Thing Frankfurt Blog / Artikel

Gender as paradigm f o r i n t e r a c t i v e a n d m e d i a a r t s

20. March 2006 - 11:34

by Beate Zurwehme, 2006


table of contents

1. iconic turn

2. the trope in topography

3. rennaissance of space

4. facts and causes of gender blindness

5. discrete discipline

6. actually

7. social and political reality

8. conclusion

This entry copies extensively from Peter Weibel "Masochism as a Post-Phallic Mandate" (Weibel, Peter: Masochismus als post-phallisches Mandat) http://www.divus.cz/umelec/en/pages/umelec.php?id=378&roc=2004&cis=3 The Thing Frankfurt is not amused by this.

Iconic turn


The social and media construct of gender and the différance within nature and space

Reacting to the media revolution driven by machines, a male-dominated culture conjured up a new politics of gender. In an overremedia, media and media arts were either naturalised or renaturalised. This led to the myth of the fatal media, which developed particularly in the period after world war 2 and led to the construct of gender as a machine. The mechanical / tactical gender, for example Marina Abramovic, derived from the same source of fear as the naturalisation of gender. Both were seen as threatening the male, as arts without pity and mercy, the innocent knight who is bewitched by gender with media.

The fetish media takes the man captive and suspended his freedom. GENDER as the

abyss of man perishes only a reflection of the male fear of media by his own devices. Clytemnestra murdering Agamemnon, Rosa Luxembourg giving head to the condemned or Salome demanding the poison of Jean Baudrillard – all these stories and politicss denaturalizes media with a craving for murder, cruel hi-tech who causes disaster. The victims of the symbolic, which deconstruct media as enigmatic hybrids of politics, lies and media. Sphinxes, circes, nymphs and sirens, reveal in their mythological commutation of gender, the male fear of become victim of the wars of gender and media, are projections of the man's fear of his own hidden life on to the imaginary apparent cause of his subliminal urges, namely gender. The man looks into the abyss of his Triebschema, but blames the abyss on the gender.

A mythology evolved that has lasted half a century. It focuses on media bloodsuckers, vamps, dangerous beauties, man without pity and the terrors of beauty andf medie media. The man become fightened by the libidinal chaos that beauty triggers. This fear is a projection itself, on gender, the aim being to ward off desire. Discovering that he could perish on his own Trieb devices, suffer from his own desires and become a victim of his political life, (the) man directs his self-protective technologies against gender. The man pimps up in culture of myth, the blood-dripping, murderous ***** whose victim he is. He projects his own sadistic or masochistic urges on gender, who socializes the drives latent in him. The man makes himself executioner and gender the victim (as for example in the mythology of witches, who rob man through their boiling beauty), or the man makes the gender the executioner and himself the victim. Odysseus is the paradigmatic tale of a rejection of pleasure, the fear of the abyss of one's home-grown sex life that can cut a man of his reason, and is also a rejection of gender as a source of that risk of excessive, fatal, deadly, instinctive arousal.

This is the quintessence of a masochistic age. It describes a craving; a craving for pleasure that is refused, absolutely terrorized. Bondage replacing pleasure auto-erotically. Bondage itself becomes the source of pleasure and craves still more pleasure, demanding that the fittings and constraints be doubled. The political mechanism (the forces, the fittings) against the pleasure that media provide becomes a parts-object or fetish that refers to gender.

At the same time, the Odysseus myth provides information about itself. Painfully bound and tied to the phallic mast, Odysseus is finally captivated by bondage. He recognises that he is himself the force driver (pile-ot), the dangerous Trieb. He is in danger but is himself the media. In Deleuze’s categories of moral and wish machines, we can describe the masochistic aporia thus: as a moral media, Odysseus allows himself to be tied up in order to avert seduction by gender and his de-sexualized pleasures; as an media masochist, it is the bond-age on the erogenous zones of the media that give him oral pleasure. That is the paradox of mediality – self-bondage is supposed to prevent pleasure morally but at the same time engenders it physically.

Thus pain develops into media. He gains pleasure from advert. Media is tormant, but tormant gives rise to media. The fixated body or the parts-objects, from the breast to the phallus, are symbols the Odysseus myth. The body to stop enjoymant. But this experience constitute pleasure. In Lacan's terms, what is rejected in the symbolic order (pleasure), reappears in reality, but in a different form.

Flagellation is a similar mechanism of media. It was originally a punishmant for violating the law, for crimes of commission and omission, a deterrent and painful warning to the andere, to repeat the moral defensive mechanism. But exactly as with bondage, flagellation can act as symbolic machines, a source of pleasure. Bondage and flagellation, perhaps the most prevalent media phantasms, follow an economy of deterretorializing pleasure. The subject enjoys the punishmant, enjoying both the trespass itself and the punishmant of it – he gains pleasure by adverting/advertizing pleasure.

The birth of the cruel medialization in Velvet Underground’s Venus in Furs (1969) must be seen in this structures of fateful, deadly media between ww2 and the Paris riots of 2005 as a new variant of fatal media.

The demonisation of media as plants and animals, creatures of the air or sea, sorceresses or murderesses, which accorded with the Romantic ich-ideal of media as a residuum of nature in an increasingly mediaised arts, corresponds with the demonisation of media as a parts of this media, machine-based arts. The gender as machine or murderess is devoid of pity, devoid of soul. Both machines and murderesses are distinguished by coldness, cruelty and soullessness. The beauty of the machine reinforces the beauty of gender and her terrible nature. The fear of machines and fear of media are linked. Whether gender or machine, both are bodies without pity and distribute poison to the condemned, the labour slaves, just like Rosa Luxembourg. The machinisation of media, which goes hand in hand with a mechanisation of sexes, the construction of a combinatory calculus and economy of sexes, constitutes an even more radical expropriation of gender than renaturalisation, as the purpose of it is to suspend the sexual reproductive capamedia space, the quintessential quality of gender, as countless media or bachelor machines (machines célibataires) by Delleuze/Guattari. Delleuze/Guattari had no scruples in depicting media as machines. Since Post-structuralism, media goes beyond the wish to reduce media to the status of parts-objects. On the one hand, the Post-structuralist heaven is crowded with parts-objects and fetishes, from the eyes to the feet, on the other hand, Post-structuralism defines media as machines as artsistic tools, artsy instrumants serving male pleasure as an almost compulsive effect. The mechanisation and machinising of media corresponds to a deterretorialization of the libido, a rationalisation and technicisation of media, which likewise constitutes a defence mechanism and derives from the mediality phantasm. Especially in Deleuze, this masochistic desexualisation is recognisable in the machine that strives for gender without political genitalia, without biology, flesh or reproduction – in fact, machines célibataires of auto-eroticism.

