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THEORY, POETRY, FICTION AND CONTEMPORARY ART
ISSUE 8 WINTER 2007
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SCREEN 18
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Suture
(elements of the logic of the signifier)
by Jacques-Alain Miller

No one without those precise conceptions of analysis which only a personal analysis can provide has any right to concern himself (or herself) with it. Ladies and Gentlemen, doubtless you fully conform to the strength of that ruling by Freud in the New Introductory Lectures. Thus, articulated as a dilemma, a question raises itself for me in your regard.
If contravening this injunction, it is of psychoanalysis that I am going to speak - then, by listening to someone whom you know to be incapable of producing the credentials which alone would authorize your assent, what are you doing here?
Or, if my subject is not psychoanalysis, - then you who so faithfully attend here in order to become conversant with the problems which relate to the Freudian field, what are you doing here! [...]
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Art: Florencia Gonzalez Alzaga

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SUTURE & CINEMASUTURE

Cinema and Suture
by Jean-Pierre Oudart

Suture represents the closure of the cinematic énoncé in line with its relationship with its subject (the filmic subject or rather the cinematic subject), which is recognized, and then put in its place as the spectator - thus distinguishing the suture from all other types of cinema, particularly the so-called "subjective" cinema, where the suture did exist, but undefined theoretically. At first film-makers had only experimented quite intuitively with the effects of the profound necessity of suture, but not with its causes which remained hidden given the subjective conception they had of the image and their confusion of the filmic subject with the filmed subject. [...] go to article


Notes on Suture
by Stephen Heath

Jacques-Alain Miller's essay "Suture" introduced the concept of suture within the field of psychoanalysis; the article by Jean-Pierre Oudart, drawing on Miller, reproduced the concept for film theory where it has now achieved a certain currency - in both French and Anglo-American writing. The following notes attempt to provide a context for understanding suture, to indicate something of the terms of its original psychoanalytic elaboration and of its subsequent utilization to specify the functioning of cinematic discourse [...] go to article

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CLINICAL CASE

The First Three Lessons of the
Treatment of the Wolf Child
by Rosine and Robert Lefort

This morning, when I was looking for Maryse, Robert claimed most of my attention, searching for pencils and biscuits, and then leaving two pots on my knees. He cried when I took Maryse away.
This evening I found him on the potty. He got up as soon as I saw him and followed me. No reaction in front of the staircase, so I look him to the consulting room. [...]
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WOMAN

A Father in the Cut
by Chiara Mangiarotti

Under the guise of an erotic thriller Jane Campion continues to explore the subjective evolution of a woman, focused through the story of a love affair. In the Cut is adapted from the book of the same name written by Susanna Moore, who co-authored the film with Jane Campion. The main character, Frannie, teaches English literature at the university. She loves writing and poetry, is doing research on black slang, and lives alone in a very degraded neighbourhood. On the one hand, she is plunged into a world that is quite foreign to her, on the other she lives in a bubble in which she dreams about love and tries to satisfy her sexual desires on her own. She attempts to withdraw into her own universe of words. [...] go to article

FREUD

The Phallus is a Signifier
by Ian Parker

When Freud ponders psychical consequences of anatomical distinction between the sexes he assumes the actual presence of the penis and then the perception of it (or perception of the absence of it), and then the process of making sense of that perception of something missing. The perceptual judgment is supposed to be faster in the girl, and her perceived bodily lack launches her into the Oedipus complex; the boy will only believe what he has seen (or not seen) later on when the complex is, Freud says, "literally smashed to pieces by the shock of threatened castration." In both cases anatomical distinction is organized around the penis as such, and the penis, for Freud, "owes its extraordinarily high narcissistic cathexis to its organic significance for the propagation of the species." [...] go to article

