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In that essay Vreeswijk writes:
Lacan “calls ‘identification’ ‘the transformation that takes place in the subject when he assumes an ‘image’. In the mirror stage this is an identification with the image of oneself, but (later) it can also be with the image of another person.” In a footnote, Vreeswijk adds: “I believe that Lacan’s concept also includes the possibility of identification with the image of ‘things'”.

This reminds me of Jacques Rancière’s use in his discussion of cinema, of the object-image precisely because he claims that those best qualified to convey intense feelings are those inanimate objects which feel nothing.” (cited by Louis Armand in Solicitations). Rancière argues that the object-image allows the suspension of representation and aesthetic effect because mute objects

speak better. Signification is better embodied in their reality than in expressive faces, voices and attitudes. They don’t think, they feel nothing, and they are unable to lie. Meanings are written directly on their body. This means that they fulfill the representative function – the matching of demonstration and signification – better than any discourse and gesture… Second, they don’t speak at all; they mean nothing. They are not signs, only things. As a consequence they add to their function as reliable clues a contrary function, that of suspending any kind of decision, action or interpretation. (from “Godard, Hitchcock and the Cinematographic Image”, cited by Armand, 96)

So prior to an affective or representational ‘thing’ there is the “rhythmos or trait of a general perturbation..a crucial ambivalence in the formal status of the perceptory event.” (in Armand’s words, 97), which when translated to dance, I think would be the equivalence of the fragmented body that precedes any individual identity.

Tricky job though, incorporating object-oriented philosophy into performance art, without rendering obsolete the performer..what would an object-oriented performance art look like?

One thought on “Object-image

  1. Hoi Jeroen.
    Thanks for your reflections upon my work. I can indeed relate to the text of Ranciere that you quote. Especially when he says about objects that ‘they don’t speak at all, they mean nothing’.
    I am interested in the perception of the body as an object, in performance art but also in physical training, meditation etc. One reason for this is to escape from the terror of communication, language, representation, identity, etc. Another reason is because i want to share my own experience that it is a miracle that the ‘things’ are there; bodies, organisms and ‘death’ objects (which have their own lifes). They are all frozen somehow in their forms, but ‘all that is solid will melt into air’ (and i love this.)
    Nice word ‘perturbation’ (i had to look it up). For me this ‘disquietness’ can be frigtening but also ‘lyrical’, it makes me feel.
    For me Seon-ja Seo’s performance ‘Under-presence’ and the work of Rob List come close to an ‘object-oriented performance art’. It is interesting to look at his website (www.ozu.nl). He is the only performance artist that became member of an american organisation for abstract art (i don’t remember the exact name of this organisation).
    Well that’s it for now. Thanks again for making the effort to write these things.
    greetings Bram

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