A To Z: Abracadabra to Zombies

A To Z: Abracadabra to Zombies

SMU Meadows School of the Arts

Phantasmagoria: How to Raise a Ghost from The Magic Lantern, How to Buy and How to Use It and Also How to Raise a Ghost, 1876. As printed in A Mere Phantom (London: Houlston and Sons, 1866). Collection of Jack and Beverly Wilgus.
September 18, 2015
A To Z: Abracadabra to Zombies

September 12–October 24, 2015

Opening: September 12, 6–8pm

SMU Meadows School of the Arts
Pollock Gallery
Hughes-Trigg Student Center
3140 Dyer St. on the SMU campus
Dallas, TX 75205


The Pollock Gallery of the Division of Art at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts will present the exhibition A to Z: Abracadabra to Zombiesfrom September 12 through October 24.

The exhibition will explore the crossroads of humanity and technology, and the tipping point at which technologies shift from the practical into the fantastical, from wonder to paranoia, and from control to subversion. Supplemented by a series of four lectures and two workshops, A to Z will present histories, ideas and objects that ponder the push-and-pull between technology as a potential savior of human existence or a harbinger of eventual extinction. Addressed will be topics such as spiritualism and otherworldly phenomena, the apocalypse and utopia, arts-based activism, and the possibility of a post-human world.

Curated by 2015 Pollock Curatorial Fellow Danielle Avram, A to Z originated from a fascination with early photographic processes and their connection to the otherworldly. “My inspiration for this exhibition began with the phantasmagoria, an image-based theatrical horror show that dates back to 18th-century France,” said Avram. “While the phantasmagoria was designed to shock and delight audiences, it also terrified them, and in some instances was even shut down by public officials due to fear of awakening supernatural forces. This inspired me to further investigate the intersection of technology and magic, or the perception of magic, and the inextricable relationship between the wonder and fear of technological possibilities.”

Artists in the show include Morehshin Allahyari (San Francisco, CA); Tiffany Funk (Chicago, IL); Neil Harbisson (New York, NY); Mona Kasra (Charlottesville, VA); Amelia Marzec (Brooklyn, NY); SMU Meadows alumna Savannah Niles (Miami, FL); Joshua Noble (Seattle, WA); and Jennifer Proctor (Ann Arbor, MI). All of the artists will be presenting work that exists in the realms of the experimental, the radical and the subversive. Additionally, spirit photographs, death daguerreotypes, 19th-century books on magic, a magic lantern (an early version of today’s slide projector), and a series of magic lantern slides will be on display, all loaned from the collection of Jack and Beverly Wilgus of Dallas. An album of audio “cut-ups” by Beat poet and author William S. Burroughs will also be included.

Exhibition lectures
Free and open to the public

From “Man and His World” to the End of the World
Michael A. Morris
Tuesday, September 15, 7pm
Zhulong Gallery, 1302 Dragon Street, Dallas 75207

Capturing Death and the Afterlife: The Roots and Rise of Spirit Photography
Jack and Beverly Wilgus
Tuesday, September 22, 7pm
O’Donnell Hall, Room 2130 in the Owen Arts Center,
6101 Bishop Blvd. on the SMU campus, Dallas 75205

Material Speculation
Morehshin Allahyari
Thursday, October 1, 7pm
C3 Theater, Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 N. Harwood, Dallas 75201

In and Out of Love With the Future
Joshua Noble
Thursday, October 8, 2015, 7pm
Center of Creative Computation, Room 1190 in the Owen Arts Center,
6101 Bishop Blvd. on the SMU campus, Dallas 75205



A To Z: Abracadabra to Zombies at SMU’s Pollock Gallery

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SMU Meadows School of the Arts
September 18, 2015

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