strangely enough I did not receive Clarissa's post on Foucault, so I only read it through Pier Luigi's answer.
By the way, I think that Foucault's text is about subverting the metaphor of reflection, rather than about the mirror as a reflective surface.
While thoroughly studying this text for the notion of site and countersite it contains, in fact, I noticed that - and the quote that Clarissa chose shows it very well - Foucault affirms that the mirror can function both as a utopia, inasmuch as it is a placeless place which has a direct or inverted analogy with "real place," but also as a heterotopia, since it forces the gaze to a return from the virtual space behind the "looking glass" back again to the position that the viewer occupies.
Analogously Richard Coyne, illustrating the role of the mirror in the psychoanalysis of Lacan, and combining it with the hermeneutics of Gadamer and his notion of re-presentation (Coyne, "Technoromanticism", 1999, p. 221 ss.), stresses the dual working of the mirror, which, on the one hand, tries to capture reality, and on the other is caught in reflection as a failure to grasp the reality "out there" and rather as an experience of splitting (the recognition of otherness within that the subject firstly experiences through its mirrored image) and of distantiation (since in this system of thought reality always resist symbolization).
Now, without needing to fully subscribe the view offered by Lacan, which can be very problematic with regard to his theorization of desire in negative terms, his emphasis on the "resistance of the real"--which is very different from the argument of a "resistance to the real" that we find in some empiricist accounts--offers fruitful cues for an anti-representationalist theory of space--and of cyberspace.
Mimetic representation does not only work at identifying and fixing space (as well as time), it also presupposes that space stands somewhere (or everywhere) as a static object ready to be reflected in representation. Learning from heterotopology, it is maybe time to recur to a different representational functioning, one which sees representation not as a mirror, working as a perpetually deferred Utopia, to use Frederic Jameson's words, but as a heterotopia, that is a "looking glass" which engages with the "reality" it relates to, and can in turn also be actively engaged with.
And, regaring this, talking about "diffraction" (Haraway, Barad, again) could be very appropriate...
Thank you , Clarissa, for bringing Foucault into this discussion!
> Dear Clarissa,
> thank you so much for your post introducing the topic of the mirror in Foucault. Yes, the "virtual space" exists, and it is in someway real as the space where we are. Through that space we can control our appearance and many other aspects of our life, and maybe for the first time we can see ourseves as others.
> The mirror could be considered the progenitor of the optical techniques to achieve images (photography, video, cinema, and so on in their historical roots). I called them "referential" technologies, because, as in the mirror, the images are produced only because of the presence of the referent (from the latin "res ferens", that is "that carries the thing"), which is the subject, object or phenomenon that can reflect or produce light. Their presence during the image making process is mandatory in order the image is formed (emerges). In photography, for instance, recalling Roland Barthes [La chambre claire: note sur la photographie (Paris: Cahiers du cinéma/Gallimard/Seuil, 1980)], in front of a photo I can never deny that the represented subject, object or phenomenon has been there, for some occurrence, in some time of its existence, in front of the photosensitive plate. The image is generated by that presence (being there) during the image making process, it is some sort of emanating made by the light action and the chemicals and/or the physics.
> One more aspect which could be interesting is that the images in the mirror, have a meaning only for humans (not babies) and other 8 species (http://www.livescience.com/animals/061030_elephant_mirror.html). Only 9 species are able to recognize themselves - to recognize their image, that is themselves as others - in the mirror; for the other living beings these images are pointless. I don't know if a similar research has been intensively made on the referential images, but I think it would be interesting.
> Pier Luigi
> Il giorno 03/feb/2010, alle ore 02.54, Clarissa Ribeiro Pereira de Almeida ha scritto:
> > Around simulation... around utopia and heterotopia. Foucault in the text
> > "Des *Espace Autres*" (1967) consider that between *utopias *- fundamentally
> > unreal spaces -, and *heterotopias* - a kind of effectively enacted utopia
> > in which the real sites, all the other real sites that can be found within
> > the culture, are simultaneously represented, contested, and inverted -,
> > there might be a sort of mixed, joint experience, which would be the *mirror
> > *:
> > "In the mirror, I see myself there where I am not, in an unreal, virtual
> > space that opens up behind the surface; I am over there, there where I am
> > not, a sort of shadow that gives my own visibility to myself, that enables
> > me to see myself there where I am absent: such is the utopia of the mirror.
> > But it is also a heterotopia in so far as the mirror does exist in reality,
> > where it exerts a sort of counteraction on the position that I occupy. From
> > the standpoint of the mirror I discover my absence from the place where I am
> > since I see myself over there. Starting from this gaze that is, as it were,
> > directed toward me, from the ground of this virtual space that is on the
> > other side of the glass, I come back toward myself; I begin again to direct
> > my eyes toward myself and to reconstitute myself there where I am. The
> > mirror functions as a heterotopia in this respect: it makes this place that
> > I occupy at the moment when I look at myself in the glass at once absolutely
> > real, connected with all the space that surrounds it, and absolutely unreal,
> > since in order to be perceived it has to pass through this virtual point
> > which is over there." (FOUCAULT, 1967)
> > http://foucault.info/documents/heteroTopia/foucault.heteroTopia.en.html
> > Clarissa Ribeiro//
> > ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> > 2010/2/2 Pier Luigi Capucci <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> >> Il giorno 25/gen/2010, alle ore 12.17, email@example.com ha scritto:
> >>> There is another new think in the art, that is simulation don't imitate
> >> the appearence of reality but by recomposing phenomena's acts like the
> >> reality. So we can say that we are in front of a new type of artifice, that
> >> changes the whole conception representation.
> >>> And, the big paradox of simulation seems to be that, even if the model is
> >> reality, the process of simulation is to modelize the reality in order to
> >> reproduce its behaviour, and to be able to produce new results from
> >> theorical tests and calculation.
> >>> During these operations reality is evacuated and the simulated
> >> representation is finally an autonomous artifice.
> >>> The relation to the reference has been ejected and virtual world can
> >> exist by itself.
> >> Sorry for this late post, but in the last days I had some troubles in
> >> following the discussion ;-(
> >> Colette,
> >> this is a good point, "simulation as a behaviour". Behaviour of what? Of
> >> the light, of the appearance of the matter, of the movement and so on, a
> >> simulation which imitates the information we detect with the senses (sight,
> >> hearing, smell, taste, touch, and so on). But I'll set up a further kind of
> >> simulation which imitates the dynamics of the things more than their
> >> appearance, their image, for instance the simulation of a living being's
> >> behaviour in an artificial life entity or in robotics.
> >> I also would go back to some posts which dealt with the idea of reality,
> >> where reality seems intended as absolute, "concrete" and unchangeable. Apart
> >> the theories which consider reality as a construction, I would stress that
> >> anyway reality is a cultural concept, since it is determined by our
> >> interpretation (cognitive, cultural, technical), so its shape is
> >> continuously evolving. For the people living in, let's say 1700, the idea of
> >> "physical reality" was different from ours: for instance - to do two
> >> examples - it did neither comprehend the small dimension (bacteria, viruses,
> >> microorganisms and so on) nor the outer space.
> >> Best,
> >> Pier Luigi
> Pier Luigi Capucci
> e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
> web: http://www.noemalab.org/plc/plc.html
> skype: plcapucci
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