chapter  9
15 Pages

The setting and the social condenser: transitional objects in architecture and psychoanalysis

WithJane Rendell

This chapter focuses on ‘transitional’ objects and spaces,  located in the overlap between inside and outside. I position next to one another textual accounts of two specifi c kinds of transitional objects and spaces – the setting of psychoanalysis and the social condenser of architecture – in order to create a place of potential overlap in the mind of the reader. One textual strand is located in psychoanalysis and charts a particular set of ideas around transitional objects and spaces. It starts out with D. W. Winnicott’s notion of the transitional object of the fi rst relationship, and the transitional space it occupies between the internal psyche and external world; moving to André Green’s work on the setting, a homologue, in his own words, for the analytic object positioned at the space of overlap between analyst and analysand, inside and outside; before returning to Sigmund Freud, the originator of psychoanalysis, to refl ect on how the fi rst object is also the lost object in his work on mourning and melancholia; in order to introduce Jean Laplanche’s critique of Freud’s distinction between word-presentations which exist in the conscious mind, and thing-presentations which exist in the unconscious, and his own concept of the ‘enigmatic message’ and thing-like presentations, those objects which signify ‘to’ someone rather than ‘of’ something.