Monday, September 7, 2009

Larry Rickels, Day 3

Larry Rickels taught a course entitled SCHAUER SCENES IN PSYCHOANALYSIS AND FILM. This course explored the genealogy of the "psycho" (and Psycho effect) in mediatic-analytic sessions.

Let's return to these films and begin to examine the place of the failure of interpretation of the "psycho" moment
  • Therapy and theory are coterminus in Winnicott, unlike in Freud where there is a distance between the transference moment and the theory of psychology
  • Winnicott seeks to make the therapeutic session both the place of therapy and theory
Where Freud comes to be used for mass communication and technologization - we can see it in Benjamin's Themes and Motifs of Baudelaire and perhaps also in these films
  • The masking of Michael Myers is a doubling; Leatherface is slightly different in that his is perhaps a melancholic collecting
  • Freddie, Jason, Michael Myers - they become a cartoon, really, an expression of superegoic parenting that scolds against teenage sexuality
  • They've become transcendentalized as evil and demonic and thus are encoded as part of the symbolic order
What's with vampire movies these days?
  • The shift from zombies to vampires should be seen as a sign of hope: the eight years of the Bush Administration was to zombies as vampires is to the Obama Administration
  • Saw should be understood, like Se7en, as a morality play for educational purposes, wherein the victim participates in the murder and they seek to find the CSI-styled DNA-certainty of why they are locked in that room.
Back to Benjamin
The essay on Baudelaire folds out a contrast of experience and memory from Freud and psychoanalysis as well as the German language itself
  • Gedächtnis - memory that protects and preserves, commemoration, and it is linked to rote memory
  • Erinnerung - remembering that is all about forgetting, remembering that over-records and thus erases; it protects against stimuli
  • Consciousness defends against overstimulation and both Freud and Benjamin talk of these as shocks: the more often one is shocked the less affecting it becomes
But, traumatic shocks will occur, these breach our readiness and modes of preparedness and deeply affect us
  • The traumatic event is revisited in the flashback and is linked with the serial dreaming of war neurotics
  • The trauma victim sought to master the traumatic stimulus from the point when the traumatic event occurred
  • This repetition might not be unlike Kierkegaard's idea of repetition, call it seriality, a return to remembering to forget
As Winnicott became more interested in regression therapy, he felt we had an in-born capacity to defend ourselves from impinging by cataloging which occurs in linear recording
  • This categorizing and recording occurs so that they can be dealt with later (and forgotten)
  • Remembering as defense and then remembering to forget
Illusion occupies different places for the transitional object:
  • the loss of the original omnipotence is bridged or staggered through the use of illusion in the transitional object
  • the transitional object gives the child a temporary rest stop in the constant onslaught of living
  • The transitional object is always to be seen as an agreement that the question, "Did you conceive of this?" will not be asked - but isn't this an invitation to approach it?
  • It shows how easily the social contract can be broken
  • the purpose of the transitional object is for differentiation
Freud and Benjamin again
  • The memory of "the shower scene" is constitutively disposable, the traumatic memory has been made disposable
  • the more shocks we experience the more guarded our minds become
2 forms of experience in Benjamin:
  1. Erlebnis - committed to a time line of working on it so it may be crossed-off the list
  2. Erfahrung - open less under voluntary control
The shock is where we are most alive with our time, this is unfortunate as we are actively working against being shocked
  • the hope of this work is that we might not become dead to our sensorium
  • Canetti says of the crowd-feeling (which is destructive), that the dosed shock must be within a closed crowd
  • Benjamin allows for an ingroup, a comfort zone that is provided by gadget-love; a connection with a control panel - massification becomes more intimate in the control panel
  • He argues that the match marked the onset of the countless developments of technological innovation which would transform the human world where we are able to experience the shock
  • "The camera gave the moment of posthumous shock," his understanding of how every gadget-lover can administer the shock in an intimate, ingroup setting
Prosthesis (Ernst Kapp) was shared or recycled by McLuhan when he read Freud or Buckminster Fuller. Kapp, while living in Texas said the axe in Texas was so much closer to the hand than the axes in Germany.

The film actor is fragmented, transported, and reassembled through film and the audience is fabricated in the sensorium.
  • "The film image is separable and transportable" Benjamin wrote this at the time when Lacan was writing about the Mirror Stage
  • The image is pitched first to the camera and the scene is only created upon editing
What underlies belief in surveillance?
  • There is something comforting about it, right?
  • None of our suffering will go unnoticed, as Nietzsche said
  • But it's not a comfort that is available to us, something has been satisfied, though we might not enjoy it immediately
  • Derrida pointed out that live media requires the belief that this live transmission from Baghdad is really from there and is live
Benjamin says Painter : Magician :: Surgeon : Cameraman
  • What is skipped in the surgical approach is the interpersonal meditation. It is in that sense that the cut of editing is what guides us to this place of affirmation - that through technology we appreciate Nature
  • The Delay of the Machine Age (Hanns Sachs) what separates Antiquity from the Industrial Age? There has been a shift from primary to secondary narcissism - the latter is shareable and always has to deal with managing ego
  • The primary narcissism is like the zombie where the body is always decomposing and we walk around dead
  • Every schizophrenic shows us the emergency exit through the uncanny use of technology (Judge Schreber)
  • "The delusion is the act of recovery," Freud
Note to self: Canetti's "the living's sense of superiority to the dead," is not Confucian at all - what is the relationship between the dead and death in psychoanalysis and philosophy?

Looking at William Wilson (E.A.Poe, 1839)
  • before the essay on "The Uncanny" Poe sees the uncanny doubling of the war veteran whose uncanny double is the Warrior
  • In Beyond the Pleasure Principle he says the double can be reclaimed
We begin with an enormous sense of alienation
(WW, 3) Oh, outcast of all outcasts most abandoned! [...] hang eternally between thy hopes and heaven? [...] I would fain have them believe that I have been, in some measure, the slave of circumstances beyond human control. I would wish them to seek out for me, in the details I am about to give some little oasis of fatality amid a wilderness of error.
  • The psycho here is not a failure of interpretation but a want for successful interpretation
  • What is it he sees? It is nothing. He reinstates the familiar story of sarcastic imitation. Is this the relic of parental identification (we draw sarcastic pictures of the Teacher, our parents, etc.), but this parental container is simply not enough and he leaves the academy
    (WW, 11) I looked; - and a numbness, an iciness of feeling instantly pervaded my frame. My breast heaved, my knees tottered, my whole spirit became possessed with an objectless yet intolerable terror. [...] Not thus he appeared.... Was it, in truth, within the bounds of human possibility, that what I now saw was the result, merely, of the habitual practice of this sarcastic imitation?

  • His immediate school fellows had never noticed this constant imitation
    (WW, 9) But, in truth, I had no reason to believe that (with the exception of the matter of relationship, and in the case of Wilson himself,) this similarity had ever been made a subject of comment, or even observed at all by our school fellows. That he observed it in all its bearings, and as fixedly as I, was apparent [the parent?]; but that he could discover in such circumstances so fruitful a field of annoyance, can only be attributed, as I said before, to his more than ordinary penetration.


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