Repeating the Square: From Satisfaction to Jouissance

24.06.2021 19:00

Talk by Jennifer Friedlander and discussion with Andrea Braidt (in English)

Ruben Östlund’s 2017 Palme d’Or winning film, The Square, is routinely characterized as a “satire” of the contemporary art world, and in particular, of the film’s titular art exhibit. This talk considers the question of the psychoanalytic and political implications of Östlund’s ruthless cinematic caricature of his own (self-declared) successful real-life art installation of the same name. It argues that the repetition of the Square from an apparently sincere artwork aimed at building social cohesion, to a satire of the self-serving political aspirations of contemporary art, unleashes the politically destabilizing dimension of the Other’s jouissance that is constrained by the Square’s original iteration as art installation.

Jennifer Friedlander is the Edgar E. and Elizabeth S. Pankey Professor of Media Studies at Pomona College in Claremont, California, and the 2021 Fulbright-Freud Visiting Lecturer of Psychoanalysis.

Andrea Braidt is the Director of the Studies Programme at the Department for Theater, Film and Media Studies, University of Vienna. Her research focus spans from film narratology to genre theory, feminist film theory and queer cinema.

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