shame one

shame one
Author: Various
Publisher: Jan van Eyck Akademie
Language: English
Pages: 52
Weight: 145 g
Binding: -
ISBN: 9789072076656
Availability: In stock
Price: €15.00
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Product Description

Sigmund Freud once noted that ‘The people in whose presence one
feels ashamed are almost always strangers, with their features left
indeterminate’ and it is you, dear reader, who is one of them. If shame
emerges in the breach between you and me, between the private and
the public, this magazine is a willfully idiosyncratic and multi-faced attempt
to approach this breach, that is, to approach shame in its different
registers from the sexual and personal to the political.

In German shame (Scham) can mean a feeling of humiliation or distress,
as well as genitalia. This ambiguity resonates with the notion of
fetishism as a displacement of desire onto a body part or object that
is bestowed with a phallic function. The public exposure of oneself as
a quasi-phallic object of the other’s gaze triggers shame and it is this
mechanism that Wolfgang Fütterer’s field research into hair fetishism
takes as its point of departure. Fütterer’s report ‘Recontom & I’
culminates in his appointment with the hair fetishist Recontom and is
documented by a series of photographs that run like a flicker book
throughout the magazine. Each page reveals another image that disconcertingly
collides with the context it is inserted to. Take for instance
Shogo Matsushiro’s matter-of-fact photograph of three Indian teenagers
in a desert landscape – juxtaposed with the small image of Recontom
and Wolfgang in the right corner of the page, an uncomfortable
tension between age, race and sexuality arises.

Short-circuiting the incommensurable and drawing fault lines is key to
this project and to contributions such as ‘Barber shop: some hollowpoints
and a couple pairs of trimmers’, a fragment of an exchange
that Fütterer secretly recorded in a hair salon in Memphis on January
20, 2012. Nicholas Matranga transcribed the recording and selected a
sequence where three men engage in a banal conversation about guns
and about the failed attempt to kill another man in that very shop.
Oddly enough it is the barber’s question ‘Is your hair cut all right?’ that
exposes the absurdity and violence lurking behind the air of banality.

This chance encounter between politics and hair gains unexpected
actuality in Simon Denny’s collage titled ‘EU policy on financial “haircuts”
superimposed over Recent Haircut paintings’. The piece consists
of an image of a canvas from Denny’s series of works titled ‘Recent
haircut paintings’ (2008) onto which photocopies of an EU economic
policy related to ‘financial haircuts’ are superimposed. Roughly speaking,
receiving a haircut in finance means that a borrower partially fails
to pay back his debt. Thus, you are suffering a haircut of a certain
percentage, the probability of which is calculated beforehand in terms
of risk of loss. In the economic parlance of the current Euro Crisis this
particular kind of haircut became indeed a fashionable trope. But what
do EU policy diagrams such as ‘Haircut schedule for use as collateral
in Euro system market operations’ (p.22) actually tell us about current
politics? In the opaque language of finance, haircut metaphors appear
as absurd as a conversation about guns in a barber shop.

Picking up on the theme of politics, Samo Tomsic’s contribution explores
the political valences of shame. Based on Jacques Lacan’s psychoanalytic
writings on shame in relation to the 1968 student uprisings, Tomsic
argues for the political significance of shame as a disturbance of the
capitalist economy of pleasure, in which enjoyment is imperative. Who
enjoys and who is ashamed, one might ask, in the barber shop of

In a conceptual loop from end to beginning the contributions by Alexander,
Nathaniel Boyd and Hinrichs Sachs return to the intimate registers
of shame. Whereas at the outset sexuality was the focus of attention,
what is at stake here is the public exposure of doubt, failure and
intimacy. Practicing a form of confessional writing or drawing, these
contributions thrive on a surplus of proximity: they come a bit too close,
give away a bit too much information. Perhaps, you as a reader might
even feel ashamed on behalf of them? To be sure, this magazine is as
much about you as about them. It is the presence of your scrutinizing
gaze, dear reader, that makes shame/’Shame’ come into being. And it
is only because of you that something as banal as pubic hair becomes
the ultimate signifier of shame.

Jenny Nachtigall