I was born in Udine, Italy but moved to London, England when I was five. I have also lived in Johannesburg, Ottawa, Paris, Sao Paolo, Edinburgh and New York. I expand the space in which I dwell to reach out to welcome others.
Gestation, Birth, Death & Recreation:
I aim to portray Power vs Force in human relations. Force is fleeting and propulsive, whilst power is constant. Power is equivalent to drive whilst force directly relates to desire. Desire swallows drive, but drive cannot be digested. The phallus is a symbol of power, embodied by a number of surrogates: an erect penis, a finger, a cigar, a tall building, a tree, a ferocious animal, a person in an authoritative position or any thing or being which encourages/curbs/regulates the desire/enjoyment of the O/other. The O/other might be God, the monarch, the media, the headmistress, the neighbours—any placeholder that regulates our enjoyment that links us to power, embodied in the phallus.
The phallus is the signifier of power while a penis is a signifier for the male gender; the former sometimes encapsulates the latter. The phallus is akin to drive while a penis is akin to desire. When they are brought together, the union is sublime, and what results is absolute but finite power and force. When they are separate, it becomes clear that anyone—women in particular—can have the phallus even though we do not have penises, or that a man can have a penis, but no phallus or power. I consistently portray the split between the two; the locus around which the phallus reaches its apogee and when it finally looses its power to become (again) a mere object.
I hope that you enjoy what you view. Please drop me a line with your observations, comments or questions.
Nora Geist is the youngest child of a British legate who grew used to moving house frequently at an early age. She graduated from the H-Farm International school in Treviso, Italy where she defiantly came out as lesbian at the age of 16. She received her first camera as a gift at the age of 17, and she began taking snapshots of friends and family, who sat for creative portraits and tableaux. After earning her first degree in psychology from the University of Paris 8, Nora enrolled in the Associazione Italiana di Psicoanalisi qualify as a psychoanalyst. She went on to earn a Ph.D. in psychoanalysis from the New School for Social Research in New York City, where she subsequently practiced for ten years.
Nora expresses how aspects of psychoanalyical object relations can demythologise societal constructs of race, religion, social class, gender and sexuality in provocative and sometimes controversial works. She illustrates how the impersonal symbols of the power of ‘human society’ forcibly impose and inscribe their will upon nature and humanity—superficially at best—but are ultimately ineffective in altering its substance. Human society only realises its power when its ability to enforce is impaired, and only at this phase can it be an ontological agent of change.
Nora’s portraiture and compositions are inspired by the prophetic 1970s film “Logan’s Run”. She satirically depicts a world saturated by a similar ideology, where overt nudity is required, women are maternal lesbians, men are butch drag queens and everyone is under 30 and gorgeous. In each frame, Nora captures human beings enjoying the movement from their primatal identity beyond the self-imposed constraints of the collective, where desire shifts from its stop-gap and passes straight to the act as drive.
Nora casts the models she works with in uncanny Kafka-esque scenes whose surroundings are surreal and morally ambiguous. The mood of each scene or tableau is more like that of a portrait in an exhibitionistic family photo album, with the subject(s) looking out at the camera in an open and friendly way regardless of whether they are clothed or nude. Each scene or portrait draws the viewer in, to the point of the viewer feeling that they themselves are the ones being viewed, while they are enjoying viewing the scene. All photographs have been posed by professional models over the age of 18 at the time of the shoot. Neither said photographs nor the words used to describe them are meant to depict the models’ actual conduct, statements or personalities. Any similarity between the characters portrayed by the models and actual individuals, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
Alongside portraiture and erotic photography, Nora has tended to embrace architecture and nature to articulate her subject matter of object relations. She tends to follow her intuition as to how a picture of a person, place or object will turn out. For a thing, it will be a Space if she gets a sense of welcoming, creativity and change; it will be an Edge if she gets a sense of restriction, resistance or limitation. This is Power vs. Force again, but she asserts that they exist in dialectic and it is possible for there to be flow from one to the other. Nora also holds that it is possible to create a space where none previously existed: a creatio ex nihilo perhaps.
Nora's psychoanalytical career has taken her to work in New York, Edinburgh, London and Dublin. She is married to Alessandra and they have two grown children.
Hyperlink to "The Blessed Sacrilege: White Funeral" (NSFW):