How to Visualize an Interconnected World?

An academic symposium was scheduled to be held on 25 September 2015, entitled ‘Global Imaginations: How to Visualize an Interconnected World?’ in the Research Center for Material Culture in Leiden. With about 100 attendants it was a well-attended event.**

Prof. dr. Kitty Zijlmans, fellow curator of the exhibition ‘Global Imaginations’ and professor in Art History opened the day. The symposium was divided into three sessions, in each of which one of the artists from the exhibition discussed a relevant subject with an academic scholar. Each of these discussions was guided by the question of how we can improve our understanding of a world that is increasingly becoming entangled in itself.

scientist - artist pairs:

  • Marjolijn Dijkman - Monica Juneja
  • Ghana Think Tank - Esther Peeren
  • Femke Herregraven - Shani Orgad

The public reacted to the artist and experts. The discussed question were, amongst others:

  • What role do artists play in making the flows and frictions of global interconnections visible?
  • How do artists intervene in existing worldviews and how do these interventions help us to understand the complex fabric of today’s world?
  • What forms of earlier ‘global’ imaginings still haunt our global contemporary?
  • How might a greater attentiveness to objects help us to critically explore earlier forms of global connections?
  • What role do new media technologies play in how we experience and understand our world as a shared one?

To close of the day, the attendants were welcomed to visit the Global Imaginations exhibition in De Meelfabriek.

The symposium foregrounded the potential of art to help us comprehend the complex and often messy entanglements of the world in which we live. We contend that contemporary art can help us find alternative, diverse mappings of the world, revealing unexpected, unusual and contradictory imaginings of these global entanglements.

Connecting scholars from a variety of different disciplines within the humanities and social sciences to artists, the symposium not only examined existing academic perspectives on globalization, but also explored the possibilities to find other, innovative strategies for understanding the flows and frictions of global connections, those networks of relations between us and others in a shared world. Ongoing rapid changes in new media technology, in the flows and vulnerabilities of global capital, and in the significant rise in voluntary and involuntary migration, among numerous other factors, demand that we seek out other more novel approaches to understanding global relations.


Read the written version of Prof. dr. Kitty Zijlmans's introduction.


Read the written version of dr. Esther Peeren's lecture 'Global Hauntings'. Dr. Esther Peeren is Associate Professor of Globalisation Studies at the Media Studies Department of the University of Amsterdam.

Global Hauntings


Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society (Kitty Zijlmans) in collaboration with the Research Centre for Material Culture from the Museum Volkenkunde (Wayne Modest and Anke Bangma) and LeidenGlobal (Amrit Dev Kaur Khalsa).