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LACANIAN INK 21 – Spring


SLAVOJ ŽIŽEK – Love Without Mercy
Deitch Projects and Foundation 20 21,
March 10/2003

Josefina Ayerza

I am Josefina Ayerza, the editor of Lacanian Ink.

Certainly marked by the work of Jacques Lacan, the journal has been going since 1990.

Issue 21 is on LOVE. Here the subject prevails throughout theory, fiction, non-fiction, contemporary art projects, criticism...

Where is love, what is Love?

Not equivalent to desire, it nevertheless depends on desire, in that it feeds on an Other, and so it will hook to it. Yet the jouissance of the body of the Other is not a sign of love.

Again, there is no sexual rapport.

Slavoj Žižek

With Lacan LOVE is in excess. However impatient, insatiable, let LOVE align with the arbitrary, with the unexpected... it will still want more.

Slavoj Žižek fashions a State of Emergency... " Love desires personality, and this is division - God has broken the universe into little pieces... What for the Christian is the purpose of God, for the Buddhist it is the Fall of man... for the Buddhist, personality stands for the Fall of man.

Now the Christian God separates man from Himself - throws him out of Paradise. Again, God is abandoned by himself - he sets forth the passion of Jesus. It follows that God-the-Christ dies for himself.

Christianity for Žižek is "terribly revolutionary."

Judas subsumes that dictum.

—You are the one who will betray me—!

—Surely not I, Rabbi—?

police cars

The responsibility put onto the other, Žižek's Judas turns out to be the ultimate hero, "the one who was ready to lose his soul and assume eternal damnation so that the divine plan could have been accomplished."

Jorge Luis Borges gives Judas three faces... In the extreme version Judas premeditated his sins. What he chose has no virtue: violation of trust and betrayal. I quote "God made Himself totally a man, but a man to the point of infamy. He chose the vilest of all destinies - he was Judas."

With Lacan "the hero can be betrayed without damage done to him."

( The crowds behind the closed glass doors took up on the word "betrayal" —betrayal, betrayal… ! the police cars zooming, their flash lights shining through, enforced voices echoed "you are ilegal…" )

Josefina interrupted… continued… "This is religious betrayal, still betrayal out of love: I respect you for your universal features, but I love you for an X beyond these features, and the only way to discern this X is betrayal. I betray you and then, when you are down, destroyed by my betrayal, we exchange glances—if you understand my act of betrayal, and only if you do, you are a true hero." event audience

If betrayal is the absolute form of fidelity, is fidelity the absolute form of betrayal?

Jacques-Alain Miller returns to the affair of division in "Lacan's Later Teaching." Contrary to desire that needs the Other, division - hand in hand with jouissance - is of the One. We can always dream division, but the jouissance of division is attached to the body proper, the body of the One.

Like the one that would betray him, Lacan worshipped Freud. But at the end it was a matter of drawing the unconscious away from Freud - of proposing another way of capturing it.

Miller calls on Husserl "it is the return to things themselves: the immediate relationship of consciousness to its experience."

The word unconscious in Lacan has a double meaning - it is Freud's theoretical idea, and the unconscious at the level of the real.

Lacan unties himself from Freud by exposing the unconscious of the Master. What is the subject... the body... pleasure... ?

— "Lacan proceeded masked up," says Miller, "his later teaching had the effect of a fallen mask."
Alain Badiou quotes Pessoa "Love is a thought."

His "The Scene of Two" expounds on love as what comes to supplement for the lack of sexual rapport: Man and Woman are incompatible - not related to each other. Again, nothing atomic joins a woman to a man; therefore there is no masculine knowledge of the space occupied by a woman.

event audience Slavoj Žižek book signing

Still we know that an element ties up the two non-related terms in the space of non-rapport - and this element is indeterminate, indescribable, uncomposable... I quote: "The encounter is, in effect, the name of the amorous chance, inasmuch as it initiates the supplement."

With Graciela Brodsky love is the story of Susana - a clinical case involving psychosis - and the object Susana invents to interpret the enigma of filiation without having recourse to the Name-of-the-Father.

Raphael Rubinstein's "Via S. Zaccaria 4," is a novel. Still unfinished we are the first to browse its virgin pages. I quote "It's not a story about my parents so much as it's a story that my parents attached themselves to, and which then attached itself to me -maybe."

My conversation with Cathy Lebowitz draws on the work of Gary Hill — "the woman screams but does she speak?" She does not speak because there doesn't seems to be an Other that listens.

And it draws on the work of George Condo — "how is the sensuality missing?"

Let me give you to Slavoj Žižek, he will pick up on Love Without Mercy