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Macdonald, A., 2015.

Art, containment and care

Output Type:Conference paper
Presented at:Cross-cultural live art project 'Couldn't care less'
Venue:Deptford Lounge, London
Dates:27/11/2015 - 28/11/2015

This talk will explore the psychodynamic notion of 'holding' (Bion, 1965) as a form of care, in the production and reception of art. It focuses on a moving image project entitled Falling for everything* that was commissioned in 2014 by a woman called Lilli. Lilli was dying, and wanted to explore this experience with an artist.

Ogden describes psychoanalytic containment as 'the provision of a 'place' (a psychological state) in which the infant (or patient) may gather himself together' (Ogden, 2004:1351). Here I consider the ways in which this concept of 'holding' resonates with both the process of making the artwork, and its final form. This is done though focusing on the work's material and metaphorical lines such as; the delineation between Lilli and I, the linear movement of the film, and the lines of the medical trial diagram we used, that created a conceptual pathway into the future. Ogden adds that 'there is no processing in this act just a space for collation' (ibid). With this in mind I also reflect on my attempt to work, with what Metcalfe and Ferguson refer to as the 'purposeless love' of a mother (Metcalfe and Ferguson, 2001:251), in trying to create a holding place for Lilli.