DREAMLAND: The Coney Island Amateur Psychoanalytic Society and their Circle 1926-1972In 2009 the Coney Island Museum invited Zoe Beloff to create an exhibition to celebrate the centennial of Sigmund Freud’s visit to Coney Island. She titled the show “Dreamland: The Coney Island Amateur Psychoanalytic Society and its Circle 1926-1972.
The Society might be considered something of an urban myth. They were mostly working people from a variety of cultural backgrounds. Beloff describes them as “visionaries, who, undeterred by lack of finances or professional training, decided to explore their inner life, to share their dreams with each other and in doing so attempted to free the psyche from the constraints of class and of cultural and sexual mores of their time.In 1926, the Society’s first president and founder Albert Grass proposed that members attempt to recreate their dreams on film and analyze them. Here is an excerpt of his speech from the first prize giving ceremony, “Sigmund Freud has written that the royal road to the unconscious lies in our dreams. Each night we are plunged into a fantastical world as amazing as anything we see in Saturday night Photoplays. But how to capture the most effervescent of experiences so that they can be properly analyzed and recorded for future generations? The answer, my friends, lies in our new tools, the Cine-Kodak Camera and the Kodascope Projector enabling us to reenact our dreams on film, producing a perfect reproduction of our mind’s nocturnal wanderings, the strange adventures of our souls. As it will surely be soon with sound and color to perfect the illusion, we will open up our darkest dreams to the bright light of reason”Zoe Beloff grew up in Edinburgh, Scotland. In 1980 she moved to New York to study at Columbia University where she received an MFA in Film. Her work has been featured in international exhibitions and screenings; venues include the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Freud Dream Museum in St. Petersburg, and the Pompidou Center in Paris. She recently participated in the 2009 Athens Biennale, and has an upcoming project with MuHKA Museum in Antwerp. Her most recently completed work is the exhibition “The Coney Island Amateur Psychoanalytic Society and their Circle.
Zoe works with a variety of cinematic imagery: film, stereoscopic projection performance, interactive media and installation.Her artistic interest lies in finding ways to graphically manifest the unconscious processes of the mind. She considers herself a medium, an interface between the living and the dead, the real and the imaginary. Sometimes she uses archaic apparatuses, sometimes, new analog/digital hybrids. Each project aims to connect the present with the past, to create new visual languages where modern media will once again be invested with the uncanny. She has collaborated with artists from other disciplines including composer John Cale, the Wooster Group Theater Company and composer, singer and performance artist Shelley Hirsch.
Zoe has been awarded fellowships from Guggenheim Foundation (2003), The Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts (1997) and NYFA (1997, 2001). She has received individual artist grants from foundations that include NYSCA, The Jerome Foundation and Experimental Television Center Finishing Funds Award. She has had residences at Harvestworks Digital Media Arts, Hallwalls in Buffalo and Tesla in Berlin.
22 October · 20:00
* Coney Island by Rosco “Fatty” Arbuckle [USA, 1917, 16mm, b&w, silent, 25 min.]
Entrance – FREE