┐ WR: Mysteries of the Organism └

tumblr_m7qzg4Jwhn1qc2u73o1_500

“As for Wilhelm Reich himself, upon whose ideas and career the film is largely based, today he seems less like a sex radical than like a crypto-conservative without knowing it. Reich’s glorification of the orgasm is actually quite heteronormative and prescriptive, as well as being entirely caught up within the discursive deployment of sexuality-as-liberation, described and denaturalized by Foucault. (Indeed, as far back as the 1950s, Norman O. Brown had already denounced Reich’s privileging of “normal adult genital sexuality” over the multiple potentials of “polymorphous perversity”). Reich’s later ideas about orgone energy, for which he was prosecuted and persecuted by the US government, and which (in the late 1950s and the 1960s) had a correspondingly subversive prestige among writers and intellectuals (like Norman Mailer and William Burroughs), today seem little more than variants of today’s fashionable (and entirely conformist) New Age beliefs.

Where does all this leave WR: Mysteries of the Organism? I’ve been suggesting that the ideas and practices which make up the film’s subject matter have all been tarnished by the passage of time. In a certain sense, this means that what Makavejev proposed, in 1971, as images of liberation, have now become parts of everyday experience, in all their banality and obviousness, and have turned out not to be liberating at all. But I am trying to suggest that, in an important way, this only makes the film more visionary and more relevant. And this, of course, has as much to do with the film’s form and dynamics as with its overt content. WR begins as a sort-of documentary about Wilhelm Reich. But other strands quickly get woven in, and Makavejev’s montage becomes increasingly dense and delirious as the film proceeds.

(…)

Makavejev, however, is neither as didactic as Eisenstein, nor as contemplative as Godard. Rather, he pushes intellectual montage in the direction of what I can best call a kind of energizing of potentialities (of what Deleuze would call the virtual, or what Whitehead would call the “mental pole” of a concrescence). Makavejev is concerned with multipying potentialities, even (or especially) when these potentialities (obviously) cannot all be realized (since they are “incompossible” with one another), and when they lead to an impasse. Which is why the film can both enthusiastically celebrate the potentials of free sexuality, and envision the way such a “liberated” sexuality is only a pseudo-liberation, as it issues either in rampant consumerism (the American way), or in the exaltation of a sort of phallic totalitarianism (which applies, in different ways, to both Stalin and Hitler), or to the panicked reassertion of male privilege via murder (Vladimir Ilyich loses his self-possession when he gives way to orgasm and to his desire for Milena; which is why, in classic masculine-domination mode, just like in all those American film noirs, he punishes the woman for having allured him).

That is to say, in comparison to either Eisenstein or Godard, Makavejev’s intellectual montage is… more intellectual, more world-significant in its ramifications. (None of this should be seen as criticism of Godard, for whom I maintain an undying love and allegiance). But, besides being more intellectual, Makavejev is also (how to best put this?) more material — no, rather, more corporeal, more deeply embodied, than Godard (or Eisentstein). This has much to do with Reich, whose insistence on the embodiment of affects and desires is perhaps the most significant and powerful aspect of his theories. Reich, for instance, thought and wrote at great length about how repressions and conflicts and erotic positions are manifested, not just in linguistic and intellectual symptoms (as per Freud), but also very much in bodily postures and gestures, in what might be called the visceral forms of expression. (This non-linguistic dimension is precisely what the Lacanians ignore, systematically and on principle). This aspect of Reich’s theory is in fact explained to us, on screen, by a Reichian analyst (Alexander Lowen, if I am remembering correctly).

Following this principle, Makavejev’s montage is as visceral as it is intellectual. The sexual scenes in WR have generally been the ones that have caused the most controversy: in the dvd of the film that I showed my class, during the plaster-casting scene the man’s erect penis is obscured by a ridiculous sort-of psychedelic efflorescence special effect. This is something that wasn’t there when I viewed the film years ago; it was added to the film by Makavejev in 1991 (he proclaimed it an “improvement” ) in order to satisfy British censorship regulations (is WR the only Eastern-bloc film that has been thus censored both by a Communist country and by a capitalist one?). But in fact, the most physically jolting scenes in the film are not directly sexual at all — they are documentary scenes of Reichian therapy, showing patients violently thrashing and convulsing their bodies while yelling things like “give it to me.” source: The Pinocchio Theory

