Circular Paths of Pleasure in Marco Berrettini's iFeel2
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Performance Research: a journal of the performing arts
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This article thinks about the connections between performance, repetition and pleasure by drawing on Lacanian theory. It examines the temporal and spatial experience of desire's perpetual unfulfillment through Marco Berrettini's performance iFeel2. The article playfully accounts for the ways in which Berretini's work enacts the Lacanian theory of the constitutive insatiability of desire, but also asks how the performance re-thinks and re-shapes this theoretical framework. It argues that the movement of the Lacanian drive towards and away from the object of desire resembles, in this case, the spectator's experience of repetition. The shape of this experience could be described as a circular path; the aim of repetition is to perpetuate this movement to and from the object of desire, which is the fulfillment of repetition's promise for satisfaction. Lacan draws an important distinction between the drive's aim and goal, which is significant in the understanding of repetition: the aim is the mission itself, the itinerary, in other words, what we intend to do, while the goal the final destination. The article uses this distinction to analyse iFeel2, which raises questions about the spectatorial experience, examined here as an experience of desire, a perpetual process towards searching for satisfaction. In this process, the object of desire is always already lost and desire's fulfillment untenable. The article, finally, draws on Žižek's reading of the Lacanian drive to discuss the above and makes use of Greek philosopher Zeno's paradoxes to demonstrate the type of interminable race repetition sets in motion, as well as an understanding of the unrepresentability of the present. Desire's paradox is further theorised by Shoshana Felman's writing on the myth of Don Juan. The article concludes that repetition in this case both stages and produces desire, which is untenable, the object of which is already lost in this interminable race for pleasure. It argues that repetition make a promise, the promise of satisfaction, which is inherently perverse; the breach of such promise enables the perpetuation of the process of wanting which enables an experience of circular paths of pleasure. The pleasure of the Lacanian circular path is thus the pleasure of desiring itself, structured by repetition.
- Department of Drama