I've met so many vibrant people in the blogosphere. Some I've encountered in the physical world. Some I may only get to know in the virtual realm. In the latter category is my friend and on-again-off-again correspondent, Suzanne Nixon. We've had some rich exchanges over the years.
Often we recommend books to one another. One of Suzanne's recent gifts to me was the suggestion that I check out The Uncanny by Nicholas Royle, the first book-length study of the uncanny. It was a great suggestion.
This morning I read this quotation in its pages:
"Suggestibility; hypnosis; entrancement; possession; inspiration; telepathy; transference; affective identification; repetition compulsions and the so-called 'death drive'. These are the kind of things that criticism usually tries to ward off or else control, not without reason." (84)
--Caroline Rooney from African Literature, Animism and Politics
That passage excited me because it articulated many of the elements that I'm trying to explore in Appearances:
"Suggestibility; hypnosis; entrancement; possession; inspiration; telepathy; transference; affective identification; repetition compulsions and the so-called 'death drive'."
It's interesting to me--uncanny really--that I found that utterly clear passage at a point where I was struggling to articulate to myself what I'm doing in Appearances. And there it was.
I found another really interesting and helpful passage a little later in the day. This time I'm drawing from Zizek's Less than Nothing: Hegel and the Shadow of Dialectical Materialism:
"Here one should take note of a certain paradox: it is precisely when 'I speak'--when I perceive myself as the agent of my speech--that effectively, 'the big Other speaks through me,' that I am 'spoken,' since my speech acts are totally regulated by the symbolic order in which I dwell. And, conversely, the only way for me to bring my subjective position of enunciation into words is to let me be surprised by what I say, to experience my own words as a case of 'it speaks in/through me.' This is what happens in the case of a symptom: in it, my true subjective position finds a way to articulate itself against my will and intention. The opposition is thus not directly between 'I speak" and 'the Other speaks through me,' since these are the two sides of the same coin. When 'it speaks' through me, it is not the big Other which speaks: the truth that articulates itself is the truth about the failures, gaps and inconsistencies of the big Other." (518-519)
This passage goes to the heart of my obsession with ventriloquism, an important thread in Appearances and some preliminary projects as well.