Posted by on Sep 29, 2016 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

My PhD topic !  I hope will be finished March 2016. Here are a few thoughts in process.

Syncope, the small death, the interval – represented as the porous wall, standing between self and world, suggests a removal of the conscious self and a liminal positioning of consciousness beyond the body.

sarah-bernhardt-1844-1923

Sarah Bernhardt, French actress (1844 -1923)

Grosz articulates her focus on the body as:

…a social object, as a text to be marked, traced written upon by various regimes of the institutional (discursive and nondiscursive) power, as a series of linkages (or possibly activities) which form superficial or provisional connections with other objects and processes, and as a receptive surface on which the body’s boundaries and various parts or zones are constituted…(Grosz 1994:116).

Now more than ever seems it rich to die,

To cease upon the midnight with no pain,

While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad

In such an ecstasy!  (Keats)

Death, love and desire fuse easily in Keat’s poetry and these aspects appear often in tandem throughout literature of the West; why is death associated with love and desire and why do images of people in ecstasy, hysteria, trance, rapture or syncope appear so attractive to us?

mary-magdalene-cagnacci

Guido Cagnacci, Maria Magdalene, 1663

Cagnacci’s painting (above) of Mary Magdalene depicts a half nude woman seemingly holding a skull in her left hand and a metal ‘cat of nine tails’ or similar flagellation instrument in her right. The fact that her left hand is still able to hold the skull suggests she is still partly conscious although her head flung back and her facial expression suggest her consciousness is elsewhere. This figure could be seen as unconscious, in rapture, in grief or in divine ecstasy communing with her lord; regardless of the final determination this is a mediatized syncopeic image, constructed for viewing by the public and depicting a moment of syncope in the figure of Mary Magdalene. This image in particular, has the figure’s head so far back it is nearly dropping off her shoulders, as though she is ‘losing her head’ in her grief or ecstasy.