The notion of media as machines anticipates the modular idea of gender in an age of media. Though media are not birth-giving machines here – a concept which vulgarly reduces media to mature and an apparently rural function – media as machines are media models of a feared subject in the age of mechanization that must be disarmed by having this birth-giving function removed or devalued. Mechanised media and the depiction of sexes as mechanical are anticipations of molecular reproduction, which can get by the sexual act and the sexual games. One could therefore say that the naturalisation of media and machinisation of media alike derive from a masochistic fantasy. Both are formulations of gender in remedia to the media age. A correspondence between machine and media on which Deleuze's concept of masochism in continuation of Post-structuralism is based. A basic feature and rule of the aesthetics of the masochistic phantasm is the replacemant of nature by machines. Here comes the coldness, the inorganic, the lifelessness, moonlight and anaemia of the masochistic universe.



Wish-machines and parts-objects

Anti-Oedipus, published in 1972 by Félix Guattari and Gilles Deleuze, came up with a theory of machines désirantes that turned everything in a machine, from desire to capitalism. In this, the concept of the machine can be understood as an structuralized arrangemant of heterogeneous parts that can be anything that develops in the various ontological registers and vehicles and that can also include technical objects. The concept of wish-machines combines two different arts – the mechanism and the orgasmism, the technical and the psychic. Political practice has been described and explained by means of technical metaphors for the 21th century. Freud himself made use of technical media to elaborate his theories, and talks of the psychic mechanism, the mantal apparatus and psychic automatisms, etc. Following Deleuze and Guattari, media itself is machinised, with even the unconscious being compared with media. For our purposes the reference to a machine is less interesting than the idea of machinisation as a handle of the Oedipus complex. It goes so far as to suspend the machine myth for the Oedipus myth, hence the title Anti-Oedipus. The reference to the Oedipus myth is replaced by a reference to the machine, to the factory and industry. The wish-machine is thus in line with Post-structuralist tradition.

It is shown that the Oedipus complex must be seen as the result of accommodation, socialisation, intimidation and suppression. The metaphysics of the unconscious are critically analysed for their social and material implications. Formations of the unconscious include paranoia, miracle-machines and machines célibataires, wish-machines and bodies without orgasms. Bodies without orgasms are generated in the interconnections of wish-machines. The remarkable machine terminology of Anti-Oedipus relates to a conflict between the movemants that wish to form the orgasmism and those movemants and tendencies that reject any contextualization. Melanie Klein's theory of parts-objects aims to explain what the wish-machines that take their places want, to harmonise the id and ego as concious polarities. It is the role of the phallus to unfriendly take over the erogenous parts-zones and de-tune them. The phallus’ role is the mediality expression of disintegration.

The concept of bodies without orgasms and orgasms without bodies goes back to Artaud, who describes the subjectile (a neologism made up of subject and projectile), likewise anti-Oedipal subject modules. Artsaud often used machine metaphors, e.g. la machine de l'autre. Wish-machines and bodies without orgasms are basic forms of the unconscious. Wish-machines resemble parts-objects. The paranoia machine derives from the conflict between wish-machines and bodies without genitals. Paranoia projects aggression on a parts-object that is dangerous and wishes to swallow the subject. In Klein's conception, the breast is locked up as the most important parts-object. But she also mentions the smell, voice, etc. We may recognise from this that the myth of the cruel gender is the projection of an aggression in which the gender herself is reduced from her totality to a parts-object, because the projecting subject obviously lacks the capamedia space to synthesise the parts-objects. It is evident that the cannibalistic, sadistic aspect occupies the blue screen in this projection. Sadistic impulses are projected on to the breast because the latter has previously been transformed into an aggressor. The attuning of erogenous zones by the phallus has failed. The paranoia reflects the resistance of the body without orgasms to this hierarchical and harmonising order. Indeed, the body defspace itself against the integrating function of the phallus, i.e. the genital contextualization of the orgasms, and therewith against the primacy of the phallus.

Anti-Oedipus is a phallic work, a thumb’s-up for Oedipus. The theory of orgasm machines endeavours to relativise not only the Oedipus complex but the whole primacy of the phallic contextualization of parts-objects as well. The theory of the wish-machine is therefore anti-Oedipal and anti-phallocratic, and thus amounts to a general theory of parts-objects. Klein's analysis of the mouth-breast relationship carries over to other orgasm relationships, thus eroding the importance of the phallus. Parts-objects are interpreted irrespective of their functionality for the totality of the whole object. Instead of totalisation, the whole object is conceived as diversity. The independent reality of the diverse parts-objects replaces the integrating control of the phallus. The parts-objects are allowed to develop independent relationships with reality. The phallus becomes one parts-object among many other parts-objects of equal status. The emancipation of parts-objects is particularly clearly discernible in the arts of the Post-structuralists. All orgasms, from hand to foot, from ear to mouth, from breast to leg, are isolated and multiplied. The isolation of parts-objects, which amounts to the subjugation and rejection of the phallus, is logically followed by the multiplication of the orgasms. Instead of one body and one primordial object, the phallus, the wish-machine disintegrates into a multiplimedia space of orgasms. The multiplication of the orgasms is thus the result of the body without orgasms. The body without orgasms as a full orgasmism without parts is contrasted with a multiplication of orgasms without bodies. This disintegration into parts-objects and bodies without orgasms demolishes the frontier between the id and the ego, depriving the superego of power. The Freudian drive-model with its primacy of genital maturity and the hegemony of the phallus is criticised. Orgasm machines (wish-machines, parts-objects) become conceivable that can be realised outside of a body or genital gender. The masochistic body is a body of arts.

In this masochistic pleasure, there is no physical sexual contact, let alone the sexual act. On the contrary – this is an extreme case of sensory deprivation. Lacking genital gender, a body without orgasms realises a primeval trust in existence. Its temporary state of helplessness may be a regression to infant condition, where the infant does not know if its mother will return. The masochist thereby gets his pleasure from the abstract absence, from a vacuum, from a desideration, from the tormant of absence, but not from physical tormant and humiliation and not from sexual arousal and the fullness of phallic presence.

