The artists’ creation of a ‘true self-portrait’ is bound up in meanings of self-hood and individuation; by means of his/her practice becoming a method of developing the artists’ need for self-discovery. Through this self-exploration, the artefact becomes an attempt to reveal something of the artist, a therapeutic tool perhaps, by which the photograph is used as a form of depth psychology.
A mixed methodology of autoethnography and thematic analysis is undertaken of the language of response – language generated from the viewing of purely visual data – to examine and record patterns or themes within this information that is relevant to the research question. Through this form of removed analysis - the interpretation of the photograph and not the artist - can a new internal world of the artist be revealed? Is there a particular reading that could be universalised or is this unique to me? Or is the analysis a series of projections, a more of an understanding of the readers?
The concerns of this thesis are with the ways in which the production of these photographs and their reception can be incorporated into an art practice and a new self-portrait is revealed.
This is how I see myself now,
at this moment, expressed as a self-portrait; my internal world seen in my
reflection. This is how the readers see
this image of myself, expressed as words from the maternal and paternal; an
integration of their own projections.
Both photographer and reader
anticipate the next encounter and show more of ourselves; the photographer
integrates the language of these metaphorical parents, into the final narrative
and present them as a collaborative account of intersubjective experience; an
Alternative Family Album. Spencer Rowell
active intersubjective engagement, both parties orient themselves to the next
turn, interpreting the intentions of the other and anticipating the upcoming
next turn in crafting there response. This dynamic interactional process relies
on commonly shared implicit 'procedures', learned in early interactions with
The Pragmatics of Therapeutic Interaction: An Empirical
Study. Georgia Lepper 2009
I will be referring to the above paper, as it has been a
useful focus on the methods used to incorporate the language of assessment into
individual pieces and the project as a whole. Her study uses pragmatics to discuss the way
selected verbatim dialogue between therapist and client can be used to
negotiate the meaning of a specific symptom and create understanding. It is a
report on how the therapeutic process can be 'observed and studied as an
interactional achievement, grounded in general and well studied procedures
through which meaning is intersubjectively developed and shared' ( Lepper
2009). I will explain how this process can be used to incorporate into art
project looks to demonstrate and document the experience of the combined
intersubjective world of artist and reader, a collaborative interaction and how
this process can be incorporated in a systematic way, influencing the final
production of work; the study of the artist /psychotherapist interaction and
its development described in psychodynamic terms, looking at
projections in the relationship between them and their relationship in the
short essay will aid a provisional chapter layout for my thesis, enabling me to
focus onaspects of research and
formulate a way of setting out the information currently synthesised and
perhaps more importantly, how the text, and its description, can be assimilated
into the ongoing art practice and how it is structured into the written work.
is a sense of crisis in the relationship between clinical practice and
psychoanalytical theory', states Lepper, in her paper. Mainly around the area
of empirical knowledge and ways of providing quantitive information from
qualitative, often highly subjective data. She suggests that any additional
research obtained in this area of interaction can be seen as a useful addition
to this discussion, of its overall coherence and its contemporary use in
today's therapeutic engagements; this practice offers an additional viewpoint.
This process has relevance in the study of Psychoanalytical theory in that it
offers another important view, to be taken alongside other methods, it shows an
important alternative view into the ideas of intersubjectivity and art
convergence of evidence from several data sources [which] will prove the best
support for theories of mind proposed by psychoanalysis' Jimenez, 2006.
client analyst interaction is littered with metaphor of language and of the
image and it is in the discussion of this shared world of intersubjectivity
where change and understanding occurs. This interaction requires playing
creatively. In this space, through this exchange of dialogue, a representation
of the clients internal world emerges and by the use of these definitions and
of language, a shared experience becomes apparent. The images presented, data
collected as interpretations and how it is integrated into the art practice
represents this intersubjective world.
is in this exchange, in psychotherapy and true of my project, that individual
encounters bare meaning but also that past sessions inform the next; it is in
this joint expectation that a shared narrative begins to develop. The
therapists skill is to stay informed by their past engagements, without
focusing on specific information, to hold a general picture in mind that is
eventually honed into an image that will, when reflected back to the client, be
of some use to them. Drawing parallels with my art practice, the images are
seen as individual engagements, but only come together as final 'picture' or
narrative in the final exhibition, where the adapted images are developed and
displayed, in order, to reveal the picture of the artist as a whole. As with
therapy, the personality develops into a sense of realness in conjunction with
the therapist, a development of the listeners subjectivity and that of the
artist developed alongside each other; a joint narrative of experience.
with Leppers paper, of gaining an understanding using the process of
pragmatics, where understanding is overlaid on to the examination of verbal
exchanges on a turn-by-turn basis, this study endeavours to contribute to the
mechanisms of the artist /analyst relationship processes in a similar way. The
artist and reader both, as they attempt an understanding through turn-by-turn
interpretations, of spoken language and its integration back into image
images will be selected from the twenty four produced over the period of this
project. Chosen on the basis of a recurrence of themes, consensus of opinions
between readers or parallel ideas of engagement, the re-making of these images
will represent this combined narrative. Their interpretations will be written
up in detail, images reworked through the assimilation of the readers
interpretations and presented as a joint narrative.
