An I That Is Both Part of the Spectacle and Part of the Audience


john malkovich


The name I call upon while writing this is the name of a dead man, a man that, even if he was a matter of facts of a case like Valdemar’s (Poe 1845), the words from his mouth would only mean »I’m mortal«. I’m dressing up in his name, crawling into the portal of his name, into his ‘I’: »An I that functioning as a pure passageway for operations of substitution is not some singular and irreplaceable existence, some subject or life.« Or is it he, his name, the present absence of the trace, who is taking over me, »Who is it that is addressing you? Since it is not an author, a narrator, or a deus ex machina, it is an I that is both part of the spectacle and part of the audience, an I that, a bit like you, undergoes its own incessant violent reinscription within the arithmetical machinery.«

If the I, like in John Malkovich, is a woman, we would have found a missing link, the biological factor of Judith Butler’s performative theory. »I think it’s kinda sexy that John Malkovich has a portal, y’know, sort of like, it’s like, like he has a vagina. It’s sort of vaginal, y’know, like he has a, he has a penis AND a vagina. I mean, it’s sort of like… Malkovich’s… feminine side. I like that.« Lotte Schwartz in Being John Malkovich (1999).


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