It is with a sad and heavy heart that we aknowledge the passing of Prof. Don Friedreksen from the department of College of Arts + Sciences / Performing + Media Arts, at Cornell University. Ithaca, New York.
From left to right: Don Friedreksen, Lucy Huskinson, Hyoin Park.
Daniel Anderson: Don and I worked closely for years when he served as Chair of IAJS and I served as moderator. Some of those times were tense and diffcult for IAJS. I came to know and appreciate Don as a man of great intelligence, leadership, humour and concern for our little group.Don was a really bright guy, and a really good guy – a very special combination.
The lion’s share of the work of the Executive Committee is done behind the scenes. In a sense, a great Chair, like a great referee, is largely unnoticed. Don was a great Chair. He cared deeply about IAJS and its mission, especially promoting on our discussion list robust discussion in an atmosphere of collegiality. He shaped and cared for our organisation in many valuable ways, and it cannot be stressed enough how important Don was to the current character of IAJS and of our discussion list.
I am sorry to hear this good man has passed. The IAJS is a better organisation because of him. We owe him a debt of gratitude. Thank you, Don.
Helena Basil-Morozow: It is a tragic loss for the Jungian community in general and for Jungian film Studies in particular. I draw a lot on his ideas in my work, and it is incredibly sad to think that one of our pioneers is gone.
John Beebe: It is so hard to enter remembering mode where Don Fredericksen is concerned: he has always been so present. For those of us, like me, whose first contact with him was through his commitment to a Jungian approach to film studies when there were very few of us on thatparticular train, Don was a beacon. He was always firm with me, while I showed my Hitchcocks, that narrative film will never be the last word in what cinematic image can be. At IAJS conferences, he reminded many of us to pay attention to the work of Stan Brakhage, and I know he would have loved the chance to see the retrospective of 33 films by Nathaniel Dorsky and six by Jerome Hiler at the New York film Festival this fall. To honour Don, we should stay on the lookout for new ways to see what he was always trying to show us.
Joe Cambray: A terribly sad day for our community. Don’s warm, gentle wit and deep scholarship will be profoundly missed.
Amanda Dowd: My experience of Don was of an engaged, passionate and compassionate human being. He will be greatly missed. My heartfelt condolences go to his family, friends and close colleagues.
Peter Dunlap: I did not know Don well but first encountered him in Cardiff in 2008, where we danced wildly around the conference room together. Then we danced, drank a bit, and talked into the night in Phoenix last summer; it was a wonderful conversation, and I will miss him.
Luke Hockley: Don was a founding father of Jungian film studies. As far back as 1979, Don wrote the visionary article ‘Jung/Sign/Symbol/film’ and his early insights have sustained the burgeoning field of Jungian Screen Studies. His work on major film directors such as Ingmar Bergman remains unique in its approach and commentary. His writing also exemplified how to interweave the subjective and personal with the objective and analytic. In doing so he embodied a rounded approach to the analytical life, both on and off screen. I miss his generosity of spirit, his intellectual vigour and his warmly wise wit.
Lucy Huskinson: Don was a genuine friend, and kindred spirit. Although I feel I have lost him in one sense, his presence has deepened for me in others. He was a very witty chap, and playful with it. I recall a couple of occasions when he gave me the giggles, when I should probably haveb een on my best behaviour. In that respect, he could bring me out of my depths, and help me to reflect with humour on some of the more bizarre aspects of life. But there were occasions, too, that I felt unable to repay the favour. He would sometimes disappear from contact to go on what he would call one of his nekyias:a ‘night sea journey’ (descent into the unconscious). In my mind, that is what he is doing now: sailing deep into the night.
Tom Kirsch: Don was a wonderfully warm person, and I had many meaningful talks both about him and me. I had no idea that he was ill, because we had not talked for a while. It comes as quite a shock and I will miss seeing him in New Haven in July. It is truly a great loss for the organisation, as he has been a pivotal person.
Kevin Lu: He worked tirelessly on behalf of the IAJS when he was a member of the Executive Committee. A huge loss to our community.
Armando Nascimento Rosa: Let me join these words of sadness after knowing of Don’s departure. He has been always an attentive voice, a truly friendly and inspiring presence. For instance I remember when, as head of the IAJS, he felt immediately so thrilled (from an informal conversation in Ithaca, 2010) with the adventurous idea of a IAJS/IAAP joint conference in Braga, Portugal, which eventually took place almost three years ago. Adeus Don, até sempre!
Evangeline Rand: In my frame of reference, the honouring of the birth, life and untimely death of Don Fredericksen are perfumed with ‘India’. Pioneer of engagements with the deep psychology of film studies, Professor Don Fredericksen candidly and refreshingly appreciated the earlier civilisations of the world and their relationship with the Indian Ocean, which covers 20% of the waters on the Earth’s surface.
Susan Rowland: Don was really important in the forming of and sustaining of the IAJS. Without him, it may not have survived so long or so strongly. He did this because he cared deeply for what Jungian studies could do for the suffering in the world. He was a good man, and the best of friends. I cannot believe that he is gone.
On and personal level, he and I had a long-running debate about the psyche in popular culture. This made me value his generosity of spirit and deep insight all the more. While we did not convince each other to swap positions, I did come to appreciate more and more his intimation of aTitanic oppression of the effects of soulless capitalism on the psyche via saturating and empty media. His opposition to popular culture as psychic colonisation was part of his commitment to the best possibilities of human nature as imbued in nonhuman nature. I remember that he was arrested for protesting against the felling of a wood at Cornell to make a parking lot. It is in such quiet acts of integrity that Don became a true hero; a hero for his truth.
Andrew Samuels: He had so many virtues and was a pioneer in our field, as well as being a wonderful therapist (as I know via a referral I made to him). He was one of the most witty men I ever met. His death is a huge loss.
Murray Stein: I’m deeply saddened to hear of Don’s passing. His was a steady hand at the rudder of IAJS. I always found him to be encouraging and inspirational, a true teacher. We will miss his presence greatly. I’m sure there will be a moment of silence dedicated to his memory at theYale conference in July.
David Tacey: Don was part of IAJS from the very beginning, and he was always, as Murray said, a steady hand at the rudder. I had, and still have, enormous feeling for Don. He was a very deep man, and thought profoundly on every point. His abiding question to me, and to others, was:Are we related to something eternal, or not? He felt that the Jungian world was in danger of losing this central question of Jung’s, which comes from Memories, Dreams, Reflections. He knew I was as concerned with this question as he was; and he sought me out, writing to me a great deal on email and referring to me as his ‘Aussie cousin’. As my work became more religiously focused, Don became more intrigued by it and sought further discussion. Once, when I was doing a stint of teaching at Rochester NY, Don got in his car at Ithaca and drove the two hours just to have dinner, and to sit down together to discuss whether we are related to something eternal or not. It was a wonderful night that I will always remember. But he had a fun side, liked to be a bit cheeky, and enjoyed a good joke; usually, I noticed, at no one else’s expense.
Joel Weishaus: Don and I would meet for lunch in Portland, whenever he was there visiting his mother. We had some wonderful conversations and we became friends. Life is strange, death stranger; especially when such dear and valuable people pass away, always too soon.