Angry Inches, Happy Itches, Aber Wer Bin Ich?


breaching the gap

As in a dream, the pursuer never succeeds in catching up with the fugitive whom he is after, and the fugitive likewise cannot ever clearly escape his pursuer; so Achilles that day did not succeed  in attaining Hector, and Hector was not able to escape him definitely.
- Slavoj Žižek, Looking Awry (4)

It is clear that I must find my other half

I have identified three moments of transitions which I believe could be understood as the most decisive in my life on screen:
(i) my departure from East Berlin with Luther to the United States;
(ii) my divorce with Luther;
(iii) my musical and romantic split with Tommy.

These three moments correspond to important sentimental disappointments and/or deceptions. Stepping back from these, I can now correlate them to what Laura Mulvey writes on rites of separation. These initiate the entrance of an individual into a state of crisis situated outside  the norms of everyday existence.

[They] are followed by transitional rites, during which one is in a liminal relation to the world, in a no man's land, that may well be marked literally by a particular relationship to place. (171)

I am tempted to draw a parallel between the liminality of these moments of my life and that described by Mulvey. I believe that it is possible to apparent the transitivity allowed by my experiences to Mulvey's rites of passage. This term of "passage" indeed brings me to my next point, which is that I very much see my life as a quest; a quest which takes the form of melancholic travels. These melancholic travels are affected by, as much as they are  an effect of, these decisive moments of transition (which endorse the function of rites of passage). They drastically alter my existential trajectory; as much as they have the force to deviate its trajectory, they give my entire existence a new destination, while never diminishing its movements. My journeys consist in real - geographic - movements and psychic movements. Both types of movement seem to echo one another, creating in their interplay a geography of the psyche. They are indissociable, their value arising from their interaction and their metaphorical reciprocity.

Lack and Lacan

As Hansel, my imaginary travels to the West first took place while I was playing my head stuck in the oven, listening to American Forces Radio. I was probably compensating for this growing dissatisfaction with the relationship I had with my mother. It turned out that I could not become "one" with my mother. I did not feel home at home. I thus started to try and breach the gap via expressing myself, writing, drawing and singing. I will call upon Rose's interpretation of Lacan, which suggests that the process of symbolization begins when the child, for the first time, experiences lack:

[I]dentity is constructed through language, but only at a cost. Identity shifts, and language speaks the loss which lay behind the fist moment of symbolization. (31-2)

Throughout my life, I try to find  myself another home elsewhere. Their direction towards a comforting "elsewhere" give my travels the function of substitute to the impossibility to meet my desire for this ideal home.  I assume that Lacan would refer to this phenomenon as "the lack of the subject" (le manque du sujet). This desire to set my hand on my identity again feeds my imaginary and propels me to spheres which reveal, one after the other, that I was duped all along, that I am the victim of a fraud, which nothing and no one is responsible for, if anything our belonging to the real. I am looking for the phallus - this unattainability of the real.

The Lacanian object "a", examined by Slavoj Žižek, can possibly help us envision why my quest is however not totally vain. Indeed, we have to make sense of the fact that it is not because I do not ever succeed in reaching my destination that there is no point at all in pursuing my quest. The paradoxes of Zeno of Elea, referred to in Žižek's above quote, illustrate the dynamics of a libidinal economy - i.e. the subject's relationship with the object-cause of her/his desire which can never be reached. The only thing that can ever be done is circumscribing this object-cause.  My desire to grasp this object-cause (or object "a"), whatever shape it may take (my mother, Luther, Tommy, etc.), materializes into my obsessive geographic and psychic travels.  I do have an itch that prevents me from staying in place; this is my angry inch, which bears the trace of the lack of the subject (or lack of "ich") but is also, at the same time,  the source of this libidinal energy that incessantly drives me towards new destinations. Why would I keep up hounding this object-cause? What matters in the end, as Rose puts it, isn't the fulfilment of desire but the process towards these impossible ends.

You, Kant!

The Rolling Stones knew it: "You Can't Always Get What You Want", while being one of their songs,  is also the title of the (I find) brilliant lecture I delivered at my university back in Berlin (which earned me to be dismissed). Needless to point to the intended pun between "Kant" and "Can't" which, again, hint at my creator's fondness about puns and the Copernician Revolution. This idea of the object "a" which can never be reached is supplemented with another: that pure knowledge can never be gained.  "You can't always get what you want" is followed by "but if you try sometimes you find you get what you need": desires have to be distinguished from needs. A desire may be directed towards the object "a"; this object-cause is not a need. This need might actually situate itself at the level of the quest itself, within it. It is in movement that I create myself, that I fashion and give substance to my identity, even though the latter may never reach a definitive form.