Fantasising With ClĂŠrambault, Pitt Rivers, Superman and I
Fantasising With ClĂŠrambault, Pitt Rivers, Superman and I Mathilda Oosthuizen
Contents Introduction Forward
Chapter 1- Dreamworlds and Aching Feet
Dreamy Tomatoes Dream Book
Chapter 2- Object Desire
Luxury- I Want More Pitt Riversâ€™ Books Obsessive Veil Cataloguing and Collecting Desire
26 29 31
Chapter 3- Cogs
A Barren Mind Palace of Chaos Dream Boundaries Taking Advantage
Chapter 4- Possessing Paradise Lure Shopping with Pitt Rivers Mother
38 40 41
45 47 51
Chapter 5- A Strange Familiar
The Goddesses’ Bed Gum Tree Drawers Clérambault and Rivers Fulfil Their Desires Father
Chapter 6- Fantasy, Fantasising, Fantasist
Crisis- Superman to the Rescue Bed
Chapter 7- It’s there in Everything
Lover It’s there in Everything
60 62 65
Chapter 8- Things and Places
The Home Alexandra Palace
Chapter 9- Pornography, Clérambault and Superman 100
Stolen Thrills Lois and Clark P.P.D.
Chapter 10- In and Out of Fantasy
Erotomania Fantastical Layers Wish Magical Chairs Reality Mutation
116 120 121 123
What started as an investigation into three historical characters soon began to suck up other nuts and bolts from the infrastructure of my everyday life and past memories. And thus, the two now stand hand in hand. As often happens the end result is far from the starting point. There should be no other way I suppose. It was fantasies, my own, preferring the unrealistic world they created to what was waiting for me when I opened my eyes. What was their purpose in the Human brain? These two combined resulted in the beginning of this conglomeration. I have tried to rein in the ramblings and avoid too many side streets but this has inevitability failed and now it seems the entirety comprises of tributaries. Layers should be worshipped. In Forster Wallaceâ€™s Infinite Jest layers are exploited but not in the same way as on April 22nd 5:02pm in Dr Who (series six,
episode thirteen) when layers of time become interwoven. Linear has taken our attention, a journey that goes on and on in one direction. With layers things get a little tricky. Not all is ever revealed: you are not given the name but rather you ask a friend, who asks a friend, who asks a friend. Discoveries and revelations, bizarre connections ensued. An 18th century collector, a 17th century psychiatrist, a comic book hero all joined stories, facts and rumours, rubbed alongside each other to open up the rift of fantasy. Along the way as my own relation to dreams, dreaming and reality shifted and swayed so did the subjects I wrote about. Throughout the book the validity of dreams and dreaming is questioned. Imagination and creativity put to the test- why do we do these things? What is their purpose?
There was a secondary leg, other than fantasy which held up the origin of this â€˜bookâ€™. Having read a minimal amount of Bloch it invariably stuck in my mind and has subsequently bled into writing without my control or realisation. I should correct myself; it is not a secondary leg but a hand. These two elements go hand in hand they are a part of each other. Hope is a part of fantasy in my deductions. Fantasy does not form without hope. At first there seems to be no connection. You have connected them, so, therefore, they are connected. You may be daydreaming about one thing and suddenly the name of that song reveals itself for no reason. You are going for a job interview, waiting at the tube and the doors open right in front of you: you get the job. You check your emails after watching an especially life questioning episode of Dr Who to discover you have sixty one junk emails and...exactly sixty one new emails. It is upon the process of instinctual connections and bizarre, haphazard occurrences that this spider web has been built. Picture a cube drawn in from
lines. A relentless process as new connections, different sides are revealed and multiply resulting in a plethora of roaming angles on which the idea of phantasy could feed from. No straight lines will be found in here but a flurry of investigatory torrents changing direction quickly and often without warning. In order to uncover, comprehend, unravel, detangle, reveal there needs to be a system from which each small revelation can expand from. A system A process. This can be true of everything and is the platform from which the three characters began, whether that be a system they created or one they naturally follow.
Foreword [It happens something like this: Once upon a time in a dismal land called Ubectros, the clouds were swollen, the grass was muddied and the trees were bare. The only way of getting out of the hove was to wear a coat, a jumper and a big fur helmet. Then one day the sun woke up from its hibernation, stretched out its arms, gave a big yawn and lit up the sky! The Ubectrons were so happy! They danced, drank and went to the park. So unused to this warmth and light were the people of Ubectros, that happiness was brought out from their cold dispositions. One sunny, sunny day, there were a group of Ubectrons enjoying a beautiful day in the park. Relaxing and chatting, having a very nice afternoon with the sun. They spent hours and hours lounging and sunning themselves, the time approached to leave but the fun had not yet ended for this group of friends. Oh no, it had just begun! One of the Ubectrons said to the oth-
ers, â€˜There is a fabulous BBQ happening and you are all invited!â€™. All the friends were so happy as their volums were beginning to rumble and they did not want to go home. Off they all went. They walked through the park, passed all the strolling couples and playing children to the station where they waited for the stragglers in the group to catch up. Once they were sure they had everyone they all bundled into the Transport Roll. They reached their destination and the Ubectron who knew the way to the BBQ house took the lead. They arrived at the hove with the blue door and were greeted with a big wide smile from an unknown Ubectron and they all filed in, one after the other. It was late afternoon but the sun was not yet sleepy and shone and shone for hours and hours and the Ubectrons drank and drank and ate and ate the delicious burgers with grilled cheese and ground chabah.
The friends got drunker and drunker they played games and some of the Ubectrons coupled up as often happens when the sun is shining and the drinks are flowing. There was one male Ubectron, however, who did not get what he wanted. He spoke with the female Ubectran and she said she had written a book, a writer he thought, ‘A writer must write me a poem!’ The Ubectran was unsure about writing this poem but did eventually succumb; she tried, however, to write it in Ancient English of which she could speak little and, therefore, the poem made little sense. It was now getting late and some of the Ubectrons had things to do the next day. A few of the friends, including the Ubectran took a taxi home. Before he left, the Ubectron asked for her phone number, she replied ‘Hmm, maybe not.’ This made the Ubectron sad but little did he know, this would not be their last encounter. A few weeks later the sun was still blazing in the sky, people were whistling, gardening and taking full ad-
vantage of the sun. Another BBQ was organised with the friends and the Ubectran and the Ubectron met again. All the friends drank and drank and played games well into the night. The moon was high in the sky but the friends were still drinking and talking. The drinks were running low but someone told the Ubectran there were drinks in the nid downstairs. There the Ubectran met with the Ubectron who was also getting a drink from the downstairs nid. ‘Ah no!’ Said the Ubectron ‘there is only one drink left!’ ‘Ah no!’ Said the Ubectran. ‘Do you want to share it?’ Asked the Ubectron. ‘Ok’ replied the Ubectran. The Ubectron pulled out the drink from the nid. They were standing facing towards each other quite close. The Ubectron and the Ubectran kissed. It was a nice kiss and the he told the her she was a good kisser. The Ubectron then announced he would take the Ubectan on a moonlit tour of the hove. The Ubectran followed, not thinking the tour would be a very good one, as she already knew the hove by now, or so she thought. The Ubectron led the Ubectran through the hove, up and
up they went higher and higher until they reached the roof terrace. They gazed a little at the moons but it was not the moons they wanted but each other. They kissed and kissed but it was not enough. On this particular day the Ubectran had chosen to wear a floral, light material, playsuit. The Ubectron did not realise this. He tried in vain to get into the Ubectran’s materials. The Ubectran had to explain,‘this is not going to work.’ ‘How about we go somewhere else.’ The Ubectron suggested ‘Sounds like a good idea,’ said the Ubectran. Off they went down one flight of stairs and into the Ubectrons’ bedroom. There, although both were quite drunk, they knew what they were doing was right and they made love tenderly into the night. When they were both sleepy and the Ubectran nestled into the breast of the Ubectron he said to her, ‘You are very snuggly.’ This surprised the Ubectran as a Ubectron had never said so before. ‘It’s like we fit
together. Or something.’ The ‘or something’ the Ubectron added quickly on the end for he realised what he said was perhaps more than he meant; he had only met the Ubectran twice after all. The Ubectran was concerned for her friends as she did not know whether they had found somewhere to sleep. The Ubectron said he would go and check and make sure they were OK. In the morning the Ubectran had to leave early because she had another friend to meet. The Ubectron again asked for the Ubectrans’ number and this time she gave it to him. The Ubectran and the Ubectron communicated through coms and arranged a date. It was decided that the Ubectron was to make dinner for the Ubectran; the Ubectron did offer to take the Ubectran out to dinner but the Ubectran thought it would be more relaxing and enjoyable if it was to take place at the Ubectrons’ hove. On the eve of the date the Ubectran chose her materials carefully, casual but slightly dressed-up. As the
Ubectran strolled up the Ubectrons’ street, the Ubectran became nervous, butterflies and fitos it seemed buzzed and stung around inside her. The Ubectran walked down the street not knowing how far down the blue door was. She eventually reached it and stood composing herself before she pressed the yooda. ‘I’ll be there in two seconds,’ said the Ubectron and he bounded up to the door to meet her; they embraced and then kissed lightly on the lips. The Ubectron led the Ubectran inside to the kitchen. The Ubectron was slightly flustered. He said, ‘I was going to change before you arrived and have everything prepared.’ It turned out the Ubectran had arrived half an hour early! Leaving the Ubectron caught unawares. Luckily the dinner was already in the treno and the starter nearly complete. The Ubectron changed into a shirt and the Ubectran selected the wine and the two sat down and had a lovely evening enjoying each other’s company.
