To resume again...
Josefina: I see it as a tie to the mother, a bit like the pacifier. But since it's a piece of tissue and it's in the fingers, it's especially like a cord, like some kind of umbilical cord. Say she doesn't want to let go.
C: So BARBARA is maybe too attached to her mother, doesn't want to let go, but killed her.
J: Well, that's a contradiction, isn't it? Or maybe as to let go, she had to kill the mother, that's a way to let go after all. Or maybe the tissue is finally attaching her to something else, because schizophrenics are attached, always.
C: To whom?
J: To some one who gives the orders. I've had patients that very clearly tell you "now they are silent, but they will start talking in a while, I'm always attached and I can not get out, and I can not let go. They have me." They are attached to something.
C: To these voices?
J: Well, the voices are directing their lives, they are invaded. Jacques Lacan says about the invader that it is language.
C: Okay, the other girl, JENNALEIGH was rocking back and forth. Is that a different thing? I know autistic children rock back and forth.
J: Well we don't know, it could be a symptom. What I can think of the two girls is that they are not directly connected to the reality of what they did. The connection is through the other one. If only by way of symbiosis - see how identical they are. I say they function from the body of the other. Thus the combined action is what makes for the intertwining.
C: Maybe we should talk about MARY BELL now.
J: Lacan talks about a jouissance of transgression. That may have to do with their laugh. I think we also have to consider the psychotic here, because of the detachment of feeling. The little boy is there, dead, and dead by them, and they are giggling and smiling.
C: But that's a feeling, isn't it? I mean it's not the proper feeling, or the normal feeling.
J: You think jouissance is a feeling?
C: Oh! I thought it was.
J: I'm thinking feeling for this dead boy there, with regard to something the Marquis de Sade talks about. Crime supposedly being the only thing that can go against the laws of nature, it will efface decay and death. Thus only crime can start from the beginning, "let's do it different." But is it the case with the girls? Is the giggling and smiling coming from the actual sadistic drive? Yet there is no pity or fear... With the Marquis de Sade pity and fear are primarily feelings. There's no pity here and there's no fear.
C: One common element Marlene McCarty seems to bring out is their background. Often we are told these children are not in a nuclear family with a biological mother and father. I wonder if she's making some kind of theory about that?
J: Yeah the families do have these strange combinations. But let me tell you, psychosis could already be there. Since psychosis happens in three generations. You know what they say about Joyce, that he was nearly... or he was a psychotic but with the literature he handled it. Yet his daughter is a psychotic - she's a schizophrenic. Is the case psychosis here? This is what is difficult to measure. Whether they are regular criminals or they are psychotic. For once they commit the crime, this has to be considered, whether it was a very sick person that has to go to a mental institution or a criminal that should go to jail.
C: Well they are all children.
J: So the responsibility is less. Let's ponder on what induces the crime. Are they possessed? Because you know how the schizophrenic's body may come apart as if somebody else was doing it. With the schizophrenic somebody else could get in there and do it for them.
C: Well it's funny because in both these stories there are two children doing it in reality.
J: Now that's folie ŕ deux. Like the Papin sisters. And this is two servant girls who killed their employer and her daughter. They kill and there doesn't seem to be a conversation previous. They just started doing it and they were perfectly combined. Lacan wrote about it very early in his career. The servant girls slept in the same bed you know. After they killed the mother and daughter, they put blood on the dead bodies' legs and were cutting their sexes. They put blood of the one dead woman on the other. And they cut the victims' eyes out.
C: What was Lacan's analysis?
J: He called it a paranoiac crime. And further talks of an aggressive drive resolving itself in murder. This is what appears to be the malady that serves as the foundation of the psychosis.
We did not mention the fact that MARY BELL is drawing her body with a pencil. That is she is drawing her sex on top of her skirt. Though she could be drawing somebody else on top of herself.
C: SYLVIA LIKENS is a different kind of story.
C: So do you think that Gertrude is psychotic?
J: Not necessarily. Just envy can draw someone into delusion. Say Gertrude was attracted to SYLVIA and didn't really know it. Every time she looks at the girl her gaze is ready to bring up the sexual features from underneath the clothes? That is already a reason to panic. Thus it affects her to a point that she has to kill her, and then torture the dead body... possess it.
With PAMELA KNUCKLES we have the boyfriend and the brother helping her: folie ŕ trois.
