[-empyre-] Homay's Faces

Homay King hking at brynmawr.edu
Fri Jun 15 06:44:44 EST 2012

A quick response to Michael's remarks on the face, for those still following that thread (carried over from last week):

On "giving face" and prosopopeia: this trope, I think, keeps us in closer company with the nonhuman than do related ones like anthropomorphism and projection, which seem to perform a nearly opposite gesture (the eradication of the object's radical otherness in favor of an idiopathic identification, rather than a recognition of that otherness, which is what giving face in the ethical sense is about). And the idea of the planet having a face, a surface, extends the idea of the nonhuman face yet further. Michael, I would be interested to read your essay should you wish to share it, and to those thinkers you mention I would add Balász (Theory of Film, the section called "anthropomorphic worlds") and Agamben's Means without End (the section on Notes on the Face).

On facial non-recognition: Coincidentally this arrived in my inbox this week; I'm sure many on this list have seen it already. http://rhizome.org/editorial/2012/jun/11/artist-profile-adam-harvey/


----- Original Message -----
From: "Michael O'Rourke" <tranquilised_icon at yahoo.com>
To: empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
Sent: Wednesday, June 13, 2012 11:47:51 PM
Subject: [-empyre-] Homay's Faces

I really enjoyed reading about Homay's project on faces and love the line: " Perhaps they also suggest an aspect of the human face that is queer, transitional, collective, and/or impersonal". 

I have j ust a couple of quick thoughts about this in terms of queer theory and the non/human. Firstly, I think we could link up some of this work on faces with Eve Segwick's collection of her former student Gary Fisher's poetry where she talks about "giving face". Which, in turn, gets me thinking about Paul De Man on prosopopeia (a kind of giving face) and his later turn to the inhuman. I wonder what we could do with De Manian materialisms in the face of a claim like "all language is inhuman"? Jacob's remark about the "incomputible" got me to thinking about the unrecognizable too. Scott Wilson has written a lot recently about prosopagnasia which is the inability to recognize faces. And I've been trying to connect this idea of Scott's up with the fear of human extinction and the puzzlingly hypo-affective response to the prospect of "our" being wiped off the face of the planet. The affective fatigue in the face of impending extinction (Colebrook and Hillis Miller both write about this in Theory and the Disappearing Future ) seems to me to be a kind of "global amnesia" which misrecognizes the traumatic wound on the face of the earth (this would of course be indebted to Reza Negarestani's speculative psychoanalysis and his writing on dark materialisms and geotrauma...) 

I have a very long unpublished essay on faces and faciality in Zizek, Irigaray, Deleuze, Stiegler, Sedgwick, Butler, Levinas, Hansen and several others which touches on many of the issues being discussed this week. I recall that it ended by saying, in an iterative twisting of Deleuze on Spinoza, that we don't yet know what a face can do. I'm learning a lot this week about what facial futures might look like... 

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