Pedagogical Sacrifices: On the Educational Excess of John Duncan’s Darkness

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


In this chapter, Juuso Tervo discusses the educational aspects of American artist John Duncan’s artistic practice. Known for his controversial Blind Date (1980), Duncan’s works often address topics related to sex, death, and violence. Challenging the interpretation that Duncan’s works stand as means to represent sexual and religious trauma, Tervo proposes that Duncan’s repetitive utilization of total darkness and intense noise resonates with Calvinist emphasis on actual experiences of faith over practices of representation. Tervo sees Duncan as an educator who invites the audience to cross through the threshold between the known and the unknown without any guarantee of the outcome. While this may pose a challenge for hegemonic knowledge, Tervo argues that it can also reproduce the very hierarchical relations Duncan aims to disrupt.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationArt, Excess, and Education
Subtitle of host publicationHistorical and Discursive Contexts
EditorsKevin Tavin, Mira Kallio-Tavin, Max Ryynänen
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-21828-7
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-21827-0
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jul 2019
MoE publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book

Publication series

NamePalgrave Studies in Educational Futures
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan


  • global contemporary art
  • excess and society
  • ethics and pedagogy
  • disgust in art
  • Foucault
  • counteractualization
  • nonhuman animal relationship


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