VISIONARY MEDIUM: Psychoanalysis and the Magic of Cinema

VISIONARY MEDIUM: Psychoanalysis and the Magic of Cinema

October 14-16, 2022 | Husets Biograf, Copenhagen

The third Psychoanalysis, Art & the Occult conference focuses on cinema as a gateway into and out of the human mind, in all its complexity. No modern medium enchants quite as powerfully as that of the moving image. As film developed into an art form parallel to the emergence of both psychoanalysis and the late 19th century renaissance of the occult, its presence was rapidly imbued with a genuinely visionary power that continues to spellbind to this day. This event shines the light on a psychological screen filled with innovations, ideas, prisms and mirrors, revealing ever more to us about the intimate, intricate relationship between psychoanalysis, art and the occult.

In 1895, the same year Sigmund Freud published Studies on Hysteria with Josef Breuer, the Lumière brothers presented the first projected moving pictures to a paying audience and practicing occultist William Butler Yeats published his very first collection of poetry. As Freud continued developing his theories, the film industry established itself, with experimental film-making evolving alongside conventional cinema from the beginning. The early films of Georges Méliès, Hans Richter and Fritz Lang influenced generations of filmmakers, including Jonas Mekas, Luis Buñuel, Harry Smith, Ingmar Bergman, Robert Frank, Kenneth Anger, Antony Balch, Derek Jarman, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Peter Greenaway, John Waters, Darren Aronofsky, Anna Biller and Lars von Trier. 

When a filmmaker is a true artist, their vision and own unconscious processes are projected and worked through via the medium of film. The magic lantern’s cinematic spells are timeless expressions of the human condition – existing outside trends, discourses and even the larger Zeitgeists of the times – yet resonating throughout. As Freudian cinephile Mary Wild relays in her work, films are projective surfaces engaging similar mechanisms as the classic projective tests of psychoanalysts, such as the Rorschach Inkblot Test. In the chamber of the cinema, films are projected onto screens while audience members project their own internal worlds onto the films, identifying with the characters and enacting the drama being played out. Nowadays screens are ubiquitous in our everyday lives, the interactive screens of computers and phones providing countless opportunities for individuals to project themselves into the digital realm in a multitude of ways never before imagined. 

The Psychoanalysis, Art & the Occult series of events, curated by Dr. Vanessa Sinclair and Carl Abrahamsson, is dedicated to exploring the intersections and integration of psychoanalytic theory, the creative arts, occult practices and folk magic traditions. By inviting psychoanalysts, philosophers, artists, writers, filmmakers and magical practitioners from a variety of theoretical orientations and worldviews to discuss their work, personal experiences and areas of interest with one another, dialogue is opened up between practitioners in fields of study that traditionally rarely engage with one another, though often operate in similar and complementary ways.

Topics may range from themes of the double, mirroring, projection, programming, propaganda and poetry to psychoanalysis on film, the history of cinema, celluloid tangibility, home movies, horror, underground cinema, spirit photography, the scopic drive, the Uncanny, Cinema of Transgression, Film as a Subversive Art (a la Amos Vogel), social media, TikTok, artificial intelligence and the digital realm to deep dives into particular auteur filmmakers, photographers or artists, such as Diane Arbus, Joel-Peter Witkin, Francis Bacon, William Mortensen, Werner Herzog or Russ Meyer. 

Please send inquiries and proposals for presentations to: sinclairvanessa [AT] gmail [DOT] com

Image: Carl Abrahamsson and Vanessa Sinclair with William Mortensen’s camera and work, care of Stephen Romano Gallery, NYC

“The Death Drive on Film” by Mary Wild and “The Revolution will go Viral… on Sexting, the Digital & Contagion” by Dr Clint Burnham

“The Death Drive on Film” by Mary Wild and “The Revolution will go Viral… on Sexting, the Digital & Contagion” by Dr Clint Burnham

8.00

Date: Sunday, May 22, 2022
Time: 2 pm EST

This lecture will take place virtually, via Zoom. Ticket sales will end at 12:30pm EST the day of the lecture. This event will be recorded and ticketholders will receive a temporary streaming link after the live stream.

Ticketholders: a link to the conference is sent out at 1 pm EST on the day of the event to the email used at checkout. Please add info.morbidanatomy@gmail.com to your contacts to ensure that the event link will not go to spam.

