Laura Gonzalez


Another shoe exhiition — 31 Jul 2006

With thanks to the always excellent Manolo and his friends Susan and Nina for pointing this out. Sounds like something I will need to refer to!

“Shoes: Innovations at Your Feet” Opens in USPTO Museum

A new exhibit opened on July 13, 2006 in the Department of Commerce’s U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Museum. ‚ÄúShoes: Innovations at Your Feet‚Äù highlights shoe technology past and present. Visitors to the museum can learn the history of patented footwear, view stylish innovations, and see how people customize their shoes for work. The exhibit is an entertaining view of all kinds of footwear that incorporates 19 th century models of patented inventions as well as recent accomplishments of today’s footwear industry, especially many brands in the areas of children’s shoes, work shoes, comfort and fashion.

USPTO MuseumThis exhibit conveys the fact that even everyday objects like shoes owe much of their evolution to the intellectual property protection provided to their designers,” noted Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO Jon Dudas.

Museum display of First Lady shoesShoes can be practical, like the different types of shoes tailored to different working environments, or they can be great fun, like fashion shoes of high society. The exhibit shows what kinds of shoes a roofer, a chef, or a fireman might wear, and one can marvel at the size 23 work shoe of Shaquille O’Neal. Enjoy the sight of First Ladies’ fashion‚Äîfrom Mamie Eisenhower’s pink satin pumps to Lou Hoover’s gold velvet mules.

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Self analysis and case writing — 30 Jul 2006

Freud writes:

It is well known that no way has yet been found to embed the convictions that are gained through analysis within any account of the analysis itself. Certainly nothing would be gained by providing exhaustive minutes of what took place during analytic sessions; moreover, the techniques of the treatment preclude the production of any such minutes.” ((Freud, S (2006 [1918]) History of an infantile neurosis [The ‘Wolfman’] in Freud, S & Phillips, A (ed.) The Penguin Freud Reader. London: Penguin. p. 202))”

There are problems involved in writing a clinical diary of one’s own analysis, and these have been worrying me. They obviously tap into the objective-subjective dilemma I have been having of late. Let me summarize them: when I started this PhD, I was very keen on conducting an objective investigation into the causes and processes of object seduction, assuming this phenmenon operated a little like condensation of water in the form of clouds which then produces rain. In other words, cause and effect. Psychoanalysis has introduced two key ideas, disrupting my cozy but uninteristing thinking: the idea of practice and the idea of self.

In relation to writing, the latter has particular consequences. I find myself suffering the dilemma outlined by Freud in the opening quote of this post. There are, however, two added problems for me: (1) I am in the place of the analysand. Thus, I do most of the work in the analysis situation. Reflection and distance are sometimes made very difficult by the turmoil of feelings brought to bear by the couch. (2) I have to establish a complex relationship between my analysis and my PhD in art practice.

The first idea, that of practice, is proving a challenging and exciting way to resolve the latter. It also liberates me from the clutches of Lacan as a master. Understand psychoanalysis as a practices allows more of an intellectual space, without adopting a submissive position towards the literature, trying to make sense of something, building a philosophical edifice that may stand up, but may also be a mirage when it comes to seduction. See what Freud has to say about it:

[…] and he will assert that he does not see himself as possessing the astuteness necessary to concoct an event that could fulfill ll these requirements at a single stroke. Even this plea, however, will have no effect on the part of the population that has not itself had the experience of analysis. Sophisticated self-deception, some will say; others: an absence of discernment; and no veredict will be reached.” ((Freud, S (2006 [1918]) History of an infantile neurosis [The ‘Wolfman’] in Freud, S & Phillips, A (ed.) The Penguin Freud Reader. London: Penguin. p. 241))”

As a practitioner, my intense throughts require a picture, just to be able to focus, to find a metaphor to speak from. This was provided to me on my last visit to Sheffield, whose streets are being opened by heavy machinery, the direction of its roads is being reconsidered and the dust created by all these roadworks gives headaches to its inhabitants. I think I feel like the city!

Sheffield roadworks

But let me finish again with Freud. You may begin to notice that it is only recently that I have discovered his writings. His contribution if phenomenal! I don’t seem to agree or see eye to eye with many of his assertions but one needs to remember the achievement of his thought, the graoundbreaking nature of his conclusions ‚Äîeven if they owe a great deal to Shopenhauer’s ode of the mind‚Äî, including the creation of a lexicon that has common usage today. My bugbear with him at the moment is around his input as an anlyst in the Wolfman’s case. I know he meant to use many of his interpretations as mere symptoms to bring what was becoming a stale analysis back into some kind of movement (he uses the execellent metaphor of his patient’s bowels for this). Still, I can’t help but feel I can’t quite follow. Still, as seen in the quote above, analysis is a practice and reporting on a practice that is itself filtered may bring this sort of shortcomings. One thing is clear to me, though. Freud’s writing is rounded, clear and beautiful, his narratives are well constructed in literary terms. I can’t help but think of links between Freud and Sherlock Holmes; and even Freud and Nabokov, even though the poor Russian enchanter (who called Freud “Vienese witch doctor”) will probably be turning in his grave. This paragraph may, however, appease his disapproval:

In this way the course of the treatment illustrated the dictum, long held to be true by the analytic technique, that the length of the road that the analysis must travel with the patient and the wealth of material that must be mastered on that road are as nothing compared to the resistance encountered during the work, and are only worthy of consideration in that they are necessarily proportional to that resistance. It is the same proces as when a hostile army takes weeks and months to cross a stretch of land that an express train could cover ina few hours in peace time, and that one’s own army had crossed in a matter of days a hort time before.” ((Freud, S (2006 [1918]) History of an infantile neurosis [The ‘Wolfman’] in Freud, S & Phillips, A (ed.) The Penguin Freud Reader. London: Penguin. p. 200))”

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Going up, going down, but always leading astray — 29 Jul 2006

From Apple Insider
Apple: iPods built to last 4 years

By Katie Marsal
Published: 12:00 PM EST

Apple Computer says its iPod digital music players are built to last four years and have a failure rate that is lower than other consumer electronics devices.

