The Ticklish Subject The Absent Centre of Political Ontology
С. 56: «Or think o f the way the universe we reconstruct in our minds while reading a novel is full o f ‘holes’ , not fully constituted: when Conan Doyle describes Sherlock Holmes’s flat, it is meaningless to ask exactly how many books there were on the shelves — the writer simply did not have a precise idea of it in his mind. What, however, if — on the level of symbolic meaning, at least — the same goes for reality itselfi Abraham Lincoln’s famous ‘You can fool all the people some o f the time, and some o f the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all o f the time’ is logically ambiguous: does it mean that there are some people who can always be fooled, or that on every occasion someone or other is bound to be fooled? WЪat, however, if it is wrong to ask ‘What did Lincoln really mean?’ Isn’t the most probable solution to this enigma that Lincoln himself was not aware of the ambiguity — he simply wanted to make a witty point, and the phrase ‘imposed itself on him’ because ‘it sounded good’? And what if such a situation in which one and the same signifier (here: the same line) ‘sutures’ the fundamental ambiguity and inconclusiveness which persists at the level of the signified content pertains also to what we call ‘reality’? What if our social reality’ is ‘symbolically constructed’ also in this radical sense, so that in order to maintain the appearance o f its consistency, an empty signifier (what Lacan called the Master-Signifier) has to cover up and conceal the ontological gap?»
С. 153-54: «It would therefore be tempting to risk a Badiouian-Pauline reading of the end of psychoanalysis, determining it as a New Beginning, a symbolic ‘rebirth’ — the radical restructuring of the analysand’s subjectivity in such a way that the vicious cycle o f the superego is suspended, left behind. Does not Lacan himself provide a number o f hints that the end of analysis opens up the domain o f Love beyond Law, using the very Pauline terms to which Badiou refers? Nevertheless, Lacan’s way is not that o f St Paul or Badiou: psychoanalysis is not ‘psychosynthesis’; it does not already posit a ‘new harmony’, a new Truth-Event; it — as it were — merely wipes the slate clean for one. However, this ‘merely’ should be put in quotation marks, because it is Lacan’s contention that, in this negative gesture o f ‘wiping the slate clean’, something (a void) is confronted which is already ‘sutured’ with the arrival of a new Truth-Event.»
С. 165: «The Master pretends to name, and thus directly translate into symbolic fidelity, the dimension o f the act — that is, the defining feature of the Master’s gesture is to change the act into a new Master-Signifier, to guarantee the continuity and consequences of the Event. In contrast to the Master, the Hysteric maintains the ambiguous attitude of division towards the act, insisting on the simultaneous necessity and impossibility (ultimate failure) of its symbolization: there was an Event, but each symbolization of the Event already betrays its true traumatic impact — that is to say, the Hysteric reacts to each symbolization of the Event with a ‘ce n ’est pas ça’, that’s not it. In contrast to both of them, the perverse agent of University discourse disavows that there was the event of an act in the first place — with his chain of knowledge, he wants to reduce the consequences of the act to just another thing that can be explained away as part of the normal run of things; in other words, in contrast to the Master, who wants to ensure the continuity between the Event and its consequences, and the Hysteric, who insists on the gap that forever separates an Event from its (symbolic) consequences, University discourse aims at ‘suturing’ the field of consequences by explaining them away without any reference to the Event ( ‘Love? I t ’s nothing but the result of a series of occurrences in your neuronal network!’, etc.).»
С. 239-40: «Another name for this short circuit between the Universal and the Particular, by means o f which a particular content hegemonizcs the Universal, is, of course, suture, the operation of hegemony ‘sutures’ the emptv Universal to a particular content. For that reason, F.W.J. Schelling must be considered the originator o f the modern notion o f critique of ideology: he was the first to elaborate the notion o f ‘false’ unity and/or universality. For hin), ‘evil’ lies not in the split (between the Universal and the Particular) as such but, rather, in their ‘false’/distorted unity, that is, in a Universality that effectively privileges some narrow particular content and is impenetrably ‘anchored’ in it. Schelling was thus the first to elaborate the elementary procedure o f the critique o f ideology: the gesture o f discerning, beneath the appearance o f neutral universality (say, o f ‘human rights’ ), the privileged particular content (say, white upper-middle-class males) which ‘hegemonizes’ it.»
Шов как операция гегемонии, благодаря которому производиться иллюзия «ложного единства» идеологии. Функцию шва выполняет означивающее или Истина-Событие, но, с другой стороны, шов необходим для производства знания (дискурс университета) и призван скрыть существование События.
