Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Project Title: Dora’s Room: Digital Dreams
Description: With the information overload of the technological age, it is easy to value knowledge as power and dismiss feelings as weakness. As such, my project explores today’s productive possibilities of weakness by way of feeling extreme desire. My project is named after the pseudonym of Freud’s most famous hysteric patient, Dora. Freud analyzed her supposed extreme emotional and sensual desire over six months of treatment from 1900-1901 and published the results in “Fragments of an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria” in 1905. Dora’s Room is a text and physical installation that visualizes a space of the hyper-emotional. A sort of bedroom, the installation contains what a modern-day Dora reads, the music she hears, and the films she watches. The text element of my project is a book-length manuscript that conceptualizes hysteria as a genre and considers its social implications by performing close-readings of a selection of the aforementioned media that Dora consumes. I use Freud’s case study as a jumping-off point for an aesthetic framework because of its use in feminist theory, and because of film and new media theorists’ use of his cases to contextualize other technologies of the 20th century.
In short, I hope to invert Freud’s diagnosis of hysteria and explore what extreme desire might reveal about modernity. In addition to psychoanalysis, I draw heavily from affect and feminist theory, including works by Eve Sedgwick and Heather Love. Because I am particularly interested in the implications of hysteria in the context of digitality, Kittler’s new media theory is another guiding framework. Ultimately, my project has three main goals—(1) to consider the blind spots that exist in the focus of modern social feminism on empowerment, (2) understand the influence of psychoanalysis on American aesthetic culture, and (3) destigmatize the open expression of emotion.
Extracurricular Interests: At the College, I am a tutor for RWIT, completed a number of independent research projects under the English Department, and participated as an oral history interviewer for the Dartmouth Vietnam Project. In my free time, I enjoy playing the piano, accompanying vocalists on harpsichord, modern dance, and volunteering for events in the arts such as the Harlem International Film Festival. When I’m not writing essays, I write for my personal blog, cchin.svbtle.com, and as an Opinion Columnist for The Dartmouth. I wrote editorial pieces for Milk.xyz and interned as a copywriter at Milk Agency during the summer of 2018. My editorial writing focuses on affect and feminism in the context of pop culture and on college campuses. I enjoy informal curation; I have a photo blog that ties together films through a visual narrative, and another for interior design and architecture. I also have an Instagram page that satirizes ‘high culture’ by pairing photos of pop culture figures with ironic theoretical captions. Curating my favorite art and films on social media often sparks inspiration for my academic projects.
Future Plans: I hope to attend graduate school to become a literature professor with a focus in critical theory. In addition to teaching and writing scholarship, I hope to curate a media culture site with features on current artists written with a theoretical edge. This project is a realization of one of the philosophical pillars of my current work—to consider how the seemingly superficial process of consuming media is a way of ‘philosophizing’ our lives and processing the world around us.