Each person is a world, and when they die a world has ended. My father Malcolm was diagnosed initially with manic depression, later with schizophrenia, and at 58 he died after a heart operation. The project I’m working on is both an attempt to know him better, and to grapple with the concepts of death and madness, which I see as kind of shadow planets. I will navigate these realms using traces my father left behind, materially and in my memories, to create meaning from the absence that mortality and insanity both symbolize.


The work comprises images and video I shot while my dad was alive, during the funeral, and when clearing out his flat. I’m also incorporating his diaries and documents, and photographing items that he left behind, as well as manipulating family snapshots and medical imaging of him and myself. Threads running through the project include suppressed mad histories and the burgeoning Consumer/ Survivor / X-inmate movement, astrophysics (an interest we shared), ecology (his passion and obsession), and how death and grieving are erased in Western culture. The project will be presented as an exhibition of photographs and video, as well as eventually a book.



Clare Samuel is an artist originally from Northern Ireland, now living as a settler in Tkaronto. She holds a BFA in Photography from X University and an MFA from Concordia. She serves on the board at Pleasure Dome, is the co-founder of Feminist Photography Network, and teaches at OCADU, X University, and University of Toronto.