The History of Depression


Art Strategies / Week 5 / Systems, Ethnographic and Infrastructural


During the past two weeks, I had gone through multiple readings on systems thinking, and was introduced to many artists working with a systems/ethnographic approach. Two particular artists that really resonated with me were Beth Campbell and William Powhida. Beth Campbell’s work stems from a condition of indecision. Indecision is something that I’ve struggled with for a long time, and the possibility of using indecision and exaggerated analysis of situations to create art was something that I had never contemplated about before.

On the other hand, William Powhida’s work is representative of strong cultural or political statements. The form used is simplistic and easy to interpret. What personally struck with me was the use of illustrations to intertwine many different themes/systems into one piece. On first glance, although, the message/idea might seem singular, but in actuality his work talks about how many different systems lead to or are affected by that one singular idea. Some similarities between both artists was simplistic presentation and the use of illustrations (or cartoons).

Inspired from the two artists, I’m looking forward to using my own illustrations to portray the history of depression. I will be attempting to research depression through the last two centuries, artists who have dealt with major depression, how nihilism relates to depression, how nihilism also presents a remedy to depression, and perhaps how psychoanalysis can be associated with the dissection of this medical condition ( is it a medical condition or a state of being? ). Some of the authors/artists that I will be looking up will be Vincent van Gogh, Edvard Munch, Freidrich Nietzsche, Soren Kierkegaard, and perhaps Sigmund Freud.

One thought on “The History of Depression

  1. I am curious what you are working on for this. mapping depression versus asking a question about it would be different approaches. trying to uncover hidden connections is one way to discover questions that could be systematically applied to others (ie. brain chemistry, historical conditions, location, weather, body fat, diet, parents, social life, books read, etc). will this be serious? humorous?

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