It may seem perplexing that a research group specialised in the music of the Ancient Near East incorporates a colleague specialised in Freud and Lacan.
However, when Freud postulated that a psychical life model taking into account the unconscious motivation of conscious desires, he shifted the epistemological landscape so that we understand we are not masters in our own house. Having further incorporated the legend of Oedipus in his theory – a legend living in most ancient cultures, though in different attires – he showed that a civilisation can only exist if it represses its primordial and destructive impulses. Therefore, these limitations drive our progression into a future of cooperation.
Following his footsteps, Lacan revised Freud’s theory with his contemporary epistemology; with Saussure’ linguistics; with Jackobson and Prague structuralists; with anthropologist Levi-Strauss; with topologic and logic mathematics. Lacan focused on the semiotic organisation of the psychical, showing equivalence between Saussure’s signifier, and Freud’s memory-trace. He extracted the political dimensions of Freud’s theory, warning us that full satisfaction is an impossible promise. This may well be the reason why his works have been labelled as Critical Studies, or Critical Theory.
Musicology has been reticent in venturing into that field. Thus, equipped with a semiotic template, never forgetting that an idea is always motivated by another, it became logical for ICONEA methodologies to adopt an applied psychoanalytic approach. This I what I have undertaken since 2012, thanks to the intellectual generosity of and guidance of Irving Finkel and Richard Dumbrill.
My first book, Sémiotique, musique et pulsion, having laid some bases, I am delighted and excited to further contribute within ICONEA. After all, a metonymy is endless, and in the words of Lacan, ‘truth can only be half-said’.
Bruno de Florence, London.