┐ Cara Judea Alhadeff └

© Cara Judea Alhadeff, Lost Valley, from the conscious dream project

© Cara Judea Alhadeff, kunst-stoff, from the conscious dream project

© Cara Judea Alhadeff, Exploratoreum, from Gestation (singles)

© Cara Judea Alhadeff, south american tropical room, from gestation project

© Cara Judea Alhadeff, art and revolution’s wailing women heads, from gestation project

“As a Deleuzian nomadic feminist, my photographic work explores a dynamic disequilibrium. My photographs play with inter-relating imbrications—concurrent, multiple, contradictory tendencies.My pedagogical and art-based research explores the possibilities of radical citizenship by actively cultivating vulnerability through corporeal inquiries. Irreducibly allusive corpo-visual language unfolds as embodied rhizomatic vulnerabilities. My project is intricately rooted in the potential of a rhizomatic uncanny—”reducible neither to the One nor the multiple” (Mille Plateaux 22). I ground my theoretical investigations within narratives of personal experience —sexual becomings and analog photography. As a strategy to elucidate my theoretical queries, I refer both to my philosophical underpinnings and the international public reception of my photographs—which frequently has led to censorship. In doing so, I practice an embodied theory that advocates a politics, philosophy, and pedagogical commitment rooted in everyday behavior and interaction. A commitment to this heterogeneous embodied thinking has the potential to rupture cultural assumptions. It explores the cross-fertilization of Deleuze’s enfoldments as disarticulated membranes. This awareness awakens the possibility of fully inhabiting our bodies—bodies that pulse with the multiplicity of the ‘I’—as inherently interdisciplinary. Revitalization of both individual and social bodies produces enfoldments of psyche-somatic consciousness. No hierarchies survive these monstrous, heterogeneous, multiple entwinings of body intelligence and wisdom. The body becomes a condition for participatory democracy—a lived erotic politics.

(…)

My intention is to play with relationships amongst actual, liminal anatomical characteristics, and not to create artifice. Zizek tells us that “…Deleuze’s Spinoza is the Spinoza of the real, of ‘anarchic’ bodily mixtures” (Zizek188). The relationships among the “objects” within my photographs play out a process of continual de-centering and excess. I hope this language of critical imagination becomes an erogenous life-affirming power, breaking up predetermined taxonomies of knowledge, suspending what we think we know: “…the uncanny is destined to elude mastery, it is what cannot be pinned down or controlled. The uncanny is never simply a question of a statement, description or definition, but always engages a performative dimension, a maddening supplement, something unpredictable and additionally strange happening in and to what is being stated, described or defined” (Royle 16). This Deleuzian language of the uncanny cannot be taxonomied, classified, binarized.

How can we challenge, personally and collectively, our socialized fear and distrust of self-doubt, what comes out of our bodies, and what goes on inside them? For the past twenty years, these questions have compelled me to collaborate on cross-disciplinary projects with choreographers, composers, architects, philosophers, anthropologists, and geographers. Although I am a photographer, I experience my work as sculptural, cinematic, and performative—a two-dimensional manifestation of dance, sculpture, poetry, sociological investigation, and philosophical engagement rather than solely as “photography.” I shoot my still images with an analog large-format SLR Hasselblad camera. This is one reason why collaborating with artists from other disciplines is critical to my working process. This visual improvisation requires that each of us give up ownership and entitlement and enter a rhizomatic field of vulnerability, a surrender to dialogic self-sacrifice. This surrender becomes a dialogic relationship in which collaboration thwarts binary, reductive thinking. This self-sacrifice, not only in the sense of release of entitlement and ownership, but also as precisely the openness of vulnerability, if used consciously can become an explicit and emancipatory strategy for erotic agency. What evolves, then, is a recognition of our species’ de-centrality—deterritorialization establishes this new community— as an ever-unfolding statelessness of Becoming. Within this field of vulnerability, we are embedded in an interdependent rhizomatic dialogue. A dialogic self-sacrifice, inherent in the erotics of the uncanny, becomes a practice of the abject, which provokes terror because it shows, demonstrates, monstrifies how we are all connected. This sacrifice invites collaborative citizenship in which “the experience of oneself as a foreign body” (Royle 2) is paramount. Congruently, Spinoza’s “feeling” of surrender occupies the real. This self-sacrifice, inherent in uncanny rhizomatic vulnerabilities, becomes a practice of the real, of being open to the raw exposure of participating in unknown territory.”

