Emily Turner

Psychic Crypt I–III

Metaphors of nature have long been employed to elucidate the murky landscape of mental life. From classic Freudian imagery (frequently archeological and scientific) to commonplace idioms (ie. a clouded mind), our social language bound in images of the natural world has molded the ways in which we attempt to understand ourselves.

Named after Nicolas Abraham and Mária Török’s concept, Psychic Crypt I–III considers how psychic space is structured—namely how this structure is composed of not only the Freudian layers of conscious/unconscious life but also the inherited residues of our ancestors. These “crypts” are proposed here to be complicated by the ways in which our mental realms now exist in a technologically interconnected ecosphere.

As we find ourselves situated on the verge of not only the looming climate destruction but also the complex ways in which our daily life is being transformed by technologies such as AI, Psychic Crypt I–III explores how we may evolve these images of the world of thought. Fashioned as speculative artifacts, the objects propose uncanny viewfinders into a foggy interiority in an already-present future eroded by nostalgia. Envisioned as unconscious interfaces, the entombed collages were made through a process of attempting to recover personal dream residue in dialogue with GPT-3 and combine hand-drawn illustrations, photographs by the author, found imagery and AI generated images.

The accompanying video piece, Latent Content (Marked by an Image), refers to both the Freudian notion of the latent content of dreams and the opening line in Chris Marker’s La Jetée (“This is the story of a man, marked by an image from his childhood.”). The video work is composed of a fragmented personal narrative paired with dream-like imagery intended to make visible a “primitive language without any grammar” in which “only the raw material of thought is expressed,” as translated by the logic of waking life.