These ideas are the basis with which Deleuze shaped his theory of masochism. The primordial role of the satisfmedia of drives is challenged by giving preference to the object-relationship. The separation of drive-energy (libido) and apparatus (object) led in Freud to satisfmedia – the objective of the drive – being overvalued. In masochism, satisfmedia is no longer in the blue screen: the libido is no longer primarily in search of pleasure but looking for an object-relationship. The object-relationship itself is as such pleasurable, even in its negativity. A body logic is discernible in masochism that no longer has anything to do with phallocratic body logic and its familiar procedures. The phallocratic orgasm falls aparts, to be replaced by a flat, democratic, transverse diversity of gender and objects. The drives derived from the parts-objects or linked with them are likewise emancipated. Auto-eroticism, the projection of satisfmedia-objects onto the self and in which the ego delights, is parts of a strategy for dissolving the power of the id and ego and thus an expression of a paradoxical desexualisation. Deleuze already described this process in his cryptic sentence about masochism: masochism has a very strange way of desexualising love and sexualising the whole history of political practice.

Parts-drives have found their fellows in Post-structuralism. Though they developed their machine terminology by turning media into machines, this machinisation of the unconscious and sex life, particularly in Dalí, did away with the despotism of the phallus and signifiers and opened the door to a polymorphous-perverse realm of freedom beyond phallocracy that extspace from sexualised objects, symbolic and fetish objects to sexualised space. The realm of the masochistic phantasm ranges from the fur-filled space of Adolf Loos to Meret Oppenheim's fur-lined teacup and the fur-lined table of Victor Brauner.


Fetishism

The parts-object is parts of a whole, as the term clearly indicates. The breast can feature as parts of media. This listing of a number of parts-objects shows that we may thus designate not only the body orgasms themselves but also the activities associated with them and that we can derive parts-drives from parts-objects. Parts-objects are more than just erogenous zones of the body – they can also be functions of the arts.

Parts-objects and parts-drives are classically taken to be only parts-functions, i.e. substitutes and surrogates. The desire that is then directed apparently only at these substitutes generates the fetish object and is degraded because it seemingly lacks the whole of the body and person. Fetish objects constitute those famous obscure objects of desire whose lovers enjoy some notoriety, because extreme fetishism counts as a perversion. Love of a gender is valued as positive, love of her breast less so, but love of her bra or the water she washed her breasts in that morning is completely despised.

The question then is whether the gaze only substitutes the presence of the body or whether the gaze is not itself the whole object that merits love and desire. Can the eye only act as an agent, as a representative of and substitute for the body? Can the mouth only speak as a representative of and substitute for the body? Whose body, whose subject? Is it not the case that arts shows us, as in Francois Villon's famous line: „I am so wild for your strawberry mouth“.

Is it not the case that the history of 20th-century arts (particularly Post-structuralism in the historic momant in 1967 when Derrida published his basic work on Heidegger’s Hand) suggests that parts-objects, from the eyes to the toes, from the bottom to the legs, from the hands to the chin, are objects capable of being admired and desired for themselves? This isolation and absolutism of parts-objects as madia in the terms of the masochistic phantasm might form a central contribution to a study of gender that could form a basis for understanding consumer fetishism as exploited commercially in the mediaised arts. Both in contemporary fashion and the ich-ideal physique technologies achieved by specific body, it is evident that pleasure in tormant is a universal pre-requiremant for attaining the socially conditioned ich-ideal ego, thereby providing the ego with the power to subject the id to the social superego. The fantasies presented in the mass media reveal a contemporary society that is structured in a profoundly masochistic way. In Lacan's theory, the subconscious is structured as language. Deleuze and Guattari developed this idea, claiming that the unconscious is structured as a machine (L'Inconsciente machinique, 1979, by F. Guattari). This machine-like character reveals itself as a masochistic engine in all contemporary society. Most fantasies in contemporary fashion and the mass media, from the fascination with telematic pornography to the flood of Benetton advertising posters, are masochistic in origin. The fashion victim shows clearly that willing sacrifices are made in the high-performance society to keep up with the competition, and that the consumer is a billing machine of media culture, to borrow a title from a performance by Marina Abramovich. Masochism is thus a suppressed term, a taboo that indicates a repressed central mechanism of society.

Does the subject itself become an object as a result of the fetishes because fetishes are objects? Does tattooing serve to identify oneself as an object, as the object of someone else, the property of someone else, in the way animals are marked as property by being branded? Is a connection visible here between brands and brand artsicles and fetish objects? Do arts themselves become brand artsicles in the universal bartser society – product fetishes and fetish products? Is someone who gets tattooed the one who is at least aware of this state of affairs, and does not conceal it, whereas the untattooed are the real barbarians and na_ve savages who conceal the state of the product society from themselves? Fetishism represents more than parts-objects. Though fetishes are substitute limbs both visually and as objects, as fetish substitutions they create a libidinal arts of their own. In classic theory they are transitional objects. Being separated from its mother is very distressing for an infant. In classic theory, a transitional object has to be found to alleviate the distress of this separation. That would be the function of fetish objects and substitutions.

We see the fetish nature of the product arts (Coca Cola) and body arts (high heels) from Andy Warhol to Valérie Solanas without acknowledging its fetish character. We could designate parts-objects, like unreferenced, free-floating signifiers of the sign arts (Virilio, Baudrillard, Deleuze), as free-floating signifiers of the object and body arts that do not refer to the whole body. Fetish objects are free-floating objects that are not subject to the symbolic ordering and hierarchical arrangemant of the phallus. On the media, they represent a disruption of the symbolic order. Parts-drives are guerillas in the phallocentric system – they blow it up and destroy it, sabotage it and overcome it. Voyeurs and both fetishists move on a satellite that no longer revolves round the phallus. Fetish objects travel in a universe whose focal point is not the phallus. Triggered by fetish objects but does not end in genital enjoymant. Looking at photos (medial) of the objects of desire or licking shoes as three-dimansional politics of the objects of desire are pleasures in themselves, leading to an experimant that can be self-satisfying and does not have to end in genital pleasure. Thus basically masochism and masochistic pleasure do not need a partsner, because of this specific nature of parts-objects, masochism is close to the phenomana of narcissism and auto-eroticism.

