EXTANT

The Question


NILÜFER OVALIOGLU

Serene

I offer Serene as being metaphoric of representations of the contemporary female in the media: liberated and ostensibly sexually free, but yet objectified, frequently grotesque, sexualised to the point of continuous and crippling self-evaluation, and when this has passed, monstrous. She screams in high pitches up to those which seem silent, but which can be sensed as vibrations only. She embodies a silent language. The siren’s performance is as erratic as it is animalistic. The close associations made over millenia between femininity and a closer-than-male relationship to the animal, raises the possibility of the female where the animal and the female co-exist. The female performs ‘ideas’ about herself received from a masculine and purportedly logical stance, but makes visible, in such playful repetition, what was supposed to remain invisible: an effacement, itself effaced, of the operation of the feminine in language. The siren embodies such a ‘possible operation of the feminine language’ (Irigaray, 1985: 76) and reveals that this language has been suppressed by a kind of self-induced, stylized catatonia. The catatonically hysterical female is as mute to ‘sane’ ears as the sound frequencies that are beyond human hearing.


ÅSA UNANDER-SCHARIN

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