New Publication in The International Journal of the Literary Humanities

 

bigclockL’Art Noir: The Perfidy of Images in Film Noir

by Matt Bennett

The International Journal of Literary Humanities, Volume 15, Issue 1, March 2017, pp.9-14.

Abstract: Amidst the hardboiled detectives, doomed protagonists, and femmes fatales in “films noirs,” works of art often operate as characters in their own right, effecting their own double-crossings. Thus far, the presence of art in the mise-en-scene has remained a largely untapped resource in helping to understand these popular American films of the 1940s and 1950s. In this article, I explore the deployment of art in noir as a duplicitous narrative device, with intentions ranging from confusion through deceit to destruction. Art can function to drive the narrative, but can also serve as a canvas upon which characters can project their own fantasies. Art can also be understood as the product of the sublimated sex drive of artist characters appearing in the films. The capacity of images to conceal the truth is fully taken advantage of in noir, and the perfidy of those images is central to the narrative of many of the films.

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Freudian psychoanalysis is so popular in Argentina, even prisoners go once a week

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Freudian psychoanalysis is all the rage in Argentina. This is the country with the highest number of psychologists per capita and where psychoanalysis is a standard treatment option for kids. So it makes sense that in prisons, too, the inmates get Freudian psychoanalysis once a week.

At least that’s the case in one Buenos Aires prison, where psychologist and researcher Alicia Iacuzzi has headed the program for 30 years. Other mental health services for prisoners have a more Lacanian approach, based on the work of French psychoanalyst and psychiatrist Jacques Lacan, but Iacuzzi believes that Freud provides the best guidelines for prison therapy.

Read more: http://qz.com/762734/freudian-psychoanalysis-is-so-popular-in-argentina-even-prisoners-go-once-a-week/

August 20, 2016

 

New publication in PsyArt Journal

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Sookie and Symptom, Vampire and Void: Irruption of the Real in True Blood

February 18, 2016 ·

Abstract

Sookie Stackhouse, the protagonist of HBO’s True Blood, is a telepath who has grown up knowing what people “really” think. From the first episode, however, moments suggest we view her character symptomatically—after all, she hears voices in her head. The series then becomes an illustration of Lacanian concepts of subjectivity and the Real. Sookie is a sexually-repressed 24-year-old virgin, molested by her great uncle and left in the care of her grandmother, with whom she still lives after losing both parents. The extimate sexualized voices in her head can be read as a mechanism constructed to cope with traumatic loss and abuse, and to justify her repression. The introduction of vampire Bill Compton signals the irruption of the Real in the Symbolic order. His unreadable mind presents a void upon which to project her fantasies, but their relationship, mirroring that of analyst and analysand, provides a way for Sookie to work through her symptoms.

View the full article here:

http://journal.psyart.org/article/sookie-and-symptom-vampire-and-void-irruption-of-the-real-in-true-blood/

At home with Sigmund Freud – the father of psychoanalysis

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Sigmund Freud, the father of psycho­analysis, remains a great thinker still needed in a troubled world some 77 years after his death at the house in Maresfield Gardens, Hampstead, now the Freud Museum, which celebrates its 30th anniversary in July.

While many local residents are unaware that this is where Freud lived when he escaped from Nazi-occupied Austria in 1938, his reputation remains international and the house is one of London’s best historic centres of excellence in research and education at the cutting edge. Some 28,000 people visited the museum last year. There were those who have concerns about mental health, as well as some visibly moved at the sight of Freud’s famous couch while others take comfort sitting on a replica, specially provided…

http://www.camdenreview.com/node/991484

Gerald Isaaman – Camden Review

Psi episode 4, “Believing in the Afterlife”

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On Friday, January 22nd, the Association for Psychoanalytic Thought screened an episode of the Brazilian television series, Psi, about a psychoanalyst, Carlo Antonini, his family, and his practice in São Paulo. The series is co-written by Contardo Calligaris, a well-known Italian psychoanalyst, novelist, and playwright who lives and works in Brazil. The episode screened involved a patient, Milton, who believes his dead wife is communicating with him from beyond the grave. Leading discussion of the episode were Dr. Natalia Jacovkis, Associate Professor of Spanish at Xavier University and specialist in film and media studies, and Dr. Karl Stuckenberg, Chair of Xavier’s School of Psychology.