After they had finished the meal the Ubectron and the Ubectran went downstairs to the entertainment room where they joined the Ubectrons’ friends and watched a rom together. The Ubectrons’ friends were eager to meet the Ubectran who they had heard so much about. They all got on very well, the Ubectran liked the Ubectrons’ friends and the Ubectrons’ friends liked the Ubectran very much. The Ubectron and the Ubectran spent the summer relaxing and spending time together. The October gloom came. The Ubectron and the Ubectran thought they would be together forever....And the Ubectron and Ubectran did not live happily ever after. The End]
Dreamworlds and Aching Feet
We often write about our dreams. They are a point of interest, mystery and intrigue. What would we be without them I wonder? They make little sense as literary texts but provide ample material for psychoanalysts. On the surface they make no sense but underneath all our secrets are revealed. They tell us about who we are and what is going on. Not what we think is going on in our heads but what is really going on. We cannot hide from our dreams but we can forget them. And it often happens. Our dreams become immaterial as things grow and change around us. We somehow get caught up in all the things that donâ€™t matter: we need to dream. We need to allow our minds to wander, to let the dreams loose; even if they seem impossible, the more impossible, the better. It happened by complete and random chance which is often the origin of things. This one happened around a book, a dream book and a working day.
It was a quiet day, very quiet and there were two of us. So we were entertaining each other, I was recounting a dream that I had as I chopped tomatoes. Then another dream and then another; each more surreal and nonsequential than the last. The person who was the unsuspecting listener said quite nonchalantly, “why don’t you write them down into one story?” Usually I think of a shoal reasons why I shouldn’t do such a thing but this one stuck. Not only did it stick but a glowing mass formed itself inside my head. The glowing mass, on closer inspection, was a book. What kind of book? A book of dreams. And who wrote this book?... A man. A famous man...? A psychoanalyst? A philosopher? And what was the title? Something about dreams? I had no idea. The only thing I could recollect was the exact place I saw it in the bookshop. That very day I made a pilgrimage to the first sighting of the mystery book. I looked and looked and looked. But could I see it? Could I hell! No. I looked in every section I could think of but it was not to be found. The
time had come. I had to involve a human interaction. I had to bother some poor shop assistant with this ridiculous request, “hello, I am looking for a book. I saw it a few months ago, I don’t know the author or the title but it was about dreams and it used to be over there...” It was pretty hopeless. Anyone who has been an assistant of some kind can empathise with this reluctance to ask irritating questions. “Hmmmm.” She said, “I think I do remember such a book...Hmmm. Yes that’s right, we didn’t know where to put it. It was a strange book indeed.” But could she remember the name of either author or title...? No. She took down my details and I should expect a call. I was there in the kitchen cooking burger after burger. We ran out, the bell was still ringing, more orders flew in. I was making more burgers, burger after burger, order after order. I tried to get out but I couldn’t. I had to stay there making burger after burger after burger. There are many versions of this dream and we don’t need an analyst to tell us its meaning: you need a holiday, that or a new job. 18
The in between job. A thing which happens when you need a little extra cash. Harmless. But it seems to extend itself. It seems to have limbs of its own, its own itinerary and dreams not belonging to you. It drags on, on and on then you die. Or you wake up. You claw your way back to the beginning, “I never wanted this!” You cry, “I had dreams!” The word dream. Does it make you think of realistic achievable goals? No. Horses with horns on their heads? Possibly. Why should it? Because a goal is unrealistic why should it not be achievable? You potter along day after day with the secluded island in your head; there is no TV, no specific working rules, lessons, water, food. This place is a place of dreams. The island itself is inconsequential but the sensation it evokes is achievable. Having this place in your head enables you to breath, to see a different place gives you hope. Some worlds are dreamworlds: everything and anything is there, you can imagine anything. Books: you can read inside them and things can be real but there 19
are other worlds that do the opposite. They sink the dream, slowly and surely and that in between job can become one of them. We have dreams everywhere. In TV dramas, films, songs and billboards; all telling us of this other world. If we did have alien visitors this would be one of the most confusing images. You can see them looking at the image they see on the billboard then at reality, looking to and fro and thinking, “What? These people aren’t those people, why do they look like that?” A truly perplexing phenomena. A world of unrealistic dreams which we are supposed to look up to. Our own dreams are taken; they are accepted as an impossibility. It’s so sad. It feels unrealistic to want more of the world. You are turned into a child in a grownup world wanting more. The worlds response is, “More!? More!? You want moooooorreeee!!?!!!” Don’t bother. You can have nice things. Go on lots of holidays. Buy a house! Why not?! Fill your days with things. Go out, see friends, get drunk. Perfect!...
Sitting in the back, having a panini on a small table, covered in coats and handbags and a microwave. Feet up on the opposite chair, throbbing, thinking of things you would rather be doing.
Having been shrouded, dumbed down by constant exposure to all the luxuries and materiality, food and pleasures that surrounded them in early 20th century France, ClĂŠrambaultâ€™s patients had quite rightly found a way to overcome themselves. Now, the luxuries are more than available. We live side by side with luxuries that others would think of as necessities. Walking down the street we are pummelled by all that we cannot have. Do we need the luxuries? We may not need much but we desire more, always more, desire more, hope for more, better than we have, that is the culture we are submerged in, to want more, more and more. To the point where nothing is enough. Wanting more is good if creativity is part of the wanting. Wanting something can propel ideas into reality. But if the thing is material goods why do we want more? Why do we need more?
One hundred years earlier in the mid 19th century Pitt Rivers was collecting. He travelled all over the world to select objects to join the others. The collection consisted of seemingly miscellaneous objects from everyday life. The objects were gathered from all over the world, each owner carrying different relationships with the objects now placed in a museum by Pitt Rivers: some would consider luxuries that others, necessities. Pitt Rivers didn't leave them alone, if the collection was moved to a different site to be exhibited, the space was different and, therefore, so was the objectsâ€™ presence in the space, more had to be added, or some subtracted. The objects moved from Bethnal Green in London (1874), to Dorset in 1875, South Kensington in 1878 and finally the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford (1884). By the end a group of books had culminated: the Red, Black and Blue books. All the books are a chaotic disarray of the objects from the previous exhibitions; the instability of their content suggests they didnâ€™t originally have an official function but were there to give Pitt Rivers an idea of where the objects were.
He could see underneath the concept of things, through what they comprise of. He was a collector but closer, perhaps, to an artist. More similar to Susan Hillier’s way of working with her sea postcards1 than to Sir Hans Sloan’s dedication to collecting.2 There is an anthropological investigation going on as well as a historical one, and it is the object that embodies it all. In a lecture Pitt Rivers gave on the subject of Art in 1884, he talks of the life that encapsulates objects through how they have been used in different parts of the world. In the Arcade Project Walter Benjamin says, ‘what is decisive in collecting is that the object is detached from all its original functions’3 but Pitt Rivers uses objects like glasses or portals through
Shown at the Tate Britain in 2013 as part of a collection of works entitled Dedication to the Unknown Artist which features over 300 original postcards form 1972 to 1976 of waves crashing into shores around Britain. 1
Sloane was a collector in the 19th century. He now has a museum dedicated to him in London, UK. 3
Benjamin.W., (2002), The Arcade Project, p204, Belknap Press, London. 27
which you can see other worlds and cultures. Benjamin goes on to say: ‘It is the deepest enchantment of the collector to e close the particular item within a magic circle, where, as a last shudder runs through it, it turns to stone.’ 4 Life or a rebirth is the process Pitt Rivers puts his objects through, never letting them go, even when in storage the Red, Black and Blue books carry the object life line. The epicentre of the objects are savoured until, one day, their presence is returned to the physical space and they are seen in a new light, accentuated by the object it sits beside. Pitt Rivers and the women who were Clérambault’s patients both display a joy of life through their desires. Clérambault pursued his desires. Following desire is something that we sometimes forget to do because so many things get in the way. Clérambault’s patients’ did not let societies guidelines stop them from carry4
Ibid., 205. 28
ing out their fantasies. When you say no, to desire it is not forgotten...that’s where it all starts. ‘In the Clérambault Syndrome a person forms the delusion that another is in love with him or her and pursues them to the point of destruction and selfdestruction’ 5 Chords were immediately struck, “this is what I have!” I thought. This makes sense of everything6 !The inability to leave things alone, the impossibility of saying no, to the point where I had no concern left for myself as long as I could have at least a small part for an even smaller amount of time. I didn’t care (self-destruction), destruction reeks possibility. Clérambault was a French citizen taking photographs of Moroccan veiled figures in the early 20th century. As a result, his photographs were exhibited in the his-
Steiner.R.,ed., (2003), Unconscious Phantasy, p206, Karnac, London.
