Art And Lacan Symposium Archive



ARCHIVE - 05/28/09 - 08/27/09

  1. Photograph of Marcel Duchamp and Eve Babitz posing for the photographer Julian Wasser during the Duchamp retrospective at the Pasadena Museum of Art, 1963

    Comment by Chris Sands — May 28, 2009 @ 2:26 pm

  2. comment 147 is very factual but the image above it invites something else.
    Have been looking at a text by Jacqueline Dheret (A Lesson in Desire) and came across a line within a sentence which might fit the photograph.
    She writes ”Heidegger often liked to quote the following line from Holderlin:
    ‘The immortals like to rest.”

    So this Holderlin line is my suggested caption for the Duchamp/Babitz photo

    Comment by Chris Sands — May 29, 2009 @ 5:33 am

  3. Info about what looks like an exciting new English language journal is at

    Comment by Chris Sands — June 4, 2009 @ 2:56 am

  4. what I can read: “………………… sur la table, Francine se garde par Marcel”.
    I am sure somebody can do better.

    Comment by violet — June 4, 2009 @ 7:30 pm

  5. I can’t read anymore-
    what’s it from?

    Comment by sol — June 5, 2009 @ 7:59 pm

  6. Did someone send it to you violet?

    Comment by sol — June 5, 2009 @ 8:00 pm

  7. it’s the written under the table between Eve Babitz and Marcel Duchamp… I cropped the piece from the picture, cleared it up with brightness/contrast…

    Comment by violet — June 5, 2009 @ 9:33 pm

  8. who was Eve Babitz?

    Comment by sol — June 9, 2009 @ 7:04 am

  9. she is the naked woman playing chess with Duchamp, sol… and she was a writer living and working in LA

    Comment by violet — June 9, 2009 @ 2:57 pm

  10. Eve Babitz

    Comment by admin — June 10, 2009 @ 1:10 am

  11. “By the time I’d grown up, I naturally supposed that I’d be grown up.”
    Eve Babitz

    Comment by violet — June 14, 2009 @ 12:40 am

  12. Sounds like she was a fan of lewis Carroll..

    Comment by sol — June 15, 2009 @ 12:08 pm

  13. That photo of Duchamp and model
    reworks Rupert’s messageboard question.
    Were Marcel and Eve looking for love or something else?

    Comment by Chris Sands — June 15, 2009 @ 4:03 pm

  14. CS – the actual alteration is not the event of naked so much as the exposure of it, I would say… the event of the photograph — and how does it relate to ex-timacy?

    Comment by violet — June 16, 2009 @ 3:49 am

  15. Ex-timacy for the viewer or what might have been the case for the two people involved?
    Art or a staged photograph like this can be interpreted in so many ways, but
    with this pic I think there’s something rather unexciting;
    there will be no mating at the end

    Comment by Chris Sands — June 16, 2009 @ 8:36 am

  16. CS – why will there be no mating at the end? are you saying maiting takes place before the game?

    Comment by admin — June 17, 2009 @ 1:36 am

  17. I think (on reflection) the photo feels staged, staged to draw attention to an exhibition:
    so there is no game, no (check) mating at the end.
    Interesting though that questions remain about the model (Eve Babitz),
    as if we already know what we need to know about an artist who reinvented the wheel for the twentieth century (Wajcman)

    Comment by Chris Sands — June 17, 2009 @ 1:47 am

  18. really?… this was the 60’s CS, where people would experience naked going to certain islands, Fomentera, Ibiza… here everybody else lived naked, eat what they fished, or what they pulled from trees, ar the background marihuana is the least to say… and there was the living theatre where things were staged, yes, still with the same subject in mind, right?

    Comment by violet — June 18, 2009 @ 4:51 am

  19. she has her knight in the middle of the board
    and a pawn
    she needed at least three moves for that.
    He is white so must have moved first
    so must have had at least four moves
    he has two pawns out – maybe another piece at the back

    so either he has moved out and retreated already

    or the game is staged.

    Remember in chess the queen has free range of the board
    it’s the king who is restricted and in need of protection

    Comment by sol — June 18, 2009 @ 5:39 am

  20. So the king needs protection but is not naked and Duchamp adhers to a convention of western art: the artist keeps his clothes on despite Woodstock incense.
    Should we ask what remains of a revolution that turned so quickly towards New Age capitalism?
    Does it linger with the immediacy of the internet and the thought that free love can now be the friend I’ll never meet?
    If we are losing our bodies, does this photo represent the chimera of a convention that protects our bodily-ness?

