Monomania: An Aesthetic Response to Information Overload


The York University Art History Graduate Student Association
17th Annual Art History and Visual Culture Symposium
Navigating The Cyber Sea

Both water and the internet are fluid media that shape the ways that the world is experienced and navigated. For centuries water has connected people through ritual, trade, and travel, and now digital technologies have emerged as a contemporary manifestation of this connectivity. The notion of “cybersea” brings into parallel cyberspace and the sea as networked, experiential spaces. Like navigating the ocean, traversing cyberspace can forge new routes and connections that bridge particularized knowledges and traditions, pooling them together to create contemporary globalized culture. The sea and the internet are mutable spaces that host the potential for both colonization and resistance.

Navigating The Cyber Sea brings together a diverse range of voices, which include our keynote speakers – art historian, curator and head of Mobilizing Inuit Cultural Heritage (MICH), Anna Hudson in conversation with York Communications and Culture PhD Candidate, Ali Hirji, as well as presenters Xuan Ye, Shauna Jean Doherty, Tobias Williams, Miles Rufelds, Enrico Agostini Marchese, A.T. Kingsmith, Tyler Chartrand, Daniel Evans, Katie Lawson, and Fanny Gravel-Patry, that contribute to thinking about the cybersea across art history, exhibition histories, art criticism and art practice, including artist’s presentations, performances, and digital artworks

Presentation Description by Shauna Jean Doherty
Using the 19th-century “pathology” and later, literary device of monomania as a point of departure, this presentation proposes monomania as a contemporary aesthetic coping mechanism used by artists in response to infoxication (information overload).  Post-internet artworks by Eric Oglander and Dina Kelberman demonstrate the application of monomania as an artistic gesture rooted in the digital age.