alva Noë, including a public lecture and workshop.

Additional Lectures and Events
A.W. Mellon and H.C. White Workshops in Visualities beyond Ocularcentrism

October 15, 2009: Public lecture by Brent Keever, Director of the Critical Studies Program at the Paris Center for Critical Studies
“The Gas Screen: Sense, Surveillance, Sublimation through Fabien Chalon’s Le Monde en marche”

March 2, 2010: Brownbag lunch presentation with Leslie Hill, performance artist and filmmaker
Bring your lunch to the Center for Visual Cultures to hear Leslie Hill discuss her work with Helen Paris as “Curious” and their plans for their upcoming Fall 2010 residency and course at UW-Madison. Coffee and tea will be provided. For more information on the UW Arts Institute Fall 2010 residency program visit Leslie Hill and Helen Paris, Interdisciplinary Artists-in-Residence.

March 11, 2010: Workshop with V.S. Ramachandran and Catherine Malabou
This workshop presented by the Wisconsin Union Directorate’s Distinguished Lecture Series and the Center for the Humanities in conjunction with the Center for Visual Cultures.

April 21, 2010: Public Lecture by Adam Kern, Associate Professor in East Asian Languages and Literature
“Refiguring ‘Haiku Pictures’ (Haiga): From Chinese Ink Painting to Japanese Erotica.”

May 3 , 2010: Brownbag discussion: What is Visual Culture / What is Visual Studies?
Please join the Center for Visual Cultures for an informal discussion about visual culture and visual studies. Coffee, tea, and light refreshments will be provided.


Parallax: Changing Perspectives in Visual Culture, a 2008-2009 Series of Public Conferences

October 13-14, 2008: Queer Theory, Visual Culture
Mini-conference with David L. Eng and Ann Pellegrini, including public lectures and workshops.

November 4-7, 2008: Photography and the Technologies of Empire and Race
Mini-conference with Shawn Michelle Smith and Marcus Wood, including public lectures, workshops, research colloquium and exhibitions.

February 12-13, 2009: Perception
Mini-conference with Barbara Maria Stafford, including public lectures, workshops, research colloquium and exhibition.

April 8-10, 2009: Worlding Visual Culture: Transnational Feminism and the Visual
Mini-conference with Amelia Jones and Ranjana Khanna, including public lectures, workshops and research colloquium.

Additional Lectures
April 7, 2009: Public lecture by Rosamond Purcell
“Metamorphic Histories”


New Directions in Visual Culture, a 2007-2008 Series of Public Conferences

October 25-27, 2007: Visual Theory: Interruption, Interference, Intervention
Mini-conference with Norman Bryson and Kaja Silverman, including public lectures, workshops and a research colloquium.

November 6-9, 2007: Islam, Religion and Visual Culture
Mini-conference with Finbarr Barry Flood, Mazyar Lotfalian, Hamid Naficy and Jessica Winegar, including a screening, public lectures, workshops and a research colloquium.

February 7-8, 2008: Visualizing Science
Mini-conference with Michael Lynch, including a public lecture, workshop, research colloquium and exhibition.

April 9-11, 2008: Interdisciplinarity and the University Art Museum
Mini-conference with Amy Lonetree and Alan Shestack.

Additional Lectures
March 11, 2008: Public lecture by Camilo Trumper, PhD Candidate, Department of History, University of California-Berkeley. “ ‘A ganar la calle’: The Politics of Public Space and Public Art in Santiago, Chile, 1970-1973.”
Presented by the Visual Culture Cluster Hire Search Committee. Co-Sponsored by Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies and the Department of History.

March 25, 2008: Public lecture by Lyle Massey, Assistant Professor, Department of Art History and Communication Studies, McGill University. “‘Galen never inspected a woman’s uterus, even in his dreams…’: Gendering the Anatomical Body in the Renaissance.” Sponsored by the Visual Culture Cluster Hire Search Committee. Co-sponsored by Women’s and Gender Studies and the Department of Art History.

