© Jiang Zhi, On the white #4, 2007

© Jiang Zhi, Love Letters No.6, 2011

“Oneness and unity only rests in ‘word’, never in the ‘matter’.

I recall a conversation with a neurologist about whether ‘insanity’ exists, and if it did, how. We arrive at an interesting concept, that we were not very interested in the notion of ‘insanity’ itself, in other words, to us, ‘insanity’ in ‘general’ does not exist. ‘Insanity’ only exists in ‘situations’ and ‘conditions’, that is, ‘who’, ‘with whom’, ‘when’, ‘where’, ‘why’, ‘why not’…? Only in these ‘wholes’, ‘situations’ and ‘assemblages’ does the word ‘insanity’ has a ‘referent’. Here, the significance of ‘insanity’ lies in its ‘eventualness’ and not its ‘essence’. And here, because of the ‘eventual’, ‘insanity’ gained a ‘new’ reference, such that ‘sanity’, ‘fascination,’, ‘dream’, ‘rationality’, etc. can no longer be distinguished. Such ‘attitude of observation’ no longer serve as the ‘judgement’ of words (the essence between insanity and sanity), nor the ‘micro-politics’ of the boundary between objects (insanity against fascination’,), nor the ‘fight’ between words and matter (the essences of insanity versus the eventual in insanity). Instead, it’s the ‘materialisation’ of a concept, a ‘new’ form of ‘clinical symptom’, ‘an unprecedented form of insanity’: who, with whom, when, where, how, why… What we are observing has always been the ‘process of individuation of events under certain circumstances’, not the words, the object, person, nor subject…We call that ‘becoming insane’.

The operation of our brain is not like Freud’s ‘stage’, with various characters, symbols, representations. Instead, its operation resembles the ‘factory’ of Deleuze: machines, mechanisms, installations, settings. It constantly produces desires and becomes a ‘machine of desires’.

To complete this concept, Deleuze divided the Freudian desire: we never long for a ‘matter’, a ‘word’ or any ‘object’. What we yearn for has alway been a ‘state’, a ‘whole’, a ‘collection’. We crave not for ‘daddy mummy-penis nipple’, but for ‘a world of one’s own’. As Proust puts it, ‘I hunger for not only this woman, but also the landscape surrounding her…’, ‘What a woman wants is never only a dress, but the world she can embrace wearing the dress. What a man wants is never only a woman, but the life he can live having that woman.’

It is ‘desire’ that creates a ‘world we must arrive’, rushing us to ‘leave here to go there’, compelling us to ‘become’.”

excerpt from text by Véronic-Ting CHEN. Continue reading

More of Jiang’s work here

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