Tag: Homi Bhabha


by on Nov.03, 2010

The eye/wound

To slit the eye so that vision may be exploded is to involve the eye in a huger project, one that disorients epistemological hierarchies. To wound the eye is to pluck it from its niche at the top of the humanist hierarchy (seat of vision, insight, understanding, rationality) and reinsert it in a horizontal position of occult and limitless contact. As Homi Bhabha holds in “Interrogating Identity” in The Location of Culture,

“The evil eye, which is nothing in itself, exists in its lethal traces or effects as a form of iteration that arrests time—death/chaos—and initiates a space of intercutting that articulates politics/psyche, sexuality/race. It does this in a relation that is differential and strategic rather than originary, ambivalent rather than accumulative, doubling rather than dialectical.” [55/6]

This “evil eye” is evil because it has rejected its perch as the king of the senses and “initiates a space of intercutting”—as good a gloss on the function of the eye wound at the opening of Chien Andalou as any. For indeed, to view that film for the first time is to be initiated into just such an “space of intercutting”, of bold and gratuitous montage that exists in the slash mark, the mark of violence that, in the Surrealist project, links “politics” to “psyche”, “sexuality” to “race”. The slash mark of montage also fulfills all the first terms in Bhaba’s sequence; it establishes a voltaic differential, marks a literal ambivalence (the join that sunders), and it doubles—envisions an ‘or’ that is really a kind of impossible ‘and’.

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