Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Theory 4 (Email 14)

Hi Kendra

  "Fetish" is a good anchor for gathering the CATTt.  It is useful even at the basic level of heuretics proper, reminding us to pay attention to terminology.  Psychoanalysis, like any inventive methodology, dealt with the challenge of naming its new areas of inquiry by appropriating some existing vocabulary.  This vocabulary  is catachrestic, meaning that it is a figure for something that does not have a literal sense.  If we keep  in mind the original source of "fetish" we recognize that the term is eloquent, even if Freud used it pejoratively to some extent.  I discuss this in Internet Invention (Marx and Freud both using fetish negatively to name features of the industrial city, versus artists who somewhat later used it positively).  It concerns promoting some ordinary item of everyday life to a position of symbolic power. 

"Castration" is similarly evocative:  a source of much misunderstanding of course, but also eloquent in naming a condition of limit, disempowerment, control, threat--and reminds us of stakes in desidero.  The most relevant thing for us in the discussion is the description of operations and logics associated with fetish and castration.  You picked up on the practical value of Metz's conversation.  He is drawing upon Lacan of course, applying Lacan and psychoanalysis  in general to cinema.  He is using the theory to articulate the match between theory and practice that concerns us also:  that there are features of the camera and photography that correlate with the theoretical account of human primary process (the Unconscious). 

We need cameras to write with or through the Unconscious so to speak.  For  example, the logic of fetishism in the psychoanalytic context is that of denial, disavowal (defense)--the child's denial of sexual difference.  This scene must be generalized to the logic, which persists in adult experience, allowing a person to maintain two conflicting positions simultaneously:  "I know, but all the same" (or, the translation I prefer, "I know, but still...").  I know (= science); but still (= belief).  These two version of reality are on different planes.  We have to assume in the context of grammatology that there is a use value for this operation of primary process.  The "still" has choral functionality (it is conductive). 

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