    Comment by Chris Sands — June 19, 2009 @ 3:11 am

  21. Have been thinking about something that happened years ago. One day, long ago, I found myself doing a talk about Joseph Beuys and afterwards someone in the audience asked why I was showing images of dead bodies (in an exhibition). I can’t remember what happened next, but reading a short text by Paul Virilio, brought back a perception of the Beuys moment. The text I was looking at is called ‘Art and Fear’.

    Comment by Chris Sands — June 22, 2009 @ 2:55 am

  22. We’re about to be treated here in Melbourne to a Dali exemplary. Dali whom i love though not valorize.
    Fear was the thing Dali worked to desecrate. The unconscious as a playground, not a minefield. Perhaps his success
    was limited only to the minds of millions,
    But Dali’s drive, like Picasso’s, his jouissance, his opening the gate to nous? Sorry to invoke moderns.

    Comment by jampa — June 25, 2009 @ 1:40 pm

  23. I wonder what it will be

    Comment by sol — June 26, 2009 @ 2:11 am

  24. dolly flop down and count the time that… boo hoo

    Comment by lucky — June 26, 2009 @ 1:16 pm

  25. lucky is displaying pictures in the forum, beutiful ones… any comments?

    Comment by violet — June 26, 2009 @ 11:34 pm

  26. I can’t log in there. Or I could try again.
    But i read page three and the missing the photo of the babies
    I felt that i had missed something, or not.
    I thought of Nina Simone’s song, Strange fruit:

    Seven trees
    Bearin strange fruit
    Blood on the leaves
    And blood at the roots
    Black bodies
    Swinging in the southern breeze
    Strange fruit hangin
    From the poplar trees
    Pastoral scene
    Of the gallant south
    Them big bulging eyes
    And the twisted mouth
    Scent of magnolia
    Clean and fresh
    Then the sudden smell
    Of burnin flesh
    Here is a fruit
    For the crows to pluck
    For the rain to gather
    For the wind to suck
    For the sun to rot
    For the leaves to drop
    Here is
    Strange and bitter crop

    Comment by sol — June 28, 2009 @ 5:41 pm

  27. Sometimes these sites (symposium, messageboard, forum) feel almost physical, even sometimes like a labyrinth.
    Next door (messageboard) I mentioned a notion linking the subject to place or a sense of location
    and the issue referred to in the forum,
    seemed, for a brief moment, to lack context.
    Sol, your guesswork, perhaps makes it possible to move forum conversations towards a place where
    more feedback might be possible. Your reference to Nina Simone’s extraordinary song, reminds me that art still has a place.

    Comment by Chris Sands — June 28, 2009 @ 6:32 pm

  28. Strange too CS an idea that an uncompromising
    other like these ones, becomes – swings – into – a place of art
    by what? By work I guess.

    Comment by sol — June 28, 2009 @ 6:44 pm

  29. If Nina’s song pushes art to the limit or to a limit,
    it’s also odd that Duchamp’s sitting at the top.
    Nina would have made Marcel take his clothes off.

    Comment by Chris Sands — June 28, 2009 @ 6:55 pm

  30. Have just watched Godard’s 1980 film Slow Motion, once again after almost 30 years.
    In it, I think the narrator says women’s lives are full of childhood, whereas men are childish …

    Comment by Chris Sands — June 28, 2009 @ 7:07 pm

  31. ha ha ha that made me laygh. it should be required by law

    Comment by lucky — June 28, 2009 @ 7:27 pm

  32. someone Gray it says. there wads one round here

    Comment by lucky — June 28, 2009 @ 7:29 pm

  33. “I can’t log in there. Or I could try again. But i read page three and the missing the photo of the babies. felt that i had missed something, or not.”
    sol – why that you can’t log in there? I see your name has been approved – - there should be no problem
    the photo of the babies – it went off after some USER called it the “new porno” image– he was feeling raped as obliged to look into an image that belonged to the nazis doing in World War II…
    I am not saying the image belongs to the nazis doing in worlwar II, just that I would like to read some discussion about it

    Comment by admin — July 1, 2009 @ 11:42 am

  34. WEll i came here to say that billy did that song too but the image i know a little about but im not gonna tell i want to hear… thou it is still a mystery as goya has a pic where the babies are tied up like that i discovered later and i wonder if it was some kind of practice?

