Laura Gonzalez

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Crux Desperationis 5 — 31 Jan 2014

CRUX DESPERATIONIS_5 low 1

Crux Desperationis 5
International Journal of Conceptual Writing
January 2014, Montevideo 2014
[PDF 3.7MB]

Director and editor Riccardo Boglione
Editorial staff RB, Georgina Torello
Journal header Paolo Argeri
Journal design Massimo Alacca
All images are taken from Dr. Albert de Schrenck-Notzig, Los fenómenos de la mediumnidad,
Barcelona, 1928.

Conceptual writers:
Fabiana Faleiros
Nyein Way
Stefania Tavella
Michalis Pichler
Kim Rosenfield
Vanessa Place
Laura González
Felipe Cussen
Sharon Kivland
Madeleine Walton
Helen Frank
Steve Giasson
Robert Fitterman
Carlos Soto-Román
Swantje Lichtenstein
Karen David
Divya Victor

Previous editions here.

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The Dogs of Riga by Henning Mankell *** — 29 Jan 2014

Reading dates: 17 – 26 January 2014

I like Mankell’s vision for Wallander, as I think he has found an angle on the tired cliché of the police officer detective. With Wallander, we get more: a believable character, questions of ethics and a focus away from the whodunnit and into what it means to detect. Yet, I think there is too much whodunnit in the second part of this book. Two well dressed chaps in a life raft turn up on the Swedish coast. As they seem to be Latvian, a charming but eerie police officer from Riga comes to Ystad to help Wallander. After his return to the Baltic country, something (which I won’t write about as it is a spoiler) makes Wallander go to Riga to continue his case. Although Latvia is portrayed in a rather seductive, dark way, the plot falls into a tokenistic love interest, a doubles game and a chase. Too predictable, even with Wallander’s lovely manner and thoughtful approach to crime. The first part, though, is just what I needed as I was lying in bed ill: an interesting page turner with mysterious qualities. Shame it all fell apart at around page 125.

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My Man Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse *** — 13 Jan 2014

Reading dates: 07 – 12 January 2013

This is the first book of stories, featuring the infamous Bertie Wooster and his gentleman’s gentleman Jeeves. Well rounded characters, hilarious situations and precise, comforting writing make this a lovely read before sleep. Be warned, though not all the stories are Jeeves and Wooster ones. There are 3 starring Reggie Pepper, who is also lovely if less defined. My favourite, actually, is one of his: Absent Treatment. I really liked the simple, elegant plot. My problem with the stories is that they all represent rather upper class problems—moustaches, suits, love triangles, aunts and money—although they are, in their humour, also a critique, of course. Like all genres, they are reductive and by the end of it I could predict how they would get out of the pickles. What is definitely worth it, though is the names Wodehouse comes up with. I mean Rockmetteler Todd … He needs a spin-off of his own.

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The book is here and it is actually quite lovely — 10 Jan 2014

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A Room with a View by E. M. Foster ***** — 8 Jan 2014

Reading dates: 03 December 2013 – 03 January 2014

Readers of my blog will already have realised how much I enjoy short well written books. The general trend has been for me to wax lyrical every time something sparkian comes to the top of my reading pile, with Philip Roth edging endorsement last year as an outsider to the norm. E. M Foster’s novel may well be the outsider this year. Every scene in this novel is admirably crafted, vivid, full of character. It made me start to learn Italian and when the going gets hard (conjunctions are a nightmare), I think of Lucy at the Bertolini. The characters are wonderful and reading them aloud brought out their quirks. You see, if you read flat characters aloud you notice. When they are are alive with personality, you just want to bed early to start the performance. This is why I am now reading P. G. Wodehouse. The message of the story is a simple, yet very important one. This is a novel about love and about when one knows one loves. It is also a novel about society and gossip and about how people treat others who are a bit different. I know I am not telling you much. I couldn’t without revealing precisely what you will want to find out by yourself, the marvelous view.

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2013 round-up — 1 Jan 2014

Inspired by the escapologist Robert Wringham’s round-up, I am compelled to think of 2013 as a whole and somehow capture what those 12 months brought. I think it was a period of ups and downs. It started with ‘Ghost Cheese’ indeed and ended with Paris and modernism neither of which I can complain about. In between were breakdowns, and doubts, as well as too many poor style decisions I have decided to address in a 2014 New Year’s resolution.

Yet, despite what the sandwich meat days brought, I have been very fortunate to feel, in the most direct possible way, the love of friends. I went to Hong Kong to see Hayley and declared myself a cutie who could sing ‘Livin’ on a prayer’ and not remember it. I maintained correspondence with Peter and Linda, as assiduously and enjoyably as other things allowed me to. I danced with Tom, Ruth, Julie, Vickie, Andrew, Alex, Jane, Rosina, Gypsy, Patricia, Miranda, Salma, Aby, Suzi, Cath, Sita, Natasha, Irene, Jade, Vince and many others. I performed at the Grand Ole Opry, Tramway, the CCA. I read to her aloud at the Ministry of Truth. I worked with Ama and learned so much. I taught in Berlin and made one of the days (that Thursday), have more than 24 hours. I ate a lot of macaroni cheese, and even more broccoli. I wrote with Ellie. I published a book. It made my eyes bleed but now I know I can do it and may even do it again soon. I kept on with with the DiaMat book group; it makes me think if the world as a place of possibilities. I joined another book group and read the works of ornery women. I sang a Christmas card. I saw three pieces by Tino Sehgal. I got two PhD students through. I did not see my friends enough but know they understand; I did not see my family enough but I also know they understand. I went on holiday with my dad to Berlin again. I felt closer to my mum (she started dancing!) and I spoke to my brother every month of the year. I played Scrabble in a naked sauna in Amsterdam. I also went to naked baths in Japan. A stranger entered my house and found me naked, which gave both of us the fright of our lives. I spent Christmas in Egypt and saw where the 10 Commandments were given (no Charlton Heston, although I kept thinking of the film).

