To resume again...


Of an Obscure

His Master's Voice

Hitchcock's Organs
Without Bodies

and its Golem M


Slow Time
and the Limits
of Modernity



To resume again...

Josefina Ayerza


Lacan went to further assert the unspeakable — an objet a — through his reading of art. Again art, alike love, goes beyond the symbolic — it makes use of the structure of language without having to make use of the word itself. If the outcome allows for the articulation of truth, it will, in the same stroke oppose the transmission of knowledge.

With Pau Todo and Marga Moll... in the light of Lacan's reading of Holbein's The Ambassadors, do the two sitting figures surrounded by the implements of a conventional environment and staring nowhere represent the point from which the spectator is looked at? We see them, but do they capture our look? What could be enacting this function is the remarkable piece of writing that floats in the background of the scene.

Now you want to deduce what the piece of writing is about, and this is how you search — you stare at it, you read in it, you call on David Ebony; in Slow Times and the Limits of Modernity he writes "the photo conveys the notion of singularity as a limit..." The fact is that while you attempt to seize the floating meaning, the actual singularity has captured your gaze and you as well... Lest you leave the room. If you turn and take a backward glance, you can see how, from the distraught letters of the LIMITE shed, the portrait has been looking at you, has appropriated your look, to make of you a picture. It is not simply that the painting sees you, but that it sends back to you, your own look for yourself.

A nonsense representation of what cannot be symbolized, the actual LIMITE word, like the anamorphic skull in The Ambassadors, is the pivotal point that enacts the gaze. In this place there's a move from desire to the drive and sexuation. An imaginary phallus (-phallus gif) as Lacan puts it — the secret of the image is that it is castrated. Therefrom, if words have any meaning at all, by referring to a signifier, the phallus, they take on the opposed effect: where there was LIMITE there is non-limit, or how in the unconscious gender is not discernible.

A form of sublimation specific to art, Lacan upholds the unspeakable both against its unthinkable stature and with respect to its condition as symptom. How do we think the unthinkable of meaning-in-the-real? The return to the real within abstraction could be but the pure formal marking of the gap which separates the object from its place.

If, as says Jacqueline Humphries, there really is no simple subject matter and no message in her paintings, we could be dealing with a utopian state which, for highly structural reasons, can only be realized in the present tense — a present time in which, recalling Mallarmé, only the place itself takes place.

In perfect correlation with the death drive, creative sublimation will attach a series of suicidal gestures which go on to empty, clarify the place, create a void, frame it. Will the object to fill in the place attain the dignity of the Thing? Says Humphries, "'I' am 'anyone'. The 'subject' is you, it's I, at the shared moment of standing in front of this painting. This space, this other place, isn't exclusive; it's anyone's, the artist's, the viewer's, private, public."

Let us return to Lacan for whom every presence appears against the background of its possible absence. The matter is not that there is the surplus of an element over the places available in the structure, or the surplus of a place that no element will fill out. If space is the object, the gesture is the form, in that it has the element of time within it.

As for the non-limit conjecture, Jacques-Alain Miller will proceed to illustrate an article which should be read, he says, to perceive how his theory on countertransference works. It is the fade-out: "'I arrive at my office dragging my feet when I have to see this patient. The hour seems to last much longer than the standard duration. Either I don't think about it at all between sessions, or, on the contrary, I think about it all the time, and the patient manages to persecute me in the interval.' All this dislodges the analyst from the standard position and introduces countertransferential complications in relationship to the obsessional neurotic who one supposes is on the job, on time, not upsetting the order, this non-limit organization of the analyst."

With Alain Badiou an obscure disaster ended the truth of state, "It is thus that I understood as an adolescent Sartre's gross maxim: 'Every anticommunist is a dog.' Because every anticommunist manifested thus his hatred of 'us,' his determination to exist only within the limits of the propriety of himself — which is always the propriety of some property."

"If singing," writes Mladen Dolar, "takes the distraction of the voice seriously and turns the tables on the signifier... it needs a signifier as the limit to transcend and to reveal its beyond. Primo la musica, e poi le parole, or the other way round?"

Mario Goldenberg expounds on verbal suggestion, limits implicit in the relation to language, for trauma is already here. Slavoj Zizek addresses the Platonic reaction of the reader "... that between the limited view of us, mortals, and the view of the big Other which sees everything!" Only to argue against his own projection, "Vertigo is, in a sense, the ultimate anti-Platonic film, a systematic materialist undermining of the Platonic project, akin to what Deleuze does in the Appendix to The Logic of Sense."

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