FREUD24 is a global happening, a public reading of a selection of Sigmund Freud’s works in cities across the world, from Auckland and Chengdu to Lima and Guadalajara, over a twenty-four-hour period on May 6th, the birthday of the founder of psychoanalysis.
Small groups will gather in cafés, art galleries, and educational and cultural institutions to read, listen to and discuss passages from Freud’s essays and lectures in light of one’s own experience—or lack thereof—with the Freudian corpus. Readings will be livestreamed onto a dedicated FaceBook page so that others unable to attend can tune in. (Afterwards, they’ll be stitched together to make a single video. Discussions that follow the readings will not be livestreamed.)
Why read and talk about Freud today?
W.H. Auden, upon Freud’s death in 1939 and as humanity was drawn into shared, massive destruction, wrote:
“When there are so many we shall have to mourn,
when grief has been made so public, and exposed
to the critique of a whole epoch
the frailty of our conscience and anguish,
of whom shall we speak?”
Echoing Auden, we need to ask what importance, if any, is Freudian psychoanalysis to the present day? How familiar, or unfamiliar, is his thinking to us? Does it simplify or make more complex our understanding of ourselves and others? In what ways might it contribute to making individual and collective experience intelligible, in particular in these turbulent times? How, then, if at all, does psychoanalysis help us to live?
Happy Birthday, Doctor!
W.H. Auden, 1907-1973