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All In The Family at Sara Meltzer

Peggy Ahwesh, Martina's Playhouse, 1989, Super-8 to video via Sara Meltzer Gallery

All In The Family - Screening
8:30 sharp - June 25, 2008
Sara Meltzer Gallery, 525-531 West 26th

“There is no subject without, somewhere, aphanisis of the subject, and it is in this alienation, in this fundamental division, that the dialectic of the subject is established,” Lacan remarked in his seminar of June 3, 1964 - one of the texts cited in Peggy Ahwesh’s film Martina’s Playhouse, which is included in a group screening this Wednesday at Sara Meltzer. Aphanisis, for its part, is the old psychoanalytic term for the loss of sexual desire. Historically considered to be merely the basis for all neuroses, Lacan still managed a conceptual upgrade by arguing that all subjectivity is structurally neurotic, and thus that aphanisis is, in fact, the central process by which the signifier, inevitably on loan from the symbolic, comes to undo the classically Cartesian subject. By filming herself helping the child Martina, (she of the playhouse) to read this text out loud, Ahwesh provides one of the more delightfully knowing pedagogical diagrams in recent memory. Moreover, it is to Ahwesh’s great credit that not only does one not need know Lacan (or Bataille for that matter) to appreciate this film, but that; indeed, it frequently does a better job of illustrating his ideas than he does.

A screening organized by Laura Parnes, artists include Peggy Ahwesh, Patty Chang, Eteam, Rico Gatson, Liselot van der Heijden, Lovett/Codagnone, Kristin Lucas, Guy Ben Ner, Laura Parnes, Shannon Plumb, Barbara Pollack, and Martynka Wawrzyniak.