What Is Visible When Acting? Acting-Out, Passage à l’Acte and the Dialectics of the Gaze in Phenomenology and Psychoanalytic Theory
Keywords:act, desire, gaze, objectify, the Other, presence without assignable present, the Real, (in)visible.
The paper approaches acting from a phenomenological and psychoanalytic point of view. It sheds light on the intrinsic (i.e., invisible) resorts involved when someone is playing a role – or, better yet, assumes a role. In order to make these mechanisms visible, the paper relies on the premise that acting always involves an act. Using the Lacanian theory of acts, I demonstrate that there is a real process taking place when assuming a role, namely when the subject needs to objectify himself. This process can be traced back as far as the “time” of a pre-existent gaze. The aim of the paper is to substantiate the idea that it is necessary for the gaze to enter a dialectics in order for the subject to find its objective place. For illustration, two works of art are used: the performance The Artist is Present by Marina Abramovićand the movie A Woman Under the Influence by John Cassavetes.
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