Previously at the ICA - Events

Louise Weiss, Eight Hearts, 2013

The Trouble With the Pseudonym

9 Oct 2013

Prompted by exhibiting artist Lutz Bacher's own use of a pseudonym, this talk considers the myriad ways hidden identities impact on creative practices, as well as the often-overlooked ways in which they appear in our daily lives.

Drawing on the differing expertise and experience of the panel, the conversation encompasses the visual arts and what it means to use multiple names as an artist, as well as literature and literary histories of the pseudonym. It will also extend to how the idea relates to contemporary culture from a psychoanalytical point of view, exploring issues such as privacy, fame and the Internet.

The discussion explores how the use of a pseudonym can help or hinder creativity; how it effects questions of ownership and authorship; what it affords us in relation to self-expression; and how it relates to branding and promotion.

Chaired by Patricia McManus, lecturer in media and cultural history at the University of Brighton, the panel comprises Olivier Castel, Carmela Ciuraru and Josh Cohen.

Dr Patricia McManus works on the history of modern cultural practices and forms, in particular on the history of the novel and other mass-mediated forms of representation. McManus's approach to cultural history and politics is an interdisciplinary one: hence, her work brings together history and theory, the reading of cultural texts, and of their reception. 

Olivier Castel is a French artist based in London. He usually presents work under heteronyms, and has created over thirty different identities since 2001. Often using ephemeral or temporal forms, he works primarily with projections, reflective surfaces, light, posters and audio. His work functions as a set of propositions, employing the imaginary and exploring the process of making something visible. He has recently had exhibitions and projects at Hayward Gallery, Serpentine Gallery, Ibid Projects, Rowing and Carlos/Ishikawa.

Carmela Ciuraru is the author of Nom de Plume: A (Secret) History of Pseudonyms, published by HarperCollins. She has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and many other publications. She lives in New York City.

Josh Cohen is Professor of Modern Literary Theory at Goldsmiths University of London and a psychoanalyst in private practice. He is the author of various books and articles on psychoanalysis, modern literature and aesthetic theory, including Interrupting Auschwitz, How to Read Freud and most recently, The Private Life: Why We Remain in the Dark.


E.g., 31-07-2021
E.g., 31-07-2021