Background to research
is much debate around the interactional nature which form much ofthe foundations of psychodynamic work
with patients. The ideas of transference, countertransference, projection,
introjection and projective identification - which can be described as simply
intuition, empathy, general interpersonal communications or simply gestures -
the intersubjective domain of social interaction. How we take in information
and put out our version of events makes up the majority of what we do as adults
and this interaction can be traced back to our earliest relationships, from our
earliest dyadic interrelations.
is the intersubjective matrix of the therapeutic environment and at the heart
of artistic interaction. This research offers an opportunity to document the
intersubjectivity through images and language, referencing the changes
throughout this process and responses to the final artwork, the shared
is not simply a package in which communications are wrapped, but the medium in
which experience is bought to light in the process of being spoken or written'
Ogden 1999 p. 201
'experience' is bought to light through the production of these individual
images, however, the language of the interpretation is an expression of the
readers' engagement and it would be simplistic to suggest it was simply a
verbalisation of the meaning of the images presented. The relationship between
this language and the artists intent is verbalised via the transference and
also through the process of projection; this sits at the heart of psychodynamic
debate and also a means of how the artist has made manifest his or her latent
content to the viewer. This research, takes as its stating point that the original
artwork is an action toward such awareness and the process of integration of
interpretations the dialogue that instigates change. This is described by
Lowewald (1960), stating that '[the] psychoanalytic process [as] the
significant interactions between patient and analyst which ultimately lead to
structural changes in the patients personality' p.16 that 'integrative
experiences in analysis are experiences of interaction' (p24)
first step of any research is to systematically sample the data. As mentioned
there will be 24 images and transcripts to chose from, however the chose of
images will be decided apron in conjunction with another Psychoanalytical
reader from four main observations or strategies, to focus on the actual area
of intersubjectivity that is the main focus of the production and theoretical
basis of this thesis.
focus will be on twelve or these pieces of work and their interpretations. They
will be chosen to illustrate the process of the intersubjective process resulting
in the production of the final exhibition and the written thesis that
underwrites it. The twelve images will be chosen by how easy it feels to
integration the interpretations into the work, how adaptive this secondary
process is, more specifically they will have:-
1.Shared theory of
interpretations of understanding made by maternal and paternal readers, a
consensus of opinion between readers.
experience portrayed by one or both readers.
psychopathology or specific defences highlighted.
documentation of this process is to illustrate what is being communicated, how
these are communicated and interpreted how they are interpreted into the
creative process and they are linked. Also, any combined or repeated projections
will be isolated and described as auto biographical nuances of the readers and
form an important part of the study.
analysis. Discussion: Implications for the Psychoanalytical interpretation in
Art Practice and Research
like any other field, requires careful descriptive work.' (Kaechele et al., 2006 p. 811 Secondary reference)
research set out to explore and document the change of narrative, viewed in a
collaborative nature, of the interaction between art process and it's interpretation;
self reflection is met with language and responded to by creative production.
Using methods to explore and support the empirical dialogue between and
psychodynamic relationship between artist and viewer, mirroring the
turn-by-turn encounter in the therapeutic interaction, it focuses on the
intersubjective. In this therapeutic conversation artist and reader as speakers
in engagement and anticipation, employ strategies to achieve there own,
projection, defence, autobiographical needs; also veiled are the strategies
with which the readers struggle (notes on additional communications) throughout
this process of this shared environment.
as with art presentation is not a simple dyadic experience, it is also a
intersubjective shared social process, I have chosen to integrate elements of
this shared experience into the making of the work. It highlights the internal
world of the artist as the artist offers up revealed defences and also the
internal world of the reader projected upon the work.
research will demonstrate that it is possible to observe and document the
dynamic process of a collaborative art exercise, from a turn-by-turn process of
development of ideas, enriching the ideas of Psychoanalytical theory and
clinical practice in the realm of image making; using images as a means to
offer an understanding of the role of intersubjectivity in the art process. As
the title suggests, an inference to parenting is made, as a mutually
constructed process by which the reader interprets the intention and an ongoing
dialogue ensues, allowing my practise to gain, as with Freud's reference to
dreams, another 'Royal road to the unconscious' (Freud 1899)
Spencer Rowell 2012
 The term
pragmatics refers to the field of study which spans philosophy, psychology and
linguistics. 'the science of language as it is used by real live people, for
their own purposes and within their limitations...' (Mey, 1993, p. 9)
 The language of
psychodynamic psychotherapy, is used as a descriptive mechanism of communication
as paralleling the client /psychotherapist relationship.