Saying Nothing, Signifying All:
Jean Martin Charcot, the long-reigning neurologist of the Hôpital Salpêtrière at the end of the nineteenth century, believed that hysteria was a neurological disorder rather than an affliction of the mind or a case of madness. Charcot’s focus on the physical symptoms of his patients, and his desire to find a physical rather than a mental cure to hysteria, underline the neurologist’s decision to use photography at the Salpêtrière. And yet, the photographs of some of the Salpêtrière’s most famous hysterics, from Blanche Wittmann to Augustine Gleizes, surpass the bodily and physical realm and showcase, at least in part, some dimension of the mind. Of course, Freud would soon take what he learned–and saw–at the Salpêtrière whilst he was a student there from October 1885 to February 1886 and develop it into the talking cure.
Rather than jumping from Charcot to Freud, from looking to listening, however, this conference aims to use and analyse the photographs and use of photography at the Salpêtrière in order to uncover the relationships within and succeeding the Salpêtrière. These relationships include the relationship between doctor and patient; between subject and object; between the camera and the patient and the camera and the photographer; and between us, as the present-day spectator, and the framed patients from the past.
Join Columbia Global Centers | Paris at Reid Hall on 26th February 2019 to explore the use of photography at the Salpêtrière, with speakers including: writer and Columbia Institute for Ideas and Imagination Fellow Deborah Levy; writer and Visiting Professor of King’s College London Lisa Appignanesi OBE; the journalist and Lacanian psychoanalyst Anouchka Grose; and filmmaker Jane Thorburn of the University of Westminster London.
Event curated by Sinéad McCausland, University of Kent Paris School of Arts and Letters, and Loren Wolfe, Senior Programs Manager, Columbia Global Centers l Paris.