Posts Tagged ‘Psychoanalysis’

Mirrors, Mirrors in the Mind

Published April 23, 2010 by Graham

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“A Psychoanalytic Symposium on Comedy, Loss, Attachment & Projection” is the catchy tagline for a conference about the work of Charlie Kaufman going down tomorrow at UCLA. It’s called Mirrors, Mirrors in the Mind: Reflections on the Films of Charlie Kaufman and it features a veritable fleet of MDs and PHDs discussing Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Synecdoche, New York from 9:00am to 4:30pm.

As entertainment that satisfies both academic and psychoanalytic exploration, Kaufman’s films offer complex insight into the pain and projection that exists between people by exploring themes of consciousness, integrity, loss, memory, trauma and finitude.

Though stylistically different, his films raise questions about the creative process as defensive vs. growth-promoting mental activity and illustrate how we live with internal primitive mental states in a nuanced world of human relatedness.

There are still a few seats left, so if you’ve ever had your mind blown by a Charlie Kaufman movie, you’d be foolish not to check out this one of a kind discussion!

Dream-In at The Hammer

Published April 14, 2010 by Graham

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What a midnight delight! UCLA’s Hammer Museum is hosting a “Dream-In” on May 1st:

Dreamers are invited to camp out in the Hammer courtyard and collect any dreams that occur during their stay. The evening will feature experimental dreaming workshops, concerts, and bedtime stories, followed by a waking concert in the morning, all facilitated by a dreamy batch of local artist-psychonauts. The following day museum patrons may encounter dream reenactments, workshops, and napping music during their visit.

The event is in honor of seminal psychoanalyst Carl Jung’s Red Book, currently on exhibition at the Hammer. Tucked away from the world in the deep recess of the Jungian archives until 2009, the Red Book is a long sought-after personal journal illustrated and written by the famed doctor between 1914 and 1930, detailing imaginary encounters with biblical prophets and slithering serpents. Here are a couple of the luscious psychedelic illustrations from the book:

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Who Was Eugene Glynn?

Published October 16, 2009 by Graham

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“Will reality match up to the television fantasies this generation has been nursed on? These children are in a peculiar position; experience is exhausted in advance. There is little they have not seen or done or lived through, and yet this is second-hand experience.”

The year was 1956 and the blunting, desensitizing impact of TV was on the mind of art critic, psychoanalyst, and Maurice Sendak’s life partner for more than 50 years, Dr. Eugene D. Glynn. This fear of mass media’s ominous implications seemed to be melting brains everywhere in the 1950s, and it’s one that remains prevalent today—simply transposed to hand-wringing about kids growing up with constant access to the Internet. But Glynn’s casually brilliant essay, “Television and the American Character,” was different.

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He discussed the form of television rather than the content, noting the ways in which television becomes an adult’s regressive substitute for a care-giving mother: “Warmth, sound, constancy, availability, a steady giving without ever a demand for return, the encouragement to complete passive surrender and envelopment—all this and active fantasy besides.” Too true, right? It’s a critique that surpasses the limited foresight afforded to the citizens of the 1950s about television’s complex destiny.

More than that, Glynn goes beyond the article’s initial concerns to embrace television’s potential as a positive social force, expanding horizons and destroying provincialism.

“Techniques will have to be worked out for educational television for showing, not a baseball game, but how to pitch a curveball; for sending its audience on nature hunts, into club activity, to the library for books. Being aware of the dependent relationship in its audience, television must look for ways to undo it—the problem of any teacher or parent.”

There’s a whole book full of essays penned by Glynn; ruminations on Norman Mailer, Lucas Samaras, developmental psychologist Erik Erikson, Michelangelo, the history of erotic art, and the ethics of exhibiting Jackson Pollock’s art therapy works (spoilers: it’s unethical). Desperate Necessity: Writings on Art and Psychoanalysis was published posthumously in 2008, liberating Glynn’s fascinating writings from the back issues of obscure art journals and painting a picture of a man who was always just a little bit out of step with his time, tackling social issues with a peculiarly frank clarity. The type of man who just might be the perfect spiritual match for Maurice Sendak.

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After reading Desperate Necessity I was a little bit disappointed that “Gene” had never collaborated directly with Sendak. But maybe their whole lives together were a collaboration. Sendak, as a picture book artist, changed the way we thought about childhood. He embedded deep psychological issues under the alluring surface of art for the masses. Would it all have been the same without Eugene Glynn by his side?

Scholars on Sendak

Published October 15, 2009 by Molly

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Sendak has said that he is obsessed with one and only one question: “How do children survive?”

Richard M. Gottlieb, M.D. tackles the question in his 2008 academic paper, titled Maurice Sendak’s Trilogy: Disappointment, Fury, and Their Transformation through Art.

“An overlooked yet central developmental theme of Maurice Sendak’s major works,” Gottlieb writes, “is that of resilience. Resilience reflects a child’s capacity to transform otherwise crippling traumatic circumstances into his (or her) very means of survival, growth, and positive maturation. An implicit credo of these works is the adage: “What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.”

Note that Sendak himself spent years in psychoanalysis, so the approach isn’t as obscure as it first appears. Read the article online at this digital archive of classic psychoanalytic texts. Go on, do something good for your brain.