Zizek 03

Organs without bodies by Zizek 紀傑克:沒有身體的器官

Translated by Springhero 雄伯譯



When the Fantasy Fails Apart



One should here go to a crucial step further into the disintegration of fantasy. David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive perfectly depicts this gradual disintegration. The two main stages of this process are, first, the excessively intense acting in the test scene, and, then, when the autonomous partial object ( “ organ without a body” )emerges in the scene in the nightclub Silenicie. Here, the movement is from the excess, which is still contained in reality although already disturbing it, sticking out of it, to its full autonomization, which causes the disintegration of reality itself; say, from the pathological distortion of a mouth to the mouth leaving the body and floating around as a spectral partial object ( the same as in Syberberg’s Parsifal, in which we pass from the wound on the body to the wound as autonomous organ without a body, outside it). This excess is what Lacan calls lamella, the infinitely plastic object that can transpose itself from one to another medium: from excessive ( trans-semantic) scream to a stain ( or anamorphic visual distortion). Is this not what takes place in Much’s Scream ? The scream is silent, a bone stuck in the throat, a stoppage that cannot be vocalized and can express itself only in the guise of s silent visual distortion, curving the space around the screaming subject.




    In Silencio, where Betty and Rita go after successfully making love, a singer sings Roy Orbison’s “ Crying” in Spanish. When the singer collapses, the song goes on. At this point, the fantasy collapses too—not in the sense that, from within,  as it were, fantasy loses its mooring in reality and gets autonomized, as a pure spectral apparition of a bodiless “ undead” voice ( a rendering of the Real of the Voice similar to that at the beginning of Sergio Leone’s Once upon a Time in America, in which we see a phone ringing loudly, and, when a hand picks up the receiver, the ringing goes on). The shot of the voice continuing to sing even when its bodily support collapses is the inversion of the famous Balanchine ballet staging of a short piece by Webern: in this staging, the dancing goes on even after the music stops. We have thus, in one case, the voice that insists even when deprived of its bodily support, and, in the other case, the bodily movements that insist even when deprived of their vocal ( musical) support. The effect is not simply symmetrical because, in the first case, we hav the undead vocal drive, the immortal life, going on, whereas in the second case, the figures that continue to dance are “ dead men dancing,” shadows deprived of their life-substance. However, in both cases what we witness is the dissociation between reality and the real; in both cases the Real insists even when reality disintegrates. This real, of course, is the fantasmatic Real at its purest. And, to put it in Deleuzian terms, is this “ autonomization “ of the partial object not the very moment of the extraction of the virtual from the actual? The status of the “ organ without the body” is that of the virtual—in other words, in the opposition between the virtual and the actual, the Lacanian Real is on the side of the virtual.




   Of course, in all of these cases, the shock effect is followed by an explanation that relocates it back within ordinary reality. In the night club scene in Mulholland Drive, we are warned at the very outset that we are listening to prerecorded music, that the singers just mimic the act of singing; in the case from Leone, the phone we continue to hear ringing after the receiver is picked up is another phone, and so forth. However, what is nonetheless crucial is that, for a short moment, part of reality was (mis)perceived as a nightmarish apparition—and, in a way, this apparition was “ more real than reality itself,” since, in it, the Real shone through. In short, one should discern which part of reality is “ transfunctionalized” through fantasy, so that, although it is part of reality, it is perceived in a fictional mode. Much more difficult than to denounce/unmask ( what appears as ) reality as fiction is to recognize in “ real” reality the part of fiction. Is this not what happens in transference, in which, while we relate to a “ real person: in front of us, we effectively relate to the fiction of, say our father? Recall also Home Alone especially part two. In both parts, there is a cut two-thirds into the film; although the story seems to take place in a continuous diegetic place, it is clear that, with the final confrontation between the small kid and the two robbers, we enter a different ontological realm, a plastic cartoon-space in which there is no death, in which may head can explode, yet I go on as normal in the next scene. Again, part of reality is fictionalized.




   It is such a fictionalized partial object that also serves as the support of voice. In his advice to young composers, Richard Wagner wrote that, after elaborating the contours of the musical piece one wants to compose, one should erase everything and just focus one’s mind on a lone head floating freely in a dark void and wait for the moment when this white apparition starts to move its lips and sing. This music should be the germ of the work to be composed. Is this procedure not that of getting the partial object to sing? It is not a person’s ( a subject)—the object itself should start to sing.



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