The Waiting Room

Queering The Waiting Room aims to open up a critical dialogue around embodied experiences of disciplined spaces, with an emphasis on clinical environments, institutional processes and their repetitive rhythms. These spaces reflect the prevailing neoliberal condition, serving to reinforce the reductive dualism of a body as either healthy or sick, normal or pathological. This is especially true of the mental health institution; the loss of agency and time – for patients often detained involuntarily – are common side effects of rigid, controlling routines and stagnant institutional behaviours.

Drawing from queer theory, which questions norms and rejects thinking in binaries, Queering The Waiting Room reimagines the institution as malleable. Borrowing from Jean Oury’s notion of ‘pathoplasty’, which attributes sickness to the milieu, the project redirects the gaze away from individual patients and towards the social structure of the hospital itself. In doing so, it turns the act of pathologising upside down and constructs a methodology for critiquing current models – an approach which favours embodied criticality over inherited knowledge, and the collective over the individual. Through a multiplicity of references – from archival footage to contemporary interviews – the project’s visual assemblage reflects its layered methodology of collective unlearning, advocating for fluidity in the rhizomatic deconstruction of dualisms.


QTWR 2021
  1. Waiting Room wallpaper
  2. La Moindre Des Choses
  3. Pineapple Furniture
  4. Manual Labours
  5. SAR2021Vienna
  6. The Green Hospital
  7. La Moindre Des Choses
  8. Upside down

A project by Phoebe Eustance in collaboration with Jess Oglethorpe, a forensic mental health Occupational Therapist.

CAMPUS: On Knowledge Production

Using the format of a conversation, this text explores collective knowledge production in the context of CAMPUS, the independent study programme at Nottingham Contemporary. Written by a group of 2019–2020 CAMPUS participants, it is organised around five key questions which address some of the challenges when thinking about institutional and extra-institutional spaces of learning in a neoliberal society. Drawn from the fields of art, academia, and activism, the contributors to this article have reflected on traditional forms of knowledge production and learning, and the structural inequalities these systems uphold. The text is an invitation to open up further discussions beyond institutional arenas.

Cite this article as:

Chairetaki, Alexandra, Gráinne Charlton, Laurie Cummins, Phoebe Eustance, Jade Foster, Colette Griffin, Milika Muritu, Hugh Nicholson, Ese Onojeruo, Jessica Piette, Raúl Valdivia. ‘CAMPUS: On Knowledge Production’. The Contemporary Journal 2 (July 21, 2020). [https://thecontemporaryjournal.org/strands/critical-pedagogies/on-campus-reflections-on-collective-knowledge-production].


4. Loren Eiseley

LE / 1957
From The Immense Journey

            A billion years have gone into the making of that eye; the water and the salt and the vapors of the sun have built it; things that squirmed in the tide silts have devised it. Light-year beyond light-year, deep beyond deep, the mind may rove by means of it, hanging above the bottomless and surveying impartially the state of matter in the white-dwarf suns.

Yet whenever I see a frog’s eye low in the water warily ogling the shoreward landscape, I always think inconsequentially of those twiddling mechanical eyes that mankind manipulates nightly from a thousand observatories. Someday, with a telescopic lens an acre in extent, we are going to see something not to out liking, some looming shape outside there across the great pond of space.
            Whenever I catch a frog’s eye I am aware of this, but I do not find it depressing. I stand quite still and try hard not to move or lift a hand since it would only frighten him. And standing thus it finally comes to me that this is the most enormous extension of vision of which life is capable: the projection of itself into other lives. This is the lonely magnificent power of humanity. It is, far more than any spatial adventure, the supreme epitome of the reaching out.