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The Logic of the Cure

The Prisons of Jouissance

The Phallus and Perversion

Adorno's Negative Dialectics and Wagner

Saintliness and the Sainthood

The Animals that Treat Us Badly

The Fall of Sleep

Josephine le Sinthome

The Fall of SoHo

Ridley Howard

Rottenberg image


lacanian ink 33 is touching on one of Jacques Lacan’s very particular concepts. In line with the necessary “the symptom that doesn’t stop writing itself,” proceeds with calling itself a sinthome.

In his “The Logic of the Cure of Little Hans,” Jacques-Alain Miller tells how, after Lacan, the phobic symptom may have the role of Name-of-the-Father. Already the first step for understanding and formulating the Name-of-the-Father is non other than a symptom—one, prone to replace the other, Lacan’s position is that “Little Hans elaborated a little Name-of-the-Father.”

With Alain Badiou it’s the Lacan very question… Is not the Wagnerian project to show that what takes place at a given moment is not all, precisely in that it can be transformed? Should not the infinite melody be understood in the sense of transformation, endless and infinite, such that at no moment is what-is everything, what-is is not all… […] And it is here, precisely at the site of de-totalization… […] that all his power to captivate the subjective must be situated.

Says Gérard Wajcman in “The Animals that Treat Us Badly,” “We record whales singing their whale songs capable of transmitting messages to other whales thousands of kilometers away, but in truth, brandishing our microphones, we only aspire to one thing—that those whales would sing us a song.”

As to François Regnault in his “Sainthood,” psychoanalyst equals saint, but in the sense of the subject supposed to know who is the analyst, again the symptom, and eventually the sinthome. In Jean-Luc Nancy “Self from Absence to Self,” the sinthome hounded as “he slept every night and he still sleeps upon all those nights that separate all the days he continues to make, or that continue to make themselves without him…” Charlotte Mandell’s translation deserves our greatest praise merit.

With Slavoj Zizek the sinthome has a name: Josephine. And “Josephine le sinthome” is together “the Singer, or the Mouse Folk,” in Franz Kafka’s story. Zizek’s writing takes you through strange corridors of identification, where you could be writing your testament while knowing you are dying… “If Josephine is the allegory of the fate of Kafka-the-artist himself” he had already lost his voice because of his inflamed throat, at the story’s end Josephine disappears. Kafka himself wanted to disappear, to have all the traces erased after his death…” The dimension that gets introduced is Kafka himself as a mice-singer and his relation to mice people.

Richard Kostelanetz offers an update to his 2003 book SoHo: The Rise and Fall of an Artists’ Colony. “Those slower to acknowledge Artists’ SoHo’s decline can point to the emigration en masse throughout the 1990s of not only the commercial galleries but the alternative spaces to West Chelsea, which became the center of the art merchandising (but not artists’ living).”

Cathy Lebowitz and me talk about Ridley Howard. Where the interview addresses the general topic, it addresses a major one: Woman is the symptom of man. A major symptom in that it needs a complimentary one, Lacan in Encore brings in a countable space of sexual jouissance. “Don’t you see that what is essential in the feminine myth of Don Juan is that he has them one by one?”

“CL: Can you say a little more about the ‘not all’ feminine jouissance?”

The point at issue turns about the myth of Don Juan, a famous lover and scoundrel who has made more than a thousand sexual conquests. So the story: While preparing to seduce the young noble lady Doña Ana, he is discovered by her father, the Commander, who challenges him to a duel. Don Juan kills the Commander and escapes. Doña Ana and her fiancé Don Ottavio attempt to hunt down Don Juan, but he is too wily to be caught.

Later, Don Juan passes by the tomb of the dead Commander. A voice comes from the statue on the tomb, warning Don Juan that he will be punished for his wicked deeds. The unrepentant Don Juan jokingly invites the statue to have dinner with him. However, the joke is on Don Juan when the haunted statue comes to life and arrives at Don Juan’s house at the promised time.

The statue puts out his hand and offers to take Don Juan to a different banquet. Don Juan, fearless to the last, takes the statue’s hand, but finds himself caught in an unbreakable grip that fills him with freezing cold. A fiery pit opens and the statue drags Don Juan off to Hell.

Here the legend of Don Juan ends, and our own begins…


Rottenberg image


Mika Rottenberg
Video stills Mary's Cherries - video sculpture, 2003
Still from Dough - video sculpture, 2005-2006
courtesy Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery, NYC.

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