TABOO - TRANSGRESSION - TRANSCENDENCE
in Art & Science
27-29 September 2023, Malta Society of Arts, Valletta
What happens when bodies, art, and semiotics enmesh? How are race, racism, flesh, art, research, and madness entangled and, in some instances, in a mutually comingling relationship? What consequences can be gleaned from a redeployment of epistemology as contingent on entanglement? In this talk, I engage in a reflection on these questions as I showcase mad art as a site to interrogate ontoepistemic exclusion and violence. In drawing on data from a larger study that worked with racialized mad artists, what I demonstrated here is that the entanglement of bodies, objects, and meaning-making practices is central to working with the ontologically excluded, such as those who find themselves in states of disembodiment and/or corporeal and/or psychic distribution. Without this, researchers (e.g., critical ethnographers) risk excluding whole communities who are ostensibly benefitting from the very research that is pretending to speak on their behalf. This presentation hinges on a critical analysis of ethnographic methods, as I propose a new direction for critical ethnography, extended by critical posthumanism, called entangled ethnography.
Simon Adam is a critical social scientist. His program of scholarship focuses on mental health--its various institutional and discursive dimensions, the consumer/survivor/mad experience, and alternative and counter-hegemonic ways of conceptualizing mental illness, suffering, and crisis. His work considers what is currently termed 'mental illness' as largely a product of social, economic, and political apparatuses, while examining how medicalization pathologizes what is often known as 'the human condition.' Simon works with various communities, including psychiatric survivors and psychiatric consumers/survivors, the mad community, and neurodivergent people.