Contingency, Hegemony, Universality Contemporary Dialogues on the Left 2000
C. 128: “It is worth mentioning here that the first to formulate the problematic which underlies this notion o f hegemony (a One which, within the series o f elements, holds the place o f the impossible Zero, etc.) was Jacques-Alain Miller, in his ‘Suture’, inter vention at Jacques Lacan’s seminar on 24 February 1965, lirst published in Cahiers pour l ’analyse 1 (1966):”
C. 235-36: “This confronts us with the difficult philo so p hic al issue o f thc properly diale c tic al relationship between universality and particularity with the Hegel ian notion o f ‘concrete u n iv e r sa l ity ’ . Although Hegel was Althusser’s b ête noire, it is my contention that Hege l ian ‘concrete universality’ is u n c an n i ly close to what Althusser c al led the articulation of an overdetermined totality. Perhaps the most appropriate way to tackle this problem is via the notion of» suture which, in the last few years , has undeservedly gone out o f fashion.
One should begin by dispel l in g the key misunderstanding: suture does not stand for the idea that traces o f the production process, its gaps, its mechanisms, are obliterated, so that the product can appear as a naturalized organic whole. In a first approach, one could define suture a s the structurally necessary short circu it between different levels. So, of course, suture involves the overcoming o f the crude distinction between different levels in cinema studies, the inherent formal analysis of style, narrative analysis, research into the economic conditions of the system of production, and so on. However, suture must be distinguished from the otherwise very productive and interesting new historical probing into the contingent particular set of conditions which gave birth some well-known stylistic innoyation: often, such an innovation as а creative invention to resolve some very common d e ad lo ck ed cerning the e< onomic limitations of cinema production.”
С. 237-38: «to put it in Laclau’s terms, ‘suture ’ means that external difference is always an internal one. that the external limitation CSl<' 111 Id of phenomena always relleets itself within this l ield. as its ol a *nt Impossibility fullx to become itself, lb take a har rowing exam- ^ f r om philosopln: Ktiennc Balibar demonstrated com im ingl\ how | f r h u ls c r in his last theoretical writings in the years just prior to his I rnllaDse with it' well-known tragic results, systematic alls endea\ - mental I . • . і Emtd to destroy Ins previous ‘standard propositions these writings are E g a in cd by a kind o f philosophical dcath-dr ive. by a w ill to obliterate, ? io undo, one’s previous a ch iev em en ts (like the ep is tem o lo g ic a l cut. etc.).in If, however, we account lor this ‘will to self-obliteration' in the simple terms of the un lo ru ina ie theoret ical elfects o f a personal path o l ogy , .1 (he (lesti II. n\c turn which І і її a 11 \ found ils outlet in thc murderous assault on his wife w e mi.w the point: true as it may be on the level of biographical facts, this ex te rn a l c au sa l ity is o f no interest wh at soever if we do not succeed in in te rp re t in g it as an ex te rn a l shock lhat set in motion some inherent tension a lre ad y at work w ithin Althusser’s philosophical edifice itself. In other words, Althusser’s self-destructive turn ultimatcK had to be accounted for in the terms o f his philosophy itself . . . .
We can see how, in this precise sense, suture is the exact opposite of the illusory self-enclosed totality that successfully erases the decentred traces of its production process: suture means that , precisely, such self- enclosure is a priori impossible, lh at the excluded e x te rn a l ity always leaves its traces or, to put it in s tan d a rd Freudian terms, that there is no repression (from thc scene o f phen om enal sclf-expcrience) without the return o f the repressed. More precisely, in order to produce the eflcct ol self-enclosure, one must add to the series an excessive clement which ‘sutures’ it p re c ise ly in so far as it does not be lo n g to the series, but stands out as an exception, like the proverbial ‘ f iller ’ in classificatory systems, a c a te go ry which poses as one am o n g the spccics o f a genus, although it is ac tu a l ly just a negative container, a catch-all for everything lhat docs not lit the species a r t icu la ted from the in he rent prin c ip le of the genus (the ‘Asiatic mode of p roduct ion’ in Marxism).»
