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J E P - Number 28 - 2009

Avatar: An Exercise in Politically-Correct Ideology
Slavoj Žižek

Keywords: Avatar – Aborigins – Hyper-Reality – Le dupe de
son fantasm – Formation of the Couple – Naxalite Rebellion

Summary: Avatar combines the hyper-reality of a fantasmic
“natural” life on a distant planet with the ordinary reality of
military, imperialist neocolonism. The film reproduces several
Hollywood genres: history is the stage for the Oedipal narrative
of the production of the couple; a full thrust in a digitally
enhanced fantasy is enacted; the white man marries the princess
of the aborigins and becomes their leader. Rather than changing
reality, the filmic fantasy supports existing power, in contrast to
contemporary revolution movements, such as the Maoist Naxalite
campaign in India on behalf of tribal peoples.


Avatars of Otherness
Sergio Benvenuto

Keywords: J. Cameron’s Avatar – N. Blomkamp’s District 9 –
Wall-E – Love for the Machine – Derrida’s arrivance

Summary: The author examines some recent sci-fi films – J.
Cameron’s Avatar, N. Blomkamp’s District 9, the animated
film Wall-E – insofar as they evoke how the dominant
(American) mass culture of today thematizes our relation with
the Other. Here, while the Other takes the form of “good”
extra-terrestrials, it also picks up on the Western movies’
tradition, where the Other was usually the Red Indians. In
Wall-E otherness is thematized as robotic, thus illustrating a
new type of relationship between humans and machines,
according to the leading conceptions of today. Through these
movies, American mass culture sends the world the universalistic
message by which every otherness is repossessed. The idea is
that, basically, the Other is never really alien, but always someone
I could or will be. But this repossessing colonization of the
Other misses the real otherness of the Other. The whole
Rousseauian and liberal elegy of the repossession of the
Other through the cinema is an effort to free us from the
horror of this alien “who or which is coming”, what Derrida
called “l’arrivance”.

The Gaze on the Real:
Marco Bechis’s Political Poetics1
Cristiana Cimino

Keywords: Marco Bechis – Film Made in a Political
Way – the Real – Degree Zero

Summary: The author examines some features of the work of
the Italo-Chilean film director Marco Bechis, in their relation
to the Real. His peculiar talent for grasping and expressing the
Real – antithetical to any form of spectacularization – makes
use of a cinematographic language that could be regarded as a
‘degree zero’ of fiction.

The Analysis of the Real
Uri Hadar

Keywords: Lacan – the Real – Matheme – Irrational Numbers –
Anxiety – Desire

Summary: The notion of the Real in Lacan is often very
confusing, joining together the most intuitive and the most
elusive characteristics. The paper offers to untie the knot of the
Real by comparing it to irrational numbers. Like the Real,
irrational numbers defy traditional notions. They are many and
appear everywhere. Indeed, without them there is no continuity
at all, anywhere in the numerical axis. Yet, there are two
strategies of approximating irrational numbers, one by infinite
series of rational numbers and one by cutting the real continuum.
These strategies represent the manner in which the Real is
approximated by Symbolic and Imaginary means respectively.
As with the irrational numbers – e.g., Pi and Ln – we can give
names to the places that mark the Real. These are the objet
petit ‘a’. Their main characteristic is that, despite being clearly
‘not it’, they generate powerful affects, much like irrational
numbers. Some consequences of the mathematical metaphor are
illustrated in clinical vignettes.

Lacan, Subject, Object
Antonello Sciacchitano

Keywords: Subject – Object – Unconscious – Desire

Summary: A brief reconstruction of Lacan’s intellectual path in
psychoanalysis. After an early phase, predominantly philosophical
and centering on the problem of the subject of the unconscious,
there followed a later one, potentially scientific, centered on the
nature of the object of desire.

JEP --> HOME PAGE --> Number 28