FRENCH

Intime exposé, intime extorqué
by Gérad Wajcman

Avec une naissance historique de l'intime, mon hypothèse concerne le fait que celui-ci aura pris corps dans un domaine a priori inattendu, ni dans celui du droit, où s'élabore pour partie l'idée du "privé", ou de la philosophie, mais dans l'art. Dans d'architecture, je l'ai évoquée; pourtant ce ne n'est pas là que l'intime a été conçu et pensé. C'est dans la peinture. Cela a eu lieu à la Renaissance. [...] go to article

ON ZIZEK

Lightening Ontology
by Adrian Johnston

Zizek's creative synthesis of German idealism and Lacanian psychoanalysis enables the argument to be advanced that certain properties of an asubjective, heteronomous libidinal-material foundation (as the barred Real of human nature) function as fundamental conditions of possibility for the ontogenesis of subjective autonomy (as a transcendence of this same "natural" foundation). These properties are the meta-transcendental conditions for the event of the advent of the transcendent(al) subject qua $. go to article


The Future of Another Illusion
by Anonymous

A specter is haunting the academy - the specter of psychoanalysis? In Slavoj Zizek's The Ticklish Subject, the pastiche of Marx and Engels' 1848 provocation takes an equivalent form. He writes, "A spectre is haunting Western academia, the spectre of the Cartesian subject" (1). This pronouncement should not be mistaken for a feint, postmodern attempt at ironic detachment, however settling that might be. Rather, the growing corpus attached with the grammatical subject "Zizek," embodies a seismic shift in our reading practices, and, as "I as an other" will argue in this piece, offers a prescription for corrective lenses in the Deleuzian lines of flight defining our academic practices. [...] go to article


Kant with Califia
by Yen-Ying Lai

Pat(trick) Califia won her fame in the late 80s by advocating for lesbian S/M culture. Her short pieces of erotica that once spiced up the already heated debates in the "sex war" and continue to excite are now collected in Macho Sluts. The short-story form is indeed most suited to an insatiable More!More! demand for more skins to whip on, more pains to take pleasure in. Furthermore, contrary to the attitude that "sadism demands a story" (title of Seaboyer) and that perversion must be a narrative of trauma, in story after story Califia writes about sadists and masochists who, as if born right into their sexual identities, simply enjoy their kinks right here and now, and neither parental problems nor a bad childhood can explain their fantasy away. This drive-like demand and politics is best represented in the third piece in Macho Sluts, "The Calyx of Isis". [...] go to article


Perversion and the Sacred
by V.W. Lloyd

The diagnostic category of perversion, even in Lacanian circles, is often used with neither clarity nor rigor. In an attempt to remedy this situation, I will explicate the following thesis which I take as definitional: The pervert can only say yes. The desires of the pervert are perfectly aligned with the desires of the Other. The mother offers her breast to the infant. The infant feeds. Desires of mother and infant are perfectly aligned: mother fulfills infant's desire, infant fulfills mother's desire. The pervert remains in this circuit of desire as the mother becomes the Other. [...] go to article

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PHILOSOPHY



Philosophy as Creative Repetition
by Alain Badiou

I shall begin by referring to one of my masters, the great Marxist philosopher, Louis Althusser. For Althusser, the birth of Marxism was not a simple thing. It was composed of two revolutions, two major intellectual events. First, a scientific one. This event was Marx's creation of a science of history, the name of which is "historical materialism". The second event was of a philosophical nature. It was the creation, by Marx and others, of a new trend, the name of which is "dialectical materialism". We can say that a new philosophy is required to clarify and assist the birth of a new science. Plato's philosophy was likewise required by the beginning of mathematics, or Kant's philosophy by the Newtonian physics. [...] go to article

SPANISH / ITALIAN

Amores y muerte de Virginia Wolf
por Slyvia Elena Tendlarz

Leonard Woolf no fue el único amor de Virginia. Cuando Clive Bell, marido de Vanessa, le presenta a la escritora Vita Sackville-West, heredera del castillo de Knole, ninguna de ellas conocía aún el curso de su historia. Vita, casada desde hacía tiempo con un hombre que no le ocultaba sus gustos homosexuales, se disfrazaba de hombre, haciéndose llamar Julian, un nombre epiceno para encontrarse con la mujer que cortejaba. [...] go to article