C. 239: “The ultimate philosophical example here is that of the subjective versus ^•ective dimension: subjective perception awareness a c tiv ity versus kjective socio-economic or physiological mechanisms. A d ia le c t ic a l S o 0 intervenes with a double short circuit: objectivity relies on a sub- Ertjivr surplus-gesture; subjectivity relies on objet petit a, the paradoxical object which is the subject’s counterpoint. This is what Lacan is aiming for in his persistent reference to torus and… Moehius-band-like structures in which the relationship between inside and outside is inverted: if we want to grasp the minimal structure of subjectivity, the clear-cut opposition between inner subjective experience and outer objective reality is not sufficient — there is an excess on both sides. On the one hand, we should accept the lesson o f K an t ’s t ran scendental idealism: out of the confused m u lt itu d e o f impressions, objective reality em e rg e s through the intervention o f the subjec t ‘s t ran scendental act. K an t does not d en y the d is tin c t io n b e tween the multitude of subjective impressions and objective re a lity ; his point is merely that this v e r y distinction results from thc in te rv en t io n o f a subjective gesture o f t ran sc en d en ta l co ns t itu tio n . Similarly , L a c an ’s ‘Master-Significr’ is the ‘subjective’ signifying feature which sustains the very ‘objective’ symbolic structure: if wc abstrac t this subjective excess from the objective symbolic order, the very object ivity o f this order dis integrates. On the other h an d, the L a c an ian objet p e t i t a is the exact opposite of the M a s te r -S ign if ic r: not the subjective supplement which sustains the object ive order, but thc objective supplement which sus- F « n s subjectivity in its contrast to the subjecdess objective order: objet petit о is that ‘bone in the throat’ , that disturbing stain which forever blurs our picture of re a lity — it is the object on account of which ‘objective re a l ity ’ is forever inaccessible to the subject.20”
Шов как Ноль (невозможное число) это утверждение гегемонии, однако шов также выступает в качестве ключевого понятия для объяснения диалектики всеобщего и единичного: он означает собой точку схождения внутреннего и внешнего, и представляет собой прямую противоположность той тотальности, которую пытается установить. Т.е. в попытке установления целостности и устранения нехватки, шов оставляет след, эксцесс, через который нехватка может быть обнаружена и ложная тотальность разрушена. Бутылка Клейна у Лакана демонстрирует этот момент сращивания внутреннего и внешнего, субъективного и объективного, воображаемого и символического: Другой (символический порядок) получает возможность к существованию благодаря избыточному желанию субъекта, субъект как таковой конституируется через отношение к объекту маленького а, предлагаемому Другим. Также при анализе фильма Жижек настаивает на необходимости соединения анализа как формально-эстетических, так и нарративно-содержательных и производственно-экономических аспектов фильма, поскольку формальные элементы могут сказать о сюжете то, что он сам о себе сказать не может.
For They Know Not What They Do_ Enjoyment as a Political Factor (Radical Thinkers)-Verso (2008)
С. 19-20: «Conceived in this way, the point de capiton enables us to locate the misreading of the notion of «suture» in Anglo-Saxon «deconstructiVism» — namely, its use as a synonym for ideological closure, for the .gesture by means of which a given ideological field encloses itself, Effaces the traces of the material process which generated it; the traces of externality in its interior, the traces of senseless contingency in its immanent necessity. Let us recall how the King — this exemplar of point de capiton, this individual who «quilts» the social edifice — was conceptualized by Hegel: the King is undoubtedly the point of the «suture» of social totality, the point whose intervention transforms a contingent collection of individuals into a rational totality — yet precisely as such, as the point which «sutures» Nature and Culture, as the point at which a cultural-symbolic function (that of being a king) immediately coincides with a natural determination (who will be king is determined by nature, by biological lineage), the King radically «de- sutures» all other subjects; makes them lose their roots in some pre- ordained organic social body that would fix their place in society in advance and forces them to acquire their social status by means of hard labour. It is therefore not sufficient to define the King as the only immediate junction of Nature and Culture — the point is rather that this very gesture by means of which the King is posited as their «suture» de-sutures all other subjects, makes them lose their footing; throws them into a void where they must, so to speak, create themselves.
Therein consists the accent of the Lacanian notion of «suture», passed over in silence in Anglo-Saxon «deconstructivism» (in «decon- structivist» cinema theory, for example): to put it succinctly, the only thing that actually de-sutures is suture itself. This paradox comes to light in a palpable way apropos of the ambiguous and contradictory nature of the modern nation. On the one hand, «nation» of course designates modern community delivered of the traditional «organic» ties, a community in which the pre-modern links tying down the individual to a particular estate, family, religious group, and so on, are broken — the traditional corporate community is replaced by the modern nation-state whose constituents are «citizens»: people as abstract individuals, not as members of particular estates, and so forth. On the other hand, «nation» can never be reduced to a network of purely symbolic ties: there is always a kind of «surplus of the Real» that sticks to it — to define itself, «national identity» must appeal to the contingent materiality of the «common roots», of «blood and soil», and so on. In short, «nation» designates at one and the same time the instance by means of reference to which traditional «organic» links are dissolved and the «remainder of the pre-modern in modernity»: the form «organic inveteracy» acquires within the modern, post-traditional universe; the form organic substance acquires within the universe of the substanceless Cartesian subjectivity. The crucial point is again to conceive both aspects in their interconnection: it is precisely the new «suture» effected by the Nation which renders possible the «de- suturing», the disengagement from traditional organic ties. «Nation» is a pre-modern leftover which functions as an inner condition of modernity itself, as an inherent impetus of its progress. »
Шов это одновременно и идеологическое сокрытие, утверждение гегемонии посредством введения господского означающего (Король), но одновременно и утверждение нового разрыва (означивающее Короля превращает всех жителей государства в подданных, «расшивает» их идентичности, сообщает нехватку которая должна быть заполнена верным служением). Иными словами, ключом к преодолению шва является сам шов.
