lacanian ink 36, Two events: starting -
lacanian ink 34, Miguel Abreu Gallery,
lacanian ink 33, Tilton Gallery,
lacanian ink 32, Two events: starting -
lacanian ink 30, Two events: starting -
lacanian ink 28, Four events: starting -
lacanian ink 27, Tilton Gallery,
lacanian ink 26, Tilton Gallery,
lacanian ink 24/25, Deitch Projects,
lacanian ink 23, Deitch Projects,
lacanian ink 22, Drawing Center,
lacanian ink 21, Deitch Projects,
lacanian ink 19, Jack Tilton Gallery,
lacanian ink 18, The Drawing Center,
lacanian ink 17, Deitch Projects,
lacanian ink 16, Drawing Center,
lacanian ink 15, The New
lacanian ink 11, Deutsches Haus Columbia University: Winter/1995
LACANIAN INK 32 – Fall
ALAIN BADIOU - IS THE WORD "COMMUNISM" FOREVER DOOMED?
Henry St. Settlement, Harry de Jur Playhouse, New York City, November
06/2008 (sponsored by the Miguel Abreu Gallery)
Thank you all for being here tonight, and a special thanks to Miguel
Abreu for his eager enthusiasm with hosting our Lacanian Ink
events - this time he did a true move with finding and hiring this
beautiful theatre, for us to attend in comfort.
So we have Issue 32, and Lacanian Ink's 19th year of existence.
The general topic is Semblance.
What is Semblance?
In his Seminar XIII, an unpublished seminar – Jacques Lacan
calls on Dante, who, he says, brings up Virgil as "memory of presence".
An image of water, Dante closes his First Chant with Virgil saying "tell
yourself I am always at your side." Perhaps, says Lacan, we can link the
place Virgil occupies with the place the analyst occupies.
In a second allusion to the myth of Narcissus, the scene takes place
in Paradise - under the sky of the moon… Beatrice just destroyed
the erroneous opinion of Dante on the moon stains. Dante ready to confess
his new conviction, lifts his head high up in order to speak better, but
a vision appears and he no longer recalls his confession as transparent,
clean glass, nor as pure and quiet water surfaces… not deep enough
for the bottoms to be obscured, he says, "they returned the traits of
their faces so diffused as a pearl on a white background does not arrive
at all abrasive to our pupils."
So I saw several figures ready to talk… one gave birth to the
love between man and source. And as I hardly surprised I glimpsed her,
that looked like mirrored semblants… So I saw many faces bent to
speak and fell into the error opposite, to that which made Narcissus love
the fountain. Here, the fountain could stand for the source, with Lacan
the cause, which at the source, is the cause of the desire.
With Jacques-Alain Miller's "Reading of Seminar XVI From an Other
to the other (1968-69)" – the fourth and last part. What is
properly called "clinical" by Lacan is what pairs up with the term
"structure." The structure forms the axis of the Seminar. What is
properly called clinical practice in psychoanalysis does not omit the
factor of transference…: with Dante "memory of presence" or "tell
yourself I am always at your side.
This, says Miller, explains the sometimes-superstitious reverence that
some analysts have about the place they degrade by calling it the office.
It is not a matter of an office, but of structure; the difference between
the office and the structure is that the structure works, it has an
action, it commands. a - $ - S1 – S2. In the structure Semblance
lies in concern with the analyst… much as he is supposed to
become: like the woman, like art, the analyst does not exist…
Miller draws a parallel between the appearance of a neurosis and the
triggering of a psychosis… between the formulas of hysteria and
obsession. And these depend on a double postulation – that of
erotic jouissance. Erotic jouissance is prior to autoerotic
jouissance, such as that which intruded for Little Hans in which
his tiny sister Anna is lacking a penis like his, a penis for which he
has a signifier - thus he functions in the Symbolic. Unfortunately for
Hans his perception or psychical reality does not "work", because in the
real his little sister Anna lacks nothing.
For Slavoj Žižek in his "Why Lacan Is Not a Heideggerian", the fact is
that psychotics can speak, that in some sense they do dwell in language:
"foreclosure" does not mean their exclusion from language, but the
exclusion/ suspension of the symbolic efficiency of a key signifier
within their symbolic universe. When the small Wolfman, at the age of
one, observed his parents' coitus a tergo, this event left in his
mind a memory trace, it was symbolized, but it was just kept there as a
libidinally-neutral trace; it was only more than three years later, when
the Wolfman's sexual fantasies were awakened and he was intrigued by the
origin of children that this trace was properly historicized, activated
in his personal narrative as a way to locate himself in the universe of
meaning. Psychotics do accomplish the first step, they are within the
symbolic order; what they are unable to do is to
subjectively/performatively engage in language, to "historicize" their
So with Love, it is a pretend, Lacan said; so it cannot be
acknowledging our lack, more so because it is a fake, a play of
simulation: semblance… that I (lover) have something (phallus) so
I can fill in your lack my beloved! but it is not a successful fake,
because at the same moment, I have to play being devoid of something so I
need you my beloved and so on… just love.
With you Alain Badiou...
LACANIAN INK 32 – Fall
ALAIN BADIOU - FIGURES OF SUBJECTIVE DESTINY: SAMUEL
Jack Tilton Gallery - New York City, November 07/2008
Thank you all for being here tonight, a special thanks to Jacques Tilton
and many thanks to Jeanine Cirincione for their recurrent enthusiasm with
hosting our Lacanian Ink events.
Josefina Ayerza & Alain Badiou
So we have Lacanian Ink 32 and the journals' 19 years of
existence – the general topic is Semblance.
