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Sex, Love, and Reproduction in the Age of Technology (Dec 6 & Dec 7)

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Central Hotel

1-5 Exchequer St

D02 E044 Dublin

Ireland

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Sex, Love, and Reproduction in the Age of Technology (Dec 6 &7)

2-day inaugural seminar organised by the Freud Lacan institute (FLi)

Friday December 6th (6:30-8:30 pm) & Saturday 7th (10 am-12:30 pm)

Full Fee €60, Student/Unwaged Fee €30

Event Description: In our “cyber” age how do we do sex, love and reproduction? This seminar is an interdisciplinary dialogue among psychoanalysts, critical and cultural thinkers, writers and those interested in how our age of technology, consumer (re)production, including pornography, and mass social media has affected what psychoanalysts call “the subject,” which is how each and every one of us is uniquely human.

The seminar takes place over 2 days, commencing on Friday evening with a panel of invited speakers who will give short presentations, followed by audience discussion. The seminar continues on Saturday morning with the invited keynote speaker, Isabel Millar (see talk and bio below). This is followed by a roundtable discussion with the Friday evening panellists and the invited speaker, and the seminar will conclude with an audience Q&A session. Participants are strongly advised to attend on both days.

Seminar Program

Friday Evening Dec 6th 6:30-8:30 pm: Panel of Speakers

Ingmar Hinz (PhD Researcher, Kingston University, London): “What Starts with a Tickle & Ends in a Blaze? Far-Right Humour in the Digital Age.”

Carol Owens (PhD, Psychoanalyst and Author, Dublin): “The Good Enough Mother-21st Century Style.”

Joanna Fortune (Psychotherapist, Author, Media Contributor, Dublin): “Children and the Impact of Being Online.”

Mark Twomey (Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist, Dublin)" “Imaginary Effects of Virtual Identifications”

Caroline West (PhD, Lecturer in Sexuality Studies at Dublin City University): “Pornography and the Female Speaking Subject” (by video).

June Caldwell (renowned Irish author)" “The Writer as a Dust-Catcher for Human Behaviour in an Age of Artificial Intelligence.”

(see bios and talk descriptions below)

Saturday Program: Dec 7th 10:00 am-12:30 pm

(Keynote Talk 10:00–11:00 am, Roundtable Panel and Audience Q&A: 11:30–12:30 pm)

Keynote Speaker: Isabel Millar: Sex, AI and the Enigma of Reproduction

Outline of Talks

June Caldwell: Creative writing is a moral form, it’s a way to look at the connection between human behaviour, events and how we perceive things. That’s what is so interesting about creative writing compared to journalism; you’re limited by what you can do in journalism, you’re only writing the facts but with creative writing you can take it a lot further. You can try and understand what the hell is going on in someone’s head and you can recreate the events around that, the drama which might give you a sense of horror, completion or whatever. My stories tend to have some kind of social element to them and they have a journalistic twist because the journalist in me is still so strong. I’ll take some of the facts, make them surreal in some way and play around with them. I think creative writing is way more powerful than journalism, I really do. You can find a new way to present the truth.

Joanna Fortune will discuss the impact that life through a lens has on the emerging sense of self in children and adolescents. She will explore how shame gets played out online while exploring the question, is social media the ultimate shame game?

Ingmar Hinz. Recent years have seen a drastic rise in far-right online activity. While many have attended to the novel, historical and comparative facets of this process, a certain aesthetic dimension has so far been systematically overlooked: humour. This presentation will flesh out some preliminary thoughts on what role humour plays in the formation and organisation of far-right online communities.

Isabel Millar discusses the new psychoanalytic, philosophical and political questions provoked by the entrance of Artificial Intelligence (AI) into the social bond, the conceptual figure of the sex robot and the theoretical problems this raises for psychoanalytic accounts of subjectivity. Exploring the film Blade Runner 2049 among others, she will discuss the enigma of reproduction and its relationship to sex. What is the significance of woman and mother in relation to the protagonist’s non-human enjoyment? What does AI mean for the logic of sexuation? Furthermore, what does Blade Runner 2049 tell us about the labour of human pregnancy, the fetishization of biology and genetics, the disavowed work of gestation?