In Defense of Lost Causes-Verso (2008)
С. 31: «If the fight against a world proceeds by way of undermining its «point», the feature that sutures it into a stable totality how are we to proceed when we dwell in an atonal world , a world of multiplicities lacking a determinate tonality? The answer is: one has to oppose it in such a way that one compels it to «tonalize» itself to openly admit the secret tone that sustains it s atonality. For example , when one confronts a world which present s itself a s tolerant an d pluralist , disseminated, with no center , one ha s to attack the underlying structuring principle which sustains this atonality—say , the secret qualifications of «tolerance » which exclude s a s «intolerant » certain critical questions , or the secret qualifications which exclude as a «threat to freedom» questions about the limit s of the existing freedoms.»
С. 318: «…every Symbolic field needs a signifier of lack to suture itself—a s Spinoza already recognized, in traditional religion, «God» is such a signifier (from the standpoint of true knowledge , «God » ha s no positive content , the signifier merely positivizes our ignorance) .»
Жижек, вслед за Миллером, настаивает на необходимости производства шва, выполняющего функцию означающего нехватки, поскольку именно он позволит символическому полю/идеологии проявить себя. И опять – шов подчеркивает то различие, которое пытается скрыть.
Lacan_ The Silent Partners (Wo Es War) (2006)
С. 320: «Let us now turn to another strategy which again has the voice at its kernel, this time a voice which is placed in a position from which it could counter the voice, or the silence, of the law. ‘Josephine the Singer, or the Mouse Folk’ (‘Josefine die Sangerin oder das Yolk der Mause’) is actually the last l>10ry Kafka ever wrote, in March 1924, a couple of months before his death. By virtue of being the last, it necessarily invites us to read it as his testament, his last will, the point de capiton, the quilting point. the vantage point which will shed some ultimate light on his work, provide a clue which will illuminate, with finality, all that went before. And it is no doubt ironical that this clue, this suture, is provided not only by the voice, but by the tiniest of voices. the minute microscopic squeak,1I and one is structurally inclined to take this minuscule peep as the red thread that could retroactively enlighten Kafka’s obscurity.»
Looking Awry_ An Introduction to Jacques Lacan through Popular Culture (October Books) -The MIT Press (1991)
С. 37: «All attempts to regain a new balance between man and nature, to eliminate from human activity its excessive character and to include it in the regular circuit of life, are nothing but a series of subsequent endeavors to suture an original and irredeemable gap.»
Попытка найти компромисс между природой и человеком, вернуть последнего в русло «естественных» процессов представляет собой шов, пытающийся скрыть существующее фундаментальное различие.
Less Than Nothing_ Hegel and the Shadow of Dialectical Materialism-Verso (2012)
С. 5: «With Lacan, and bearing in mind that Lacan’s theory is here interpreted as a repetition of Hegel, the first step is the presentation of Lacan’s (explicit and implicit) references to Hegel, that is, of Lac an as a reader of Hegel. What follows is the presentation of suture as the elementary mechanism of the signifying process, the mechanism which enables us to understand Lacan’ s definition of the signifier as «that which represents the subject for another signifier».
С. 74: «…the point of subjectivization «sutures» not the ideological Inside, but the Outside itself: the «suture» is the point of subjectivization which guarantees the consistency of the «objective» field itself».
С. 167: «Anstoss is neither «absolutely nothing» nor something (a delimited object); it is (to refer to the Lacanian logic of suture, as deployed by Miller in his classical text) nothing counted as something (in the same way as the number one is zero counted as one)»
С. 427: «The circle of mediation can thus only be concluded when it is sup plemented by a «raw» non-mediated «irrational» element which «sutures» the rational totality»
С. 431: «what «sutures» the identity of a social totality as such is the very «free-floating» element which dissolves the fixed identity of any intra-social element.»
С. 586: «This triple gesture, a crucial step from mana to «suture;’ was gradually accomplished by Lacan, starting with his articulation of the concept of the «point de capitan» (quilting point) whose apparent reference obviously points towards suture. As in Levi-Strauss, the «quilting point» sutures the two fields, that of the signifler and that of the signified, acting as the point at which, as Lacan put it in a precise way, «the signifier falls into the signified«. This is how one should read the tautology «socialism is socialism»-recall the old Polish anticommunist joke: «Socialism is the synthesis of the highest achievements of all previous historical epochs: tram tribal society, it took barbarism, from Antiquity, it took slavery, from feudalism, it took relations of domination, from capitalism, it took exploitation, and from socialism, it took the name…»
С. 590-91: «For Lacan, the phallic signifier is such a suturing element: Lacan’ s concept of the phallus is exemplary of the dialectic of the priority of lack over the element that fills it in-and, as Lacan points out, for a very precise reason (known to all Lacanians), the phallus is the very signifier of this lack… »
С. 598: «The basic operation of suture is thus that 0 is counted as one: the absence of a determination is counted as a positive determination of its own, as in Borges’s famous classification of dogs which includes, as a species, all the dogs not included among the previous species, in other words, the «part of no-part» of the canine genus.»
