[-empyre-] Smelly Objects

davin heckman davinheckman at gmail.com
Tue Jun 19 19:57:08 EST 2012

I participated in a roundtable that originated in a conversation a
while back on Empyre.... It ended up as a panel entitled: E-Ject: On
the Ephemeral Nature, Mechanisms, and Implications of Electronic
Objects.  http://www.escholarship.org/uc/item/2xv6b6n0#page-1

I find that the discussion of the past few weeks has really evoked
some strong resonance with the older material....

"In Julia Kristeva’s Powers of Horror, the abject refers to those
things that exist psychologically outside of the sphere of
representation; the abject is the counterpoint of Lacan’s “Object
of Desire.” [10] Practically speaking, the abject is regarded as
shit. But if we place the abject within the general economy of
sociocritical designations, the abject is neither the subject who
desires nor the object desired, the abject is contrary to this
libidinal economy. It frustrates our conception of the subject by
inducing an automatic response of revulsion, it frustrates our
conception of the object because it falls outside of mastery. This
makes it difficult (but also disruptive to the system of
representation). And, importantly, as a psychoanalytic concept,
abjection, though it carries an “objective” character in that it is
typically the “victim” of an action, it is a way of being, a
subjective state. Thus, it is powerful because of its liminal
character. (For Zizek, modern art places the excremental object in
“the sacred place of the Thing,” precisely because the sacred
object is always already excrement, it never is the Thing). [30]"

On Tue, Jun 19, 2012 at 1:04 AM, Timothy Morton
<timothymorton303 at gmail.com> wrote:
> Dear Lauren,
> This is a very resonant phrase IMO:
> "as a process that works against being known, and therefore against death."
> In my theory of causality death is precisely when an entity is fully
> "known," that is, successfully mistranslated. The thing becomes sheer
> appearance-for others. Say an opera singer matches the resonant frequency of
> a glass. The glass ripples and explodes into not-glass. The dead (as it
> were) glass is nowhere, there are just memories, including fragments of
> glass, which are new things.
> I believe that at the moment when the sound envelopes the glass perfectly,
> if the glass could speak, it would say it was experiencing beauty, in the
> Kantian sense, of an object-like entity that is not-me yet intimately me.
> In this sense beauty is death.
> Maintaining the unknown, resisting consistency, is resisting death. What is
> called life is a small region of an undead, uncanny space where the rifts
> between things and appearances coexist.
> Tim
> http://www.ecologywithoutnature.blogspot.com
> On Jun 18, 2012, at 11:00 PM, "lauren.berlant at gmail.com" <lberlant at aol.com>
> wrote:
> as a process that works against being known, and therefore against death.
> _______________________________________________
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> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> http://www.subtle.net/empyre

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