Graduate Student, MFA Program
Project Manager, Noon at Night
- MA, Gender and Women's Studies, American University in Cairo
Darren Spirk is an artist, educator, and cultural worker whose image-based practice is focused around queer politics and poetics of spatiality.
Their work is characterized by a meditative, reorienting use of the camera—under the weight of its many histories—to contest western progressivist notions of visibility and think through multiple, contingent forms of absence and presence in the image. As a theoretically-driven creative practice that elides normative approaches to subjectivity and self, their practice ultimately does not seek to humanize those who have been dehumanized but—to cite scholar Zakkiyah Iman Jackson—critique and move beyond the violent structures of humanity that are always already racially and sexually motivated. Moreover, their work generates from aesthetics of opacity, obfuscation, and negativity to confront the tenuous frictions between a relational and anti-relational politic of queerness, asking: what can be salvaged from the excesses of sensual (dis)connection that lie in the ruins of an optic of permanence and language of unity?
They previously worked as a Teaching Fellow at the Cairo Institute of Liberal Arts and Sciences, where they lectured on critical visual studies. They also received an MA in Gender and Women's Studies from the American University in Cairo, where their thesis applied critical theory from visual culture and urban studies to intervene into anthropological discourses on the image.
Building on their past community organizing work in Cairo, they are also currently collaborating with artist dawn weleski on the project management, curriculum development, and facilitation of the Noon at Night program under the U-M Arts Initiative.