    Comment by lucky — July 1, 2009 @ 4:02 pm

  35. I think Goya was trying to report what he saw during a war when Napoleon’s army invaded Spain and his ‘reporting’ was in the context of what was known or feared at the time.
    But no information was provided to say why the forum image was included. In the first place, it might be possible to talk about images that are generally in the public domain, like Picasso’s Guernica, that is images that refer to terrible events
    Perhaps there are questions before all this, such as why we might want to consider disturbing images or the topic of disturbing images?
    But if we go there, don’t we need some context, some sense of why an image is included?

    Comment by Chris Sands — July 1, 2009 @ 4:51 pm

  36. i put the image in thinking also about how people who claim to have more love for for a mother,s child than her and want to take it away and drect it- how in some rare cases i can see why a mother would kill her children rather than let her children be taken by the enemy where they would subsume them forever…

    Comment by lucky — July 1, 2009 @ 5:12 pm

  37. you are talking something in the look of “Sophie’s choice…”? the mother is forced to choose between her sons – which one to keep – the boy or the girl… which one to let go for the nazis to kill……… cruel things, if they involve children’s suffering, are unbearable

    Comment by violet — July 5, 2009 @ 9:41 pm

  38. not really that though it is similar in some ways being unbearable

    Comment by lucky — July 7, 2009 @ 11:38 pm

  39. With Sophie’s Choice a murderous jouissance implicates the Other. In one sense, it seems to say you can keep childhood, but you will always know that your choice carries with it the memory of a destruction of childhood. It’s about so many things, but also about the choice that art makes when it refers to dreadful events.
    Have been looking at Godard’s reflections on cinema called Histoires de Cinema, which date from the period after Slow Motion, when this filmmaker abandons making Godard films. This reflection also has to do with Adorno’s point regarding representation of trauma. The childhood of art is gone.

    Comment by Chris Sands — July 8, 2009 @ 1:09 pm

  40. Just beyond where I have a studio, there’s a cafe with signs saying photography is forbidden. This is because there’s a children’s play area attached to the cafe. This foreclosing of particular zones seems symptomatic of a current perception of childhood, when childhood is, in fact, saturated by television. So, 100 years after Freud’s sexualization of childhood, there’s currently a move to foreclose images of childhood. A current legal case in France effects artists like Sophie Calle, who are currently subject to censorship and prosecution.

    Comment by Chris Sands — July 9, 2009 @ 4:42 am

  41. oops, meant Marlene Dumas not Sophie Calle !

    Comment by Chris Sands — July 9, 2009 @ 10:09 am

  42. this makes for worry to even have a differing idea on an idea such as the theme in beloved- by Toni Morrison

    Comment by lucky — July 9, 2009 @ 10:37 pm

  43. Could you say a little more Lucky?

    Comment by Chris Sands — July 10, 2009 @ 1:46 pm

  44. i felt as though maybe my earlier comment should be erased as though i shouldn’t even say such a thing. about ‘Beloved’,it is very horrible to imagine that your children would have to live through the horrors that occurred in slavery in the South, and that a mother would be compelled to kill her children rather than let it continue with them. it would be considered simply criminal by many.

    Comment by lucky — July 10, 2009 @ 2:52 pm

  45. We seem to struggle with a question here and before on the forum site, but as well as a difficult question, we seem to be ‘only a few’ looking at a difficult question. I wonder why that is? I wonder why we are so few here? I guess joining a conversation or group is difficult, but perhaps we need to sometimes come up with questions that are more accessible to newcomers … (?)

    Comment by Chris Sands — July 11, 2009 @ 12:13 pm

  46. (re 46)It’s that there’s a ‘we’, I think.

    Comment by anon — July 12, 2009 @ 8:35 am

  47. aon – of course there is a “we”, when there is a subject ( a topic) there is a “we” – the royal family, those who know about what “we” are talking about. But we don’t want the “we” or the “us” to be too enclosed – secluded from the outside. Slavoj Zizek has a famous title “All that I ever wanted to ask about Lacan and never dared”… Tell us about yourself, where in the cast are you?

    Comment by violet — July 12, 2009 @ 12:29 pm

  48. now falling

    Comment by anon — July 12, 2009 @ 1:02 pm

  49. i saw Freud said something like if there’s a godess its the goddess of dreams in ‘
    the uncanny’ i thought that was funny

    Comment by lucky — July 12, 2009 @ 1:27 pm

  50. failing, anon…? what is it you want to achieve? as to lucky’s “godess of dreams in” I don’t know what he mean with “godess of dreams in”…do you? and how that the uncanny comes into play with the certain godess…? hope lucky explains some more

    Comment by violet — July 12, 2009 @ 4:05 pm

  51. That says ‘falling’ on my screen…

    Comment by anon — July 12, 2009 @ 4:40 pm

  52. violet,

    i follow the conversations here, perhaps like many people. i’m interested in art and Lacan, and i participate quietly. the discussions here have sometimes suggested directions and new work, so perhaps the ‘we’ is more numerous than it at first appears.

