3 de junho de 2007


New Lacanian School of Psychoanalysis
Bulletin électronique du Comité d'action de l'École Une


Eric Laurent
Carmelo Licitra Rosa
Sérgio Laia
Diana Wolodarsky

Vicente Palomera
Catherine Lazarus-Matet


P(a)pers and the Action Committee

The task of the action committee was defined, following its designation in Rome, in a quite explicit manner. It was to constitute a descriptive bibliography from the indications given by Jacques-Alain Miller in his conference in Rome “W.A.P. 2008. The objects a in the psychoanalytic experience”.The action committee first contributed to the constitution of the Scilicet volume for the congress. This first issue of the new series of “Papers” pursues the elaboration. Each of the members of the action committee treats one particular aspect of the objects a. Carmelo Licitra-Rosa gives us an “Introductory note to the study of the object a in Seminar X”. He delineates in particular the novelty of the search for a logic of a positivized lack. Sergio Laia proposed a “work memorandum” with reference to the four registers of the object a presented in the Rome conference. Diana Wolodarsky chose to develop the register of the opposition between the object a as natural and the object a as real. Vincente Palomera follows Lacan’s elaboration of the modalities which permit the object that has no representation to irrupt into the space of vision. Thus a decisive step towards the unity of the object through its forms is constructed. This is also what Catherine Lazarus-Matet explores, in a particularly eloquent way, with reference to a clinical case.How will the work program be pursued? Soon, the list of the authors of the Scilicet volume will be available on the site of the Congress. Each of the members of the action committee will be able to organize a meeting of the authors of the volume, in the School and the place where he resides, for evenings of work. Beyond this first list, any person interested can contact them to participate. “Papers” will receive the contributions that are issue of this work developed at the initiative of the members of the action committee.This is how the descriptive bibliography and the preparation of the Congress will be pursued. “Papers” will confirm its function as an inter-School instrument to stimulate the discussion during the short year that separates us from April 2008 in Buenos-Aires.February 6, 2007Translated by Thelma Sowley
Eric Laurent
6 février 07


