Laura Gonzalez

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21 Feb 2015

Malign Velocities by Benjamin Noys***

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Reading dates: 23 January – 15 February 2015

In DiaMat, we are committed to critiquing capitalism, to exploring its transcendence, to think of alternatives. So, of course, the time came to read about accelerationism. Neil chose this book for the purpose as Noys provides a history and a critique of it. It is a succinct book and perhaps some of its problems lie there. There is scope for expanding and deepening every single one of its sections. I found the historical ones (futurism and Russia) the most interesting, as it helps ground current thought. It told me things I did not know about. But when the book addressed things I do know about (psychoanalysis, narcissism, the ego), I found his analysis so cursory it read wrong. I know it is brought about as a critique of Deleuze and Guattari’s Anti Oedipus but still, if one is to discuss narcissism and the birth of the ego, better do it properly or not at all. Similarly, I have issues with this concept of jouissance, which is bandied as self-explanatory. Jouissance this and jouissance that without attempting to problematise it, or even refer to Lacan. Still Noys’ call for a reconfiguration of pleasure and of work were inspiring ideas, things that require further and deeper thought, of the philosophical rather than the political kind. I do hope he gets to expand on these (peppered throughout the book and expanded on in the conclusion) on a longer book. I will be reading it to satisfy what Malign Velocities left unanswered.

Posted in Blog, Book Reviews, DiaMat, Reading


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About Me

I am an artist and writer. My recent practice performance, film, dance, photography and text, and my work has been performed, exhibited and published in many venues in Europe and the US. I have spoken at numerous conferences and events, including the Museum for the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, the Medical Museum in Copenhagen, College Arts Association and the Association for the Psychoanalysis of Culture and Society. When I am not following Freud, Lacan and Marx’s footsteps with my camera or creating performance works as part of my Athenaeum Research Fellowship at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, I teach postgraduate students at Transart Institute.

I am currently immersed in an interdisciplinary project exploring knowledge and the body of the hysteric. In 2013, together with Child and Adolescent Mental Health practitioner Frances Davies, I co-edited the book ‘Madness, Women and the Power of Art’, to which I contributed a work authored with Eleanor Bowen. My book ‘Make Me Yours: How Art Seduces’ was published by Cambridge Scholars in 2016. In this text, investigates psychoanalytic approaches to making and understanding objects of seduction, including an examination of parallels between artistic and analytic practices, a study of Manolo Blahnik’s shoes as objects of desire, a disturbing encounter with Marcel Duchamp’s last work, and the creation of a psychoanalytically inspired Discourse of the Artefact, a framework enabling the circulation of questions and answers through a relational approach to artworks.