Panel: The Madness of Methods: Emerging Arts Research Practices
Exploring the ways in which the digital works as an interface for queer sexuality (in fantasy and in practice) this paper argues for a Queer Theory return to psychoanalysis, and its tradition of theory-based practice and practice-based theory. The construction of the human body – its drives, its affects, its markings, its illnesses – have all been questions taken up by Queer Theory as it has had, from the beginning, the lived body as its main object of study. Yet Queer Theory’s rise to academic prominence has also coincided with an intense re-configuration of this human body and how it deals with its objects of desire through the increasing embedding of digital technology in the everyday. Taking up barebacking (unprotected sex among strangers) as an emblematic contemporary “problem” of and for queerness, the paper investigates the ways in which psychoanalytic theories of early childhood development help us understand what is at play between the new media subject and his new media object.
- Diego Costa is a Provost research fellow at the University of Southern California’s Interdivisional Media Arts & Practice PhD program and a teaching assistant in Gender Studies. His film work explores the constitutive and symptomatic relationship between queer flesh and queer psyche in essayistic self-fiction and domestic ethnography modes. In the feature-length The Parricide Sessions (2007), shown at the IFC Center in New York and international film festivals, Costa engages in psychodramatic games with his father, who is invited to play Costa’s former lovers in the film. In Project ADAM (2010) Costa probes the naked body of a “perfect faggot”being in an empty room, asking what might be lodged in his throat and celebrating the never-ending non-productivity of his existence. As an academic Costa has focused his research on digital sexual economies, gender-nonconformant children, and barebacking — through a hybridization of contemporary Queer Theory and Lacanian Psychoanalysis. He approaches art practice vis-à-vis methodological research as akin to the clinical labor of psychoanalysis. The reason and rigor normally associated with scientific methods are, thus, imbricated in rigorous attentiveness to the unconscious. He asks how might we nurture a necessary distance from artwork and theory so that we can listen to the unconscious for the purposes of developing a symptomatology of the research (and the researcher)? Costa will discuss the importance of psychoanalytical literacy as a means to unsettle any kind of method regarding the human experience. Screening examples of his experimental film and installation work, he explores how allowing the unconscious to take shape through art, coupled with a well-honed ability to read it utilizing the symbolic language of Lacanian psychoanalysis, can contribute to the formation of a new research paradigm where the researchers include their own desire among their objects of study. dondiegoonline.blogspot.com/?zx=e28628394d9f6aaf
Full text (PDF) p. 541-543