Carmelo Licitra Rosa
The statute of the object changes deeply in Lacan’s teaching in the X Seminary.
Jacques-Alain Miller has done a magisterial commentary of this Seminar in his course Le Forum des Psy, XV-XX lessons, during the years 2004-2005. These six lessons can be considered as a real introductory to the X Seminar studying, a direct reading of that can be perhaps a little bit hard. It seem to me necessary try to isolate, starting to J.-A. Miller’s these lessons, really full, some important points that maybe can disclose useful to take up our reflection on the object.
A preliminary statement, probably unnecessary, is that the Lacan’s object is completely different from that who can think in a common sense, but also starting to the philosophy and to the science (all the III chapter, Du Cosmos the Unheimleichkeit, X Sem). It is to underline this opening out who J.-A. Miller has underline the couple objectivitè-objectalité presented by Lacan (pag. 248, X Sem.): we remind that under the neologism objectalité is included the proper ambit of the lacanian object, as object a cause, and under objectivité the ambit of that it was agreement and it is agreement more commonly with object, as the object of the knowledge, of the wish, of the claim, etc…(less. XVIII, Le Forum). For that distinction I put in evidence the J.-A. Miller’s book, it is rich of references on the X Seminar. For this peculiarity of the object, our effort will be for that reasons to restrict in a closed way, so we can find to have ever more clearly the structure.
In this report, I will develop one of the coordinates where to put the object a, as the J.-A. Miller’s reading we help to find out in Lacan’s work. This first coordinate is that who calls the absoluteness of the object (less. XV, Le Forum).
We start with the J.-A. Miller’s affirmation: the lacanian anguish is not a disorder or is not a dysfunction to treat – as the DSM wants- but a way to get in (XV less. Le Forum), instead we can say, the principal way to approach as to agree upon the object in psychoanalysis.
This thesis is linked to another one, as much important; there is heterogeneity (XV less. Le Forum) between the anguish and the concept (or anguish and signifier), as matter stand- Jacques –Alain Miller confirms- if Lacan reminds The Anguish Concept of Kierkegaard, he does it to break this famous formula and to introduce a singular disjunction: or the anguish or the concept, “we must choose between them” (p.385 X Sem.). The anguish - J.-A. Miller specifies here - comes in the place of the concept, in the exact sense that where there is anguish it can’t be the concept.
The anguish is irreducible to the concept, and in this irreducibility that Lacan gets to Kierkegaard (pag.35 X Sem) and his passionate polemic against Hegelian dialectic can be crack in name of a particularity.
But if the anguish is heterogeneous from the signifier (terms that we go to use from now at the place of concept) also the object, which we have placed near to anguish, will be heterogeneous to signifier. Here it isn’t necessary go on, under the pretext to listen things already noted: as J.-A. Miller underlines, remembering a certain inevitable “usury” of terms (less. XV, Le Forum), in these pages of X Seminar we have the opportunity to go back up important time in that Lacan works for the extraction of object’s model who is become for us so familiar, the object cause of the wish. Following with patient Lacan in the steep way of his search, we will be reward for the clearness and freshness that we will gain in our approach. So this object- considering that the anguish, his bulldozer, is heterogeneous to the signifier, is be placed in a prospective completely against the dialectic: for this reason J.-A. Miller calls it as an object absolute, where absolute is the same of against the dialectic. How does it mean this crossing? For understanding better, J.-A. Miller pushes us to put the accent in the opposition between this kind of object and that one studied by Lacan during his teaching in the years before (less. XVI and XVII. Le Forum). There isn’t doubt about this first object is so familiar as the second, but maybe we don’t pay attention and we place on and we confuse them.
This first object is designed in the IV Seminar. It is already so sophisticated, so Lacan promotes it in a clear polemic with the ingenous points of view of an object “pure and simple corresponding of the subject” (ib., pag.17)- this is very near to the common sense- that leaded in psychoanalytical theory. At the common objects of daily experience, that the psychoanalysis in those days pretend to find out simple generalisations to built all the theory, Lacan opposes two objects definitely bizarre for the normal experience, the phobic object and fetish object, showing that just in these last we had to look for the key to reap the real nature of the object in psychoanalysis. In this way, against the imaginary object of the object relationship theory- from that the IV Seminar has his subtitle- Lacan goes on the symbolic object, or the object caught in the algorithm signifier, the object as the signifier, for the same reason unnatural, mortified and than signed by the minus of lack, that the signifier stamps as his mark (less. XI e XII, Donc). In last analysis, this object is a signifier and his model is the phallic object that begins the symbolic process of the different object by his own transformation in signifier (less. XIII and XVI, Donc; less. X, Silet).
This symbolic transformation can be defined as an ascesis from the real-imaginary to the symbolic, but also as a dialectic, word on we have to be agree. In fact, even if the dialectic inspiration in the first three years of lacanian teaching can be considered finished just at the beginning of IV Seminar, from a certain point of view it isn’t illegal to apply the word dialectic to the ascesis that we have described above, however the process who erases the real original term of a question for surpassing and integrating it in the world of symbols. On the other side, the same concept of dialectic must be strictly proscribed however this transformation produces a rest (less. XV and XVI, Le Forum), that we call wish. Now, if there is rest, it can’t be dialectic, so for definition this one expects a completely starting point’s reabsorption in the final synthetic step. So, for us which are spelling Lacan’s books from long time, we will be not agree on the telling that the X Seminar can be the seminar where for the first time we find the rest, it a long time that we haven’t to wait for X Seminar to find out the idea of rest: only that- as J.-A. Miller notes (less. XVI, Le Forum)- the rest goes around before the X Seminar it was a impalpable rest, a pure nothing, in other words a rest that wasn’t reducible to substance: so this rest-wish (less. XVI, Silet) isn’t at all placed on rest-object that we meet in the X Seminar. The elements already defined do the background of the classic clinic of phobia and fetishism. Without taking about fetishism, from long time all us has learned to appreciate the extraordinary ductility clinic of couple anguish-phobia. If the anguish is correlated to an absence, “the absence of phallic organ in the woman” (less. XVI, Le Forum), the phobia is a solution, however it covers this painful absence with a symbolic object: this object is a signifier that becomes ipso facto the object of phobia. It is the point that Lacan says clearly at page 156 of X Seminar when, if we look back the before elaboration in the IV Seminar, he says: “this lack that I talking about, the symbol fills up it easily, it signs the place, the lack, and it presents that is not there”. Starting from phobic signifier that it can be after switch on –as the way of little Hans’s treatment shows- the hard sequence of the changing signifiers that from mother privation (from that starts castration anguish) will go till the subjectivities of the Other castration (it will be the resolution of this anguish)(XVI and XVII less., Le Forum). So, in the IV Seminar, if the anguish is without object, the phobia instead shows clearly to have an object. The phobia with his object treats the anguish-without- object, reabsorbing in the symbolisation signifier the empty under the anguish, it makes a dialectic. Incidentally, it isn’t to see in this “hole of the anguish” nothing original, this hole is nothing more than the real hole of the privation that but, for being like this, it supposes already the building action of the symbolic that gives some places XVI and XVII, Le Forum). Furthermore, it doesn’t need to confuse the hole that we are thinking about here with the hole that Lacan makes the important power of symbolic register during the period of borromean elaboration, and as we know in Joyce seminar: for example, in the last seminar, Illuminations profanes, J.-A. Miller, calls the first hole (called trou réel in XVI less. Le Forum) manque, and the second trou, building up a schema of opposite terms (I less, Illum. prof.).
The turning point of X Seminar is that the Aufhbung of IV Seminar appears bankruptcy XVI and XVII less., Le Forum), or better not sufficient, so there is a rest, that isn’t only the rest of the wish, the already known rest over the signifier, but a rest able to be found, if we can say, in the same place of the signifier object, as it is a not reabsorbing rubble. We note in fact that the horse, the phobia’s object of little Hans, it isn’t sufficient to calm all the original anguish, staying a around point on this horse, a black point placed near the bite, who in spite of the phobia is still cause of anguish (XV less., Le Forum). On the other side, this dialectic isn’t able to be totally it can be also referred over the couple Subject-Other, why it produces a rest that is real secret of the Other’s otherly (XV less., Le Forum); also if, as J.-A. Miller notes, in all the seminar there is an unsolved ambiguity around the effective belonging of this rest: or, does this a belong to the Subject or to the Other? We don’t use to repeat that in the XI Seminar (or the seminar that X is the immediate antecedent) and in the correlative write Unconscious Positions, do we recognize a time Lacan’s teaching as important as the opening Function and Field, as this writes define the definitive sunset of the dialectic action? “ The existing difference between the dialectic thinking and our experience is that we don’t believe to the synthesis”- Lacan says clearly at page 313 in X Seminar. All that obliges to see again the before schema of relation anguish-phobia, so from now it can be say never that the object of phobia comes to the place of the anguish’s not-object, but it will have to recognize rather than also the anguish has an her object- a particular object not the same that we have managed till now- that appears under a kind of blind mark, of a remainder that goes away, or better, that resists to the catching that we have described over as a dialectic of signifier. So we have an object-rest instead of an object-signifier that resists to the signifier’s Aufhebung, and for this reason that Jacques -Alain Miller calls this object absolute, that means it cancels the process of signifier dialectic. Lacan doesn’t limit only to make relative the signifier object in front of absolute object, but he set the last one kind of precedent of the other: “It is starting only from the falling object that we can see what does it mean that we have talked about partial object, In fact, I tell you now, the partial object is an invention of neurotic. It is a fantasy. It is the neurotic that it does it a partial object” (pag. 197, Sem X). This absolute object is the object discovered by the anguish, anguish that is to define now not without object, against IV Seminar (p.245, IV Seminar, French publish- J.-A. Miller notes) and the same Freud’s affirmation about the anguish will have the peculiarity of the “lack of the object” (pag. 310, vol. Freud’s X Opera); also if Lacan finds in the same way to justify the correction tried to the Freud’s book, pointing out the affirmation in Inhibition, Symptom Anxiety that the anguish rises ever “near to something” (ib.): in that Freud’s “near to something”, Lacan reads the hidden sign of the rectification that he dares to give, so his “not without object”(pag. 185, X Sem).
It follows that if till now the background of anguish experience has been traumatic meeting with the mother, or better generally with woman, that is the natural bearer of an anguish hole, now the prototype of anguish experience is the meeting with penis organ in the state after the orgasm (less. XVI, Le Forum). It takes the place of the woman with her hole the man with her lack, or with an object that, in the state of soft organ useless for the copulation, is a rest removing from the body. We go from the lacking woman to the lacking men, passing that certainly causes embarrassed to our intuition seriously. But most of all we are finally in front of the main aspect of this object: the separation. And so Lacan is faithful to the second freudian topography definition, that considers the anguish as “a reaction to the dangerous of the loosing object”(p.314, vol X, Opera.) we are embarrassed to think about a new form of lack (less. XV, Le Forum), “a positive want, if a can say like this” (p.300, Sem X), or a lack that isn’t never linked to the negation signifier (the woman privation), it appears correlative to the separation of the body’s detachable pieces. Just the topology promises to open the access into this lack’s dimension, remedying to the wants of the intuition. So: separation, lost, cut. Finally, Jacques Alain Miller underlines it is an object that have a structure conform only to the real, “and the irruption is marked by the separation, it means that the incarnate subject in the body must looses something” (less. XX, Le Forum). A propos of that Jacques- Alain Miller mentions Lacan in his write On Freud Tribe and the psychoanalyst’s wish because he talks about “self mutilation of lizard” clearly (pag. 857, Writes). Say that the structure of this object is completely conform only to the real it means that it is on the contrary different either to the imaginary or the symbolic. And in fact (less. XX, Le Forum) a) The some time interference of this object into imaginary dimension produces perturbations effects (splitting, depersonalisation, etc.) while b) the symbolic inscription shows the ineradicable incidence of cause category related to the discourse: the cause as it inscribes a cutting in the signifier chain. In the same time we have a new body’s statute (less. XVI, Le Forum), it is not more the imaginary body and it is neither the body killed by symbolic, but a body that loose his unity for putting in value the anatomical details, detached pieces of parts of organs and more that can be separated by the cut’s action; signifier cut is strictly different from signifier trait. (less. XV, Le Forum). It is in this dimension to be part of the secrete of confidence with that we can pass from the object of IV Seminar to the plurality of objects that we have the X Seminar, and more exactly into the five form of object a (less. XVII, Le Forum).
Culture and object’s logic
The basement of this object in the body’s material instead can deceive, trying to have deducted, on the base of a rough equivalence matter-nature, his supposed neutrality. On the contrary (less. XX, Le Forum). We have to say again : a) the object a is a cultural object eminently because it can be replaced with a plurality of equivalent artificial objects (pag 362, Sem X); b) the object a is the prototype of the uncountable series of production, artistic, banausic objects, as a result of subjective realization (p.367, Sem X). Further on this object in not natural, so we have to think about it not as substantial (less. XX, Le Forum) so already it goes to a total logification, it is really clear in the seminary of next year, the XI Seminar, and it will go on in the others seminars. Already in the XI Seminar we can find the starting points of this logification programme, that mitigates for a little the suggestions of a strong idea of body that in this step gives off the object. We will mention two of these premises (less. XV and XX, Le Forum). First of all, however it has made of detached pieces from the living organism, supposing that this object is cutting on this- we pass each other the word- with the signifier chopper, or it is a result of the signifier’s incision, that is the same to say the symbolic preliminary action under the mark and sign form (pag. 78-79, Sem X): and in fact, “the object defined as a irreducible rest to the symbolisation in the place of the Other, it is depend however on this Other, why otherwise does it constitute? […] There isn’t any fact in the rest a […]” (p.382, Sem. X). Second, if it is not completely put in logic, in the Seminar X this object is already put in the cross-cup figure plentifully (pp. 113-117, Sem. X).
Translated by Monica Vacca
S. Freud, Inhibition, Symptom and Anxiety, Opera, vol. X.
J. Lacan, Écrits, Paris, Seuil, 1966
J. Lacan, Le Séminaire, Livre IV, Paris, Seuil, 1994
J. Lacan, Le Séminaire, Livre X, Paris, Seuil, 2004
J.-A. Miller, L’orientation lacanienne : Donc, Paris AA 1993-94
J.-A. Miller, L’orientation lacanienne : Silet, Paris AA 1994-95
J.-A. Miller, L’orientation lacanienne : Le Forum des psy, Paris AA 2004-05
J.-A. Miller, L’orientation lacanienne : Illuminates profanes, Paris AA 2005-06
J.-A. Miller, "Les réferences du Séminaire L’angoisse, des pièces détachées", in La Causa freudienne. n°59, Navarin, Paris 2005, pp.117-126.


