VISIONARY MEDIUM: Psychoanalysis & the Magic of Cinema, Copenhagen 2022

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. 

Submissions for this conference are closed. To participate as an audience member PayPal €150 or $150 to sinclairvanessa [AT] gmail [DOT] com or Venmo $150 to @sinclairvanessa or PayPal 1500 SEK to vs [AT] drvanessasinclair [DOT] net or Swish 076 883 45 67

Feel free to email with any and all inquiries.

Schedule is as follows:

Visionary Medium: Psychoanalysis & the Magic of Cinema 

2022 October 14-16 | Husets Biograf, Copenhagen, Denmark 

Friday, October 14

9:30-9:50 – Arrive, coffee

9:50-10:00 – Vanessa Sinclair & Carl Abrahamsson: Welcome 

10:00-12:30 – Panel I 

1 Anders Lundgren: Westworld – Total Environments, Gamification & Ghosts In The Machines

2 Mary Wild (recording): The Decaying Female Body In Horror Cinema

3 Kasper Opstrup: The Cosmic Rural, Or How We Came To Fear Nature

Moderator: Vanessa Sinclair

12:30-14:30 – Lunch 

14:30-17:00 – Panel II 

4 Billie Steigerwald: The Esoteric Roots of Romantic Cliches

5 Mara Norman: Synchronicity, Dreamscapes, Unfolding In The Cine-poem: Connection Between Sleeping Dreams, Waking Dreams, Art, Cinema & Poetry

6 Pablo Lerner: Why Did God Create The World? On Solitude, Creation & Mysticism

Moderator: Katy Bohinc

17:00-19:00 – Dinner break

19:00-22:00 Film program

Satanic Earth – Gast Bouschet & Nadine Hilbert with music by Stephen O’Malley

Perforated Realities – Gustaf Broms

Wolkenschatten + Comfort Stations – Anja Dornieden & Juan David Gonzalez Monroy

Big Bad Wolf – Martin Munthe

Saturday, October 15

9:30-9:50 – Arrive, coffee

9:50-10:00 – Carl Abrahamsson & Vanessa Sinclair: Welcome back

10:00-12:30 – Panel III 

7 Charlotte Rodgers: The Liminality Of Glass – Gateways, Boundaries, Portals, Spirit Houses & Traps

8 River: Caligula (1979) As A Dionysian Affirmation Of Life

9 Peter Jansson: Kieślowski & The Crack Of Death & Metaphysics In Our World

Moderator: Anders Lundgren

12:30-14:30 – Lunch 

14:30-17:00 – Panel IV 

10 Anja Dornieden & Juan David González Monroy: Distant Feeler

11 Martin Munthe: Seeking Keys To Unlock The Occult Roots Of Cinema Based In Norse Cosmology & A Proto Scientific Tradition – Working In An Artform That Was Found & Then Lost

12 Gustaf Broms: Perforated Realities

Moderator: Carl Abrahamsson

17:00-19:00 – Dinner break 

19:00-22:00 Film program

$0 – M Kennedy Volcofsky

Kernels – Katy Bohinc

Thee Films selection

Witchcraft through the Ages

White Zombie 

Reseduction – Carl Abrahamsson & Vanessa Sinclair

Sunday, October 16

9:30-9:50 – Arrive, coffee

9:50-10:00 – Carl Abrahamsson & Vanessa Sinclair: Welcome back

10:00-12:30 – Panel V 

13 Katy Bohinc: Contemporary Chinese Cinema – The Light Night Of The Chinese Soul

14 M Kennedy Volcofsky: In Cuts The Beyond; Film Rebus

15 Ayesha Adamo: The Ritual Of Acting – An Exploration Of The Inner Work Of Actors & Occultists

Moderator: Charlotte Rodgers

12:30-14:30 – Lunch 

14:30-17:30 – Panel VI 

16 Anna Sebastian: Possession, Psychoanalysis & Divine Horsemen

17 Gast Bouschet (recording): On Cinematic Sorcery & Psychogeological Conflicts

18 Vanessa Sinclair: Glitchcraft – Creating Magic Through Filmwork

19 Carl Abrahamsson: Balch, Burroughs & Gysin: Cinematic Visions Beyond The Cut

Moderator: Kasper Opstrup

17:30 End of conference, dinner and drinks

Presenters:

Carl Abrahamsson is a Swedish author and filmmaker. His books include Codex Nordica (Trapart Books, 2022), Anton LaVey and the Church of Satan (Inner Traditions, 2022), Different People (Trapart Books, 2021), The Devil’s Footprint(Trapart Books, 2020), Sacred Intent (Trapart Books, 2020), Occulture (Inner Traditions, 2018), Reasonances(Scarlet Imprint, 2014),andThe Fenris Wolf series. His films include My Silent Lips (2019), Anton Lavey: Into the Devil’s Den (2019), Cinemagician: Conversations with Kenneth Anger (2019), Mementeros (2019), Lunacy (2017), Sub Umbra Alarum Luna (2016), and The An Art Apart series.

