The psychologist Guy Claxton, asks: ‘Is the mind like an abattoir, with a clean, bright reception area, and thick sound-proofing to prevent the ruckus of suffering from penetrating into the foyer?’[10]

[10] Claxton, The Wayward Mind, p. 3.

This description of the Freudian unconscious remains persuasive. Science does not uphold the view that the brain contains a region or receptacle for the unruly, banished, and repressed aspects of mental life, but it does speak of our subjective experience. In the preceding clip, I attempted to make sequences that conveyed the feeling of despair in the midst of post-concussive episodes. The human subject within the frame is surrounded by visual material that one might assume is inside the head. As such, the sequence still operates according to filmic convention, in which the viewer understands the filmic world through alignment with an on-screen protagonist. Although admittedly crude, these sequences do also communicate interiority to be read as the rendering of thought images. In this way, from a research perspective, the film represents the anxiety episodes associated with post-concussive syndrome. 

The following clip contains textured sequences, built from footage of running water, rail tracks, and the Berlin Holocaust Memorial. The resulting assemblage shifts between material pointing to the experience of the subject as a biological organism and material that references historical knowledge.

The sequence ends with a reference to the Surrealist movement. André Breton, in the first Surrealist Manifesto of 1924, declares that although thought has been hijacked by rationalism and logic, ‘perhaps the imagination is on the verge of recovering its rights’ and ‘(c)redit for this must go to Freud’.[11] Methods used to encourage the bypass of rational thought included spontaneous writing, word association, note-taking while falling asleep to capture hypnagogic experiences, and drawing on dreams for creative material. For the Surrealists, this offered access to a hidden creative reservoir; for the psychoanalyst, it provided clues as to the contents of a patient’s unconscious. I did not directly employ any of these methods in the production of the film, but I did approach the work with an openness that allowed connections to be made without rational questioning or early self-censorship. In this way, through filmmaking, I render visible representations of specific tonal essences that convey the affective quality of states of being.



[11] André Breton, Manifestoes of Surrealism, transl. Richard Seaver and Helen R. Lane (Michigan: Ann Arbor), 1971, p. 26.