Four registrations of the a object a: a work project
Sérgio Laia
During the last meeting of the World Psychoanalysis Association, on July 15, 2006, in Rome, Jacques-Alain Miller made a speech that announced the next theme for the 6th meeting of this association to be held in 2008, in Buenos Aires: the objects a under the light of the analytical experience. This speech was published in Opção Lacaniana (October 2006, no. 46), and Lettre Mensuelle (November 2006, no.252) and also maybe in other magazines of our schools. Having outlined an effective work project out of this conference I would like to invite my colleagues to follow these steps as a guide till we get to Buenos Aires in 2008 or even find other possible steps.
The proposition of the object a has not been processed since the beginning of its teaching, neither has been unaltered in its elaborations. Thus we may say this object follows a historical, clinical and conceptual path along its teaching or even that Lacan’s teaching has its own path constituted by the processes of invention, thematization and problematization of such an object.
It is not an easy task to define what the object a is, not only because its statute is in constant change, but also because of its own nature that makes its apprehension more difficult. According to Lacan the object a is something that remains, it is what is left over from the incidence of language and culture over the dimensions of satisfaction, of nature and the bodies. So it is not exactly an object like any other object in the world, neither can it be considered as a non-object, a simple abstraction, nor it is not the combination of objective and subjective dimensions. However this definition and the possibilities of working with and from this object in the clinics offer the analyst some kind of guidance whose absence, especially before Lacan, made psychoanalysis be mixed up with other psychoterapeutical procedures or even with pedagogical initiatives of intervention in the discontent of the culture. In this point of view it seems to me that the proposition of the object a by Lacan is remarkable not only to make us distinguish the psychoanalysis applied to therapeutics from other psychotherapies, but also to highlight the “pure” psychoanalysis and up to what extent these two ways of psychoanalysis cannot be standardized.
Then how is it possible to define the object a without losing its enigmatic and uncommon dimension? How to cope with this enigma without mixing it up with an absence of response or the presence of an ineffable element? It is instigative to highlight that this object appears as such in a very precise moment in Lacan’s teachings and even as a result encourages a work in progress about its elucidation. So, it is meaningful that the moment in which Lacan could work the object a as a theme he did it in the Seminar 10, dedicated to anguish. First because Freud dealt with anguish as an affection to which no object corresponds, different from the experience with fear, for instance. Lacan in this seminar also demonstrates up to what extent anguish is not “objectless” and that Freud conceived it as object free because he had not seen the paradoxical nature of this object a.
The fact that the object a is not properly an object of the world – different from those that are associated with fear and are called phobic objects – makes it to be considered a formal element only with no contents. However Jacques-Alain Miller points out that the object a questions formalism itself when it refers to what is made informal, to what is separated from the body as a rest, as a piece of the body. That is why, the above mentioned conference by Jacques-Alain Miller in Rome makes it clear that in the seminar about anguish Lacan includes two more objects to the three defined by Freud (the breast, the faeces, and the phallus) – the eye’s look and the voice – enhancing this way the list of five natural objects a, each of them coming from, as leftovers, a fragmented body. Such objects coming from a shattered body are neither properly formal, nor abstract, because this body is a shattered body, and their nature does not fit exactly what we may call natural. This tension between the shape and the body is solved by Jacques-Alain Miller in what, according to him, may be called an “effort of poetry” because instead of keeping the polarization or proposing a mixture of heterogeneous aspects of the object a he presents us an oxymoron: the compatible logic with the formalization of the object a by Lacan is a "incarnated logic", in which body and shape are present.
Particularly from the Seminar about Anguish we may deduce what Jacques-Alain Miller designated as the first registration of the object a the registration of the object a in nature. To elucidate it in-depth, it may be instigating to inquire what the Lacanian orientation, in respect to what the object a must be, differs itself from:
what Freud called “lost object”, “object of pulsion”, “real object of the libido”;
what Abraham recognized as object in the “earliest pre genital stage of the development of the libido”;
what Melanie Klein pointed out as “good breast” and “bad breast”, as “partial object” and “total and complete object”;
what Winnicott named “transitional object”
Although this approach includes the History of Psychoanalysis, it is also clinical and conceptual, and it will be important to investigate how Lacan invents something different with the object a before Freud’s and post Freudian analysts’ considerations about the object. It is different once the registration of the object a in nature is neither purely natural for it implies a logic nor purely abstract or formal for it is an object which is a leftover, the rest that falls from the body. That is why I think we should investigate this logic of the object a. Still under this approach but now taking into consideration Seminar 11 it will be important for us to clear up why the phallus is no longer presented among the forms of the object a since Lacan refers to four dimensions of this object in this work: the breast, the faeces, the gaze and the voice.
The second registration of the object a in Lacan’s teaching, according to Jacques-Alain Miller, includes the “natural objects of the shattered body”. It is the registration of the object a in the culture. However it is not only the cultural field that matters once the equivalence with the object a in nature requires the presence of the body and of the libidinal dimension. Being so, diffusion and stock always update and recycle the presence of the anal object in the cultural field. This is another point to be investigated in the next months. The anal object seems to contaminate our relationships with the gaze and voice if we consider the present time demands of recording everything, keeping everything, accessing everything, making everything available… Diffusion and stock are also present in the way anorexics and bulimics respond to the oral object or in the way the pharmaceutical industry has tried to solve the anguish at stake in the detumescence of the penis as a real organ. Locating, discussing and analyzing the registration of the object a in the culture will be another way of elucidating it and demonstrating that psychoanalysis is - contrary to what is in the media - a compatible experience to the 21st century.
We can find a third registration of the object a in Jacques-Alain Miller’s conference in Rome: the registration of the object a in sublimation. The earliest reference of this registration is Freud’s, who says that the objects of sublimation are those that present themselves in the place of the “lost object as such”, in this place Freud called das Ding, “the Thing”. The second reference comes from the field of Arts. It is Marcel Duchamp and what we may call, using an translinguistic oxymoron, the “ready-made invention”. It is an oxymoron because Duchamp’s works require from us the invention of what is already invented, what is already made. Our works for the next meeting of WAP may also elucidate this oxymoron, either from the Freudian “lost object” or from a new view that Duchamp, among other artists, has of the objects in the world. The location of the sublimation by Jacques-Alain Miller as another registration of the object a invites us to investigate why this registration would be different from the object a in the culture, or where for Lacan - contrary to what Freud said - sublimation and culture mark different positions of the object.
Finally, concluding his conference in Rome, Jacques-Alain Miller mentions a fourth registration of the object a: the object-cause, even though he does not state that exactly. Allowing us a new approach to Freud, he locates the object-cause as an erogenous zone and, immediately, points out that it is structurally a hidden and unknown object. Under this light a thematic analysis may be made as a process of location, treatment and even re-discovery of erogenous zones. The equivalence itself between erogenous zones and the object-cause seems to invite us to take this registration under the point of view of the one who is being analyzed. At the end of his conference, Jacques-Alain Miller mentions the analyst and rapidly calls what Lacan has called “Analyst of the School” (AE), that is, the one who after coming through the Dispositive of the Pass, could have had the end of his analysis assured by the School. A new articulation is then made between the object-cause and the analyst: “if the analyst may be assimilated to the object a, it is in the quality of the object-cause of a analysis and because he has re-evocated the unawareness of the ” object a, that is, in the case, the unawareness of his act”.
We may consider as a fourth registration of the object a in this context - the registration of the object a ain the analytical experience – and then we would have two new paths to be examined:
taking the one being analyzed into consideration, in function of the approach made by Jacques-Alain Miller between the object-cause and the Freudian notion of erogenous zones, we can reconsider how the analytical experience deals with the object a in nature, in the culture and in the sublimation through its somatic manifestations in the one who looks for an analyst.
taking the analyst into consideration we can examine if there is effectively a different registration of the object a from those found in nature, in the culture and in the sublimation. Finally, the assimilation of the analyst to the object-cause demands, according to Jacques-Alain Miller, not only the confrontation that the object a is the object to be given, the object that falls down, but also because it is the problematization of the existence of the work itself. If the analyst is the object that results from an analysis, the product of the analytical experience, even those who receive the title of AE, may be considered the “work” of the analyst. We may investigate this way the differences between “work” and “product”.
At last, if the analytical experience gives place to a fourth registration of the object a effectively, and if we consider that it is part of Lacan’s practice as an analyst to extract his elaborations on this object, I would allow myself to present a last hypothesis:
The analytical experience concerning the object a produces a registration that binds, in the same way a Borromean knot does in the particularity of each case, the other three registrations of this object in the nature, in the culture and in the sublimation. In this context, the object a, as an object-cause, would have something to do with the analyst’s own dimension as a sinthome. That is why, out of the analytical experience, the registrations of the object a could go towards the domain of disarticulations, which may be testified and taken from the statements of patients presently under analysis or along the History of Psychoanalysis itself.
The pertinence of the topics suggested are to be investigated and the theme of the next AMP’s Congress - “The objects a under the light of the analytical experience” - should even be taken as an invitation for us to find out, from our own practice as analysts, the different knots in which the registrations of the objects a are woven.
Translation : Márcio Pinto de Resende
Revision : Denise Rennó Lima e Celso Rennó Lima

