Tate Modern Talk

Secrets of Space Seminars

Topology investigates the fabric of space. It looks into the texture of not merely physical space, but of all conceivable other spaces – spaces of phrases, spaces of colours or sounds, spaces of moods and passions, all spaces of operations on the human soul. Topology resolves the problem of what it is that holds a space together: of what it is that ties a point to its neighbouring regions. Human subjectivity is investigated using concepts of pathway, frontier or boundary; many formulations are possible – neighbourhood; limit; region; inside; outside; openness or closure – all of these can be used to formulate the secret of space.

These seminars will investigate a variety of spatial attributes appealed to by the cultural and political theories discussed in the Starr Auditorium during the Topology: Spaces of Transformation keynote conversations. They will give participants a familiarity with the texture of space. Their aim is that of reformulating the socio-cultural questions by bringing them into parallel with the spatial realities that they presuppose. Rather than allowing the question of space to fade into the background, these seminars draw topology into a relationship with these wider politico-cultural questions, in this way giving them a firmer orientation, while presenting them in a new light.

Bernard Burgoyne

has a background in psychoanalysis, philosophy of science, and mathematics. He is a practising psychoanalyst – and Emeritus Professor of Psychoanalysis – who founded the Centre for Psychoanalysis at Middlesex University. He was at one time Research Assistant to Professor Sir Karl Popper, and works on questions of the scientific foundations of psychoanalysis in a way that does not exclude questions of classical political philosophy – as witnessed by the participation of Étienne Balibar in the Jury of Burgoyne’s Doctoral Thesis in Paris. Burgoyne will be publishing a book on these themes in the New Year, and is simultaneously working on a second book, on the relation of scientific method to the work of Lacan and Bion. The topological formalisation of subjectivity is at the centre of his work, and he has given over three hundred public lectures on this theme at Harvard, The Royal College of Art, the Architectural Association, the Tate Britain, the South Bank Centre, the Rijksdakademie for Fine Art, Amsterdam, the Royal Irish Academy, and many other clinical and academic institutions across the world.

Tate Modern

London SE1 9TG
Plan your visit


28 January 2012 at 14.00–16.00

10 March 2012 at 14.00–16.00

5 May 2012 at 14.00–16.00

5 May 2012 at 14.00–16.00