Drawing by Olav Westphalen






LACANIAN INK 15 – Fall

Jouissance

SLAVOJ ŽIŽEK
The New Museum,
October 14/1999

[The following is an excerpt from Josefina Ayerza's introduction]

Žižek at the New Museum Josefina and Slavoj at the New Museum Josefina and Slavoj at the New Museum

We could say that Lacanian Ink is a journal of the 90's... The Fall 99 issue is therefore, at one and the same time, celebrating its own appearance and the periodical's 10 year anniversary.

I'd like to express my gratitude to the contributors - without their remarkable writing and editing the endeavor wouldn't have had a chance.

And let me acknowledge the reader, the Other we address: as to make myself understood I have to speak his/her language. To the point that the desire of the Other prompts an inversion, the receptor is who has the power of communication... The listener, the reader will seemingly emit the message... all in all it is the very reader who writes.

The radical textual presence of Jacques-Alain Miller and Slavoj Žižek is an intrinsic part of Lacanian ink's theoretical project, both as journal and as series. In the collection of 15 issues published under the journal's imprint these are constant names. In fact their presence is redundant, except insofar as it signifies prospection, or irreducibility.

The list of contents in issue 15 may offer a clue in behalf of the desire of the Other. Miller's "Did You Say Bizarre?" is the paper he read at La Maison Française of NYU, March, 1999, in New York City. The translation of his "Analytical Case," Miller's first article of the kind, was scheduled that same night after somebody's idea of inviting him to practice supervision in the United States.

In his: "Surplus Enjoyment Beyond the Sublime and the Trash," Žižek hits the core of the American way of life as it takes on a primordial element -- Coca-Cola. The popular motto put into question, with Žižek Coke is never IT... I quote: "precisely insofar as every satisfaction opens up a gap of 'I want More!'"

Let's not forget that Lacanian Ink is a place for creative writing and new writers. In issue 15 Juliet Flower MacCannel and David Ebony constitute two new and emerging figures - if his is a reading of Jacques Derrida throughout Moreau's images, hers is a reading of Lacan over Sex, the Last Thirty Years...

Having Slavoj Žižek with us tonight is a privilege we want to enjoy. As a way of presentation I will read a quote from an interview I did with Richard Rorty - it was published in Flash Art, the year 1993. Slavoj tells me this quote has been published all over the place, but I want to read it to you because I want to argue against it:

Rorty says:"I keep trying to read Lacan and failing, and reading books about him and not getting the point. The only author on Jacques Lacan I've ever read, that ever made any sense to me is Žižek. I found The Supreme Object of Ideology very useful in understanding Lacanian jargon. Though it didn't particularly inspire me to pick up the jargon and run with it, I find Žižek much easier to read than most people who talk about Lacan. So I was very grateful to get hold of him. I have a lot of Lacanian friends whom I can't understand."

This is what Rorty says... but there is more to the reading of Žižek than the sole spelling of Lacan's jargon. If I want to sustain this"more" against Rorty's words it is because it is very common to hear people express their joy because they've finally gotten some grip on Lacan after Žižek.

About Žižek's writing in itself. Shall we say he has a style? And can you read a style? What if it's all you read?

Let me tell you what Lacan has to say about his own spelling out of Freud: Lacan wants to find truth inside the revolutions of culture - what does that mean? - It means first of all that the truth is hidden. -- inside the revolutions of culture. cannot transmit truth, only the path; though you can't see style while it's in the making... I quote,"...this is the sole formation that we can attempt to transmit to those who follow us: It is called style."

Again, in the Écrits, Lacan quotes Buffon: "Style is man". The phrase turning into a proverb Lacan corrects, "It is man, though... the one man we address."

"By rejecting the assertion of identities associated with cultural studies lacanian ink outlines a new philosophical universalism..."