С. 603: «This brings us, finally, to the most speculative aspect of the notion of suture: the purely formal difference between an element and its place functions as a pure difference which is no longer a difference between two positive entities; and, as we have already seen, this pure difference is the condition of symbolic differentiality. The paradox is thus that what sutures a field is not a unifying feature but the pure difference itself…»
С. 621: «Evil is a formal condition of the rise of the Good: it literally creates the space for the Good. And do we not encounter here the ultimate case of suture: in order to retain its consistency, the field of the Good has to be sutured by the singularity of Evil?»
С. 622: «…the very triumph of Miller’s concept of suture was inextricably mixed up with a radical misunder standing of the concept: paradoxically, what won out was a kind of perverted synthesis of the two positions, Althusser’s and Lacan’s. As we have seen, what triumphed was the Althusserian notion of the subject as the site of an imaginary or ideological (mis)recognition of structural necessity, and the notion of «suture» was, in its predominant popular reception and use, interpreted as the very operator of this misrecognition; that is, it designated the operation by means of which the field of ideological experience gets «sutured;’ its circle closed, and the de-centered structural necessity rendered invisible. In this reading, «suturing» means that all disturbing traces of the radical Outside within the field of ideological experience are obliterated, so that this field is perceived as a seamless continuity-a grand historical process, say, is (over)determined by a complex network of «anonymous» structural causes, and this complexity is obfuscated when we posit a Subject (humanity, consciousness, life, God… ) which dominates and directs the process…»
С. 844: «»Idealism» and «metaphysics» are names for the Illusion that the circle of representation can close in upon itself, wiping out all traces of its de-centered production process. Antiphilosophy here develops its own version of the logic of «suture;’ conceiving it as the mode in which the exterior is inscribed in the interior, thus «suturing» the field, producing the effect of self-enclosure with no need for an exterior, effacing the traces of its own production. Traces of the pro duction process, its gaps, its mechanisms, are obliterated, so that the product can appear as a naturalized organic whole (likewise with identification, which is not simply full emotional immersion in the quasi-reality of a story, but a much more complex split process)…
Much more crucial, however, is the obverse aspect: not only «no interior without exterior;’ but also «no exterior without interior:’ Therein lies the lesson of Kant’s transcendental idealism: in order to appear as a consistent Whole, external reality has to be «sutured» by a subjective element, an artificial supplement that must be added to it in order to generate the effect of reality, like the painted background that confers on a scene the Ulusory effect of «reality:’ This, for Lacan, is the objet petit a: the subjective element constitutive of objective — external reality.
… According to standard (cinematic) suture theory, the «subject» is the Illusory stand-in, within the domain of the constituted or generated, for its absent cause, for its production process: the «subject» is the imaginary agent which, while dwelling inside the space of the constituted phenomena, is (mis)perceived as their generator. This, however, is not what the Lacanian «barred subject» is about: the latter can be conceptualized only if we take into account how the very externality of the generative process exists only insofar as the stand-in of the constituted domain is present in it.»
С. 845-46: «To put it succinctly, «suture» means that external difference is always also internal, that the external limitation of a field of phenomena always reflects itself within this field, as its inherent impossibility to fully become itself. To take the elementary example of sexual difference: in a patriarchal society, the external limit or opposition that divides women from men also functions as the inherent obstacle preventing women from fully realizing their potential. We can see how, in this precise sense, suture is the exact opposite of the illusory self enclosed totality that successfully erases the decentered traces of its production process: suture means precisely that such self enclosure is a priori impossible, that the excluded externality always leaves its traces within-or, to put it in standard Freudian terms, that there is no repression (from the scene of phenomenal self-experience) without the return of the repressed…
Suture is thus not a secondary short-circuit of the two levels-it comes first, it logically precedes the two levels that overlap in it, as the subjective gesture of suturing that constitutes (what appears to us as) objective reality. »
С. 856: «The «pseudo-cause» is thus not a mere quasi-cause: an «illusory cause» in contrast to «real» causes-rather, it gives body to (fills in) the gap in the order of real causes (and not only the gap in the order of re-presentation). This is what complicates the simplistic notion of «suture» as the place-holder for the absent production process within the order of re-presentations.»
С. 963: «…psychoanalysis opens up the gap before the act, while politics already sutures the gap, introducing a new consistency, imposing a new Master-Signifier. But does every politics, every political act, necessarily involve a self-blinding cover-up of the gap?»
