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Ruse, Ravaging, Ravishment



Marie-Hélène Brousse

translated by Asunción Alvarez


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The Wolfman II

Disciplines of the Body

Ruse, Ravaging, Ravishment

Lacan's Marx

Plagiarizing from the Future


The Art of Extraction

Rivane Neuenschwander

Barbara Image […]
A few years ago, I worked on a passage in Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Émile in which he compares the feminine and the masculine way of dealing with the law and the ban. I will not take up this example, but I will discuss another one, taken from observation. Two children the same age, between three and four years old, a little girl and a little boy, were spending their holidays with other children. There were many toys in the house where they were living. Constant arguments and rivalries would give rise to fights over these objects, which led the adults in charge to establish the rule: “The toys in the house belong to all the children.” Please note the type structure,“For every,” which aligns the sentence with the universal. The little boy is in a room, absorbed in the use of a toy. The little girl comes in, takes a look, grabs his toy, and, as he starts crying, says, “The toys belong to all the children,” then leaves with her loot. What did she do? Under the sentence that she repeats—a universal law—she makes another, unspoken dimension arise. She short-circuits the “for every one,” which does not exist by means of an action that is the sign of “a child,” the existence of the singular, here the singularity of a desire, marked by concurrence, for the object that Lacan analyses in such a crystal-clear way in his seminar on anxiety. I will call this solution the “ruse,” as this act never questions the universal law as such but rather is supported by the formulation of this very law—and yet it unveils this law as a fiction, reintroducing at the same time a dimension ignored by the law. In the example from Émile, the subject charges the Other with making explicit the demand whose formulation the Other had forbidden the subject by introducing a gap in the chain of oral demand under the form of silence. Thus the ruse implies, in the first place, a knowledge of lack and its acceptance; secondly, a use of speech that glues the singular position of the subject, which remains unspoken; and thirdly, a handling of the lack in the Other of the law and of language. […]

Art: Barbara Probst.
Exposure #16: N.Y.C., 249 W. 34th Street, 12.07.02, 6:29 p.m., 2002
Ultrachrome ink on cotton paper
2 parts 100 x 66.5cm/39 1/2 x 26 inches each
Edition of 5

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