PROJECTIONS: Psychopathology of everyday economics - a cinematic journey - six-week evening course

at The Freud Museum London

12 October 2015 - 16 November 2015

Everywhere I go, I find that an unrestricted free-market has been there before me. In an era of post-2008 global financial crash, it seems that neoliberalism, quantitative easing, bank bailouts and other similarly obscure signifiers are emerging as hot topics of debate in diverse cultural circles. Sigmund Freud once stated, “Money is laughing gas to me,” but later made the important distinction that “love and work are the cornerstones of our humanness.”


Moving beyond the unhelpful adage that it is “the root of all evil”, money is fascinating from a psychoanalytic perspective: it has been known to symbolise the irrational, illusory and neurotic, often linked to crisis, loss and castration. Unconscious motives reveal themselves through monetary transactions; entrepreneurial killer instincts strive to meet ever-increasing demands; libidinal desires expressed via ‘retail therapy’. Jacques Lacan remarked that capitalism is “wildly clever but headed for a blowout […] it runs too fast and consumes so well that it consumes itself.”

‘PROJECTIONS: Psychopathology of everyday economics – a cinematic journey’ is a 6-week course deconstructing filmic representations of money and the workplace in a psychoanalytic framework, with particular attention to concepts including the pleasure principle, anal stage of psychosexual development, obsessional neurosis, death drive, alienation and desire. The market’s non-negotiable ambition is maximum profit at any cost; it competes fiercely and we follow suit, trading our labour (sometimes at uninspiring, dead-end jobs) to access the means of survival; inequality is becoming rife with material excess enjoyed by an elite few and austerity imposed on the vast majority. So what is the path to liberation from a system where financial globalisation, like the ego, is always an inauthentic agency, serving to disguise an unsettling absence of unity? How can we, individually and collectively, connect once more to a dignified livelihood built, defiantly, not on greed, but on meaningful creativity, the irresistible cornerstone of humanness?

Please see below for the full programme of topics and films to be analysed (advance viewing is optional; short scenes and video montages will be screened during weekly sessions):

Week 1 – AMBITION: Starry Eyes, Whiplash, Perfume, Suspiria, Nightcrawler

Week 2 – COMPETITION: Glengarry Glen Ross, Only Lovers Left Alive, September Issue, Wall Street, Crime D’Amour

Week 3 – LIVELIHOOD: Modern Times, Working Girl, Office Space, Pretty Woman, The Misfits

Week 4 – EXCESS: Dans Ma Peau, American Psycho, The Wolf of Wall Street, How to Get Ahead in Advertising, Margin Call

Week 5 – AUSTERITY: The Man Who Fell To Earth, Blue Jasmine, Dancer In the Dark, Compliance, Under The Skin

Week 6 – LIBERATION: Bonnie and Clyde, Brazil, Samsara, The Truman Show, Finding Vivian Maier

PROJECTIONS is psychoanalysis for film interpretation. PROJECTIONS empowers film spectators to express subjective associations they consider to be meaningful. Expertise in Freudian theory is not necessary - the only prerequisite is the desire to enter and inhabit the imaginary world of film, which is itself a psychoanalytic act. MARY WILD, a Freudian cinephile from Montreal, is the creator of PROJECTIONS.

Book online here.

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