Nomadic precarious. A Screening and Discussion

In the time Rosi Braidotti was writing her “Nomadic Subjects”, the freedom of movement, the dismantlement of borders and the fall of the Iron Curtain were all events of hopeful impatience, entangled with a sensual experience of liberation and a new sense of building a nomadic, wandering community freed of stagnation. The escape from factory models of production and into the networking, dispersed models of cognitive capitalism provided other parts of what we now call immaterial labor.

Now, some twenty or thirty years after these glorious transformations, we are sometimes tempted to ask whether the joyful rhisomatics did not deprive us of a sense of home and embodiment necessary to engage in the cultural and social experiences of individual and collective lives. “Psychonomadism” explores several aspects of both – the event of liberation and new connection of Europe, but also the neoliberal exploitative changes demanding from the subject a constant readiness to novelty. It follows a feminist scholar who – while in Vienna – decides to see whether the structures of the unconscious are truly universal. She therefore resolves to involve herself in a task of a politics of (un)translation – she visits an Austrian analyst. On his couch, she provides us – herself and the public – with a perplexed experience of her own life (in detail), of the Polish language and the depictions of clashes between the hopes and realities of a mobile academic from a semi-peripheral country. The analyst cannot follow the monologue of the analysand, encapsulated in her difficult language, and the only guide – not for him, but for us – are subtitles… and the story of someone carrying crazy amounts of books everywhere she goes, as if to provide for a home.

Precarity as experience will be the topic of our discussion after the screening of this short, 12-minute video. The authors of the film – Dr. Ewa Majewska (PL) and Nicole Szolga (AT) will discuss with film theory specialist, Dr. Rosa Barotsi (GR), about the perplexities of contemporary experiences of work, travel and affect on their nomadic paths of cognitive, yet also precarious, capitalism. The issues of privilege and deprivation will also be at hand.

Please join us to explore and discuss the perplexities of contemporary everyday life, psychoanalysis, nomadism and academia in the company of a nomadic video and discussion.

When: 9th of January, 5 pm.

Free entrance / donations optional

The discussion will be moderated by Marcin Piekoszewski from Buchbund.

Dr. Ewa Majewska – feminist philosopher and activist, also involved in critical interventions and theorizing of contemporary culture, an often psychogeographer. Visiting Fellow at the ICI Berlin, Germany and Lecturer at the Gender Studies, University of Warsaw, Poland. She was a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley, University of Orebro and IWM, Vienna. She was adjunct professor at University of Szczecin and Jagiellonian University in Cracow, Poland. She has published in: Signs. A Journal on Women in Culture; Przegląd Filozoficzny, Przegląd Kulturoznawczy, Kultura Współczesna, Le Monde Diplomatique (pl) and other journals, magazines and edited volumes. She is the author of two monographs: Feminizm jako filozofia społeczna and Sztuka jako pozór? She co-edited: Industrialstadtfuturismus. 100 jahre Nowa Huta und Wolfsburg (with M. Kaltwasser and Kuba Szreder) and Neoliberalizm I jego krytycy (with J. Sowa). Lives in Berlin and Warsaw.

Mag.a. Nicole Szolga – video artist. Study of Video und Videoinstallation, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. Before Study of Cultural and Social Anthropology, University Vienna. Since 2005 working in experimental videos and documentaries/ interdisciplinary Media Projects; Festival and exhibitions participation in the field of new media, film and video art. 2012 – 2013 lecturer at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna.

Dr Rosa Barotsi – a Fellow at the ICI Berlin, Rosa is interested in how political meaning is created in contemporary cinema, and how it is conditioned and reshaped by social and institutional contexts.

by: Ewa Majewska and Nicole Szolga
color video 12 min, Vienna 2014.
Polish and German, with English subtitles.
With Josef Ehrenmüller
“You only have to look at the Medusa straight on to see her.
And she’s not deadly. She’s beautiful and she’s laughing”.
H. Cixous.
Video Score
Step one: The Viennese psychoanalyst, Josef Ehrenmüller, and the patient, Polish feminist scholar Ewa Majewska, have a conversation about her problem and the form of therapy.
In the second step, a psychoanalytic session of approximately 50 minutes takes place, while two cameras film it. The setting is similar to Freud’s actual studio as it was preserved in the London Museum of Sigmund Freud, the patient lying on a couch.
Story line: During the session the psychoanalyst and the patient speak in their native languages, without understanding each other. The patient addresses her problem: she always travels with too many books, probably in order to compensate her feelings of homelessness, linguistic orphanage and alienation. Despite the language barrier, the analyst adheres to the therapeutic script and tries to reach out to the „Other“ in order to create a healing situation.
Setting: Psychoanalysis – The Freudian Couch
Anna O. (Bertha Pappenheim), one of the most famous patients of Sigmund Freud, defined psychoanalysis as a “talking cure”. The image of a woman, whose gaze is directed towards the unknown, is a recurring motif in the visual and performing arts. Since the beginning of psychoanalysis, the defenceless woman lying on a couch, opening her thoughts, secrets and dreams to the analyst, serves as a powerful metaphor for the subject trapped in the complexities of social norms. The fear of the feminine however still permeates both – this image and psychoanalytic discourse.