Laura Gonzalez

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Anthem by Ayn Rand * — 30 Jun 2013

Reading dates: 16 June 2013 – 29 June 2013

Well, I am not a Randian, just yet. I thought Anthem was poorly executed and that is my main issue with it. It is too idealistic; in fact, it is just an idea. But fiction can be a lot more than that. Where is the shiver down the spine? Not here. The story narrates the journey of a guy (Equality something or other) from we to I. The novella is in utter praise of the ego—Rand’s individualism is well known—but Lacan tells us that the ego is not to be trusted, is imaginary. You know by now which view I follow. The ego only works (and is interesting) in relation to the id and the super-ego. Yet, in Anthem, the super-ego gets rejected when Equality goes into the uncharted forrest—with the Golden One, of course, you need both gender to start a new civilisation. What kind of super-ego does not pursue the ego? All too neat, too imaginary, in the way High Rise descended into pure id. I am looking forward to reading something more balanced, showing the complexity of character I am after (and which I am reading, but you’ll have to wait for the review).

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I am — 21 Jun 2013

Day 5 of 5 of Standing Stones. The last day. The first day. I am.

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Thanks to you, Doras.

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Standing Stones – Day 4 or how to become a good catcher — 20 Jun 2013

So we played games.

But before that, I must write my dream. Remember this was dreamed in the night between yesterday and today.

I was signed up to learn how to surf, but this was not surfing as you imagine or know. No Point Break here, even though I watched it for the first time last week. The surfing in my dream was done on jellyfish – not quite sure how. This I had to pick myself from the bottom of the sea. Needless to say, I was petrified. It was not a nightmare, though, because I was being taught, always watched, cared for, shown how to get in and out.

So we played games.

The Hunter game mystified me, as most games do. Yet, I got the strategy – even if I could not really implement it – and was part of the group. Someone has to lose first and, anyway, we did enjoy shouting to everyone that we lost our games.

The balls game, however, was a revelation. My eyes could follow the ball, my arms extend at the right time for my hands to catch it. Magic. Repeated and repeated, even when the balls were taken away. I learned that left and right don’t always matter and that everything is better when you relax (apart from handstands). My OCD came in useful, giving me a clear role and purpose. Not one person would be alone – or have a solo – except for me. So I was a cog in Dora’s clock, visited Dora’s Tron and rushed through Dora’s cityscape. All simultaneous. The City & The City.

I also drew, I also wrote, and got a palimpsest to work on.

What did I notice? Well …

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I noticed onions; not quite, perhaps pomegranates. But onions are funnier. Especially after last year’s Oxford conference in which they asked me if I had a dietary requirement. They always do. This time I replied, though. I wrote back: ‘I don’t like onions’. In acknowledgement, I got a badge that said ‘NO ONIONS’ when I got to the conference, which I had to display at every meal. Coeliacs, vegetarians, allergic people, lactose intolerant: NO ONIONS for me. Next time, I want one that reads NO ONIONS (but please give me pomegranates).

Can you feel the I eye looking at you? This is a game I played all throughout my fine art training: try to draw an eye that sees. I am always playing games.

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Standing Stones – Day 3 — 19 Jun 2013

@thepresentstage #StandingStones.

 

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I have never seen more unconscious in my life. I mean, I have read about it, in many books, but this is like the Dodo bird, or the sound of the tree in the forrest. I lay on the couch for many months and my unconscious was there, I suppose, making mischievous gestures like Dora today, behind the person lifting their arms and taking the chorus’ yesses and noes. It all sounds weird, I know, but it is isn’t. Not for me. This, however, was not a breakthrough in the way you are thinking …

The unconscious and the id are not big, or angry, or sexy, or boring or any word you could think of other than unconscious. I saw it for the first time when Dora was in the middle of the circle carefully kept by the rest of us (7). She was doing something I could describe as wavering or bouncing or jittering. Dora gave her a choice: to leave or to stay. Simple. But Dora whined that she did not want a choice. Of course! Her ego dropped and she wanted her cake and eat it. So true, so true. It was a beautiful moment. A real cry of humanity, of everything we are. We always wanted our cake and eat it. We can’t, but that doesn’t make the wanting less powerful.

