Identity

Tutorial (4)

Jonathan Kearney - Oct 16th - 8:00am - Skype

Through conversation, Jonathan raised some interesting curiosities, a few;

In what other ways can tattoos be documented; outside of a studio-lit photograph? 

Collaborating further when the tattoo is healed ~ to document the final ‘settled’ work. 

  • Video

  • “Natural habitat”

Does the presence of identity, through the revelation of a face, pose a concern to those who may be willing to contribute? 

If so, how should I maintain anonymity whilst still documenting the “hybrid identity” of the tattoo?


The Spider

Untitled Project 2 1.2019-02-01 04_44_48.gif

Spiders are genetically programmed to generate a symmetric algorithm of web - a map they are born with. I adopted the term ‘spider’ around two years ago - my brother and I were both attempting to reconcile with a loss of a loved one, an internal conflict of morale, an existential crisis that left us both in an agoraphobic state; unable to trust the innenwelt, unable to trust the umwelt. My brother and I have had a long history of trauma, symptoms of emotional flashbacks seemed to take a toll on the ways in which we processed novel traumas, unable to disconnect the web of our present from that of our past. It’s like watching a jump scare scene from a horror film on repeat, panicking, trying to find the remote to shut off the screen - but you realize you’re tied to your chair, unable to leave or move until the film decides to end at its own accord. We talked about this process, the inability to ‘control’ - how it frustrated it us, if we could find a way around it. That part we weren’t able to control was eventually named ‘The Spider’. A part of our mind that breathes for us, knows what to do when we sleep, knows what dreams to engage us in, to spark our interest. Albeit, as separate as it may seem, The Spider is still part of us. A mixture of the Peripheral Nervous System (PNS), the Subconscious and unconscious. The Spider takes care of everything that is not in our immediate attention, even thoughts we shove aside as we try to just engage in the everyday. As much as we’d like to believe that the spider and its daily ‘tasks’ are inaccessible, they aren’t. There exists a consciousness beyond the conscious, most commonly referred to as the meta-conscious - a level of thought that can contemplate the state of being conscious. As practice, my brother and I attempted to engage with that state of meta-consciousness, observing The Spider and its decisions - eventually redirecting it in healthier ways. Meta-consciousness is like a lens, a camera - a wide focused view on the body, mind, environment, and space. To be meta-conscious is to become a flaneur on the streets of your mind, watching thoughts swoosh by - traffic can be exhausting sometimes. A form of astral projection happening within the innenwelt, a meta-projection (so many metas, I know). A flaneur on busy city streets gazes at shadow, symmetry, and composition, contemplating the connections, the histories and reasonings, fragments of a greater puzzle. A meta-projection is just that, except instead of a city, it’s you. I’d like to take a closer look at The Spider, from a meta-conscious level, contemplating its activity.

Evaluating elements (symbols-signs-significations-language) in a virtual portrait of The Spider - through a meta-consciousness lens. 

Body    Gender & Interpellation, Mind & Matter, Senses & Auras, Skin & Gravity.

Body

Gender & Interpellation, Mind & Matter, Senses & Auras, Skin & Gravity.


Space    Tangible & Intangible , Location & distortion, Innenwelt & Umwelt, Adaptations & Transitions.

Space

Tangible & Intangible , Location & distortion, Innenwelt & Umwelt, Adaptations & Transitions.


Sphere    Identity & reality, Perception & Difference, Views & Beliefs, Histories & Drives.

Sphere

Identity & reality, Perception & Difference, Views & Beliefs, Histories & Drives.


Environment    Socius & Culture, History & Paradigm, Public & Private, Family & Tradition.

Environment

Socius & Culture, History & Paradigm, Public & Private, Family & Tradition.





The Mirror-Stage

The Mirror-stage, as defined by Jacques Lacan in his essay “The mirror stage as formative of the function of the I as revealed in psychoanalytic experience” (1949), is a “particular case of the function of the imago, which is to establish a relation between the organism and its reality – or as they say, between the innenwelt[inside word] and the Umwelt[the outside world].” (4). Lacan’s essay describes how the mirror stageis a crucial experience in developmental psychology, specifically in a child’s discovery of the “I”. By approaching the human subject from a psychoanalytical standpoint, Libidal dynamism[the connection between psychic and instinctual drives] and the egobecome relevant anchors in his claims (2).

According to Lacan, “we have only to understand the mirror stage as anidentification, in the full sense that analysis gives the term: namely, the transformation that takes place in a subject when he assumes an image.” (2); specifically, the “image” that influences behavior and thought, both, constructing a strong understanding of what this subject is in unity to the world, and simultaneously, how the subject is individualized (4). By comparing the psychology of a human with the psychologies of other animals, such as the locus and pigeon, we are given insight into the sensitivity of our understanding of the “I”; Lacan describes the essence of this sensitivity as pertaining to the “inexhaustible quadrature of the ego’s verifications.” (4). Our egos battle between what our instinctual drives tell us is right, and what absorbed social customs expect us to do. 

