Notes on Ettinger, B. 2007.  EGS video

[Seems to be another feminist way to escape Lacan on the essentially phallic nature of the symbolic by discovering some presymbolic level of communication, which, happily, is feminine. Badly in need of a good reading of Mead on symbolic interaction (partial subjects = roles , com/passion and wit(h)nessing = taking the role of the other, emergence mutual intersubjectivity = Peirce’s thirdness). OK SI at the symbolic level but not necessarily the explicit. Both camps assume nice friendly encounters like looking at paitings or doing psychoanalysis, where the only point is to try to really understand the other. Both also privilege face to face communication as ‘authentic’?]

The lecture is about the matrixial as a dimension where the subsubjective as in Deleuze and Guattari meets the transubjective.  This dimension exceeds the boundaries of the conventional subject and is multidimensional with many coordinations [coordinates?].  It is not just the intersubjective realm.  It is a transgressive encounter between the ‘I’ and an ‘uncognised yet intimate non – I’.  The non I here is the partial subject or partial object.  It is transgressive because it exceeds the normal identity.  It is not grasped cognitively necessarily.  It offers a potential poiesis in the sense of an emergent quality, classically, in Varela, operating within a closed system.  This notion influenced Guattari as well.  She insists it must be copoiesis in the matrixial, webs of transconnectivity between individuals which can take an aesthetic or an ethical dimension, the latter referring to issues of responsibility, compassion and care.  She wants to move beyond the psychoanalytic notion of human passions directed towards objects, and focus on links to the other subject.  This helps the developer language of border links, border spaces, strings and threads.  It is a matter of operating at the phantasmic level to develop imaginative links between the I and the non I.  None of this actually need to get fixed as a matter of mental objects.

The talk of unconscious transmission because the copoietic is not verbal, not intentional and not a matter of intersubjective relations.  In aesthetic terms we’re talking about how the artist transforms the encounter event into a matrixial screen and gaze (these are Lacanian terms, where the screen is the scene of fantasy involving negotiating fantastic relations with others, and the gaze is a matter of desiring to be looked at by others, one of the relations to be negotiated: this is the basic source of lack).

The matrixial is already a matter of presence and absence rather than lack.  Matrixial relations leave mental traces inscribed in the self and others, and may be a source of transgenerational memory, or the power of art to allude to wider experience beyond the subjective [the social!].  It involves a com/passionate hospitality and fascinance, matters relating to ethics and aesthetics respectively.  We can trace out the link with hospitality by thinking of the origin of the term matrix to mean womb.  In both metaphorical and real wombs, we see the origins of the subject drawing upon the capacity of the female body to create beginnings, elemental I and non I relationships which are prelinguistic.  It is a matter of phantasms again.  The matrixial is a development outside this mother-baby link involving the general sharing of different levels, a general psychic capacity which persists among us outside the womb.  It is not sensible or provable, and the state is vulnerable to the inroads of adult subjectivity such as that based on the phallic system.  It is a capacity for men as well as women.

So encounter -events are like pregnancies, they involve a sharing stripped of the usual defensive subject tactics.  It is better understood as involving a partial subjectivity—I as a partial subject meets a non I, who meets another non I and so on.  Such meetings develop their own partial ‘resonance field’ located in other fields of resonance.  However, this does not lead to the endless fragmentation or multiplicity as in Deleuze and Guattari.  These are limited fields generated around intimate encounters [sounds like the old privilege of the face to face again—can you have them online?].  They are meetings with/in the other, with each layering revealing several clusters.  We are describing the whole of time space of the intimate.  It is inherently several and transgressive [going beyond individuals]. It is limited to the several rather than to the infinite.  It is not a multiplicity, nor is it the endless duplication of the one.

The encounter is not symbiotic in the classic sense, as in the encounter of two people where a third one is required to separate and regulate, as in Oedipus: these involve some relation between the two parties as in castration.  Matrixial sharing is already differentiated.  If there are three parties, this does not automatically recreate a hierarchy [she clings to the idealist and the nicest throughout—this may be so for philosophically defined encounters, but what about real ones?] Similarly, com/passion, which she prefers to empathy creates differences without hierarchies.  There is no lack. Unlike Kristeva, pregnancy is not likened to psychosis but is much nicer.  The third person also co-emerges as an I or non I [every normal word has to have a co or a / or a bracket in it?] [This also looks remarkably like thirdness in Peirce] in the encounter—event.

Knowledge of each other is gained at the sub symbolic level, not yet cognised.  It is the relation between partial subjects via erotic borderlinking, a force of life which unites.  Eros is normally associated with the sexual body and libidinal energy, but borderlinking assumes a feminine eroticness [by definition really—all this is painfully elaborated tautology].  It is empathic, intuitive, erotic investment through sharing of fields of resonance and influence, as in Deleuze—there are shared wavelengths transmitted by the mind [actually the brain for Deleuze].  These take the form of phantasmatic streams.

