Call for abstract


Call For Abstracts: Giornale di Filosofia, Vol 7, No 1, 2024
Telling the Untold. David Lynch’s Theater
Editors: Adolfo Fattori, Maria Poulaki, Enrico Redaelli

Submission Deadline:
Long Abstract (1,000 words max): 1 November 2023

David Lynch is not just one of the most relevant filmmakers ever. He is above all an all
-rounded artist who has always strived to investigate the expressive limits of representation and narrative, especially with regards to how the world is shaped by unconscious desires. This volume intends to collect papers addressing with cutting-edge perspective but also with theoretical accuracy Lynch’s enigmatic innovations in respect to this issue, that brings together the philosophical, psychological/psychoanalytical, and narratological traditions.

Psychoanalysis has often crossed paths with narrative; since Paul Ricœur’s innovative narrative interpretation of Freudian psychoanalysis, a number of important contributions (for example by Roy Schafer, Donald Spence, János László and Antonino Ferro) have developed and strengthened the bond between the two, in theory as well as in therapeutic practice. Narrative as a process of “telling”, in the sense of making something narratable, corresponds to a process of temporalizing, making meaning, and being able to communicate something that has so far not only been untold, but also sometimes ineffable, undisclosed, or not even accessible to
consciousness and realised by the person. Siri Hustvedt argues in her article
Three Emotional Stories that “involuntary and traumatic memories that are sensorimotor, affective replays of an event, are not codified in language, and cannot be located in a subjective time or space”, but fiction and narrative creativity, which she deems equivalent to dreaming and remembering, is a process of “dreamlike reconfigurations of emotional meanings that take place unconsciously”.

It was Freud who, according to theorist of “narrative psychology” Dan McAdams, first indicated the
connection between dream stories and psychoanalysis, characterising the former as the “royal road

to the unconscious”.

David Lynch’s narratives have often been discussed as non-linear, fragmented, and dream-like, following indeed the “royal road to the unconscious” rather than the beaten path of classical Aristotelean drama; but they are still communicating, affectively, preconsciously, and through atmosphere, meanings lying beneath the surface of conscious awareness. Telling the untold for Lynch, is, for example, to show what Mark Fisher calls weird and eeriesituations in which appears “a preoccupation with the strange”, which Lynch evokes with showing nothing where it should be something, or, in reverse, something where it should be nothing.

Telling the untold also recalls the Lacanian concept of the “Real” as that which is unspeakable but produces effects, a concept that has become a fundamental tool of Lacanian-inspired cinematographic criticism such as that of Joan Copjec. For example, Slavoj Žižek used the Lacanian concepts of “Real” and “fundamental fantasy” to interpret Lynch's cinema in The Art of the Ridiculous Sublime. On David Lynch's Lost Highway.

The use of the term “telling” does not mean to reinstate a dualistic relationship between verbal and nonverbal, cognition and emotion, mind and body. Telling here rather extends beyond language alone, and involves showing as well, as Schaffer has argued, addressing the whole of embodied experience, and narrative as an embodied experiential process (as explored for example, by Aaron Mishara). Hence the “theater” as a non-linguistic, embodied metaphor for Lynch’s art as a whole (expanding beyond the moving image, to painting, music etc.), and one that has also been used, notably by Baars, in relation to the mind and consciousness.

Abstracts and papers will be accepted in French, Italian, German, and Spanish, even though English is highly recommended. Linguistic revision, if required, will be authors’ responsibility.

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