Five Videos: Ofri Cnaani's YES YES YES: Five Guests and Their Jouissance

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“She was not suffering … imagine! … not suffering! … indeed could not remember … off-hand … when she had suffered less … unless of course she was … meant to be suffering … ha! . . thought to be suffering … just as the odd time … in her life … when clearly intended to be having pleasure.” (Beckett, Not I, 1973).

Open lips take some interesting manifestations on screen and stage and become a convention of representation. From Bernini to Beckett, silent to scream, physical to spiritual, pleasure to pain. Five Videos, five guests, and their source for supplementary jouissance:

“In his hands I saw a great golden spear, and at the iron tip there appeared to be a point of fire. This he plunged into my heart several times so that it penetrated my entrails. When he pulled it out, I felt that he took them with it, and left me utterly consumed by the great love of God. The pain was so severe that it made me utter several moans. The sweetness caused by this intense pain is so extreme that one cannot possibly wish it to cease, nor is one's soul then content with anything but God. This is not a physical, but a spiritual pain—though the body has some share in it—even a considerable share”. (Teresa of Ávila, 1510).

The angel that pierces Bernini’s Teresa with an arrow is “not only the most beautiful angel in baroque art, it is also the most beautiful face in the entire city of Rome.”[1] Under his beauty, Teresa’s face—open lips, fainted eyes, milky cheeks—are the face of the petite mort meeting the big death. Marbled in her ecstasy, Teresa refused to accept the binary opposition between physical love and spiritual love. Her out-of-body experience reinforces man’s fantasy of seeing a woman surrender but not for any man’s trick. Her speechless lips call for so many readings. Refusing to speak, the lips become both the receiver and the transmitter: between inner body observation and external knowledge, between the lower lips and the upper ones, between being overly alive and the virtually dead.

What is she reaching for? Yes, seriously, the outlawed barefoot Carmelite…What is she getting off on? Lacan knew the answer was not the phallus. He said, “all you need but go to Rome and see the statue by Bernini to immediately understand that she’s coming. There is no doubt about it.”[2] But knew she does it for no one phallus…. Is Teresa experiencing something more than an orgasm? Can it be that women experience greater pleasure then men? Will that pleasure be an ecstasy?

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Artist Profile: Ofri Cnaani

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A number of your works deal quite complexly with preexisting texts, from the Talmud to Jorge Luis Borges. What are your textual sources and how do they shape your sense of narrative and the "backstory" in your art?

I started reading talmud legends at quite a young age. There's a long tradition of working with mythology, namely Greek and Roman mythology and the public's command of these stories is quite amazing. I'm not a scholar and my knowledge of these stories is not organized; I am interested in the fact that these legends are rooted in a dialectic tradition. Almost all of these stories written at a certain time in history and arise from a tradition of "What if?". Two scholars would sit and discuss a subject, and then take an extreme case study, the answer to which will take the form of a story. So the structure of the discussion is polemical but the answer is always a narrative, which is something so beautiful and rare. These stories are short, ten or fifteen lines long, and like all good mythology they include a lot of happening as well as a dark side and a certain level of  "the impossible" in their relationship to reality. Like Zeus falling in love with Leda, coming down from the Olympus as a swan, making love to her and her then giving birth to an egg—and it all makes sense. 

The world is comprised in the kind of fashion that it all makes sense. And it works that way in what I call Jewish mythology, too. I really love this structure of taking one coded text and deconstructing it as a way of studying it. Even though I worked with mythology in the past, I never thought I'd work ...

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Community Campaign 2012 Limited Edition Artworks

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A New Age Demanded (Kline #2), Jon Rafman

Rhizome's Community Campaign is currently underway! Today, we're offering eight excellent reasons to make a contribution this year - the fantastic artworks generously donated by artists Anamanaguchi, Extreme Animals, DIS, Paul Chan, Ofri Cnaani, Kärt Ojavee & Eszter Ozvald, Joe Hamilton, and Jon Rafman.

Make a donation today at the following levels and you may choose to receive the following works:

Anamanaguchi and Extreme Animals, images courtesy of the artists

For donations of $25, we offer limited edition ringtones from the bands Anamanaguchi and Extreme Animals. Load these ringtones on your phone to ring with noise and chiptune style!

Contemporary Internet Lifestyles (2011), DIS

Contributions of $50 will receive this large photographic print titled Contemporary Internet Lifestyles by DIS. Featuring performer Paris Gotti, this photograph is a perfect piece to expand your growing collection.

 

Sade for Sade's Sake (2010), Paul Chan

A donation of $100 receive Sade for Sade's Sake (2010), a data CD containing 21 type fonts and a collection of digital artwork by Paul Chan. Each data CD is signed and editioned; it's fantastic gift for any collector, artist, or designer.

 

Slideshow #15 (no title, 1988) (2011), Ofri Cnaani

Donations of $500 include a lush digital print entitled Slideshow #15 (no title, 1988) by time-based media artist Ofri Cnaani. This print was donated by the artist specifically for Rhizome's Community Campaign.

 

SymbiosisC (2011), Kärt Ojavee and Eszter Ozsvald

A $750 donation will receive SymbiosisC, a heat responsive soft sculpture by Kärt Ojavee and Eszter Ozsvald. SymbiosisC is a unique decorative object that changes color with your body's warmth. Its cushion-like size will fit perfectly in any home or apartment.

 

Hyper Geography Print Set (2011), Joe Hamilton

For a $1,000 contribution, you can receive a ...

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