Ricardo Ainslie, M. K. Hage Centennial Professor in Education in the Department of Education at the University of Texas at Austin and the 2021–22 Fulbright-Freud Visiting Lecturer of Psychoanalysis, will present a public lecture at the Sigmund Freud Museum titled "City and Psyche: A Psychoanalytic Exploration of Architecture and Subjectivity."
Abstract: “Now let us, by a flight of imagination, suppose that Rome is not a human habitation but a psychical entity...”
(Sigmund Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents, 1930)
"Freud’s intent in writing these lines was to evoke the layered archeology of Rome as a metaphor for the mind, but after a few pages of deliberation he set the metaphor aside as inadequate to the task. Perhaps it was. However, the line gestures toward a powerful idea: that cities are, indeed, psychological spaces that we experience and ‘use’ in complex ways. This is the idea to be entertained in this lecture: how cities, and in particular architecture and the physical, material environment that surrounds us, shape our subjective experience both individually and collectively.
“I have explored cities like an ethnographer. I have interviewed architects about their work and the vision that guides it. I have observed but also studied the impact of social transformation on communities as well as the impact of great historical events that have come to form part of the collective identity of cities like Vienna, Mexico City, and Austin, Texas; events that have shaped life within those cities in ways that are both conscious and unconscious. In this lecture I use psychoanalytic ideas to inform our understanding of cities as ‘psychical entities,’ although I also draw from studies in urban design, marketing, and even neuroscience, to bolster the thesis that we are unequivocally shaped by the environments that we inhabit, albeit often in ways that lie beyond our conscious awareness."
This free event will be held in person. Please register with the Sigmund Freud Museum.