Triangle Film Salon: Elena Gorfinkel
Elena Gorfinkel (King’s College London), “Sleep, Loquacity and the Work of Dreamings in Experimental Queer Cinema”
This talk examines the aesthetic and cinematic valences of a lone sleeptalker, obscure songwriter and cinephile Dion McGregor. McGregor’s perambulating subconscious speech was recorded by his roommate, lyricist Michael Barr over the course of 7 years. This unusual durational project of bohemian intimacy yielded hundreds of audiotape recordings, a record released by Decca in 1964 The Dream World of Dion McGregror, along with a book of the same name of transcribed dreams illustrated by Edward Gorey, and most recently a film and installation work Somniloquies (2017) by Sensory Ethnography Lab filmmakers Verena Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor. This talk argues that the “dreamwork” of McGregor’s spoken sleep emanations can be seen as a kind of unwilled performance labour. It examines how McGregor’s involuntary somnolent performances refract the contexts of bohemian, underground queer worlds of creative aspiration, the role of talk, gossip and loquacity in queer underground cinema and culture (Smith, Warhol, Kuchar), and postwar medical practices in which sleep was harnessed as a therapeutic locus for exorcising war trauma (military hypno- and narco-therapy). Considering McGregor’s sleeptalk as peculiar desiderata of the strange and fascinating terrain of sleep, nocturnal life, non-reproductive kinship, and urban queer life worlds, this presentation asks to what degree sleep’s asubjective or nonsovereign routes back to collective imagining.