*towards a reading of Lacan’s ‘The Mirror Stage’. … —PART II. on ‘space fear’, & the ‘ideal’: language, ‘intuition’ & flux in Nietzsche & Bergson, & the fiction of the ‘I’ in Lacan. …

– LACAN & (THE QUESTION OF) THE “REAL” –
*(—a reading group).

Why Lacan & why the real… —? —Introduction to the reading group.

Introduction to Lacan: notes from a lecture.

Outline of a reading of ‘The Mirror Stage’.

Mirror Stage I.—the infant, the mirror, & the nature of the image.

Mirror Stage II.—‘space fear’, & the ‘ideal’. (part (i).)

Mirror Stage II.—‘space fear’, & the ‘ideal’. (part (ii).): Nietzsche on the intellect, language, the ‘I’ as fiction, and ‘intuition’.

Mirror Stage II.—‘space fear’, & the ‘ideal’. (part (iii).): the Undivided Continuity of States. —‘analysis’, ‘duration’ & ‘intuition’ in Bergson.

 

language, ‘intuition’ & flux in Nietzsche & Bergson,
& the fiction of the ‘I’ in Lacan. …

 

So, …

 

For both Nietzsche and for Bergson, then…

 

… —things’… —fragments (fragmented) in (—within-of) space, and the moments-atoms in-of ‘clock-time’ are impositions of language. …

 

on-to a—pre-linguistic,—pre-egoistic, inchoate flux

 

*—(what I’ve dubbed here, for my own purposes) *—the flux of the undivided continuity of states.… —subsisting, then, beneath the individuated concepts of the intellect in Bergson’s conception of ‘duration’, and, I’d argue, in Nietzsche’s… analogous critique of the intellect and championing of ‘intuition’ in the early ‘On Truth’ essay.

 

… ‘Things’ and ‘moments’ (—‘clock-time’) forged, then, from flux. …

 

First as words (a word), an utterance in response to a sense-stimulus. …

 

—The word becomes a concept when it no longer refers exclusive-solely to the sense-stimulus which gave birth-rise to it, but is used to… yoke together disparate phenomena. … *—the (attempted) elision of the differences between diverse experiences (stimuli) and the attempt to equate unequal phenomena (under a single head, so to).

 

—In order to be able to establish a communal linguistic consensus (—the legislation of language). …

 

… —Words, then,… —only ever (in truth) provisional,—inadequate, translations of, and attempts to incorporate experience-sense-stimuli, become (via a process) reified *(—the abstract… —made more concrete,… —real),—taken as-for truth. …

 

—Taken as *corresponding,—absolutely and unproblematically, to things-as-they-are-in-themselves, and there vital, artistic origins (—origins in-as artistic projections) is forgotten-repressed. …

 

…—They become, in effect, stultified metaphysical prejudices——divorced… —alienated from experience.

 

… *—For Bergson, as for Nietzsche, the aim of what both dub ‘intuition’ is to overcome the institutionalised and complacent metaphysical prejudice of the concepts (—formed by the intellect/’analysis),… —a descent (back) into the pre-individuated, undifferentiated flux, and a return with new metaphors and previously ‘unheard-of combinations of concepts’.—To create new metaphors, in order then to capture the *‘vividly felt actual sensation’. …

 

*on flux, then, … & the imposition of the fiction of the ‘I’. …

 

*—It’s possible to read Lacan on the relationship between the subject & the image in-of ‘the mirror stage’, then, alongside, or perhaps rather in terms analogous (—a parallel to) Nietzsche and Bergson on language and flux. …

 

 

*For both Nietzcshe and Bergson… there’s a (however, perhaps, regrettable) necessity in-to the spatial-temporal fragmentation (—into atoms,… quanta) in, or rather through, the impositions of language.

