Laura Gonzalez

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Kill your friends by John Niven*** — 30 Jan 2016

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Reading dates: 11–29 January 2016

In every difficult, worthwhile endeavour there will come a point when the easiest course of action is to abandon forward motion, to allow inertia to take over and to return to the status quo. It is the brave and great man who, upon recognising this point, resists inertia and smashes through to the far side. No matter the cost. I call this juncture the critical moment of will.
Hauptman, Unleash Your Monster (a fictional self-help book in ‘Kill Your Friends’).

This novel was the perfect antidote to ‘Little Dorrit’. Bold, gutsy, funny and relentless, the writing follows Steven Stelfox, a music A&R guy, as he lives one year of his life in coke, sex and intrigue. All of this is portrayed vividly and crassly and I learned more words for cocaine and sex positions I will ever need. He is an unlikely hero, a little John Self, a little Tom Ripley, a little Patrick Bateman. The work of the character is so internal, though, I am not sure if making it into a film would ever be successful. Literal would not work and the only possible solution would be cinematic license, as in ‘Blade Runner’ or ‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being’. The book is funny, enjoyable and contemporary, perfect in its non-sense and, hopefully a little romantic in its idea of what it is to be in the music industry. I say romantic as a defence for myself, I suppose. I am not sure if I would be able to stand its pace.

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Hysteria (Graphic Freud) by Richard Appignanesi and Oscar Zárate*** — 28 Jan 2016

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Reading dates: 01–28 January 2016

This is a delightful graphic novel which, although necessarily simplifying the many facets of hysteria according to Freud, is also able to give a glimpse of its complexity and its problems. I liked the focus on cases, the historical narrative intermingled with ghosts from the past and the future. It is beautifully written and drawn, literary but, as ever with hysteria, also romanticised. This is especially evident in the choice of giving the ghost of Princess Diana a voice and I wonder if more could have been done with it and with Freud’s own hysteria. My main problem with it is the glaring omission of Dora, one of Freud’s most important patients and his Irene Adler. I suspect this might be because she gets a book of her own, eventually. Even with this thought, she should be at least alluded to in this work. Drawn or mentioned, pointed at. But, of course, this is a graphic novel about Freud, and not hysteria, isn’t it? The process, the method, the research get the time and space.

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Today, 7am — 28 Jan 2016

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24/7 by Jonathan Crary **** — 27 Jan 2016

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Reading dates: 20 Nov 2015 — 22 Jan 2016

24/7 was my choice for our Dialectical Materialism book group meeting. I love sleeping, and working for an international programme, I am very aware of the 24/7 culture of ‘all the time, without rest, without delay’. There are so many interesting aspects to Crary’s precise analysis: torture, social media as a form of control and not uprising, dreaming, waiting, neigbourliness. The book is poetic and critical, lucid and generous. Some things could have been looked at deeper or returned to (the torture aspects, perhaps, light) and I even forgive him his slightly misplaced attack on Freud and psychoanalysis because this books is so good and necessary. It is short, approachable and erudite without entering into unnnecessary complications or jargon. It is referenced without being academic, it is impeccably written, with flair and care for the reader. The idea of dreams as something shared, of sleeping as a political act of turning off is inspiring. I am off for a revolutionary and unproductive (for capitalism) siesta.

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Today, 7am — 25 Jan 2016

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Today, 7am — 21 Jan 2016

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Today, 7am — 20 Jan 2016

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Today, 7am — 18 Jan 2016

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Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens *** — 16 Jan 2016

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Reading dates: 23 Jul 2015 — 11 Jan 2016

Dickens is undoubtedly comforting. I very much enjoyed reading Little Dorrit and am glad I continued even though Neil abandoned us reading it out loud. The first chapters were too long and we had to read them in a fragmented way, which did not work for the format, but I persevered with the story. Then, why such a low number of stars? There are some lovely characters — Amy Dorrit herself is a very special girl, a very beautiful image — and the setting of the story in the Marshalsea prison is effective and evocative. The resolution of the main narrative plot is satisfactory, even if predictable. But I thought it lacked punch. There is no Mr Micawber, no Uriah Heep and the book felt more like a book than some of the other ones in which he makes the narrative family, life companions. I will read more of his work (yes, I will attempt Bleak House and Great Expectations) because Dickens is an excellent writer from whom I learn very much. Like A Tale of Two Cities, though, it made me want to come back to my own time.

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Today, 6am — 15 Jan 2016

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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.