Feb 11, 2018 at 7:30 pm
Lana Lin: Freud’s Jaw
Screening to be followed by discussion with Lana Lin, Amber Jamilla Musser & Jim Supanick
“Lana Lin’s Freud’s Jaw and Other Lost Objects is at once searingly beautiful, analytically searching and technically clarifying.” ―Lauren Berlant George M. Pullman Distinguished Service Professor at The University of Chicago
In her new book, Freud’s Jaw and Other Lost Objects: Fractured Subjectivity in the Face of Cancer, filmmaker and author Lana Lin attempts to illuminate the vulnerabilities of the human body and how human beings suffer harm. She tracks three exemplary figures, psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, poet Audre Lorde, and literary and queer theorist Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, all of whom endured cancer for prolonged periods of time. Freud’s Jaw asks what are the psychic effects of surviving in proximity to one’s mortality, and it suggests that violences stemming from social, cultural, and biological environments condition the burden of such injury.
Following a brief discussion of her book, Lin will elaborate upon two films that draw upon the same body of research. After Engelman follows in the footsteps of photographer Edmund Engelman, who documented Freud’s home and office on the eve of the psychoanalyst’s exile from Vienna. For The Cancer Journals Revisited (in progress) 25 people read and reflect upon Lorde’s seminal 1980 manifesto/memoir. Both of these projects, like Lin’s book, indicate how loss inspires a desire for reparation, and how destruction might be met by creativity.
Lana Lin will be joined in a discussion with scholar and professor Amber Jamilla Musser, who will respond to some of the ideas raised in Lin’s work. This conversation will focus on the mutability of the body, and the pleasures and perils of being made flesh. Jim Supanick will introduce Lin, and moderate a Q&A after the screenings.
Lana Lin and H. Lan Thao Lam, 13 min., 2016
In April 1938, on the eve of Sigmund Freud’s exile from Vienna, photographer Edmund Engelman was solicited to document the birthplace of psychoanalysis. Seventy-five years later, the filmmaker returned to Freud’s former home and offices at Berggasse 19, taking Engelman’s record of the past as a frame for the present. Replicating Engelman’s photographs with an attention to the present conditions of what is now the Sigmund Freud Museum in Vienna, the video occupies the distance between present and past.
The Cancer Journals Revisited (Excerpt)
Lana Lin, 10 min.
The Cancer Journals Revisited is an experimental non-fiction feature film in progress inspired by Black lesbian feminist poet Audre Lorde’s memoir/manifesto, The Cancer Journals. The project is prompted by the question of what it means to re-vision Lorde’s classic 1980 text today. Upon being diagnosed with breast cancer, Lorde wrote what is still considered a controversial text that lambasted the media, commercial industry, and the medical profession for prioritizing black women’s bodies as objects of consumption over their very lives. Twenty-five writers, artists, activists, health care advocates, and current and former patients recite the text, producing an oration for the screen. The film is both a critical commentary and a poetic reflection upon the precarious conditions of survival within the intimate and politicized public sphere of illness.
Lana Lin’s recent research concerns embodied vulnerabilities that emerge at the confluence of race, gender, technology, and malignant cell growth. She has produced a body of experimental films and videos that interrogate the politics of identity and cultural translation through attention to the formal capacities and historical contingencies of moving image media. For over a decade she has also focused on collaborative multi-disciplinary research-based projects (as Lin + Lam) that examine the construction of history and collective memory. Her films have screened internationally at the Museum of Modern Art and Whitney Museum, NY, the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, and the Oberhausen Film Festival, among many other venues. She has received awards from the Javits Foundation, the Fulbright Foundation, the Jerome Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Vera List Center for Art and Politics, among others. She is the author of Freud’s Jaw and Other Lost Objects: Fractured Subjectivity in the Face of Cancer (Fordham UP, 2017). Her work has been published in Studies in Gender and Sexuality, Women’s Studies Quarterly, Cabinet, Art Journal, and Asian American Literary Review. She is Associate Professor of Film Theory and Digital Cinema Production in the School of Media Studies, The New School, New York.
Amber Jamilla Musser has published widely on race and critical theory, queer femininities and race, race and sexuality, and queer of color critique. She is the author of Sensational Flesh: Race, Power, and Masochism (NYU Press, 2014), which brings together debates on masochism within feminism, discussions of masochism from psychoanalysis and critiques of colonialism, literary presentations of masochism, and performance and visual art to theorize different felt relationships to power. Currently, she is finishing a monograph, Sensual Excess: Queer Femininity and Brown Jouissance, which uses women of color’s aesthetic labors to re-imagine epistemologies of sexuality so that they center brown femininity. This project received the Arts Writer’s Grant from the Warhol Foundation in 2017 and will be published by NYU Press in Fall 2018. She is associate professor of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Washington University in St Louis.
Jim Supanick is an artist and writer, and is a PhD candidate at the European Graduate School, at work on a dissertation about the laboratory investigation of nonhuman animal sensoria. His essays on the moving image have appeared in Film Comment, Millennium Film Journal, The Wire, Cineaste, and The Brooklyn Rail; he is the recipient of a Creative Capital Arts Writers Grant and a NYFA Grant for Nonfiction Literature. He is also a member of SynthHumpers (with Josh Solondz), a shape-shifting electronic audio collaborative that explores structured improvisation and instrument building. Jim serves on the Advisory Board of UnionDocs, and currently teaches at Hunter and City College.