Шов (также «точка стежка» (point de capitan) у Лакана ) это элементарный механизм процесса означивания, это ничто, принимаемое за что-то, иррациональная точка субъективизации, гарантирующая целостность рациональной объективности (фаллос выполняет роль такого элемента «внешнего» сшивания, субъективного жеста, конституирующего реальность), и одновременно – точка объективности, гарантирующая субъективацию (объект маленького а производит «внутреннее» сшивание, элемент нереального в поле видимости субъекта, задающий для него саму возможность реальности). Шов не столько производит целостность поля идеологии, его независимость от любого «извне», через воображаемый mis-recognition субъекта (альтюссерианско-деконструктивисткое понимание шва, в том числе и в кинотеории), сколько говорит нам о различии. Т.е шов представляет собой свидетельство взаимосвязи внутреннего поля с внешним, субъективного с объективным, идеологии и ее субъекта. Иными словами – шов не скрывает дыру, но говорит нам о ее присутствии.
Mapping Ideology-Verso (1995)
«Suture is a term whose current theoretical use is drawn from Lacanian psychoanalysis and has been developed, as Laclau and Mouffe describe, in semiotic film theory. Conventionally, in English, meaning ‘stitch’, the term suture is rendered by the Oxford English Dictionary as ‘the joining of the lips of a wound’, and this original surgical meaning is given a neat and modern gloss in Landry and Maclean’s remark that ‘a «suture» marks the absence of a former identity, as when cut flesh heals but leaves a scar marking difference’. Laclau and Mouffe present us with a body politic whose skin is permanently split open, necessitating ceaseless duty in the emergency room for the surgeons of hegemony whose fate it is to try and close, temporarily and with difficulty, the gaps. (This patient never makes it to the recovery ward.) Their reference to Stephen Heath’s account of suture stresses a ‘double movement’ -between on the one hand a Lacanian ‘I’ whose hallmark is division and lack, and on the other hand the simultaneous possibility of coherence or ‘filling-in’ of that lack. Their application of the concept of suture to the field of politics carries with it an idea that Derrida’s work on deconstruction has made influential: the traces of the old cannot be destroyed but remain as sedimentary deposits — even, and indeed especially, where the new is trying hardest to exclude the old. (Deconstruction being the method of uncovering these buried traces.) Thus Laclau and Mouffe say: ‘Hegemonic practices are suturing in so far as their field of operation is determined by the openness of the social, by the ultimately unfixed character of every signifier. This original lack is precisely what the hegemonic practices try to fill in.’ They conclude that the closure implied in the idea of a totally sutured society is impossible.»
The Fright of Real Tears_ Krzystof Kieslowski between Theory and Post-theory (2001)
Back to the suture: С. 31-38: «There is a notion which played a crucial role in the heyday of Theory, the notion which, perhaps, condenses everything Theory was about in cinema studies, and is, consequendy, the main target of the Post-Theoreticist crit- icism — the notion of suture, which concerns precisely the gap between the Universal and the Particular: it is this gap that is ultimately ‘sutured’. The time of suture seems to have irrevocably passed: in the present-day cul- tural studies version of Theory, the term barely occurs; however, rather than accepting this disappearance as a fact, one is tempted to read it as an indication of the decline of cinema studies…
Reappropriated by cinema theory, the elementary logic of suture consists of three steps.
Firstly, the spectator is confronted with a shot, finds pleasure in it in an immediate, imaginary way, and is absorbed by it.
Then, this full immersion is undermined by the awareness of the frame as such: what I see is only a part, and I do not master what I see. I am in a passive position, the show is run by the Absent One (or, rather, Other) who manipulates images behind my back.
What then follows is a complementary shot which renders the place from which the Absent One is looking, allocating this place to its fictional owner, one of the protagonists. In short, one passes thereby from imaginary to symbolic, to a sign: the second shot does not simply follow the first one, it is signified by it.
