Laura Gonzalez

blog

19 Apr 2007

Nice cup of tea

Funny, that. I just came back from my RF2 (PhD confirmation) presentation in Sheffield. It was very satisfactory, if only because some things were so surprising.I had all my psychoanalytic theory well tied together, even though the task of explaining Lacan’s Discourse of the Analyst in 3.5 minutes was not as easy as it may sound. The first set of questions following my presentation were very fair and valid. I expected them however. Marx, consumer culture, the roles of the seducer and seducee (active-passive). All was as expected apart from the fact that there were no questions about Lacan. There may have been two explanations for this: I may have been speaking pure Lacanese or everything may have made very good sense… But, as I was thinking this, the whole discussion changed. I must tell you that, in order to remind myself to talk about methodologies, I put a picture in my presentation. A picture where I am doing something, a picture I considered documentation more that output or outcome. After a fair amount of questions and discussion around this picture, the conclusion is –more or less– this: if I am capable of deciphering what goes on in that picture (what REALLY is going on), I may have cracked my PhD. I am puzzled. So near yet so far. I now have a mystery to resolve, a la Freud or Sherlock Holmes. I have evidence, I just have to decipher it. How do I do this? Well, my supervisors were, yet again, inspiring. “Relax” they told me, “yield, let things happen”. Have you hear of a tutor telling a student to relax? Yet, I know it is precisely what I need! To stop the rules, the stop the reading lists, the things well done, and to begin to create a methodology to trip myself up. Exciting, uh?

I am not sure what goes on in that picture. I am not even sure yet why it is so important but, suddenly, I can’t get it out of my head. I have to learn to read photos, now. For the last 2 years, I have only been reading Lacan. But Lacan, although an erudite, doesn’t quite know about my specific topic, does he? The photo knows. You may be asking, what the hell is that photo? Well, you have seen it in passing. Here it is again. Anyone up for having a go at deciphering?

Manolo

Posted in Blog, Methodology, PhD, Psychoanalysis, Seduction, Seductive things, That photo


3 Responses to “Nice cup of tea”

  1. Sera said:

    You look pretty nice on that pic, that is for sure. Let me say so, before beginning a very little,
    a tiny discussion on the mystery suggested.

    Well, I am not a lacanian nor have I never read Lacan and rarely PostModernist guys that nature. I
    am convinced -or nearly- that that sort of thing -that sort of texts- are mainly literature, many
    times in the bad sense. I still remember Irigaray (or was it Kristeva?) stating, wondering: Einstein’s equation
    E=mc2, is it sexuated? It would be hard to find such another example of the nonsense of a bigger
    part of PostModern Thories and writings. Impossible not to remember here Sokal’ s joke, that
    demolished -at least for a while- PostM theories. I think, in some way, PostModernists haven’ t
    recovered yet.

    But returning to the mystery of your nice photo….We could recall Cortazar’ s Las Babas del Diablo
    or Antonioni•s Blow Up. We could enlarge it or open the angle and discover things which are essencial
    on the mystery’ s explanation. On why the photo (it is) is fascinating and talking and insinuating.
    We could study the combination of elements or objects showed in order to get to a conclusion.

    I don•t know. Perhaps I am talking nonsense, but I I think the mistery…there is no mystery. The
    pic is beautiful, smart. It touches our spinal cord, as Nabokov’ s would say. But why? We should
    get close to Aesthetic Theory to reach a conclusion, a satisfyng one, I guess.

    Besazos from Barcelona,

    S.

  2. Laura Gonzalez said:

    I really like that fact that you called it a mystery. That is what seduction is, most of the time! I share some of your disregard for postmodern literature (especially Irigaray, although definitely nor Kristeva!) but I think that Postmodernism has been greatly misrepresented. It is a way of thinking, of creating a more fluid knowledge and I think Sokal missed that point. He even said Lacan’s mathematics were wrong. Where? What mathematics? It’s kind of not mathematics and that is the point, surely!

    Your mentions of Adorno and Cortazar are aboslutely right. Do you remember chapter 73 from Rayuela? It starts with a mystery too… See the quote below. Besos from Glasgow and say hello to my beloved Barcelona, who always treats me so well.

    In one of his books Morelli talks about a Neapolitan who spend years sitting in the doorway of his house looking at a screw on the ground. At night he would pick it up and put it under his mattress. The screw was at first a laugh, a jest, a communal irritation, a neighborhood council, a mark of civil duties unfulfilled, finally a shrugging of shoulders, peace, the screw was peace, no one could go along the street without looking out of the corner of his eye at the screw and feeling that it was peace. The fellow drop dead of a stroke and the screw disappeared as soon as the neighbors got there. One of them has it; perhaps he takes it out secretly and looks at it, puts it away again and goes off to the factory feeling something that he does not understand, an obscure reproval. He only calms down when he takes out the screw and looks at it, stays looking at it until he hears footsteps and has to put it away quickly. Morelli thought that the screw must have been something else, a god or something like that. Too easy a solution. Perhaps the error was in accepting the fact that the object was a screw simply because it was shaped like a screw. Picasso takes a toy car and turns it into the chin of a baboon. The Neapolitan was most likely an idiot, but he also might have been the inventor of a world. From the screw to an eye, from an eye to a star…

  3. Pum said:

    Hi laura – I’ve finally got round to looking at your online adventures.It makes alot more sense now i’ve been initiated into internet protocol- this is the picture that intrigued me – because I love a puzzle too – especially visual ones – From my scant reading of Lacan , and our fragments of discussions – including what you were saying this morning in class to us about your research being essentially asking a question about why your mother has so many pairs of shoes !!!! – I am wondering – Have you not done something remarkable in this photo – a wee bit akin to taking a picture of a specktor – yes have you taken a picture of object(a) – and therefor a photograph of the elusive “desire” that you were speaking of ? I can’t read spanish so this is probably what you were discussing – but what pixilated me ,was who is looking at what I the viewer see what you see but I also see the not-you looking at the shoe the shoe holds centre stage but you look at the shoe throw the camera – and this coupled with the reflections and layers caught in the glass makes for a very ingenius piece of camera work – just stunning multivalent image . I’m seriously tempted to read more Lacan . bye bye .pum

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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.