Forever in the mind to make sense of things! 29
torical context of Orientalism and were supposed to reveal how the French treated Maghreb people. In the early Spring of 19907 , a selection of Clérambault’s photographs were shown in a traveling exhibition at the Centre Pompidou, Paris. They provided historical context but also invited many questions about the photographer. Clérambault’s work as a psychiatrist included not only working for the French police but he also defined symptoms of what was then called hysteria, giving clarity to an area that had little continuity. He was able to create a way of categorising the symptoms of hysteria into an order. This made it easier to diagnose patients more effectively and consistently. In 1924 he gave a name to a collection of symptoms now called Clérambault Syndrome.
The exhibition ran from the 21st February to the 14th May 1990 at the Georges- Pompidou Centre, Paris. 7
Clérambault took between 1000 and 30,0008 photographs of Moroccan Veiled figures more than a little obsessive and perhaps a testimony to his diagnosis. The only certainty is that 400 of his photographs are at Musée d'Homme in Paris. Clérambault photographed obsessively veiled figures, most of whom were women. The veil indicates something untouchable, something hidden, and something fascinating. Perhaps his photographs not only fulfilled a creative drive but also acted as a bridge between his romantic and professional desires. In Infinite Jest a significant character wears a veil and it is the constant desire of the main character to decipher what is the reason for the veil and what is
‘Estimated to be 20,000 to 30,000 photos but which Alain Busine numbers at less than 1,000.’ from Vogl.B.M., (2002), Picturing the Maghreb: Literature, Photography, (Re)Presentation, p167, Rowman&Littlefield, U.S.A. ‘Gatian de Cléambault, a psychiatrist who, between 1915 and 1920 took nearly 4000 photographs of Moroccan women...’ from Higgie.J., (2000), True Grit: In The Desert, Frieze, September-October, Issue 54, p. ‘It was in Morocco that he took almost 6,000 photographs...’ from Doy.G., (2002), Drapery: Classicism and Barbarism in Visual Culture, p104. I.B.Tauris, London. The only certain number is that 400 of Cléambaults’ photographs are in Paris at the Musée de l’Homme: 8
beneath. What is hidden cannot help but be something of intrigue and curiosity. In the mid 1920‘s Clérambault began his lecture series on Drapery at the École des Beaux-Arts. Now that we have seen his relation with silk and fabric wrapped around desire, the question arises: were his lectures to instruct on the skills of drapery or a way of satisfying his secret passion, a way of fulfilment? I came across an article by Emily Apter which uses the phrase Cabinet secrets when speaking of the 18th century habit of keeping things hidden, more specifically ‘zones forbidden to the opposite sex’ 9 . The article mentions Clérambault in some detail in relation to his research into Erotomania (AKA Clérambault Syndrome). Apter utilises a quote from Lacan, as he was Clérambault‘s pupil, which casts light on how others’ saw Clérambault; to Lacan Clérambault was an, ‘eccentric psychiatrist’10.
Ibid., p14 32
Barren Mind The people that you meet determine the length of stay in any particular retail place or perhaps a flexible manager. It’s not easy, the boredom and frustration are not easy things to live with. Now the weather or any type of national holiday are all things of great evil. The sun in particular. All people are irritating no matter how nice, there decision to come here is enough to grant your hate for them. Trying to live. Trying to do something. Trying to make it seem worthwhile. And paying rent... You have got your degree, but it’s not enough, you need experience and passion to get you anywhere and to know the right people. It’s like being stuck in an airport terminal, watching people come and go all the time going to different places and the ever present feeling of stagnation remains as you watch. Why do we put our soul into our jobs we get just to pay rent? Just now I saw it. Washing windows in this
little coffee shop, this girl. Why? We are doing it for money, so why give the soul? It is nice to care. But that’s how you get sucked in, that’s how it all starts. We have to put our souls somewhere. Until it finds that place, we give freely and wrongly. Our soul is up for grabs, any in between jobs that we end up slaving for will contain a little bit of us. A testament to our character perhaps. There is an element of ‘whatever I do, I will do to the best of my ability.’ But when you start to give yourself to something else, that is not good or helpful in the pursuit of dreams. With no time to daydream, what do you do? You get stifled. You lose your sense of purpose. You forget what is there, or what was there. A muddle. A tension is born of forgetting potential ideas. Nothing is coming out so nothing new goes in. You are left with only the same. The same thing going around and around. It’s hard to notice.
Eventually your mind cannot take it. It was so used to energy and things, anything riding through the streams. Lorry after lorry carrying things and people, places and books, ideas, dreams, everything. And then stillness. The tracks were motionless. No wind. No trees. Barren. A barren mind. I could see nothing apart from what was in front of my hands.
The name Ally Pally, the people’s palace, is a testament to the building itself and the people who work there. In the retail and catering industry, the manager image is generally agreed upon to be a greedy vengeful idiot who doesn’t give a shit about his/her staff and who tries to get as much as possible from them and do the very least they can get away with whilst getting paid a decent amount unlike their inferiors who all work their arses off for basically nothing. Not so. Well not all. Not all use their heads but most seem to remember what it’s like to be behind a bar or wielding a hoover. But the working as little as they can get away with is definitely the same. They are human and haven't forgotten. The result of a group of these managers running a palace creates an environment of constant chaos because no one really knows what’s going on. Above all the Palace is not pretentious or unwelcoming but it is the epitome of what it is to be Human. The cogs are all made from people.
These cogs, some move faster than others, actually I would go as far as to say some are moving so slowly you cannot see it with the naked eye. That is how the palace works. Like the English spirit, the Palace runs with the seasons. The weather controls its whole being; it is the soul of the Palace. If the sun shines, itâ€™s in action. The Palace runs on solar energy it seems, when the wind and rain howls up the hill, the palace is at a near standstill and you can be sure the bar staff are literally standing still. (see appendix)
To have a dream is a most precious and dangerous thing. It can control your whole being. I had almost forgotten what it was like. The sand was trickling unnoticeably through my fingers. I didnâ€™t realise what was happening. Ideas used to come to me without trying. I used to love everything. Find magic everywhere. Now there was only hatred and bitterness. This is what happens when you donâ€™t take heed of what is important. We do not spend enough time fulfilling our desires and making our dreams come true. This sounds very fairy tale like and naive but why dream if not to be fulfilled? There are constraints and boundaries all around us that make things impossible but it is at these points that creativity finds ways around. It doesnâ€™t see the constraints but obstacles to be overcome.
The searching, the endless searching and nothing but shit holes for lots of money. But even though it seemed impossible, we had to keep going. I had lost all hope that we would find what we needed. The only thing that kept me going was the we and the possibility of homelessness if we didnâ€™t pick something and quick. Hopelessness. What was it to be hopeless? Why was I hopeless? What happened to the hope and most importantly how do I get it back? All the hope seemed to have been ripped from me as a result of being constantly fucked over, over and over again. Not a pleasurable position to be in. No one seemed to be decent, no one was behaving as a human being towards one and another and everyone was trying to take advantage of each other. We were trying to take advantage of a cheap, big, nice place and they were taking the piss with their tiny shit hole rooms in shit hole houses with no atmosphere: here is your room you can share the kitchen space and toilet facilities, the rent is ridiculous, enjoy. Sucking as much money out of you as is humanly possible. All we had
seen from looking for somewhere to live was how unloving, joyless and down-right dishonest people can be. Disheartening to say the least.
A psychoanalytic interpretation of Clérambault’s photography, would suggest that his actions derive from his own syndrome: Wolheim says that ‘...the desires are vested in the objects, and the object exercises a lure. It lures one into action’11 . If we think of the object as Clérambaults photographs, quite literally, they are his desires, they depict or embody his desires. Wolheim continues: ‘the self is then tied and, as it were, pulled by the object in which a part is investedpulled into compulsive action...’ which leaves a rather desolate portrayal of Clérambault and his photographs; a minimum of 1000 photographs of veiled women suggests, reveals a great many psychological layers of Clérambault. Some claim Clérambault’s photographs to be more concerned with his passion for drapery while other’s an ‘obsessive passion,’ ‘bent on women’s disappearance...’ in an aggressive article by Leila Sebbar, Under the Veil.12
Steiner.R.,ed., (2003), Unconscious Phantasy, p206, Karnac, London.