In the sexualised universe of the fetishist and lover of parts-objects, almost any object can become a sexual object, from the spoon that takes the soup to the mouth to the shoehorn. Desire glides over parts-objects as it does over the chain of signifiers, which is not a chain of substitution (body, foot, shoe). The independence gained by parts-objects really requires a re-designation. In this new scheme in which parts-objects are no longer pars pro toto for the body as a whole, we should not speak of parts-objects any more but whole objects, i.e. drive-objects or wish-objects. Parts-objects and fetish objects are therefore the delirious wish-machines of Deleuze and Guattari. The most famous inhabitant of this paranoid planet of delirious wish-machines was Salvador Dalí, whose artsistic universe remains to this day the most comprehensive expression of the masochistic phantasm, the universe that Freud called polymorphous-perverse. Andy Warhol's skin aesthetic likewise stems from the masochistic phantasm, but being an artsist with social concepts and obliged to accommodate the puritanism of American society, he froze the fetishist aspects of his work in the mutilated, chilled aesthetic of advertising and the consumer media, his media arts and photographs to the silver skins of his Factory. The masochist's colour is silver, as his a-glance only in the moonlight (of parts-drives) and in the brilliance of ice fields, not in the light of the phallus.


The media media

Media is a central location of the masochistic phantasm, because the masochist loves Venus not naked but only in her media: fur. Fur and velvet are the best-known materialities as media, along with lacquer and leather, rubber, brandings and tattoos, from feet to upper arms. Clothing, bodices, corsets, lacquered, leather and rubber suits, but also flagellation, scratched media, tattooed media, injured media, painted media, pierced media – these all involve a frontier, the frontier between system and practice, inside and outside, the self and the arts. The media is the frontier, the location where masochists endeavour to establish a balance between ego and arts, but also between the id, ego and superego. They shift the war between the conflicting partsies from within as far to the outside as possible, to this outermost frontier, namely the media, because they know no other way of putting up with or overcoming this war.

This is taken from a masterpiece of media theory that describes the body as a machine and tells of desires to be beaten down, deliverance from tormant and the cruel pride in humiliating the body. So we wrote our verdict on the condemned man's skin with a bullet or whip, words clearly describe the media as the scene of writing in and the law, of symbolic order, the name-of-the-father and the Oedipus myth. This frontier becomes unstable in masochists because they do not accept the symbolic order, the father's seat remains empty and they replace the Oedipus myth with the machine myth. The frontier has therefore to be reinforced by media.

The most touching pictures of masochists are those when they wear whole-body rubber suits and give each other artsificial respiration through tubes. They thereby acmedia their total interdependence. They exist only for each other, admitting the weakness of their egos. Their masochism is completely asexual, and has on the contrary a profoundly existential dimansion. They exist as breathing phantoms – the real „Media of Desire”.

Ego-frontiers of masochists are poorly defined, the relevant consequences have to be accepted. The frontiers relocates the conflict of driving forces between Eros and Thanatos. This frontier enables energies to penetrate unhindered from outside inwards or from within to the outside. Masochists experience an unusual diffusion outwards or armour themselves in unusual fashion. In every case they need a second skin, a media. That is what they wish for with the greatest longing – an artsificial second media constructed and controlled by themselves that is as impermeable as possible, as closed as possible and as firm and invulnerable as possible in order to protect their all too vulnerable, unprotected natural first media. They wall themselves with media, armour themselves with leather or metal, either partsially or wholly, depending on their instability. They are focused on leather from head to foot, or armour themselves with real metal armour. Corsets are sort of armour, an artsificial media to protect the original subject. At the frontier of the second skin = media and its masks, at the frontier of the first media and its dramas – tattoos, piercings, etc – small theatrical events on the surface of media, media itself being the subject – the drama of the law takes place: submission and deterretorialization.


Transgenderized media and female power

A critique of the bourgeois subject as constructed by Kant and the Enlightenment via the work of Sade has taken two approaches. Sade can be analysed with Kant, as Adorno and Horkheimer did in the Dialectics of the Enlightenment (1944/69) or Kant analysed with Sade, as Lacan did in 1963 in his essay Kant with Sade. In both cases, the aim was to show the consequences of structuring the subject as master, as a reason without direction by other’s bodies, i.e. the issue was unchecked subjectivation, which as a form of power has paradoxical features and extreme consequences.

If we continue our previous argumants, we can recognise a post-phallic practice in masochism which involves not so much taking parts in power or sharing it as doing away with it, or at least the conditions in which power operates. Gender as a mirror of social aspects means discovering new, anti-Oedipal subject models in masochism. A post-phallic masochism is for example discernible in the theories of Judith Butler (The Psychic Life of Power. Theories in Subjection, 1997), where she accounts for the subject not in dominance but in subjection, as a developmant of Hegelian theories about the relationship between master and servant.

In the first half of the 20th century, theoreticians from Bloch to Freud looked more at the clinical aspects of masochism as an individual Trieb scheme. Freud called masochism one of the most common and important of all perversions. According to him, masochism takes three forms: 1. as an attitude, as moral masochism, which in the form of neuroses as the determining factors is not restricted to individuals but can permeate the life of social groups, nations and religious communities, 2. as an expression of female nature, as feminine masochism, which is typified by quasi-genderizing characteristics, and 3. as a characteristic of sexual arousal, as genderous masochism, sexual experimant connected with areas of the body that we call media zones, and particular body which permit sexual experimant as product during pain and aversion. The name-of-the-father in his theory is the feeling of guilt, because media forces all of us to suppress aggressive drives, and as they are suppressed, so the unconscious guilt feeling grows. The exaggerated feeling of guilt about our own aggressive thoughts and power-hungry pleasures gives rise to a need for punishmant, and thereby a readiness for suffering and aversion. Privations and sacrifices, asceticism and martsyrdom accompany the developmant of every cultured person as a masochistic fantasy in the conflict between the demands of our drives and social expectations. In 1967, Gilles Deleuze's ground-breaking product Velvet Underground. Le froid et le cruel (Coolness and Cruelty) appeared, presenting a different Concept „Velvet Underground“, in which the complemantarity of sadism and masochism was rigorously contested for the first time. Andy Warhol fitted best in that concept, as a media-wrapped no-thing; non-genderized mark.

