This dialogue explores four aspects of the work of the Belgian artist Johan Clarysse: (i) the overdetermination or stratification of psychical determinants of plastic work, that is, the differentiation between conscious/preconscious determinants on the one hand and unconscious determinants on the other; (ii) the process of symbolising and/or representing affect in plastic work; (iii) formal research and its connection with self expression as implied in the work of Clarysse; and (iv) the role of chance and its impossi¬bility in the creation of plastic work.
In this article a solid neurodynamic framework is proposed for the Freudian-Lacanian linguistically structured unconscious in terms of “affect sticking to phonology”, as well as for the particular importance of articulation in the processing of affect. First, the idea is defended that the phonological structure of language can act as a “carrier” of affect, independent from the associated semantics. The affect-phonology link can be considered as a conditioning mechanism at the level of the reptilian limbic system, whereas semantics is assigned after a disambiguation process at the level of the analytical, modern neocortex. While in this disambiguation, alternative semantic contents, which are irrelevant in the given context, are inhibited, the affective arousal associated with these alternatives is not. The origin of the excitation or anxiety is therefore not grasped or is falsely and rationally attributed to the active semantics. These are the so-called Freudian false connections. Second, the idea is defended that articulation acts as a scansion process that cuts the massive affective charge into a sequentially fragmented motor output and that the psychological gain in this translation is understood in terms of controllability, organisation and (topographical) representation.