By Peggy Phelan
Unmarked is a debatable research of the fraught relation among political and representational visibility in modern tradition. Written from and for the Left, Unmarked rethinks the claims of visibility politics via a feminist psychoanalytic exam of particular functionality texts - together with images, portray, movie, theatre and anti-abortion demonstrations.
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Extra resources for Unmarked: The Politics of Performance
As Copjec points out, the not-all of visual representation creates in the looker a sense that there is something “beyond” the picture (and the signifying system itself) that is not shown—that is, the subject her or himself. This belief maintains desire. But for Lacan, there is nothing there at all. It is that (internal/ized) absence that visual representation continually tries to re-cover. 26 Unmarked Representation is almost always on the side of the one who looks and almost never on the side of the one who is seen.
Unsatisfied, Barthes keeps looking for the punctum, the partial image (the objet a) which might return her to him. Fort. Da. His partial gaze must see her partial image. In writing of his ongoing search for her return, he plots the perfect image—the glimpse of “essence” that will distill who she was for him. (We are, despite our best intentions, stuck with essences, and essentialisms. And perhaps never more fully than when the body of the beloved has vanished. ”) At last Barthes secures the image he believes will return her to him.
I am not simply that punctiform being located at the geometral point from which perspective is grasped” (Lacan, Four Fundamental Concepts: 96). In other words, the subject exceeds the can and fails to appear “within” the image of it. At the same time, however, the subject, precisely by looking at the visual field through the agency of the gaze, interrupts its unity. : 97). This “stain” is the gaze’s screen. This seeing cannot be fully explained by geometry and the rules of spatial perspective.