Every day has been full of beautiful moments; today more than ever because of echoes. Dora tested the boundaries of the group by running, like a child, faster than anyone, to the limits of the strange dance floor. Will you catch me? Will you be able to follow your own rules – to keep me in the centre of the circle while looking at me? Dora tried. And so did Dora, Dora, Dora, Dora, Dora, Dora, and Dora. Amazing consistency. We, the group, did keep to those rules, and once that the support was established (still so simple), it all happened.

The thing is that I can’t remember. Well, I couldn’t, and while I am writing, something has come to me. I kicked a leg, close to someone, and I liked it. It is like that scene in ‘Hot Fuzz’ when the old lady gets kicked in the face and it is so funny. Like ‘You’ve been framed’. Why did I stop? Did I stop? I think I did … Maybe I would have really kicked someone … But then again, they are responsible for not getting too close. Why did I stop the kicking?

Here’s me in a hat, from yesterday:

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Oh, and yellow … Ahhhh yellow. I used to hate yellow, mainly due to this incident (long story, for another time, as this is NOT therapy):

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And Begoña hated it too, to the point of making her sick, but now she is dead, one she won’t be sick, so I can have yellow if I want to. Isn’t it marvellous? I am crying a bit. I have been wanting to do that every time I said the word yellow. I am not sure what makes me sad, that she died or that she did not allow herself the colour yellow … I can’t imagine denying myself any colours, even beige, or brown. WHHHOOOOOOAAAAA, brown leather … Isn’t it just yummy?

Not remembering disturbs me a bit. Thankfully, I do remember something now, I have caught that little bit of the thread. I wish I could remember everything that had been said, commented, mentioned. Maybe I do, though, although not in words and images. The body is a marvellous thing. Did I tell you that all this came out of the body?

And then when you don’t expect anything at all, you get what you perceive to be all the best opportunities. I have nothing to work on at the moment other than what is happening here and now and, all of a sudden, I got a lovely invitation today to speak of the unconscious.

I said yes, even though I know I can say no. I want to talk of the unconscious. I prefer to dance it, though, or to voice it. But I am tender today so I am going to have to be content with dreaming it for the time being, before we continue tomorrow. If only I could remember!

I am cooking roast chicken and can REALLY smell it. I may need to postpone the dreaming. There is always danger but it can, most times, be dealt with.

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High Rise by J. G. Ballard *** — 14 Jun 2013

Reading dates: 29 May 2013 – 13 June 2013

High-Rise develops an interesting concept: architecture’s agency and its relation to psychology, in particular to perversion and the Id. Given my interest in psychoanalysis, one would think I would be all over this book. Yet, Ballard’s cold, detached style left me just like that: cold and detached. The narrative is good, but the fact that the reader follows three characters (Royal, representing the upper class; Wilder, the working class; Laing, the middle class) dilutes the psychological impact of the book on us. I could not focus. I also did not like his treatment of women. They are non-entities, automatons or prisoners. Same old, same old. I feel Ballard missed an opportunity here. On the other hand, I quite liked the parallels he established between children and dogs. Dogs get eaten at the end, though, and we don’t know what happened to children… Much good material but a slightly clumsy execution. And no bite whatsoever. It should have given me nightmares and it did not.

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Beyond these Walls — 2 Jun 2013

Our ebook chapter, from last year’s Madness conference, has been published! With authors from our forthcoming hard copy book and many, many more. You can download it here.

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Listen closely. Can you hear the echoes of their cries resounding in the night, or is it the shrieks of the condemning? Perhaps it is the outrage of the masses at such weakness, or is their fear? Madness: a diagnosis, a label, a construction of power, and, for some, a life sentence of isolation. The product of an interdisciplinary exchange spanning four days, this volume is a collection of those voices joined in dialogue who dare to consider the questions of madness. Come, join us as we explore, consider, and probe the boundaries of madness.

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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.