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Saturday, July 22, 2017

Who Doesn't Love Dick

Dear Chris:
 what happens when we begin to think about consciousness…
 the way art is made. what is desire. the name for our product. our vehicle. the design for our liking.
 I’ve been reading women artists for decades… what does that make me. I’ve sat under the influence of women writers for decades….
 what kind of monster box are we in.  (there's nothing to see here)
 still in the boomerang of deflection, even as we speak to each other, we are still speaking against others… but now, let’s chat. Just you and me, Chris, about what it means to use words. and images. to say anything.

Season 1 Episode 1:


Nine percent of films directed by women means 91 percent directed by men.

This is my office

in the beginning, there was the womb.

the closet off of the bedroom, the womb space… it’s tight, cramped, cramping

we see it.

the phallus in the guise of a peeled banana in the reflection while the two women talk in the doorway of Chris’ office… the phallus ever present...  we, always trapped in its reflection.

Hidden Mickeys in a Disney Film.

Enter Hysteria:

At 3 minutes and 52 seconds in,  we get the first hysterical episode. The monster is so loud she alerts the neighbors, she evades reason, she throws her body about, arms flailing, she messes up her hair. The scene cut into stills to capture the female body in its messiness, its natural habitat.

-as horrified you see yourself invented-

Look at her. She de-monstrates.

Introducing Toby: beautiful ingénue

(with underarm hair)  Toby exposes her underarm hair while undercutting Sylvere’s technique of impressing women with his travels. She tops him. He can’t help but wince when he sees a soft tuft of reddish hair beneath her arm, a hairy pussy laughing at him… too much beauty provokes anxiety, or the bewildering moment when Freud states: a surprise to learn from analysis that girls hold their mother responsible for their lack of a penis….

We sweat out all the wilderness left in us 

Toby is everything Chris is not. We are asked to compare. We are asked to contrast. We are always asked to hold one woman against another, aren’t we?

What spectacle licks our faces in theater dark?

Penis-Envy as Aesthetic

"The pleasure gained from touching, caressing, parting the lips and vulva simply does not exist for Freud." 

In this scene, Dick will play the role of Dr. Charcot and Chris will play the role of Augustine in the great hospital of mad women: Salpêtrière.

Dr Charcot: Augustine, you don’t want to be well. If you wanted to be well, you would be. It’s just a question of desire. A question of want and you don’t have it.

Augustine: (redacted)

“The gaze has always been involved.

Now the little girl, the woman, supposedly has nothing you can see. She exposes, exhibits the possibility of a nothing to see. Or at any rate she shows nothing that is penis-shaped or could substitute for a penis.” 

Dr. Charcot leans over to Freud (here played by Sylvere) Is she any good?

Sally Potter, Jane Campion, Chantal Akerman

Is she any good? Is she any good? Is she any good?

Woman on film bends over, the lead positions himself behind her. This is how it works, he tells her. I want you and so I know you want me, even if you do not know it.

Sally Potter on why she doesn’t call Orlando a feminist film: "I have come to the conclusion that I can't use that term in my work. Not because of a disavowal of the underlying principles that gave birth to that word – the commitment to liberation, dignity, equality. But it has become a trigger word that stops people's thinking. You literally see people's eyes glaze over with exhaustion when the word flashes into the conversation." Frilot, Shari (Summer 1993). "Sally Potter". BOMB (44): 30–35.

I made a movie about my life. The opening shot a polluted river, the closing shot my daughter’s eye

“Campion was a month away from having won the Palme d'Or. She was two weeks away from giving birth to her first child, a son whose presence was already inescapable in the Sydney apartment she shares with her husband, Colin Englert, a television producer and director. The baby's crib was set up in Englert's small office, and Campion lifted her billowy white shirt once to stare at her swollen belly. "Is he kicking?" her visitor asked. "Mmmmm," she answered, lost for a moment in that curious bubble that encloses the pregnant.” Mary Cantwell (Sept. 1993)
 “Jane Campion’s Lunatic Women” New York Times

Jasper, Jane’s son, lived 10 days with medical support, and then she brought him home to die.

That the quiet in a house swims as film in its emulsion, image rising

“I won’t say  I’m a feminist film-maker…I’m not making women’s films. I’m making Chantal Akerman’s films” (London, 1979) –C. Akerman

Within the doctrine of unclean hands, her shame is made clear as a metallic ringing in the ear.

“Here again the little girl will have to act like the little boy, feel the same urge to see, look in the same way, and her resentment at not having a penis must follow and corroborate the horrified astonishment the little boy feels when faced with the strangeness of the nonidentical, the nonidentifiable.”

  Dick swallowed by womb

"in other words, is it possible that the phobia aroused in man, and notably in Freud, by the uncanny strangeness of the "nothing to be seen" cannot tolerate her not having this 'envy'?" 

There's nothing to see here.

…and what else is a line of verse but a casting and recasting of the inside of the body?


Let us not neglect the fact that the historical analysis of women's sexuality hinges on the gaze of the man and the hysteric's desire to please the man at any cost, to be seen; for why come to analysis at all if one cannot the seduce the viewer into seeing what they most desire to see. 

SUBJECT TO DESIRE : "A problem to be solved by putting the Phallus at the beginning, and at the end."


dear: Chris Kraus, author of I Love Dick
images: I Love Dick (Jill Soloway and Sarah Gubbins) Amazon Video
italics: Rag by Julie Carr (Omnidawn, 2014)
highlighted text: "The Blind Spot of an Old Dream of Symmetry" Speculum of the Other Woman by Luce Irigaray (trans. by Gillian Gill) Cornell Univ, 1985 (orig pub 1974)

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