On Shallow Interpretation
A number of theorists have argued that the old topography of interpretation (surface, depth) is either no longer applicable, or never was. Psychoanalysis is usually presented as the model of this model of knowledge. In this lecture I will argue that, on the contrary, psychoanalysis has always advanced a mode of interpretation that is neither superficial nor deep but “shallow.” Specifically, I will explore the place of the preconscious in psychoanalytic theory and technique. Taking Trevor Paglen’s bureaucratic investigations as a case study, I will argue that media theorists and critics still have much to learn from classical psychoanalysis.