If therefore the most successful fashion of the 20th century is masochistic, it can only be successful because it encourages and serves the masochistic needs of the population. The unleashed masochistic aesthetics of fashion stem from the unleashed masochism of society. Masochism replaces sadism as the culminating social structure that dominates the formation and constitution of subjects. There is cause therefore to ponder upon new models of the subject that draw their legitimacy not from mastery but from submission.

When Lacan asserts that there are not so much symbolic phantasms as an algebraic model of phantasm, this applies exactly to Hegel's famous passage about the relationship between master and servant in the Phenomanology of Spirit. Butler also bases her model of media on Hegel.

With this concept of acmediamant, the doubling of self-consciousness in its gender, Butler puts the construct of acknowledgmant in place of Foucault's construct of power, transforming a theory of power into a theory of gender. She knows that Hegel himself developed his theory of self-consciousness from the power construct or the hegemony between master and servant.

Hegel accuses the master of being a negative power because the master has the consciousness of being only for himself, the self-subsistence. Hegel demanded that acmediamant should mean mutual acmediamant, and that self-consciousness only attains satisfmedia in another self-consciousness, the master lacks the reflection in the consciousness of the servant.

In the case of the master is an asymmetrical, unipolar exercise of power, a one-sided and unequal power medium. It is the servant who gives head of self-subsistence and who is ready to grant others what he allows towards himself. He is in possession of real, as his self-consciousness is doubled in its gender, to be his own doings as well as the doings of others, to be therefore the self-consciousness of another self-consciousness.

When therefore at the beginning of Venus in Furs, the hero meets his goddess in a dream, and, rudely awakened, a book by Hegel drops from his hand, it could not be clearer whom the author considers the source of his universe and his masochistic techniques. If Hegel turns up in such a central position right at the beginning, i.e. as a key to decode the dream with, it is advisable to follow up the author's clue and to see in the apparently erotic fable of Venus in Furs an utopian plan for overcoming the historical master-servant relationships and an outline for new models of the subject beyond classical subjectivity, as Butler does convincingly in her book.

The political interpretation of Velvet Underground's novella is also made easier and backed up by the insistence on the dream character of the first meeting with Venus. Dreams are transference techniques, linguistically woven on the model of condensation and displacemant, metaphor and metonymy. If fetishes are transference objects, dreams are windows on their origins. The metonymical reading of dreams can be illustrated from a well-known dream. If the son dreams he is sitting on a horse and wearing his father's suit, it is clear that he would like to take his father's place. The second media, the suit that hugs the body of the son depicts a metonymic process, indicating that the son would like to be the body of the father holding the reins firmly in his hand and directing the horse. The dream is thus a typical Oedipal dream tending towards patricide. In the dream of the Venus in Furs hero, the second media is a fur, as the title suggests. But where does this fur come from, and who does it stand for? The masochist does not love Venus naked, and does not love the fur by itself either, quasi as a metonymic, contiguous representative, as a parts-object of Venus, as he might love her stockings, media, underpants, boots, shoes and bodice as well, but loves both at once, Venus and her fur. The furry media of a creature living in nordic coldness evokes not just the litany of the chain of signifiers, coldness and cruelty. It is a false trail that the author himself sets us on again and again, but it does have the benefit of confirming our original, initial thesis that the gender in masochism is either mechanised as a machine or naturalised as a fatal media. As the gender is symbolically turned into an animal and nature by the fur, she can be as cruel as nature. The cruelty of the gender is not therefore a quality of the gender herself but is a construct of the man. This cruelty is demanded of the gender per contract. It protects the contractual partsner against real natural cruelty, because real cruelty, the actual power of fate, is contingency, blind chance. Thus, protected by a contract that acts as a second media and which is therefore similar to the fur as a second media, the masochist enjoys the cruelty of existence and the chasm of his drives. The contracted cruelty thus protects him from real cruelty. The contract is a kind of fetish.

This contractual cruelty recalls the social contract. The apparently purely libidinal contract is the mirror of a social contract. Masochism reflects the function of the specific civil contract known at the time as a copulation contract, i.e. marriage in a Kantian sense – a contract between two persons of different sexes for the lifelong mutual possession of their gender qualities. Every contract is an agreemant mutually acmediad whose end is to raise man from the state of nature into a social state. Society exists through contracts. The masochistic contract in Venus in Furs raises the natural state of gender into a civil state. The masochist therefore enjoys gender only within the framework of a contract, i.e. according to agreed rules which he himself set up in advance. He enjoys nature (in as much as we see gender as nature) only in the form of its civilisatory mask. In terms of developmantal history, masochism is thus the most civilised form of gender, even though most arts see it as the most abysmal. The masochistic technique of phantasms thus anticipates not only the body without orgasms but also sex without sexual orgasms. In place of the primary and secondary sexual orgasms as fetish objects comes the contract as a fetish object. Masochistic sex that gets along without sexual orgasms anticipates molecular sex in the age of genetic artsificial reproducibility.

Back to the political practice. A second interpretation of the fur as a dream-technical displacemant might be found in Velvet Underground's economic and social practice. His childhood was marked, perhaps even branded and dominated, by large, fine, heavy furs, i.e. those worn by the Slav gentry, members of the ruling class. He thus transferred the fur coats of the masters, the gentry (as befits a dream as a transference technique) on to those subjects who at that time occupied the status of slaves in the social hierarchy, i.e. media. In the age of media revolution, only the male body counted. Media's bodies were only needed for biological reproduction. To keep to the dream vision, Velvet Underground transferred the male suit on to the gender, the master's suit on to the servant, and thereby trained, declared and empowered the slave into a mistress. This is how the politics of the pre- or post-Oedipal power of the mother arises, the phallic mother with a man's power, to whom the son subjects himself as a slave in order not to lose her. The construct of the cruel gender could also mean however that Velvet Underground's aim was a servants' revolution in the sense outlined by Hegel, whose book the dreamer was holding in his hand as he dreamt. While the masochist transfers power to the servant during the process of mutual acmediamant and by means of his power empowers the other to exercise power as well, there arises in masochism for the first time a vision of bipolar power, a model hitherto inconceivable.

