Revisiting "Television"

A program exploring Jacques Lacan's 1973 broadcast and the relationship between psychoanalysis, spectatorship, and authority


Fields of Knowledge
  • Pedagogy
  • Performance
  • Philosophy / Theory

Organizing Institutions



Aaron Levy, Jean-Michel Rabaté

Opens to public



4017 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104


0% Formal - 100% Informal

Slought is pleased to present "My Lacan is Burning: Revisiting 'Television," a projection and performance with Catherine Liu and Charles Shepherson, on Wednesday, June 02, 2004 from 6:30-8:30pm. A conversation, moderated by Jean-Michel Rabaté, will follow.

In 1972 Jacques-Alain Miller, then an analyst in training, approached French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan to request a television interview. "I wanted Lacan, just once, to speak to the common man," said Miller at the New York City 1987 colloquium organized around that interview and called "Jacques Lacan: Television." The two-hour program, which took the form of an interview and discourse, aired in 1973 on the French government TV network O.R.T.F. under the title, "Psychoanalysis."

In a style that is typical of Lacan's own playful, impassioned, and evasive seminar style, we have invited Catherine Liu and Charles Shepherdson to perform this discourse live and in English, alongside a projection of the original broadcast.

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Catherine Liu received her Ph.D. in French Literature from The Graduate Center of the City University of New York and is a professor of Film & Media Studies and the director of the Humanities Center at the University of California Irvine. Her book, Copying Machines: Taking Notes for the Automaton, addresses the genealogy of the machine and technologies of difference. She also translated Gérard Pommier's Erotic Anger: A User's Manual.

Charles Shepherdson is Professor of English, SUNY Albany and Aristotelian Chair in the Liberal Arts, Saint Thomas Aquinas College. He writes on contemporary continental philosophy and psychoanalysis. He is the author of Vital Signs: Nature, Culture and Psychoanalysis (Routledge), and The Epoch of the Body (Stanford), as well as a collection published in Belgrade by Zenske Studie, The Ethics of Female Love.

Jean-Michel Rabaté is a Senior Curator at Slought and has been a professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Pennsylvania since 1992, has authored or edited twenty books on Modernism, Joyce, Pound, Beckett, Lacan, Derrida, psychoanalysis and literary theory.

"When Lacan says on Television, 'I always tell the truth...' he means it. He's making this pronouncement on TV and insofar as any talking head, including Lacan's, can embody a voice, he speaks for television itself... Television wants to believe that it tells the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth... But Television tries to account for the difficulty of the truth of the Real by producing its own built in self-critique module in the form of cynicism. In this way, it tries to cover its anxiety, which is, as Lacan has taught us, precisely the one affect which does not deceive."

-- Catherine Liu, from Lacanian Ink #3