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Josefina and Alain


Profane Illuminations

The Pratt Institute – Brooklyn,
November 16/2006

Alain Badiou

[and excerpt from Josefina Ayerza's introduction]

Issue 28 is on “Profane Illuminations.” This topic I got from one of Jacques-Alain Miller’s articles in this same issue: here the profane in the way of illumination will get articulated throughout a succession of binary oppositions which Miller wants superimposed.

The first opposition brings up the symptom and the sinthôme. Follows Miller’s commentary on how the second opposition: truth and jouissance, was at once made apparent… I quote “since the sinthôme affects everything, except a decoding of truth.” How so?

This is Lacan’s sinthôme, to designate the incurable, to compensate for the lack of sexual relation… As it stops doing signs it will become a NAME of symptom… now you structure around it.

The parallel with M (The Murderer), in the Fritz Lang film is quite rewarding. To start with, a supplement function of the symptom gets simply imposed: the character cannot have sexual relations with women thereof he strangles little girls. However he goes through real and authentic suffering while accomplishing his crimes, the ones to primarily suffer his symptom are the others: his victims, their families…. That is his suffering, nevertheless authentic, is yet impotent to oburate the jouissance – the symptom’s diabolic satisfaction.

What makes sign for M. is the little music that accompanies his wandering - it announces the death that only the blind can hear – the blind beggar, for certain not charmed by the jouissance of vision. It is the sign of the symptom. Also the letter M that gets written with white chalk on his back – he sees it on the window of the toy shop - M stands for Murderer, his name of symptom, yet his name of accursed since it is the others to give him this name.

The pervert wants the other to jouir - his jouissance is the jouissance of the other. Different from the neurotic, in which case it is himself to give a name to himself. [...]



Profane Illuminations

Jack Tilton Gallery – NYC,
November 17/2006

Alain[and excerpt from Josefina Ayerza's introduction]

Slavoj Žižek, in his “Letter Which Did -Arrive at its Destination” calls upon the drama of an annoying father, as well as a deceiving father, and its universal character. Here is the story:

Hanif Kureishi was telling Žižek about his new novel, and this time the narrative is different from what he wrote before; thus he ironically asked Kureishi, I quote “But the hero is nonetheless an immigrant with a Pakistani father who is a failed writer…” Kureishi replied: “What’s the problem? Do we not all have Pakistani fathers who are failed writers?”

According to Žižek, Kureishi was right, since this is what Hegel meant by singularity elevated into universality. Therefore the pathological twist that Kureishi experienced in his father is part of every father, there is no normal father, everybody’s father is a figure who failed to live up to his mandate and thus left to his son the task to settle his symbolic debts….

As to the Profane with regard to the cover – by a young Argentinian artist – let’s say that it evokes the ancient Greek, in the figure of the god Priapus. In his dedicated essay Richard Payne Knight sustains that men, considered collectively, are at all times the same animals, employing the same organs, and endowed with the same faculties. Therefore their passions, prejudices and conceptions will be formed on the same principles... With Priapus the principle at stake is the phallus – the image of the male sexual organ. Through the centuries the actual image results in a signifier. Now, because it is a signifier, it touches on desire, which we know with Lacan, belongs solely in the very human. [...]



Profane Illuminations

Miguel Abreu Gallery – NYC,
November 18/2006

[and excerpt from Josefina Ayerza's introduction]

Josefina Ayerza & Alain Badiou

A train arrives at a station. A little boy and a little girl are seated in a compartmemnt face to face next to the window through which the buildings along the station plaform can be seen passing as the train pulls to a stop. “Look”, says the brother, “we’re at Ladies,”; “Idiot” replies the sister, “Cant you see we’re at gents?”

Says Lacan, “Besides the fact that the rails in this story materialize the bar in the Saussurian algorithm, the signifier sends forth its light into the shadow of incomplete significations.

The issue is complicated because of the ambiguity attached to the expression “it is written.” Of course, there is “what is written” in the same way as “it speaks.” [...]

Press Release


Profane Illuminations

Slavoj Žižek – Can One Really Tolerate a Neighbor?
Jack Tilton Gallery – NYC, November 20/2006

Josefina AyerzaSlavoj Žižek

[and excerpt from Josefina Ayerza's introduction]

In the session the analyst's attention floats, the analysand free associates…
This patient is telling a story… It’s about some problem with a candy bar, a bit later he mentions someone behind bars, and then talks about Matthew Barney his favorite artist…

Candy–bar, behind bars, Matthew Barney

I had to say — I hear BAR —

The very curious part came a few sessions later when he said I had told him — you want to go to the bar —

I said I hadn’t said such thing… he remembered

— Well, you said “I hear Bar“ —

Did the word speak? The word spoke to him and said

— you want to go to the bar —

The master may incarnate the analyst, even though the discourse of the master - the other side of the psychoanalytic discourse – is the structure of the unconscious.

And this is how the signifier Master accounts for the speech. A tiny master of only 3 letters:

Of course, there is “what is written” in the same way as “it speaks.” “It speaks” is on occasion so powerful, however, that it obscures that the reading aloud of “what is written” had a much more important place in antiquity. Writing had to be spoken [parlé] in order to become speaking [parlant]. This is true of writing as inscription of speech, as notation of what is said, its reception, its representation.

What interested Lacan in the act of writing, as regards the philosophical context, was another mode of writing: writing as mark, isolated trait — the logic passed through there — unary trait… [...]