The nature of object a
Diana Wolodarsky

This is a first intervention for Papers, whose aim is to answer to what I understand is the function of the Action Committee: to launch, to incite and open research work towards the upcoming 2008 Congress on the subject "Objects a in the analytic experience". The subject proposed is complex and requires unraveling, since the challenge appears already in the title of the proposal itself: objects a, in the analytic experience. I emphasize and underline: in the analytic experience".
My participation is included as an additional one sharing in this challenge and inviting to production around the subject of our next Congress.
We have some time to entangle and, with luck, disentangle ourselves, to delimit the way in which knowledge on these objects passes into the experience of a subject in analysis.
This is at least my question: what are the place and the fate of that object at the end of analysis, after the fantasm is crossed. The most real of the object …what to say about it.
The pass is a test/proof.
In his Rome lecture, Miller pointed at the "library" we may consult and indicated the coordinates.
From there I went back to his course "On the nature of semblants". My first intervention, aimed at situating the disjunction between the object, jouissance, and the real, is developed within that frame. The remainder open for research is what was originally stated concerning the question of `the most real' of the object.
In his lecture Miller indicates the formalization of objects a can be found not only in Seminar X (last part) but also between seminars XI and XX "consecrated to the building of a logic proper of object a".
In the course "On the nature of semblants" Miller elaborates the true nature of object a (such is the title he gives to the chapter) and places it in consonance with the triangle in the chapter "Knowledge and Truth" of Seminar XX. He also indicates that a "decisive turning point" is produced in this seminar.
He explains that on reading the triangle, the real does not fit well into this equivalence of the three dimensions (S-I-R). This is indicated by Lacan by his tormenting the point of the real with a protuberance appended to that letter, and in whose center we find the letter J. (See the figure at the opening of the chapter) [1]
Miller says: "That the letter a should appear elsewhere suffices to show that at this level object a is not of the order of the real".
First point to emphasize: a different from the real.
He establishes this difference between these two terms out of dissatisfaction with "the proper name in the analytic experience being object a, but rather, submit to discussion the real nature of such object"[2]
Object a thus appears between symbolic and real, crowned by the word `semblant'.
That the symbolic should aim to the real excludes its aiming to the true. The true is found on another path, not form the symbolic to the real but from the imaginary to the symbolic, in a position homologous to that of the semblant.
Therefore, says Miller, "It is a matter of making the real prevail over the true and thus disavow the entrance gate to Lacan's teaching, which consisted in positing and orientation of the symbolic towards truth"[3].
The motion in Lacan's teaching produces a rupture, a leap in his teaching. From an experience regulated by the dialectic of truth, the real comes to substitute for the true in the analytic experience.
The true becomes thus homologated, on the side of the semblant.
Thus Miller formulates: "In this sense the real would be the absolutely true. If there is no Other of the other, there is real"[4].
Where is that real to be found?
In the mistake.
The true nature of object a
The way from the symbolic to the real would show "the true nature of object a".
The use of the term `nature' is aimed at avoiding confusion with either structure or substance.
The purpose of this development is to point that the true nature of object a is not related to the real.
The fact that it can be found on the way from the symbolic to the real might lead to believe the contrary.
Its nature, however, is another: it is in relation with the being.
Miller says: "To displace the a from the real to the being is to emphasize its affinities with the semblant, while it is more comfortable to believe that is provides the real"[5]
Here is the second point, then: to distinguish between being, semblant, and real.
The subject interested in the analytic experience presents itself through the lack-in-being.
Miller situates this with the formula of the fantasm: $ (lack-in-being), a (being) and it could be mistaken for the real. And he situates it in consonance with the Freudian difference: that between desire and drive.
He concludes by stating: "we call object a that which in that disaster of the subject called lack-in-being seems to provide support to the being (my italics).
This development shows that the being is linked, or is of the same fabric as the semblant.
The theater of shadows inspired in the platonic myth of the cave illustrates that object a is the shadow pretending to be the being, and is what we call being.
This we call semblant, which `pretends to be the original version that cannot be sustained, in Lacanian terms, in the approach to the real'.
That which is true (I-S) and reality (I-R) – the other two terms of the Encore triangle, are of the same order as the semblant, and Lacan inscribes as F the phallic jouissance, "what succeeds in retaining reality"[6].
Phallic jouissance: a signified part of jouissance that supports reality.
Miller thus adjusts his definition of semblant: "Lacan particularizes the term of semblant for what is inscribed between symbolic and real, which is definitely of the order of the signifier, of what comes from the symbolic but does not hold in the approach to the real" [7].
All these terms, a, S(A/), F, are an effort to attain the real, but Miller goes back to Lacan in encore when he says: "pas encore".
To delimit the real
In this course, Miller finally comes closer to delimiting the real and its relation to the object, when he says: "… there is jouissance in the real, when it is a matter of analytic experience, and this the scientific gaze did not see, even though it was able to perceive that there is knowledge in the real".
By way of approximation, he raises a question I believe fundamental: "Hence we must wonder if the object is perhaps the real as different from the signifier … that is, the most real". As I understand this, it would be possible to formulate the object as semblant in disjunction from jouissance –as an answer to the bag emanating from the real in the Encore triangle.
"It is not that the subject repeats himself but rather that there is something he cannot avoid". (Sentence evoking the famous stone on the way to which Miller refers in El hueso del análisis).
"This impossible-not-to-avoid could be called real. The real is that the subject repeats himself".
Lacan says it in another way in “La Troisième” : "… because the real is what does not work out, what comes across in front of the carriage, even more, what never ceases to repeat itself to hinder that movement" [8]
"The real is what always comes back to the same place. Stress should be made on "comes back". What it discloses is the place, the place of the semblant".
Let us go back to the initial question: How to reach the most real in the analytic experience?
Seminar Encore [9]: "The goal is to obtain the confession of jouissance and precisely because it can be inconfessable. With respect to the law regulating jouissance, that is the truth searched for".
"And since truth can be only half-said ... jouissance is only interpellated, evoked, ambushed or elaborated from the stating point of a semblant".
Seminar XX opens the question: to research the affinity of a to its wrappings as one of the articulations proposed by psychoanalysis.
Lacan says: "There it is distinct from the real".
Yet … it seems that the Encore triangle is not enough, it is still too significant and for that reason the bag with the letter J must be added.
I now return to the Rome lecture [10], in which Miller indicates a crucial point in all this mess: the body.
We cannot forget that these objects are rooted in the body.
The question would be: How to extract the jouissance that this object produces in the body? The well-known concession of object a.
Miller situates the point of impasse when he says: "it is as if, after Seminar XX, Lacan would restart from a perspective already drawn in Seminar X". From this point on, he proposes to study in depth the last part of that Seminar, since there a is not present as an articulated structure but as a cutoff from the body.
Translated by Liliana Singer
1- Seminario XX. Aún J. Lacan. Pág. 119.
2- De la Naturaleza de los Semblantes. J-A. Miller. Pág. 114.
3- Pág. 115.
4- Pág. 101.
5- Pág. 115.
6- Sem. XX . Pág. 118.
7- De la naturaleza de los semblantes. Pág. 119.
8- La Tercera. Intervenciones y textos 2. J. Lacan. Pág. 81.
9- Sem. XX Pág. 111.
10- Conferencia en Roma dictada por J-A. Miller. (inédita). Versión paraimpresión