 

*—There is a necessity in-to the formation of a discrete ‘I’. … —In order to overcome, and to repress, the chaotic flux in-of the organism,… *—organs-drives-forces. …

 

—The imposed fiction of the discretion of the ‘I’, and of ‘things’ in space and moments in-of time, are what renders communication and community (the social-political and legal) possible. …

 

*… —Require, then,—the imposition of a fiction. …

 

 

And this is what’s at stake *(I’d argue, at least) in Lacan’s account of the ‘mirror stage’: …

the *|total form| of his body, by which the subject anticipates the maturation of his power in a *|mirage|, is given to him only as a *gestalt, that is, in an *exteriority in which, to be sure, this form is more *constitutive than constituted, but in which, above all, it *|appears to| him as |the *contour of his stature| […] (76).

 

*—The ‘total form’ of the image of the body in the mirror is a fiction,… —necessarily ‘gestalt’ *(that is,—apparently-seeming more than the simple sum of its parts): … complete (whole),—unified (… —no gaps,… no disjuncture(-discord),… —no remainder)… *—bound within the clam, satisfying smoothness of a-the ‘contour’. …

 

It is constituted in the moment of the ‘mirror stage’, and has no existence, either prior to, or beyond it. …

 

—it is a mirage. … —an illusion (or,—a trick of the light (so to) ), the desire for identity with which is spurred (I’d argue) by a desire,… —a need,… —an unrealistic and (ultimately-finally) unrealisable hope,—for fixity *(—stasis). …

 

In order to overcome and—importantly—to repress,… the chaos in-of an underlying flux *(in-within the organism (organs-drives-forces…)… —of an undivided continuity of ‘states’… —?).

 

 

*—The ‘mirror stage’ then, represents an attempt to wrest (the fiction of a) fixity-stasis (—peace and security) from the chaos of an underlying flux of movements: of and within the subject (—psychological and bodily), and in(-within) its environment (surrounds-environs).

 

*An important question I want to address in what follows: …

Is this flux pre-linguistic and (therefore) pre-egoistic for Lacan, as it is for Nietzsche and Bergson… —?

 

 

It’s the necessity-need for fixity (stasis), and the notion of a relationship between the ‘I’ and an underlying flux (whatever its particular nature or status might be), that opens up the possibility, I think, of interrogating-reading the origins of the ‘mirror stage’, and which represents a really interesting basis of comparison for reading Lacan on the ‘real’ (in ‘The Mirror Stage’ essay) in relation to Nietzsche on language and the ‘I’ ( = ego), and Bergson on ‘duration’ and ‘analysis’. …

 


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*Introduction to a new reading group on the work of Jacques Lacan & the question of the ‘real’. …

The Thinker (oil on canvas, 135cm x 90cm) Nov. 14 2014

Kate Brinkworth, The Thinker (oil on canvas), Nov. 2014

 

*the ‘real’ reading group.
(so to).
– LACAN & (THE QUESTION OF) THE “REAL” –

I.

By way of a sort of an introduction. …

—Why Lacan (as the subject for an on-line reading group),
—& why the question of the ‘real’… —? …
*—notes of a dilettante (attempting to read Lacan). …

 

*… —In early July of this year, I had a conversation with Kate Brinkworth,—a brilliant artist (as well as being a lecturer for Winsor & Newton on colour and pigment), over on-via Twitter (—@katebrinkworth). …

—Kate and I have been following each other for a while now, after I’d discovered her work on-over Twitter, shared-re-posted it. and commented on how much I admired (—admire) it.

 

*—Kate paints fantastic photorealist work that focusses particularly on close-up still lifes of (seemingly) mundane-everyday objects.

 

 

I was drawn in particular, I think, to the sheer craft in-of her work… —the sharp, clear… cleanliness of her style,… her (extremely close-exhaustive) attention to detail and the… almost uncanny precision or accuracy of the scale and detail of her rendition of objects and conditions of light and shade, and the illusion of… naturalness (for want) and spontaneity-chance, in her, in fact, very carefully staged compositions

*(—as if each painting—the subject of each of her paintings—is, simply,  a… caught moment (so to),… —incidentally happened upon, and recorded, unsentimentally and without judgment, with a ‘photographic’-encyclopaedic faithfulness in-to each-and-all of its (depth of) details. …

 

… —a—to me—near-perfect rendition of objects,—of light and time (—of time picked out and evoked in-through light), and of a (clean, compelling) sense of space. … ).

