Drawing from the site of absence – Observing, forgetting, and representing groups

Sapochnik, Carlos. 2020. Drawing from the site of absence – Observing, forgetting, and representing groups. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

The study considers how the practice of a participant observer making drawings from the memory of observing and participating in a group meeting assists the drawer’s ongoing engagement with the group. It discusses, through psychoanalytic and critical perspectives, the performative impact of making such representations (which are not shared with the group), and examines the interdependence between intellectual, emotional, and sensual forms of engagement with a group observed, imagined and phantasized. The focus is not the retrieval of tacit or unconscious knowledge but understanding the effect of such representations as emotional enactments functioning both beyond and within a descriptive narrative account rather than illustrations to be decoded through a ‘translation’ of content. The drawings, made from recollections of the event, allow for the return and invention of what might have been inadvertently perceived, and then added to, erased, or displaced during depiction owing to personal, group, and cultural determinants. It is argued that the empty space thus emerging fosters reverie, reflection, and mourning, to the benefit of observer and group.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):



observation, psychoanalysis, drawing, Bion, performativity, reverie, mourning, representation, Laplanche

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

English and Comparative Literature


31 October 2020

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

30 Apr 2021 11:09

Last Modified:

13 Sep 2022 10:16



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