Slavoj Žižek on Interpassivity and VCRs

The other side of this interactivity is interpassivity. The obverse of interacting with the object (instead of just passively following the show) is the situation in which the object itself takes from me, deprives me of, my own passivity, so that it is the object itself which enjoys the show instead of me, relieving me of the duty to enjoy myself. Almost every VCR aficionado who compulsively records movies (myself among them), is well aware that the immediate effect of owning a VCR is that one effectively watches less films than in the good old days of a simple TV set. One never has time for TV, so, instead of losing a precious evening, one simply tapes the film and stores it for a future viewing (for which, of course, there is almost never time). Although I do not actually watch the films, the very awareness that the films I love are stored in my video library gives me a profound satisfaction and, occasionally, enables me to simply relax and indulge in the exquisite art of far’niente – as if the VCR is in a way watching them for me, in my place. VCR stands here for the big Other, the medium of symbolic registration. It seems that, today, even pornography functions more and more in an interpassive way: X-rated movies are no longer primarily the means destined to excite the user for his (or her) solitary masturbatory activity – just staring at the screen where “the action takes place” is sufficient, it is enough for me to observe how others enjoy in the place of me.

Slavoj Žižek in How to Read Lacan.

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6 comments

  1. trewisms · September 29, 2012

    I think my ipod ‘listens’ to my music for me. I’ve noticed I have far more music, but listen to far less, since I got it.

    Like

    • Biblioklept · September 29, 2012

      Yeah, totally. My harddrive is full of obscure or weird or foreign films that I used to have to go to a university library to check out on VHS. Now . . . My harddrive “watches” them to me.

      Like

      • seymourblogger · September 29, 2012

        And all my images and films from biblioklept get watched on my hard drive. Keeps it busy earning its keep.

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  2. seymourblogger · September 29, 2012

    Thank you for Zizek today.

    Like

  3. maxmorphing · September 29, 2012

    Reblogged this on Quite Verbatim and commented:
    idem dicasi per l’internet

    Like

  4. Pingback: The Complete Short Stories of J.G. Ballard (Third Riff: Stories of 1961) | biblioklept

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