*(—see The Thinker, above. … ).

 

 

*—Our correspondence was triggered by Kate’s having tweeted an image from her most recent work: a series of images depicting cast die and gambling chips. …

 

*—. There’s a… (characteristic) sharpness (—cleanness), clarity, and precision in Kate’s rendering of the die, coupled, in these works, with their kind of borderline tacky plastic glamour—captured in the rich, sharp, almost neon colour palette, the texture of the surface on which they rest, and the subdued, ‘mood’-lighting (and shadow). …

 

 

… —It’s the… care,… —precision, clarity and exactness of observation, scale, space, and perspective that I admire in Kate’s work.

 

*—I find that it… chimes (so to—sic) with the commitment-fidelity to lived-experience-the everyday, and the focus on… unpacking everyday psychological experience, capturing it in-within the ‘image’, and thus being able to fully incorporate it, that I see as being at stake in Nietzsche’s writing on art (in light of, and in relation to the development of his philosophy), and in the aesthetic theories, manifestoes, prose, and poetry of the self-styled neo-classical Modernists (—James Joyce, T.E. Hulme, Ezra Pound, and the Imagist poets in particular).

*(which I’m (still, yes,… still) in the midst of trying to unpack for myself,—over on the main thread of this BLOG/writing project. … ).

 

*Also. … —these are the…  (what?… ) qualities (?),… values, (sic) I feel, to which I’m trying  aspire in my own, semi-autobiographical, psychologically realist, experimental prose-poetry *(which I’m still in the midst of trying to get published, and at least one example of-from which can be found elsewhere on this blog).

 

 

I asked Kate what the influences of-behind her photo-realism were (are). …

 

She replied, posting a link to her (artist’s) website, and to her commentary on the emergence and development of her style. …

*(—the full text can be found here: http://katebrinkworth.com/about-us/ *[as accessed on 22-07-2015]. … ).

 

 

*in her artist’s bio, Kate talks about the origins of her work in her study of ‘the construction of […] film’ in a way, I think, that illuminates the qualities I most admire in her work: …

*—‘How do light, shadow, camera angle, focus, objects and location play a part in intriguing and capturing your imagination, enabling the viewer to pick up on the essence of an idea and sparking off their imagination so they themselves bring something to the viewing experience’?

 

*… —light, shadow, angle (—both geometric, and the occupying of a particular perspective), (the intensity, or clarity of) focus, then, as (both) capturing, and evoking (—evocative of) a broader, narrative context. …

 

*… —that a careful selection, and arrangement in a space, of the right (—the correct) things, with the correct lighting conditions and (thus) tone and atmosphere—pathos (—an absolute—rigorous—artistic economy, then, posing (-posed), so to, somehow as (as if) found—naturally,—arbitrarily. …) can fulfil the function—realise what it would take the full unfolding—of a film (—the full revelation or exposition of a broader narrative-narrative context) to create: in a single, pure, carefully-rigorously constructed, clean, economic *image. …

 

 

Golden Dollar (oil on canvas, 150cm x 100cm) April 28, 2014

Kate Brinkworth, Golden Dollar (oil on canvas, 150cm x 100cm) April 28, 2014

 

… —Kate writes that she began, then, to ‘set up my own stills, engage in my own ideas’…

 

*(and I like the idea of the transformation or evolution of film stills into still lifes-paintings (phtotorealism). …)

 

… —‘I began to collect objects that would enable me to do this, dice, insects, cameras, letters, papers, anything I could find that had a sense of intrigue about it. I then played around with setting up small still lifes, lighting them differently, changing the focal point to emphasise a certain item and then working these into paintings. I became more involved in the process of this, enjoying the translation of light into paint, the properties of pigments and the challenge of photorealism’. (my emph, M.D.B.)

