Invitation to the digital lecture on February 17th 2021
Mental Traveler: A Father, a Son, and a Journey through Schizophrenia 
February 17th 2021, 5:00 PM CET
How does a parent make sense of a child’s severe mental illness? How does a father meet the daily challenges of caring for his gifted but delusional son, while seeking to overcome the stigma of madness and the limits of psychiatry? Mitchell’s memoir tells the story—at once representative and unique—of one family’s encounter with mental illness and bears witness to the life of the talented young man who was his son.
The Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium invited W.J.T. Mitchell for a ‘thinkers-in-residence’ programme on image science.
We invite you to join us for his second digital lecture followed by debate.

Gabriel Mitchell was diagnosed with schizophrenia at age twenty-one and died by suicide eighteen years later. He left behind a remarkable archive of creative work and a father determined to honor his son’s attempts to conquer his own illness. Before his death, Gabe had been working on a film that would show madness from inside and out, as media stereotype and spectacle, symptom and stigma, malady and minority status, disability and gateway to insight. He was convinced that madness is an extreme form of subjective experience that we all endure at some point in our lives, whether in moments of ecstasy or melancholy, or in the enduring trauma of a broken heart. Gabe’s declared ambition was to transform schizophrenia from a death sentence to a learning experience, and madness from a curse to a critical perspective.    

Shot through with love and pain, Mental Traveler shows how Gabe drew his father into his quest for enlightenment within madness...

Digital lecture: registration required to receive the livestream link.


5:00 - 6:30 PM (CET)

5:00 Introduction

Bart Verschaffel,
President KVAB Class of the Arts

5:05 Digital lecture by W.J.T. Mitchell

6:10 Debate
Moderator: Hilde Van Gelder,
Coordinator of the Thinkers' Programme

6:30 End

More information about the Thinkers' Programme
Thank you for forwarding this invitation in your network.

W. J. T. Mitchell is Gaylord Donnelley Distinguished Service Professor of art, literature, and cinema at the University of Chicago. He is primarily known as a founder of the field called “visual culture and iconology”, the study of images across the media. His many books include Picture Theory, Image Science, What Do Pictures Want? Seeing through Race, Iconology, and Cloning Terror: The War of Images, 9-11 to the Present. He has served as editor-in-chief of the quarterly journal, Critical Inquiry, since 1978.

Watch the first digital lecture by W.J.T. Mitchell: 
Present Tense 2020: An Iconology of Time
Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium
for Science and the Arts (KVAB)
KVAB is an autonomous scientific-cultural society that promotes scholarship, science and the arts and contributes to their appeal. The KVAB wishes to enter the societal debate on scientific and artistic topics.
With support from:

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