PopMatters excerpts: “escaping abjection’s usual confines of psychoanalysis and aesthetic modernism, the contributors to Abjection Incorporated examine a range of media, including literature, photography, film, television, talking dolls, comics, and manga. Enjoy this generous excerpt, courtesy of Duke University Press…”
In “Spit * Light * Spunk: Larry Clark, an Aesthetic of Frankness,” Eugenie Brinkema demands that we see abjection as form, refusing to assimilate the abject’s graphic excess into the symbolic order to which (in some accounts) it stands as Other. Closely reading the cinematic and photographic work of Larry Clark through the lens of radical formalism, Brinkema insists on moving beyond “the canon of signs of abjection,” which mistakes that which is abjected for the act of abjection. Instead, she argues for a critical practice that relinquishes “the easy ascription of abjection to things presented to the eye and mind, thrown in the path of the subject as a nameable, precise sensual content—the definite article of that sticky load, this maimed corpus.” For Brinkema, rather than incorporation, the more productive move is to argue for “abjection’s notion of downcasting, lowering, casting off to describe a formal language of uncluttered openness, sincerity, simplification, clarification, a brutalizing of visual language through a paring down to a radical program of exclusion.
Excerpted from Abjection Incorporated: Mediating the Politics of Pleasure and Violence. Maggie Hennefeld and Nicholas Sammond, editors. (Footnotes omitted.) Copyright © 2019 Duke University Press. Excerpted by permission of Duke University Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.