And I read a lot, well, at least fiction and by my own standards. My 2013 New Year’s resolution was to read better and I think I achieved it, even though I did not manage to finish 3 of the books on my list (Libra, No Name and Ada). I have awarded four prizes:

[RED]: The book I would recommend (closely followed by ‘Heroines’)
[GREY]: Don’t touch it (with ‘Anthem’ as a close second)
[GREEN]: Book revelation of the year (‘Frankenstein’ was my other choice)
[BLUE]: Most pleasurable reading experience (‘Where’d you go Bernadette’ almost made it)
[*]: Read with Neil, aloud
Should have abandoned reading

  • Heroines by Kate Zambreno
  • The Rainbow by D. H. Lawrence
  • Die Trying by Lee Child
  • The Bat by Jo Nesbø
  • The Complete Father Brown Mysteries Collection by G. K. Chesterton
  • The Turn of the Screw by Henry James*
  • Death by Analysis: Another Adventure from Inspector Canal’s New York Agency by Bruce Fink
  • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (* partially)
  • Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel
  • Nineteen Seventy Four by David Peace
  • Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
  • Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
  • The Complete Short Stories by Muriel Spark
  • Strictly Bipolar by Darian Leader
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  • A Far Cry from Kensington by Muriel Spark
  • Knots and Crosses by Ian Rankin
  • Fiesta: The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway*
  • La fiesta del chivo by Mario Vargas Llosa
  • Anthem by Ayn Rand*
  • High-Rise by J. G. Ballard
  • The Dying Animal by Philip Roth
  • L.A. Confidential by James Ellroy
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker—But I am glad I kept with it and finished it
  • A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Blood Memory: An Autobiography by Martha Graham
  • The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction by Walter Benjamin
  • One-Way Street and Other Writings by Walter Benjamin
  • Madness, Women and the Power of Art, ed. by Frances Davies and Laura González
  • The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch by Philip K. Dick
  • One Dimensional Woman by Nina Power
  • Persuasion by Jane Austen*
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • Memento Mori by Muriel Spark
  • The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad

For 2014, I have given myself the permission to abandon books and a much less worthy reading list, with space for whimsy, experimentation, and whatever the year throws at me. Start recommending if you want.

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The Rainbow by D.H. Lawrence * — 1 Jan 2014

Reading dates: 03 August – 30 December 2013

After giving Lee Child 3*, it may seem insensitive of me to give Lawrence just one. Yet, reading this book was an absolute chore and to this day, I don’t know why I finished it. I suppose the books I read at the same time (15!) gave me strength to continue. Whether that is a good thing or not, I am not going to discuss. I suppose I wanted to hate the book with the knowledge that I read it cover to cover, that I knew it and, for that reason, I am entitled to say what I am going to say. It is poorly written, badly judged in terms of rhythm. The characters, from Lydia to Gudrun, from Anna to Ursula, are not convincing. I do not recognise these women at all. It is full of innuendos. While this may sound great, the novel would benefit from calling a spade a spade. Lawrence is trying to have a soft touch, to be femininely sensitive while showing strength but the result is a poor caricature written by a man deeply embedded in patriarchal structures yet wanting feminine liberation. What happened to the man who wrote Lady Chatterley’s Lover? Thank goodness, that was a few years later and I am glad Lawrence listened and observed a bit more, rather than writing women from his own imagination (as The Rainbow seems to be, a male fantasy). Maybe I should only read late Lawrence. Lady Chatterley was so good, I am going to give him the benefit of the doubt rather than fall out of love, despite the fact that I wasted many an hour on this silly and contemptuous novel.

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Die Trying by Lee Child *** — 1 Jan 2014

Reading dates: 24 December – 29 December 2013

For the first time in 36 years, I spent Christmas away, on a beach holiday in Egypt. Going back to any form of celebration will be very hard, for I rested, got much needed sun, read for pleasure and generally enjoyed the company of an also relaxed travel partner. No anxiety, no forced visits, no toasts, not having to do anything. When I arrived to our faux italian hotel Il Mercato, I asked Neil what should I read. The options were Libra by Don Delillo — you see, I wanted to do something for the anniversary — or the second Jack Reacher story, Die Trying. I much enjoyed the first one, Killing Floor, but like with Jo Nesbø, my appreciation of Lee Child somewhat fell with One Shot, the 9th in the series. Needless to say, Tom Cruise’s portrayal of Reacher did not help, despite the joy of seeing creepy Werner Herzog play villain in last year’s film adaptation. Neil recommended the crime novel, if anything because despite my resistance and my difficulty getting into it, I was on holiday and no hard work was required. It was a perfect book under those reading conditions: a good, well through through character (if a little far fetched, but hey, it is Christmas), an excellent plot ranging from a kidnapping story to an Independence Day intrigue and involving the FBI, and a limited amount of shrugs from Lee Child, who must have worked hard at editing, given that it is his favourite verb and his characters’ most common expression. I would not read it again, sure, there are thousands of other crime novels, but I enjoyed every moment in the company of this book, in my sun lounger, beer in hand, while carols played softly on the loudspeakers and Brits in tattoos had meaningless conversations about football and zumba.

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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.