So, in order to suture the decentring gap, the shot which I perceived as objective is, in the next shot, reinscribed/reappropriated as the point-of- view shot of a person within the diegetic space. In Lacanian terms, the second shot represents (within the diegetic space of representation) the absent subject for/of the first shot. When the second shot replaces the first one, the ‘absent one’ is transferred from the level of enunciation to the level of diegetic fiction…
In suture, the difference between image and its absence/void is mapped onto the intra-pictural difference between the two shots. Of course, such suturing procedure is rather rare in its pure form described above; numerous analyses have provided examples of other, more complex forms of this elementary matrix, as well as examples which bear witness to the system of suture falling apart, no longer successfully sustaining the appearance of seamless continuity (in Bresson, Godard, Hitchcock, etc.). What one should bear in mind is the fundamental ideological operation that is involved here: the threatening intrusion of the decentring Other, the Absent Cause, is ‘sutured’. The trickery thus resides in the fact that the gap that separates two totally different levels — that of the enunciated content (the narrative fiction) and that of the decentred process of its enunciation — is flattened: enunciation is reduced to one in the series of elements that constitute the enunciated fiction, i.e. the element which functions as the stand-in for the Absent Cause of the process appears as one of the elements within this process…
A more fundamental reproach to the standard notion of suture is that the elementary matrix of classical Hollywood narrative cinema is rather the opposite one: it’s not that, ideally, each objective shot has to be reinscribed as the subjective (point-of-view) shot allocated to a certain protagonist within the space of the narrative fiction; it’s rather that each subjective (point-of-view) shot has to be firmly allocated to some subject within diegetic reality, who is presented in an objective shot, so that the standard procedure is rather that of first seeing the protagonist (in an objective shot) and then, in a complementary shot, seeing what this protagonist sees in a point-of-view shot. In short, the ultimate threat is not that of an objective shot which will not be ‘subjectivised‘, allocated to some protagonist within the space of diegetic fiction, but that of a point-of-view shot which will not be clearly allocated as the point of view of some protagonist, and which will thus evoke the spectre of a free-floating Gaze without a determinate subject to whom it belongs…
Hitchcock is at his most uncanny and disturbing when he engages us directly with the point of view of this external fantasmatic Gaze. One of the standard horror movie procedures is the ‘resignification’ of the objective into the subjective shot (what the spectator first perceives as an objective shot — say, of a house with a family at dinner — is all of a sudden, by means of codified markers like the slight trembling of the camera, the ‘subjectivised’ soundtrack, etc., revealed as the subjective shot of a murderer stalking his potential victim). However, this procedure is to be supplemented with another reversal, when, in the middle of a shot unambiguously marked as subjective, the spectator is all of a sudden compelled to acknowledge that there is no possible subject within the space of diegetic reality who can occupy the point of view of this shot. So we are not dealing here with the simple reversal of a subjective into an objective shot, but in constructing a place of impossible subjectivity, a subjectivity which taints the very objectivity with a flavour of unspeakable, monstrous evil…
We can see, now, how this Hitchcockian procedure undermines the standard procedure of suture. Firstly, already the elementary Hitchcockian exchange between the objective shot of a person approaching the Thing and the point-of-view shot of this Thing fails to produce the ‘suturing’ effect of appeasement: the tension remains unresolved. Then, it is as if this tension is released and simultaneously explodes, gets out of control, by being raised to a higher potency, i.e. by being accelerated into another, much more radical, duality: the shift from the objective ‘God’s-view’ shot into its uncanny subjectivisation. Another subjectivity intervenes here, which is no longer the standard diegetic subjectivity of a protagonist of the fiction, but the impossible/traumatic subjectivity of the Thing itself…
There is yet another subversion of the standard procedure of suture, which turns around the Hitchcockian subjectivisation of an objective shot: the unexpected objectivisation of what first appears to be a subjective shot.»
С. 53: «And is Velasquez’s Las Meninas, to which Oudart himself refers in his seminal essay on suture, not an exemplary case of such a condensation of shot and counter-shot into a single shot?»
С. 54: «This shift from standard suture to the interface effect can be perfectly rendered in Lacanian terms: suture follows the logic of signifying representation (the second shot represents the absent subject for the first shot), while the interface effect occurs when this signifying representation fails. At this point, when the gap can no longer be filled by an additional signifier, it is filled by a spectral object, in a shot which, in the guise of the spectral screen, includes its own counter-shot. In other words, when, in the exchange of shots and counter-shots, a shot occurs to which there is no counter-shot, the only way to fill this gap is by producing a shot which contains its own counter-shot. Here, then, we pass from Sj-S2 to j5 a: a signifier cannot include the other signifier within itself (this would entail the impossible paradox of the signifier which signifies itself); it is only the objet petit a, which can be directly included in the picture. Consequently, when a shot includes its own counter-shot, the two shots are no longer related as the two signifiers of a signifying dyad; the first shot now stands for the signifying chain as such, while the spectral counter-shot sutures it, providing the fantasmatic supplement that fills its hole.»
С. 56: «We can see, now, why the notion of suture cannot function within Post-Theory. Post-Theory insists on multiple relatively independent levels. For example, one can examine the perception of films as a cognitive- psychological process, one can examine the narrative structuring of fiction cinema, one can examine ideological biases involved in the narrative line and visual presentations, one can examine cinema as an economic process … Of course, there may be intersections and overdeterminations between these levels (say, the narrative line can bear witness to a clear ideological bias), but they are a secondary phenomenon which should be proven in a detailed analysis, not asserted in a hasty generalisation.
In contrast to this approach, one should define suture as the structurally necessary short-circuit between different levels (style, narrative, the economic conditions of the studio system of production, etc.). However, suture must be distinguished from the otherwise very productive and interesting new historicist probing into the contingent, particular set of conditions (say, the economic limitations of cinema production) which gave birth to some well-known stylistic innovation.»