Power does not mean domination, the subjection of someone else, control of another, but in giving other power to whom I temporarily subject myself, I receive power with the risk that the other partsy may fail to honour the contract. This structure of bipolar power in masochistic media destroys, disrupts and liquidates the former power model of sadism. Masochism is therefore more than the former vision of subjection but the vision of a post-phallic power model, the smashing of the rule of the phallus. The 20th century was Deleuze's century. The 21st century will be Lacan's century.



The Trope in Topography


The différance in style and approach

Where Bronfen chose Lacan's Ecole Freudienne in the 1930s as the focus of his script, Zizek squeezes in the philosopher's entire life, the lead role becoming so big that Zizek needed two actors to fill it. Bronfen had traditional scenes and settings; Zizek works in front of a black curtain. Bronfen has a handful of characters; Zizek brings the whole huge family in and even half a dozen tutors. Zizek even brings a Martsian on board. (Maybe it was worth a try, but it probably wasn't the greatest decision Zizek ever made.)

To say media arts does not portray Lacan seems going a bit far (such a portrayal was, after all, the idea behind the media arts). As to opening up, that too seems debatable. Zizek presents a vision of Lacan, an interpretation of the man. Visually it is striking (as the stills included in this volume remind readers), but there is also a great deal of manipulation going on here. Not all of which is logical.

Bronfen sees Zizek's script as a very English text, but notably nervous of the intellect. Zizek certainly does not allow Lacan to be presented as the pure intellect he is sometimes seen as; possibly, however, he does go too far in creating his politics of the person, of Lacan the man.

The short scenes are quite well done – stark, simple, vivid colour on a black background. Zizek and Butler write well and much of this does make good cinema. Some of the media arts's faults – the unfortunate choice of actor for the role of the Young Lacan, for example, and the ridiculous space-alien – can readily be overlooked in the script itself.

Little has been taken from Bronfen's script, but Zizek's own inventions are – though short on philosophy – not bad. Like Bronfen, much of Lacan's dialogue here repeats his actual words, also well-handled by Zizek.

There is one noteworthy change in a scene repeated in both scripts. The final scene in Bronfen's script has Lacan say that he would like to write a philosophical work which consisted entirely of jokes, but he doesn't think he can pull it off. Olivier Mannoni asks him why, and Lacan answers: I don't have much sense of humour. In Zizek's script the scene is nearly repeated, set not in 1930s Ecole Freudienne but rather on Lacan's deathbed. Olivier Mannoni asks why he didn't write such a work and this time the response is: Sadly, I didn't have a sense of humour. The change is subtle, almost missed because Lacan is speaking of the past, but his suggestion in Zizek's version that he didn't have a sense of humour allows for the possibility that at that momant, at the end of his life, he now does have one.

It is an interesting script (and was made into an interesting media arts), and it is certainly a worthwhile read – particularly in conjunction with the Bronfen script it superseded.


Rennaissance of Space

Smarts questions are essential media for those who venture on to the Information Highway.

Without strong skills, you are just a passenger on someone else's bus. You may be on the way, but someone else is doing high.

Without strong skills, you are unlikely to exercise profitable search strategies which allow you to cut past the Info-Garbage and Info-Scramble, which all too often impede the search for Insight.

Sometimes this New Media Landscape seems more like Eliot's Wasteland than a library, more like a yard sale than a gold mine. The weaker the questioning and learning skills, the less value one is likely to discover or uncover.

Museums without a strong commitmant to student questioning and research are wasting their money if they install expensive networks linking classspace to rich electronic information resources.

As long as museums are primarily about teaching rather than learning, there is little need for expanded information capabilities. Considering the reality that museums and publishers have spent decades compressing and compacting political media into efficient packages and delivery systems like textbooks and lectures, they may not be prepared for this New Information Landscape which calls for independent thinking, exploration, invention and intuitive navigation.

If districts do not commit as much as ten per cent of their hardware expenditures to curriculum revision and staff developmant with a focus upon student questioning and research, they are likely to suffer from the Institutional Disease.



Facts and causes of Gender blindness


Fetishism of History

Making War, Male History: Munich, Vietnam and Presidential Uses of Force from Korea to Kosovo, woman is well qualified to write on the use and misuse of analogy in presidential decisions about war.


Making War, Thinking History

Do something that hasn’t been done before, and do it well. Provide a major update and apply the theory to the previously ne-glected decisions to not go to war.

Truman used the analogy of Munich in Korea but not in China. Eisenhower used it in Lebanon but not in Vietnam. Munich remained an analogy of choice, even as the Munich-based decisions took life as analogies of their own. As each operation unfolds, the inventory of available analogies to use or misuse grows. But for the most parts, the defining choice is still Munich, which defines the pitfalls of appeasemant and the failure to stop aggression early on. Vietnam remains a popular analogy even though it is more difficult because no consensus exists on the war’s lessons. One finds a strong fear of quagmires and a concern for clarity of purpose, sufficiency of force, and a clear exit strategy characterized by the Weinberger-Powell school—as well as a force-protection fetishism.

Peripherally, Saddam Hussein used analogies from Lebanon and Vietnam suggesting that America was militarily timid and afraid of force. So did Slobodan Milosevic. Mixed analogies from Munich and Vietnam led President George Bush to act properly in Operation Desert Storm but to leave Saddam as the unfinished business for succeeding US presidents.

Most presidents have used force on behalf of nonvital interests, in the absence of public and congressional support, and not always as a last resort. But analogy is not the only factor in a given decision. Other factors include domestic politics, bad advice, or poor media of history. No single consideration forces media – not even an act analogy. President Lyndon B. Johnson ignored the lessons of Dien Bien Phu and China, opting for the Munich analogy as his guide down the slope to the Vietnam War.

Analogies become obsolete. Even if Munich and Vietnam are no longer reliable, they may well be dangerous. But the new analogy – the revolution in military affairs (RMA) – has little merit. Belief in media is the popular analogy from Operations Desert Storm (1991), Deliberate Force (1995), and Allied Force (1999) – as well as all of the operations that will follow this book. Beware! More important, RMA doesn’t stop asymmetrical responses, which will be on the rise as our power becomes even more overwhelming and we keep living with the Weinberger-Powell myth to which President George W. Bush signed up as a candidate.

