Academic journal article International Journal of Psychoanalysis

Immersion versus Interactivity and Analytic Field1

Academic journal article International Journal of Psychoanalysis

Immersion versus Interactivity and Analytic Field1

Article excerpt

Losing oneself in a story, a film or a picture is nothing but another step in the suspension of disbelief that permits one to become immersed in the 'novel' of reality. It is not by chance that the text-world metaphor informs classical aesthetics that, more than anything else, emphasizes emotional involvement. On the contrary, as in much of modern art, self-reflexivity and metafictional attention to the rhetoric of the real, to the framework, to the conventions and to the processes of meaning production, all involve a disenchanted, detached and sceptic vision - in short, an aesthetics of the text as game. By analogy, any analytic style or model that aims to produce a transformative experience must satisfactorily resolve the conflict between immersion (the analyst's emotional participation and sticking to the dreamlike or fictional climate of the session, dreaming knowing it's a dream) and interactivity (for the most part, interpretation as an anti-immersive device that 'wakes' one from fiction and demystifies consciousness). In analytic field theory the setting can be defined - because of the weight given to performativity of language, to the sensory matrix of the transference and the transparency of the medium - the place where an ideal balance is sought between immersion and interaction.

Keywords: fictional truth, field theory, immersion, interactivity, Matrix, virtual reality

The discourse of analysis has a chiasmal structure. The layout of a 'field of fantasies' (Chianese, 2006, p. 21), intended as a space of representation or a fictional device (F), allows to experience psychic reality (R) and what to common sense seems unreal, as opposed to the concreteness of the material world (F -> R). Secondly, this consciousness of the reality of the inner world becomes so clear that it ends up by revealing the illusory nature (F') of ordinary reality (R -> F'). In Freudian and post-Freudian theory, the acknowledgement of the fictional aspect of the analytic situation, its as-if element, has gradually acquired increasing ground, thus allowing the theoretical-technical devices of analysis to become more adequate in highlighting the effectualness of the unconscious.

The theory of the analytic field (FT) (Baranger, 2005; Baranger and Baranger, 1961-62; Ferro, 1992; Gaburri, 1997) is the extreme product of the radicalization of the artificial character of the analytic scene and, at the same time, presents itself as a strong model of the unconscious social nature of the facts that are represented in it. In this work, using virtual reality (VR) as a metaphor, I show how the field theory (FT) seeks to strike a balance between these two aspects, that is to say, the usefulness for the actors and authors of the analytic dialogue to lose themselves in the fiction shaped by the setting - which means intimacy, closeness, spontaneity, emotional intensity, authenticity - and the necessity of coming out of all this in order to access the plurality of the possible worlds in which they simultaneously live.

Fictionality of the analytic frame

In Recommendations to physicians practising psycho-analysis, Freud (1912) compares analysis to the receiving and transmitting system of the telephone. This is perhaps the most modern and technological image of all the ones scattered in his writings, which, like golden threads, are woven into the warp of concepts. However, this new metaphor, like others, again presupposes the image of a passive and detached observer. We will need the 'fire at the theatre' of the erotic transference and the discovery of countertransference for challenging this perspective and reconfiguring the roles of both patient and analyst (Civitarese, 2005).

At any theoretical turn, psychoanalysis reinforces its specific phenomenological reduction and 'real-izes' the psychic. It attributes increasing importance to psychic reality and reduces the weighing of factual reality. Thus, on the analytic scene, the here and now and the relationship come into the foreground. …

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