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Re: <eyebeam><blast> Beauty and Trauma

Hello Bracha

On Sun, 5 Apr 1998, Bracha Lichtenberg - Ettinger wrote:

> I am articulating 'Beauty and Trauma' with what I see as a passage, in

> contemporary art, to Trauma and Transference in a matrixial sphere.
> sphere makes possible the passage from the subject as separate (Freud,

> Lacan) (on the one hand) or the infinitely multiplied subject
> (Guattari/Deleuze) (on the other hand), on to trans-subjectivity in
> severality. In a matrixial borderspace, painting realizes an encounter

> with trauma that is affectively shared. [My thoughts emerged with-in
> work and were first expressed in Notes on Painting from 1985 onawrds
> (printed by MOMA, Oxford, 1993), but I use 'painting' here also as a
> metaphore for other artistic operations].

   I wonder if you could offer some advice about the premise of the new
consultancy sponsored by the emerAgency?
   The premise is that a good model of contemporary memory is the one
offered to account for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.  The point is not
necessarily to claim that electracy is accompaned by generalized PTSD,
but that PTSD, in which subjects lose access to their memory, is not
unlike the way stars or celebrities lose access to their own images.  To
put it another way, following Fredric Jameson, in the postmodern
condition of late capitalism individual subjects have no experiential
access to the collective events structuring their lives (such as the
workings of multinational corporations).
        The virtue of the  PTSD metaphor is that it exposes in another
way the inappropriateness or  ineffectiveness of some of our favorite
poetics of modernism, such as Walter Benjamin's reading of Baudelaire in
the city--a poetics of shock.
   To put it in a silly way, modernist poetics treated angst the way we
treat people with hiccups (by trying to scare them:  BOO!).  After
modernism, in this traumatized condition, everyone keeps saying "BOO!"
obsessively, repetition compulsively.  It does no good to say BOO! to
obsessional BOO-sayers...
   Perhaps I should start over after such a lame analysis.

        I wanted to continue on to a description of the three levels of
trauma in relation to Lacan's registers (Imaginary, Symbolic, Real).
But my email daemon won't let me.
        An implication of the premise of PTSD for consulting--community
selection of  which events to consider as problems, and the kinds of
policy formation  these entail--is that positivistic utilitarian
consulting amounts to  denial, foreclosure, of the fuller nature of
breakdown in the functioning of the community. Utilitarian consulting
ignores 2 of the 3 Lacanian registers of the world.
  Any comments you might make from your perspective on this premise of
the emerAgency would be welcome.

for the emerAgency
Greg Ulmer


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