A voice that gives sound to the gaze
Vicente Palomera

In Seminar X Lacan emphasizes the link between anxiety and the imaginary and begins the study of anxiety starting from the scopic register. He starts off at the specular image and all the disorders in relation to the self-image, the Unheimlich of the double to arrive finally at the moments when the image begins to gain autonomy, when the image itself begins to stare. At the climax of the demonstration Lacan provides the case of a psychotic patient who says Io sono vista, meaning in Italian "I am being seen" as well as "I am the view".
Isabella, this schizophrenic patient, had drawn a three-eyed tree. Lacan is particularly interested in the frame, the signifiers framed by the branches of the tree. It is not only a matter of the gaze but also of what frames it, a signifier chain imposing itself in its dimension of voice: Io sono sempre vista [1].
The full reach of this example became evident twenty years later, in 1983, when Jacques-Alain Miller read it against the background of a note in "A Question Preliminary to any possible treatment of psychosis", showing that the object, as structure of vital loss, was present in this case, and also how the field of reality is constituted starting with the extraction of the gaze as object [2]. In this sense it can be stated that the loss of reality is equivalent to the loss of the frame of reality. Isabella's mutism is due to her occupying by herself the place of the opening obtained by the extraction of the object. The gaze is always there, framed, cut out, but Isabella cannot unglue herself from it.
Shortly, the psychotic subject shows that object a may be cut out, yet this is not enough for separation from it.
Lacan's observation, furthermore, follows a comment on the Wolf Man' dream: "If this observation remains for us of an unexhausted and unexhaustible nature, it is because it deals essentially, from the beginning to the end, with the relation of the fantasm to the real. What do we see in the dream? The sudden opening of a window. The fantasm shows beyond a glass and through an opening window. The fantasm is framed"[3]. In this dream "the wolves on the branches make up the frame".
Lacan goes on to say that in Isabella's case "it is signifiers that play the role of the wolves for the Wolf Man. Beyond the branches of the tree she wrote the formula of her secret, Io sono sempre vista". Let us dwell for a moment at Isabella's drawing. The sentence enveloping the tree invites us to do so, and likewise does Freud"s comment in The Interpretation of Dreams concerning the means of representability in the dream ("Die Darstellungsmittel des Traumes"). Freud establishes there an analogy between dreaming and drawing: "The incapacity of dreams to express these things must lie in the nature of the psychic material out of which dreams are made. The plastic arts of painting and sculpture labour, indeed, under a similar limitation as compared with poetry, which can make use of speech; and here once again the reason for their incapacity lies in the nature of the material which these two forms of art manipulate in their effort to express something. Before painting became acquainted with the laws of expression by which it is governed, it made attempts to get over this handicap. In ancient paintings small labels were hung from the mouths of the persons represented, containing in written characters the speeches which the artist despaired of representing pictorially" [4]. In this we can see the schize between sound and voice.
As in the balloons where the painter wrote the sentences he was hopeless to extract, "Io sono sempre vista" is what, as indicated by Lacan, Isabella had never been able to say until then. Isabella looms in terror-striken mutism. Through the drawing, what cannot be figurated appears in the figure: a silent enunciation placed inside the drawing. It is the inaudible voice, yet shown in an object that is in itself unrepresentable. What cannot be figurated – the voice – returns as figurable in the picture and by that, if we may say so, it "gives voice to the gaze".
Concerning dreams and painting, Freud does not speak of a limitation in representation but of a limit: what is not figurable results not from impotence but from an impossibility which is proper to the logic of the figurated expression. Let us say that if painters stopped drawing balloons it is because paintings can eventually organize and center themselves around a central void. This is the void we do not find in the case of Isabella.
In his 1982 course The Lacanian Orientation, Jacques-Alain Miller precisely indicated that the gaze does not necessarily belong to the visual order. The gaze may be a noise, it may belong to a different sensorium, to a sensorial modality different from the visual. Jacques Lacan illustrates this with an example taken from Sartre, in which the subject sees himself looking at the very moment the noise makes itself heard [5]
Something similar happens in the Freudian case "A case of Paranoia contrary to the psychoanalytic theory", where a clicking noise (das Geräusch des Abdrückens) triggers the suspicion that someone is hiding and spying behind a curtain. The shame of the nudity of "the exposed beauty" returns in the feeling of being caught by the gaze of the other [6].
The voice, in turn, has a temporality other than that of the gaze. In the same lesson of his course, Miller points at them: "in the object gaze, there is a temporary suspension", that is, the gaze is in the register of duration, of a "didn't know how long [the subject, TN] had been staring at it". With respect to the gaze, we are always in the register of the instant. With the voice, however, we are trapped in duration. In the voice "there is a wrapping up, there is modulation", says Miller.
The main obstacle in apprehending the place of the voice lies in that "we are hypnotized by the function of sound, the phonic function". Once again, in "A question preliminary to any possible treatment of psychosis" Lacan indicates that there is a function of the voice that is essentially linked to the signifier chain as such, regardless of the sensorial modality accessing it: "the verbal hallucination is not reducible to any particular sensorium … and above all not to a percipiens that would provide its unity".
The voice is, therefore, independent with regard to any sensorium. In Lacan the voice is equally present in what is heard as in what is read, it is a voice not necessarily linked to the sounding substance" [7]
This is what Antonin Artaud bears witness to in L’Ombilic des limbes: a voice not transiting by the paths of sound ("that flesh no longer touched in lifetime, that tongue that fails to leave its bark, that voice that does not transit by the paths of sound") [8]
This "voiding of substance" can be generalized to all objects a: "The voiding of substance is precisely one of the features of objects a" [9]. This is manifest in a childhood memory of a subject who organizes his fantasy in the intricacy of the different forms of object a, in the "bad taste" of a present from his parents, a gift offered when he was in full sphincter control: a toy potty on whose bottom was printed an eye framed by the formula: "I am eyeing you!". This example shows clearly that the anal object is not the feces, but the voiding of this substance. This is the object that organizes, in his existence, his ob-cession, that is, between avoidance and rejection.
It is this voiding of substance from object a that leads Lacan to state, in his seminar Le sinthome, that "object a is nothing but one and the same object" [10]. In other words, that the "five forms" of object a may be understood as the five forms of the same object.
In 1975 Lacan proposes a new thesis on paranoia in which "paranoia is an imaginary gluing, a voice that provides the gaze with sound, a matter of freezing desire" [11]. This definition obviously relies on the fact of a voice emptied of its sounding substance.
Several years ago I had the opportunity to illustrate this aspect of Lacan's thesis in the presentation of a case of paraphrenia. It was an instance of the "influence machine" in which the subject, Orlando, described how "the Machine" fixes planes, making women appear as having particularly white and shiny skin, the images projected on fixed planes, colors intercalated (…): the lips seem very red and particularly thick, a light gives spectacular glow to the gaze, to the point of inspiring fear (…) Then, the gaze spoke".
This shows clearly that the voice gives sound to the gaze at the moment when images freeze or, as the subject explains, are "projected on fixed planes". In The Third, Lacan mentions the voice once again. This 1975 Rome Discourse is "one that allows me simply to place the voice in the category of the four objects I have called a, that is, to empty it once again of the substance that might be present in the sound it makes, that is, to place it back in the account of the signifying operation, the one I specified with the effects called metonymical" [12]
Orlando bears witness to the way metonymical effects are hindered, arrested by the intervention of those planes fixing the image. Let us say that at those moments he suffers from a primacy of the "gaze form" over the "voice form" of the same object.
What Lacan says with the expression "imaginary gluing" is that the voice becomes subordinated to the gaze, glued in the scopic fixity. This is to Orlando a moment of great awe ("a light gives spectacular glow to the gaze, to the point of inspiring fear (…) Then, the gaze spoke"). He speaks then of a glow that blinds him; this is the moment when the object gaze appears and blocks the metonymy of desire. Anxiety is precisely that temporal funnel, an instant where time stops and remains suspended and motionless.
Translated by Liliana Singer