Sebbar.L.,(1992), ArtForum, Under the Veil, January, Volume 30, p7577. 12
There is limited information in English about these photographs but there are various theories ranging from a fetish for veiled figures, to research on drapery and orientalist curiosities, which were popular around the time. Seen side by side, the photographs he took illustrates the awakening of a deeper, darker desire hidden in Clérambault. Like the women he claimed to be hysterical, he had found a key to unlocking his hidden desires. In Picturing the Magrehb, Sebbar describes Clérambault as ‘a collector of veiled and doubly veiled bodies- mummies made eternal through his sever gaze’13 in reaction to the 1990 exhibition at the Pompidou Centre. It seems that Clérambault wanted to not only capture the figure in the veil and the veil itself but he had forced himself into a corner, he himself was perhaps trapped behind a veil, hiding his desires in his photographs and by photographing them he was caging the image.
Vogl.B.M., (2003), Picturing the Maghreb: Literature, Photography, )Re)Presentation, p167-8, Rowman&Littlefield, U.S.A. 13
The description of Clérambault Syndrome mentioned in the previous section from the book Unconscious Phantasy14 isn’t all that accurate; other descriptions of the syndrome adds the specific detail of the person who is adored being of a higher status, i.e unobtainable. This adds another layer of sense to the veiled figures Clérambault obsesses over. The unobtainable. The veil creates a boundary between himself and the veiled figure. Clérambault’s inability to see, to receive, to grab what is underneath epitomises this ‘frenzied relay between lack and desire...’ 15; it is the drapery that holds this and it was the drapery that he spent years fixated on. Similarly the shopping ‘city’ in Stratford completed in 2012 for the London Olympics, does not constitute todays idea of divisions or departments (barring the restaurants but even they have various spots) an Apple 14
Steiner.R.,ed., (2003), Unconscious Phantasy, Karnac, London.
(1989), Assemblage, Cabinet Secrets: Fetishism, Prostitution and the Fin de Siecle Interior [e-journal] June, N0.9, p14. [Available through: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3171149] (Accessed on 06.03.2012.), MIT Press. 47
store next to an ice cream shop. This layout goes back to before the existence of department stores when shops were at random down the street. In this shopping ‘city’ shops are together with accommodation, transport and entertainment, all of which are spread around. This strategy provokes an inescapable urge to shop with ease. The only problem is, as it is so vast, there is a tendency to stay in a particular area. We are much more likely to purchase things we haven't thought we needed or desired when there are unexpected temptations. A theory put into practice in Zola’s, The Paradise. Pitt Rivers’ objects were important in themselves for what their function was, not for any other reason, just as they were. They were not made to perform or dressed up, asked to do a dance or two but were encouraged to be as they were in order for us to see them as they are and were.
Pitt Rivers treated his objects as parts of a whole that could be made a whole by either adding more or taking a few away depending on the space. The first exhibition was held in the Bethnal Green Museum and has now taken over a permanent space in Oxford: The Pitt Rivers Museum. Pitt Rivers had a passion and an obsession, an understanding and compassion that goes beyond the physicality of the objects themselves into a more conceptual approach to the ideology behind the life of the objects. ClĂŠrambaults patients used their object (silk) to get to an extreme; in Pitt Riversâ€™ case an equilibrium is sort after through his object collection. But in both cases there is the end goal of fulfilment. A part of the process: the physical activity that plays out in our minds followed by repercussions of phantasy in the physical reality. Our relationship to objects when shopping is relied upon and exploited, forcing our desire into these objects. There is a sensation that the object somehow contains an emotion or an idea. But the transaction is never completed, the object does not
part ways with a....with anything. Yet there is always hope in the next object. The unknown is what keeps us living, keeps us alive, without it everything would be reduced to a pointless fact. The unknown can lead us to delusion and we create stories in order to make sense of things. We pretend to ourselves that we need these things to fill in invisible gaps created by delusions. This is what we are doing when shopping, trying to gain something from objects.
I had to look good, it was my job. I had to make sure the children looked good, that was my job too. I had to make sure the husband had enough to eat, that was also my job. So I combed the girls long blonde hair every night and morning. I cleaned around the house everyday and prepared supper in the afternoon. Those were my days, day after day after day. Thankfully one day something was different. It started off the same but by the afternoon things were changing. The girls and I were up on the shed roof so we could grab hold of the branches of the tree and climb up. We were safe there for a while. It was the water, the canal water. No one knew exactly why but it seemed there was too much of it. Flooding everywhere. Panic everywhere. We live in a leafy neighbourhood if you know what I mean but none of that mattered now. We were all just trying to survive. Dick arrived home from work and joined us up in the tree. Chastising as he climbed. He was always blaming me for something. I donâ€™t know why I ever mar-
ried him. Truth be told he is nothing but a swine. We had to get to higher ground to save us all. Cars were submerged, I spotted a neighbour, Georgina, a few doors up hanging in the tree with her lot, she had three small boys. I waved a pitiful how do you do, she waved a frightful one back. It was getting dark, we had to move. We managed to swing to the Evans’ tree and from there to the Davies’ which meant we had landed on the big block on the corner. Not a place any of us wanted to be, except maybe our little Marcie who was quite taken with the trumpet. But God knows they both changed their likes and dislikes everyday but for now the trumpet had stuck to little Marcie like glue. This block, known as the Blues Block by the locals was on the edge of our district, where one bled into the other. It’s not that I was afraid to go there or anything like that, I just avoided it and made sure the children did the same. Dick on the other hand was downright petrified of the place. Don’t ask me why, I have no problem with them myself, they seem decent enough but
for Dick anything slightly different he didn’t like, was suspicious of it. The children were curious if anything, especially our little Marcie. As I said it was a big block that towered up so it seemed the best place to get away from the rising waters. We entered into a large room, it had a similar interior to that of a ship, iron walls it seemed with seals that where dripping water. We worked our way through the packed room, everyone was different except for us, we kept close together, Dick led the way through the jungle of a crowd all of who were singing and dancing, playing their Jazz. The whole room rocked with Jazz; they were playing their troubles away with their sweet, sweet beats. Marcie was enchanted, Dick wanted to get out as quickly as he could and little Eleanor stayed close by my side. One of the people there, a man I think, stopped us and said, “Hey, what you guys doin' in this part of town hmmm?” Dick replied: “Trying to get to a safe place.” This seemed a good enough reason to the man or woman and he or she carried on singing. We didn’t
have any trouble, they were all too busy enjoying what life that they had left, it seemed it wouldn’t be long now. We were trying to run away but the people in here seemed to be having a ball, enjoying life to the full, were we doing it wrong I wondered? There were leaks everywhere, puddles on the floor, we found what we were looking for, a small tunnel. Dick somehow changed the flow of the water so we could all climb through to safety. The tunnel seemed bigger once we were all inside. The children were both behind me. We carried on sludging through the tunnel. I looked behind me. Marcie? Where was Marcie? “Marcie! Marcie!” I screamed and screamed. She was gone, the current had taken her away! Marcie, our little Marcie, gone! I didn’t want to carry on. Eleanor was tugging at my sleeve. Dick grabbed my wrist, “Come on Woman, we have to keep moving.” “But Marcie, Marcie, our little Marcie, she’s gone!” “I know I know. Now come on! Move!” Dick was pulling me along the dark, wet tunnel. “NO! NO! I don’t want to go on! I can’t leave Marcie!”
I tried to get away from Dickâ€™s grip, his fingers dug deeper into my flesh. I kicked and screamed, and pushed and pinched. I got free of him and felt the force, It pulled me down from nowhere....anywhere is better than here I thought. I found myself in a jungle. I was not alone my friend was at my side. We were on holiday and had joined a group of likeminded holiday explorers. There was a river nearby. We were all sitting, waiting for something, about to go on an expedition. They started appearing, little ones at first, crawling everywhere. There were too many of them we had to get out. Somehow we managed it. We took a plane.
