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ICI Berin # Naming Touch and The Omnipotence of Words: From Protection to Provocation

­­Naming Touch Symposium, ICI Berlin 28-29 June

Symposium Organized by Iracema Dulley and Rachel Aumiller ICI Berlin-Institute for Cultural Inquiry, June 28-29, 2022



you resist what you cannot resist; you cannot resist what you resist

Touch is dangerous, yet thrilling. It is alluring, yet threatening; invigorating, yet deadly.


However, touch is not only dubious according to the conflicting emotions, sensations and feelings it might provoke, it is not only equivocal in its effect - it is suspicious as such, on the very phenomenal level.


After 60 years of silence and repression, the signifier III. World War suddenly popped up. It started to circulate on social media. Perhaps, some of those who started to talk about it obsessively, offered an explanation/justification of an enlightened pacifist: the more we talk about it, the more we discuss it, the more we are aware of the danger of the nuclear war and the lesser is the chance that it will truly happen. But let us face it: a rational justification of the enlightened pacifist is nothing but a coverage, a disguise of an obsessive-narcissist contra-charm, the belief that their words have a power of protection, of preventing the world to slip into a cataclysm.


The recent obsessive discussion on the topic of a nuclear war is therefore nothing but a flip-side of the neurotic silence. The same superstition and over-valuation is at work in both: if we repress the signifier or obsessively use it, charm and contra-charm, spell and protection, both are the consequence of our inability to face the real: the accumulative power of destructive forces, death as a plain fact, and the inner limits of humanity.


Dealing with the reality as it is, we are obliged to change the way we act, and, in a deep understanding of the omnipotence of signifiers, launch radically novel discourses empowering our actions.

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