" "

Luhmann describes an art, indeed a society, of the observer; in "Media and Form," he points precisely to the dissolution of the subject/object paradigm (or hierarchy) as mark of the singular distinction borne by the observer. In my final paper, I plan to formulate the precise locus of this "observer" in Luhmann's thought, correlate this node with the bifurcated concept of the "abject" -- conditional vs. active -- articulated in Hal Foster's "Return of the Real," and, in turn, with the post-human "interface" problematic raised variously by Zizek and Hayles. To do so I will trace the play of the proto-media "light" and "time" (and accomplice: speed) from Luhman through Virilio and into Gilbert-Rolfe, along with the peculiar juncture of aleatory "chance" (Barthes' "punctum," Lacan's "Real" petit objet a) and post-traumatic "repetition" (beginning with Luhmann's own enigmatic take on memory as medium) arriving at the ethical and aesthetic potentialities of a "post-human" "author" as explored in Rosalind Krauss' "Art in the Post-Medium Condition," in Foster's essay, and, portentously, in Michael Fried's "Art and Objecthood." I will conclude by trying to assimilate a conception of a politically efficacious "abject" agent intensional with Baudrillard's silent masses ("The Masses"), and to articulate, in the process, an "ecphrastic" aesthetic attendant to these otherwise "frozen," "paned" "subjects." The essay will, in some sense, be a matter of reconciling diverse vantages -- forming the dreaded master narrative -- with the gambit of opening space for a new poignancy, the echo of light.

Working Bibliography

Zizek "Cyberspace" from Endless Night: Cinema and Psychoanalysis, Parallel Histories; The Sublime Object of Ideology

Virilio, The Aesthetics of Disappearance

Kevin Newmark, "Traumatic Poetry: Charles Baudelaire and the Shock of Laughter" from Trauma: Explorations in Memory, ed. Cathy Carruth

Murray Krieger, Ekphrasis

W. J. T Mitchell on "Robert Morris" and "Ekphrasis"

Barthes, Camera Lucida, "The Reality Effect," "Forms of Narrative Signification"

Lacan Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis; "The Mirror Stage" from Ecrits

Christophe Menke, Aesthetics of Deferral

Gilles Deleuze [on Francis Bacon]

Benjamin, On Some Motifs in Baudelaire