Archive for the ‘psychology (pleasure)’ Category

-Three quarks for Muster Mark!   Leave a comment



To get myself going for this one I watched a video (Letter from a jelly fish) made my new friend Stefania Saladino: a physicist-film maker. Apt for the “Three quarks” opening, no?

Anyway to the text (I did it in a oner tonight. I couldn’t stop myself: Well a oner plus a short postscript, actually).

Hummmm… to lead into this, I remember once deciding to shake up an A-level English Lit. class (the one where we had to discuss books we’d recently read and people invariably said, “I’ve not read anything”); by announcing, “I just read D H Lawrence’s Mr Noon. I nearly had an orgasm”.

Pleasure in language. If you want to go at this the theory way round, taking yourself out of the equation; you could quote criticism of Mansfield’s short story Bliss: such as Bennett and Royle’s essay “Pleasure”. This paper glosses Barthes’ “Text of pleasure” (+ Freud’s “Disavowal”; + Pater’s “moments like this”), thus:

“Above all, bliss (jouissance) has to do with the subversion of identity itself. As with the uncontrollable force of laughter or the moment of orgasm, the extreme pleasure of bliss involves a shattering of self, a (momentary) dissolution of identity. The subject is thus never anything but a “living contradiction”: a split subject, who simultaneously enjoys, the consistency of his selfhood and its collapse, its fall”*

Potentially this applies here, where Tristan and Iseult “voyage” together, and “The four masters spy on their love-making”, and I read it out loud, planning to listen again later… voy-earring.

Ok for the above. What I remain unsure of is the connection/ difference between reading silently, and reading aloud – when your fantasy, breath, and muscles are actively 1) subverting your identity, 2) generating pleasure by gasping and yelling the words Joyce wrote and 3) maintaining your sentient being. Perhaps mirror neurons are part of an answer here? Probably sponge-cloths can be used to pad such an argument as well. (I’m brewing a blog entry that connects: Sponge towels, sponge cloths, a review of the Geneva Comedie’s production of Elfride Jelinek’s Drames de Princesses, and Jane Bennett’s Vibrant Matter. Soon-ish).

Judging from the chapter subheadings in Part Three of Finnegans Wake, Joyce provides more opportunities to explore this text-voice conundrum during the next 150 pages anyway. And I’ve just started on Of Grammatology, which already seems to hit the spot.

Bennett, A., and Royle, N, “Pleasure”, in An introduction to Literature, Criticism and theory: Key Critical Concepts, Hemel Hempstead: Prentice Hall, 1995, pp 187-96)

“Sound and the haptic 2: a singing intestine”   Leave a comment

On October 28th, I posted about fart sounds on page 177.31 -177.33 of Finnegans Wake.

Well wouldn’t you just know, surfing around on Yvon Bonenfant’s website just now (Yvon is friend and vocal artist who I already posted about today) I found an article of his titled: Sound, touch, the felt body and emotion: Toward a haptic art of voice.

In the section “sound and the haptic 2: a singing intestine” he writes:

“At a certain point in my life I decided to become a client in body psychotherapy… After a couple of years trying out one technique, I moved cities, and heard about this strange new psychotherapy technique that somehow involved electronically amplifying the intestines. I decided to try it … I had had intestinal irritation in my teens and thought, well, what the hell. The first experience of hearing my intestines was astonishing, indeed delightful. I had been involved in avant-garde improvisation training in music, searching for spontaneity in sound, and here it was: ringing in my own belly. An intestine filled with orchestras of sound. An amplified stethoscope head captured the sound and broadcast it over speakers. But most intriguingly, these sounds had appeared and increased due to a special kind of touch being used on my body by the practitioner. The touch was called biodynamic massage3, but it was completely unlike any other ‘massage’ I had heard of or tried. It was ultra-light, practiced overtop of clothing on unthreatening parts of the body (the top of the head, around the eyebrows, the fingertips, the toes) and the touch qualities used were butterfly-like: delicate, precise, rhythmic, patterned, almost like brushing gently against the most superficial layers of the skin rather than ‘rubbing’ or ‘kneading’ it. It was a practice of interaction with the most superficial layers of dermal membrane. The more the touch was used, the more sound my intestines made. I fell into a sort of dream state, seeing images, feeling things come together, and I talked about them.”

Later Yvon cites the work of the French psychoanalyst Didier Anzieu, to propose that:

“Voice is not only a haptic stimulus, soliciting our engagement and active reaction; Anzieu’s theories mean that engaging with the body through vocal art also targets our very ability to engage with others in the development of a space of vocal exchange that interacts with and stimulates our skin, helping reinforce our identity, and that resonates backwards to our earliest experiences of vulnerability and relationship. This means that the touch of voice – like the touch of skin – is a touch that moves beyond the present to stimulate unconscious notions about how we learned about relationship.”

My goodness, and Finnegans Wake is so, so voiced!

“Bonenfant singing onto and touching silk  during Soie soyeuse”

Photo: Caroline Mercier, Galerie Talmart,  Paris 2008

Posted November 5, 2010 by R.H.H. Nisbet in psychology (pleasure), sound art