This issue begins with Humpty Dumpty in dialogue with Alice "Through the
Looking Glass", and this is Lewis Carroll's version in Jacques-Alain
Miller's Polemic: death to Psy's, "The question is," said Alice,
"whether you can make words mean so many different things." "The question
is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master – that's all."
In Seminar XIII – Humpty is Maese Adam, comparable to the public
thing. Says Lacan - a body, a social body and the effects this body
provokes – the excessive swelling of the prince's abusive wealth
leads to images of deformity. The prince is a member of this body – a
kind of monster, excessively inflated, inflated in detriment of the rest of
the body that is the community… Maese Adam suffers from hydropesia
– his tummy grows as it raises an forms a screen in front of his
eyes, blinds them. The tummy is full with the certain stagnant water in
concern with the prince's wealth. Stagnant it rots, and it cannot circulate
inside Maese Adam's body. And it provokes dryness in the mouth, and the
broken lips, and constant thirst. His members too thin, they cannot sustain
Maese Adam, this huge blind tummy. Maese Adam is a false wallet. And the
false wallet is Adam, the first man.
In "The Other Side of Lacan" Miller tells of the final text published by
Lacan which the preface of Seminar XI, having as an initial title "The
Fundaments of Psychoanalysis" – a title transformed by the listeners
to "The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis", then adopted by
Lacan. Unconscious/transference/repetition/drive. With the handling of
these concepts Lacan, says Miller, was at an impasse with the real
unconscious. Then, the following year, he tried to propose "something that
goes further than the unconscious." He did not name this something, for
which we keep the pseudonym of real unconscious. It is the real, such as in
labyrinths, vortices, the complications presented in the form of a quest in
With Massimo Recalcati there is in Lacan's return to Freud four main
propositions that characterize his own journey trough madness - that reveal
four different stations in Lacan's discourse.
1. The existentialist soul that underlines the relationship between
madness and freedom as being ethically crucial.
2. The Spinozean-Hegelian soul which emphasizes the universal function
of the symbolic and where madness is perceived as negative in relation to
its pacifying nature.
3. The Freudian-structuralist soul, which considers madness as the
result of a fundamental failure of the signifying function and the Oedipal
inefficacy of the Name-of-the-Father.
4. The soul "beyond Oedipus" which leads Lacan to conceive of the Other
as inconsistent and, consequently, to articulate madness as the dimension
proper to any human being: the Name-of-the-Father is exposed as pure
semblance among the others and fails to foster the neurotic belief in its
being the foundation of the symbolic order.
In Alain Badiou's "The Son's Aleatory Identity in Today's World", I
quote: "Freud tells us a story divided into three grand chapters. In the
first, that of the primitive horde, the father jouisseur
appropriates all the women for himself. The sons then revolt against and
murder this father, forming a pact by which they organize themselves to
manage the situation in the most egalitarian way possible. The second
chapter is that of the sublimation of the dead father, wherein he becomes
Law, the figure of the one God. The father is over again both harsh
guardian and severe judge, but it should be understood that the real
father, assassinated, only returns under the order of the symbolic father.
The third chapter is of the sons' participation in the glory of the father,
in Christianity, at the price of a violent initiation: the initiation of
the Son of God into the torture and death humanity imposes upon itself.
In Lacan's famous short Seminar The Names-of-the-Father, Abraham
embodies the Father Figure reproduced in Caravaggio's painting The
Sacrifice of Isaac. The son's head held tight against an altar made of
stone; Isaac's countenance reflects suffering and fear. He gestures in
pain… Abraham's knifepoint towards the boy's neck, the angel that
stands for "the one who's Name you do not pronounce" restrains the father's
arm… If Abraham is the Imaginary Father, again the monster - like
in Frankenstein's monster - Isaac should be Frankenstein himself.
Frankenstein is a Swiss doctor that discovers the secret of animating
lifeless matter by assembling body parts taken from graveyards and so.
Before long he "gives birth" to a monster; yet to his distress the new born
creature disappears. By and by Frankenstein receives a letter stating his
brother had been murdered.. Frankenstein's heart enters torture–non
other than the demon he had created could be responsible for his brother's
death. He leaves in search of the actual demon; he finds him, he confronts
him… The demon-monster speaks his life story: after leaving
Frankenstein's laboratory he had gone to the village, where he was insulted
and attacked. Finally he found refuge in a small house inhabited by a blind
man and his two children where he learnt to speak, read and write. The
monster's only request from Frankenstein is that he creates for him a
female partner. Frankenstein begins the work on this, his second creation,
till he starts questioning the creation/himself. Fearing his creation will
produce a whole race of the kind he destroys the work. Infuriated, the
monster kills Elizabeth, Frankenstein's wife. Frankenstein asks Walton to
kill the monster if he were to die before he could do it himself. He dies.
Just after Frankenstein's loss of life Walton finds the monster hanging
over Victor's body. His creator dead, the monster decides it is time for
him to die as well.
So about the father. In the first story, we encounter a real father, a
father of jouissance, a father who will let go of nothing to
maintain his monopoly of jouissance. And we see that on the side of
the son, the active element, no less real, is an aggressiveness only murder
can appease. In the second story we have the symbolic father, for which the
support is likewise the real father, but who returns in the place of the
Other, as Lacan would say… On the side of the son, one finds, by a
reversal of the aggressiveness aroused by the real father, devotion to the
big Other, and thus a figure of unlimited submission. In the third story,
that of Christianity, one would be tempted to say that we have the
imaginary father. The father is in fact removed into a sort of background;
he is like the décor of the son's action. He becomes the
fictive totality of three instances; he is at times the father, then the
trinity. But in the real as in the symbolic, these three instances are
intotalizable (intotalisables) in such a way that the father can but
appear as a semblance.Alain Badiou — Figures of Subjective Destiny: Samuel Beckett