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Northern Illinois University

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Zombies! The Evolution of the Zombie in Visual Media

Zombies!Zombies! The Evolution of the Zombie in Visual Media is an exhibition organized by the 2008 ART655 (Curatorial Practice) class. The exhibition focuses on the historical evolution of zombies in American as well as Global culture, highlighting literature and mythology, and pop culture, including films, digital media and non-film contemporary visual media. These topics work together to show the development of the Zombie into what we perceive it today.

Within each category of focus, several examples are brought into consideration. The exhibition sheds light on the origins of Zombies in mythology and literature, exhibiting information on the Epic of Gilgamesh, Blessebois' Le Zombi du grand Perou, Moreau de Saint-Mery's Description topographique et politique de la partie espagnole de l'isle Saint-Domingue, Shelley's Frankenstein, Lovecraft's Herbert West - Reanimator, and Seabrook's The Magic Island. These writings depict the concept of the Zombie as originating from many different cultures and also shows the beginning stages of Zombie evolution.

Film focus of the exhibition includes films from as early as the 1930s to the mainstream films of hollywood; specifically films from the World War II era, cult classic Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959), films by George Romero, Return of the Living Dead (1985), and the comedic Shaun of the Dead (2004). Other media focus discusses the presence of zombies in video games (Zombie Zombie, Zombies Ate My Neighbors, House of the Dead, and Resident Evil).

View photo gallery of installation >

Zombies!Additional Programming

Additional programming for the exhibition consisted of an opening reception that doubled as a costume party featuring a make-up artist as well as film screenings of several iconic zombie films (Night of the Living Dead, Return of the Living Dead, and Shaun of the Dead).

View photo gallery of reception and costume party >