Cathy Lebowitz interviews Josefina Ayerza
Cathy: The woman screams but does she speak?
Josefina: She does not speak because there doesn’t seem to be an other that listens. What she does is scream for someone to listen. Then she goes back to silence. After a while she will scream again, very suddenly and very loud.
C: She never says any words. How does Lacan’s body of words relate to this body without words? Does she say anything without words?
J: This doesn’t mean she does not say words. She is not a body without words… The crying of a baby is already a word. Gary Hill’s woman screaming is a cry — and in this it is a word. Why so? Desire is already involved in the cry. Call it drive. You can figure out two kinds of satisfactions entirely different. The baby is fed, his hunger is satisfied. When on the contrary he moves his lips while being asleep, as if sucking, the only satisfaction he gets is that of drive. With Lacan the gap separates aim from goal, transforming the simple instinctual act that finds peace when reaching its goal (the full stomach) into the process which gets caught in its own loop and insists on endlessly repeating itself.
C: Language seems to be denied her…
J: It is so, in a way. If she is not given a space in the symbolic, from where will she talk? This is how her non-existence is at stake, how she says nothing.
C: This seems to conflict. If a cry is a word, is a desire, then she connects to the symbolic. If a desire is always through the Other… doesn’t her cry signify her existence?
J: As to the cry being a word, being a desire… she certainly connects to the symbolic. There is an Other. A desire is always through the Other, sure, and her cry signifies this Other. The issue is womanhood — existence doesn’t necessarily do it for her. She ex-sists the Other. Say, like the unconscious, it ex-sists language. So to bring up the unconscious into being you need to do some work. Same with the woman, same with the analyst, same with the work-of-art.