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Tracing the political, personal, and poetic meanings of the term displacement, Dr Catherine Gander, an expert in documentary aesthetics and artistic forms of resistance, explores how, in Doris Salcedo’s artworks, the traumas of displacement take physical form. This lecture and response widens the discussion to include other artists and poets whose work also engages with documentary practices to (re)present ongoing traumatic histories. It considers how, by confronting the corporeal conditions of dislocation, erasure, and precarity, art can refigure displacement as a position of political and cultural resistance.
Presented in the context of the exhibition, Doris Salcedo, Acts of Mourning, showing until 21 July 2019, in the main galleries.
Dr Catherine Gander is the chair of the Irish Association for American Studies, and lectures in American Literature and Visual Culture in the Department of English at Maynooth University, where her research explores the intersections between literature and art, with an emphasis on aesthetic and political counter-narratives.
Over the last ten years, she has worked with galleries and artists in England and Northern Ireland on projects related to re-imagining archival constructions and historical narratives of power—most recently with Belfast Exposed on their Responses to the Archive programme, and as Co-Investigator on the AHRC-funded cross-disciplinary project, ‘LGBTQ Visions of Peace in a Society Emerging from Conflict’. She has published on literature, photography and art, including two books, Mixed Messages: American Correspondences in Visual and Verbal Practices (with S. Garland) (Manchester UP, 2016), and Muriel Rukeyser and Documentary: The Poetics of Connection (Edinburgh UP, 2013), and several articles, book chapters, and reviews. She is currently working on an edited volume of essays addressing Don DeLillo and the Visual Arts, and on a study of embodiment as political resistance in contemporary word-image artworks.
Dr Gander’s teaching also addresses cross-medial perspectives on social and cultural realties; some of the works discussed in this talk form part of the curriculum on the Literatures of Engagement Masters programme at Maynooth University, in particular the module she co-teaches with Dr Íde Corley, The Political is Personal: Radical Contemporary Texts. See more details here.
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