1- Lacan, J., Seminario X, La Angustia, p. 85.
2- Miller, J.-A., "Mostración en Premontré", Matemas I, Manantial, BsAs, 1987, pp. 169-173.
3- Lacan, J., Seminario X, La Angustia, p. 85.
4- Freud, S., Obras Completas, Biblioteca Nueva, Madrid, p. 536.
5- Miller, J.-A., Curso de la orientación lacaniana, 24 febrero de 1982 (inédito).
6- Freud, S., "Un caso de paranoia contrario a la teoría psicoanalítica", en: Gesammelte Werke, X, p. 236.
7- Miller, J.-A., Curso de la orientación lacaniana, 3 de marzo de 1982 (inédito).
8- Artaud, A., "Correspóndanse de la Momie", en: L’Ombilic des limbes ("Cette chair qui ne se touche plus dans la vie, cette langue qui n’arrive plus à depasser son écorce, cette voix qui ne passe plus par les routes du son").
9- Miller, J.-A. Op. cit.
10- Lacan, J., LeSeminaire XXIII, Le Sinthome, Seuil, p. 86.
11- Lacan. J., LeSeminaire,RSI, en: Ornicar?5, p.42.
12- Lacan, J., "La Tercera", en: Intervenciones y textos, 2, Manantial, BsAs. p. 74.

