It is at work everywhere, functioning
smoothly at times, at other times in fits and
starts. It breathes, it heats, it eats. It shits and
fucks. What a mistake to have ever said the id.
Everywhere it is machines-real ones, not
figurative ones: machines driving other
machines, machines being driven by other
machines, with all the necessary couplings
and connections. An organ machine is
plugged into an energy source machine: the
one produces a flow that the other interrupts.
The breast is a machine that produces milk,
and the mouth a machine coupled to it.
Deleuze, G. & Guattari, F. Anti-Oedipus,
University of Minnesota Press, l983, p. 2
(emphasis in the original)
Photography: Mario Cresci. Slittamento su
Raffaello(a), from the series “Accademia”,
Triptych. Bergamo, Italy, 1997.
It is with immense pleasure that we introduce this new issue of Aesthethika, entirely
devoted to examine the relationships between the body and space. Writers, artists and
researchers from Argentina, Canada, Italy, New Zealand and the United States have
participated in the making of this issue. Their essays are reproduced here in their original
languages: Spanish, English and Italian. All of these pieces have in common their
commitment with intellectual and political work of the highest quality, while they also
challenge the capricious confines of language and academic boundaries.
Bodies of enjoyment, transsexual Bodies, Bodies disappeared, disciplined Bodies,
and Bodies of vampirism. As the visionary Deleuze anticipated, the logic of the capitalist
drive subdues all frontiers: It shits. The concomitant reverse of this overflow is extremist
control, such as the sophisticated biopolitical tattoo’s panoptic. Its present illustration is
no longer Auschwitz, however, but the image of bodies blended in voluptuous
consumption—legions of clients paying with one-hundred dollar notes the cellular chip
they carry with arrogance. In the presence of this ravage, it is the work of the speech and
the mark of the letter that open a symbolic path in this issue of Aesthethika.
In her essay Cuerpo, Goce y Letra en la Última Enseñanza de Jacques Lacan
(Body, Enjoyment and Letter in the last teachings of Jacques Lacan) Mariana E. Gómez presents a comprehensive analysis of the last written teachings of Jaques Lacan, their
antecedents and the author’s intellectual references. In this piece, Gómez situates
enjoyment, letter and symptom as key concepts to think about the place of the body in
Jennifer Gustar‘s article, The Body of Romance: Citation and Mourning in
Written on the Body, examines Jeanette Winterson’s Written on the Body, a narrative
about loss and love that starts with a phrase that has become well known ever since:
“Why is the measure of love loss?” The narrator’s gender is never identified in the novel,
hence making a turning point in the history of a literary genre that Gustar interprets
through Freudian, Lacanian and Queer theory notions.
Wondering what is the relationship between cultural policies, memory and art,
Marcela Brunetti describes the artistic and political implications of Parque de la
Memoria (Park of Memory), a public space that will host a monument in memory of the
victims of state terrorism in Argentina. In her essay Cuerpos Desaparecidos: Políticas
Públicas de Memoria del Horror (Disappeared Bodies: Public Policies of a Memory of
Horror), Brunetti argues that Parque de la Memoria might create plural meanings that
confront the scene of social trauma. This symbolic possibility, the author suggests,
contrasts with the mere spectacle of horror that is typical in museums about the holocaust.
Romina Galiussi’s Dos Tratamientos Hipermodernos del Cuerpo (Two
Hypermodern Treatments of the Body) discusses how scientific knowledge and global
capital can silence the subject of the unconscious through new modalities of intervention.
The author discusses two examples, gender reassignment surgery and plastination, as
practices that illustrate modifications of the postmodern body.
In Credere, Obbedire, Non Battere (Believe, Obey, Don’t Hurt), Giovanni
Dall’Orto examines homosexuality in Italy through analysis of ethnographic sources,
including the experience of survivors to the fascist regime. As it is well known,
Dall’Orto’s research was a pioneer study about the persecution, abuse and disappearing
of persons during the two decades of the fascist regime in Italy. While in the previous
issue of Aesthethika Dall’Orto argued that homophobia is intrinsic to the fascist logic, in
this second article the author discusses the characteristics of rural homosexuality in the
Mediterranean peninsula, illustrating the relations between geography, subjectivity and
Taking as example the TV show Buffy The Vampire Slayer, and rethinking the
meaning of the abject put forward by Julia Kristeva, Rob Cover’s article (Re)Cognising
the Body: Performativity, Embodiment and Abject Selves in Buffy The Vampire
Slayer investigates the relationships between subjectivity, identity and body coherence.
Cover studies the transformation that the TV show’s protagonist endures throughout the
series. Further, the author discusses the cultural ideals about imaginary coherence
(corporeal, sexual, and cognitive): these are ideals that both Buffy and other characters in
the TV show never seem to stop challenging.
Coincidentally, in the short articles section, also Daniel Zimmerman interrogates
the image of the vampire. In this case, the author finds inspiration in an intervention by
Jacques Lacan, where the French analyst compares the vampire and the infant to describe
the functioning of the drive—this is of course, a commentary by Lacan contemporary to
Deleuze and Guattari’s critique of desiring machines in the Anti-Oedipus. According to
Zimmerman, these images illustrate the path of enjoyment of the oral drive.
Last but not least, it is worth commenting on the art piece that opens this Editorial
Note, which is also the image that welcomes the reader into the site of Aesthethika
this term. The image is a work by Italian photographer Mario Cresci
that evokes the ecstatic angelic faces in the fine arts of the Renaissance. In the imaginary
game that the piece assumes, however, the ecstasy originates reflexively: the subject
knows he/she is being watched. It is up to the spectator what to do with this image: either
one can identify with the subject that is watched, or identify with the subject that watches,
or alternate adopting either positions or none of them altogether.