A Strange Familiar
â€˜On the bed is lying the Idol the goddess of dreams. But how is she here? Who has brought her? What magic power placed her on this town of dreams and pleasure?â€™ 16
Baudelaire.C.,(2003), Flowers of Evil and other works, p121, Dover Publications, London. 16
Familiarity in the strangest of places. This ‘dusty worn-out furniture’17 bringing my thoughts to the Gumtree chest of drawers with elaborate handles and small detailed locks on each draw for which there are no keys. The oil stain with which it came into our arms with and will remain ever with us. With a wellneeded lesson on sanding and a lightly coloured varnish, the too far gone drawers can be forgiven. The kitchen table serving as a ridiculously over-sized desk, taking up exuberant amounts of the small double room we are renting. And then the bed without whose lift up storage feature we would not have taken the bright small double room in the first place. A heaven sent invention for sure. With the large computer consuming the desk/kitchen table, the room is heated, tinged with various body odours, mostly from yogurt; smelly, homely, stagnation. ‘Exquisite’18...probably not. The giant computer laps up much of the day light that wills itself through the panes. The dregs are taken by 17
the secondary defences of green scattered around the roomsâ€™ furniture. The light is probably its best feature, perhaps it was once the fireplace but that had to be painted. The hearth boarded up but the tiles, a dowdy beige mixed with yellow ochre, not solid colour but a sprayed effect, it was bought like that for whatever reason escapes me. But where is the goddess? She comes and goes as she pleases. Scratches at the door one minute, fills my head and my page. Next, runaway with the newly brewed coffee to will back her presence.
ClĂŠrambault had a side project as a psychiatrist for the French police. Gaetan Gatian de ClĂŠrambault a 20th century psychiatrist filled his career, like anyone, with ways he could fulfil his desires, professionally as well as romantically but the way he melded the two was something else. There were a number of women who were under his observation in a Parisian prison for the theft of silk from department stores. This does not seem strange as silk is a luxury product. However, the thieves were not all without a good deal of money some had all that they could desire, or so you would think. What was their motive? Why would they steal the silk when they could perfectly well purchase it? They could purchase it but they did not. They were doing something wrong, something they knew they shouldn't do but they did it anyway. They wanted to do it, they needed to. Although they had all the pleasures money could buy a woman in early 20th century France, they were not satisfied.
Desire is a passion to create or form something; to twist, tease and torment until something makes sense but even then there still lingers a tormentful question mark. Pitt Rivers has been investigated and researched fairly heavily and even has a museum. Over fifty persons have played, tweaked, typed and tapped all in the name of piecing together Pitt Rivers; the results of which was put on a project website (www.web.prm.ox.ac.uk). The active project ended in August 2012. Their aim was to provide â€˜raw researchâ€™ (prm.ac) from published and unpublished work both written about Pitt Rivers and by the man himself. Navigating your way through the site is a wondrous journey in itself. One thing leads you to another and another and another; before you know it you have landed in front of a Carved storehouse door, Maori, in New Zealand of which you are informed is the second of three pictures. From traveling around the masses of information on the website you get an understanding, a feel for the thing Pitt Rivers was trying to achieve,
(and I say trying not because he didn't reach it but because of the desire for more that is always present). They researched with zeal and commitment in the undoing of the life of Pitt Rivers. Pitt Rivers has been revived in the very same way as he once worked to bring together his collection, he has been placed in a museum in much the same process of dedication as he once used with his own objects.
I hadn’t seen him for years, we met up in New York. My Dad and I, together again. We were strolling along when a grey mist appeared in the horizon. Wow we said, “Look at that?!” Neither of us had seen such a sight before. It was an incredible thing to witness, we both felt very lucky. A passerby saw us gawking at this wondrous sight. “Don’t yah see, it’s a tornado! Get to safety if I were you!” We ran. I had to make sure not to lose my Dad, he couldn’t run that fast. We knew where we were going, the safest place we could think of, the Natural History Museum. It had to be there, nowhere else was safe. We had nearly reached the museum, but the tornado was too close, we couldn’t get inside! Next door to the Natural History Museum was the Horse Hospital. “Dad, in here!” I yelled but he had gone. I had lost my Dad. Heartbroken I went inside. There was room after room of ill horses in bare whitewashed walls. There were no doors, each room led to another. In one room there was a small horse,
the size of a Chihuahua, in the next an average sized horse lying down with a bandaged leg, each horse was lying down. It was in the hospital I found a group of people, they seemed friendly enough and they were also hiding there from the tornado. We found a way out of the horse hospital towards the Museum but there was something in our way. Another group had had the same idea; they saw us coming and opened fire. The friends I was with fired back. I had no idea they had guns! It was a shock but I had to get over it if I wanted to survive. I was lucky they did have guns or I would have been shot for sure. I felt vulnerable not having a gun, I could become a target. So I put my hands up in gun pose and acted as though I had a gun like the others. We decided the best thing to do was go back inside the Horse Hospital for shelter.
We found our way back to the room where I had first met them. Meanwhile the tornado had gotten closer, it was about to hit. We all crouched down on the floor and shielded our heads against the storm. The objects around us were ushered up into the sky, all the furniture, everything. The tornado passed, we were safe but dad was gone.
Fantasy, Fantasising, Fantasist
Fantasy has many different meanings it seems to have been picked up and filled up by all genres of everything. There are many places the word fantasy can take you. When a desire is impossible to fulfil what happens? This is the crisis on which fantasy thrives on, spawns from, is born from. This crisis situation is clearly seen in the creation of Superman. When does he morph into a fantastical being? Why does he even exist? Because of a crisis moment. The confrontation of the realisation of an impossible desire. A brick wall appears in which Superman tears through. Fantasy is the space where the impossible can hide; a thin piece of hope keeps the impossibility alive. Superman is himself a representation of hope; he was created at the end of the Great Depression and, subsequently, remade into the television series, Lois and Clark: The Adventures of Superman, in the recession of the 90’s. Culturally we need otherworldly figures to allow our minds to wonder. To give back mental space to impossibilities. In the TV series Superman can do everything Clark can’t; Clark has no love life, he can’t
see properly, he has to hide his identity; Superman is Clark’s impossible and in our reality Superman is our impossible. Lois draws a rod between Clark and Superman. Denying Clark her heart and offering it up to Superman on a silver platter. In the episode, The Prankster, there is another interested party who couldn’t be more disgusted with Superman or more infatuated with Clark’s strong moral outlook. Lois lives, romantically, from her fantasies of her and Superman one day being together, she knows on a day to day basis nothing will happen but still clings to the hope that it might until one day it does. Throughout the series Clark and Lois’s relationship keeps coming back the phase “It’s hard to define.” Endlessly frustrating for the viewer who knows they love each other but neither declares it. This provokes the viewers fantasising of Lois and Clark being together, it seems inevitable that they should but nothing happens. Temporarily fantasy is enough, enough for
Clark and the viewer to imagine. Those impossible thoughts get us through those moments. The mere images of punches, black eyes and car crashes have helped to cool many a hot temper. The thought and image in the mind are enough to provoke a reminder of reality; what has to be done, what has to be controlled, suppressed, in order to get through the day. But what happens when it stops being enough? There I was hour after hour watching this series, bringing back memories of watching it as a child. I was trapped in the attic surrounded by tormentful fantasies. Being sucked in, oblivious to the world. Taking off his glasses and donning on a, let’s face it, a more than a little ridiculous suit, changes Superman’s psychological state and our perception of him. The time of repression ceases. The carefulness with words and discretion ends. The moment the shirt bursts open Superman is pushed to maximum strength, mentally and physically. In our world, a limit is reached of suppression and emotions are pushed to the extreme. In Superman’s fantasy world his devotion to Lois Lane
always remains: his physical form mutates but his emotions stay focused on Lois. In the moments of transition from ground to sky, a revelation occurs; not only the sexual allure that ripping open his shirt to pull out his Superman form from within provokes but an exchange from Clark to Superman. When the worst possible situation has surfaced and it looks like the world of Metropolis is going to die, then comes the transformation; at the last possible moment, always. When all other hope is gone he appears. When there is nothing left but a glimmer of hope, fantasy is switched on, and takes the lead. In our reality at moments of heightened emotion, impossibility is held in fantasies arms. When we are forced into a situation that we seem to have no control over, fantasy helps us make sense of it in the form of Superman. Fantasies mutate our sense of reality. You know itâ€™s not true, you know this can never happen. But for some reason it still likes to let loose inside your thoughts.
Bed Half asleep. Too early to drift off but too many things for tomorrow to think of. It’s cold, a cold, cold morning. Too cold to move, to wiggle even a big toe; it will hit a wall of duvet icicles. So don’t, sit and drift... ... he could never knock on your door. He doesn’t even know where you live and has no way of knowing. And yet, there he is. You open the door and he stands there clear as day and you can feel the explosion inside you, the thrill, his beard tugging at your skin as you embrace, the unbelievability of it all... ...and yet it never really accepts these thoughts as mine. Always suppressing, they belong to other parts of me. And now they have made up their own story from a past reality and I am forced to play my part. My brain was switched on, it’s time monitor calculated the time, a significant amount of time had passed, but it had been forced into thinking it was a moment ago.