March 27, 2008: Public lecture by Janet Vertesi, Ph.D. Candidate, Science and Technology Studies, Cornell University.
“‘Seeing Like a Rover’: Image Processing on the Mars Exploration Rover Mission.” Sponsored by the Visual Culture Cluster Hire Search Committee. Co-sponsored by the Holtz Center for Science and Technology Studies and the Department of the History of Science.

April 1, 2008: Public lecture by Adam Kern, Associate Professor, East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University. “The Geisha’s Forbidden Comicbook: Gender, Advertising, and the Visual-Verbal Imagination in Early Modern Japan.”
Sponsored by the Visual Culture Cluster Hire Search Committee. Co-sponsored by the Center for East Asian Studies and the Department of East Asian Languages and Literature.


October 19-22, 2006: TRANS: A Visual Culture Conference

With keynote speakers Sue Golding, Nicholas Mirzoeff, Olu Oguibe, Leslie Hill and Helen Paris, a performance by Tim Miller screening with Judith Helfand of her film Blue Vinyl, and exhibitions at Ironworks, MMoCA, Design Gallery, and the 7th Floor and 734 Galleries. Pre-conference events included lectures by Ute Ritschel, Erica Rand, and Tim Miller.

This conference takes the transsubstantiating challenge of the “trans” in Transdisciplinarity, Transgender, Transethnic, Transart, and Transracial not just as its theme but also as its point of departure. How might the cultural and political processes of the “trans” in transplanting, transmitting, transculturating, and transferring mark not only hybridizing crossings but also the forging of structural transformations?

Projecting past the threshold of defining what Visual Culture Studies is, the conference invites experiments in doing that may take the forms of papers, demonstrations, exhibitions, performances, roundtable discussions, pre-circulated papers, seminars, electronic postings and physical installations that take us beyond the situation of between-ness toward the generation and practice of viable integrations of history, theory, practice, and activism.

TRANS: A Visual Culture Conference Keynote Speakers


October 19-21, 2005: Ella Shohat, Professor of Cultural Studies, Art and Public Policy and Middle Eastern Studies at New York University.

October 19: Screening of “Forget Baghdad” and discussion with Ella Shohat,”Taboo Memories: Diasporic Iraqi Voices.”
October 20: Ella Shohat Lecture, “Sacred Word, Profane Image: Theologies of Adaptation.”
October 21: Ella Shohat Workshop, “The Culture Wars in Translation.”

November 7-9, 2005: Christopher Pinney, Professor of Anthropology and Visual Culture at University College, London.

November 8: Christopher Pinney Lecture, “The Coming of Photography in India.”
November 9: Christopher Pinney Workshop, “The Social Life of Images and ‘Wavy Meaning’.”

February 1-3, 2006: Marita Sturken, Associate Professor of Culture and Communication at New York University.

February 2: Marita Sturken Lecture, “Teddy Bears, Snow Globes, and the Kitschification of America.”
February 3: Marita Sturken Workshop, “Architectures of Grief and the Aesthetics of Absence.”

February 27-29, 2006: José Esteban Muñoz, chair of the department of Performance Studies at New York University ’s Tisch School of the Arts.

February 27: José Esteban Muñoz Lecture, “The Vulnerability Artist: Latina Performativity and Affect.”
February 26: José Esteban Muñoz, Workshop, “Cruising Utopia.”

April 17-19, 2006: M. Madhava Prasad, Professor of Film and Cultural Studies in the Centre for European Studies, Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages, Hyderabad, India.

April 18: M. Madhava Prasad Lecture, “Contemporary Indian Cinema and the Figure of the Culturally Backward Spectator.”
April 19: M. Madhava Prasad Workshop, “Kings of Democracy?: Understanding Indian Cinema’s Political Agency.”

April 21, 2006: Workshop with David Hickey, free-lance writer of fiction and cultural criticism, and Schaeffer Professor of Modern Letters at the University of Nevada Las Vegas.


