Seeing Madness: Mental Illness, Media, and Visual Culture


"Seeing Madness" surveys the representation of mental illness in audio-visual media, from theater to opera to photography and cinema. The talk will address several questions. Why do people want to "see madness" in the first place? What is so fascinating about it? To what extent does mental illness defy visual representation? What is the relation between individual and collective forms of madness (e.g. mass hysteria and paranoia), and how are these reflected in different forms of representation?