    Comment by anon — July 12, 2009 @ 5:48 pm

  53. thinking again it was the godess of necessity it seems not dreams, i will look some more either way both can be homely and frightening and everthing that is uncanny

    Comment by lucky — July 12, 2009 @ 10:23 pm

  54. I forget to think that there are other people logging on.

    This makes me think of festivals.
    In the street where I used to live there was a small Spanish Festival.
    Everyone came out and ate and danced and
    talked and laughed and later, argued and fought and broke things.

    Years on it was promoted and lots more people came
    and then there were some people in costume and lots of
    food and other stalls
    and everyone else walking along the sidewalk waiting for
    something to happen, watching, and saying ‘this is not such
    a good festival, why don’t we go and [check our email] instead>’

    Sometimes I think, after the first few times, everything is like that
    and we can’t go back.

    Comment by sol — July 13, 2009 @ 12:47 am

  55. Not that its not a good festival, just we can’t step into the same river twice. Personally i prefer to slip out the back jack rather than risk “joining a club that would have someone like me as a member”- and tug away at my narcissism of minor difference. Anyway, Oh rupert (next door), ’substance without pain’ could be a pop song, or a greeting card or an invitation to metaphysical imagination if not a demand for. A mistake i regularly make here. But seem obliged to repeat

    Comment by jampa — July 13, 2009 @ 1:46 am

  56. Sol,

    I hadn’t thought of it like that either, or the possibility that it would be
    disconcerting to hear. It isn’t so much a marxian narcissism as a fear of
    nothing valuable to contribute, or a waiting for a time when there will be something
    to contribute, and I have tentatively contributed things in the past…

    Comment by anon — July 13, 2009 @ 5:31 am

  57. …when I first visited many years ago, I was taking some initial
    tentative steps with Lacan, and I didn’t understand much of what was being said.
    and I kept coming back because of the enigmatic quality of the speech,
    which intrigued me, and which I thought, as I read more Lacan, I’d better understand.
    you can see why I might sit quietly…?
    there are other factors, but I say all of this because of Sol’s concern about
    pavement watchers, interested only in a fight breaking out.

    Comment by anon — July 13, 2009 @ 5:54 am

  58. Hello anon.

    and hello Jampa, Lucky, Chris, violet and

    Comment by sol — July 13, 2009 @ 6:21 am

  59. It has always been a surprise to see – in the stats – how many hits the symposia, messageboard and forum have, in comparison to the few people writing in there

    Comment by admin — July 13, 2009 @ 11:50 am

  60. well dreams do seem to happen by some necessity and they are rather unhomely- sooner or later they kick you out

    Comment by lucky — July 14, 2009 @ 11:37 am

  61. hi sol…

    Comment by anon, formerly anon — July 14, 2009 @ 5:20 pm

  62. …that should have been!

    Comment by sam, formerly anon — July 14, 2009 @ 5:21 pm

  63. now this is a mess. the original message (in place of 62, now vanished) said,
    hi sol
    signed anon, formerly anon…

    Comment by sam — July 14, 2009 @ 5:44 pm

  64. …and now it has appeared again!

    Comment by sam — July 14, 2009 @ 5:45 pm

  65. dreams, lucky, have been compared to digestion – digestion of the brain – and they can be unhomely or not, I would say….. rather intriguing the fact that they kick you out…

    Comment by violet — July 14, 2009 @ 5:52 pm

  66. “just we can’t step into the same river twice” why jampa? because the water runs? so the river is alive, like people are alive since they grow older…….. is this an advice jampa, or is it a fact?

    Comment by violet — July 14, 2009 @ 5:58 pm

  67. A fact, I believe (sic). As noted by one of the pre-Socratics, Heraclitus, I think. Referring to its state of constant flux, new water, ever renewed. A metaphor, the recollection of which certainly advises me! Hello dear violet, hello sam, sol, chris, admin, lucky, oh rupert and

    Comment by jampa — July 14, 2009 @ 11:31 pm

  68. 66. They wake you up don’t they..
    68. Sometimes translated as

    “You step and do not step into the same river”

    It does, Heraclitus here, remind me of lacan’s double negatives wherby he refers to the unconscious following Freud’s no ‘no’ in the unconscious.