Moments ago that I had made the decision that it was you. Itâ€™s so sad that all this time I had been thinking you were my future that somehow there was something between us that has escaped time. There is no reason. Nothing. The idea of love and lust has kept you inside me. How sad. I was so convinced, so deluded into thinking of nothing else. And it made me happy. All life will be carried out by holding in my arms things from the past and waking to realise there was nothing there: air. The soft touch, warm hair, moist lips, all belong to the mind making up the illusion that you belonged to me. How hopeless. There is nothing to deny it and nothing to sustain it, to validate it. Only you can tell the truth. And of that, time must join the game, between us, ferrying thoughts across the invisible bridge to... ...I play the waiting game with you but you donâ€™t know it. You sit opposite me in the shadows with your head hung low. And I sit, bright and happy with my mind
projecting the image of you laid in front of me. The only reason I ever had to think such a thing was what I felt inside. Intangible things need a form, otherwise they cannot exist. There needs to be more... ....I saw us together in that work space, I have never been inside but we were there. It was similar to a barn, a workshop inside. Dusty, the music was on, almost drone like, animalistic with a hint of gothic. I walked in and it was playing, you were at the work bench doing something or other. ‘Like this,’ I said. ‘This is exactly what I mean’ I hear this and I imagine sitting up here begging you to be inside me. Or over there against the wall, hands against the bricks.’ You didn’t know what to do, the boundary that shouldn’t be passed is being lit up and an arrow appears to be pointing in my direction. You can almost not bare to touch me. Instead, carrying on, with whatever you were doing, you say, ‘You’re quite sexy really aren’t you?’ I didn’t know what to say to that,
‘It’s all an illusion I think.’... ...our default network is turned on and the roaming around and exploration of places in the brain that should stay undiscovered, are instead, opened up. This is when they strike. The fantasy dissolves and you are left with what? A better idea of the future? The mind ‘is only a succession of thoughts...,’ the word mind gives thoughts a space to inhabit. ‘Each thought arises, stays a while and passes on.’19 Some we notice, others we don’t. Some we don’t want at all, which go into hiding in our unconscious, occasionally reminding us of their unacknowledged existence in our fantasies and dreams. Our attention to the external world is relaxed, and our default network is ready to reveal all. These ramblings do have a function (thank God, all that pain these thoughts generate are good for something) or so Singer (1996) and Klinger (1971) seem to think; the pain is in aide of ‘helping us to mentally explore and
Lama.D.,(2006), The Tibetan Book of the Dead, Penguin. London. 78
prepare for upcoming situations’20. From Jessica Hanna’s , Evidence for the Default Network’s Role in Spontaneous Cognition, (also suggested by others) it would seem when carrying out mundane and mechanical tasks, the default network comes into action, ‘focus on the external world is relaxed’21 meaning that the mind shifts it’s focus to the internal world. When there is nothing stimulating going on outside, we go inside. When this happens it is suggested that thoughts include, ‘remembering the past and imagining the future...’22 ; fundamental fantasy ingredients.
Hanna.J.,(2010), Journal of Neurophysiology, Evidence for the default Network’s Role in Spontaneous Cognition, [e-journal], May, 2010, [Accessed on 13.09.2011]. 20
Itâ€™s there in Everything
My lover and I had gone on a group trip to Berlin. The hotel appeared to be in the process of falling down. Huge holes in the ceiling except above the bed so you could have a dry night. We were on the bed about to have some intimate time when he said, â€œNo. This isnâ€™t your bed. Go to your own bed!â€? I was hurt and started hitting him with whatever I could get my hands on. It was morning, time seemed to have fast forwarded, either that or I was hitting him for longer than I had realised. I opened the door and the rest of the group were all outside, covering the spiral stairwell singing a wake up song. The last person up was picked on. It was me. I was embarrassed but trying to hide a smile. I slammed the door on my lover and made my way through the crowd, downstairs, to my room to get dressed. My mum, sister and I walked out of the hotel. Some of our group waited at the bus stop but I knew a better way. We walked along a busy high street, some of the group were doing the same. The group we were
traveling with were heading for the same destination but each subgroup were going about it in their own ways. My mum and sister and I passed a water escalator which I remember thinking at the time was a silly idea, it might just as well be a normal escalator. The escalator was going up diagonally and then meeting a shallow pond or fountain which you then had to walk through. People seemed to be enjoying it. I had sent a text to my lover a few minutes ago asking where he was. I couldnâ€™t see him anywhere in the crowded streets. The three of us continued our walk past the water escalator and down another road which looked like it was somewhere in Camden. For a short while I had found myself with my other sister who was going on about this place she wanted to visit that everyone else in the group had said she should see but she wouldn't say the name. I knew where she was talking about. I kept chastising her for not saying the name. It was infuriating! The museum she wanted to see was the Erotica Museum which I had been to a few years before on a previous trip.
Back with my mum and other sister, finding our way to the station, we walked straight ahead where there was a main road and it looked like the other entrance to the underground. It turned out it wasnâ€™t there, just shop fronts that were blue. I got a phone call from my lover saying that he had had enough. The first thing I said when I answered the phone was sorry and I burst into tears.
It’s there in everything. You can’t escape it. It can never be separated from you. You are it. It is you. The illogical you. The you you wished would go away, stop reminding you, stop letting you fill your head with ideas that should logically have been left behind. It travels behind you, hopping and skipping along; tempting, teasing and tormenting you at every turn. It’s existence kills you a little each time you get a glance and see it carrying that little box of tricks belonging to you, belonging to the past. You love it. You need it. You crave it. Hopes, thoughts that probably shouldn’t exist are there, inside.
It opens up the world for you. Through its eyes there is nothing you cannot do. And yet all lies so far away. There is no lock it cannot unpick. There is always something just out of reach. Close your eyes and for a second he lets you see, feel it. All the thoughts you have, every single thought is at his fingertips, at his mercy. He feels no sadness, regret, remorse in using those thoughts that are closer to you than anything could be, tucked up inside, safe and sound, shhh never to be awakened. He will find them, drag them out of their sleepy state and place them in front of you. There is no harm. Itâ€™s not real. Nothing he can do can harm you.
It protects you. Giving the impossible a place to stay. When every other part of you has said, ‘no!’ That is where you shall find it. An instinct, a part of you that finds it’s feet when all else fails, it shows it’s head. Beaming to save the day. The damage is done inside. There is no forewarning, nothing to predict what he will have picked up, scrapings from the depths of impossibilities, wrecks of homeless thoughts. It entered into memory, it stayed there for a prolonged length of time and at some point became untrue, it loses its authenticity, it is removed from reality and led by memory, along thought, into fantasy. At a bus stop, in a waiting room, in bed. Spaces where thoughts are led astray This section of the process reveals the visuals, the underworld of your mind.
Places that do not exist are born: people, sights, smells, sounds that had before never existed become heard, and dragged into existence.
Things and Places
The home An important place and an unimportant place. The most important place and not a place at all. We spend time and money making our house into our cosy sanctuary. We read magazines, buy paint and reconstruct. We love our family and this is the place we look after them and keep them safe. We hoard things, the things we think make up our life; the first time we went on holiday together: that funny looking stick. When we went to that restaurant for the first time, napkin with a weird goat logo. When we lived down that quiet little road: that bright rug we will probably never use again. We fill our houses with these things. And is it not these things that make up our homes? No. We fill ourselves with things, cover and smother ourselves with these â€˜sentimentalâ€™ objects because we feel we need to but it is not these things. They make us feel secure, they make us feel like we are at home but it is not the things that matter. We feel the need for some sort of physical reassurance so we buy reading
lamps and curtain rails. But it isnâ€™t these things that make the difference. We do not have enough belief in that which we cannot see, therefore, we need things to make it all feel real. We do not believe in feelings enough to let them stand on their own, instead we need bookshelves and cats. The things coat what is really there. What does the Nomad need? Where is the homeless figures home? Where does the traveller have his dreams? We make our home wherever we are. In the cafe, sitting on the train, at work. Our homes are smaller than we think. I have been searching for the right size home. Everything was too small. Everything. All hope of finding the right place was taken. But the right home turned out to be one of the smallest places we had seen. We made our home there or rather we took our home there. It is difficult to separate ourselves from objects. It appears that we are one and the same, how could I possibly get rid of that?! Forgetting, that which has happened is in the
past. No object can bring it back; it happened, leave it at that. But we cannot take ourselves away from them. Our home is all our memories, all our experiences, all the people we have met, all the people we have loved. To make a home with someone is to share all these things and to make new memories. Our relationships are the precious things that make it a home not the expensive curtains or pretty vase. Sometimes what you think is important, doesnâ€™t matter at all. It may make you feel nice, make you feel special and important maybe. But when it comes down to it, the things donâ€™t really matter, they donâ€™t really matter at all. We all are snails carrying our homes on our backs, leaving a trail of memories behind us.