Dr. Jacovkis introduced the screening by explaining the production environment for television in Brazil, where big-budgets and leading actors contribute to quality television programming, outshining even film production. This was well-evidenced with Psi, which is a finely-crafted, thought-provoking, and superbly-written piece of entertainment. Much of the narrative impact of the episode is created by several subplots that are tightly-integrated with the main storyline, one following Antonini’s sessions with another patient whose brother and nephew died in a car crash and a second focused on the death of his daughter’s dog. The multiple storylines involving death and mourning work together to create a thematic unity missing in much mainstream American television.

The loneliness and isolation characters experience in the metropolis of São Paulo is another striking aspect of the series, pointed out by Dr. Jacovkis. The severe, austerely-depicted city provides Dr. Antonini with a steady clientele of troubled psychoanalytic patients, but he, too, is troubled. He maintains a predominantly sterile and clinical demeanor in his interpersonal relationships, not only with clients, but also with his ex-wife and children. However, he is warm and genial with his colleagues, showing a likable side to the good doctor. In general, all the characters are complex and multidimensional, important to a series concerned with the human psyche.

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It is toward that human psyche that Dr. Stuckenberg steered the discussion after the screening, when he invoked Freud’s essay on “Mourning and Melancholia” as a lens through which to understand Milton’s delusions. Overwhelming guilt and anger are attendant with his grief, but when Milton confesses to having killed his wife’s dogs, Dr. Antonini identifies his confession as too detailed, too rehearsed. This causes Milton to erupt in an uncalculated tirade involving everything that he hated about his wife, from her telling pointless stories to smelling bad “down there.” By the end of the episode, the purgation of Milton’s feelings of anger and hatred toward his dead wife provides him with some relief, but there is still much work to be done. Ultimately, as noted by Dr. Stuckenberg in closing the discussion, it matters not whether the ghosts of our loved ones are real or imagined; we must still process our own conscious and repressed feelings toward those loved ones in order to exorcise their spirits.

Spring Psychoanalytic Poetry Festival

Presented in association with The Freud Museum – London

Freud Museum Logo

Saturday 12 March 2016, 9:30 am5:00 pm

Word & Image

In talks, readings and conversations, speakers from the worlds of poetry, film and psychoanalysis explore the power of images in memory, imagination and poetry. How is an image re-rendered in a poem, and how might perception be influenced by the poet’s internal world?

Sessions include:

Gerry Byrne on the transformational power of words and images in poetry and psychotherapy.
Valerie Sinason on the language of trauma and dissociation.
Mark Solms on ‘The Mind of the Artist’.
Eliza Kentridge, poet and artist, reading from and introducing Signs for an Exhibition, and in conversation with Mark Solms.
PoetryFilms selected by Zata Banks and introduced by the filmmakers themselves.
Maurice Riordan with a ‘poem on the couch’, conducting an in-depth analysis of a single poem, ‘Santarém’ by Elizabeth Bishop.
Pascale Petit on ‘Pained Hearts and Painted Sorrows’; how imagery and images filter pain; exploring the creative dialogue she has developed with the work of Frida Kahlo.

Tickets

£62 full / £46 concs (with £5 off for members of Freud Museum and/or The Poetry Society)

Booking now open. Visit the Freud Museum’s Eventbrite to buy your tickets.

Speakers

Gerry Byrne is a consultant nurse and child and adolescent psychotherapist, working in the NHS and privately in Oxford. He is clinical lead for the Family Assessment and Safeguarding Service (Oxon, Wilts and BaNES) and the Infant Parent Perinatal Service (Oxon). With two colleagues he runs the annual Children in Troubled Worlds conference which promotes the contributions psychoanalytic thinking and the arts can make to work with troubled children and with Janet Bolam, theatre director and writer, he runs Between the Lines – Writers and Psychotherapists in Conversation. www.bolamandbyrne.co.uk

Valerie Sinason is a poet, author, child and adult psychotherapist and adult psychoanalyst. She is Director of the Clinic for Dissociative Studies in London and Honorary Consultant Psychotherapist to the Cape Town Child Guidance Unit.