    And no ‘woman’???

    Comment by sol — July 15, 2009 @ 1:21 am

  69. also as “you wake and do not wake into the same world…”?

    Comment by violet — July 15, 2009 @ 2:02 am

  70. Maybe ‘you eat your cake and do not eat your cake with the same queen’

    Comment by sol — July 15, 2009 @ 2:11 am

  71. Now i’d like to share (an evanescent) cake with that no Marie. Having woken.
    Not conceptually or discursively but perceptually x

    Comment by jampa — July 16, 2009 @ 11:09 pm

  72. who is the no Marie of your shared cake, Having woken… so mysterious jampa ?

    Comment by violet — July 17, 2009 @ 4:03 pm

  73. Antoinette your queen, oui Sol? So many ways to wake up, each for sure with its own affect. Many here and with Lacan. Not so mysterious violet- once i chased a definitive awakening, now i just vainly idealize it, mumble about it cryptically

    Comment by jampa — July 18, 2009 @ 7:23 am

  74. Sure it was Marie Antoinette Jampa, and if played by
    Kirsten Dunst I’d like a share too!

    Comment by sol — July 18, 2009 @ 10:59 am

  75. just that i didn’nt know you were asleep, jampa

    Comment by violet — July 18, 2009 @ 5:27 pm

  76. null

    Comment by sol — July 19, 2009 @ 2:11 am

  77. Can’t say I like Dali’s work or his politics

    Comment by Chris Sands — July 19, 2009 @ 9:40 am

  78. fast asleep violet, a jampa in pyjamas.
    Perchance i may venture an excerpt from something (that word again) i wrote
    or which wrote me a few years ago
    ‘…I am a sleaze
    lush with dreaming,
    rubbing my brushed velvet eyes)
    I remember Lacan citing the Christ, psilanthropically, in Sem I,
    “They have eyes so as not to see”. Then the remark ‘… we must learn to read him (Christ) literally.’
    Taking my 14 yo daughter to the ‘Art After Dark’, with dinner and band, Dali show this week. She fancies swanning about with the cogniscentti. Dodgy politics indeed. And she’s gonna insist i change outta my pj’s, i know it.
    I like Dali’s crucifixes

    Comment by jampa — July 19, 2009 @ 7:17 pm

  79. a sexy jampa in pyjamas… not a tongue twister,
    sleazy, stretching lush with dreaming, rubbing his brushed velvet eyes, still the unsayable –behind three little dots
    and how that we got to the Christ and Lacan saying about… reading him/the Christ/jampa literally

    Comment by violet — July 20, 2009 @ 2:06 am

  80. If art never strays,
    what are we to make
    of the virtual
    and its
    infernal ways,
    a slippery
    in search of the seventh seal
    and something that starts with Marcel
    and a bit of a fight?

    Comment by Chris Sands — July 20, 2009 @ 4:42 pm

  81. the knight likes
    to rest in
    with the anchor falling down down, down
    because the end
    is near
    of must

    Comment by lucky — July 20, 2009 @ 7:56 pm

  82. or
    the Night
    wants the rest
    in bed
    but its up to

    Comment by lucky — July 20, 2009 @ 8:17 pm

  83. I think the photo at the top (Duchamp and friend) fits the aspirations of the net.
    Its as if, in a way, they keep on playing.
    A virtual world can be a confessional, we can say our prayers to it and what’s now considered, is some ethereal duplicate of our thinking lodged ‘out there’, like another version of the international space station.
    With this is mind, it seems art never strays from the question of disappearance,
    but the history of the twentieth century forces this as an ethical question in the first place.
    The title of a recent collection of writings about Alain Badiou’s work is ‘Think Again’, but if we return to thought and disappearance, how do we think again something less immortal than an encroaching virtual world? Duchamp sometimes seems to predict an end to art and a culture of regulations and statistics imposes itself on psychoanalysis, so much so, don’t we have to ‘think again’ the question of (our own) disappearance?

    Comment by Chris Sands — July 22, 2009 @ 2:33 am

  84. Wondering who the slippery knight might be? Not so much though. A couple of generations ago, in small communities, before phones were at all automated and switchboards were manned or womanned by humans, there was such a thing as a party line, a single portal for communication inside and outside the community. And the operator was privvy to it all. If one had concerns to protect the privacy or sovereignity of one’s communications, one wrote a letter. Or one consented to allow his discourse to be consumed and processed, to disappear, in the community, by using the phone. Of course this provided a venue for exhibitionists and voyeurs but, as i’ve been regularly reminded by my elders, it was ‘a different world’. Less different i reckon than they imagine. But, obviously, i’m asking if this place is much different? And as perfume wafted, there are a lot of anonymous hits on these pages. Must still be a lot of letter writing going on.