Ayesha Adamo is a performing artist, filmmaker, and occultist from New York City. Her films We Are The Prototypes, Dance Till Dawn, and All Hallows / All Saints have screened at various notable film festivals including Dances With Films, Breckenridge, and Oxford Film Festival. She is Grand Praemonstrator and an ordained Hierophant in Temple of Thelema, and has several occult books in the works. Ayesha is a graduate of Barnard College, Columbia University, where she majored in music, and rumor has it that she was once in an Asian pop band on EMI Records. She is attending University of Amsterdam’s Spirituality and Religion MA program in the fall. 

Katy Bohinc is a poet and a data scientist; an avant garde publisher and a professional marketer; an activist, an astrologer and an innovator. She studied pure math and comparative literature. She has three books of poetry: Dear Alain (Tender Buttons Press, 2014), Trinity Star Trinity (Scarlet Imprint, 2017), and Scorpio (Miami University Press, 2018). Since 2013, She has collaborated on the award-winning Tender Buttons Press with Founding Editor Lee Ann Brown, publishing experimental women’s poetry, expanding the field of possible and probable since 1989. Through Tender Buttons, she has edited two volumes of poetry: Tender Omnibus: The First Twenty-Five Years of Tender Buttons Press and Please Add To This List: A Guide To Teaching Bernadette Mayer’s Sonnets and Experiments. She is also Founder of The Ratio, a project to study astrology with data science.

Gast Bouschet is an artist and occult philosopher born in Luxembourg in 1958. Since the 1980s, he has created a complex body of work that challenges the fundamental principles underlying structure, visibility and power. His work spans a wide range of media, including photography, sound, video, painting, sculpture and writing. Bouschet’s art has been presented in some 300 solo and group exhibitions worldwide. In 2009, together with his partner Nadine Hilbert, he represented Luxembourg at the 53rd Venice Biennale. In 2021, the Grand Duke of Luxembourg appointed Gast Bouschet a Knight of the Order of Merit in recognition of his commitment to the service of culture in Luxembourg. In recent years, Bouschet has increasingly focused on sorcerous interventions that he performs in marginal places and wilderness areas away from the public gaze. This coming winter, he will publish new texts and images under the title Anarch in collaboration with Scarlet Imprint.

Gustaf Broms was born in Sweden in 1966. He currently lives and works in the Vendel forest. Gustaf’s practice is engaged with the exploration of the nature of consciousness, the dualistic concept of Being NATURE (the biological process of body), and being MIND (as intellect interprets experience). In his practice, he started off working photography and installation, but two work in particular led him to work with the more formless processes of performance. In 1991, Broms burned all of his work, and in doing so realized that the intensity of the action and the remaining ash far outdid anything he had previously made. In 2005, he completed a series of works entitled “5 Faiths for a Brave New World” in which he worked with objects that were physically too heavy for the body to move. These two experiences created a longing to explore the formless and led up to the project entitled “A Walking Piece” made with Trish Littler, in which the two artists spent 18 months walking across Eastern Europe. The result is considered a drawing. Being in a time and place, where identification with the thin membrane of skin, as container of self, slowly dissolves, as borders between beings evaporate, the environment disintegrates into a myriad of sentient beings. There is no there there! 

Anja Dornieden & Juan David González Monroy are filmmakers based in Berlin. They work together under the moniker OJOBOCA. Together they practice Orrorism, a simulated method of inner and outer transformation. Since 2010 they are members of the artist-run film lab LaborBerlin.

Peter Jansson is a psychoanalyst and psychotherapist, who has his practice in Gothenburg, Sweden. He is also a philosopher and a writer. He has written a book about Swedish writer and poet, Karin Boye. He is also in the final phase of a larger book about Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Kieślowski, and in the future he will write a book about Italian painter Caravaggio.

Pablo Lerner is a psychologist from Gothenburg, Sweden, residing in Paris, offering psychoanalytic psychotherapies in private practice. He is the editor of the anthology Freud och dödsdriften(2021), and is currently working on a book entitled Speculating on the Edge of Psychoanalysis: Rings and Voids, which deals with the status of the void in Lacan’s psychoanalysis and sheds new light on phenomena such as creation, poetry, solitude, grief, mysticism, clinical structures, and the poetic art of interpretation.

Anders Lundgren is a writer and connoisseur of the uncanny living close to Ältasjön in Sweden with his wife and cat. With a background in literature, esthetics and film studies he has presented on these topics around the world. Since the start of the millennium he has organized numerous film screenings and festivals, domestic and international, as part of the film collector/research outfit/publisher Klubb Super 8. He also served as the co-founder and co-curator of the film programme for Serieket (The Comic Book Library) in Stockholm. Working at the latter establishment he has been on the production team for The Stockholm International Comics Festival since 2002 fulfilling all the various roles associated with such an endeavor. In 2010 he started the still ongoing podcast Hög av Serier (High on Comics) with co-hosts Anton Bjurvald and Freddie Kaplan. In 2012 he established The Stockholm H. P. Lovecraft Festival. He has been widely published with his main output being the film criticism found in Hemmabio (Home Theater Magazine) and writings on comics in Bild & bubbla (Image & Thought Bubble). He has also contributed to anthologies like The Fenris Wolf, Mignolaverse: Hellboy and the Comics Art of Mike Mignola and Judge, Jury and Executioner: Essays on the Punisher in Print and on Screen. He is a Priest in the Church of Satan.

