To resume again...

Introduction to Reading
Jacques Lacan's Seminar on Anxiety


The Empty Subject:
Un-Triggered Psychoses

Kierkegaard with Lacan

The De-Sublimated Object
of Post-Ideology

Dressed in Shadows:
Sarah Lucas and Alenka Zupancic

Inez van Lamsweerde
Vinoodh Matadin




To Resume Again...

antonia image

Josefina Ayerza

In the early 60's Jacques Lacan construed his world in structures and talked accordingly. Never more so than throughout his Seminar X, Anxiety a "rendez-vous point," where according to him all he had taught till then would regain a strong presence. On these grounds, le fantasme, essential as it is, got very soon measured against the structure of anxiety; they are, as a matter of fact, one and the same structure.

Meanwhile the S.F.P. (SocietÚ Franšaise de Psychanalyse) - Lacan is one of its members - wanted to be recognized by the I.P.A. (International Psychanalytical Association). In 1961, at the Congress of Edinburgh, the I.P.A. recommended the admission of the S.F.P. as a study group within I.P.A.'s supervision, but conditioned the admittance with the banning of Lacan, Franoise Dolto... from the training analysts course: the problem was the short sessions, back for consideration, as in the split of 1953. The S.F.P. chose not to make a decision for the time being: a motion was adopted stating that "any attempt to force the expulsion of one of its founder members would be discriminatory and would offend both the principles of scientific objectivity and the spirit of justice." However, in 1963, at the Congress of Stockholm, the I.P.A. voted an ultimatum: in three months Lacan's name had to be crossed off the list of didacticians, or they were not going to affiliate with the S.F.P.

Two weeks before the expiration of the deadline fixed by the I.P.A. (October 31), the committee of didacticians of the S.F.P. gave up its courageous position of 1962. While Serge Leclaire was the president, Daniel Lagache, Vladimir Granoff and Juliette Favez brought the final draw of the so called the ex-communion of Lacan.

Leclaire then received a letter from Lacan himself announcing he was not going to attend the meeting because he could foresee the disavowal. Thereby, on November 19, the majority ruled in favor of the ban. Same night, Lacan was informed about the outcome of the meeting. He, no longer, was one of the didacticians. The following day, his seminar "The Names-of-the-Father" was to start at Sainte-Anne.

Of the names of the father...

Why the plural for the name of the father?

Jacques Lacan questioned his own title at his one day Seminar and he announced that it was to be the last one.

Then, he remitted the title to his paternal metaphor of 1958; to the function of the proper name he referred to in 1961/62; to the father drama in the Claudelian trilogy from 1960... he ultimately hooked up with his latest Seminar, Anxiety.

From Seminar X, he recovered the concept of anxiety as "an affect of the subject..." and its place within the functions he prescribed to the structure, specifically the ones of the subject, a "subject that talks," set up and determined as an effect of the signifier.

Of affects and effects... How soon, asks Lacan, is this subject affected by anxiety? In the event of anxiety, the subject is affected by the desire of the Other: d(A), in a direct manner-in a non-dialectical way. And this shows how relative to the affect of the subject, anxiety doesn't lie.

What doesn't lie is the radical point at which anxiety functions in the guise of a sign, actually, how it gets written. Again, Lacan opposes traditional psychology where fear is distinguished from anxiety. He considers fear and anxiety are one and the same thing.

Anxiety is not without an object.

What is the objet a?

The objet a is what-in anxiety-has fallen from the subject, precisely the cause of the desire.

Anxiety that doesn't lie is replaced for the subject by what will be operated through that objet a. To this is attributed the function of the act.

Says Jacques-Alain Miller in his Introduccion to Reading Jacques Lacan's Anxiety, "the anxiety chosen by Lacan, Lacanian anxiety, is a route of access to the objet petit a. It is conceived as the access route to what is not signifier. We must say that anxiety as such is not signifier. As access route to the remainder which is not signifier, Lacan chose an equivocal route, a route which seems doubtful, which is that of an affect."

For Alain Badiou, in Lacan. Seminar, Book X: Anxiety, "the central thesis of the seminar destroys the established conviction according to which anxiety is 'without object,' correlated to the void of experience, or coming from the same loss from which grief and melancholy appear. No, Lacan tells us. Anxiety has a proper object, it is vor etwas, confronting something."

With Massimo Recalcati in The Empty Subject: Un-Triggered Psychoses in the New Forms of the Symptom, "The concept of un-triggered psychoses supposes a definition of a psychotic functioning in the subject without localizing the actual moment when the breakout of the psychosis occurs."

Slavoj Zizek expands on Lacan changing his position in his Seminar on Anxiety, with regard to the ultimate support of the signifying order: "the phallic signifier qua 'reflexive,' the signifier of the barred Other, of the lack of signifier, the signifier without signified, the signifier which, while deprived of all determinate meaning, stands for the pure potentiality of meaning-what this means is that, although here, Lacan is already clear about the inconsistency of the big Other, about its barred character, about the fact that "there is no Other of the Other,' that the symbolic order turns into a vicious circle, lacking any guarantee.

David Ebony reviews Sarah Lucas recent New York show "God is Dead," against Alenka Zupancic's: The Shortest Shadow: Nietzsche's Philosophy of the Two. "Nietzsche's proclamation of the death of God, and the philosopher's notion of God as the "(generic and generative) power of the Symbolic..."

Cathy Lebowitz and I discuss Inez van Lamsweerde/Vinoodh Matadin. The ways of anxiety here are involved with the body and its interrelation with alien features, such a metal nipples, paper wings, silver paint.


Art: Florencia Gonzalez Alzaga - Antonia - silver gelatin print, 2003
courtesy of the artist.

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