Laura Gonzalez

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On Juicy Salif — 28 Oct 2005

In the mainstream Spanish film All men are the same (Manuel Gomez Pereira, 1994), three flat-sharing bachelors hire a young maid to tidy their home. She falls in love with the handsome one of them but, feeling betrayed, she decides to leave her job and steal some of their property. She picks up strange, menacing, spaceship-looking object placed on top of the TV and the rest of the storyline develops around her putting the object back or taking it depending on the mood of her relationship with the main male character. What she stole was a lemon squeezer, but not any lemon squeezer: Juicy Salif.

I used to go to the Alessi shop in Brook Street during my lunchtime, just to look at and hold Juicy Salif. Even though the shop was full of colourful and imaginative products, the menacing lemon squeezer always stood out. Being taller than any other product in the shelve (and certainly taller than any other manual lemon squeezer as it barely fits in the cupboard), its clumsiness was somewhat defiant.

I knew from its price tag, that this cult design object was within my range, that I could own it, but I never found the impetus to buy it. I was in two minds when I thought that, even if a design icon, was I was intending to purchase was an impractical lemon squeezer. I don’t even drink lemon juice… Instead, it was always on my wish list for someone to give it to me as a gift. It was as if I wanted juicy Salif to mark an occasion. Eventually, someone bought it for me. The night it was given to me, I was at a busy pub. When I opened it and placed it on the table people reacted in two different but distinct ways. Some immediately recognized the object, some other screamed: ‘What’s that!’

Like in the Spanish film, my Juicy Salif does not reside in my home’s kitchen but in my bedroom. I have never used it to squeeze lemons. I did not even get it with that intention in mind. What I very consciously wanted was to own a design icon, and not any design icon, but one that was subversive and changed things even if in a small way. Lemon squeezers don’t and shouldn’t look like Juicy Salif. This object is beautiful, thought provoking and imaginative (who could have thought of placing the glass under the squeezer?) but, essentially, it doesn’t function very well. I still don’t understand how that works but I think that adds to the overall status of Juicy Salif.

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Emotional Well-Being — 22 Oct 2005

“The wood block ‚Äî a tried and true way to hold your knives, but not so hot when it comes to displaying them. The Voodoo Knife Display ($108) helps by turning the idea of a woodblock into a voodoo-esque doll. Five specifically placed holes hold five quality knives, helping along the feeling of satisfaction when you plunge your carving knife into the doll‚Äôs red body ‚Äî even more so if you paste a pic of your ex‚Äôs face on it‚Äôs head like we did.”

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Thinking about Art — 20 Oct 2005

Seduction as an inintelligible, unattainable quality. How to research its aesthetic qualities?


Cathy de Monchaux, Erase

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Production Consumption — 10 Oct 2005

Reviewing and adapting some of Guy Julier’s thoughts in his book on the Culture of Design:

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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.