The Freud Museum

Events Archive

5 July 2013
Friday 6.30-9pm

Totemic Festival - Launch Event

Performance art, live art, interventions, lectures and film celebrating the centenary of Freud's 'Totem and Taboo

An evening launching the ‘Totemic Festival’, a weekend of performance art, live art, interventions, lectures and film celebrating the centenary of Freud's 'Totem and Taboo'. The Festival takes place from 5-7 July 2013, set in the unique surroundings of Sigmund and Anna Freud's final home and garden.

Over the weekend encounter explorations of the text ranging from the delicate and the profound, to the surreal and the absurd, from 30 British and international artists, performers and speakers.

Download the festival programme here.

The series of essays published in 1913 as Totem and Taboo captures Sigmund Freud at his most quintessentially Freudian: dazzlingly creative, theoretically brilliant, audacious, controversial and inflammatory. Although calculated to deliver a fatal blow to the theories of Carl Jung (by then his arch-rival), Freud also sought to demonstrate the value of psychoanalysis to issues in the social sciences of his time such as totemism, magical thinking, prohibition and kinship. The work draws on 19th century anthropology to construct a psycho-historical tale of murder, cannibalism, incest and guilt at the dawn of civilisation. For Freud, the repercussions of this story affect us still.

One hundred years on, Totem and Taboo remains one of Freud’s most incendiary works. It continues to arouse both fascination and repulsion from a wide range of disciplines, inviting constant readings and re-readings, both sympathetic and critical, as successive generations plunder its depths.

This evening is also an opportunity to view Damián Ortega's Apestraction exhibition out of hours.

6.30-9pm - drinks reception (free bar) in Freud’s garden serenaded by Auntie Maureen and her gramophone.

6.30pm - David Blandy ‘Biter’ - durational screening and performance (7pm)

A hip-hop fan since the early 90’s, David Blandy's new video work Biter examines how much hip-hop has entered the artist’s unconscious mind. Shot on location at The Freud Museum, Biter will ask questions about identity – how much of the artist’s self is hip-hop?

An Artsadmin Jerwood Commission, with kind support from the Freud Museum.

Durational screening - lili Spain ‘Totemic Smoke’

lili Spain - filmed on location in Egypt and The Freud Museum London, ‘Totemic Smoke’ is a series of performances, which saw the artist travel to sites of historical interest on Freud’s behalf, forming a three-minute ‘grand tour’. The work reveals an imagined dream sequence, bringing Freud into the frame by simply smoking a cigar - arguably Freud’s favourite ‘totemic’ object.

7.30pm – Sarah Grainger-Jones ‘Trammel’ performance

Sarah Grainger-Jones uses performance, intervention and collage to explore ideas of thresholds, liminality and the clandestine. She is interested in parapsychology, myth, folklore and psychoanalysis - how traces of the past can haunt the present and buried matter or forces can provoke unpredictable occurrences.

Auntie Maureen knows nothing of new-fangled technologies, believes hip-hop is a children’s jumping game and is firmly set in her lady ways as a dusty ol’ spinster. Of records! But only the 78rpm shellac kind or else she gets confused and cranky. Her trusted 1940s wind-up gramophone is her one life-long companion. So beware! As she descend with her picnic turntable to a muddy lawn near you...

The Festival has been produced in partnership with Artsadmin and the Live Art Development Agency.


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