PLEASE NOTE: This lecture will be recorded and available for free for our Patreon members at $5/above. Become a Member HERE.

The Death Drive on Film, by Mary Wild

In “Beyond the Pleasure Principle” (1920), Sigmund Freud defined the death drive as being in opposition to Eros (i.e., the affirmation of life through survival, propagation, productivity, and romance). This talk will focus the death drive on film, represented as self-sabotage, the unconscious wish to return to an inorganic state, and the urge to repeat painful past events. The proposition is that there is a cultural merit in coming to terms with the death drive, as it helps us to identify, comprehend and integrate harmful impulses in a functional way.

Films discussed: Damage (1992), Weekend At Bernie(1989), Once Upon A Time In Hollywood (2019)

“The Revolution will go Viral… on Sexting, the Digital & Contagion,” by Dr. Clint Burnham

We need psychoanalysis to understand our conflicted anxieties brought to the fore by Covid, we needed Covid-19 to come along to help us comprehend the dyad of connectivity and isolation at work in the internet, and we continue to need the internet to understand such psychoanalytic ideas as the unconscious and “desire is the desire of the Other.” 

Drawing on the work of Freud, Lacan, Žižek, and Byung-Chul Han, and discussing sexting, anti-vaxxers, and “the subject supposed to LOL,” this talk will argue that our desires on the internet, our anxieties about vaccines and masks, and the way things go viral, can only be understood with the help of psychoanalysis, and, that these cultural phenomena can in turn help advance the theory and practice, the very relevance, of psychoanalysis today.

This talk is part of the Psychoanalysis, Art & the Occult series of events, curated by Dr. Vanessa Sinclair and Carl Abrahamsson, is dedicated to exploring the intersections and integration of psychoanalytic theory, the creative arts, occult practices, and folk magic traditions. By inviting psychoanalysts, philosophers, artists, writers, and occult practitioners from a variety of theoretical orientations and worldviews to discuss their work, personal experiences, and areas of research interest with one another, dialogue is opened up between practitioners in fields of study that traditionally rarely engage with one another though often operate in similar and complementary ways.

About the speakers:

Mary Wild is the creator of the PROJECTIONS lecture series at Freud Museum London, applying psychoanalysis to film interpretation. Mary also co-hosts the Projections Podcast, and contributes to The Evolution of Horror Podcast.

Dr. Clint Burnham is Professor of English at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada, where he also teaches theory and popular culture. He is one of the facilitators of the Lacan Salon. His books include The Jamesonian Unconscious: The Aesthetics of Marxist Theory (1995), The Only Poetry that Matters: Reading the Kootenay School of Writing (2011), and the collections Digital Natives (2011, co-ed. with Lorna Brown) and From Text to Txting: New Media in the Classroom (2012, co-ed. with Paul Budra). His most recent book Does the Internet Have an Unconscious? (2018) is both an introduction to the work of Slavoj Žižek and an investigation into how his work can be used to think about the digital present. Clint Burnham uniquely combines the German idealism, Lacanian psychoanalysis, and Marxist materialism found in Žižek’s thought to understand how the Internet, social and new media, and digital cultural forms work in our lives and how their failure to work structures our pathologies and fantasies. He suggests that our failure to properly understand the digital is due to our lack of recognition of its political, aesthetic, and psycho-sexual elements. Mixing autobiographical passages with critical analysis, Burnham situates a Žižekian theory of digital culture in the lived human body.

Explore the Uncanny Aspects of Oscar Wilde

Uncanny Aspects of Oscar Wilde: “Dancing With Salome: Decadence & the Supernatural” by Nina Antonia and “Activating Wilde’s World View” by Robert Podgurski

  • Sunday, April 24, 2022
  • 2:00 PM  3:30 PM

Admission: $8 – Tickets and more info HERE

Nina Antonia will examine the aspects of enchantment that infused the Decadent movement as well as the perils of seeking wisdom outside of earthly boundaries. Robert Podgurski will address the ways in which Oscar Wilde’s liberated worldview may be read, not just textually, but as magical action.

This lecture will take place virtually, via Zoom. Ticket sales will end at 12:30pm EST the day of the lecture. This event will be recorded and ticketholders will receive a temporary streaming link after the live stream.

