The Candidate Journal, Issue 8, CFP
We live in a society of screens, where spectacle is made miniature and mobile, where the eye is under constant assault—in the bedroom, at the kitchen table, in the subway, in the classroom, in the consulting room. Our forthcoming issue seeks to critically and creatively probe this assault by asking: how are we to understand both what a screen is and the roles it plays in contemporary life? In what ways do digital mnemonics interfere or aid in shaping unconscious fantasy and how have they altered the very structures of memory and subjectivity? What does psychoanalysis offer such investigations?
Psychoanalysis has long had something to tell us about screens, emerging as it did alongside silent cinema and domestic photography. More than a century ago, Freud conceptualized the screen in mnemic terms: a mechanism of the mind that (like dreams and symptoms) both enables and disables the visualization of images stored in memory. The Freudian screen—and arguably the cinematic screen as well—is a device that reveals as it obscures, projecting while also blinding us to a part of our history. The screen thus permits the endless replay of familiar fantasies while hiding its own psychic and social means of production.
Yet it is obvious that today the screen most open to critical inquiry is neither the private, psychic screen, nor the social spectacle¬: the screen as a stage for embodied collective gatherings that cinema and TV once were. The screen that dominates contemporary life, a grid of pixels toted in hand, pocket, or purse, has perhaps become our latest bodily appendage or transitional object. As such, the contemporary screen constitutes the boundary between the social and the private, the conscious and the not; its effects in the psychoanalytic clinic are palpable even if difficult to describe.
With the understanding that psychoanalytic theory relies a good deal on perspectives external to its own frame, for this issue we solicit the views not only of analysts and analysts-in-training, but also writers, analysands, artists, and academics working in other fields. We invite 300-350 word proposals for projects focusing on a particular question having to do with the contemporary screen, including but not limited to the following:
♦♦♦ What does contemporary screen life do to our experiences of the body, anxiety, and desire?
♦♦♦ What does screen-based capitalism—the world of Amazon ordering, for example—do to subjectivity and the relationship to the material world?
♦♦♦ What do social media and online fora with their particular imperatives of self-work and self-disclosure mean for the collective and for politics? In what ways have Instagram, Facebook, Reddit, and Twitter altered identity, object relations, temporality, and the concepts of the neighbor and the stranger?
♦♦♦ How have sexuality and its various forms of representation been shaped by portable screens (hookup apps, sexting, Snapchat, and so on)?
♦♦♦ In what ways has the screen affected the realm of language, communication, and pedagogy? (How) has the contemporary screen inaugurated a new relation to knowledge and the information economy?
♦♦♦ What does the advent of the portable screen mean for the unconscious and for psychoanalysis? In what ways has it altered the relationship between analyst and analysand? What role does it play in transference?
Proposals may be for academic papers or more creative adventures, and we encourage projects that incorporate manifestations of the technologies at issue (screen shots, text exchanges, Instagram photos, etc).
Proposals of 300-350 words are due on October 15 to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name, a title, and a short bio.