In this in-depth interview the Belgian-Syrian artist Mekhitar Garabedian (°1977, Aleppo) and psychoanalyst Filip Geerardyn explore the process of the emergence of subjectivity at stake in the creative oeuvre of the artist. The leitmotiv of this exploration is the analogy between the creative process on the one hand, and what is implied with Nietzsche’s imperative “Become what thou art!” on the other. This becoming (understood as the transference of the un-spoken) of the subject as well as of the artist, appears to realise itself through the Other, i.e., through the mother tongue (Armenian), through the others, through citations, through stories and histories, through collections and through the proper name Mekhitar.
This paper argues that the diagnosis of psychopathy, promoted by the author of the PCL-R Robert Hare, contains many implicit assumptions. It is not the logic pertaining to the decipherment of the subject’s urge to a criminal act that is central within this account, but a calculation of danger and the nomination of evil. Hence, in our opinion scientific research that is rooted in the work of Robert Hare should always question these implicit assumptions. Therefore the author offers a close reading of Hare’s work, in which he discerns a political factor in its incessant attempt to reduce the anxiety related to the Other. In contrast with Hare, an important aspect of Freud and Lacan is highlighted concerning the issues of crime and guilt. Finally, recent attempts to recuperate the concept of psychopathy in psychoanalytic theory are criticized.
This article describes a number of concrete initiatives taken in the De Meander in Melle (near Ghent, Belgium), a psychiatric ward for patients with a mental disability or an acquired brain injury, with the aim of introducing and safeguarding a psychoanalytic ethic. In the latter, the particularity of the patient plays a central role. De Meander tried to achieve this by abolishing many of the ward rules, allowing more space for the singular solution of the patient. Furthermore, the author describes how aggression is addressed differently, in order to learn how to read this rather than punish it. From an ethical perspective, the values and standards of mainstream society are no longer strictly adhered to, but the starting point is the suffering and the questioning of the patient as a unique subject. The author describes how patients of De Meander are given more responsibility for their lives and future. Hierarchical positions are lifted by creating the possibility of circulation between different team members and by using the therapeutic potential of patients. Finally, the author describes how, via volunteer work, an opening to the outside world is created for so-called chronic patients. These various concrete initiatives are illustrated using clinical vignettes.
Melancholy in the Pittura Metafisica of Giorgio de Chirico: An Artistic Oeuvre as Referent in a Psychoanalytical Debate
In this paper an investigation into the psychoanalytic concept of melancholia in relation to the melancholia in the Pittura Metafisica of Giorgio de Chirico (Késenne, 2012) is briefly presented. Special attention is paid to the qualitative research methodology that was developed for this purpose. This interdisciplinary method implies: i) the analysis of two different discourses (the psychoanalytic discourse with respect to a given syndrome and the art-critical reception of a plastic oeuvre); and ii) the comparison of these discourses using an interdisciplinary connotation scheme. It is concluded that this method provides an alternative to the classic psychobiographical approach to the arts.
This article analyzes Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket (1987) in the light of Lacan’s concepts of the (fundamental) fantasy, jouissance and the gaze. We criticize McGowan’s (2007) thesis that Kubrick’s staging of the gaze and fantasy confronts spectators with a blind spot for the obscene underside of authority. Firstly, we refer to McGowan’s statement that Kubrick’s cinema reflects fantasy’s quality of structure. Where McGowan does not indicate what kind of fantasy structure these films stage, we argue that Full Metal Jacket is underpinned by the concrete scenario of the fundamental fantasy: “C observes: A overpowers B”. Secondly, we criticize McGowan’s tendency to univocally link Kubrick’s depiction of derailed father figures with the real-life functioning of authority. By referring to Freud’s early theory on the etiology of hysteria and Lacan’s interpretation of Freud’s (1919e) article “A Child is Being Beaten”, we argue that the film’s staging of its main authority figure – the drill instructor – also illustrates how the fantasy of the abusive father can function as a mediator for the fantasizing subject’s own jouissance. Finally, we question McGowan’s remark that, despite Kubrick’s staging of the gaze, the director’s cinema ultimately leaves spectators “unscathed”. Building upon other academic analyses and press reviews of the film, we argue that Full Metal Jacket does not leave spectators unharmed. On the contrary, we hypothesize that the gaze appears when the viewer loses his distance from the film’s depictions of violence, by momentarily coinciding with a vanishing point of jouissance himself.