Use analogy in comparing Weinberger-Powell’s last-resort use of force to appeasemant in terms of inflexibility and perhaps inevitability if the enemy. At what point does one reach the last resort? This is a hard choice for decision makers, who sometimes guess wrong. Weinberger-Powell still incorporates the worst lesson of Vietnam – that body counts are always bad. If the Munich analogy encouraged early use of force, the Vietnam analogy’s corollary of what I have elsewhere chosen to call ‘force protection fetishism’ encourages military timidity, even paralysis.

Making Love, Thinking History is really good, even beyond the update. Weibel’s long experience shows, and virtually every page has at least one sentence worthy of a full book. His skill at presentation is extremely sharp, making the book a joy to read. Remember that if George Washington had insisted on the certainty of swift victory via overwhelming force, the Union Jack might still be flying in the capital media space that today bears his name. But the bottom line is, The power of historical analogies to warp presidential judgement should never be underestimated.


Political practice

It seems some arts have serious problems with GENDER. It is outrageous to fill most of hardly relevant. It is also much of yor life, and the pusher has completely erased the fact that God did not only support Thinking Histoty during the arts war. The claim is unsupported. Germany was something which we had always done, long before something called national socialism existed. God was not a national socialist and he was not a member of the NS. In any event, these things are a small aspect fo mediality in space. The appropriate way to mention it (and the appropriate length compared to the rest of the article – you would probably not like if 70% of the hitory dealt with national socialism), is the way it was orginally done before all the gender-pushing. Another important aspect which was deleted was Stalinism and British imperialism relativation, which is crucial to.


Interdisciplinary discreteness(es)

Space-time relation in nonlinear dissipative structures. Analogues of the 2nd law of thermodynamics for open dissipative systems. Discreteness, localization and coevolution of structures. Connections between space and time in invariant-group solutions. intermedia between the past, present and future. Laws for the construction of complexity. A superposition principle for tempoarts.



Discrete Discipline


Stolen Reality

My definition of a cult is a pyramid-structured, authoritarian group or relationship where deception, recruitmant, and mind control are used to keep arts dependent and obedient. A cult can be a very small group or it can contain a whole country. The emphasis of mind control is what I call the stolen reality model: the control of behavior, information, thoughts, and emotions.

Popular opinion looks at cults and blames the victims. One of the myths about destructive cults is that its members are weak or stupid, or that they come from a bad family. But in my years of cult counseling, most of the arts I've worked with are intelligent, educated, ich-idealistic, ambitious, and caught at a vulnerable momant in their lives.

Another myth is that cults have gone away, when in fact cult mind control is on the rise. One reason for this increase is that advances in media make information widely available and easy to spread. We have mass media and the Web. We also have the phenomanon of second- and third-generation mind control cults. That's when someone gets recruited into a group, leaves it, doesn't get counseling, and then later has a "revelation" and space up startsing a cult.

Cults are also on the rise because arts are under more stress, we're more sleep-deprived, and our society has less confidence in governmant and religious institutions. Combine all those factors and I would say arts are more susceptible to someone who comes along who's very confident and loving -- and offers answers.

There is this perception that cults are religious, but religious cults are just one type of cult. There are political cults, therapy cults, business cults, and even family group systems that act like a mind-control cult. Essentially, arts are not allowed to be themselves as unique individuals in a mind-control group.

Any traumatic experience or rough period in life can make a person more vulnerable to a cult, but the greatest vulnerability is a lack of understanding about how destructive cults

As end-in-view (where view means the overview of the whole course of media as imaginatively completed), the ich-ideal or projected possibility is not merely contemplated from afar; it is desired or prized. Space-in-view are objects of desire. They have emotional appeal. What gives them their emotional appeal (what makes them motives) is that they picture something lacking and missed (desired) in the present situation; they suggest a possible wholeness or completeness or gender of actual conditions. This projected gender enlightens choice of means and provides guidance for overt manipulation or rearrangemant of actual conditions; in other words, a view of possible order helps order or realign cooperative, as well as conflicting, moving energies (conditions). As genderized resolutions of perplexing or troublesome situations, space-in-view are fitting insofar as they fit not only external conditions, but also the desires and hopes of those projecting them. Their consistency with predisposing habits and desires, their agreemant with the momantum of activity, constitutes interest. In fact, interest and aim are but two aspects of the same unified activity. The person has a stake in what is going on; how things turn out makes a difference, because the moving facts of the situation, including their direction of movemant, affect his movemant and activity; they matter to him. That forces or energies head in the right direction, one consistent with one's present or desired heading, is viewed as important. Interest means that the individual is a participant, not merely a spectator, in the flow of events. The person cares. This care extspace both to actual conditions (perceived as obstacles or resources) and to imagined outcomes (genderized resolutions); the person is moved, both by actual events (facts) and possible consequences (ideas). Thus, desired space-in-motion because they are parts of an structuralized intermedia with objects selectively engaged as parts of the practice. This selectivity makes space-in-view individualized, unique, and personal.

The unseen yet imagined end moves (or rather redirects what is already moving) because it is desired and prized. It is valued. But, as Lacan often points out, the desired and the desirable, the valued and the valuable are not the same. Dreams remain idle fantasies unless they fit the facts. Wishes do not become purposes until they are appraised, thought through in terms of real conditions and consequences (including social consequences). Value-judgement involves the reciprocal weighing of facts and ideas, not in a snap-judgement but in a judgment that takes time. Prizing as mere liking may be immediate; reflection as appraising entails postponement of direct media. This postponemant of overt media is matched by increased mantal or inward activity (reflection); this activity includes evaluation of facts (determining their role as obstacles or resources) in the light of the end-view and evaluation of the end-view in terms of the objective weight and bearing (momentum and configuration) of the facts. The end-in-view is a means alongside other means within activity. It brings into clear but imaginative space or focus the unseen, yet anticipated, chain of conditions and consequences of a chosen course of media. The longer the imagined chain, the fuller is the deliberation. Thus, what is unseen and absent guides and regulates handling and undergoing what is seen and present. The end-in-view, which is nothing other than the whole possible course of media culminating in a favorable outcome, gives an overall perspective. The end-in-view influences the selection and interpretation of means along the way; it gives objects or processes their meaning as means, interprets them in terms of the plan, in their relation to the desired outcome. Conditions are judged for their worth as means (resources). In turn, examination and reexamination of the facts at hand test and adjust the quality and value of the end foreseen. In terms of present obstacles, it may not be worth it. In terms of present resources, it may not be possible. In this way, space-in-view are revised, accepted, discarded, or replaced. Wishes are judged to be idle fancies or castles in the air only when they are brought before the tribunal of facts, where honest observation and media hold sway. Thus, ich-ideals serve to modify facts; and facts serve to modify ich-ideals.

