Laura Gonzalez


Just humming — 21 Feb 2008

Writing block… oh… writing block…

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Post-analysis – a hommage? — 6 Feb 2008

I am mourning, at least I feel all the signs and symptoms of it. What I am mourning, though, is something I did not expect to mourn: my relationship with my analyst. I have missed two would-be sessions. The thing is, we had been planning to stop since our return to normal after the summer break so it did not come as a surprise, especially to me, who initiated the process. You see, committing time and money to the sessions, those two things Freud considers essential to the work of analysis, had become impossible for me. That doesn’t mean I did not care. In fact, most of the important work in my analysis happened between September and January, the months of the End of Analysis, as I call them in my clinical diary.

Issues of control, of deep pain and fear and frustration came up, the realisation that I feel something so true that part of me feels it’s wrong, such intensity… But Dr Sh— thinks that I would have left in a matter of months, no matter what. He was very kind to me during those difficult sessions. On the last one, he wishes me good fortune with my show and my PhD work (that’s what brought it all up, I am leaving analysis to do art, I am cured). It’s not a matter of luck, he said, but of fortune, and his door is open. In fact, he did not wish to see my work and said so, even though this is available online, because he is still my analyst. The work of analysis certainly does not finish with the last session. My symptoms have been stronger lately.

He told me he thought I left some things there with him. And I have, I think. But I have also taken some others with me, hence the mourning. In these last two weeks, I have thought to myself a couple of times: “oh, I must mention that to Dr Sh—, I wonder where it will take me…” only to realise a minute afterwards that there will not be another session in the near future. And that is sort of painful, emotionally straining, actually. The analysis room has become more vivid. The fireplace, the books, the deep green accoutrements, especially the Apple computer I only glimpse and smile at when I go in… They have taken a sort of childhood image status, like something vivid but far far away.

I did not want to lag with my last payment. I have an enormous sense of duty for my analyst because he has never been less than extremely professional. Once a transactional analyst actually went out of the consulting room where I was sitting, in order to answer a telephone. Dr Sh—, if he sees people out of the window, tells me he is going to draw the curtains so we get privacy. Of course, I do realise this is still strong transference. Let me go back to the payment. I tried to do it as quickly as possible, as I always do, but I also wanted to do something special, something small, not melodramantic (which is how I was feeling) but something that would mark the moment of that indefinite break. I wanted a postcard picture of Nicole Kidman, since she had featured so heavily in my last months of analysis (don’t ask), but this was impossible to find. So I turned to my faithful postcard collection which mainly contains works by Schiele, Kahlo and Duchamp (this, in itself, is telling). I chose a postcard with an image by Frida Kahlo, entitled “What I saw in the water”.

I wasn’t sure of why I chose that one at the time, although I knew nothing is deliberate, of course. But the more I think about it now, the more I realise that I do/did my best thinking in psychoanalysis and the bath and that both share a similar point of view. What I see in both is my feet, restful or restless, me laying down. This is the image of me thinking, or rather, working through. Actually that is what happens in the bath, I work through my research problems, I see in the water. Of course, there’s the body too, that body of mine that my year and a half of analysis help me not so much discover as locate, identify as mine (not someone else, as I thought).

I am glad to get a little bit of analysis post-analysis. Don’t be scared if, in the next few weeks or months, there’s some rambling here, about my mother, about self-harm, about feeling inadequate. Before you write it off as silly self-awareness, please remember I am mourning.

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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.