Spaces to work hysteria

2 December 2011 | , , ,

La Ribot’s wonderful work Llamame Mariachi, inspired me as to the technique I wanted to use for my work on hysteria.

She films movement from within, she dances with the camera and the effect is one of convulsion, but also joy.




So, since my PhD, I have changed the space I work in, from a crowded artist’s studio, with papers, notes, images, computers and sketchbooks to an empty dance space.


It is here that I rehearse the movements of hysteria, its body practice, like the famous arch of hysteria (remember La Grande Hysterique I wrote about a few weeks back), in which you may recognise the high arch prone of contemporary dance and which some of you may know in the guise of Louise Bourgeois’ sculpture. In hers, the hysteric is a man.




For hysteria is a body practice and, moreover, a choreography.

Look at Charcot’s movement classifications, from his attitudes passionelles (passionate attitudes, the seduction in hysteria), to the clownisme, epileptoide phase and delirium. All pervert (exhibitionist) phases too, I think.


2 thoughts on “Spaces to work hysteria

  1. I’m a psychoanalytic psychotherapist – with a big interest in Hysteria / psychosomatics and the nature of the body/mind split.
    The beginnings of psychoanalysis and the importance of hysteria – how its been taken forward into psychoanalysis, art, politics, feminist thinking.
    also interested in dance, and Charcot and…….!

  2. How wonderful, Mary. Thank you for your comment. I think our interests do cross over a lot. I am particularly keen to work in the dance studio with Charcot’s photographs as inspiration, as well as Freud and Cixous’ texts. I want to collaborate with psychoanalysts too. Have your written anything on hysteria? Is there anything you recommend I particularly look at apart from Charcot, Freud, Cixous, Siri and Asti Husvedt and all the other usual suspects?

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