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Jacques Lacan's Anxiety (II)

The Names-of-the-Father

The Formulas of

On Giorgio Agamben's

The Fundamental Perversion

Lacan as Reader
of Hegel


Catherine Opie

violeta image


For sixteen years now, lacanian ink has been publishing writers, philosophers, poets, painters, art-critics, musicians..., from very different latitudes. To the point that we have a dialogue going on, this dialogue is open enough as to not belong in a place; it happens however in New York City, and this is how it includes everyone of us, how it is us...

lacanian ink 27 is taking up on "The-Names-of-the-Father," Jacques Lacan's very succinct seminar.

It lasted a day.

It consists of the one lesson.

It doesn't have a number.

As you know we go from Seminar X: Anxiety to Seminar XI: The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis.

"Lacan didn't want to number it," says Jacques-Alain Miller in his "The Names-of-the-Father," where he directly addresses the story, "and do we want to say that from then on and forever there is a hole in Lacan's teaching... in the series of his seminars...? Lacan liked to interpret it, to provoke his audience, 'It wasn't by chance that I couldn't give my seminar on The Names-of-the-Father...' as if to give that seminar would have been in some way impossible... as if there existed a curse..."

For Lacan there is a correspondence between the seminar and what was happening to him at the moment, that is his excommunication; as if the bar placed on his name would necessarily be followed by another on the seminar "The Names-of-the-Father."

The Name-of-the-Father divides into the theory of the father and the theory of the name: if we refer to the paternal metaphor, it is the function of metaphorizing the desire of the mother, of barring it; if to the event of naming, Kripke's theory of dice, soon pointed out by Lacan, brings in the function of a pure signifier of the proper name to emerge in mathematical logic.

Calling on the logic of the "impossible," the proper name ascribes to the unmovable. Saul Kripke called it a "rigid designator." Not displaceable: Say we proclaim that George W. Bush is an opera singer, he will still be George W. however we describe him. The "possible," to which Lacan refers in "L'...tourdit," allows us to understand that, if George W. Bush is not been an opera singer nothing stops us from conceiving a possible world in which he was. Here Slavoj Zizek would exist as a proper name.

The proper name does not depend on the list of properties assigned to the person.

Here Lacan introduces thematically and for the first time in his writing the concept of jouissance, or how to designate the being of the subject without doing the same for the proper name. This is the lacking name, which must be discovered, that is, the name of jouissance, the name of my being as a being of jouissance. "We can't call it my objet a," says Miller, "it is not a proper name, but in spite of everything..." In the diagnostic a subject is not designated, he rather is a clinical structure as we speak of an obsessive, an hysteric, a phobic... However, the true proper names in the clinic include the surplus of jouissance of a subject, its objet a. When we refer to the "Rat Man," or to the "Wolf Man," we give them proper names, which have nothing to do with the Name-of-the-Father.

The unconscious, repetition, transference and drive, names we owe to Freud, are the names of the father in psychoanalysis.

If S, a, A, A... are the new names of the father in psychoanalysis. With Lacan the switching of the names turned into irony, since he didn't have much hope that someday psychoanalysis could reach a scientific state.

With Alain Badiou in his "Formulas of l'...tourdit," the Real may be designated as impossibility, I quote "... and this is why one of the synonyms for ab-sense in Lacan's text is ab-sex sense-the formula which says that there is no sexual relation."

Mehdi Belhaj Kacem comments on Giorgio Agamben's forthcoming Profanations. Homo sacer is the paradox of politics. Even when it is the people, the sovereign needs a sort of borderline character to set up the order of the state: as the structure of the ban, the law is irrelevant to Homo sacer.

Slavoj Zizek comments the ongoing rise of religious fundamentalism: "its true danger does not reside in the fact that it poses a threat to secular scientific knowledge, but in the fact that it poses a threat to authentic belief itself."

In "Lacan as a Reader of Hegel," Zizek alludes to the analyst as the Hegelian master who adopts the stance of a passive observer, does not intervene directly into the content, but merely manipulates the scene so that the content confronted with its own inconsistencies destroys itself-it is this neutrality which keeps the analyst "on the path of non action." The Hegelian wager is that the best way to destroy the enemy is to give him the free field to deploy his potentials, and that his success will be his failure, since the lack of external obstacles will confront him with the absolutely inherent obstacle of the inconsistency of his own position..."

Cathy Lebowitz and I discuss the work of Catherine Opie, the Name-of-the-Father here involved with a self-portrait of Mother and baby child, while being fed at the breast...

Robert Gober's rephotographs grainy snapshots taken during a 1978 drive from New York City to Jones Beach...

Blake Rayne is a New York City young artist that inaugurated Miguel Abreu's gallery with a show of his paintings.

Florencia Gonzales Alzaga is an avant-garde photographer who lives and works in Buenos Aires.


Art: Florencia Gonzalez Alzaga - Violeta - C-print, 2006
courtesy of the artist.

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