Ticketholders: a link to the conference is sent out at 1 pm EST on the day of the event to the email used at checkout. Please add info.morbidanatomy@gmail.com to your contacts to ensure that the event link will not go to spam.

PLEASE NOTE: This lecture will be recorded and available for free for our Patreon members at $5/above. Become a Member HERE.

“Dancing With Salome: Decadence & the Supernatural” by Nina Antonia

Nina Antonia is the author of a trinity of critically acclaimed books exploring the uncanny forces surrounding Oscar Wilde and his coterie. The majority of contemporary mainstream studies of the 1890’s excise the unseen, magical aspects that would have informed the art of Wilde and his peers, including W.B Yeats and Arthur Machen, who were both members of The Golden Dawn. Nina will be examining the aspects of enchantment that infused the Decadent movement as well as the perils of seeking wisdom outside of earthly boundaries.

“Activating Wilde’s World View” by Robert Podgurski

In this talk, Robert Podgurski will be addressing the ways in which Oscar Wilde’s liberated worldview may be read, not just textually, but as magical action. In particular, Chuang Tzu’s non-doing as Wilde understood it, presents a puzzle for the engaging reader, but one that is first and foremost intended to be playful. This talk is a supplement to Podgurski’s essay “Oscar Wilde’s Active Inaction and Composing the Individual” that will be included in the upcoming issue of The Fenris Wolf. For those new to the thought of Wilde and his world, this presentation is intended to raise some awareness of the interpretive act as it relates to the contemplative. Ultimately, any attempt to translate the complexities of Wilde’s understanding of freedom is to challenge the procedures and basis of western learning itself.

Nina Antonia has been a published author since 1987, specialising in the unconventional, wayward and decadent. Despite critical acclaim from the likes of The Washington Post and The Gay & Lesbian Review, Ms Antonia has skirted establishment confines to create a unique body of written work. Over the last 5 years Nina has chronicled the esoteric aspects of the lives of Oscar Wilde, his ‘homme fatale’ Lord Alfred Douglas and the poet Lionel Johnson, who inadvertently caused the greatest scandal of the Fin De Siecle by introducing Douglas to Wilde. Ms Antonia will be discussing this uncanny alliance in her most recent books; The Greenwood Faun (Egaeus Press) Incurable: The Haunted Writings of Lionel Johnson, the Decadent Era’s Dark Angel (Strange Attractor Press) and Dancing with Salome: Courting the Uncanny with Oscar Wilde and Friends (Trapart Books).

Robert Podgurski’s engagement with magic over 40 years has included mountaineering, yoga, chi gong, prose, and verse. His Sacred Alignments and Sigils (North Atlantic Books, 2019) is the most current manifestation of his project(ive): the Grid Sigil. As a practical and investigative tool The Grid Sigil deals with the closely knit relationship between ley-lines, meta-neural-programming, and geo-magnetic sorcery. In continuation of this working Podgurski will be launching his book, The Aetheric Alignments (prospectively fall of 2022 / spring 2023 with Inner Traditions). This study encompasses the history of the aether in early western as well as eastern consciousness up to  our modern era as well as broaching practical applications. Podgurski is also the author of several works in poetry: Wandering On Course (Spuyten Duyvil Press, 2014); and his on-going long poem, Intersecting Visions / Vision Intersects (Bullhead Books, 2019).  His most recent poetry series, In the Shadow of This Branch is forthcoming in 2023. Along with poetry Podgurski has also authored fiction including his first full-length novel, Beyond the Lens of Time (date of publication to be announced shortly). For more information contact him at: deathsigil@gmail.com or visit his website: https://robertpodgurski.com/

The Psychoanalysis, Art & the Occult series of events, curated by Dr. Vanessa Sinclair and Carl Abrahamsson, is dedicated to exploring the intersections and integration of psychoanalytic theory, the creative arts, occult practices, and folk magic traditions. By inviting psychoanalysts, philosophers, artists, writers, and occult practitioners from a variety of theoretical orientations and worldviews to discuss their work, personal experiences, and areas of research interest with one another, dialogue is opened up between practitioners in fields of study that traditionally rarely engage with one another though often operate in similar and complementary ways.

PsychArtCult continues March 27th!

Join us March 27 for “The Compleat Story: How Anton LaVey Created The Compleat Witch” by Peggy Nadramia: Part of the Psychoanalysis, Art & the Occult Series, Live on Zoom, Morbid Anatomy Museum, online.

