Ars Electronica 1995
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'Markus Huemer Markus Huemer

What's that, the signifier? (1) The signifier is stupid. (2) The signifier is a dimension introduced by linguistics. (3) A. The simple form: "For a signifier, another signifier represents the subject." B. The expanded form: "For a signifier, each of the other signifiers may represent the subject." C. The general form: "A signifier represents the subject for all other signifiers." (4) A signifier is that which constitutes the subject for another signifier. This signifier will thus be the signifier, for which all other signifiers constitute the subject. This means that all the others cannot constitute anything without this signifier. For nothing is constituted unless R is for something. (5) Like all other gestures, the linguistic gesture creates its own meaning. (6) The linguist may well rely on science. Nothing but pure science – this would not be the first time that the order of science guarantees the requirements of another order. What is correspondence to grammar, what is the sign S, the categorical symbol dominating statements? It is first and foremost the mark of power and only secondarily a syntactic mark: Chomsky's tree structures create permanent relations among variables of power. (7) The explanation lies in the nature of language. Having a say and having something to say are two different things. The moment man first uttered a spoken word he passed a decisive test because he had language at his disposal and made use of it. He was able to say anything language empowered him to. However, he had nothing to say. Thus, there was a discrepancy between signifier and signified, the signifier was floating …(8) The binary structure of codes cuts the world up. (9) Every text is a double text. There are always two texts in one. (10) "Two texts, two hands, two gazes and two kinds of perception, concurrently, at the same time and individually." (11) The categories or forms of cognition are not situated in reality. They are located in thinking, viz. in language and nowhere else. (12) The world is the entirety of facts, not things. (13) The concepts of reason do not exist anywhere but in human consciousness, but they do not originate there. It is man's being in society that determines his thinking. (14) To be precise and as has been said earlier, it is not the sentences, but the individual events when sentences are uttered that have meaning and can be true or false. (15) Attribution is thus subject to a law and such laws are thinkable. Well, then the proposition "Y is a function of X- has no meaning, unless it is accompanied by the law on which the attribution is based. This is an error in the definition. And is not the law dealing with the explanation as something that is not there the main point, after all? (16)

Jacques Lacan, ENCORE. Le Seminaire XX. back

Ibid. back

Ibid. back

S. Zizek, Denn sie wissen nicht was sie tun. back

Jacques Lacan, Ecrits II. back

M. Medeau-Ponty, Phénoménologie de ta perception. back

Quoted after Deleuze/Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus. back

V. Descombes, Le même et l'autre. back

K Luhmann, P. Fuchs, Reden und Schweïgen. 1989. back

V. Descombes, op. cit. back

J. Derrida, Margins of Philosophy. back

F. Mauthner, Beiträge zu einer Kritik der Sprache, 1969. back
vol. 3.

L. Wittgenstein. Tractatus logico-philosophicus. 1968. back

Alfred Sohn-Rethel, Das Geld, die bare Münze des Apriori, Bertin 1990. back

Quoted after W.V. Quine. Methods of Logic. New York 1964. back

Gottlob Frege, Funkhon, Begriff. Bedeutung. Gôttingen 1962. back