To begin this set of blog post, as a means to generate a working metaphysics for electracy, we were asked to read The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis by Jacques Lacan. This text would functions as our reference point for building a sound and constructive theory from the CATT generator. As modeled through the use of Jullien’s text, the following posts will draw from aspects of Lacan’s theory that I believe can be applied to the discourse of electracy. In addition, and likewise, each post will end with an instruction, which I hope, will help my audience to put electracy into action. Before I get into Lacan’s notion/ construct of reality, I wish to mention some key terms that I think will help us to understand why Lacan defines reality in the way that he does. Moreover, these will be and remain terms of key interest regarding the concept of electracy and its progression from literacy to viral space, and they will be referred to continually during the duration of this post and the ones to follow. Some terms to make mention of are: gaze, subject, object, transference, analyst, patient, unconscious, and anamorphosis. This post will give attention to the gaze, subject and object relationship, and transference. I will aim to address the other key terminology in subsequent post as they relate to other points of concern.
Lacan’s notion of reality suggests that subjects, us—the individuals within—are constituted by and reflected by the things (institutions, art, and communities around us). I would even go as far to suggest, through Lacan’s concept of the gaze, that we are also a reflection of those things previously mentioned. The gaze is the term that is used to draw the aforementioned conclusion about how reality functions. To expound on this further and to elaborate on Lacan’s notion of “gaze”, I would like to turn our attention to what I think is a vital example of the gaze in practice.
On page 159 of his text, Lacan refers to a scene from the film Viridiana. In the scene, a group of peasants are being photographed mimicking the last supper, but what is interesting here is not that the peasants are being photography nor is it that Viridiana is absent from the scene, but the act of taking a photo—the snap shot. In this scene and this is where the gaze comes into recognition, the peasants mimic an image—a narrative—that has been filtered through their conscious. They are, by mimicking the image, being constituted by their own representation of “The Last Supper”. The gaze makes several appearances, but I want to talk about how it appears for the audience and characters. As a viewer of this scene, I am expected to be aware of what is being mimicked because in some way or form this religious institution has impacted me or should I say collectively, us. Initially, the characters in the film are subjects studying and engaging with the narrative of the last supper, but once the characters take interest in mimicking this aspect of Judeo-Christian history, they become “objects” the image that the camera , captures and freezes in an unseen photo. As a result, transference occurs. .To understand the relationship that I am gesturing to between the analyst and the patient, I turn my attention to the analogy that Lacan offers readers on page 269 of his text.
Lacan recounts an episode from his childhood. He use to read a cartoon script about a beggar who would feast his nose on the smell of the roasting meat [in a Chinese restaurant]. Lacan states that on occasion, the smell is the menu, that is to say the signifier…And this is [his] fable. “The menu is written in Chinese, so the first step is to order a translation from a patronne. If it is the first time you have come to a Chinese restaurant, [you notice that] the translation does not tell you much more than the original, and in the end you say recommend something, which means that the patronne should know what [you] desire” or want—269
The above example is a metaphor used to describe the relationship between the analyst and the patient. Furthermore, it shows the transformation that occurs from patient to subject to object, which is labeled as transference. This exemplifies that the patient and analyst relationship is one of desire. Both desire to know the other and yet both expect the other to tell them something. Using Lacan’s relationship between the two, I think that the analyst stands as a metaphor for the things that influence us and the patient stands as (our individual being) desire to know more about ourselves, which it does inadvertently.
Look through some old family photos and record what you remember from the scene. What is happening: who is in it, who is taking the photo and what are you doing in the photo and why?