We are publishing the text written by Harry Kraieviets (Neue Judische Kunst) for the video installation of the exhibition «Flooding». The text was translated into Ukrainian by Mirek Bodnar, and you could hear the voice of Yuriy Izdryk in the video.
Plenty of people dream of such a world, which will be open to a psychotic subject, having completely forgotten that they are quite familiar with him/her, because, in fact, structurally our personality is absolutely similar to paranoia, its structure is constituted in the same form as the notorious delusion of an «ordinary madman».
Although in case of the subject in delusions, who drowns in their own abyss of madness, without ever being able to symbolize their desire, to hold it in the whirlpool of aggressive transparent water, s/he, unlike the desire-obsessed neurotic subject, who rinses their desire in a small stagnant pond, which has been overgrown with mud and algae for a very long time, can even command some respect to a certain degree.
After all, our madman really cherishes hopes or simply tries to heal up, to get rid of the split «I». To some extent, s/he just wants to build a dam, thereby protecting their own nature from aggressive waterfalls and saving residents from sudden floods, which most often occur in the spring or during the full moon.
Having been observing the people, drowning in delusions, for a long time, I have caught myself thinking that they have certain freedom or perhaps, to be more precise, certain independence.
Empty eyes filled with the reflection of the Real, watery lenses that have never looked for an answer to their own madness in the other. You may have visions of icy fear, cold or something eerie in the area of the solar plexus, but this is just a hole, which for us is covered with the imaginary, it creates a draft, and this wind makes us feel chilly. But you should not expect real flooding if your unconscious is not in the open air, but rather looks like a pool with swimming lanes and stairs for convenient plunging into it. The psychotic subject’s attempt to explain to themself what it all means, in the hope of settling the world, seems quite confident. Many will even say—«but s/he knows what s/he is talking about», or «in their time there would not be such a mess.» Perhaps they will even vote for him/her and elect him/her as the chief.
In this case I am describing only the analyst’s «innocent» position in the office, when s/he simply tries to listen to the delusions, without analyzing hallucinations by their form, but rather becoming a devoted secretary, scrupulously trying to find out the smallest details and meanings in the insane’s setup, trying to penetrate the fabric of a series of the signified ones, mixed up in a non-random order at all.
In the patient’s attempt to attest to their special attitude to a language, we are safe until we accidentally introduce our own meaning, therefore, in such a situation analysts would rather block the pipe than patch it, rather solder the nodes that will save the subject and us along with him/her from sudden flooding of the body with pleasure.
But I am more interested in the condition of a flood, not a leaky pipe, the larger scale of the event in which you do not choose whether to be in it, it just happens and continues in its own temporality until the dove returns, like in Noah’s case, or someone eliminates its cause in a radical way. The metaphysical abyss, the horror of non-existence or, as the president of the globe Schreber aptly called it, the murder of the soul, a small crack that suddenly appeared with the other.
Then, when you have found yourself underwater and have got in the lower abyss, what you will want all the time is not faith, but the knowledge that the flood will surely end, the subject will stop enjoying, flooding everything and everyone around with their signified ones, someday this will stop or the savior will come and turn off the faucet. The symbolic irreal begins covering everything around, you drown, the language stops oppressing the real, you witness the death of the subject.
While describing the event in which the symbolic returns in the form of the real, it is more reliable to use the avant-garde language.
The avant-garde was the only movement in which delusions ceased to be labeled as something dangerous, the main character no longer needed to reach the state of madness gradually, it arrived all of a sudden and immediately clarified everything in hindsight. It even seems to me that in the avant-garde practice, psychotic episodes have become a point of clarification or bringing clarity with the help of the other language to the world of machines.
Returning to the clinical picture of psychosis, it is important to remember some of the tendencies which may be inherent in the subject, that has driven people into his/her own hallucination, plunging them into terror, throwing the consciousness of the masses into the vortex of the boundless Ocean of Chaos. The thirties and forties of the twentieth century seem to be an excellent example: at one point Europe and above all the Yiddish culture, a construction that is certainly neurotic in its nature and discourse, with a clear craving for Art Nouveau, a culture of a constant search for the lost object and of worshiping the Father-Name in all forms, from love to oblivion, suddenly found itself flooded with pleasure or, so to speak, got under the dominion of the orgasming avant-garde. The stray avant-garde turned into the patient who lost touch with reality, began speaking its own language and hearing the voices of the Nibelungs. The delusions of grandeur of the completely inverted consciousness plunged everyone into water, and this is not at all the case of Atlantis-utopia that disappeared to remain a utopia, but rather the aggressive uncontrollable machine that runs on the fuel of the ideological war.
Voids after flooding become visible, such is the effect of water. It will always find itself a place where to seep through, pleasure circulates, and this makes the body hurt, the body suffers.
Such a situation is similar to the first important event that a child faces at birth—only exactly the opposite. But we know from history that only the antithesis can provide the understanding of what is happening. Birth trauma is experienced by everyone who has managed to break out of the mother’s womb and to meet the total abyss of the outside world. But unlike the people who fell victims to a flood, a child experiences the total horror of losing a protective shell. The first cry symbolizes this horror.
The event that throws out of the inner into the outer, the arrival at the new infinite light darkness of this outer cosmos and the encounter with the mother object plunges the subject into the infinite space of something else, that entails fear. But at the same time, this event presents peace, warmth, and even perhaps albeit object still love.
We are talking about the situation to which it is impossible to adapt: getting back into the womb (and here I use the word «womb» rather as a metaphor for a closed shell from which it is possible to come out voluntarily or when the time comes), people found themselves at the event similar to an aphasic squall of the chief who is in delusions. And, naturally, they suffocated in water, not being able to fight back, because this requires time for adaptation, a place for preparation. There is no time for that underwater.
It is impossible to adapt to a flood without having gills or scuba diving gear. The only chance is to go aboard a ship and to wait, but the victims of the Shoah were not given such an opportunity.
Although there was an imitation of fleeing to a ship, because when a person flees, s/he certainly takes with them only the most necessary things and jewelry—exactly what the Germans ordered the Jews to take with them. In such a way the victims found themselves in the metonymic lake of the signified ones, became hostages to the event that entailed the lack of a meaning or, as it is customary to say today, an empty sign.