excerpt of Practicing the Abject: Deleuze and the Analog Uncanny, in Rhizomes » Issue 23 (2012). continue reading here

see more of Cara‘s work here

┐ Death Valley and the economy of masturbation └

stills from Sam Taylor-Wood’s “Death Valley”, Destricted, 2006

(…)

In a society based on the separation and isolation of atomised individuals who are precariously chained together on the basis of a set of neurotic projections (nation, religion, family, etc.) and the practices and institutions that undergird them, it seems unsurprising that Tweedledee will occasionally, perhaps increasingly, have sex without the involvement of Tweedledum, or even of another Tweedledee. This has made society’s defenders vilify masturbation as an antisocial form of subject-object identity that bypasses heterosexuality and the holy cow of sexual dimorphism. Apparently it threatens the healthy measure of neurosis that goes by the name of social cohesion.

(…)


The debate over masturbation that raged from the eighteenth century on might therefore be understood as part of the more general debate about the unleashing of desire in a commercial economy and about the possibilities of human community in these circumstances.


Thomas Laqueur refers to this as a ‘sexual version’ of what he calls the Adam Smith problem: how can I make sure that the degree of community necessary for society’s functioning reproduces itself spontaneously and continuously without challenging the principles of bourgeois, liberal, capitalist production, which produces the egoistic, calculating, monadic individuals who make community precarious, but also without an overtly Hobbesian, Leviathan-type state? This question which haunted Adam Smith has never lost anything of its near-universal grip on liberal thought. Like masturbation, prostitution was also vehemently attacked as a core antisocial evil for the first time in the 19th century. The modern obsession with campaigning against prostitution is grounded in seeing it as ‘a confusion between the dangerously asocial world of commercial exchange and the healthy social world of married love’.


Laqueur draws a parallel between the 19th century discourse on prostitution and the 12th century papal campaign against usury (which subsequently re-emerged in the various forms of modern antisemitism), arguably the earliest and in this sense the original moral response to a (then) nascent market economy. The church hierarchy denounced the ‘usurious’ charging of interest because ‘nothing real is gained by it’. In Thomist Catholicism, the usurer’s capital is illegitimate because it is generated in the sphere of circulation only: it does not come from productive labour. The same pattern of argument is directed in the 19th century against prostitution: money earned from prostitution is illegitimate money since ‘nothing is produced.’ Like usury, prostitution is ‘pure exchange’; like homosexuality and masturbation, it is unproductive and purposeless.

excerpt of a text by Marcel Stoetzler, published in Mute, Vol.2, No.13, 2009. Continue reading here

┐ Sarah Maple └

© Sarah Maple, ‘Self portrait with Fried Eggs’, C-Type Print, 2008

© Sarah Maple, ‘I’ve got status anxiety (text)’ – Acrylic on paper collage

© Sarah Maple, ‘I’ve got status anxiety’, C-Type Print, 2009

Sasha: When told that the theme of the current No More Potlucks was Ego, you quickly responded, “I have a lot to say about that bastard.” Please tell me what you meant by that. In other words, when you hear the word ego, what or whom does it conjure up in your mind?


Daniel MacIvor: Ah, Ego. Makes a great fuel but a shitty engine. It took me a long time to come to terms with how I could use ego without ego using me. Ego is that “more, now, again” thing that wants to suck the life out of today in an effort to get to tomorrow for more “more, now, again.” On one level Ego is like an entity we carry on our backs with its teeth sunk into our jugular. It is happy to kill us so it can keep living – it is so caught up with itself it doesn’t realize that once we’re dead it’s dead too. On the other hand Ego is the thing that makes us stand up and speak up; the thing that convinces us that what we have to say is worth finding a stage for. Without Ego we would be happy to commune with nature and evolve; Ego places the human above nature – so the struggle is to let Ego feed us and to manipulate the energy it gives us and use it to commune with one another and still maintain evolving as the point. Which is difficult because to really evolve, is to lose Ego.


