By Patricia MacCormack
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Extra resources for Gay Men and the Forms of Contemporary US Culture
Machinic configurations do not recognize distinctions between persons, organs, material flows, and semiotic flows’ (Guattari 1996, 46). The spectator and screen machine is a ‘composition of deterritorializing intensities’ (Guattari 1992, 38). It is an arrangement of a body and a surface, but the machine is independent of the materiality of its parts, according to Guattari. It describes the system of connection by which components perturb and affect each other as they are perturbed and affected.
It curls the toes of the audience but not because of a horrific form or event. Suspiria’s architecture provokes audience identification not with character but body with internal flesh as architectural viscerality. The film plays out almost entirely within these plasma walls, things are amiss, disturbing feelings of suspicion and fear occur within the building/body. The ‘answer’ to the mysteries, the cure for the body, is within the hidden chambers of the building. We are dislodged more and more by the events which give no answers to the ‘secret’, no cure for the illness, but which only disturb more uncomfortably and violently as the film progresses.
Byars reverses value rather than challenging stereotypes. I imagine Byars means ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ rather than male and female. Freud already demarcated this ambiguity within each subject as a mixture of masculine and feminine. Is Byars’ a really postpsychoanalytic perspective? While it emphasizes the ambiguity of femininity, does it challenge polarized significations within trans-gendered spectatorship? The problem with much post-psychoanalytic feminist film theory is the reliance on exchanging binaries and their associated terms.
Gay Men and the Forms of Contemporary US Culture by Patricia MacCormack