Lost and Found: The Ecstasy of Wordplay is presented in conjunction with the Low-Res MFA Show at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) Galleries, July 10—31. Please visit the Low Res MFA Show website and schedule an appointment to view the exhibition.


Program notes from the artist:


This film provides a meditation on wonder, the “surconscious,” and the mystical letters of “coronavirus disease.”



In no other kind of program in no other school, with no other kind of thesis, could the pandemic have had intercourse with a thesis like it did mine.


In the first draft of my thesis, writing February—March, I mentioned the year 2020 as a counter to something exceptional, and in my April revision, 2020 could no longer be the example of normalcy. 




Coronavirus disease compelled 2 billion humans during 2020 A.M.N. (Anno Morbo Nostro) to stay at home in order to curb the spread of the virus. Economies were grinding to a near halt because of this. A stay-at-home order slows economic growth just as the alphabetical order diminishes lexical variety. 


Meaning and money both run on disorder. 



The “surconscious” as a zone has been little explored as distinct from the Jungian archetypes and the Collective Unconscious; the holy-fool logic is the domain of this cavernous outside, this “surconscious” that appears to be telling us things without a consistent syntax. The holy fool speaks in rhyme, gibberish, jokes, and other assorted wordplay. The relationship between the self and the subconscious is profound, but the relationship between the self and the surconscious is transcendent. 


In Lost and Found: The Ecstasy of Wordplay, we explore it together.


About the Artist

Zeshan Syed, orphaned at the age of twelve in Toronto, Canada, survived attempts on his life by immediate family members. Exiled from his homeland, he pursued his studies in Chicago where at NEIU he earned a second BA, magna cum laude, and then an MFA in Poetry and Poetics from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He has practiced Sufism formally for 20 years and published a 1500-verse epic on a caliph-saint from late antiquity. He is working on a novel.