    Comment by jampa — July 22, 2009 @ 10:55 pm

  85. Ahh, great message jampa..
    I saw a film called Changeling last knight.

    The main character worked in a switchboard
    (US/LA 1920’s) and she worked on roller skates
    She was toeing the party line

    Comment by sol — July 23, 2009 @ 12:01 am

  86. And… (more dots violet, less an elision than an ellipsis} lucky seems in his poems to be equating sleep with the death drive, or a nirvana drive towards the inanimate (a preposterous misconstruction in itself) or maybe an acquiescence to castration. I dunno. Just guessing.
    This eavesdropper’s interest in sleep/dreaming follows the Lacan of Sem XVII p57 of Russell Grigg’s translation ‘… that a dream wakes you up just when it might let the truth drop, so that the only reason one wakes up is so as to continue dreaming- dreaming in the real OR, TO BE MORE EXACT, IN REALITY’. (my caps) These lines have been cited in these pages before MINUS the words in capitals. Talk about what might be hidden behind omission!

    Comment by jampa — July 23, 2009 @ 12:05 am

  87. A rat done bit my sister Nell. (with Whitey on the moon) Her face and arms began to swell. (and Whitey’s on the moon) I can’t pay no doctor bill. (but Whitey’s on the moon) exerpt Whitey on the moon – gil scott-heron

    Comment by sol — July 23, 2009 @ 9:42 am

  88. ‘ ‘

    Comment by sol — July 23, 2009 @ 9:43 am

  89. i am trying to think what that would mean,’ a nirvana drive towards the inanimate’ ?

    Comment by lucky — July 23, 2009 @ 8:05 pm

  90. More regularly designated the ‘nirvana principle’, please excuse me. This, lucky, for instance-

    Comment by jampa — July 23, 2009 @ 11:36 pm

  91. i was vaguely shifting around thinking some others should sleep for a change and the capitalist drive. the ridiculous idea of the night trying to be a supreme commanding power like the myth (the m other of day). But its a spectral time so it was related to the death drive. the metonymy of desire sliding towards dreams seemed like it might give way to a death drive. how that can be something… maybe it ends up more nothing which i was afraid of.

    Comment by lucky — July 24, 2009 @ 1:48 am

  92. I borrowed it:
    “On the philosophico-ontological level, this is what Lacan is aiming at when he emphasizes the difference between the Freudian death drive and the so-called “nirvana principle” according to which every life system tends toward the lowest level of tension, ultimately toward death: “nothingness” (the void, being deprived of all substance) and the lowest level of energy paradoxically no longer coincide, that is, it is “cheaper” (it costs the system less energy) to persist in “something” than to dwell in “nothing,” at the lowest level of tension, or in the void, the dissolution of all order. It is this distance that sustains the death drive: far from being the same as the nirvana principle (the striving toward the dissolution of all life tension, the longing for the return to original nothingness), the death drive is the tension which persists and insists beyond and against the nirvana principle. In other words, far from being opposed to the pleasure principle, the nirvana principle is its highest and most radical expression. In this precise sense, the death drive stands for its exact opposite, for the dimension of the “undead,” of a spectral life which insists beyond (biological) death.” (The Puppet and the Dwarf, 93)

    Comment by violet — July 24, 2009 @ 5:55 pm

  93. This distinction seems very important, but when the drive and desire are seen as separate in a Lacanian sense, the drive is associated is associated with a kind of gratification or jouissance. If this can be the case, the question then could be: how to locate the relation of pleasure principle and jouissance?

    Comment by Chris Sands — July 25, 2009 @ 12:19 am

  94. Thank you for the plug jampa. You may be interested to know that I’ve just been asked to write a book, the first of its kind, on the death drive. Obviously it won’t be appearing for some time, but I will be writing of the progress and ideas as I go on Complete Lies.

    Chris Sands, it is perhaps not enough to say that “the drive is associated with a kind of gratification or jouissance,” since it is more specifically the continuation of the circuit of desire. In the case of the death drive, it is actually that which inhibits satisfaction, the compulsion to repeat, and therefore continuously “puts off” satisfaction. In this way, it never allows for gratification, forcing us to further expend ourselves in the hope of satisfaction. One can see this in the addict for instance who must continually up their dosage for a high, repeating and intensifying the cycle… that is the death drive.