С. 71: «The ultimate gap that gives rise to suture is ontological, a crack that cuts through reality itself: the whole’ of reality cannot be perceived/accepted as reality, so the price we have to pay for ‘normally’ situating ourselves within reality is that something should be foreclosed from it: this void of primordial repression has to be filled in — ‘sutured’ — by the spectral fantasy»
С. 187: «…the standard suture procedure follows the logic of desire, while the closure of interface, its condensation of shot and reverse-shot within the same shot, follows the self-affecting logic of drive — as in the example of the lips kissing themselves, in the interface shot-within-a-shot a shot is ’embracing itself.»
Шов это механизм инкорпорирования Другого в коно-нарратив, превращения взгляда Другого в знак-образ (персонажа). Сперва зритель поглощается предлагаемой кадром целостностью (?), чувствует скопофилическое удовольствие, однако тут же находит границы кадра и обнаруживает что предлагаемый ему взгляд ограничен и ему не принадлежит. Это открытие пробуждает в зрителе тревогу, но сразу вслед за тем следует другой кадр, показывающий смотрящего (персонажа) и, таким образом, дающий зрителю структурную «зацепку». Эта зацепка позволяет инкорпорировать пережитый опыт в символическое целое реальности фильма (диалектика децентрации и рецентрации зрительского взгляда). Этот механизм балансирования между знанием и незнанием определяет классическую голливудскую киноформулу. Как только появляется нехватка – тут же появляется символическая инкарнация Другого (имя, образ, знак), позволяющая эту нехватку изжить. Однако такая схема в ходе развития кинематографа притерпела множество мутаций: различные режиссеры используют различные «тактики» сшивания (или напротив, ложного шва), направленные на производство различных зрительских аффектов. Так например, Хичкок ставит на место предполагаемого символического другого (хозяина взгляда) Вещь («Птицы», «Психо»), благодаря чему происходит ложное сшивание – зритель не получает связанного с обретением нового знания удовлетворения, вместо этого он сталкивается со зловещим отсутствием, дырой собственного незнания и непонимания того, чьими же глазами он только что смотрел.
The Abyss of Freedom Ages of the World (The Body, In Theory_ Histories of Cultural Materialism) (1997)
С. 53: «the subject is that X which accomplishes the act of ‘‘suture,» of connecting the Universal to a particular content, which violently “destabilizes,» “throws out of balance,» the “objective» order of things.»
The Plague of Fantasies Second Edition 2009
С. 105: «The basic premiss of the Lacanian ontology is that if our experience of reality is to maintain its consistency, the positive field of reality has to be ‘sutured’ with a supplement which the subject (mis)perceives as a positive entity, but is effectively a ‘negative magnitude’. When, in psychotic experience, objet petit a is actually included in reality, this means that it no longer functions as a ‘negative magnitude’, but simply as another positive object* as for positive facts (objects of experience), there is nothing to distinguish a psychotic position from the position of a ‘normal’ subject; what a psychotic lacks is merely the dimension of ‘negative’ magnitude underpinning the presence of’ordinary’ objects.»
Объект маленького а является тем невозможным объектом, который «сшивает» для субъекта реальность. Ложная идентификация происходит на уровне принятия этого объекта в качестве позитивной сущности, в то время как он является репрезентацией пустоты.
Резюме: существеннейшим дополнением Жижека к Лакану/критикой альтюссерианского направления лаканианства, является положение о том, что нехватка не только не является фактором, дестабилизирующим и разрушающим символический порядок, но, парадоксальным образом, представляет собой условие успешного существования последнего. Иными словами, символический порядок уже предполагает определенную нестабильность и разделенность внутри собственной целостности. Альтюссер полагал, что основная стратегия борьбы с идеологией – это обнаружение ее «слабых мест» (отсюда чисто негативное понимание шва как момента скрытия, вытеснения нехватки) и последующая деконструкция, Жижек же указывает на то, что сама возможность нехватки уже предположена идеологией (в виде фаллоса или объекта желания) и является условием возможности ее осуществления (отсюда понимание противоречивой природы шва: он указывает на то, что пытается скрыть). Шов Другого (фаллос) обуславливает нехватку субъекта, а шов субъекта (объект маленького а) обуславливает нехватку Другого. Всякий символический порядок задает не только свое «внутри», но и свое «снаружи», поэтому попытка разомкнуть его для «внешнего» изначально обречена на провал. Нужно сконцентрировать свое внимание не на «снаружи» идеологии (потому что «снаружи» уже идеологично), а на самом шве, сшивающем «снаружи» и «внутри», символическое и воображаемое, объективное и субъективное. Задача не в том, чтобы отказаться от своих субъективных (идеологических) иллюзий и взглянуть на мир «как он есть», но в том, чтобы обнаружить, как и где идеология «сшивается» со своей изнаночной, по-видимости внешней и неидеологической стороной.