S: You are entrenched in two practices that are preoccupied with the ego: Shambhala Buddhism and theatre. Tell me how the concept of ego in Buddhism informs your work as an actor and how the concept of ego in theatre informs your practice in as a Buddhist. Or do these things intersect at all?


DM: Yes, I think they interact greatly. The Buddhist practice asks that we release Ego – to live in a “letting” way not a “wanting” way. Ego is all about want. And in the theatre the first question that any director or playwright or actor or dramaturge asks about a character is “what do they want?” Ego is the oxygen in the world of theatre. Even as an audience we participate in theatre in order to see ourselves represented somehow – this is in part our Ego looking for reflections of itself. There is a battle in these two ways of thinking. But if one recognizes the power of theatre to expose Ego – to make us face it and its desire to control us – we can use that recognition, that insight, as a way to control Ego.

excerpt from an interview to Daniel MacIvor, conducted by Sasha, from No More Potlucks

Sarah’s web place here

┐ Sasha Kurmaz └

© Sasha Kurmaz, Untitled

© Sasha Kurmaz, Untitled

© Sasha Kurmaz, Untitled

“I consciously seek to avoid the trap of the “author’s style.” The world of art requires us to underscore originality and authorship, a certain manner that will distinguish you from all and make you unique. Today, I think authorship and style are boundaries for any artist. I strive constantly to look for something new – don’t stop anywhere, constantly experiment. This refers for all that I do: photographs, collage, graffiti, objects… Maybe it’s just searching for myself, I don’t know.”

excerpt from an interview led by Christopher Schreck, that can be read at All of this is rocket science

Sasha´s web place, full of what seems to me a very honest portray of how he sees the world and those close to him.

Malerie Marder

© Malerie Marder
Untitled (fron the Inland Empire serires), 2004
© Malerie Marder
Untitled (fron the Inland Empire serires), 2004
“When I was eighteen I was asked to take pictures of a woman named Laura and her lover. She had been having an affair for ten years with a very powerful man. They had learned that I was taking an introductory photography course and suggested they come by for a visit. They drove eight hours and got a suite at the nicest hotel in the area. In hindsight, the end of this story is obvious, but at the time I was keenly unaware. I arrived at the hotel in the morning with my 4 x 5 camera that I had just received a demonstration of in class. I was ready to make pictures. They took off all their clothes and I was soon made privy to their kinky love affair.”
Malerie Marder

Mona Kuhn

© Mona Kuhn
© Mona Kuhn

 

In a subject frequently used by artists, the nude has become a sort of “rite of passage” to those who observe human body in its most basic form. Mona Kuhn’s approach to this classic theme, while acknowledging her predecessors, creates work that is culturally anonymous with rare references to art historical precedents. Her subjects are members of a nudist colony in Southern France, not professional models trained to suppress emotion and personal self. The result is an intimate glimpse into a being’s reality, stunningly sensual but never overtly sexual. Kuhn’s camera captures something beyond gender, race, age, and beauty.

From Charles Cowles gallery press release.

http://www.monakuhn.com

Body and Sexuality


© Hans Bellmer

O elemento feminino é ao mesmo tempo um elemento museológico e um objecto de desejo, uma distorção das relações humanas, uma falsa perpetuação da vida, um sonho (pesadelo?) em tempo real. O homem tenta recriar a mulher conforme a sua vontade. A tentativa de preencher uma lacuna afectiva, a satisfação do desejo a qualquer preço. A adulteração e fuga à realidade. A fantasia e imitação da vida.
Pedro Medeiros

© Marina Abramovic, Destricted
To be naked is to be oneself.
To be nude is to be seen by others and yet not recognized for oneself.
A naked body has to be seen as an object in order to become a nude.
(The sight of it as an object stimulates the use of it as an object.)
Nakedness reveals itself. Nudity is placed on display.
To be naked is to be without disguise.
To be on display is to have the surface of one’s own skin,
the hairs of one’s body turned into a disguise which,
in that situation, can never be discarded.
The nude is condemned to never being naked.
John Berger