L'incubo di un mondo senza Dio
by Marco Focchi

Viviamo un momento storico in cui si assiste all'apparente ritorno di un bisogno diffuso di spiritualità e in cui il mondo, polarizzato intorno a figure aggressive del fondamentalismo, fa ripensare con brivido al flagello delle guerre di religione che hanno accompagnato la nascita della modernità in Europa. In questo momento, tuttavia, gli studiosi che scrutano il divenire della nostra società parlano, senza ambagi, di uscita dalla religione. [...] go to article

LACAN AND LITERATURE

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The Scream of Miss Julie
by Dominique Ficalora

Who, or what, was the New Woman? The New woman is the creation of an autonomous feminine character that acts independently to the constraints placed on her by masculine society, She was a feminine character who was able to function as her own citizen, outside of her relegated sphere of domesticity. Ibsen was successful in his formation of women characters. He was considered the "creator" of the New Woman, his best example being Nora from A Doll House. Nora is a New Woman through how she is everything that Eugene Scribe would fear, While Scribe's plays were "free from controversy" (Turney), Nora invites it. [...] go to article


Antigone and Kurtz
by Gray Kane

Through the juxtaposition of Lacan's Antigone with Conrad's Heart of Darkness, one sees that both Antigone and Kurtz's radical subjectivities threaten hegemonic interpretations and that both Ismene and Marlow exhibit certain precarious relationships with them as their respective Others. Meanwhile, a change of power occurs in one text but not in the other. In which case, the following analysis reviews Lacan's Antigone in order to reevaluate Conrad's novel for the purpose of shedding light on radical subjectivities' roles or lack thereof in the transformation of hegemonic power. Because Lacan sets up a network of signification to suggest relationships with that which cannot be signified, the following interpretation of Antigone cites heavily from Seminar VII in order to effect the meanings that Lacan intentionally leaves out of his interpretation of the play. [...] go to article


Beauty and the Satiric
by Matt Lau

The concept here, within Desperate Housewives itself, is, again, that of "trouble in paradise," or if we follow Barthes' instructions and construct an ephemeral neologism for it, we might call it Bourgicide. Things might seem fine in archetypal suburbia, but we soon discover that the great mass of housewives on Wisteria Lane lead lives of not-so-quiet desperation; these women are all but intentionally undermining the ostensible stability of their middle-class lives. They are terminating their own social order with extreme prejudice, as though they were following orders. [...] go to article

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Mel Gibson at the Serbsky Institute
by Slavoj Zizek

In the good old Soviet times, Serbsky Institute in Moscow was the psychiatric flagship for punitive political control; its psychiatrists developed painful drug methods to make detainees talk and extract testimony for use in national security investigations. Underpinning the ability of psychiatrists to incarcerate people was an invented political mental disorder known as vyalotekushchaya‚ ("sluggish schizophrenia"). Psychiatrists described the disease as a person appearing quite normal most of the time but who would break out with a severe case of "inflexibility of convictions," or "nervous exhaustion brought on by his or her search for justice," or "a tendency to litigation" or "reformist delusions." The treatment involved intravenous injections of psychotropic drugs that were so painfully administered patients became unconscious. The overriding belief was that a person had to be insane to be against Communism. Is this psychiatric approach to politically problematic positions a thing of the past? Unfortunately, no: not only is Serbsky Institute today happily thriving in Putin's Russia, but, as the recent incident with Mel Gibson indicates, it will soon open a branch in Malibu! Here is Gibson's own description of what happened to him on Friday, July 28 2006: "I drove a car when I should not have, and was stopped by the LA County Sheriffs. It is reported that Gibson said, "F...... Jews". [...] go to article