Romanticism and Horror Films: How Dreams Became (Again) a Somatic Matter – Dream of Insomnia Workshop
17 February 2012
FAR – Villa Sucota
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Olivier Schefer, The Overflowing of Dreams into Real Life, Pathological Imagination, text, Download (PDF)
The possible and-or impossible representation of dreams is one of the most important issues in the romantic aesthetic, which endeavours, long before Surrealism, to connect dreams to the so-called real world. Nerval talked, in his latest short novel, Aurelia, about the «overflowing» of dreams in real life. Olivier Schefer's lecture investigated the nature of this connection (identity? crisis?) through the organic metaphor and the «pathologizing fantasy» (Novalis) of romanticism - art and medicine were deeply bounded at that time.
Several contemporary horror films are echoes and amplifications of this somatic fantasy which understands both dream and nightmare as disorders of bodies and identities.
Olivier Schefer is a writer and philosopher. He is a professor of the Philosophy of art at the University of Paris I, Sorbonne. He has translated and edited many German romantic writings, philosophical fragments by Novalis in particular. He is the author of a biography of Novalis (Novalis, Le Félin, 2011), and of two (autobiographical) essays: the first about insomnia, Variations nocturnes (Vrin, 2008), the latest related to the representations of zombies and ghosts in cinema, literature and philosophy, Des revenants. Corps, lieux, images (Bayard, 2009).
Dream of Insomnia Workshop
17-18 February 2012
curated by Éric Alliez in collaboration with Annie Ratti, Andrea Lissoni and Cesare Pietroiusti
Fondazione Antonio Ratti
Villa Sucota, via per Cernobbio 19, Como
In July 2011, Susan Hiller held The Dream Seminar II at the Fondazione Antonio Ratti. Not without a hint of provocation, the artist proposed reviving a project of the seventies in which she asked the participants to "take part in intensive group workshops focusing on individual dreams". It was a question of showing through dream that repetition is not a re-presentation, a re-make or a re-cycling in the form of an infinite retrospective devoid of perspective, since, on
the contrary, repetition only serves to express a singularity, which makes the difference, by shifting the dream into life.
It is this experience that we wished to extend in the Dream of Insomnia Workshop, subverting the limits and boundaries of both dream and life. Drifting to the edge of sleep, where insomnia, sleepwalking and other medium ship take us into the night's intermediary zones, we convoked a critique, between theory and practice, of dreams and their interpretation a critique which no longer belongs to "the subject" of psychoanalysis.
Critique therefore in the primary sense of a topography of impure reason; but also Critique and Clinic, in a more experimental sense, of the dream as highway of the unconscious that mixes desire with interpretation, at the end of which we will rediscover the dream, no longer as a dream of sleep or a daydream but as an insomniac dream.
The workshop was structured around lectures and artistic performances.