Stevphen Shukaitis on Fri, 4 Jun 2010 15:28:54 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Discipline & the Moving Image London June 11th

Discipline & the Moving Image
Presented by Zoe Beloff

June 11th, 2010 @ 6:30 PM
Birkbeck Cinema (
43 Gordon Square
London WC1H 0PD
Organized by

Obedience, Stanley Milgram, 16mm, 1962, 45 mins
Folie à Deux, National Film Board of Canada, 16mm, 1952, 15 mins
Motion Studies Application, 16mm, ca. 1950, 15 mins

Obedience documents the infamous “Milgram experiment” conducted at  
Yale University in 1962, created to evaluate an everyday person’s  
deference to authority within institutional structures. Psychologist  
Stanley Milgram designed a scenario in which individuals were made to  
think they were administering electric shocks to an unseen subject,  
with a researcher asking them to increase the voltage levels despite  
the loud cries of pain that seemed to come from the other room.  
Milgram saw his test, conducted mere months after Adolf Eichmann’s  
trial in Jerusalem, as a way to understand the environments that made  
genocide possible.

Tonight, artist Zoe Beloff pairs Obedience with two earlier works  
dealing with psychosocial control: Folie à Deux and Motion Studies  
Application. The former, one of a series of films on various  
psychological maladies produced by the National Film Board of Canada  
in the 1950s, presents an interview with a young woman and her  
immigrant mother afflicted by shared delusions that manifest when the  
two are together. The latter is an industrial film purporting to  
present ways to increase efficiency in the workplace: explaining, for  
instance, a means to fold cardboard boxes more quickly. In stark  
contrast to the nostalgic whimsy typically associated with old  
educational films, Folie à Deux and Motion Studies Application play as  
infernal dreams of systemic power and sources of surprising,  
unintended pathos.

The concept of ‘motion studies’ is central to cinema itself. Without  
the desire to analyze human motion, there would be no cinematic  
apparatus. But the history of motion studies is freighted with  
ideology. Its inventor Étienne-Jules Marey was paid by the French  
Government to figure out the most efficient method for soldiers to  
march, while his protégé Albert Londe analyzed the gait of hysterical  
patients. From the beginning, the productive body promoted by  
Taylorism was always shadowed by its double, the body riven by psychic  
breakdown. We see this in Motion Studies Application and especially  
Folie à Deux, where unproductive patients, confined to the asylum,  
understand with paranoid lucidity that the institution is everywhere,  
monitoring them always. Obedience stands as a conscious critique of  
these earlier industrial films, co-opting their form only to subvert  
them and reveal their fascist underpinnings.

Bio: Zoe Beloff is an artist who is particularly fascinated by  
attempts to graphically manifest the unconscious processes of the  
mind. She is particularly adept at dreaming her way into the past.  
Zoe’s work has been exhibited internationally. Venues include: The  
Whitney Museum, MoMA, The Freud Dream Museum (St Petersburg), Pacific  
Film Archives and the Pompidou Center


Zoe will also be presenting her work on the Coney Island Amateur  
Psychoanalysis Society in London on June 10th:

The Coney Island Amateur Psychoanalytic Society and their Circle  
10th June 2010:

To celebrate the centennial of Freud’s visit to the great amusement  
parks of Coney Island in 1909, artist Zoe Beloff will conjure up the  
forgotten world of the Coney Island Amateur Psychoanalytic Society,  
along with the visionary ideas of its founder Albert Grass, for an  
exhibition at the Coney Island Museum in New York.

Here she will present an overview of the work of the Society, which  
might best be described as an urban myth. The members, working people  
from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds, were filled with the  
desire to participate in one of the great intellectual movements of  
the 20th century. Beloff will discuss the Sunday lectures, plans to  
rebuild the “Dreamland Amusement Park” according to Freud’s ideas of  
dream formation, the controversy over the lost Sigmund Freud figure at  
the World in Wax Musée and will screen a number of the “Dream Films”  
in which members of the society recreated their dreams on film in an  
unapologetic and playful exploration of their inner lives.

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