The Freud Museum

Events Archive

6 July 2013
Saturday 12-8.30pm

Totemic Festival

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

Day Two of a weekend of performance art, live art, interventions, lectures and film celebrating the centenary of Freud's 'Totem and Taboo'.The Festival take place from 5-7 July 2013 in the unique surroundings of Sigmund and Anna Freud's final home and garden.

Download the festival programme here.

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.

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 festival is an exploration of contemporary translations by academics and artists working in the field of performance art.

Performances and screenings:

Marcus Coates | Hunt and Darton Cafe | Jordan McKenzie | Kate Mahony | Kirsten Norrie | Simon Raven | Benjamin Sebastian | Holly Slingsby | lili Spain | Daniella Valz Gen | Nicola Woodham & Robin Bale | Mirei Yazawa & Chris Dowding | Silvia Ziranek |

Lectures and readings:

12.30pm - 'Crying in the ethnographic field recording' lecture-performance, artist, Noah Angell.

'Crying in the ethnographic field recording' is written around selections from the artist’s own collection of records, pinpointing moments of weeping and wailing as they appear in lullabies, mourning songs, laments, and spontaneous outbursts of sobbing as captured in the process of documenting oral transmission. Through an analysis of the shared meaning of crying, Angell focuses upon the problems immanent in grasping the emotional and psychical lives of others through listening, an act central to the disciplines of both psychoanalysis and anthropology.

3pm - 'On the brink: the art world in 1913' Freud Museum curator, Sophie Leighton

5pm - 'Absurd. Rooms.' artist, Fabian Peake

Download the Festival programme here

Refreshments will be served all afternoon in the Hunt and Darton Cafe.

Pay bar open from 5.30pm.

Damián Ortega's Apestraction exhibition will also be open for viewing all weekend.

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

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