Laura Gonzalez

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Practice in my PhD — 27 Sep 2008

I have returned from Nottingham Trent University, where I delivered a presentation around the role of practice(s) in my PhD. The audience and the other presenter, were particularly fantastic, but the event left me ever so slightly slapped. Some members of the audience gave me a bit of a hard time over the photographs. True, they were photographers, so they were working to very particular standards. Two thoughts, however, came into my mind as they were speaking against my images and my eyelets (and I was trying to remain calm)

1. There seemed to be a consensus around the seductiveness of the text and no questions around this were asked. The criteria, however, seemed to change in relation to the images. ‘These don’t seduce me’, was the argument. Why is it that we demand so much more of the image than of any text? What’s wrong with mutilating an image with eyelets? Since when are car crashes not seductive?

2. Most of the day addressed the notions of Art, Practice and Research, especially in relation to a PhD. The ex-centric quality required to undertake one was noted, but still the argument circled around speciousness and good/bad art. Who establishes these? Why would they have a bearing on a PhD? Why were my images judged so harshly on pictures of a gallery which contained my pictures? What has become of the encounter with the work of art?

I do agree that certain elements related to my performative text (that went down well) and my images (not so well, but a nice chap seemed to be absolutely thrilled when I told him my plan for a book of blurs) and seduction will need to be thought through. How do they inform each other? Do they work together? Is the text enough (I think not, but will need argument)? If I show seduction, will I have to forfeit process in the final submission? Then, what about the objects that did not work, that did not seduce but were so useful for my research? I told my students once that what you leave out of a PhD is as important as what you chose to put in. I am feeling it now.

The best bit of the day was, without a doubt, though, my supervisors’ support and the beer I had with them afterwards. What would I do without them, or beer…

Photo of the week:

Robert Mapplethorpe. Louise Bourgeois holding her Fillete, 1982

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A week in Lauraland — 21 Sep 2008

I got on with the first few lectures on this (astonishingly interesting but quite hard work); wrote a mischievous paper for this with my supervisor, who managed to move me to the core with words; marked dissertations from my Master students and assessed my year of teaching them; inducted the new lot; pondered about this, saw this and linked it nicely to Marx’s Capital; discussed photography with my friends; prepared a presentation for a talk here, bought this and wrote 75 thank you cards. I am determined that this will not fall by the wayside again so entries may get more… everyday-like. Feel free to psychoanalyze.

Image of the week (kindly shown to me by a photographer friend):

Rinko Kawauchi: «Untitled» (from the series Cui Cui), 2005 © Rinko Kawauchi

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Das Kapital and dizziness — 6 Sep 2008

Of course, having been out of the loop with my journal means I also have been out of the loop wit that of others. I am catching up now, almost finishing reading June. I couldn’t let one post pass, though, as it is another clear example of how I have to be careful with what I wish because it may become true. The excellent Larval Subjects cited RoughTheory who in turn linked to David Harvey. It is not the journey that is referred to when I mentioned dizziness in the title, it is what I found when I got there. Distinguished Professor Harvey, of CUNY is doing a close reading of Marx’s Capital in 13 2-hour lectures, downloadable on audio and video. I have always dreamed of something like this happening. But just as I found out when I listened to Zizek’s masterclass on Lacan, I know that the next few walks to work and the forthcoming sessions at the gym are going to be hard going.

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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.