Embroidering around the Eye
Catherine Lazarus-Matet
“So, if we have to talk about the objects a in the analytic experience, let us try to account for the presence of the body in the analysand’s discourse”
In Rome, Jacques-Alain Miller thus gave us one of the paths leading to the object a, with reference to the fourth part of the seminar L’angoisse, “The five forms of the object a”, in which Lacan, he stipulates, spells out each of these forms as a portion of the body. Taking up the Freudian formula, “anatomy is destiny”, Lacan gives it a renewed sense: “You know that I spoke against this formula at times because of its incompleteness. It becomes true if we give its strict, and I might say etymological, sense to the term anatomy, which brings to light ana-tomy, the function of the cut. Everything we know about anatomy is related in effect to dissection. Destiny, that is to say the relation of man to the function called desire, takes on all its animation only insofar as the dismembering of the body itself is conceivable, this cut that is the locus of the elected moments of its functioning”.
I was guided by the presence of the white of the eye of a blind man and the spot in the field of vision in the seminar L’angoisse, towards embroidering on ana-tomy with respect to a case of psychosis, in which we find declined a singular point touching on the question of the eye, of the gaze and the creation of images and objects to be seen. This embroidering will attempt to circumscribe the relation between the body and the object produced. Accompanied by a few digressions on Marcel Duchamp. Other clinical cases might come later to supplementthe question, in particular the case of an artist in quest of his cause, and who thinks of himself as an invisible body in the field of the Other, or, in cases of neurosis, for example, with reference to thepostichea, while Lacan formulates in another connection the non-factitiousness of a, or other cases in which the gaze is involved, when we find the prevention of sublimation.
Why speak of embroidery? Because, while reading Seminar X, we find Lacan, like an embroiderer who is contouringhis object, enriching his remarks with needle points, eyelets, and cuts, weaving a thread between anxiety and desire. One day, someone will take an interest in his method, he says at one point, while giving us the reason: around the object concerned, neither the catalogue, nor the analogue, but the key. And we read that, in order to spell out the objects a like portions of the body, he must somehow embroider on this body, something like on a piece of fabric, a term present in the Seminar X as “grains and fabrics of beauty”, precisely with reference to the spot in the visual field as being the place wherethe point of desire is fastened. Lacan constructs in letters and schemas a few points. The use of the word “point” , which is usual, might permit us not to draw it in this direction. But Lacan gives a form to these points to border them, weaving their attachmentto the portions of body, the point of the lack-of-signifier, the point of anxiety, distinct from the point of desire, the point zero of a.
The term embroidery also has a common use. In its strict sense, this art is devoted to the body to which it offersblazons, monogramsand adornments. So much the more so as embroidery is one of the most ancient activities found in all civilizations and cultures. Thus, far from us, we find the embroidery of Babylon. Just as we find that of Cambrai, still practiced in a number of countries, cities, villages, hamlets and houses. Embroidery was mechanized in the industrial era, but remains a valued manual activity, a source of prestige and revenue. The industry of luxury has a passion for it assuring the perenniality of this art of adorning the body. The beauty of the gesture is millenary. The techniques and the points numerous and rich. Thus, some embroiderers have assured this specialty and the renown of the city of Angles with their art of holes, which are prettily called “eyelets”. For decades, from mother to daughter, holes are fabricated in Angles. Both men and women have always embroidered. But traditionally the men produce the totality of a work, the cutting of the fabric, the forming of the garment, while the women produce bits, borders, scallops, eyelets, just the embellishment, not the whole. It is not only a feminine practice even though it was indispensable to a girl’s education, at the epoch when they had to embroider their trousseau, and totally, as a surplus object to be brought into marriage.
An anonymous poet, cited in the Larousse dictionary of the XIXth century tells us beyond its materiality the importance of embroidery, singular to each one:
A tout broder chacun travaille :
L’orateur brode son discours ;
Le guerrier brode une bataille ;
Le fat brode un roman d’amours ;
Le marchand brode son mémoire ;
L’avocat brode un argument ;
Bien broder est un grand talent,
Et l’on brode jusqu’à l’histoire.
Colette could speak, in La naissance du jour (1928) of “ smooth paper to be embroidered with my writing”, when the quill to write with, at the time when one wrote with a quill, was called the “embroiderer”. Embroidery is then an immemorial activity and, as such, eminently human. The act of bordering, contouring, filling in, perforating, can remain private or be put into circulation.
Saint Clair was the patron saint of embroiderers, And little is known about him. A homonym wrote his history, embroidering in his turn, in the sense of “adding details, often imaginary”, and we can learn of the miracle that made of this gilder a saint. The legend of Saint Clair is still alive in some places. Research on Internet furnished information on this saint, said to be “uncertain”. What stands out is the place held by the cutting off of a piece of his body. He is said to have been born in the ninth century. He seems to have had numerous homonyms one of whom, in the twelfth century, imagined his life. A very pious man, he is said to have preached and converted. In quest of absolute, he never stopped fleeing his act in order to devote himself to his research, without, however, managing. In effect, he accomplished miracles everywhere he found refuge in the hopes of being isolated, and so people were constantly having recourse to him. The Devil, beyond himself at seeing souls elude him, is said to have fomented his murder by the intermediary of two mercenaries. Having to cut off his head, the two executioners trembled at the fatal moment and the sword cut off the calotte of the skull. Clair picked up this bloody piece and washed it in the water of a fountain, before depositing it in a chapel, thus marking the place of his sepulture. It is said that a blind man was cured on his tomb and that he accomplished other miracles always having to do with sight, disorders of the eyes or blindness. We are inevitably brought to think of the still life conceived by Marcel Duchamp, who offers the tonsure of his skull to Man Ray’s photographic objective.
Between the cut and the eye, Saint Clair, if the Latin etymology of his name situates him next to the remarkable and the illustrious, bears a name that destines himto see better.
Today, the eye is everywhere. No more invisible, as G. Wajcman develops with respect to art. The eye, the cut and dissection are in vogue. The more the objects of the scopic field proliferate, the more the body is present, and the more it is dismembered, the more it says what might escape. Thus, one of the present models of television heroes, which are a good indicator of the effect on society of certain advances in science, is encountered in the scientific police, under the form of coroners, expert investigators, most often duos composed or a man and a woman, who, all of them armed with the most advanced techniques in the investigation of bodies, will be able to extract information from the most minute piece of a body not necessarily found moreover on the corpse, but sometimes in the most improbable places, thanks to the visibility of bank accounts and cell phone bills. Science extracts the truth from massacred bodies. The more horrible it is, the more sparse pieces there are, the more the audience increases! Especially since these scientific heroes are human, blunderingin their love relations, as always, thus confirming the sexual non-relation. The heart, as Lacan indicates, is the piece of the body metaphorically inscribed in the language to say something else entirely. Science does not help them capture a heart, an ungraspable organ, in which The Merchant of Venice situates the pound of flesh.
Today’s body is equally at the center of colloquiums, publications; and, in creative forms, in the whole artistic and cultural field. Photography is also in favor, at a time when each one can have access to the most sophisticated and perfected cameras, this “blind eye” as it was called by Susan Sontag, who, along with artists and thinkers holding very different points of view, quotes Wittgenstein: “Photography concentrates the gaze on the surface. For this reason, it obscures the secret life whose feeble gleam traverses the contours of things like a play of light and shadow. Even the finest lens could not capture that. It must be sensed blindly…this automatic camera does not multiply the gaze of men; it only gives him, but in an infinitely simpler version, the gaze of a fly”. Of all the authors quoted, he is the only one who illustrates this blind eye.
When Lacan speaks of the imaginary, he speaks about another point, an indivisible point, that of the spatial unity of the body that cannot be in two points at the same time. This spatial unity can in no case be a, Lacan says. In one sentence he states what the image is about: “This means that, by the form i(a), my image, my presence in the Other leaves no remainder. I cannot see what I am losing there. That is the sense of the mirror stage”. This image contains the trap of the correct form whose illusory character is demonstrated, he says, by the apparition of a spot in the field of vision. And when he speaks of the constitution of the object a at the level of vision, apt to capture the lure of desire, he speaks of another mirror, not the one of the mirror stage, but of the mirror “inasmuch as it is that field of the A in which must appear, for the first time, if not the a, at least its place — in short, the radical buoyancy that takes us from the level of castration to the mirage of the object of desire”. If the seminar L’angoisse is not so much concerned with psychosis, these remarks of Lacan’s nevertheless find an echo in the clinical case exposed.
With respect to the eye, Lacan questions: “What turns its gaze on us? The white of the eye of the blind man, for example (…)”, and a bit further, “Think of the rake in La Dolce Vita, at the last phantomatic moment of the film; when he advances, jumping from one shadow to the other in the pine-tree woods where he makes his way, in order to end up on the beach, and he sees the inert eye of the sea-thing that the fishers are pulling out of the water. That is what gazes at us most, and what shows us how anxiety emerges into sight at the place of desire that a commands.” He adds: “It is also the virtue of the tattoo”, which can convoke desire.
The theme of this mark embroidered on the body makes the link with T., a young woman photographer who expected from analysis to be less anxious in face of the exams she had to pass for her degree in artistic studies. In difficulty since she was a child when she was confronted to oral exams, she was unaware of the language disorder that affected her: she rarely attributed to her adjectives the feminine marker. Her fear of being exhibited in public contrasted with the quality of her photographic and video works that displayed very beautiful bodies of women, always stained by a mark signaling the horror beyond esthetic perfection: a tear of blood running from the corner of the eye of one, from the nipple of another, from the belly or any other part of the body, or else lacerations that make of the skin a surface whose mending by an elaborate work of needlework and embroidery, with ribbons and buttons, is restituted in a series of images, the final image indelibly making the skin equivalent to a seamed garment.
T. has since birth a white spot on the iris of an eye, which is responsible for her certainty of having a fundamental fault and her frequent impression of being looked at askance.
Her constant problematic is the impossibility of approaching the body of the other or of letting herself be approached. When that did happen with one or two partners, she immediately felt reduced to being nothing but a body being used. This relation of service for the other organizes moreover her general mode of relations: she easily renders service, a position that is inevitably turned into its persecutive consequence: she is being used.
After obtaining her diploma, she continued photographing women, a work that is always remarkable, then she later turned to the fabrication of objects, vases, on whose surface she included feminine bodies taking the shape of the form of the vase.
Her most acute complaint is that she is often angry. Shouts and spurts of anger are the respective modes of exchange of her father and mother. Having for a long time thought she was angry in response to her paternal shouting, she afterwards took the measure of her identification with her mother by the trait of anger and the signification she had given to this up till then: her father was not faithful, he made her mother suffer. Recently she perceived that her mother, by her anger, had for a long timealienated her from this man. She associated to this a long-held activity of her mother’s: the defense of mistreated young women. Lacan considers anger as the sign that, for a subject, something is not in its place. For T., it is a question of the weakness, of the inferiority of women, inscribed on the body.
The tear of blood and the bodies cut into garments are productions that come to her from a childhood nightmare: she was watching her father quartering, tearing apart and opening the skin of her mother’s torso, and her mother putting back into place the flaps of skin as if she was adjusting a jacket after having mended it. T. thus brings into relief what feminine castration and the relation between women and men are for her.
The vases with feminine bodies are, according to her mother, a criticizable representation of the object-woman, the gaze of a man on a woman, while, for T., it is a question, as she says, “of introducing images into the objects”.
In a way, T. is herself gazed at by the white spot on her eye, and, in this reversal, she is looked at as a woman and so inferior. The Other returns this gaze.
Does the fact she produces objects mean forasmuch they can be qualified as transferable, even if they are objects that have to do with the object a.? All her work consists in making the image of femininity exist, castrated, a part cut off from her body under the form of the spot on her iris. There is no difference between the vision of her nightmare, and the images produced. T. inscribes in her photos the character of psychical suffering she has constructed out of the relation between the sexes, under the form of blood, of the cut, and the mending by sewing and embroidery that produces these beautiful images of femininity. It is not a question of producing beauty accompanied by suffering, which would be reproduced infinitely as in the Sadian fantasy. It is a question of the unveiled, non-metaphoric figuration of castration and of a reparation which embroiders it and embroiders it without ever being able to erase its traumatic presence. T. was not able to put her photos into circulation, despite the invitations to do so that she received. She surrendered to the vision of castration, the truth of her being, which passes outside her body, by the image. T. surrendered to the situation of the nightmare, preliminary to the cession of the object, as B. Lecoeur comments with reference to the Wolf Man.
What turns its gaze on the spectator is the tear of blood or the sewn up skin, which is the cutting of the body into different parts. Her difficulty in using the feminine in language does not make of her a man, nor does it convey a man’s gaze. It is outside her grasp. It has no signifying materialization. Her mother is right, in a way, to speak of an object-woman, but she does not grasp that it is a particular object that her daughter brings into existence by the image.
Like Zazie, she is suspicious of the encounter with semblance, but unlike Zazie who exacerbated the value of semblants, for her it is all true.If Lacan situates, as the point zero of a in his construction of the object and of desire, the scopic level as apt to furnish a representation in the fantasy, T. has been inhabited for a long time by the real of feminine castration. Between shouts and anger, words are lacking, in particular those that analysis will reveal in the form of a signifier to which it is impossible to give existence in the exchange, which would say what she is for the Other: the word “compliment”. She receives none, she cannot formulate any. And yet she knows what she is for the Other, even though she sometimes thinks herself quite beautiful: an imperfect form that the Other uses, the reflection of the white of her eye.
T. illustrates, upside down,since with her it is not a question of a mirage, what Lacan formulates thus: “At the scopic stage, which is properly that of the fantasy, we have to do with the power in the A, which is the mirage of human desire. In this major form of all possession, contemplative possession, the subject is condemned not to recognize that it is only a question of a mirage of power”. But the power is really in the Other for T., and it is not for this psychotic subject a matter of bringing into function the object gaze in the field of the Other, but of a real representation of the cutting of the body.
She has her object in her pocket, as Lacan was able to develop in his “Petit discours aux psychiatres de Sainte Anne”, in which, indicating to the audience that the freedom of the madman provoked anxiety in the other, he says: “…the free men, the really free men, are precisely madmen. There is no demand for a little a, his little a, he has it in hand, it is what he calls his voices, for example (…). He does not adhere to the place of the Other by the object a, he has the object a at his disposal. The madman is truly a free being. The madman, in this sense, is, in a way, this being of irreality, this absurd thing, absurd…moreover magnificent just as everything that is absurd. The God of philosophers was called “causa sui”, the cause of himself, we can say for the madman that he has his cause in his pocket, that is why he is mad (…).”
It is the vase she now girds with women’s bodies. Another version, pacified, because the blood in no longer there, but the seams and the embroidery are. She now wants to transmit her vision of the feminine body, her gaze, to the public, to sell it, to make of it a transferable object, in the sense of surrendering it, after having for a long time surrendered to it. Putting the image in the objects, as she says.
If Lacan could say that “the desire attached to the image is a function of some cut in the field of the eye”, this remark, which is applied, in the seminar, to the constitution of the object and of desire at the scopic level, finds another echo for T., in which a double cut can be grasped, both on the eye and in the field of vision where the image of castration was represented. Only, desire, beyond her desire to repeat in a way the same image, leaves place for the jouissance of impotence. Lacan says, in addition: “If what is more myself is in the exterior, not so much because I projected it as because it was cut off from me, the paths I will take to recuperate it offer a much greater variety”, — other than the projection in the mirror —, or: “The function of the transferable object as a separable piece vehicles primitively something of the identity of the body, an antecedent of the body itself as for the constitution of the subject”.
She has her object in her pocket in order to reproduce the part that concerns the identity of her body. She does not recuperate the lost part. The embroidery does not veil it. The feminine gender is almost foreclosed from her language, and the real of the castration of the woman constantly recurs in her art.
With reference to the transferable objects that replace the natural objects a, forged on the stockage, the placing in reserve, in order to have such or such an object pass into the commercial circuit, Lacan speaks of mechanical objects, of any object encountered, “which can be equivalents of natural objects”. Marcel Duchamp has eminently made art works out of mechanical objects. We shall make a detour by Duchamp. He made explicit his heed to making the physical, the body, disappear in his representations, while replacing it by evocative titles. With him no more physical bodies in art. Modern times replace the body, and the machines of Duchamp ironize on what can remain of them. The body can be represented by anything whatsoever. A girl in a piece of perforated carton, for example, with Duchamp. “Dada was the extreme point of the protest against the physical aspect of painting”. “It was a metaphysical attitude (…) Dada’s force of vacuity was very salutary. Dada tells you, ‘Don’t forget that you are not as empty as you think!’ To be free from guidelines, even modern, the artist must invent..” Duchamp took his inspiration from poets to be a painter. Duchamp, as a child, already wanted, it seemed, to give existence to the gaze detached from the body, he who later had so great esteem for Picabia, the inventor of L’oeil cacodylate with multiple signatures. One detail, that nothing permits us to interpret without the support of the artist, in a photo of the Duchamp family published in a recent biography, is surprising for what it shows of Marcel’s attitude, deliberately turning his profile to the photographer in this conventional gathering. The fact that he could not replace a deceased elder sister for his mother, a woman always distant, and deaf in addition, is not enough to reveal the intention of the child, except not to do like everyone else. His gaze is not there. But obligatorily, the spectator’s gaze falls on him, when all the others are facing the camera, and are practically not seen. We are gazed at by this absent gaze. It is awesome.
Duchamp invented, by making a clean sweep of conventional representation, even the most innovative, like that of Matisse, who, despite the new form, remains within the simple representation of the body. His transferable objects were fundamentally referred to the fragments of body, projections of the body that he owes to Fernand Léger, and to poetry (His inspiration comes above all from Brisset and Roussel) in order to cut with the usual sense and give a fragmented and poetic form to the body. He was able to clarify the distance between the intention of the artist and the realization of a work, “a difference the artist is in no way conscious of”. He names this distance “the coefficient of art”: “In fact, a link is missing in the chain of reactions that accompany the act of creation; this cut that represents the impossibility for the artist to completely express his intention, this difference between what he had planned to realize and what he has realized is the personal ‘coefficient of art’ contained in the work. In other terms, the personal ‘coefficient of art’ is like an arithmetic relation between ‘what is unexpressed but was planned’ and ‘what is expressed unintentionally’”
This cut indicates a part that is not taken into the representation, which is nevertheless there but will take an unpredictable form.
In “La causalité physique”, Lacan, with respect to the mirror, says, and this statement resonates with that of Duchamp, that man is “much more than his body, while not capable of knowing anything more about his being”. T. seems on the contrary to be the equivalent of her chipped body and her feminine being. Duchamp’s “Coefficient of art” seems to be absent in T. who circulates between vision and photo on the same line, which does not prevent her productions from casting their gaze on the spectators to whom she has begun proposing her objects.
Translated by Thelma Sowley