    Comment by Michael Austin — July 25, 2009 @ 3:59 pm

  95. I have just been reading Essays on the Pleasures of Death: From Freud to Lacan
    by Ragland alongside Beyond the pleasure Principle again,
    and I have been thinking of one taken up by the death drive as making
    of a state of continual foreplay with no conception of the finality of the end.
    It reminds me of the state of the ecstatic saint for instance who is in a state
    of continuous trembling.

    Comment by sol — July 25, 2009 @ 10:19 pm

  96. Michael, I wonder about this reference to addiction and drive, because it seems too easy and addictions might be looked at in many different ways. It opens up a lot and what immediately comes to mind, in my case, is Rik Loose’s work and the notion of an administration of jouissance.
    I think this separation of desire and drive comes out of clinical work … but the death drive inhibiting gratification … ??
    The politics of ‘assisted suicide’ is topically on this side of the Atlantic and relevant, I think, to what might be meant by the death drive.

    Have pasted below a little chunk from the No Subject site

    ‘Lacan writes that “every drive is virtually a death drive” because:
    every drive pursues its own extinction,
    every drive involves the subject in repetition, and
    every drive is an attempt to go beyond the pleasure principle, to the realm of excess jouissance where enjoyment is experienced as suffering.’

    Comment by Chris Sands — July 26, 2009 @ 2:53 am

  97. If therapy or psychoanalysis is a bit like conversation with gaps and holes,
    with the internet, in the background and foreground,
    the work of art, in a contemporary sense, also
    (sometimes) looks like a conversation.
    With the Duchamp/Babitz photo, conversation amounts to a game,
    resonating with Bergman’s masterpiece.
    If, beyond transference in sessions, JA Miller talks of a transference to psychoanalysis (in ‘Pass Bis’),
    artists might look at a transference to art or, in another way, to the fleeting art object; but between psychoanalysis and art
    the premises are different.
    If Miller sometimes looks at a minimal premise for psychoanalysis, my question has to do with a starting place with the work of art:
    is there some equivalent to the ‘live session’ premise with art?
    With Seminar XI in mind (and an extraordinary dialectic between looking and gaze ),
    does the artist have to forget he’s/she’s an artist to find a way to the work of art?
    When the artist forgets, does the work of art remember?

    Comment by Chris Sands — July 31, 2009 @ 1:28 am

  98. says of the forgotten Gérard Wajcman – in his book L’objet de L’Art -that it is the memory of ruins… the memory of the Other… with the forgotten it is the other that remembers. Memory of what has been forgotten, illegible, but there, some place. There will be no one to remember of that, that’s there. And this is what ruins are, a rock object that leaves a trace for an eventual someone….

    Comment by violet — August 3, 2009 @ 3:03 am

  99. Chris, if “every drive is virtually a death drive” does that include the scopic? If so is this the vision which contemporary art, in its archness, rewards? a prize for the jaded and deadly, dead to object ‘a’?

    Comment by jampa — August 3, 2009 @ 8:18 pm

  100. Is art in ruins?
    I remember a title from way back, ‘the museum in ruins’.
    This question suggests Alain Badiou’s notion that art struggles to move away from romanticism (the ruined woman, the gothic),
    but ruination NOW has to do with the television of economic collapse.
    The banker says the aesthetic of ruins is one thing, but ‘I’m ruined’
    or better still
    ‘we are ruined’.
    To go back to Douglas Crimp’s museum in ruins,
    the museum (despite how it looks) looks to maintain traces, a minimal distance;
    but bankers try to persuade us
    that Lacan is right to insist that some distance is required to sustain the subject of capitalism.
    Has art taught us that the banks must survive?
    Is Badiou right to suggest that art must move away from the romanticism of ruins?
    In a Lacanian sense, ruins suggest some trace of the subject of the Freudian unconscious,
    so Badiou’s question seems to be a question for the late Lacan of the sinthome,
    but isn’t ‘work’ (as a potential) problematic in the context of psychoanalysis and art?
    I have to stop …

    Comment by Chris Sands — August 4, 2009 @ 3:58 am

  101. artaud

    Lacan, Sem XVII ‘… is that the “I” in question is perhaps innumerable, that the I does not need to be continuous for it to multiply its acts.
    This is not what is essential.’
    So many imperatives, over and over, somehow admonished to work and leave a trace of ruin

    ‘I hate and renounce as a coward every being who is only willing
    to be for being’s sake and does not want to live to work’

