CONF May 20, 2024

Foucault: Art, Histories, and Visuality (online/Toronto, 29-30 May 24)

Online / OCAD University, 205 Richmond St. West, Toronto, CA, May 29–30, 2024

Anton Lee

Foucault: Art, Histories, and Visuality in the 21st Century.

OCAD University is pleased to host the academic symposium Foucault: Art, Histories, and Visuality in the 21st Century, organized by Dr. Anton Lee, NSCAD University and Dr. Catherine M. Soussloff, UBC & University of California Santa Cruz, in collaboration with Dr. Charles Reeve, OCAD University.

The French philosopher Michel Foucault’s (1926–84) work has greatly influenced artists and art scholars in many ways, from reimagining subjectivity to scrutinizing art institutions. Owing to the posthumous publications and archival discoveries, Foucault’s oeuvre continues to shape current discussions on methodological, political, and ethical assumptions regarding visualities and art histories. The symposium proposes to reassess Foucault’s legacies in the fields of art research and creation from critical perspectives informed by urgent issues, such as decolonization, race, gender, post-truth, artificial intelligence, and diaspora. We will ask: How has Foucault’s thinking—ultimately concerned with human existence in a time of crisis—emerged from and contributed to the visual arts and material culture?

The symposium is part of the World Congress “Foucault: 40 Years After,” a global series of events commemorating the fortieth anniversary of the philosopher’s death ( It promises to further collaboration across disciplines and institutions by bringing a diverse group of speakers from across Canada and the United States, who draw broadly from art history, museology, aesthetics, critical theory, media studies, visual culture, art education, and research-creation.

We thank the peoples of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Haudenosaunee, the Anishinaabe, and the Huron-Wendat, on whose unceded lands the event will be held. The event is made possible by the generous support of sponsors: OCAD University, NSCAD University, Gail and Stephen A. Jarislowsky Institute for Studies in Canadian Art at Concordia University, the French Embassy in Canada, the Department of Visual Studies at the University of Toronto Mississauga, the Centre for the Study of Theory and Criticism at Western University, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.


Day 1 - May 29, Wednesday
9:00–9:05 Welcome: Charles Reeve
9:10–9:20 Intro to Conference: Anton Lee + Catherine M. Soussloff

Biopolitics & Subjectivities

9:20–9:25 Intro to Session: Anton Lee
9:30–10:00 Gabrielle Moser + Charles Marco Diokno Manzo + Jeffrey Newberry / Doubly Exposed: Listening for the Resonance of Foucault’s Biopolitics in Contemporary Photography
10:05–10:35 Andrew Gayed (OCADU) / An Alternative History of Sexuality: Diaspora Consciousness and the Queer Diasporic Lens
10:40–10:55 Discussion

10:55–11:05 Break

Speech, Governance, Ethics

11:05–11:10 Intro to Session: Catherine M. Soussloff
11:15–11:45 Hentyle Yapp / The Aesthetics of Governance: Debility and Speech within Autocracy
11:50–12:20 T’ai Smith / What Is a Model? Foucault’s Author Question Revisited
12:25–12:40 Discussion
12:40–14:00 Lunch (meal provided for speakers only)

Art, Artist, Aesthetics

14:00–14:05 Intro to Session: Anton Lee
14:10–14:40 Michael Kelly / Foucault, Black Aesthetics, and Scintillating Leaps of Imagination: And Yet, Here and Now, Not Yet
14:45–15:15 Catherine M. Soussloff / To Be an Artist, According to Michel Foucault
15:20–15:55 Meleko Mokgosi / Spaces of Subjection and Subjecthood
16:00–16:30 Discussion

16:30 End of Day 1
18:00 Dinner reception (speakers only event)

Day 2 - May 30, Thu
9:00–9:25 Arrival
9:25–9:30 Opening of Day 2: Catherine M. Soussloff

Foucault in Toronto

9:30–9:40 Intro to Session: Hadrien Laroche
9:45–10:15 Steven Maynard / The Art of the Collective: Foucault, Queer Art, and Politics in Toronto, 1982
10:20–10:50 Dot Tuer + Andy Fabo / Sighting Foucault: Technologies of the Body, Bathhouse Spaces, and Local Legends
10:55–11:25 John Greyson / Pulped by the Paste Processor
11:30–12:00 Discussion
12:00–13:30 Lunch (meal provided for speakers only)

Heterotopias? Dream, Museum, Spirit

13:30–13:35 Intro to Session: Anton Lee
13:40–14:05 Sharon Sliwinski / Foucault Dreaming
14:10–14:40 Titilope Onolaja / A Question of Cultural Domination: Heterotopia in the Nigerian Museum Creation History
14:45–15:15 Louis Kaplan / “L’Apparition de l’invisible”: Reflections on Michel Foucault, Duane Michals, and Spirit Photography
15:20–15:50 Discussion
15:55–16:15 Closing Remarks: Anton Lee + Catherine M. Soussloff

Please register in advance on Eventbrite for in-person attendance:

We will post information on livestreaming on the official event page in the coming days. Please revisit this page for the update.

CONF: Foucault: Art, Histories, and Visuality (online/Toronto, 29-30 May 24). In:, May 20, 2024 (accessed Jun 20, 2024), <>.