Such a huge expanse in the hectares it takes up and the large amount of effort it takes to maintain its existence, and yet I had no idea it was there even though I lived a short bike ride away. I was surprised to see it, I didnâ€™t expect Alexandra Palace to actually be a palace, I thought it was palace by name but not by nature. In one sense this assumption was true in that it houses no royalty instead it is a home to humanity. As we rode/ walked up the impossibly large hill, the palace presents itself along with a golf course, expanse of green and the rest of London. It was evening and at this time it seems all of London is greeting you, congratulating you on having reached the top with a plethora of lights; BT tower, Gherkin, Elephant and Castle building, Canary Wharf all so close! Or so it would have you think such is the allusion the Palace casts. The event this evening was an indefinite queue for a hug; free. Amma is her name and giving no-stringsattached love is her game. This was her UK tour date,
a truly spiritual occasion. On arrival you are given a ticket with a number, there was a pathway in white powder marking her way. Before she entered you could feel a deep something radiating from somewhere. The room was full, all the chairs were taken and not much floor space was left such was the philosophy that anyone had the chance to hug Amma. We were sitting beside the stage, there was a short ceremony involving petals, holy water and chanting which was followed by talks about life things and finally, meditation. After which the waiting began, food was available at the back of the hall near the organ, a selection of Indian cuisine and tables to sit at. The opposite end of the hall tables with merchandise had been arranged, some clothes, books, bags etc. Each letter of the alphabet had been given numbers (e.g A15) and a stand with moveable letters and numbers had been placed either side of the stage. Some people were in meditation, some, rather ominously, had blankets with them; there were families, couples, anyone you could imagine and all fairly crazy looking.
We had no way of knowing how long it was going to go on for but it wasn’t looking good, the blankets should have given us a clue. As it turned out it would have been the early hours of the morning before we got our hugs. We waited until midnight and then returned home. This shouldn’t sound like a defeatist outcome by any means. The experience of being there, of meeting such ‘out there’ and bewildering people and having the knowledge that these things go on and are a very active belief system that millions throughout the world follow, was more than enough. To see so many people there to be a part of that room and gain an insight into that world. The first time I saw the mutation was from a spiritual sanctuary filled with scarf wearing activists to a hall of darts fans drinking shit overpriced larger. Working in the WKD bar at the darts there was a debate between myself and my colleague over the decor of the palace. It is of a moment, at some point that was decided to be
a good idea and I think that is why I liked it. Not because it was beautiful or well done or the colours looked good together but because there was a reason why it was chosen and, therefore, it worked, it was an historical bookmark.
Pornography, ClĂŠrambault and Superman
Whilst roaming around BBC iplayer, I came across The Paradise, it wasn’t particularly outstanding in anyway but I wanted something different and comforting to watch and it was available. A department store which could very well have been a victim to a series of unusual thefts. At the time, I was also reading Drapery by Gen Doy which put it into an altogether different light. It was in here that Doy mentions Zola’s Au Bonhear des Dames (The ladies Delight) from which The Paradise was born. And it was Zola’s novel that brought the occurrence of upper class women stealing silk from department stores ‘especially from the 1880’s onwards’23 into general knowledge. The 2012 series, based on Zola’s novel, assaults the eyes with decadence and colours but finds no time to let lose the other senses. No hint of the sound and sight of silk. It was silk they had to have, no other
(2002), Drapery: Classicism and Barbarism in Visual Culture, p106. I.B.Tauris, London. 101
material would do. It was noted as part of the allure for de Clérambault’s patients, it was described as the ‘cry’24. In the film Le Cri de La Soie (The Cry of Silk)25, Yvon Marciano did anything but leave out any element of sensuality, the complete nature of silk is laid bare. The film was carefully constructed around de Clérambault’s life, mainly focusing on his ‘interest in artistic drapery’26 . iplayer itself is there to indulge in, when the need to do nothing erects itself, the need to be released from everything, you turn to something which turns off a section of your brain. iplayer allows you to forget, to block out unwanted thoughts just like The Paradise in Au Bonhear des Dames. Clérambault’s patients used silk for another kind of need not a hunger need or a pain need but a pleasure need. The pleasure they sought for is the kind buried deep within. The silk was
24 Ibid., p112. 25 1995.
Doy.G., (2002), Drapery: Classicism and Barbarism in Visual Culture, p112. I.B.Tauris, London. 26
not a memento of something bad they had done but a tool to push themselves over the edge. By using the silk to rub against heir clitoris they were reaching a limit, an extremity that could not be found in any other part of their life, they were taking complete control of themselves in one sense and letting go in another. The reasoning behind de Clérambault’s interest in the women who ‘cried’ with silk according to some, was to discover whether they were fetishists; he thought that women did not have the ability. One of his ‘subjects’ remarks under questioning by Clérambault that, ‘...if shops did not display silks in a tempting manner, she would never bother to steal them.’27 Clérambault’s patients stealing silk to subsequently masturbate with was unimaginable in early 20th century France, therefore, they were condemned and treated as mad, hysterical. They had found a way to release themselves from the restrictions and limitations that the early 20th century society had placed on them; the
Doy.G., (2002), Drapery: Classicism and Barbarism in Visual Culture, p109. I.B.Tauris, London. 27
very same society that provided such temptations and left the fantasies and desires of women unfulfilled and wanting more. One of the obstacles in accepting pornography is its rejection of naivety and vulnerability. I believe in the ideology of love. Not the fake kind we see in films but the one where you fall in love with someone and then you make love. The giving and receiving of pleasure; aren’t these the fundamental elements of pornography and how do they fit into pornography, if at all? Clérambault’s patients needed to exist outside of themselves which led them to their unusual pass-time and the origins of the idea to steal and use the silk. So kept and controlled by and in society, this was their only way in which they could free themselves. They had found something that forced them to an extreme state. Similar to the function of pornography in todays’ society, it plays a huge part in the fulfilment of sexual fantasies and desires.
Just as the silk had in the early 20th century, pornography creates an invisible veil, distancing the viewer from his/her object of desire. To distance oneself from the act of love, to release oneself from a sexual encounter and instead opt for the easy way out. Of course there is a time and a place but often it is much more than that. It becomes a habit a reason not to partake in reality. A reason to cover yourself and your stimulant in a veil, to allow yourself to forget. What happens when you wake up and see the face behind the mask? Is there a time to dive into fantasy as Clérambault’s patients did, and a time to go back into reality? It is fair to say that the method Clérambault’s patients had with using silk is, however bizarre it may seem, based in reality, more so than the use of pornography and yet Clérambault condemned these women to hysteria; if he were alive now the asylums would no doubt be full!
Lois and Clark: The Adventures of Superman (1990) Season Two, Episode Four, The Prankster. The main characters are at a private view and whilst discussing the art around them, the group is interrupted with a gift presented to Lois. The scene plays out like a bizarre dream, a note comes with the gift: ‘Whenever I think of you my heart sings. Your secret admirer.’ It is a box, a pretty amazing looking thing. But we know it’s too good to be true from all the nervous glances. Lois opens it up with every inch of Christmas morning anticipation. Clark is ready to attack the thing from a thousand different angles: 1. How dare anyone make advances on Lois, I am the man in her life, 2. As Superman, primed and ready to digest whatever nasty gremlin is hiding inside to protect everyone and save the world. The man of feeling and the man of action. Both of which are interdependent of the other but act independently. ‘...nothing exists in its own right independently of
other factors.’28 Clark and Superman, although act separately, need/rely on each other. We need fantasy just as Superman needs Clark and Clark needs Superman. The gift is opened to reveal a mystical box with pagan like paintings on each side or something similar to a renaissance tapestry. When the lid is lifted a puppet man is revealed. The puppet starts to sing, and we realise its Pavarotti adding another surreal but romantic element to the gift. Clark’s reaction from the gift clearly reveals his dislike for any competition and when Clark is forced to secretly morph into Superman to stop the puppet from singing, balance is restored. Lois predicts the gift giver to be a stalker boy from college who is ‘acting on his sick little fantasies’ which turns out to be unjustifiable guess work. Lois believed the man’s fantasies were strong enough to provoke such a display. This is a situation which occurs often in everyday life in unrequited love stories: 28
Lama.D.,(2006), The Tibetan Book of the Dead, Penguin. London. 107
fantasies turned into delusion, similar to her own fantasies of Superman. ClĂŠrambault Syndrome in action. Comics and the genre of SciFi often reflect our existence but in a distorted view. In Superman the characters and daily tasks are ones that could easily apply to our world but then there are the sprinkles of magic, flying men from other planets, which allow our minds to wander. However bizarre and alien the created world is, there are still parallels to be drawn if you look closely. SciFi allows us to see into and create other worlds. This is important to the evolution of new ideas and new ways of thinking.