Mark Solms is Director of Neuropsychology at the University of Cape Town. He is a member of the British, American and South African Psychoanalytical Associations, and has won many awards, including the Sigourney Prize. He has published over 300 articles and six books. He is editor and translator of the forthcoming Revised Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud (24 vols) and the Complete Neuroscientific Works of Sigmund Freud (4 vols).

Eliza Kentridge was born in Johannesburg in 1962. She moved to England in the late 1980s and has lived in Essex for the past 25 years. She is an artist who works in many media, though she is primarily known for her stitched drawings and applique flags. Her literary leanings, evident since childhood, now result in her first book of poetry: Signs For An Exhibition

Maurice Riordan’s poetry collections include The Water Stealer (Faber, 2013) and The Holy Land (Faber, 2007). He has recently edited The Finest Music: Early Irish Lyrics (Faber, 2014). He is Professor of Poetry at Sheffield Hallam University and the editor of The Poetry Review.

Pascale Petit is a poet living in Cornwall. Her sixth collection Fauverie was shortlisted for the 2014 T S Eliot Prize, poems from it won the 2013 Manchester Poetry Prize. Her fifth collection What the Water Gave Me: Poems after Frida Kahlo was shortlisted for both the T S Eliot Prize and Wales Book of the Year, and was a Book of the Year in the Observer. Pascale has had four collections shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize and chosen as Books of the Year in the Times Literary Supplement, Independent and Observer. She is the recipient of a Cholmondeley Award. Bloodaxe will publish her seventh collection Mama Amazonica in 2017.

PoetryFilm is the highly influential research art project founded by British artist Zata Banks in 2002, celebrating poetry films and other experimental text/image/sound material. Since 2002, PoetryFilm has presented over 70 events at venues including Tate Britain, ICA, FACT Liverpool, Cannes Film Festival, CCCB Barcelona, O Miami, The Royal College of Art, and Curzon Cinemas. Zata Banks has also judged poetry film prizes for the Southbank Centre in London, Zebra Festival in Berlin, and Carbon Culture Review in America. PoetryFilm is supported by Arts Council England, and is an accredited member of Film Hub London, part of the BFI Audience Network. The PoetryFilm Archive, which at present contains about a thousand artworks, welcomes submissions all year round.

When Freud Meets fMRI

The emerging field of “neuropsychoanalysis” aims to combine two fundamentally different areas of study—psychoanalysis and neuroscience—for a whole new way of understanding how the mind works.

I am in an apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, surrounded by psychoanalysts. At moments, if I half close my eyes, I can imagine I’m in some European city, circa 1930: “The Kleinians have this very disturbing, I think, notion of countertransference as being something the patient does to you. They’re moving too far away from Freud’s understanding…” But in fact it’s 2010, and the conversation is new…

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/08/neuroscience-psychoanalysis-casey-schwartz-mind-fields/401999/

Casey Schwartz – The Atlantic

Therapy wars: the revenge of Freud

Cheap and effective, CBT became the dominant form of therapy, consigning Freud to psychology’s dingy basement. But new studies have cast doubt on its supremacy – and shown dramatic results for psychoanalysis. Is it time to get back on the couch?

Dr. David Pollens is a psychoanalyst who sees his patients in a modest ground-floor office on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, a neighbourhood probably only rivalled by the Upper West Side for the highest concentration of therapists anywhere on the planet. Pollens, who is in his early 60s, with thinning silver hair, sits in a wooden armchair at the head of a couch; his patients lie on the couch, facing away from him, the better to explore their most embarrassing fears or fantasies. Many of them come several times a week, sometimes for years, in keeping with analytic tradition. He has an impressive track record treating anxiety, depression and other disorders in adults and children, through the medium of uncensored and largely unstructured talk…

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/jan/07/therapy-wars-revenge-of-freud-cognitive-behavioural-therapy

Oliver Burkeman – The Guardian

The Ghosts of Christmas: Was Scrooge the First Psychotherapy Patient?

