Open consulting room set up in São Paulo (photo: Lucas Valim).
City centres suffer from a deficit of spaces for listening and being heard. This project set out to investigate ways to intervene in this situation, making use of popular culture references and one of the most easily recognisable listening devices: the analyst’s consulting room.
An open consulting room was set up in the streets of various urban areas in Brazil, having Monga, The Gorilla Woman (an archetypical circus figure) in the position of analyst. The unexpected setting aimed to recognise and embrace the spectacular quality of public psychoanalysis, whilst the Gorilla's mask concealed the Woman's reactions and identity to the curious passer-by, creating a private space — through special access to the voice — between the analyst and whomever came and laid on the consulting couch.
The theatrical setting also teased the performativity intrinsic to psychoanalysis: an analyst who pretends to know, an analysand who concedes to the performance. From the start, willing participants knew they would have to “play the analysand”, which facilitated wider participation, in a humorous way.
Phase 1 of the project attracted hundreds of people of all ages, including artists, builders, accountants, lawyers, cleaners, homeless, and psychoanalysts. Some came to share a secret or a dream, others took pictures. Some needed a moment to rest.
This project is situated within a larger movement of Brazilian mental health professionals exploring the concept of public psychoanalysis and psychoanalysis in public.
The Monga Show: prototyping Amerindian Perspectivism through the girl-to-gorilla trick (2019). In Estudos em Design [Teal Triggs and Cristina Portugal (eds)] 27:2. ISSN 1983-196X peer-reviewed article
A Espectacular Clínica da Monga apresenta Caso Original (2017). São Paulo: Lote 42. ISBN 978-85-66740-29-5 book
Im_passe — sequence one (2017). In The Lacanian Review: Hurly-Burly 3 [M. Brousse (ed)]. Paris: The New Lacanian School. ISSN 2101-0307 peer-reviewed article
Objeto a (2017). In Amor, Desejo e Gozo [Patrizia Corsetto (ed)]. São Paulo: Calligraphie. ISBN 978-85-94347-00-8 book chapter
Psychoanalysts: Cláudia Holanda, Augusto Coaracy, and Yan Nara
Artist: Raphaelle Marie Jane