Notes for Slavoj Zizek Enjoy Your Symptom! Jacques Lacan in Hollywood and out

Why is Every Act a
3.1 Beyond “Distributive Justice”

3.2 Identity and Authority
The “exception reconciled in the universal”

Picking out Adorno helps link Zizek to the background of texts and technology.

(85) Where does the necessity of these repeated lapses into “vulgar sociologism” come from? Far from attesting to Adorno's theoretical weakness, they present the way thought's constitutive limit is inscribed within the thought itself.

The vicious cycle of dialectics and its remainder

Another example tying texts and technology is investigating how to comport with unknown knowns of technology.

(88) In other words, rational totality clings to an inert “piece of the real” precisely insofar as it is caught in a vicious circle. For that reason, Hegel converts the Fichtean I = I into the absolute contradiction Spirit = Bone, i.e., into the point of absolute nonmirroring, the identity of the subject qua void with the element in which he cannot recognize his mirror image, with the inert leftover, the bone, the rock, the hindrance which prevents the absolute self-transparency of the pure performative: the subject is posited as correlative to an object which precisely cannot be conceived as the subject's objectivization.

Identity and fantasy

How this does work with the identity of technology, following the examples of the state and dialectical analysis, how might this conception alter the trajectory of AI research and development? Note that is Zizek's ellipsis.

(89) Thereby we reach the paradox of a universal feature (quality) the suspension of which maintains its field – the paradox which is ultimately that of identity itself: the identity of a state resides in the monarch, this “irrational” supplement which “sticks out” and suspends its essential quality (its rational character); the identity of a dialectical analysis resides in the “vulgar” lapses which suspend its essential quality (the delicacy of dialectical stratagems) . . . . Therein consists the crucial shift that has to be made with reference to the “deconstructionist” commonplaces about identity.

Just as today we transpose onto Islamic extremists the role of terrorists also played by members of our own society, bolstering the fantasy image of an America united against terrorism: save for a footnote in the dissertation.

(90) by transposing onto the Jew the role of the foreign body which introduces in the social organism disintegration and antagonism, the fantasy-image of society qua consistent, harmonious whole is rendered possible.

Apply postmodern criticism to estrangement of identity for electronics and computer technology.

(91) Therein consists one of the tasks of the “postmodern” criticism of ideology: to designate the elements within an existing social order which – in the guise of “fiction,” i.e., of the “utopian” narratives of possible but failed alternative histories – point toward its antagonistic character and thus “estrange” us to the self-evidence of its established identity.

Why is Reality Always Multiple?
6.1 Is There a Proper Way to Remake a Hitchcock Film?

The Hitchcockian Sinthom

Focus on tension in gap separating explicit narrative from diffused message between the lines.

(197) This tension between the two levels is what I want to focus on: the gap that separates the explicit narrative line from the diffused threatening message delivered between the lines of the story.

Sinthoms level of material signs resisting meaning as grounded in narrative structures, presymbolic cross-resonance, radiating jouis-sense: can this feature be articulated via study of programming languages as performed by Tanaka-Ishii?

(199-200) We are dealing here with the level of material signs that resists meaning and establishes connections not grounded in narrative symbolic structures: they just relate in a kind of presymbolic cross-resonance. . . . Although sinthoms do not have sense, they do radiate jouis-sense, enjoy-meant. . . . From the Lacanian perspective, it is easy to identify this spiritual corporeality as materialized jouissance, “jouissance which turned into flesh.” Hitchcock's sinthoms are thus not mere formal patterns: they already condense a certain libidinal investment. As such, they determined his creative process: Hitchcock did not proceed from the pot to its translation in cinematic audio-visual terms. He rather started with a set of (usually visual) motifs that haunted his imagination, that imposed themselves as his sinthoms; he then constructed a narrative that served as the pretext for their use.

The Case of the Missing Gaze

Web cam sites realizing Truman Show reflect need for fantasmatic Others gaze to guarantee being of subject.

(203) Does not the recent trend of “web cam” sites that realize the logic of The Truman Show display this same urgent need for the fantasmatic Other's gaze serving as the guarantee of the subject's being?
(203) And Hitchcock is at its most uncanny and disturbing when he engages us directly with the poitn of view of this external fantasmatic gaze.

Multiple Endings

A digital media studies link in Hitchcock in implicit resonance of multiple endings.

(204) There is yet another, third, aspect that adds a specific density to Hitchcock's films: the implicit resonance of multiple endings.
(205) This feature allows us to insert Hitchcock into the series of artists whose work forecasts today's digital universe.
(206) This perception of our reality as one of the possible – often even not the most probable – outcomes of an “open” situation, this notion that other possible outcomes are not simply cancelled out but continue to haunt our “true” reality as a specter of what might have happened, conferring on our reality the status of extreme fragility and contingency, implicit clashes with the predominant “linear” narrative forms of our literature and cinema, they seem to call for a new artistic medium in which they would not be an eccentric excess, but its “proper” mode of functioning. The notion of creation also changes with this new experience of the world: it no longer designates the positive act of imposing a new order, but rather the negative gesture of choice, of limiting the possibilities, of privileging one option at the expense of all others. One can argue that the cyberspace hypertext is the new medium in which this life experience will find its “natural,” more appropriate objective correlative, so that, again, it is only with the advent of cyberspace hypertext that we can effectively grasp what Altman and Kieslowski -and, implicity, also Hitchcock – were effectively aiming at.

The Ideal Remake

Zizek, Slavoj. Enjoy Your Symptom! Jacques Lacan in Hollywood and Out. New York: Routledge, 2001. Print.