 

And what’s important here, I’d argue (at least—for me), is the idea-concept of translating light—of transposing experience into a still image, through the capturing of light states. …

 

Interestingly, Kate writes that she: ‘can get more detail into a painting than I can from a photograph, I can enhance and play around with oversaturated colour and light.’ …

 

 

*—Photorealism, then, … passes over, seemingly at the exact moment of its perfect realisation, into a sort-a form of hyperrealism. …

 

*(that is…) —at the moment of its perfect self-becoming, or—self-realisation,… photorealism collapses (out of itself)—forward (outward),… —into a portrayal or transposition that becomes more ‘real’ than the ‘real’ (itself). …

*(—the perfect transposition of the ‘real’ in (—into-within) the image becomes more—becomes (the) hyperreal. …

 

—the image—the artistic model—shorn of its tethers in-to the ‘real’, … and becomes something more (more than the) ‘real’. … —? … ).

 

 

—This notion-idea of the clean, definite, image,… —able to evoke, through its portrayal (capturing) of light (states), and perspective, a broader narrative than its composition might immediately suggest,… —more, richer (—sharper) detail than is possible in a film-the photograph—developed in Kate’s work…

*—‘I began to bring the story more to the forefront with the use of black and white imagery, stripping away colour, leaving objects or locations as the central element but at the same time introducing a person. Who is the character behind the card game? Who is ‘The Thinker’ exploring the material world under a magnifying glass? Who wrote the letter? Or as the image is often a point-of-view shot, is it actually you the viewer?’

 

—At the point at which the image becomes more than (the) ‘real’, the emphasis shifts from the composition of the image itself to the image’s viewer or reader. …

 

*—ultimately, the ‘photoreal’-become hyperreal, brings the (figure of the) ‘viewer’ (themselves) into question:

 

*—the relationship, then,—of the viewer to the ‘real’. …

 

So, …

 

As I say (said). …

 

—I was fascinated, in a way in which I’ve only just begun to fully work out or through in drafting-writing (typing. down) all this here, in what Kate wrote about how her photorealism’s *turn into hyperrealism *(—at the point-the moment of its self-becoming—capturing of the ‘real’), —and I said so to her (over Twitter)

(hell.—why ever not, hmm? … ).

 

 

She replied, saying that, in some new-prospective work that she was (—is) planning, she wants to investigate the concept of the ‘real’, … *—especially through the work of Jacques Lacan. …

 

 

(hmm)

 

—. Though my background (academic.—under- and postgraduate, and published) is in (what-is-referred to-as) ‘Theory’ (—Critical Theory, to give it its full, & somewhat dubious (I think) name) and in Philosophy & Literature, including reading-studying and writing on psychoanalysis … I’ve never had the opportunity to study Lacan in any ongoing,—thoroughgoing, formal academic way-sense, but have spent a long time reading him (independently-autonomously), and, indeed, I lectured on his thought on some honours degree courses in Contemporary Theatre, Drama, and Critical Theory, which I wrote and ran at Queen Margaret University, between 2008 and 2010.

*(JE-SUS.—I hadn’t realised that it was quite as long ago as 5-7 years already. …

 

Jesus. … … ).

 

 

* … —There’s something in Lacan: … —something in (the development) of his account of the formation of the ego (—the “I”. … ) and its being… mired (so to) in the subject’s being thrust into (pre-existing,… —pre-egoistical) language), his return to Freud, and fusion of his insights on-concerning Freud with his reading of Saussure’s Semiology and its account of language, …

 

—something that, I think, might serve to bring together, and to clarify (—to help perfect, for want) all the ideas that are at stake in Nietzsche, Joyce, Bergson, and Hulme (—in neo-classical Modernism) (at least, in the way I’ve read-been reading them, in my doctoral thesis, and over on the main thread of the blog project: The Fold of the Artist). …

 

—something that, now, I feel, it would be extremely useful for me to commit myself (however casually-occasionally) to unpacking and setting down (—attempting, at least provisionally, to articulate). …

 

 

 

*Intrigued, I asked Kate if she would like someone to read over Lacan with,—with a view to understanding (the question of) the ‘real’ in Lacan’s work, and to helping her develop her (future) work. …

 

*(…

 