September 13-14, 2004: Visiting Speaker Irit Rogoff

September 13: Irit Rogoff Lecture “Of Fear, Of Contact, Of Entanglement”
September 14: Irit Rogoff Workshop “Looking Away-Participating Singularities”

October 14, 2004: Worskhop with Michael Taussig

Michael Taussig Workshop”Color and Heat”

February 11, 2005: Places of Memory: A Visual Culture Faculty Colloquium

February 11, 2005: Book Party for Jill Casid’s new book,“Sowing Empire: Landscape and Colonization”

February 23, 2005: Visual Culture Workshop with Rebecca Solnit

February 25, 2005: Visual Culture Workshop with Alexander Duttman, Professor of Philosophy and Visual Cultures, Goldsmith’s College, London, on Visconti’s “Il Lavoro”

March 30, 2005: Visual Culture Workshop with Philip Ball

April 4-6, 2005: Visiting Speaker John Greyson

April 4, 2005: Screening of “Proteus,” a film by Jack Lewis and John Greyson followed by Q&A with John Greyson
April 5, 2005: John Greyson Lecture “THE QUEEN’S SORE THROAT”
April 6, 2005: John Greyson Workshop “AGIT-PROP FOR A NEW MILLENIUM”


September 26, 2003: Meet New Visual Culture Faculty Member, Preeti Chopra

October 24, 2003: Visual Culture Faculty Research Forum
Presentations by Mary Beltran (Communication Arts), Haodong Cai (Psychology), Linda Essig (Theatre and Drama), Lisa Gralnick (Art), Hong Jiang (Geography), Caroline Levine (English), Mark Nelson (Environment, Textiles, and Design), Tejumola Olaniyan (African Languages and Literature), and Kurt Squire (Curriculum and Instruction).

February 4, 2004: Interfaces: a Visual Culture Faculty Colloquium
Featuring talks by UW Faculty Julian Lombardi, Lisa Nakamura, and Kurt Squire.

February 9-13, 2004: Visiting Scholar Judith Halberstam

February 9: Judith Halberstam Graduate Seminar Visit for Border & Transcultural Studies
February 10: Judith Halberstam Workshop
February 11: Judith Halberstam Lecture, “Ceremonies of Our Present: Photography and Subcultural Lives.”
February 13: Judith Halberstam Undergraduate Class Visit
February 13: Judith Halberstam LGBT event

March 30-31, 2004: Visiting Scholar Rey Chow

March 30: Film Screening of Tsai Ming-liang’s “The River.”
March 31: Rey Chow Workshop, “The Protestant Ethnic and the Spirit of Capitalism.”
March 31: Rey Chow Lecture, “A Pain in the Neck,” An Episode of ‘Incest,’ and other Enigmas of an Allegorical Cinema: Tsai Ming-liang’s ‘The River.'”

April 14-18, 2004: Verbal Performance and Visual Cultures
African Literature Association 30th Anniversary Conference at the Pyle Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

April 21, 2004: Sex: A Visual Culture Faculty Colloquium
Featuring talks by UW Faculty Jill Casid, Anne McClintock, and Michael Peterson.


November 8, 2002:, Get to Know New Visual Culture Faculty
Lunch with Jill Casid and Lisa Nakamura.

November 22, 2002: Faculty Research Forum
Terry Boyd, Ksenija Bilbija, Keith Cohen, Nietzchka Keene, Theresa Kelley, Cavalliere Ketchum, Guido Podesta, Cherene Sherrard, Ben Singer, and Lee Palmer Wandel.

