Six-week evening course
10 July – 14 August 2017.
The passing of British rock star David Bowie in 2016 left planet Earth decidedly blue. He mastered musical genres as diverse as folk, glam, soul, funk, electronic, industrial and jazz, updating his image with every transformative step. A cultural powerhouse of innovation, Bowie blazed numerous trails; his unparalleled and enduring impact reaches beyond music, influencing the fields of pop video, the internet, fashion, cinema, painting, and theatre – we have lost a veritable multimedia virtuoso. Dystopia, the avant-garde, extraterrestrials, surrealism and androgyny are recurring themes of his artistry that endeared him to mavericks and eccentrics the world over. Bowie’s embodiment and shedding of various alter egos (Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, Thin White Duke) became a symbol of fearless experimentation, but these characters were also masks that he initially relied on as a performer to cover up shyness and stage fright.
In the new 6-week PROJECTIONS lecture series by Mary Wild, psychoanalytic theories of Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung and Jacques Lacan will establish the interpretive framework to study David Bowie’s music videos and filmography, with a focus on his personas, experience of trauma, struggle with mental illness, addiction, isolation, and attainment of creative autonomy. Exploring the full range of Bowie’s legacy, we will begin with the game-changing and tumultuous early years, moving on to the radically unconventional Berlin period, later considering his status as a global chart-topper and originator of exciting aesthetic movements, finally culminating in the neo-classical era of a sophisticated artist always in the process of reinventing himself. Along the way, we will reflect on Bowie’s legendary collaborations with iconic figures of the music and film industries (e.g., Brian Eno, Iggy Pop, Nicolas Roeg, David Lynch). This course is a celebration of a unique musical genius, our dearly departed glamorous alien, one so evolved that he confronted his terminal illness with unimaginable courage, turning his own death into a work of art.
Scenes and bespoke montages from ten David Bowie films (including The Man Who Fell To Earth, Labyrinth and The Prestige) will be shown and analysed during weekly sessions, along with dozens of music videos (including Life On Mars, Ashes To Ashes and Let’s Dance) and many televised interviews.
Week 1 – Early years/Ziggy Stardust
Week 2 – Aladdin Sane/Plastic Soul/Thin White Duke
Week 3 – Berlin Trilogy/Scary Monsters
Week 4 – 1980s
Week 5 – 1990s
Week 6 – Final Years
PROJECTIONS is psychoanalysis for film interpretation. PROJECTIONS empowers film spectators to express subjective associations they consider to be meaningful. Expertise in psychoanalytic theory is not necessary – the only prerequisite is the desire to enter and inhabit the imaginary world of film, which is itself a psychoanalytic act. MARY WILD, a Freudian cinephile from Montreal, is the creator of PROJECTIONS.20 Maresfield Gardens, NW3 5SX, London, United Kingdom