    ‘I hate, furthermore, and renounce any being who is willing to put up with lending himself to these totalitarian applications of crablice

    Finally, I hate and renounce as a coward any being who can think that the application to these totalitarian scratching sensations is superior to the verification and control of his own search for life in defiance of these unleashed tornadoes of crablice’

    Comment by jampa — August 5, 2009 @ 10:41 pm

  102. Antoinin is a one!
    Jampa, where in Sem XV11 is your quote?

    Comment by Chris Sands — August 7, 2009 @ 3:56 am

  103. re Artaud and ‘I hate and renounce as a coward every being who is only willing
    to be for being’s sake and does not want to live to work’

    Artaud’s statement seems as much about (the moment of) death as living … for some reason, I have the image of Charlton Heston (I think) as El Cid, strapped to his horse riding off into eternity.

    Comment by Chris Sands — August 7, 2009 @ 4:07 am

  104. Chris, p65, Russell Grigg’s tr. Artaud as a dead cowboy? The tiny mind boggles!

    Comment by jampa — August 8, 2009 @ 2:53 am

  105. As a (bit part) cowboy who refused to ‘play dead’ in Warhol’s ‘Lonesome Cowboys’?

    Comment by Chris Sands — August 9, 2009 @ 4:53 am

  106. Call for Papers

    38th Annual University of South Carolina French Literature Conference

    March 18-20, 2010

    French Psychoanalysis and Psychoanalysis in French:
    Language, Literature, Culture

    Keynote Speakers
    Claire Nouvet (Emory University)
    Ellie Ragland (University of Missouri)

    Psychoanalysis in France has a long and rich history. From the early work of Marie Bonaparte, the interventions of the surrealists, and the dissertation of a young medical student named Jacques Lacan in the 1920s to the heights of the École Freudienne, the expulsion of Luce Irigaray, and Deleuze and Guattari’s Anti-Oedipus in the 1970s, psychoanalysis played a central role in French intellectual life throughout the twentieth century. Indeed, whether in the work of Lacanian and postLacanian intellectuals and analysts (such as Julia Kristeva, Hélène Cixous, and Jacques Derrida), or in that of psychoanalytic skeptics such as Jean-Paul Sartre and Michel Foucault, specifically French debates on and within analysis have shaped the culture of literary, philosophical, cinematic, and historical studies around the globe. At the same time, the postcolonial world of Francophone literature and film have radically called into question the very universality of the Freudian family romance, forcing us to pose the question, in the words of a famous book title: is there an Oedipe Africain? Finally, both inside France and beyond its borders, there is a rich tradition of psychoanalytic interpretation of the classic texts of French literature.
    This conference seeks to pose the following questions: is there a specifically French form of psychoanalysis and what are its characteristics; does the psychoanalytic narrative also have purchase on the larger world of Francophonie or are such pretensions to universalism necessarily ahistorical and imperialistic; what is the future of psychoanalysis as method of interpreting French literature and film and will its insights continue to produce new understandings or has its time now passed? Twenty-minute papers addressing these subjects should be sent by e-mail to Allen Miller ( by November 1, 2009. All papers accepted for this conference will be published in volume 38 of French Literature Series (FLS).

    Comment by Allen Miller — August 19, 2009 @ 10:31 am

  107. this is (hopefully) a self portrait by Yayoi Kusama

    Comment by Chris Sands — August 19, 2009 @ 11:23 am

  108. In her self-portrait Yayoi Kusama possibly looks like a nun or perhaps a pharaoh.
    Her work reminds me of Van Gogh in a few ways.
    Seemingly choosing to live a life that permits the work of art as an insistence,
    there is something else
    and perhaps this surplus can be a question:
    If this work includes something surplus to the work of an obsession,
    then does it possibly provides a paradigm beyond the work of art
    or work in general?
    Can the work of art do this?
    It seems an important question when Lacan leaves us the sinthome
    and an attachment to (work and) what we do with our lives.

    Comment by Chris Sands — August 22, 2009 @ 3:36 am

  109. it is funny that the pages that were posted of his book were of the few i remember reading some of my book. abd you know what.. i thought he was even meaner back then about the girl . though th ones about totalitarian scratching were new. makes more sense when you read the rest of it than just the lines you posted here grampa. jus kidding

    Comment by lucky — August 22, 2009 @ 8:10 am

  110. Mind yer manners youngin. Aint no dead cowdy yet. Glad to post a sign to the rest uv it. Yer welcome

    Comment by jampa — August 27, 2009 @ 12:53 pm