John Cussans

Research

Since completing his doctoral thesis– ‘Revolting Subjects and Epidemic Disorder: Georges Bataille, Heterology and Broadcast Horror’ – John's artistic and scholarly interests have evolved reciprocally, crossing the fields of contemporary art, aesthetic theory, continental philosophy, psychoanalysis, media theory, post-colonial studies, science-fiction, film theory, horror studies and anthropology. He has come to define the ambiguous object of his academic and artistic research as “that which lurks in the shadows of colonial reason”.

In 2001 John co-founded The Bughouse, an international arts project, inspired by the works of the science fiction writer Philip K. Dick, that explored collaborative forms of research and creative production that made use of the internet and early forms of social media. This led to an on-going interest in the relationship between in new forms of collectivism, altered states of consciousness, marginalized knowledge systems (such as parapsychology, mysticism and the occult) and the technological development of postmodern societies (particularly as embodied in electronic and digital media).

In 2008 he co-founded The Free School in a New Dark Age, a no-cost, arts education initiative, responding to the increasing cost and narrowing of social diversity within higher education, that became active in the student protest movement of 2010-2012. 

Since 2009 John has been involved with the Ghetto Biennale in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, often working with the Haitian video collective Tele Geto. His book Undead Uprising: Haiti, Horror and the Zombie Complex presents a history of Haiti through the chimerical optic of “voodoo horror” as depicted in popular horror films, sensationalist travel literature and pseudo-ethnography.

John is currently working on a Leverhulme-funded research project - The Skullcracker Suite - designed to test Eduardo Vivieros de Castros’ notion of “the permanent decolonization of thought” in the context of the contemporary art scene of British Columbia, and the concurrent resurgence of indigenous culture and politics there, since the 1970's. The first phase of this project – BC Time-Slip (The Empire Never Ended) - took place in Vancouver in summer 2016.

John Cussans

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