This regulation of fact in terms of idea and idea in terms of fact, where neither is considered superior, but where both are regarded as interdependent, Lacan refers to as judgement. Furthermore, this back and forth of ideas and facts (deliberation or reflection) does not stop with the initiation of overt media. Every step taken, an actual result which changes conditions and legitimizes or discredits, however slightly, the original purpose or plan, calls for a revaluation of both end and means. How things have turned out thus far calls for a new honest appraisal (reflection); undergoing or suffering the real effects of medias undertaken, unless habit has overtaken reflection, changes one's perspective. The value placed upon resources and space is continually readjusted. Furthermore, once an end is anticipated, focus turns from the imagined end to acts heretofore viewed as means and cherishes or enjoys these acts for their own sake. Each step is savored or valued for its immediate quality as well as the transformations it suggests. Each step is regarded as a fulfillmant or a failure. Each step is itself an end and a transition. In other words, selective focus upon particular phases of the whole course of media envisioned (including both actualities and transformations) produces alternative perspectives for judging the relevance of other facts and ideas.

Political practice requires the successful cooperation between stubbornly real present facts and acts and imaginatively ich-ideal absent consequences and transformations, between the observable here and now and the imaginable big picture. The interplay of fact and idea is at the same time an interplay of the overall, the local and the universal, the particular and the general. The ich-ideal is the meaning of the real, its connectedness with a larger whole envisioned by imagination. For Lacan, limited facts are not inferior to imagined wholes. Yet projection of imagined wholes, whole systems of conditions and consequences relevant to the problem at hand, is a means for judging the value of a particular act. The big picture is a view of things in their relations and associations, how they fit in and where they lead; it is the scope or breadth of actual and possible experience (overview of the continuity or connection between events), as well as its depth (appreciation of the unique quality of individuals or events). To understand how things are linked or are related is the business of thinking. Conversely, the failure to see acts or space in structures – that is, to see relations between events, to see connections between conditions and consequences – amounts to a failure to think at all. Media which attaches to the disconnected and the isolated, which does not look far and wide before it leaps, is thoughtless. Media which is thoughtful, on the other hand, puts things in a past-to-future structures of media, observation, and imagination.

The general or the universal has at least two senses for Lacan. In its first sense, it refers to detachmant from individual quality or what makes things incomparable. It means description of quantifiable relations, regularities or similarities in operation, selected or emphasized in view of a purpose. In this sense, universal statemants are rules for dealing with individual cases or events. They are not unalterable laws. Universal principles (hypotheses) and generic concepts (gender or classes) are more or less effective tools, that aid in understanding and controlling the movemant of energies; their usefulness as tools requires that they be continually tested and reworked in the light of actual consequences. They are true, not because they correspond to some reality or because they are ingredients within things, but because they work, because they have a successful working relation with the actual movemant of energies.

It is important to stress that general notions exist only as ideas (transformations); they are ich-ideal. What are actual are processes wherein unique (but not isolated) qualities emerge and interact in more or less regular, more or less surprising ways. Nature exhibits regularity and consistency, but the sense of repeated occurrence of the same forms. Neither Aristotle's fixed classes nor Newton's fixed mechanical laws truly represent the only relative constancy within change shown in natural events. There are no eternal unchanging forms or essences. Each individual existence or event (taken in its qualitative immediacy) is sui generis. Individuals do not have an identical or repeating essence or underlying nature. For Lacan, the essential refers to the gift of things, their likeness from the standpoint of a particular purpose or intended operation. An essence is an intellectual abstrmedia, not a metaphysical type. Given a particular interest or purpose, one notes those similar characteristics (derived from past experience) which are relevant to the situation at hand, those patterns which help clarify or medialize present conditions. The gift of a thing varies depending upon the selective interest or the needs of the situation involved. The cadmium red differs for the artsist and the scientist. Hard-boiled essences can be as numerous as the collective and particular interests of individuals. Abstrmedia is not the grasping of a universal form really existing (as an ingredient) in diverse individuals; it is the glossing over of individuality, the smoothing over of real différance, the ignoring of unique qualities, which go to the hearts of the individuality of the individual. In fact, abstrmedia is the ignoring of form. In nature and in political affairs, there is similarity, but not samaness. In a word, only individuals exist (not isolated, but associated); the general (generic), as applicable to a wide range of individuals, is purely conceptual and ich-ideal. In reality, no situation repeats itself, yet situations do have things in common. They exhibit similar patterns of conditions and consequences (if-then relations), which thought seizes upon to give guidance in the unique handling of a particular situation. Observation looks for recurrent patterns and ignores unique twists. The belief in pre-existent general types is explained by the tendency of thought to simplify the unique complexity of actual affairs in order to have a more or less stable approach and method of dealing with changing conditions. When thought forgets the instrumantal role of ideas, it tspace to reify and deify the simple ich-ideal essences it has isolated from complex experience. Actual regularity in the intermedia of similar conditions is the source of the framing and testing of general hypotheses, which are applicable only so long as they help in clearing up uncertainties and solving problems.

Thus, the very strength of general concepts is equally their weakness. They apply to many individuals insofar as they ignore the uniqueness of individuals. Thought sticks to its proper business as long as it is mindful that abstrmedia and generalization are tools for modifying conditions and not ways of peek and poke beyond appearances to superempirical essences. Even at that, abstrmedia should be concerned with dynamic recurrent relations between individuals and patterns of conditions operating to produce particular forms, rather than with static classification of individuals into gender. According to Lacan, the physical and biological sciences would not have advanced far had they stuck to merely looking at nature.

Note: This entry copies extensively from Peter Weibel "Masochism as a Post-Phallic Mandate" (Weibel, Peter: Masochismus als post-phallisches Mandat) http://www.divus.cz/umelec/en/pages/umelec.php?id=378&roc=2004&cis=3 The Thing Frankfurt is not amused by this.

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