Knottings seminar in Tel-Aviv
Below are some notes taken from the Knottings seminar which took place in Israel on 19/01/13 with the happy presence of Florencia Fernandez Coria Shanahan from the Irish Circle of the Lacanian Orientation-NLS and the Executive Committee of the NLS and Veronique Voruz from the London Society of the NLS. They brought with them a refreshing presence that enabled a fruitful discussion among the participants.
Between being programmed and programming, between the parasitic nature of language and inhabiting language, Florencia unfolds her presentation—“Connected Alone”.
Florencia chose to relate to the topic of the next NLS congress, “The Psychotic Subject in the Geek Era” via the “geek era”, through the perspective of what Jacques Alain-Miller termed, “a great disorder in the real”.
We moved with her from the geek as a deviation from nature, to the geek as a particular way of inhabiting the social bond, as a creation of nomination based on the claim of one’s right to ‘oddness’, “one all alone” organized in a swarm-like way.
Florencia referred to Eric Laurent’s closing speech in the NLS Congress in Tel-Aviv, in which he stated that “what interests us in the practice of psychoanalysis are the forms of discourse by which the subject inserts himself, though never entirely, into the established discourses, into what we call civilization”. She placed the term “established discourses” under a question mark, asking how we determine who is inside or outside discourse. One could also ask, how can we talk about inside or outside discourse if it is established and is not an establishment? This question lead Florencia to relate to the particular way in which signifier and signified are stabilized for each subject; a way that is not independent from how language and body come to be connected together for each of us, always with a failure. She knotted this to the symptom as a response of the subject to the program imposed on him from the Other.
Florencia mentioned two theorists from the 1980’s who captured something of the relation between man and machine. Donna Haraway in her metaphor of the ‘cyborg’ mixtures of human and machine; claiming that it is no longer possible to use old body/mind dualisms .Florencia reads Haraway’s feminist call for a technological utopianism as way to deal with the inexistence of the Other.
Sherry Turkle places technology in general, and computers in particular, not as a tool, but as part of our everyday psychological life that define the way we think and act.
Florencia stated that she sees in the effort to conceptualize the human experience in the ‘geek era” a possibility to interrogate the status of the object a as theorized by Lacan, especially the issue of its extraction as the operation that founds a closed reality for the subject, by establishing a point of impossibility and an order which is installed through its limits
She brought back Dominique Holvoet’s question from the argument for the Congress 2013″is not the ‘I-object’ a supplementary organ whose function s sought by the bloggers we are?”
Florencia returned to a talk Turkle gave in 2012, entitled “Connected but alone?”, wherein the author opposes conversation and connection, stating that we have a new way of being together alone. Technology enables a new way of “being alone together”. Florencia emphasized the signifier “but” and the interrogation mark in Turkle’s title, claiming that they mark an illusion that it could be otherwise. That we could relate to the Other without being plugged into it via something.
Florencia stated that the opposition is not between connection and loneliness for at the level of jouissance the speaking being reveals himself alone connected via the object a.
She mentioned Laurent’s claim that despite the advances of science that have gone to the point of silencing nature, the drive insists. The question of how to live in one’s own body and how to do with the non-sexual relation remains. The geek era is the era of ‘lives ruled by non-standard signifying inventions’.
Florencia’s paper was followed by a lively discussion. It opened a space for different avenues of interrogation, a start.
We heard two clinical cases
Vera Elad presented a work with a young woman in a mental health hospital, which took place mostly through writing. In her opening words Vera stated that “it is a case of a ‘forced choice/invention’ of a subject who took the radical freedom and at the same time the prison not to speak and not to make her voice heard”.
This case made it possible to raise a question about the very act of speaking and to mark the pair speech and writing.
Veronique Voruz’s case demonstrated to us the metonymic use of speech by moving from one framework to another, from one style to another creating a gap between s1 and s2 that can delineate the gaze and give a function to the eye.
The discussion on the cases made it possible to isolate the point of impossibility.
By pointing towards these points the discussion received a breath of fresh and invigorating air.
Reporter: Sharon Zvili-Cohen