In this presentation, Dr. Gaitanidis proposes an aesthetics of alterity that critiques an attitude which privileges orderly sensibilities that blind us to the horrors of social violence and exclusion. Instead, he contends, psychoanalysis must foster ethical receptivity to hearing dissonant cries and marginalized voices excluded by current ideologies.
This radical openness requires relinquishing our consulting room’s sensuous insulation and permits marginalized voices to permeate the analytic space. This infiltrative hearing counters the traditional psychoanalytic tendency to isolate and insulate. It foregrounds suffering that is rendered invisible, dismantling ideological barriers. Dr. Gaitanidis will illuminate this radical aesthetic attitude through art’s power to express the unspeakable. He profoundly draws on the definition of art as “intentionless intention”; hovering in the gap between meaning and meaninglessness, art conveys unbearable affect beyond language.
Crucially, he argues this gap is also where analysis unfolds. The analyst must tune into the timbre and rhythm of experience, not just interpret meaning. This attunement reclaims damaged aliveness that trauma forecloses. Art and analysis alike embrace life’s entirety from horror to love. Accepting our painful brokenness through such attunement is vital for becoming fully alive. By presenting a number of clinical vignettes relevant to this topic, he would like to chart a vision of aesthetics awakened to exclusion and suffering. His hope is that this radical aesthetics will infuse sealed spaces with transformative solidarity.
Dr. Anastasios Gaitanidis is a relational psychoanalyst in private practice working in London, UK. In addition to his clinical work as a psychoanalyst, he has held appointments as a senior lecturer and director of studies and provided clinical and research supervision to psychoanalysts, psychotherapists and counseling psychologists at the SITE for Contemporary Psychoanalysis, Regent’s University London and University of Roehampton. He currently holds the position of Visiting Professor for the professional doctorate in counseling psychology at Regent’s University London. Dr. Gaitanidis is also the Theory Editor of the European Journal of Psychotherapy and Counselling (EJPC) and he has authored and published a substantial body of academic work including journal articles and edited books over the years, with a recent book, The Sublime in Everyday Life.
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Frances V. Dillon, MSW and Eric Dammann, PhD, are Co-Directors, The Artist Study Group