The phantasm holds a key position within the long history of cinema and psychoanalysis. The lecture will work through various theoretical configurations of phantasy and phantasm and ponder the question how cinema, art, and ‘reality’ are connected. Since, as Lacan has argued, the phantasm cannot be sussed out, like ideology, it can only be traversed. Following different psychoanalytic readings of the phantasm as a complex psycho-social configuration as well as a defensive and productive force, we can begin to consider the constitutive powers and limitations of critical practices in art, cinema, and politics alike. Therefore, tactics of traversing might include repetition and ritornello, quotation and indirect speech, reference and the situational. These tactics navigate the space in between phantasy and reality, reflection and articulation, or between expectation and disappointment. They do not resolve the tension in between these categories; rather they connect both, content and form of images with the structural forms of their appearance in media formats as well as in the relational arrangement of the installation.
Helmut Draxler is an art critic, curator, and professor for art theory at the University of Applied Arts, Vienna.