The Coney Island Amateur Psychoanalytic Society and its circle: Dream Films 1926-1972

Book + DVD

2009, 39:46 min, color, sound

Accompanying Beloff's year-long exhibition at the Coney Island Museum in Brooklyn, this 128-page book traces the impact of Sigmund Freud's 1909 visit to Coney Island's Dreamland amusement park, and the activities of a little-known group—the Coney Island Amateur Psychoanalytic Society—that was later founded in his honor. The exhibition celebrated the centennial of Freud's visit to Coney Island, and featured "Dream Films" made by members of the society, a working model of an amusement park designed to illustrate Freud's theories by the visionary founder of the society, Albert Grass, as well as drawings, letters and many unusual artifacts.

The book is illustrated with 75 color pictures of never-before-seen photographs, drawings and documents that shed new light on Coney Island's mythic history. Included with the book is a DVD compilation of nine of the Society's "Dream Films."

In addition to Beloff, the book's contributors include Aaron Beebe, an artist and director of the Coney Island Museum; Amy Herzog, Associate Professor of Media Studies at Queens College; and Norman M. Klein, a cultural critic, historian, and novelist.

Ed Halter selected Beloff's exhibition in a 2010 Top Ten list for Artforum, writing: "...Beloff's canny exhibition detailed the history of a little-known New York club through a variety of ephemera: Hand-drawn diagrams and a scale model detailed its founder's plans to erect a pavilion of amusements based on Freud's diagram of the psyche (linked by a mechanized 'Train of Thought'); 16-mm films realized by members as part of club activities re-created specific dreams. Given Beloff's practice of working with imagined histories, some visitors may have doubted the society's very existence, but even had this been the case, such a spirit of flimflam couldn't have been more appropriate to the site."

Published July 2009 by Christine Burgin.

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