Abjection and Representation: An Exploration of Abjection in by Rina Arya (auth.)

By Rina Arya (auth.)

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Extra info for Abjection and Representation: An Exploration of Abjection in the Visual Arts, Film and Literature

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Elaine Scarry comments on the annihilating effect of physical pain which ‘does not simply resist language but actively destroys it, bringing about an immediate reversion to a state anterior to language, to the sounds and cries a human being makes before language is learned’ (Scarry, 1985, p. 4). Kristeva maintains that the two modes are not static and discontinuous entities, but are processes that are integral to the full range of human communication. They should be viewed as two elements or components of signification that interact throughout the course of life: the semiotic provides the impetus to communicate, and the symbolic structures the utterance.

No, as in true theater, without makeup or masks, refuse and corpses show me what I permanently thrust aside in order to live. (Kristeva, 1982, p. 3) In the two forms of representation that Kristeva presents, one denotes the presentation of an intermediary in order to signify the representation while in the other there is no intermediary but the thing itself. These are given concrete manifestations. When faced with the abyssal fear of death as present in the corpse, we can bear a signifier that indicates the absence of life, as is present in the flat encephalograph.

4). This example conveys what the abject does to the subject– object positions that govern our thinking and way of ordering the world: Neither subject nor object, the abject makes clear the impossible and untenable identity of each. If the object secures the subject in a more or less stable position, the abject signals the fading or disappearance, the absolute mortality and vulnerability of the subject’s relation to and dependence on the object. (Grosz, 1992, pp. 197–198)11 The threat it poses to the self as a conscious being means that we are unable to objectify it, as we could an object.

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