Although there have been several accounts in which the iconic music players have been called faulty devices, Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris recently told the Chicago Tribune that iPods have a failure rate of less than 5 percent, which she said is “fairly low” compared with other consumer electronics.

“The vast majority of our customers are extremely happy with their iPods,”Kerris said, adding that Apple builds the players to last four years.

However, a survey conducted by Macintouch last year found that out of nearly 9,000 iPods owned by more than 4,000 respondents, more than 1,400 of the players had failed. The survey concluded that the failure rate was 13.7 percent, stemming from an equal mix of hard drive and battery related issues.

Apple’s fairly recent decision to embrace solid-state NAND flash memory at the core of its most popular iPod models, rather than hard disk drives, is likely to improve failure rates. Flash memory lacks the moveable parts contained inside hard disks, making the storage medium significantly more durable.

According to the Macintouch survey, flash-based iPod shuffles and iPod nanos indeed sport a much lower failure rate than their hard disk drive-based counterparts.

Apple’s iPod turns five years old this October.

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Soft, close — 28 Jul 2006

Iranzu AntonaIranzu Antona

Iranzu Antona . “Las puntillas, los botones, los hilos, el pijama, la radio, el pa?±uelo…ahora los tengo yo”, 2006. Installation, textile structures

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Post it exhibition — 27 Jul 2006

These two drawings I made will appear in the Post It Exhibition:

Happy is the bride and the sun shines on / The Mirror (or Poppy Red)

2 August to 3 September 2006
Atkinson Art Gallery
Lord Street


Opening times:

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: 10am – 5pm
Friday: 12 – 5pm
Saturday: 10 – 5pm
Sunday 2 – 5pm

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What are friends for… — 25 Jul 2006

If Julio asked me to title his latest collage, I would call this one “Solipsism, or the view that the self is the only thing known to exist”. I like it. Especially since, like often happens with one’s images, I did not instantly recognise myself. Obviously I was not there ‚Äìthis is what these images are about, after all‚Äì but I did doubt it, for a negligeable split second. Have you ever wondered if you are here or there when in front of a mirror?

Julio Arriaga. Txitxarros en la butxaca: Las fotos de la inauguracion

If any of you are in Barcelona, please visit his very postmodern studio (xtudio) / gallery. Details here.

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The opposite of seduction — 23 Jul 2006

I agree with Manolo. Crocs are certainly the opposite of seduction.

Visually, they present an interesting juxtaposition: They share some elements of their proper function ((Preston, B. (2000) The function on things. A philosophical perspective on material culture. In Graves-Brown, P. ed. Matter, materiality and modern culture. London: Routledge)) and the the colour. Other than that, the perception, for a viewer (or owner) looking for a seductive experience, couldn’t be different.

The seductive experience is not a question of comfort, either, but of the experience of wearing these shoes, mainly for girls –this is a gender specific issue, I am sure–. What drives this experience is the appearance, the way the shoes look and what that may mean. Crocs encase whereas Blahnik reveals the foot; Crocs protect feet whereas Blahnik hugs them with the straps; Crocs have holes for ventilation (implying smelly, sweaty feet?) whereas Blahnik has bows; Crocs widen the feet whereas Blahnik lenghens the legs, hinting at, enhancing other parts of femenine anatomy and provoking a specific way of walking.

I’d like to do an experiment. I’d loke to wear each of these of a different foot and hop from one to the other… I wonder what kinds of psychological impact may this Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde study bring…

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Explain the astray bit II — 20 Jul 2006

Metro, Thusday 20 July 2006

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Dream material — 7 Jul 2006

CouchLast night I deamt my partner left me for another woman. When he told me so, he said I was mere “drapery” in his life.

Drapery (From Oxford English Dictionary Online)

1. Cloth or textile fabrics collectively.
2. a. The trade or business of a draper; the manufacture of cloth (obs.); now, the sale of cloth and other textile fabrics.
b. A place where cloth is made.
c. A place where a draper’s business is conducted.
3. The artistic arrangement of clothing in painting or sculpture.
4. The stuff with which anything is draped, or artistically covered; clothing or hangings of any kind; esp. the clothing of the human figure in sculpture or painting.
5. attrib. and Comb. drapery drudge, man, an artist employed by another artist to paint the drapery in a composition.

Drappery is probably Lacan’s S1, that little bit of “unconscious nonsense” Adams ((Adams, P (1991) The art of analysis: Mary Kelly‚Äôs ‚ÄúInterim‚Äù and the Discourse of the analyst. October, Vol. 58, Rendering the Real (Autumn 1991), pp. 81-96)) refers to, like Phillipe’s licorne in Laplanche and Leclaire’s paper on the unconscious…

I wonder what I was trying to tell myself.

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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.