Date: Sunday, March 27
Time: 2-3:30 pm EST

This lecture will take place virtually, via Zoom. Ticket sales will end at 12:30pm EST the day of the lecture. This event will be recorded and ticketholders will receive a temporary streaming link after the live stream.

Ticketholders: a link to the conference is sent out at 1 pm EST on the day of the event to the email used at checkout. Please add info.morbidanatomy@gmail.com to your contacts to ensure that the event link will not go to spam.

PLEASE NOTE: This lecture will be recorded and available for free for our Patreon members at $5/above. Become a Member HERE.

Peggy Nadramia, High Priestess of the Church of Satan, spent several years reviewing archival records to reconstruct Anton LaVey’s plans and process in writing this, his most personal book. She will relate that story as well as the details of LaVey’s exhausting promotional tour and how the book fared in the years that followed. The Compleat Witch, or What to do When Virtue Fails, was first published in 1971, and then reissued in 1989 by Feral House as The Satanic Witch.

The Psychoanalysis, Art & the Occult series of events, curated by Dr. Vanessa Sinclair and Carl Abrahamsson, is dedicated to exploring the intersections and integration of psychoanalytic theory, the creative arts, occult practices, and folk magic traditions. By inviting psychoanalysts, philosophers, artists, writers, and occult practitioners from a variety of theoretical orientations and worldviews to discuss their work, personal experiences, and areas of research interest with one another, dialogue is opened up between practitioners in fields of study that traditionally rarely engage with one another though often operate in similar and complementary ways.

Peggy Nadramia was born and raised in Hell’s Kitchen, New York City. She attended Catholic school as a child and received her degrees from the State University of New York, Fordham University and New York University. In 1985, she founded Grue Magazine, a small press journal of horror fiction, which received the World Fantasy Award in 1990. In 2002 she became the High Priestess of the Church of Satan. She is currently working on an extensive archive project for the Church and developing articles on the organization’s history and influence. She resides in Poughkeepsie, NY, in a haunted mansion. She is married to Peter H. Gilmore.

Gary Lachman + Carl Abrahamsson on February 20th!

Experiences with Precognitive Dreams, Synchronicity and Notes on the Occult Influence of Derek Jarman: Part of the Psychoanalysis, Art and the Occult Series, with Gary Lachman and Carl Abrahamsson

  • Sunday, February 20, 2022
  • 2:00 PM  3:30 PM

Time: 2 pm EST
Admission: $8 – Tickets HERE

The Psychoanalysis, Art & the Occult series of events, curated by Dr. Vanessa Sinclair and Carl Abrahamsson, is dedicated to exploring the intersections and integration of psychoanalytic theory, the creative arts, occult practices, and folk magic traditions. By inviting psychoanalysts, philosophers, artists, writers, and occult practitioners from a variety of theoretical orientations and worldviews to discuss their work, personal experiences, and areas of research interest with one another, dialogue is opened up between practitioners in fields of study that traditionally rarely engage with one another though often operate in similar and complementary ways.

“Dreaming Ahead of Time: Experiences with Precognitive Dreams, Synchronicity and Coincidence”

 Can we dream the future? Does time flow in only one direction? What is a ‘meaningful coincidence’?

Gary Lachman, author of many books on consciousness, culture, and the western esoteric tradition (and former bassist for Blondie), has been recording his precognitive dreams for forty years – dreams, that is, in which bits and pieces of the future turn up “ahead of time.” In his talk, based on his new book Dreaming Ahead of Time, Lachman will relate how he came to discover that he “dreams the future,” and how this surprising ability is something we all share but are unaware that we do. Along the way, Lachman will look at the work of other “time haunted men,” such as J.W. Dunne, J. B. Priestley, P.D. Ouspensky, C.G. Jung, Arthur Koestler, and others who, like himself, discovered that the “tick tick tock of the stately clock” – with apologies to Cole Porter – is not the only way in which that mysterious something we call “time” can be understood.

