News & Events

Penny Stamps Speaker Series

Mark Dion

Waiting for the Extraordinary

October 18, 2017

Mark Dion

Special Event: Wednesday, October 18, 5:30 pm at UMMA (525 South State Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109)

Mark Dion’s work examines the ways in which dominant ideologies and public institutions shape our understanding of history, knowledge, and the natural world. “The job of the artist,” he says, “is to go against the grain of dominant culture, to challenge perception and convention.” Appropriating archaeological, field ecology, and other scientific methods of collecting, ordering, and exhibiting objects, Dion creates works that question the distinctions between ‘objective’ (‘rational’) scientific methods and ‘subjective’ (‘irrational’) influences. Mark Dion questions the objectivity and authoritative role of the scientific voice in contemporary society, tracking how pseudo-science, social agendas, and ideology creep into public discourse and knowledge production. In 2011, Mark Dion created the site-specific installation, Waiting for the Extraordinary, commissioned by the U-M Institute for the Humanities. The work focused on the original blueprint for the University, and its 13 distinct classifications of knowledge, incorporating 3D replicas of artifacts from U-M museums and collections. To coincide with the University’s Bicentennial year, Dion now re-stages the work in a new iteration.

This University of Michigan Bicentennial event is presented in partnership with the Institute for Humanities and the University of Michigan Museum of Art.