Neither subject nor object



“There looms, within abjection, one of those violent, dark revolts of being, directed against a threat that seems to emanate from an exorbitant outside or inside, ejected beyond the scope of the possible, the tolerable, the thinkable. It lies there, quite close, but it cannot be assimilated. It beseeches, worries, and fascinates desire, which nevertheless, does not let itself be seduced. Apprehensive, desire turns aside; sickened, it rejects. A certainty protects it from the shameful – a certainty of which it is proud holds on to it. But simultaneously, just the same, that impetus, that spasm, that leap is drawn toward an elsewhere as tempting as it is condemned. Unflaggingly, like an inescapable boomerang, a vortex of summons and repulsion places the one haunted by it literally beside himself.”  

— Julia Kristeva, Powers of Horror


7 thoughts on “Neither subject nor object

  1. This would be an awesome ds106 animated GUF assignment. Create an animated GIF to illustrate a passage from your favorite post-structuralist theorist 🙂 I have in mind for Foucault, so hold tight 🙂

    As to Kristeva quote, brilliant, as is the GIF, and that “threat that seems to emanate from an exorbitant outside or inside” is brilliant, and sums up your last post perfectly. “What fresh hell is this?”

  2. Really, really like the combination of quote and GIF here. Not only b/c I did a lot of work on Kristeva in grad school and kinda miss it, but also because it helps me see the power of the GIF. I’m new to all that, and just couldn’t see why I should put the time into learning how to make a GIF. Your post moved me along past that, so thank you.

  3. Yip – there is smoothness to the GIF’s animation that make it both hypnotic and unsettling at the same time. Skipped some Saturday afternoon beers to do some work and now also motivated to develop some GIF/ quote action. Have been dipping in and out of Andre Bazin’s essays on ‘What is cinema?’ including ‘The Ontology of the Photographic Image’ but already thinking of one of his points about Chaplin that is just calling out for a GIF to accompany it.

  4. Jim – I happened to read Kristeva’s *Power’s of Horror” and was struck by the many powerful passages on the concept of abjection. I was thinking of making this a series of semi-regular excerpts, but maybe I should leave it as a nice singular snap…

    Christina – there’s so much to learn, the GIF is just one path. And as I’ve said a few times lately, there’s something about the animated GIF that defies analysis – it’s a bit like explaining a joke. Or trying to communicate music using only words. I will say, even the little bit of time I put into learning the basics of GIF-making was very well spent. A lot of collateral learning in terms of how video and images work online, and it promotes a detail-oriented way of seeing that has you looking at video in novel ways.

    Colin – I love what you came up with:

Leave a Reply