Gary Lachman is the author of many books about consciousness, culture, and the Western esoteric tradition, including The Return of Holy RussiaDark Star Rising: Magick and Power in the Age of TrumpLost Knowledge of the Imagination, and Beyond the Robot: The Life and Work of Colin Wilson. He writes for several journals in the US, UK, and Europe, lectures around the world and his work has been translated into more than a dozen languages. In a former life he was a founding member of the pop group Blondie and in 2006 was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Before moving to London in 1996 and becoming a full time writer, Lachman studied philosophy, managed a metaphysical book shop, taught English literature, and was Science Writer for UCLA. He is an adjunct professor of Transformative Studies at the California Institute of Integral Studies. He can be reached at: http://garylachman.co.uk

“Tripping the Dark Light Fantastic – Notes on the occult influence of filmmaker Derek Jarman”

 Watching Derek Jarman’s experimental film “In the Shadow of the Sun” for the first time in the early 1980s formatted my own aesthetic not only concerning cinema but also art in general. An important individuation key for me since then has been to continually evaluate Jarman’s distinctly magical, alchemical approach (and its many ripple effects) as a conscious expression of, and connection to, occultural history and general occult experimentation. Meaning, what you are creating is not “only” art, but also a talismanic platform through which desires may or may not be processed. And that this approach is a living and thriving tradition; not just an odd intellectual occurrence in our own contemporary times.

Carl Abrahamsson is a Swedish author, specializing in Occulture and Magico-anthropology. His books include Resonances (2014), Occulture (2018), The Devil’s Footprint (2020), Sacred Intent (2020), Different People (2021), and Anton LaVey and the Church of Satan (2022). He is also the editor and publisher of the highly renowned anthologies in The Fenris Wolf series. https://www.carlabrahamsson.com

Next up at PsychArtCult @ Morbid Anatomy online!

The Psychic Violence of Alfred Hitchcock and Roman Polanski’s Apartment Trilogy: Repulsion, Rosemary’s Baby and The Tenant: Part of Psychoanalysis, Art and the Occult

  • Sunday, January 23, 2022
  • 2:00 PM  3:30 PM

Time: 2pm EST
Admission: $8 – Tickets HERE

This lecture will take place virtually, via Zoom. Ticket sales will end at 5 pm EDT the day of the lecture. Attendees may request a video recording AFTER the lecture takes place by emailing proof of purchase to info.morbidanatomy@gmail.com. Video recordings are valid for 30 days after the date of the lecture.

Ticketholders: a link to the conference is sent out at 5:30 pm EDT on the day of the event to the email used at checkout. Please add info.morbidanatomy@gmail.com to your contacts to ensure that the event link will not go to spam.

PLEASE NOTE: This lecture will be recorded and available for free for our Patreon members at $5/above. Become a Member HERE.

The Psychic Violence of Alfred Hitchcock: Cutting in VertigoPsycho, and The Birds
30-minute presentation by Dr. Todd McGowan

This talk will look at Hitchcock’s three late masterpieces—VertigoPsycho, and The Birds—in terms of how they implicate the spectator in the violence that they depict. Through an inventive use of editing, Hitchcock places the spectator in the position of the figure of violence and forces spectators to reckon with their own psychic investment in this violence.

Todd McGowan teaches theory and film at the University of Vermont. He is the author of many books, including The Real Gaze: Film Theory After Lacan (2007), The Impossible David Lynch (2007), The Fictional Christopher Nolan (2013), Enjoying What We Don’t Have: The Political Project of Psychoanalysis (2013), Contemporary Film Directors: Spike Lee (2014), Capitalism and Desire: The Psychic Cost of Free Markets (2016) and Universality and Identity Politics (2020).

Roman Polanski’s Apartment Trilogy: Repulsion, Rosemary’s Baby and The Tenant
30-minute presentation by Mary Wild

In Repulsion (1965), Rosemary’s Baby (1968), and The Tenant (1976), Roman Polanski portrays fragmented psyches in claustrophobic spaces. What we encounter is an iconic triptych of psychological horror, with fear objects shifting from sexual intercourse, to pregnancy, and the blurring of gender identities.

This talk will focus on psychoanalytically interpreting Polanski’s genre-defining ‘apartment trilogy’, unpacking the uncanny dimension of the home, and showing its influence on Darren Aronofsky’s modern classic Black Swan (2010).

Mary Wild is the creator of the PROJECTIONS lecture series at Freud Museum London, applying psychoanalysis to film interpretation. Mary also co-hosts the Projections Podcast, and contributes to The Evolution of Horror Podcast.