In Julia Kristeva’s essay “The System and the Speaking Subject” (1973), the “I”is evolved into the speaking subject, in which linguistics and semiotics become a relevant factor in describing an individual’s [subject’s] mode of communication. Kristeva describes “this ‘speaking subject’ … to be the transcendental ego” (77); an evolved version of the ego that is able to “[break off] its connection with … social, natural or [the] unconscious”. In reference to Lacan’s excerpt, Kristeva describes what, in a perfect world, comes after the mirror stageas she theorizes what a disconnection from the external world denotes. 

Both Jacques Lacan and Julia Kristeva touch base on how the perception of ourselves is established and affected [mirror stage], or developed [through a presumed transcendental ego] respectively. Through psychoanalysis, Lacan describes our ego ‘fighting back’ through dreams, as an aggressive tactic in expressing its true instincts as a form of dismemberment. Perhaps, on a larger scale, suggesting the corruptive nature of social constructs on our natural, biological drives [LibidalDynamism]; specifically initiated at the mirror stageof our development. 

BIG PROP II, 2014    Anthony Gormley

BIG PROP II, 2014

Anthony Gormley

WEAVE, 2014    Anthony Gormley

WEAVE, 2014

Anthony Gormley


Sources

Lacan, Jacques. “The mirror stage as a formative of the function of the I as revealed in psychoanalytic experience” (1949), In Écrit: A Selection, trans. Alan Sheridan (NY, W.W. Norton, 1982), 1-7.

Kristeva, Julia. “The System and the Speaking Subject” (1973), In A Critical and Cultural Theory Reader, 77-80.

A Fragmented Body

Lost in the words of others, I am not that ‘man’ in the mirror; he is but a fragmented body with jutting shards that have been acknowledged ferociously by those around him – a glitched figure, some would say. It’s hard to get away from him, he’s everywhere; whether through the reflective window of a coffee shop, or in the forefront of the washroom, he’s always there, and I’m forced to face him. But what if I never had to? In my ideal realm, where reflective frames are absent, imagination takes the wheel on a journey of self-discovery.

The mirror, to some, is an essential part of human development; the Mirror-stage, for instance, “a particular case of the function of the imago, which is to establish a relation between the organism and its reality – or as they say, between the innenwelt [inside word] and the Umwelt [the outside world]” (Lacan 4), seems evidently essential in the understanding of the self. But what happens if that connection is not established? What if the organism’s self is but a manifestation imposed upon it by its surrounding world – a victim of fabricated images? According to Magnolia Pauker, if the mirror-stage is unsuccessful, “you’re fucked” (Who are I? The Uses of Psychoanalysis); and in all my ‘fucked-ness’ emerges a disjointed self, in an attempt to destroy the mirror.

Empathy, “the psychological identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.” (“Empathy”), occurs in the disabling of one’s own mirror; in the power of overcoming one’s own reflection, transpires a transcendent connection between one’s self and another. Absorption occurs, through imaginative thinking, as the self is situated in the mirror of the other. In Daehyun Kim’s drawing Sharing Face with Me in The Shadow (2015), empathy is illustrated as two subjects sharing a shadow in hopes of reconciliation; a galactic veil is transferred from one figure to the other. The notion of acceptance seems evident in the subject’s willingness to share a mirror, a reflection of an inner reflection; the gestures of the hands demonstrate an act of giving – an offering of the self, to one, and an offering of the suffering self, to another.

Empathy, therefore, becomes a tool of deconstruction, a temporary elimination of the mirror, an entry into love.

Sharing Face with Me in The Shadow   (2015)  Ink on Korean Paper 26 x 69 cm   Daehyun Kim

Sharing Face with Me in The Shadow (2015)

Ink on Korean Paper
26 x 69 cm

Daehyun Kim


I can’t see past your kind mask’


Sources:

“Empathy”. Random House Dictionary, Random House, 2016. Dictionary.com,http://www.dictionary.com/browse/empathy. Accessed: 09 October 2018.

Lacan, Jacques. “The mirror stage as a formative of the function of the I as revealed in psychoanalytic experience” (1949), In Écrit: A Selection, trans. Alan Sheridan. NY, W.W. Norton, 1982. 1-7. Rpt. In SOCS 201: Introduction to Cultural Theory Coursepack.Ed. Magnolia Pauker. Vancouver: Emily Carr University of Art + Design, 2016. Print.

Pauker, Magnolia. “Who are I? The Uses of Psychoanalysis”, Lecture. Social Science 201: Introduction to Cultural Theory. Emily Carr Institute of Art + Design. Vancouver. 4 Oct. 2016.