For much of my adult life, I believed, inaccurately, that I knew the story of Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol”—that I remembered it from childhood. It was about a miser called Ebenezer Scrooge who, when wished a “Merry Christmas,” always said, “Bah, humbug.” Then three ghosts came, from the Past, Present, and Future, and showed him how he was, and had previously been, an asshole. Then he saw his own grave and understood that Christmas was real, so he finally spent some of his money and bought a giant turkey for a disabled child…

http://www.newyorker.com/culture/cultural-comment/the-ghosts-of-christmas-was-scrooge-the-first-psychotherapy-patient

Elif Batuman – The New Yorker

Psychoanalysis and Non-Western Art

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Yoshitoshi’s Banchō Sarayashiki

At last night’s December meeting of the Association for Psychoanalytic Thought, I had the pleasure of speaking as part of a round-table discussion titled, “Psychoanalysis and Culture: Psychoanalytic Concepts in the College Classroom.” The other two presenters were Norman Finkelstein, Professor of English at Xavier University, and Rachel Zlatkin, Honors Professor at Northern Kentucky University. Dr. Zlatkin began the discussion with readings of quite different versions of the Little Red Riding Hood fairy tale as cautionary tales about young women’s sexuality. I then spoke about the “return of the repressed” in horror films and sublimation in film noir. Dr. Finkelstein ended the discussion with readings of Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent and Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley.

As Norman Hirsch, president of the APT noted, while the influence of psychoanalysis has waned in departments of psychology and psychiatry in American universities, it has seen a resurgence in the humanities. The three of us provided examples of how we use psychoanalytic theory in our research and in our college-level pedagogy. A psychoanalytic approach is but one hermeneutic we use in the classroom to help students make meaning of texts, but a still-important one, nonetheless. An interimplication of psychoanalytic theory and the products of popular culture is fruitful to the understanding of both, and I hope that the examples we three shared gave evidence to that effect.

Discussion afterwards was heated, as usual. An audience member noted that each of us only referred to Western texts, implying that psychoanalysis may not be a universal lens through which to examine texts from other cultures. A critical cultural theorist in the audience responded that the work of Claude Lévi-Strauss shows the presence of universal structural elements in the mythologies of various cultures that can be accessible to psychoanalytic theory, regardless of cultural context. The speakers were in agreement with her.

I must admit, however, that I have been reticent to apply psychoanalysis to the texts of non-Western cultures in my own work.  Just how much of the Oedipus, for example, can be attributed to the universal nature of the human unconscious, and how much to family structures and child-rearing practices particular to the West? I believe that a work of art cues us as to how we might read it, which hermeneutics might be appropriate in its interpretation, and I have sought to look for theories originating in the cultures in which the art was produced. My interests in Japanese art and film and in psychoanalytic theory have led me to the wish to find some psychoanalytic entrée into the interpretation of Japanese art. And yet, in the back of my mind echoes Lacan’s infamous statement that the Japanese are unanalyzable. But what of their art?

In seeking some means of applying psychoanalytic theory to Japanese art, I’ve researched broadly the place of psychoanalysis and Japan; read of the concept of amae, the asaje complex, and the “don’t look” prohibition; and tried my best to find ways of utilizing distinctly Japanese psychoanalytic theory. Still, this is beyond my comfort level and I’ve not been successful in these endeavors. The Japanese psyche seems to me to be guided as much by Shinto, Buddhism, and distinct social practices as by Freudian, Kleinian, or Lacanian theories of the unconscious, desire, and subjectivity. Does this mean that employing psychoanalytic theory to analyze Japanese art would be misguided, a misapplication of that theory?

I’ve not settled on an answer, but I certainly think it’s worth investigating further.