The Psychoanalysis, Art & the Occult series of events, curated by Dr. Vanessa Sinclair and Carl Abrahamsson, is dedicated to exploring the intersections and integration of psychoanalytic theory, the creative arts, occult practices, and folk magic traditions. By inviting psychoanalysts, philosophers, artists, writers, and occult practitioners from a variety of theoretical orientations and worldviews to discuss their work, personal experiences, and areas of research interest with one another, dialogue is opened up between practitioners in fields of study that traditionally rarely engage with one another though often operate in similar and complementary ways.

Join us Sunday December 19th: Dream Team Mitch Horowitz + Carl Abrahamsson at Morbid Anatomy online!

“Up, Up O Ye Gods!” – Hermeticism as a Path for Modern Seekers presented by Mitch Horowitz and “Secrecy Exposed!” – On the Necessity of Psychic Stigma and Dynamic Darkness in Occultism presented by Carl Abrahamsson, live via zoom

Sunday, December 19, 2021
Time: 2pm EST

This lecture will take place virtually, via Zoom. Ticket sales will end at 12 pm EST the day of the lecture. Attendees may request a video recording AFTER the lecture takes place by emailing proof of purchase to info.morbidanatomy@gmail.com. Video recordings are valid for 30 days after the date of the lecture.

Ticketholders: a link to the conference is sent out at 12:30 pm EST on the day of the event to the email used at checkout. Please add info.morbidanatomy@gmail.com to your contacts to ensure that the event link will not go to spam.

“Up, Up O Ye Gods!” – Hermeticism as a Path for Modern Seekers

Popular voice of esoteric ideas Mitch Horowitz (“solid gold”—David Lynch) explores the late-ancient Greek-Egyptian philosophy of Hermeticism and considers how the esoteric fragments of Ancient Egypt hold meaning for spiritual seekers today. Mitch also looks at the parallel insights between Hermeticism and mind-power metaphysics as well as the openings in today’s theoretical sciences, including multiple realities, inter-dimensionality, and UFO studies.

Mitch Horowitz is a historian of alternative spirituality and one of today’s most literate voices of esoterica, mysticism, and the occult. Mitch is a writer-in-residence at the New York Public Library, lecturer-in-residence at the Philosophical Research Society in Los Angeles, and a PEN Award-winning historian whose books include Occult America; One Simple Idea: How Positive Thinking Reshaped Modern Life; and The Miracle Club. The Washington Post says Mitch “treats esoteric ideas and movements with an even-handed intellectual studiousness that is too often lost in today’s raised-voice discussions.” The Chinese government has censored his work. Visit him at www.MitchHorowitz.com

“Secrecy Exposed!” – On the Necessity of Psychic Stigma and Dynamic Darkness in Occultism

In an enforced exhibitionism frenzy like our social media-driven culture, we need to revamp and revitalize the concept of secrecy. Much of the allure and power of the traditionally “occult” lay in it literally being hidden away from general exposure and popular dissolution. But what happens when all the black cats are suddenly out of the proverbial bag? And, more relevantly this evening, what happens when we put them all back in the bag, shake hands, and seal our lips forever more?

Carl Abrahamsson is a Swedish author, specializing in Occulture and Magico-anthropology. His books include Resonances (2014), Occulture (2018), The Devil’s Footprint (2020), Sacred Intent (2020), Different People (2021), and Anton LaVey and the Church of Satan (forthcoming from Inner Traditions, 2022). He is also the editor and publisher of the highly renowned anthologies in The Fenris Wolf series.

The Psychoanalysis, Art & the Occult series of events, curated by Dr. Vanessa Sinclair and Carl Abrahamsson, is dedicated to exploring the intersections and integration of psychoanalytic theory, the creative arts, occult practices, and folk magic traditions. By inviting psychoanalysts, philosophers, artists, writers, and occult practitioners from a variety of theoretical orientations and worldviews to discuss their work, personal experiences, and areas of research interest with one another, dialogue is opened up between practitioners in fields of study that traditionally rarely engage with one another though often operate in similar and complementary ways.

PsychArtCult at Morbid Anatomy Museum continues as a monthly online event!

Join us Sunday November 21st! Visit Morbid Anatomy to register.