February 27- March 1, 2003
Graduate Student Interdisciplinary Conference
“(In)formation: Identity, Community,Performance and Visual Cultures”

March 31, 2003: Lecture by Preeti Chopra
“Images of a Fragmented City: Colonial and Postcolonial Bombay”

April 7, 2003: Lecture by Jon McKenzie
“Look and Feel: The Visuality of Affective Networks”

April 14, 2003: Lecture by John Paul Ricco
“Name No One Man: Rauschenberg’s Erased De Kooning Drawing”


October 26, 2001: Fall Faculty Forum
Presentations on work-in-progress by David Bordwell, Sonya Clark, Henry Drewal, Jo Ellen Fair, Aristotle Georgiades & Gail Simpson, Gregg Mitman, James Moy, David Woodward.

February 28, 2002: Lecture by Lisa Cartwright
“Pictures of Waiting Children: The Visibility of Disability in Adoption Medicine”

March 4, 2002: Lecture by Jan Estep
“Transcendental Twaddle: Art and Saying Wittgenstein”

March 7, 2002: Lecture by Ellen Fernandez-Sacco
“Theatres of Self and Nation: Monticello and Peale’s Museum”

March 11, 2002: Lecture by John Paul Ricco
“The Art of the Consummate Cruise”

March 14, 2002: Lecture by Jill Casid
“Sympathetic Terror: Technologies of Projection, Techniques of Empire”

March 18, 2002: Lecture by Brian Goldfarb
“Sense Ability: Fragments on Media Pedagogy, Digital Prosthetics, and Assistive Technology”

March 21, 2002: Lecture by Lisa Nakamura
“Menu-Driven Identities: Cybertyping and the Work of Race in the Age of Digital Reproduction”

April 1, 2002: Lecture by Malcolm Turvey
“‘Anti-ocularcentrism’ and Modernism”

April 3, 2002: Lecture by Laura Kuo
“Modalities of Advertising: Transnational Feminism and Postmodern Art Activism “


December 1, 2000: First Faculty Research Forum
Presentations on work-in-progress by Noel Carroll, Laurie Beth Clark, Susan Cook, Gail L. Geiger, Kenneth George, Theresa Kelley, Shanti Kumar, James Leary, Jean Lee, Douglas Rosenberg, Ellen Sapega, Janet Silbernagel, Freida High Tesfagiorgis, and Joseph Varga.

February 2, 2001: Second Faculty Research Forum
Presentations on work-in-progress by Sally Banes, Susan D. Bernstein, Beverly Gordon, Michelle Grabner, Nietzchka Keene, Ann Smart Martin, Lynn Nyhart, Patrick Rumble, Jane Schulenberg, and R. Anderson Sutton

February 15, 2001: What is Visual Culture?
Discussion on visuality led by Noel Carroll and Laurie Beth Clark

February 26, 2001: Lecture by Nicholas Mirzoeff
“Intervisuality: Working Out Visual Culture in the Era of Global Capital”

March 5, 2001: Lecture by Erica Rand
“Breeders in a Snow Globe: Looking for Sex at Ellis Island”

March 19, 2001: Ping Chong & Pauline Oliveros
Conversation hosted by Michael Peterson

April 4, 2001: What isn’t Visual Culture?
Discussion on the “other” senses led by Sally Banes and Susan Cook.

April 12, 2001: Seminar with W.J.T. Mitchell and Freida High W. Tesfagiorgis
A discussion of Mitchell’s essays, “What is Visual Culture?” and “What do pictures really want?”

April 12, 2001: Lecture by W.J.T Mitchell
“The Work of Art in the Age of Biocybernetic Reproduction”
Mitchell is a Professor at the University of Chicago, editor of Critical Inquiry, and author/editor of ten books, including Picture Theory and The Last Dinosaur Book.

April 26, 2001: Lecture by Adrian Heathfield
“On Coolness”

May 4, 2001: Third Faculty Research Forum
Presentations on work-in-progress by Kelley Conway, Nicole Huang, Mary Layoun, Michael Peterson, Gene Phillips, Shiela Reaves, Mariama Ross, Diane Sheehan.

May 12, 2001: Visual Culture Party
A chance to socialize informally at the end of the semester.