Phelan on Identity

by Beauchamp Art

“Identity cannot, then, reside in the name you can say or the body you can see … Identity emerges in the failure of the body to express being fully and the failure of the signifier to convert meaning exactly. Identity is perceptible only through a relation to an other – which is to say, it is a form of north resisting and claiming the other, declaring the boundary where the self diverges from and merges with the other. In that declaration of identity and identification, there is always loss, the loss of not-being the other and yet remaining dependent on that other for self-seeing, self-being.”

Phelan, Peggy. (1993) Unmarked: The Politics of Performance. Routledge. London/New York. 13. Cited in 6 Jones, Amelia. Screen eroticism: exploring female desire in the works of Carolee Schneemann and Pipilotti Rist. In Trodd, Tamara (ed.) (2011) Screen/Space: The Projected Image in Contemporary Art. Paperback. Manchester University Press. Manchester, UK. 132

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