The Face of Fear: Faces in Gothic Horror Films with Icy Sedgwick and “How Weird is That?” with Dr. Kasper Opstrup: Part of Psychoanalysis, Art and the Occult, Live on Zoom 

Date: Sunday, November 21
Time: 2 pm EST
Part of the Psychoanalysis, Art & the Occult series of events, curated by Dr. Vanessa Sinclair and Carl Abrahamsson

“The Face of Fear: Faces in Gothic Horror Films”, Presented by Icy Sedgwick

“We didn’t need dialogue. We had faces!” So says Norma Desmond, played by Gloria Swanson, in the 1950 classic, Sunset Boulevard. Desmond’s issue with sound cinema is its privileging of the voice and language over the silent face and its myriad expressions. For an emotion-centered genre like horror, these expressions are crucial to conveying both the terror of the victim and the malice of the monster. Indeed, the face is the most individual feature of the body. It is our ability to recognise a face that makes it both terrifying and bewildering when the face is concealed.

In this talk, we’ll explore the face in horror and Gothic films. We’ll examine why it’s so powerful as a site of expression and investigate its importance to the Gothic as a means of storytelling. We’ll pay a visit to the monsters and get up close to the distorted face. And no discussion of faces would be complete without a celebration of the mask, used to prevent identification, hide deformity, and even as a form of punishment.

Icy Sedgwick is working on a PhD exploring the representation of the haunted house in contemporary Hollywood horror films. She runs the Fabulous Folklore podcast, investigating European folklore and its appearances in popular culture. In case she tires of the research, Icy also writes dark fantasy and Gothic horror fiction.

“How Weird is That?”,  Presented by Dr. Kasper Opstrup.

This talk will take a closer look at the tradition for weird fiction and the current revival of weird thought. Weird fiction has been called the genre of what could have been. From Robert W. Chambers’ The King in Yellow to the writings of William Burroughs, weird fictions have taken the form of a type of infectious stories that ultimately want to rearrange reality. Like occult literature, they want to make something happen.

Often, these types of fictions take place in a space of psychological liminality and, through examples like, for example, Timothy Leary’s and Robert Anton Wilson’s SMI²LE project, we will look upon some of the world-building and utopian aspects of the weird as well. Through dreams, visions, and revelations, it is a genre that wants to combine science and religion into a new system that problematizes not only easy distinctions between symbolism and surrealism on the one hand and pulp, horror and sci-fi on the other. 

The weird also problematizes and erodes the borders between fiction and reality. This gives it a unique potential to speculate about our contemporary situation of climate catastrophe, mental health issues and so-called post-truth politics.

Dr. Kasper Opstrup is a Copenhagen-based writer and researcher. Currently, he is connected to the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid as a researcher while writing on a book about the 20th century’s myths of the future. His most recent publications are The Way Out (Minor Compositions, 2017) and the edited anthology Unexpected Encounters – Possible Futures (Antipyrine, 2019).  

The Psychoanalysis, Art & the Occult series of events, curated by Dr. Vanessa Sinclair and Carl Abrahamsson, is dedicated to exploring the intersections and integration of psychoanalytic theory, the creative arts, occult practices, and folk magic traditions. By inviting psychoanalysts, philosophers, artists, writers, and occult practitioners from a variety of theoretical orientations and worldviews to discuss their work, personal experiences, and areas of research interest with one another, dialogue is opened up between practitioners in fields of study that traditionally rarely engage with one another though often operate in similar and complementary ways.

PsychArtCult Residency at Morbid Anatomy Museum, online, Sundays in September!

PsychArtCult Residency at Morbid Anatomy Museum, online, Sundays in September!

Sunday, September 5, 2021, 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM EDT

Psychoanalysis, Art and the Occult: Artificial Intelligence and the Patipolitical Body with Dr. Isabel Millar, and Freud’s Explorations of the Occult with Dr. Vanessa Sinclair, Live on Zoom

Sunday, September 12, 2021, 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM EDT

Psychoanalysis, Art and the Occult: Mary Wild on Taxidermy in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” and Discussion with Anna Biller, Writer and Director of “The Love Witch” & “Viva”

Sunday, September 19, 2021, 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM EDT

Psychoanalysis, Art and the Occult: The Two Antichrists with Peter Grey and Alkistis Dimech of Scarlet Imprint, Live on Zoom

Sunday, September 26, 2021, 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM EDT

Psychoanalysis, Art and the Occult: Blanche Barton on Death Imagery in Satanism and Carl Abrahamsson presents Memento Mori Forever, Live on Zoom