—recently, I’ve been commissioned by Charioteer Theatre *[link], as a freelance writer, to produce two education packs for their forthcoming production of two adaptations of Shakespeare’s Coriolanus (—to be staged in the Piccolo Theatre, Milan in 2016, and then, subsequently, touring Italy and Scotland). …

 

I also had an (in the end abortive) meeting-interview with a successful Scottish theatre company to work, as a freelance Content Editor/Researcher, on a project collating, editing, and uploading the history of their productions (notes, audience figures and feedback, press and promotional materials, flyers, programs, &c.) to an online archive. …

 

—and I think, at the moment, having failed to find the kind of community and welcome reception of… more idiosyncratic work-research (so to) in academia, that this is the kind of work-project that I want to be doing: … *—collaborating with artists (of whatever hue-persuasion) on philosophical and intellectual, as well as practical, research and writing, with a view to fostering and bolstering new artistic work. …

 

For me, it’s also a throw-back to the… edifying spirit (so to) of the reading group on-of Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit in which I participated as an undergraduate (back at ol’ Manchester Metropolitan University), and to the communal reading-writing and research presentation culture, which I shared with friends on the MA in Philosophy & Literature during my time at The University of Warwick, … —the spirit of both of which I failed (sadly, and frustratingly) to find-rekindle (despite many—(what felt like) fevered—attempts) during my doctoral studies in-at Edinburgh. …

 

… —by hook, or by fuckin’ crook,… —I will  forge the kind of intellectual artistic community I’ve been looking for. … (&c.) ).

 

 

Kate said yes.

 

 

—the reading group, then. …

 

And so, …

 

—this current (—this new) project was born: … *—The ‘real’ reading group. (so to).

 

 

*I also managed, shortly thereafter, to rope in another of my Twitter-made friends: Emma Paulet (@Emmahgerd), who I met when she liked and followed the main thread of the blog project here.

 

*—Emma’s own smart, self-deprecating(-lacerating) and beautiful experimental poetry, prose, and photography can be found over on her own blog: www.emmapaulet.wordpress.com

 

 

*—The(…) ‘aim’ (—in so far as there is any kind of an aim) here, then, I think, is to work, in quite an informal way, through various lectures-essays-pieces and concepts in-from the work of Lacan,—corresponding, electronically, mainly across Twitter, email, and this blog thread.

 

 

*—I’m going to take the liberty (having sought Kate and Emma’s permission(s)) to make use of this new thread on the blog to post my own notes-readings-thoughts-responses (—so that I’m obliged to at least try to formalise and to explain them, as clearly as I’m able. …), in the hopes that a-this string-thread on the Fold can form a kind of a… hub, for (—to collect) the readings-responses-thoughts-notes (&c.) of the others-others, and (thus)—a kind of running (and perhaps alarmingly cavalier and free-form) resource (I s’pose). …

 

—This will have been the first reading group I’ve participated in to be conducted over-through-from social media. …

 

 

*—We’re beginning (going to begin) at the beginning (or, perhaps rather,—the source, in Lacanian terms)—with ‘The Mirror Stage as Formative of the I Function as Revealed in Psychoanalytic Experience’,—in-from *Jacques Lacan, Écrits, trans. Bruce Fink (London: W.W. Norton & Company, Ltd., 2006), *—pp. 75-81.

*(—at the start—the heart, really, I s’pose—of Lacan’s seminars. …. ).

Ecrits - The First Complete Edition in English (cover art).

 

—The rest, I think, we’ll decide (democratically, ‘n’ tha-) amongst ourselves, as a group, as we go along, keeping to the theme (and the concept) of the ‘real’. …

 

 

And so, (and so,—again)…

 

*—What follows-will follow here *(—my future post-posts in this thread), then, will form an attempt to go back over my lecture and notes on ol’ Jacques, and to try to salvage-rescue (—to pick out) any potentially useful notes-trivia-fragments that might remain (—whatever might prove useful as a (re-?)introduction, or a refresher on-to Lacan), and my own, faltering (yes… —inadequate) attempt to read through, and to make sense of, *—‘The Mirror Stage’.