A paper I wrote with the wonderful Christopher Danowski has been published in issue 0 of ELSE, an international art, literature, theory and creative media journal. The image on the cover is also a hybrid, like the writing: Chris’ head and my décolletage. Thank god there is a fair amount of Lacan in our paper to analyse that. Have a look at this smart publication here (free but needing registration) and consider submitting. The deadline for the issue on contemplation is 1 January 2015.
From The Baffler:
Žižek: A seduction—to be successful—has to imply a moment of impotence and failure, in the sense that you playfully acknowledge your limitations. Seduction never works with perfection. People are totally wrong when they think that they should present themselves as perfect, blah blah blah blah.
I talked with a sex adviser who told me, when you have a couple where the guy’s impotent, the worst thing to do is to give him some bullshit like, “Don’t think about, just do it spontaneously.” This is where you kill him. He told me one way to do it is to tell them to imitate a purely externalized bureaucratic procedure. Like, you want to make love, okay, sit down with your partner and make a Stalinist plan.
First your fingers (she says) then put your hand on my breasts (she says). Now (he says) you put your finger into my ass. Then you get totally caught in these bureaucratic negotiations. And then usually somebody says, “Fuck it, why don’t we just fuck, let’s go.” The point is you can only do this spontaneously after you have been bureaucratic. It can get eroticized . . .
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Žižek: There’s an Indian guy in Cambridge [Pranav Mistry], who developed “SixthSense,” okay it’s still primitive, he didn’t commercialize it, but it points towards the future. A simple mechanism: you have a camera, a small one, digital, on your head. You have a kind of a projector on your breast, and you are connected to the net through a cellphone in your pocket, and it works like this. The camera identifies the object in front of you. Because it’s connected, the computer can identify them. And then immediately the Internet gets the data about the object and projects them onto any plain surface. You interact with a real object, but at the same time you can project on them all the data.
And I think it’s an interesting thing because the effect is a kind of magic. Objects answer you, telling all about themselves. It must be wonderful to do this in seduction. Okay, it holds also for women, but from my male chauvinist perspective, I look at the woman and it’s projected on her. She likes anal sex, she likes her breasts pinched, she likes this music, she likes that. You get instant data on the girl. This is ideology at its purest. And isn’t it how our real lives are structured? Let’s say you are an anti-Arab, anti-Jewish, or anti-black racist. Isn’t it exactly the same what happens when you see a real Arab or Jew or black guy? You project on him all your racist knowledge. You see that he’s evil, a danger to you, or whatever, blah blah. I think it’s a perfect metaphor for our spontaneous ideology . . .
Looking online for updates on my PhD examiner (I’d like to hear her speak again), I came across the Rigorous Holes website. I was not aware that this lovely conference I participated in back in 2007 had put all the videos online. Timely finding too, for I am to travel to New York on Sunday and this will be on my list to watch.
Don’t worry, My PhD examiner and I did not meet then (not allowed in the UK), as our contributions were on different days. Still, it is great to see this record. You can even watch me speak here.
2HB Vol. 10 is in my hands. Lovely as always and the black cover is a nice touch given the mysteriousness of the texts. It fits well with my contribution, The Scene of a Crime. Thank you to Francis McKee and Louise Shelley.
You are cordially invited to this show, where I will be showing some photographs alongside some work by Glasgow School of Art PhD students:
A woman displays strange behaviour on her way to work: despite having to rush to attend to her duties on time, she finds herself stopping in her tracks, unable to look elsewhere. She is in distress, even if this is not a hysteric fit. The cause of this conduct seems to be related to a diamond and platinum ring. The diamond, a natural, round brilliant one of 1.00 carat, is very sparkling and blinds her. She cannot resist seduction’s call. She is terrified by its meaning and its consequences. She is terrified when addressed to by the object, when faced with her own desire. The encounter is uncanny. She asks: ‘What does the object want from me?’
These photographs are part of a project entitled ‘Make Me Yours’. They are concerned with the relational and psychodynamic aspects of the engagement between object and subject, between work of art and viewer;
one that, when seduction operates, is characterised by interplay, flow and conflict.
I am clearing up, throwing things away, filling, and wrapping, as you do when you finish as long a project as this five-year work. I cannot quite stop yet, I am not resting, although I know I need to. I keep contacting my supervisors with more or less legitimate excuses – my new symptom, it has to stop. I want to write, and I cannot. I am enjoying reading (‘Mansfield Park’ by Jane Austen, ‘Cosmos’ by Witold Gombrowicz and ‘The Man who was Thursday’ by G.K. Chesterton, since you are asking). I am generally leading the life and the moods of someone who is totally lost and a bit bereaved, but it is not a bad thing, as I want to move on (of course I do!).
I am also updating, uploading and making some things available. In general, dragging things out until I they lead me somewhere else.
You can now see the photobook I submitted for my PhD here … As for the textual work, well, that somewhere else I want to go might be publication so I am holding the text for a while. Still, if you want a copy, do get in touch and I will happily respond.