J: Does it have to do with a fantasy of the artist herself? In this case the mother is nasty and angry. She tortures her children to a point that they are so angry that they want to kill her. Why would we agree that anger and sex go together. The response of the feminine could have to do with the vision of the dead body itself. We know Lacan says that woman does not exist. She comes forth. What made for it to happen? We can still ask about that.
C: It's as if the murders are making the woman exist in these drawings.
C: Resist the pain?
J: Yes, resist in the pain. But who knows in these cases if the pain is much. From the picture of these two girls, there seems to be a sexual something between them.
C: Why does McCarty present the facts that she presents? And leaves us to fill in and wonder? Is that the point? That we wonder, that it engages us in wondering about the missing parts of the stories?
J: Maybe the missing parts of the story are always there when it comes to a crime. The thing is how do you, a normal person and not a criminal, follow the logic of a criminal. She never tells us something coming from the murderer. The murderer just doesn't talk. There is no logic in the world to follow those stories. If they are psychotic the unconscious is present but it doesn't function. You read in Schreber's Memoirs... how his body is being invaded by the feminine, through the nerves, how he will become God's prostitute. For him this is happening - it's not a fantasy. Then words are real things... You can see he believes it. With Schreber, this is how we know of the missing parts, because he wrote it. But in the stories of these girls how do we know?
C: So who is the subject here? And who would be the Other?
J: Say it is a pervert subject. In concern with the girls exhibiting their sexual traits over their clothing, it takes us directly to a voyeur appearing in the Other that could be the viewer. A desiring Other, it looks - and this is how there is a hole in this Other. The exhibitionist, for the case of the girls, wants to cover the hole. The subject, a voyeur, arises in this Other. Yet what it sees, a very hidden gaze, stands for the object lost and suddenly refound in the glare of shame. With KARIN APARO who sits in the corner while the boyfriend kills the mother - the doing has not been her own even if she induces it - she could be the voyeur. The body traits that get drawn through her arm, the glove, when do they appear? At that point she is the exhibitionist.
J: With Lacan the Other is a place. It can materialize in a person. Let's say that it is the mother.
C: And who wants to cover the hole, the boyfriend or... ?
J: Let's take the structure of the discourse to see where the subject leads us. Killing the mother the boyfriend enacts the mother/daughter's fantasy. Let's say that in this he becomes a subject. She looks, at his doing - he shows. So for now she is the voyeur and he is being the exhibitionist. Until you see the traits of her breast appear through the clothes. Have they switched roles? The artist shows the traits to you, the viewer. But KARIN is eventually showing her breast to the dead mother, even if the dead mother doesn't materialize like Hamlet's father. Mother/Other, certainly not whole, not complete, the Other will never have it all.
J: Never, the Other is always incomplete. Though this is a virtual Other. The voyeur wants to bring up the gaze to make the Other exist. But he doesn't stop there. When looking at couples in the park, he wants the couple to know he's there. He'll make noises. Another example is woman, always being looked at. Even when she is alone, she is looked at by an other. The voyeur will want this other to materialize. While the woman is alone and she's looked at by an other, this is just her fantasy. But if there suddenly is someone looking, she is showing - only because he is looking, she is showing.
C: Once she becomes aware of his presence she becomes an exhibitionist?
J: That's it, and she may hate him for making her an exhibitionist. But she is already trapped in there.
C: And that's what the voyeur likes, making her an exhibitionist?
C: So does the viewer become the voyeur in these cases?
J: Now the artist entraps you, the viewer. Because you look, she is showing. You look, she shows the sexual features as they get drawn over the clothes.
Art: Marlene McCarty:
Barbara and Jennaleigh Mullens - September 26, 1992., Graphite and ballpoint pen on paper, 1995-1998
Mary Flora Bell - May 25, 1968., Graphite and ballpoint pen on paper, 1995-1998
Sylvia Likens - October, 1965., Graphite and ballpoint pen on paper, 1995-1997
Pamela Knuckles - November 30, 1984., Graphite and ballpoint pen on paper, 1995-1998
Camellia Lou - Stephanie Dawn Fries - Sept. 3, 1993., Graphite and ballpoint pen on paper, 1995
Karin Aparo - August 5, 1987., Graphite and ballpoint pen on paper, 1995-1998
courtesy of American Fine Arts Co., NYC