Reverie (Aberdeen, 27 Apr 18)

The Sir Duncan Rice Library, University of Aberdeen, April 27, 2018
Registration deadline: Apr 22, 2018

Reverie Symposium

University of Aberdeen

As part of the Knowing From the Inside (KFI) research project this day-long symposium brings together a variety of disciplinary approaches (psychological, psychoanalytic, artistic, religious, anthropological) to study reverie as a phenomenon or state whereby strong concentration and focus appear to meet unself-conscious effortlessness and potential.

Psychoanalytical descriptions of reverie suggest the need for a degree of personal safety when surrendering to the vulnerability of ‘losing’ oneself in its states. Filmmaker Jean Rouch’s writing on ciné trance and Marion Milner’s on painting and drawing suggest reverie can be induced by absorption in a process, practice or material. While psychoanalytic definitions draw comparisons with daydreaming, they also appear to share some characteristics with ‘flow’ as identified in psychology, together with artists’ descriptions of ‘being in the zone’. Are these (and other variations such as meditation, mindfulness and so on) different states, different phases or instantiations of the same state, different analytical perspectives on different states—or some other possibility?

The symposium features exploratory position papers in order to characterize reverie and associated variations to better understand how it is regarded in a variety of fields and situations, and whether it transcends disciplinary borders. We will also provide room for discussion to address the settings and/or relations that promote reverie, and ask how it is studied as a phenomenon, how it is used as a method by researchers and interlocutors, and for what purposes.

10.30–10.50 Arrival / Refreshments

10.50–11.00 Welcome
Amanda Ravetz

11.00–12.00 Session 1 Psychoanalysis / Psychology
Eystein Våpenstad: ‘Send me the pillow—the one that you dream on’
Paul Stenner: Reverie, flow and the idea of ‘liminal affective technologies’

12.00–13.00 Lunch

13.00–14.00 Session 2 Neuroscience / Literature / Theology
Rachel Genn: Might regret be a roadblock to reverie?
Eleanor Peers: Through the looking glass: the politics of trance in north-east Siberia

14.00–14.15 Break

14.15–15.15 Session 3 Knowing From the Inside
Melina Brenardi: title tbc
Lesley Halliwell: At the coal face—a practitioner’s perspective
William Titley: Art as reverie for reverie
Paolo Maccagno / Anne Douglas: ‘Essi temevano la gioia eccessiva’: Reverie and the practice of the limit
Katie Sollohub: Reverie in my painting and teaching

15.15–15.30 Refreshments

15.30–16.30 Session 4 Art / Anthropology
Jenny Eden: On responding to a painting
Andrew Irving: The limits of science

16.30–17.30 Plenary Discussion
Discussant: Tim Ingold

The symposium is convened by Amanda Ravetz and Tilo Reifenstein. Email to register for free (by 22.04.18) or for enquiries.

CONF: Reverie (Aberdeen, 27 Apr 18). In:, Apr 13, 2018 (accessed Sep 20, 2020), <>.

Contributor: Tilo Reifenstein

Contribution published: Apr 13, 2018

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