J.-A. Miller, “Les objets a dans l’expérience analytique”, La lettre mensuelle n°252, November, 2006, and Les archives de la Lettre mensuelle, on the Internet site of the ECF.
J. Lacan, Le séminaire L’angoisse, Paris, Seuil, 2004, pp. 272-3
J ; Lacan, op. cit., p. 63.
J. Lacan, op. cit., p. 293.
T.N. The term “point” in French is also the general term for“stitch”, both in sewing and embroidery. The text plays on this équivoque.
T.N. “Each one works at embroidering everything/ The orator embroiders his speech/ The warrior embroiders a battle/ The merchant embroiders his memoir/ The lawyer embroiders an argument/ Embroidering well is a great talen/ And all is embroidered including history ».
G. Wacjman, « Il n’y a d’œuvre d’art que critique », Le Diable probablement, review, n°1, Autumn/Winter 2006, p. 63.
See L’histoire du corps, edited by A. Corbin, J.-J. Courtine, G. Vigarello, Paris, Seuil, 2005, 3 volumes, an instructive work from which Lacan is absent in innumerable references…
S. Sontag, Sur la photographie, Paris, Seuil, 1979 .
J. Lacan, op.cit., p. 292.
J. Lacan, op. cit., p. 264.
J. Lacan, op. cit., p. 293.
J. Lacan, Le séminaire L’éthique de la psychanalyse, Paris, Seuil, 1986, p. 304.
B. Lecoeur, « Le moment de cession de l’objet et l’angoisse », Quarto n°86, avril 2006.
J. Lacan, op. cit., p. 338.
J. Lacan, « Petit discours aux psychiatres de Sainte Anne », lecture given November 10, 1967 in the Cercle d’Études psychiatriques, created under the authority of Docteur H. Ey.
J. Lacan, op. cit., p. 265.
J. Lacan, op. cit., p. 258.
J. Lacan, op. cit., p. 363.
M. Duchamp, Duchamp du signe, Champs Flammarion, 1994, p. 173.
J. Housez, Marcel Duchamp, Biographie, Paris, Grasset, 2006.
M . Duchamp, op. cit., p. 189.
J. Lacan, « La causalité psychique », Écrits, Paris, Seuil, 1966, p. 188.

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