Maria Taveras, Frolicking Serpents (detail), 2015, oil pastel on canvas, 24 x 36 inches.

Utopia / Dystopia: Jungian Psychoanalysis, Image and Imagination

  • Wed May 22 2019, 07:00 PM

‘The Imagination is not a State: it is the Human Existence itself.’ – William Blake For this installment of Utopia/Dystopia, an ongoing series co-presented with Morbid Anatomy, we will explore pioneering Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Gustav Jung's revolutionary ideas about image and imagination. What distinguishes Jungian psychoanalysis from all other varieties of psychoanalysis is that it emphasizes images and the imagination. ‘We live immediately,’ Jung insists, ‘only in the world of images.’ Jung declares that ‘image is psyche’ – a provocative proposition that implies that perhaps psychology should be ‘imaginology’ – a study of images and the imagination. Is ‘imaginary’ unreal? Is the ‘imaginative’ creative? To which images do we spontaneously react with an idiosyncratic sensitivity? Why do we repress, censor, and moralize images rather than analyze them? Never have we had such exposure to so many images. How might we process the proliferation of images in contemporary social media and distinguish the profound from the superficial? Michael Vannoy Adams is a Jungian analyst with a special interest in images and the imagination. He is the author of four books, three of which have the word “imagination” in the title. During the Rubin Museum’s exhibition of Jung’s famous Red Book, Michael was Sarah Silverman’s Jungian analyst for a dialogue about Jung’s technique of active imagination. Michael is currently clinical associate professor at the NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, where he teaches the course “Jungian Ways of Working with Images.” He was previously associate provost of the New School, where he taught dream interpretation for 30 years. Michael is the recipient of four Gradiva Awards from the National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis. For more information about Michael, visit his

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