REPRESENTING the UN-REPRESENTABLE – COPENHAGEN 2014
The first session is entitled Representing the Un-Representable and will be taking place in Copenhagen between the 14th-16th March 2014. This will be followed by a summer session in Iceland.
Submission for papers is now closed. 20 places are still available for non-presenting participants.
Trauma, , and other ‘unspeakable’ can resist representation and ‘symbolization’, both in the clinic and outside. Instead these unconscious, unrepresented memories or traces of them can make themselves known on the individual level via symptomatology, creativity, dreams and religiosity , and socially via rituals, eruptions or acts of violence; Lacan says “Truth has a structure of Fiction’ (Lacan 1956); and Bion “The only point of importance in any (psychoanalytic) session is the unknown” (Bion, 1967). On a more contemporary note Anna Potamianou speaks of traumatic routes that bypass representation and lead to eruptions in mental functioning often resulting to violent acts towards the self and others(Anna Potamianou,2011).
Post-1968 applied psychoanalytic thinking was significantly influenced by structuralism. In film-theory it featured highly abstract interrogations of the relationship between the spectator and the screen, focusing on apparatus, identification and the gaze. It produced important and lasting work (Baudry, Metz, Mulvey) but, as a mode of interrogation, it has now almost been abandoned in cultural studies, being replaced by seemingly more relevant analytical tools such as, cognitive psychology and recently neuroscience. Further, in some circles at least psychoanalysis is associated with patriarchal thinking and conservative politics.
And yet, psychoanalysis can also be seen as a radical philosophy, which privileges a subjective bodily experience, dislodges tradition and acknowledges the unknowable. The work of this research group will be to explore different modes of applying psychoanalysis to embodied encounters in culture and in the clinic.