Laura Gonzalez

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Favourite Seductive Objects — 28 Nov 2005

I met the very wonderful David Leddy last week. Everytime researchers meet, they end up talking about their obsessions so we swiftly moved from live arts, to cultural studies to seduction. I think we both enjoyed the conversation as we sent thank you email almost at the same time. His, had a little present. He said: “Attached is a photo of one of my favourite seductive objects. A pestle and mortar from the Moma design store. I love it so much that I use it as an ornament in my living room rather than a kitchen implement.”

David made me realise the importance of knowing more about personal seductions, specially since it seems I am veering towards a phenomenological approach. What objects make you rock? Can you upload pictures? Would you object me using them as part of my research?

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51st Venice Biennale — 8 Nov 2005

The Mind’s Construction Quarterly has published my review of the 51st Venice Biennale, entitled A Biennial in Venice. You can access from here, or the writing’s page.

guerrilla

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Beginnings are always difficult — 6 Nov 2005

The intensity of my last trip to Sheffield reflects the current state of my thinking. The conceptualisation of the problem is changing very rapidly and with it, both the context and the methodologies. What I thought was seduction might not be; what I was certain came from the appearance from an object might be incorrect; what I thought was going to veer towards social scientific methodologies might be an altogether philosophical problem; the amount of work I thought I would cover might only be a matter of definition.

The territory I am treading is unknown to me. The research question is asking me to go into phenomenology. What this means is that what I thought was objective and universal may be impossible. Instead, the problem is requiring an approach that looks into the relational aspects of this phenomena I shouldn’t call seduction just yet.

I am the sort of person who likes order and planning, needs to know what they are doing and where is that going to taken them. I have no idea where I am going and, if I am honest, I don’t like it. However, I think this feeling is more productive than that of control. I am thinking things I didn’t think I could think, making connections between concepts and ideas that may produce something more interesting than what carrying out an activity might. I am also exploring areas of knowledge that I either didn’t know about (Consumption Studies) or I resented due to previous patchy experience (Phenomenology).

Learning that phenomenology is not reduced to Bachelard (how erratic my knowledge is!) but that Heidegger, Levinas and Derrida are also phenomenologists gave me immense intellectual pleasure. Discovering the varied philosopher’s approaches and finding out that some of them are rigorous and systematic thinkers (they come from Kant) resolved many of my differences with them. Phenomenology also represents the link that will be able to relate my subject to something I could not satisfactorily bring into the equation before: Lacan’s concept of the Object Petit a. I had the intuition that Lacan was important to my study but often felt that my inclination was getting in the way of logic, not really making sense.

Going from one place to the other and learning how to deal with that unknown, that wilderness, is part of producing new knowledge. I am excited by the challenge that the Merleau-Ponty volume on my red desk represents. GU library seems to have a lot of resources that will help me make sense of it and thankfully, it belongs to the SCONUL network, which reconciles me with this sometimes difficult distance from Sheffield.

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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.