Helene Cixous: Savoir
Savoir: to know
Voir: to see
A sharing about pain and presence, bodily fantasies and internal resources, medical visions and surveillance.
Devised by Petra Kuppers and Sophia Lycouris. With texts by Petra Kuppers, Aparna Paul, Kari Ogidan, Jason Rubin Sugarman, Katie Walsh, Chris Wilson
------ Providence, RI, 2002
------ NYC, April 2002
Created with support from the Bryant College Women's Center and by a research grant from Nottingham Trent University
Performance Scripts (Petra Kuppers)
(Helene Cixous about her nearsightedness)
She had been born with the veil in her eye.
(After the Myopia Operation)
But if myopia could be expelled, was it then a foreigner? She had always had the presentiment that her myopia was her own foreigner, her essential foreignness, her own accidental necessary weakness. Her fate. And she had left her fate behind with a leap? Left her skin. Her eyelid in which her soul was lying sewn. (10)
But while her unbound soul soared, a fall formed: getting away from her 'my-myopia,' she was discovering the bizarre benefits her internal foreigner used to heap on her 'before', that she had never been able to enjoy with joy, but only in anguish: the non-arrival of the visible at dawn, the passage through not-seeing, always there has been a threshold, swim across across the strait between the blind continent and the seeing continent, between two worlds, a step taken, come from outside, another step, an imperfection, she opened her eyes and saw the not yet, there was this door to open to get into the visible world. (12)
|The blur, the chaos before the genesis, the interval, the stage, the deadening, the belonging to non-seeing, the silent heaviness, the daily frontier-crossing, the wandering in limbo, would soon have disappeared. (12/13)||
Process- some notes
This Cixous text is about the curious splitting/changing of self after an impairment, a bodily thing (myopia) is operated away. Cixous mourns her near-sightedness, and the form of self-knowledge and visibility of knowledge that it brought with it.
I am interested in how medical fantasies work on our fantasies of our bodies, and our epistemological, 'knowledge-making' facilities.
Is physical pain a 'border' that sheds light on movement processes the way a 'normal' body can't? Is it, like her nearsightedness for Cixous, a veil between her self and her public self, her-self-in-the-world?
Does the architecture of the body change as it becomes more tangible/visible/present through the the life-changes of the body and their effects of mobility, nerves and range, the medical images of it, and our hermeutics of these images? Cixous only becomes aware of the own knowledge processes after her myopia is (nearly) over, after an operation has changed the structure of her eye. Does aging have similar effects on your perception of your body and its being in space? For Cixous here, her myopia had a distinct distancing effect between the spaces surrounding her and her own body-word. After the operation, the world rushes in - too much for her. Does age and body architecture work in the same way, with mourning allowing for a retrospective witnessing of the body mobility?