In the encounter – event, the I and non I can leave psychic traces in each other, as crossprinting.  These transform the shared sphere is something beyond the limits of individual bodies.  We feel waves and vibrations affecting others.  Sharing like this needs some relinquishing of self, becoming fragile, an awareness of joining.  This can be good or bad, and people can be hurt.  However, it is usually therapeutic [she assumes— it is if the neurotic or psychotic parties are cut off from alterity as in Guattari].  The parties inspire each other, and the result is a single shared transsubjectivity, influenced by these earlier traces.  This is mutual subjectivism, copoiesis in a shared web [as if elaborating the bullshit makes itself referential and watertight—she apologizes for this obscure poetic language, but says there is no alternative—well straightforward speech would be useful, but not as glamorous or important?].  It is a fluid severality, but also a stable one over time.  It involves mutual attunement as in pregnancy.

The problem for psychoanalysis has always been to explain sharing [they ought to have read a bit of symbolic interactionism].  The matrixial solves this problem.  For example an artist cannot but share and witness the other.  There is a guaranteed sharing [among those with shared tastes].  This can be denied, but this would be irresponsible.  Relationships can also be abandoned which can be traumatic [I had a sudden image of Spock having to break off the mind meld with aliens and reeling about in pain]. 

There is wit(h)nessing, describing how we become a partial subject of a larger subjectivity.  Artists embrace the fragility which ensues, and enjoy mutual vibration [sorry, Freudian slip there].  These take the shape of virtual and real strings.  The idea of the virtual comes from Deleuze and the notion of object X.  An artist she likes—Eva Hesse?—Illustrates with her drawings.  The virtual is real as in Deleuze.

[Then more rephrasing—sensitivities are reattuned, crossprints cross inspire beyond personal subjectivities].  Vibrations produce shareable threads—she uses the term string to refer to real vibrations, threads as traces of those vibrations in the imaginary or symbolic.  Traces are brought to the surface and discussed only in the matrix.  This limits the infinite multiplicity.  It can offer a form of resistance since it also precedes ‘organised society’: the matrix is beyond conventional laws [especially Lacanian ones].  It should not be seen as negativity, just as difference.  It is not a move in the phallic game [she hopes—it’s really another take on the idea of authentic communication or artistic communication as its major representative].

The matrix combines the erotic and the transgressive in the same space. Participants become partial because of their reattunement [that is they discover their former self is inadequate].  The matrix is the location of affects such as com/passion.  This is a primary affect, involving a sensitive apprehension before the linguistic stage.  It is to be imagined.  This is unlike Freud and Kristeva who say that the first relation with the other is one of hate or lack or abjection [so does Ettinger have any clinical evidence to match Freud’s?].  Com/passion is not always pleasurable, however as in the Biblical example of Isaac and Abraham who had no empathy, no need to forgive each other, but shared com/passion.  This can be misused [in what circumstances?]

So there are affective liminal vibrations in a virtual field and traces of them accumulate in threads.  This performs a transformation into some continuity, producing a psyche of the other.  Only at certain levels and moments, though.  This form is important in art, and explains why it transforms us [!], and also appears in psychoanalysis in the form of matrixial transference.  This is what is going on at some levels when we care for others.  The latter is particularly useful in sharing responsibility between patient and therapists [all in Guattari] for generating inspiring moments.  This example shows that even though there is reciprocity, there are still differences and responsibilities.

Psychoanalysis these days is already intersubjective and dialogic, and the concept of the matrix helps us to understand these interventions which is shared and co-emergent.  The focus is on the present not just about recapturing memories.

The threads and strings participate in other worlds through border linking.  Together these processes form metramorphosis.  This includes all the stuff about co-emergent and copoiesis at the virtual and actual levels.  This too alludes to the feminine.

Given that all of us borderlink to the female body when we are the foetuses, sexual difference should not be defined in terms of conventional male-female splits but in terms of matrixial femaleness and maleness.  This involves different ways of border linking to the same or different bodies, female to female, or female to male.  This was discussed further with Massumi and Pollock.  The idea again is to developed the notion of the femininity before and beyond the question of genders.  It also has implications for the work of Levinas.

The matrix is a symbol and an image, it produces transgressive developments of partial subjectivity, and features a specific eros.  There is mutual but not symmetrical exchanges of subjectivation, and a potential for co creativity.  This can also involve trauma—set to become artistic in a way of which we are not always aware, we need specific intentions and erotic extensions, to develop artistic or analytical generosity.  So there is this a residual ethical dilemma especially in psychoanalysis.  We need to develop compassion and generosity, to develop from the aesthetic to ethical sensibility.

The matrix has its own time zones as well as its own spaces.  It features hybrid objects and links [haecceities?], but these should not be confused with the objects in psychoanalysis.  Links represent the ‘conductable capacity of our minds’.  Ettinger prefers the term psyche to cover all the links and traces, including traumatic events and jouissances.  As an aside, trauma and psychoanalysis has a general connotation to cover any real event which exceeds the imaginary or symbolic tools of the subject, not just nasty ones.  Such events are usually grasped in phantasy as a first step, so phantasy is primary (in history) and immediate (describing what goes on in present encounters).

[Some rather long winded questions compliments and answers ensued, I had a quick look and it seemed to be mostly repetition of the lecture]

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