The Fantasy of Touch and the Inscenation of the (Un)touchable: Pyramus and Thisbe

Article in Problemi 5-6/20

Fantazma dotika in uprizoritev (ne)dotakljivega: Piram in Tizba

Bara Kolenc


The article deals with the question: How does touch structure the subject?

In the Rome Discourse, Lacan exposes the fact that contrary to other therapeutic practices psychoanalysis set forth the ‘prohibition of touch’ as its starting point. Following that, Lacan stresses, psychoanalysis needed to define the field of its experience anew in order to justify its scientific approach. This definition, as is known, was formed through the reduction of psychoanalytical practice to the realm of language, which stems from the proposition of the fundamental schism at the level of the field established by sense perception.

The article aims at conceptually capturing (or approximating) the phenomenon and the event of touch from the perspective of the (psychoanalytical) subject. It does this on the basis of presupposing an un-real core of touch: touch is possible only in its impossibility, it is realised only through its own non-realisation.

Through the story of Pyramus and Thisbe, which, in a certain direct way, realises the (im)possibility of touch, the article tackles the deconstruction of the fantasy of touch, on which the usual interpretations and representations of the myth under consideration are based. In this, it emphasises the ideological role of representation as a process of reproducing fantasy, to which it opposes the mechanism of inscenation as a traumatic, but, in the appropriation of the function of illusion, also a productive realisation of the deconstruction of ideology.