Marylhurst professor David Denny presented at an international conference for LACK, an organization devoted to Lacanian psychoanalytic theory, at Colorado College in 2017.
David Denny participated in a panel discussion titled Time, facilitated by Scott Krzych of Colarado College. Other panelists included Timothy Richardson of University of Texas–Arlington and Daniel Cho of Otterbein University.
David Denny’s talk, On the Motif of Tuche in the “New” Documentary Form, explores an emerging style of re-enactment within film documentaries in which the actual protagonist of the documentary becomes involved in the acting out of key events from the past. Dr. Denny asserts that this “new documentary form,” found in films such as The Act of Killing (2013), My Scientology Movie (2017), the HBO mini-series Jinx and the podcast S-Town, often accesses an unconscious desire more real than reality itself.
In his presentation proposal, Dr. Denny elaborates:
While the use of fiction or personal narrative has been widely explored by documentary filmmakers, there has arguably emerged a new development within the documentary form that relies on accident or luck to expose something false or awry within reality as such. The technique employed, one that is similar to the analyst in the clinic, is to have the protagonist recreate the events in question, with the hope that proximity and association precipitates some rupture within the narrative. A key here is that rather than using actors for the recreation, like in Battle of Orgeave (2001) or even Medium Cool (1968), the actual subject or protagonist of the documentary does the acting. The result is uncanny in terms of arriving at a ‘truth’ that is strikingly more profound than the typical will to knowledge that informs most documentaries. Something else is revealed in the process; namely, Lacan’s own attempt to privilege transference over and against free association as the passage that enables one to enjoy their symptom (as opposed to having it dissolved). This process registers not so much for the actual person in the film (e.g. Anwar Congo), but for the spectator – which, of course, would help explain the publically avowed fascination and even confusion with this form.
Titled Psychoanalysis and Politics Now, the second biannual conference for LACK, an organization devoted to the promotion and development of Lacanian psychoanalytic theory, was held at Colorado College in October 2017. The LACK conference brings together those interested in exploring the philosophical, political and cultural implications of psychoanalytic theory, especially as it relates to the question of contemporary politics.
David Denny is an associate professor of media and cultural studies at Marylhurst University. He recently published “Melancholia: An Alternative to the End of the World” in the collected volume Cinematic Cuts (SUNY Press, 2016), and co-edited Lars von Trier’s Women, (Bloomsbury Press, 2016).