Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Adult Content

I have an adult content check on the blog because I intend to use images classified as such, and do use such images, in the course of humdrum theoretical considerations of the marxio-post everything style to which I am an addict. So here are some that accompanied an argument that I wanted to make some years ago at Tate Modern in the context of a short conference on Exhibitionism that brought together psychoanalysts, legal theorists and media types. You can guess that it was, in part, strung out between case studies, some of them painfully hetero-normative, and Big Brother, the most idiotic TV programme ever made (Makes me long for Cilla Black). For me media types, the more effective and 'innovative' they are, the more super-con they must be, as they inevitably believe in getting what they can on the cheap and making the audience pay dear in every possible way for the pleasure they might hope to get. And while I am a fervent inhabitant of the languages opened up for culture by psychoanalysis and a believer in, I am very conscious of something Muriel Dimen once said to me about how much how many analysts will do to avoid talking about sex.

With all this in mind I decided to do an aggressively QUEER piece and it went down like a body encased in concrete in a muddy river. The respondent to the whole event was (the more than good enough) Susie Orbach, who had inflamed so many of our students in the best possible way in the late 70s, as well as becoming who she became; but in her  concluding her remarks she said that she had covered all the interventions with equal attention - while in effect she had not even mentioned mine, so maybe it was really awful or maybe Muriel was right. It - the talk - was suspended between these two images:

 and it was entitled 'Is there a Future for Alkibiades?', taking as its text the implicit, indeed explicit, relation between sexual desire and care of the self - or attending to things -, as the Loeb-Harvard translation has it, in Plato's two dialogues. The idea was to think of a queer episteme of desiring to show who one is, or what one is, as a sexual-thinking being, an in your face politics of self-representation in the world on the one hand, and exhibitionism as a method of display on the other, itself riven between revealing and concealment. Part of the idea was that  queer episteme ( not just a gay or a straight one) would ideally risk the endless aporetic of showing/concealing as the risk of building an archive of anachronistic objects or materials that would queerly drive philosophical discourse - without regard for the propriety of the materials as such, and thus taking up the challenge of Freud's Three Essays; somewhere, I hoped, on the other side of conventional ethics and without trying to redeem the consequences of the display.

More than this I cannot recall, but I do think that one's best papers (if papers they are, it's a bad word for what we do) are good because, in the end, they sustain one, simple proposition which is worth recalling. 

 The jock pic is taken from the wonderful allkink.com site.

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