Dear Mr. Jung: Inhabiting Carl Jung’s ‘The Red Book’ (May 2018)
  • Ishita Jain | London

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  • Dear Mr. Jung: Inhabiting Carl Jung’s ‘The Red Book’ (May 2018)
  • Ishita Jain | London
  • ‘To understand a thing is a bridge, but to explain it is a murder.’ – Carl Jung, The Red Book.

    Dear Mr. Jung is a mythical site manifesting as a book. It is a mytho-poetically constructed space of an epic, recapturing the landscape generated internally in the reader as she performed the task of reading The Red Book. The reader time-travels across historical, mythical and personal times, all inter-woven in her dialogues with the author of the book, Carl Jung. This dialogue is carried out through a series of letters she writes to him in his dreams, transcribed in wakening consciousness. These letters become sites of record and reflection of the parallel streams of time and layers of pages that manifest through the act of reading The Red Book. 

    This book is a constructed condensation of one of the many ways to read Carl Jung’s The Red Book. The drawings in this book are a record of the pace of The Red Book and how it transformed within different subjectivities. Longer dialogues have yielded a more elaborate manifestation – recording the extension of that moment, and the tension in the body as it transformed. The “eye” looks inwards and outwards simultaneously and the various subjective states that have been activated in the book and in the reader are made explicit. 

    Produced as a manuscript bound in a leather folio, Dear Mr. Jung is also a meta-critique, addressing the methods of producing works of this order. The project began within the Site-Writing module as part of the MA Architectural History course at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, London. It attempts to situate The Red Book as both a historical and iterative site of more works to come. 


    Ishita Jain is an architectural historian. She currently teaches at Institute of Design, Environment and Architecture, Indus University, Ahmedabad, India. Her core areas of interest are speculative design, site-studies, and developing methodologies to document and disseminate non-canonical and alternate histories. She is a part of the artist collective ‘Out of India’ where she develops transmedia works as interrogations of the art-academic platforms. She is also the founder and research director for ‘Living Midnight Narrative Outfit’ – a narrative based research and design practice. 

    Her academic publications/presentations include the following.

    1. Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre, Glasgow: A case of speculative performative history of suppression and liberation
      Current Research in Speculative Fiction
      University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK
      June 2019
    1. Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre: A Heritage of Hidden Darkness
      The Thrill of the Dark: Heritage of Fear, Fantasy and Fascination
      University of Birmingham
      April 2019
    1. Through a looking glass: A Kinok in a Heritage City
      w/ Harsh Bhavsar
      International Conference on Heritage Management and Practices
      CHM, Ahmedabad University
      December 2018
    1. C’est la CEPT: Archiving the Archive
      w/ Gavin Keeney and Harsh Bhavsar
      Department of Humanities, IIT Mumbai
      March 2018

    Her Transmedia Works include the following projects: 

    1. ‘Khi + Ordo: Movements across space-time portals of semi-mythical worlds’ (mytho-poetic theatrical cinema); (April 2017 – May 2019)
      Concept by Out of India Collective; Out of India Collective is Gavin Keeney, Ishita Jain, Harsh Bhavsar and Owen O’Carroll.
    1. ‘Library of Tears’ (design competition, magical-realist performance); (March 2017)
      co-produced by Gavin Keeney, Reza Ghafouri, Owen O’Carroll, Harsh Bhavsar, and Ishita Jain, w/ Callan Green, Marta Agueda Carlero, Monica Chaudhary, Pranav Dhawan.
    1. ‘Emptiness within Emptiness’ (performance, exhibition, spectacle); (January 2017-June 2017)
      w/ Gavin Keeney, Owen O’Carroll, Harsh Bhavsar, Ishita Jain, Anne Feenstra, Gauri Wagenaar; in association w/ Archiprix International 2017


    My practice is based on contesting existing perspectives on the relationship between Capital and academia, and curating modes of dissemination to create an outreach to the relevant audience. This is done through a close engagement with non-canonical accounts of history that present an alternate perspective and positions and thereby render the times with multiplicity. The transmedia works attempt to create a mode of scholarship which is art and create art that is a mode of scholarship. 

    Carl Jung, The Red-Book, Meta-critique, Meta-narrative, Epistolary


    Author: Carl Gustav Jung
    Original title: Liber Novus (“The New Book”)
    Translators: Mark Kyburz, John Peck, Sonu Shamdasani
    Publisher: Philemon Foundation and W. W. Norton & Co.
    Publication date: 2009

    Author: Walter Benjamin
    Translation: © 2005 Dennis Redmond
    Accessed on: May 24, 2019

    Author: Gavin Keeney
    Accessed on: May 24, 2019

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