1st Lacan Workshop in Russia – report by Daniel Roy
‘The Experience of an Analysis’
Moscow, 30 Sept – 2nd Oct. 2010
“We are here on the right track’
(J.A. Miller, Moscow, 2 October 2010)
This is what is called an event
This is what is called an event because where it took place, in Moscow, Russia, it introduced something new. This is homogenous with what with Lacan the analytic discourse promises and promotes: “Now, the analytic discourse, it makes a promise: to introduce something new” (Television, Norton, p.28*) [*TN: my own translation of "Or le discours analytique, lui, fait promesse: d'introduire du nouveau"]
I like it a lot this ‘now’, which opens this sentence by Lacan in enigmatic fashion, because it is there like a colophon that shows us a precious treasure to find.
Finding the treasure those were the stakes on this late September in Moscow, for the 1st Lacan Workshop in Russia, in the presence of Jacques-Alain Miller whose wish it had been, following the series of the ‘Three Introductory Lectures to Psychoanalysis’ given in St Petersburg in May 2009.
The bet was a bold one with the young colleagues having for the most part come to this experience only recently: eleven amongst them persevered with an audacity equal to the bet. The eleven papers were deliberately ordered in three sequences, along the three Freudian axes, of the birth of the transference and the presence of the analyst, the encounter with the father and the oedipal diffraction, the interpretation of dreams and the discourse of the unconscious. In each of the examples presented it was shown with unequalled clarity that the novelty of what emerged in analysis challenged the expected, desired or feared novelty.
For Inga Metreveli, it is a denegation underlined as such by the analyst that makes an Other scene ex-sist between dream and reality, thus making an enigma out of the position of the subject in her relation to the other sex. Alexander Fedtchuk told us with a wholly Gogolian verve of his analyst’s manoeuvre of “categorically tearing him from all signifiers as one tears a squealing mollusc from its shell”! Irina Soboleva took from an expression of the poet Ossip Mandelstam ‘the admirable absurdities’ to transmit with panache her discovery of the singular use of the paradoxes of her existence, deployed from a childhood scene, “point of congealment of the subjective position”. As for Natalia Gomoyunova it is another paradox that was depleted by her, that of Epimenides the Crete, designated as such by Jacques-Alain Miller in his commentary: as the ‘I lie’ of a purity rarely encountered, tested in a psychoanalysis and putting it to the test.
After one day the hundred people present knew that they were not in a ‘colloquium’ in its usual ‘sleepy’ fashion: here was J.A. Miller at the table in the room raising questions, underlining the detail, introducing our Russian, Ukrainian (and Bulgarian) colleagues to ‘Things of Finesse in Psychoanalysis’.
They were still there in waiting, these things of finesse, in the presentations of the next day where the hate of the father, love of the father and identification with the father brought us to an encounter with the ‘Soviet Man’ where he is divided into the slave worker and the absolute and distant master. Confronted with this the boy and the girl, each in their own way don’t come out of it unscathed, and the analytic experience is infiltrated from both sides: ‘knowing of what one must not speak’ for Natalia Mezina; make of the father a partner who can say from his grave, ‘that he is the reason for everything you do’ for Daria Evseeva; ‘to erect the fraud as a strategy’ in front of the figures of the father, for Mikhail Sobolev. It goes without saying that these are not mere trifles and that the trust of the presenters was met with tact and respect.
We were as much caught by the signifier as Alexandre Bronnikov, Irina Rymar, Vessela Banova and Mikhael Strakhov who testified in their presentations to the power of the master signifier and the effort of deciphering that the analysand must do, in order to be equal to the jouissance that was fixed there: the blood stains on the star, fixing the horror of castration for A. Bronnikov, the constraint to ‘put the plan into action’ in order to give herself over to the absolute master, death, for I. Rymar. ‘At her feet a box full of little chicks that fascinated her’ in the car of a loved uncle who died soon after, a memory that fixes the subject in indelible fashion, for V. Banova. And the complex scenic device that knots together the lady and figures of the law, thanks to which the subject is able to leave behind the ‘anecdotal’ aspect of his analysis in order to decipher the structure of his desire, for M. Strakhov.
The demonstration was thus being made that it is possible for analysts and for young analysands to transmit ‘something new’ of what the experience of analysis involved for them. And Jacques-Alain Miller concluded that “these workshops are extensions of analysis, they conform with psychoanalysis, with Freud who himself paid with his person, with his dreams, his lapsus and bungled actions….. he showed on himself the blood stain of castration. We are on the right track, and it is audacious for an analyst to say things as analysand in front of people who are their analysands, but it rather puts trust in the analyst to see that he continues to analyse himself …. Even if that must remain exceptional.”
Exceptional? The Lacan Workshop in Russia was incontestably that, and not without Jacques-Alain Miller himself paying with his person! In the name of the group of the Freudian Field-Russia and the secretariat of the NLS for Eastern Europe, we thank him for it.
We also thank the Euro-Federation of Psychoanalysis without which this event could not have been held.
And another novelty expected us in Moscow: the first issue of the ‘International Journal of Psychoanalysis’ in Russian featuring Lacan’s text “Signification of the Phallus” and the text of J.A Miller’s first lecture in Petersburg. This was possible thanks to the diligence of Judith Miller, assisted by Katya Ostachenko who achieved this little miracle
A workshop, a journal, other activities already in place and regular seminars of the Freudian Field, we have strong indicators for the track to follow.
Translated by Natalie Wulfing