Author: ricardo dominguez --- Date: 11/25/96 --- Copyright: ThingReviews NYC

Experimental Psychosis: Non-sense, Artaud, Revolt and Kristeva

A Lecture on November 20, 1996

The Drawing Center

35 Wooster Street, New York City

Julia Kristeva's maps Artaud's wounded gestures as an experimental psychosis that reconfigured Hegel's dialectics of negation, Heidegger's negativity, and Sartre's possibilities of freedom--into a utopic biosemiosis of a radical subjectivity and social formations based on the non-sense revolt of the body-as-language. For Kristeva Artaud's revolt means becoming-woman, becoming anti-production, becoming holes-in-bodies moving between anus and mouth--and short circuting the always/already cogito ergo sum of the West. But, without entering a mystical or aesthetic melancholia in the process. Yet, at the same time her analysis moves away from seening Artaud's call for revolt as a real possibility in our time--only as a 'perhaps' or an imaginary experiment --no real flesh-actions to change the social entropy of bulk technologies. She kept pointing to the trauma of social totalitarianism that emerged out the Left after May '68, a trauma that seems to blind the French to social revolt--she can speak of the Other (but has not read Fanon), of experimental psychosis as social aesthetics (but knows nothing of the Zapatistas)--she sees this "luminous insight", but is fleshblind to Artaud's Theatre of Cruelty. Artaud's hallucinogenic rupture of invention is similar to Bataille's base materialism of flowing excretment which moves towards the possibility of real/net social revolt--not just as a psychological process of social reinscription.

The French mind seems to be imploding into its own blindspots, while still offering a system of insights which can help map emerging gestures of revolt in the speed democracies of digital societies. Kristeva's conservatism holds on to the radical as a-subjective-sacred-space that like St. Augustine, her recent mentor--points to a City-of-God, and not to cities of flesh. Revolt for these neo-augustinians is a metaphor for becoming opposite of what they speak of--don't do as I say, do as I am--an empty sacredness that can only contemplate some distant heaven. Kristeva is suffering from the paranoia of taking action, a fear of experimental psychosis, and a demand that we not listen to her words--schizoid. So let us do as she say's and not as she does--let Artaud's screams dig into your digitalgenes. Digital cruelties in an excess of revolt against the City-of-God.

ricardo dominguez

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