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Science & Dystopia

08Nov5:00 pm8:00 pmScience & Dystopia5:00 pm - 8:00 pm(GMT+00:00) Primo Levi ForumPrimo Levi Forum

Event Details

Tuesday, November 8, 2011 – 5 pm to 8 pm

NYU Casa Italiana Zerilli Marimó | 24 West 12th Street
Seating is on a first come first served basis | Opening night

Film Screening: Sleeping Beauty in the Fridge, 1979, a rare fiction short, is based on Levi’s story with the same title and produced by the Italian television in collaboration with the author. In Italian w/English subtitles (16’). Paola Mieli (psychoanalyst, New York, Paris) on Sleeping Beauty in the Fridge, Gérard Haddad (psychoanalyst, Paris) on The Mirror’s Maker, and Daniela Schiller (neuroscientist, Mount Sinai, NY) on a story to be announced.

Extermination camps were the ground where a vast number of new medical and scientific applications were first tried out. The compliance and actual participation of the industrial complex and of the medical and university system, turned them into an unspeakable machine of alienation, experimentation, annihilation and the transformation of the human subject into an object of consumption – all this on the basis of an ideology that pushed production to an extreme aberration.

In his testimony as a survivor, in the “necessity” that moved him to become a writer, in his ethic need to say, to make known, Primo Levi has transmitted the devastating effects of this de-subjectivising experience, and has given an extraordinarily human voice to that which is inhuman and unsayable.

Reflecting upon the causes and the implications of this “ immense biological and social experience,” as he defines it, Levi, the story teller, ponders on the issue of segregation in our own times, on the heritage the camps have bequeathed on the present, establishing a disquieting continuity between past aberrations and present normality, showing beyond any doubt how the present is subtly interwoven by the logic of the past.

In his hallucinated fiction, and, specifically, in his play La bella addormentata nel frigo (Sleeping Beauty in the Fridge), Levi shows with great acumen and perspicacity the strict relationship between science, new technologies, and subjective alienation, as well as the ways in which normality, the tranquility of a prosperous life, are in fact the product of a bio-political normativity, universally accepted with careless complicity. As a reminder of our own situation, Levi writes: “Monsters do exist but are too few to be really dangerous; by far more dangerous are common men, executives always ready to believe and obey without ever questioning what they are told.”

Paola Mieli is a psychoanalyst in New York City. She is the founder and president of Après-Coup Psychoanalytic Association. She is a member of Le Cercle Freudien (Paris), of Insistance (Paris), and of The European Federation of Psychoanalysis (Strasbourg). A Correspondent Editor of the Psychoanalytic Journal Che Vuoi (Paris) and a Contributing Editor of the Journal Insistance-Art, psychanalyse et politique (Paris), she teaches in the Department of Photography and Related Media of The School of Visual Arts in New York City. The author of numerous articles on psychoanalysis and on culture published in Europe and America, her books include: Sobre as manipulacaoes irreversivels do corpo (Contra Capa Publisher, Rio de Janeiro 2002), and Being Human: The Technological Extensions of the Body (Co-Editor, Marsilio Publishers, New York, 1999). Dr. Mieli is research associate of the Center of research in psychoanalysis, medicine and society at the university of Paris VII- Paris.

Gérard Haddad grew up in Tunis. In 1969 he graduated as an agronomist specializing in rice-growing in Senegal. His encounter with Jacques Lacan, in 1969, marked the beginning of his psychoanalytic training. Another influence on his formation were the teachings of chemist and philosopher Yeshayahou Leibowitz. Between 1970 and 1981 Mr. Haddad completed medical school and specialized in Psychiatry working as Assistant Lecturer at Paris VIII University until 1985. In 1985 Mr. Haddad moved to Israel where he became director of the Outpatients Department at Beersheva Psichiatric Hospital. In 1988, after serving for a year as Assistant Lecturer at Tel-Aviv University, he moved back to France where he resumed his psychoanalytic and publishing work. Haddad’s books include: Lumière des astres éteints, Grasset 2011, L’Enfant illégitime: Sources talmudiques de la psychanalyse, Hachette Littératures, 1981, Manger le livre, Grasset, 1984, Lacan et le judaïsme, Desclée de Brouwer, 1996, Maïmonide, Belles Lettres, 1998, Le jour où Lacan m’a adopté, Grasset & Fasquelle, 2002, (with Hechmi Dhaoui) Musulmans contre l’Islam?, Cerf, 2006.

Daniela Schiller Daniela Schiller is the director of the Affective Neuroscience Laboratory at the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. Her research focuses on the neural mechanisms underlying emotional control and flexibility. She made significant contributions in the study of reconsolidation and the development of techniques to change old emotional memories. Dr. Schiller’s line of research focuses on the neural mechanisms underlying emotional control. Because the environment we live in is constantly changing, our learned emotional responses need to be continuously updated to appropriately reflect current circumstances. Fittingly, she also plays the drums in LeDoux’s Heavy Metal band, The Amygdaloids.

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