Back at home, I lived a minute away, maybe less from the bookshop and I needed this book urgently. I went the short walk to the shop and picked up what I needed. While I was there I noticed a poster for a competition the bookshop were running. I considered myself to have some skills in writing so I thought I would give it a go. I was in the children’s section on the bottom shelf compiling the book. I went to the counter and passed it over. The lady wasn’t sure. There was a display case next to the till, she opened it up from her side and placed the book in the case. There was a camel image with my book. “Hmm,” she said. “I don’t think so. We are looking for people with talent and this clearly doesn’t have any.” I was angry and upset, I tried to explain that I had only popped into the shop for a second and done it here and now, I had no idea that it was supposed to go in a display case, I thought it was about the writing! I whined. “I see. Well, here is the book.” The lady handed me this huge book with a title that covered the front and spine of the book. It listed the judges and explained all
the rules. I thought I recognised one of the judges and this person was not a good judge of anything. â€œThe competition is actually for students. Are you a student?â€? I explained to the lady that I was a few years ago but not anymore. The lady seemed to think that that was OK but a bit odd seeing as usually the graduates were the ones doing the judging rather than participating. This left me feeling like I was no good at all, I had no talent and that even the students were better than me.
In and Out of Fantasy
Clérambault’s work is described by Apter as ‘...concerned more on the psychotic, paranoid workings of object delusion...’29 which forms a parallel with how Clérambault treated his patients as the object and perhaps the subjects in his photographs and his use of the veil hides his own desire. His treatment of his patients was, it would seem, less than hospitable, ‘Clérambault seems to treat his patients as objects rather than individuals with a personality’30 . Another account from a letter written to a colleague of Clérambault ‘s notes that de Clérambault asked to ‘keep an attractive patient for a few more days so that she can be photographed.’31 Clérambault goes on to give directions as to how her hair should be kept. They were his objects. Clérambault used them to research their condition of fetishism or not, in relation to their use of silk and, subsequently, they became his fetishistic objects.
Doy.G., (2002), Drapery: Classicism and Barbarism in Visual Culture, p110. I.B.Tauris, London. 30
Ibid., p105 113
Apter explains that many have used Erotomania and all it entails ‘to describe the collecting furore that swept through France during the latter half of the nineteenth century...’ 32 It was during this time that Pitt Rivers was nursing his collection. He found a place for his objects, traveling all over the world for them only to return home to nurture them. He created his own system for how the objects should be arranged: typology; a system that made sense to him. A system for his objects. His system was created from a necessity, a need to make sense of a vast collection of objects from around the world ‘...their quantity and diversity appearing overwhelming, limitless and even chaotic’33 . I had found myself trapped inside my fantasies, I could not relieve myself from them. I enjoyed being 32 Apter.E.,
(1989), Assemblage, Cabinet Secrets: Fetishism, Prostitution and the Fin de Siecle Interior [e-journal] June, N0.9, p14. [Available through: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3171149] (Accessed on 06.03.2012.), MIT Press. 33
Smith.D., (2012), Traces of Modernity, p63, Zero books, UK. 114
there inside the known and yet unknown, the demented familiar but at the same time it was unbearable. I could see what I wanted in these fantasies; for brief moments I could forget where I was sitting in the partly converted loft of my parentsâ€™ house. Being engulfed by fantasy enables you to forget the present but simultaneously reminds you of the things you wish you could forget. Fantasy has a way of grabbing the forgotten dregs of memory to the surface. Words are often a problem because they have so much history and time layered across them. Freud used the word die phantasie but he wrote in German... When the text was translated how is such a specific and critical word such as die phantasie translated? It came from the Greeks, and meant â€˜mental activity that did not have any relationship with external realityâ€™ 34 . From this point onwards phantasy has been mutated through folds of time, rolled in social context which has added and subtracted elements many times over. 34
Steiner.R.,ed., (2003), Unconscious Phantasy, p2, Karnac, London. 115
As a result, the word phantasy is sometimes used to describe an unconscious process in the mind the meaning of which varies significantly. It is my attempt to keep to Freudâ€™s use and use the English translation of die phantasie, (phantasy) and Freudâ€™s meaning which of course I could have mistranslated but I shall stick with what I understand to be phantasy. This could be yet another mutation of the word. It is my understanding that in the process of having a fantasy, there are ingredients, situations and emotions which lead to a fantasy. At the very beginning of it all we have phantasy; where our dreams come from, where all the unknown things are. The things that could reveal all, tell us our deep dark secrets about why we are the way we are. Fantasies come from the part of us that has said no to something, where do our dreams go after that? They have been tainted with impossibility. We have them back in our daydreams. There they seem harmless, pointless even. But they give us hope, they allow us to see that which we considered to be impossible. A lot of what goes on, we
have no idea about, if we want to know we should learn psychoanalysis, only then will the invisible decisions become available. Myself being stuck in fantasy, I had to find my way out. The question was, why was I fantasising? This question conjured up all sorts of Freudian theories and musings. It was not one thing but a process of many things. The origins of which I discovered to be phantasy. The unconscious.
The wish for a never-ending daydream. The point where there is nothing left. Nothing of the point is left. You have awoken to discover none of it is what you wanted. You need something real. Something you can rely on. The dream is over. The fantasy has started. The hope begins. The delusion starts. The moment comes when it all falls apart. The whole process unravels. And the sourness of reality fights back.
â€˜What was the good in moving when a person could travel so wonderfully sitting in a chair?â€™35 Duc Jean Des Esseintes in Against Nature by J.K.,Huysmans
Botton.de. A., (2003), The Art of Travel, Penguin. London. 121
Reality Mutation The most disturbing thing is how much people/ players want to believe it. Its not that they have to be convinced at all. The video game doesn't have to try, it is all there for the taking: the player wants to be taken. Loosing themselves inside something, wishing themselves to be in a different reality. Their reality may not even be bad. That makes no difference they still have the desire to be taken over by something, taken somewhere else by something. For what? For a change? Because they get something from it? Procrastination? The saddest sound is the clicking of the keyboard and mouse ticks, sounds pressed tightly to their ears. Because thatâ€™s all it is from the outside. These sounds. Mutation from man to first person shooter, everything else is forgotten and now you have an AA locked on your helicopter and are going to save the world with the fingers of a keyboard taping, belly-besotted, weed
smoking layabout surrounded by ash, Wertherâ€™s Originals wrappers and piles of empty water bottles. Lifestyles- or ways out of life, ways to avoid life and forget life. Or another life? A life that can exist endlessly and a life where your problems are limited to mouse clicks. I am not meaning to say that this habit is negative even though I have perhaps edged it towards that light; there is nothing better than imagining you can be somewhere else. What is doing something and what is doing nothing? What do we mean by the word doing? Is thinking doing something? Is creating an imaginary world inside your head doing something? Where did this video game emerge from? We like to mutate our reality and to live in fantasy. Sometimes we like changing our reality for a different one. This ability means we can cope with difficult times and imagine better ones. The ever present Goddess is left to linger on the bed, waiting but having no
such luck. Sounds of far off thunder and the tick, tack of keys. The sun has gone back to sleep, the blue door is shut...with the pages in front of her she sits and drifts into another world.
Appendix I was once great at cleaning tables and delivering food but it all seemed to slip. I didnâ€™t care anymore. And I hated everyone. I hated the sun. I hated half term. I hated families. I hated kids. I hated couples. I hated people who dared ask me questions. I hated carrying food. I hated taking cutlery. I hated bringing ketchup soo much. I hated Fridays. I hated people asking for mayo. I hated weekends. I loved it when the kitchen closed But however lazy or more like, indifferent I was to mess I always tried to take the food out as fast as I could. Except maybe if it was one bowl of chips, or one bowl of cheesy chips, or one bowl of chilli cheesy chips. My relationship with the kitchen people was great. Mainly because I considered myself to be one of them and I would like to think they considered me one of them. But I was stuck in between the two. I would laugh and joke with them, drink with them and make fun out of them as they would me. Not that I didnâ€™t get
on with the bar people. I did. But I felt more similar to those crazy guys in the kitchen. I even came to love their metal music after a while. One day it stopped. It was the beginning of summer. There werenâ€™t really enough staff most of the time but we managed. It seemed like everyday more benches appeared outside and we would be running in between them trying to spot number twenty two or eighteen somewhere amongst the swarms. We prayed for rain everyday. I was pretty damn good at spotting those damn numbers but after a while you really get fed up with it. Some people are idiots in fact most people. You are given a number at the bar for your food. Not unusual in a pub. But for fucks sake why would you hide your number?!?! Do you not want your food? Do you like your food cold? No. By the time we have found you, you complain that the food is cold, I take the number from the back of the table, the one furthest away from the pub as possible, lying down. Motherfuckers.
We were dealing with this and many, many, many more irritable habits the public has to offer, day after day, weekend after weekend. During the week it wasnâ€™t too bad but my God the weekends were the worst of the worst. Kids, lots of them. People everywhere. Drinking. What were they doing here?! It was always a mystery to us. Stay at home and relax for Godâ€™s sake! To have a dream is a most wondrous thing! It propels you through anything. It keeps you alive, gives you a reason to live. So what then if the dream is taken? Death?