Martin Munthe is a Swedish independent filmmaker. 

Mara Norman is a filmmaker, writer and artist living in Denver, Colorado, USA. She is the co-founder and co-editor of the film zine cinema adrift (2014-present). She holds a MA in Transpersonal Psychology with a concentration in Art Therapy from Naropa University in Boulder, CO; and a BFA in art history with a concentration emphasis on surrealism and modern art between the wars, from Metropolitan State University of Denver.

Kasper Opstrup is a writer and researcher based in Copenhagen. He is the Danish translator of, among others, Alexander Trocchi and William Burroughs and is currently finishing a monograph with the tentative title An Imaginary Kingdon in the Wastelands of the Real: On Art, Esotericism and the Politics of Hope. His most recent book is The Way Out: Invisible Insurrections and Radical Imaginaries in the UK Underground from 1961 to 1991 (Minor Compositions, 2017).

River is a Swedish artist based in Stockholm. Her painterly work explores the unseen and unknown, always drawn to the intersection of art and magic. In genre terms, she works primarily with the weird and with horror. She views her creative process as a ritualized exploration of her unconscious. Or, sometimes, it’s simply a matter of following her obsessions, and letting them take her to strange and wonderful places. Unraveling, exploring. 

Charlotte Rodgers is an author, artist and animist who is presently exploring an academic wormhole as an anthropology student at Bristol University. She has been widely published in magazines and anthologies and her books include, The Sky is A Gateway, Not a CeilingP is for Prostitution, and The Bloody Sacrifice. Her art incorporates remnants of death and discarded objects and has been exhibited widely, including shows in New York and London, and she has sculptures on permanent display at the Museum of Naive and Marginal Art in Serbia. Charlotte has spoken at conferences and venues globally, including ‘The Magickal Women Conference’ in London 2019, ‘Rewriting the Future: 100 Years of Esoteric Modernism and Psychoanalysis’ in Merano, Italy and ‘The Left Hand Path Symposium’ in 2020. A filmic exhibition of her work was recently created for Cambridge University’s CRASSH Magic and Ecology Symposium.

Anna Kay Sebastian is a visual artist working mainly in graphite and paint and exploring archetypes, myths, and other worlds. Her images depict the ordinary in fantastical and symbolic ways. In the exploration of memory and lived experience, Anna’s work seeks to understand ‘the void’ and aims to find transcendence, borrowing from the occult, psychoanalysis, and science fiction. Anna has participated in exhibitions internationally, including at the Ghetto Bianalie in Port Au Prince and Libertine Gallery in Los Angeles, and Somerset House Studios in London. She is currently studying for an MA in Painting at the Slade School of Fine Art.

Vanessa Sinclair, PsyD is a psychoanalyst, author, artist and occultist based in Sweden, who works internationally. She is the host of Rendering Unconscious Podcast. Her books includeThe Pathways of the Heart (2021), Scansion in Psychoanalysis and Art: The Cut in Creation (2021) andSwitching Mirrors (2016). She is the editor of Psychoanalytic Perspectives on the Films of Ingmar Bergman: A Freudian-Lacanian Lens, forthcoming from Routledge (2022),Rendering Unconscious: Psychoanalytic Perspectives, Politics & Poetry (2019), Outsider Inpatient: Reflections on Art as Therapy (2021) with Elisabeth Punzi, On Psychoanalysis and Violence: Contemporary Lacanian Perspectives (2019) with Manya Steinkoler, The Fenris Wolf vol 9 (2017) and The Fenris Wolf vol 11 (2022) with Carl Abrahamsson.

Billie Steigerwald is a mystic, philosopher, theurgist, poet, and autodidact, with an especial interest in Western esotericism. Her work is oriented towards the exploration and articulation of the liminal territory that links the primordial with the phenomenal, the eternal with the ephemeral, and the apophatic with the numinous. In method, she is a chaos magician; at her core, she is a perennialist. She is currently in an apprenticeship in preparation to be ordained as a Gnostic priestess within the tradition of the Eglise Gnostique.

M Kennedy Volcofsky is an artist, analyst and yogi. In all its modes, his work is mytho-erotic, recognizably Jewish, and via the body-that-speaks moves through a devastated temporality (ethics) along a membrane which separates and joins poetry and pornography. It has been published, staged, screened, heard and hung in the US, Europe, the Caribbean and Asia. He calls it traumedy. He has an MFA from CalArts; Research Analyst Candidate at the Lacan School (San Francisco, CA); member of the California Circle of GIFRIC, and of PAS, a nascent GIFRIC-inspired Project for an American School. He has been a yoga teacher for 25 years and is the host ofan ongoingmovement workshop To Be And Not To Be, a Fundamental Rule movementlab

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