epistemophilia networked


Earl Jackson,


and Group




136 and

Jackson, Jr

[Note: „Group 136“ is the collective
name for the participants in the „Hysteria
and Paranoia“
seminar I conducted in the Spring of 1995. It was an
extraordinary group, and many of our
and wonderings aloud together were conducted through
email, all of which I have archived, and which, with the permission of
the persons in question, I have collated, edited, and annotated. Keeping
in mind the theme of desire, I came up with what you will find below –
not so much a singular or unified text as an arrangement
– an arrangement analogous both to the sense in which Ikebana
is an arrangement of flowers and to the sense in which an orchestration
is an arrangement of musics. Earl
Jackson, Jr.

Message #1

From: Bo Kinloch

To: Someone

Re: Reality, etc.

CC: Earl Jackson, Jr./Group 136

Hi, Someone.

ÝÝÝ When I opened the novel, the very first page jumped
to my attention: there is a quotation from Wittgenstein:“The best that
I could write would never be more than philosophical remarks; my thoughts
were soon crippled if I tried to force them on in any single direction
against their natural inclination. –And this was, of course, connected
with the very nature of investigation. For this compels us to travel
over a wide field of thought criss-cross in every direction.“

I have been interested in the notion of investigation
ever since last quarter with Troy Boone. I was working on a paper on Robert
Aldrich’s film version of Mickey Spillane’s Kiss Me, Deadly which
is a typical noir/crime investigation. . .to a point! My own investigations
into this text led to different views on reality and its construction/formation.
I believe some of your questions revert to epistemological concerns: How
does one know/detect reality– and particularly how do you discern reality
in its representation in science fiction – or in any fiction for that matter?

One of my „conclusions“ (which is a rather inappropriate
word for a work Kiss Me, Deadly which seems to frustrate conclusions)
is that reality is based in DESIRE. In her introduction to Lacan’s
Feminine Sexuality , Juliette Mitchell writes:“Lacan uses these
instances to show that the object longed for  (the mother,  her
milk, her breast, etc.) [take for instance, our cases, the resolution of
a crime–or a novel] — only comes into existence as an object when 
it is lost to the baby or infant. Thus any satisfaction that might 
subsequently be obtained will always contain this loss in it. Lacan 
refers to this dimension as ‚desire.'“



This means, to me, that reality–the objects in it, etc.,
cannnot be recognized (or investigated) without the a priori condition
of desire/loss. Anyway, what I really wanted to say was, that last quarter,
somewhere on Laurel St. across from Foster’s Freeze, when working on this
paper on Kiss Me, Deadly, and Barthes, Lacan, etc., that I came
up with this sentence which still intrigues me, though I’m not sure what
it means:

„Desire shapes reality, and reality is intertextual (travelling
over a ‚thought  criss-cross in every direction‘?)“. I had to grab
my notebook/paper at a red light and write that down–though this is the
first time anyone’s seen it.

When I was at art school (many years ago–CCAC), I had
a painting class wherein the professor said that when you are painting
something–something you can see, that is, not abstract–you let the light
shape the dark. What he meant was that you begin your painting with large,
amorphous dark blobs and gradually work towards lighter and lighter hues,
with smaller brushes, etc. The dark space is formed by the lighter highlights.
Figure and ground. Desire is one of those highlights that brings objects
out from the background–makes them „recognizable.“ So what do you think?
I’m afraid I haven’t really addressed your concerns exactly, but something
about your message intrigued me.Barthes: „The text is a fetish object and
this fetish desires me. The text chooses me, by a whole disposition of
invisible screens, selective baffles: vocabulary, references, readability,
etc.; and lost in the midst of the text (not behind it, like a deus
ex machina
) there is always the other, the author.“

To part 2