Methodological embodiments : psychical corporeal performances of subjective specific auto(erotic)-representations
A great deal of critical attention has been paid over the last twenty years at least to the relation of 'self and 'Other'. But what happens when the external 'other' is displaced to the periphery of the concerns of textual production? In order to explore this question Methodological Embodiments employs an interdisciplinary praxis that is not limited to the classic model of written theory. At the same time, it does not negate this form that has historical and ideological precedence within an academic context. The aim of this thesis is to juxtapose written theory with artistic practices in order to initiate, develop and represent a dialogue between subjectivity and methods of theoretical engagement. The performative negotiation between the embodied experience of the practitioner and the investigative forms constitute a tripartite relation that implicates 'performance' as a third term in the methodological formulation. The final submission includes 1) a written dissertation, Methodological Embodiments: Psychical Corporeal Performances of Subjective Specific Auto[erotic]-Representations; 2) an exhibition, I:Matter; and 3) the live performance, I:Do. My thesis argues for, and enacts, a positive framing of individual embodied experience within a dialogue between linguistic and artistic practices. Academia has traditionally privileged the written word in the definition of 'theory'. This has limited the understanding of how meaning is made and how the subject as scholar is implicated within the production of knowledge. At the same time, within classic psychoanalysis, subjectivity has also come to be understood through, and in relation to, language. While language clearly has a significant part to play in the making of both theory and a/the subject, it must be situated in relation to individual embodiment. Classic psychoanalysis falls short of this insofar as it fails to take into account the implications of sexual difference. This neglect has resulted in the construction of phallocentric frameworks that not only misrepresent women as a 'model' of disease and lack, but problematically foreclose the possibility of symbolic agency for a/the woman. The relation between materiality and image as regards representation is significant to these discourses of subjectivity, language and art, respectively and at the points in which they overlap. Throughout the thesis many specific terms and concepts have been either coined or reappropriated in order to situate and accurately define the concerns of my work. Two important examples are cited here. First, my recourse to the psychoanalytic term psychical corporeality, which suggests that embodiment simultaneously informs and inscribes the psychical perceptions of the subject in relation to surrounding environments and a sense of self. Secondly, in place of the psychoanalytic use of Narcissism is my use of autoeroticism that seeks to re-define the literary genre of autobiography and the traditional understanding of self-portraiture in the visual arts, to what I have called auto[erotic] - representation(s) within my own textual production.