Coordinated by Enric Berenguer and Clara Garí
Thursdays, March 25, April 29, May 27, at 7:30 pm.

Art today initiates a series of debates and practices that go beyond what we might call its more immediate reality. The philosopher, thinker, therapist, and educated all concern themselves with it. Yet, what relation does art have with what is said about it and what is done with it? It is a debatable issue, but that is precisely what it is about: that is, it is about a necessary conversation and everything that that produces. Some people (not necessarily the art critic) when we speak about art it is because we find in art a symptom. Symptom here is meant in the Freudian sense: not the sickness itself nor its manifestation, but rather its simultaneous interpretation and treatment. As a symptom, art interprets and treats something. It does this in a way that forms someone's specific response at a point of impossibility. Yet the positive thing is that it is a response that does not pretend to resolve anything. And, paradoxically, as a response, it is already a form of treatment. That is why the poor treatment of a symptom—namely, something done to someone—in the end rarely cures. What remains undisputed is that SymptomArt is someone's response. That this response means something to others justifies the fact that a museum can be a place for the cure we search for—without, however, knowing a cure for what, or even if it is simply the insatiable desire to look that is one of the speaking subject's illnesses. Yet there are many other incurable illnesses that might find some cure there or at least look for it.
SymptomArt brings together those concerned with art from the point of view of the symptom: symptom of civilization, response to horror or barbarism, interpretation, formulation of a desire, or a form of pleasure. It also fights against the consequences of madness, of that madness that sustains the individual against the collapse of his/her world or of that of the world itself, of everyone.

Enric Berenguer is a psychoanalyst
Clara Garí is an artist


THURSDAY MARCH 25, AT 7.30 pm.
Reality and simulations in the digital era

Matrix, a mass product, reconsiders a "classic" from western thinking: the possible illusory character of sensible reality, the real world as a construct, and the limits between thought and reality. During this first session of the interdisciplinary forum Symptomart, the "Matrix products" (feature films, animation shorts and games) will serve as pretext for reflection: from the myth of the platonic cave to Baudrillard's simulacra, including Lewis Carrol, Freud, Lacan and Wittgenstein.

THURSDAY APRIL 29, AT 7.30 pm.
Matrix (II): The machine's perversion

In relation to the films by the Wachowsky brothers, in our last meeting we examined above all the "paranoid" aspect of the film; that is to say the construction of a world of total meaning, a universe in which the lack of meaning with which human beings should confront their lives is responded to with the certainty that there is nothing that can escape a total script in which the most minimum detail is already known and nothing is left to chance. This observation is put in relation with what Zizek, referring to Badiou, considered a passion that has dominated the twentieth century in various modalities: the desperate search for the real, as if this was the only thing that could guarantee the existence of meaning that would not slip away.

In this second meeting we will focus on a different aspect related to another element of what we may call the "Matrix myth," referring precisely to the other meaning in the series' title—that is, the matrix as uterus, not as an inert cybernetic structure but all the contrary. In effect, it is an enigmatic element of the film that human beings are, to say it one way or another, "desired" by the rebellious machines in their status as embryos from which these machines extract their energy. The explicit explanation that the film offers, in which this energy is not given any special qualification, has a certain weakness. As there exist other more efficient providers of energy—namely, the nuclear—why would it still be necessary to that end to still have live beings and, more precisely, humans? This paradox is one we will attempt to examine through the Lacanian notion of pleasure. Zizek has recourse to the notion of perversion in order to explain this second aspect of the myth and at the same time to show the limits of its treatment in the film. For our part, we will go further and search for the profound reasons for the impact of these images in which machines seem to act like sublime pedophiles, taking pleasure in the human body reduced to an embryonic condition. Yet, isn't it true that sexual abuse against children is—just as other crimes of which they are the object (it is spoken, for example, of street children kidnappings related to the sale of organs)—a particularly significant symptom of our epoch? And this not because the abuses in question are new but because of the banalization through which they pass and their properly industrial dimension as they remain in a capitalist machinery of systematic exploitation that, for example, shatters the life substance of thousands of young bodies confined in ad-hoc tourist paradises.

MACBA Public Programs
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