Carol Owens: Everything I do is to Protect you” so speaks the Mother android and eponymous character of recently released Netflix sci-fi film I am Mother. Clearly referencing the late twentieth and early twenty-first century appetite for the speaking being to rehearse an essential ambivalence around the role and symbolic coordinates of the (speaking) techno-objects in their lives (exemplified in other films such as I, Robot, Bladerunner, Terminator, etc), there is also the opportunity for the staging in such films of another ambivalence at the core of the parlétre: their own, with their mothers. We see this latter ambivalence mise en scène in films from every conceivable genre (from Mommie Dearest,through to Alien, to Babadook, and Scary Mother). Earlier than film, we don’t have to look further than the Grimms brothers or Andersen for evidence of this enduring and conflicted transference to the figure of the Mother. "I am Mother" is interesting since it isolates the paranoid, overdetermined, albeit somewhat clichéd effects of the bad mother who in the name of ‘protection’, in fact goes a long way towards an irreparable harming of the child. I am interested in discussing how both of these ambivalence motifs are condensed in order to think about why ‘the mother’ is still an ambivalent and dangerous figure in our times and perhaps to extrapolate on a possible correlation with a newish statistic and symbolic figure, that of the absent or ‘weak’ father, and his (allegedly) real disappearance or displacement from socio-cultural spaces.

Mark Twomey will critically assess the role of YouTube and Google algorithms in imaginary identification and group organisation.

Caroline West will examine the relationship between pornography and subjectivity, focusing on the female experience predominantly. How do we find subjectivity in the context of pornography’s widespread accessibilty, and how do we navigate authentic sexualities? How do we define objectification in these discussions, and how do we have these discussions ethically? This presentation explores these questions and suggests ways of developing the conversations on pornography.

Speaker Biographies

June Caldwell’s short story collection Room Little Darker was published in 2017 by New Island Books and in 2018 by Head of Zeus. Her novel Little Town Moone is forthcoming from John Murray. This year she wrote the introduction for Still Worlds Turning, published by No Alibis Press and last year for the new edition of Nuala O'Faolain's Are you Somebody? She is a prize-winner of The Moth International Short Story Prize and lives in Dublin.

Joanna Fortune is an accredited psychotherapist and author. She founded the Solamh Parent Child Relationship Clinic in Dublin in 2010 (www.solamh.com) where she works with families around a variety of issues, specialising in attachment therapy. She is a recognised supervisor, trainer and conference speaker in her field. In 2017 she delivered a TEDx Talk on the topic “Social media - the ultimate shame game?” Having previously written a parenting column for the Sunday Times (Ireland Edition) she continues to write and contribute to articles on child development and parenting in various other print publications. She is also a regular media contributor to a variety of Irish radio and TV shows including regular appearances on Ireland AM and RTE's Today Show amongst others. She is the consultant on the weekly parenting slot on Newstalk FM's Sean Moncrieff Show. She has contributed to a number of books and publications and her first solo written book for parents, published by Gill Books, called 15 minute parenting, is available now in bookshops and online. A second and third book in this series will.ve published in the UK in 2020.

Ingmar Hinz is a PhD researcher at the Kingston School of Art. His thesis project is concerned with the use of humour as a political tactic in far right online communities. He has an academic background in Psychoanalysis (MA), Cultural & Critical Studies (MA), Psychosocial Studies (MA), and Social & Political Theory (MSc).

Isabel Millar is completing her PhD researcher in Lacanian psychoanalysis, cultural theory and contemporary philosophy at Kingston University, London. Her research is on Lacan, Sex and Artificial Intelligence. Her work has been published in Psychoanalytische Perspectieven, Vestigia, JCFAR journal, and forthcoming publications for the Courtauld Institute of Art and the Palgrave Lacan Series. She is also a comedy screenwriter and script consultant and co-editor of Everyday Analysis. See https://everydayanalysis.net/.

Carol Owens is a psychoanalytic practitioner in private practice in North Dublin. Her most recent book is Psychoanalysing Ambivalence with Freud and Lacan: On and Off the Couch (with Stephanie Swales, Routledge 2019). She is series editor for Studying Lacan’s Seminars (Routledge).

Mark Twomey is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist practicing privately and in the non-profit sector. His research interests currently centre on the interaction and effects of virtual existence on the psyche.

Caroline West is a lecturer and researcher in sexuality studies in Dublin City University. Her doctorate focused on the experiences of women working in pornography and how feminist discourse framed these experiences. She also holds an MA in sexuality studies, and a HDip in psychoanalysis. Her research focuses on the relationship between power, sex and knowledge. She is also interested in research ethics, violence and stigma, alongside an interest in how we hold public conversations about sex, sexuality and pornography. Caroline has presented her research nationally and internationally, and is a frequent media speaker in Ireland.

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Central Hotel

1-5 Exchequer St

D02 E044 Dublin

Ireland

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No Refunds

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