Lacanian Theory Of The Mirror Stage: The Artist Is Present

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Lacanian theory is controversial almost everywhere it goes. Agree or disagree, there is no shortage of discussion on the validity of Lacan’s work. His concept of the “mirror stage” (or phase) is one of the most significant theories in film study. However, the theory itself opens some interesting doors in terms of its definition. In an age where self-definition has become more important than ever, it must be discussed that Lacan’s mirror phase is no longer just one moment in the development of young children—it has become a constantly-experienced trait in humans which provides temporary epiphanic experiences to a reader of a text, and should be defined as such.
Visual stimuli is the most effective way to trigger this epiphany. It’s seen countless
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The exhibit from the film The Artist is Present, for example—many shots of the audience members participating in the performance were of the person sitting across from Marina crying. It’s clear that something in them related to Marina’s presence as if it was the mirror phase’s so-called mirror—however, they’re all fully-grown adults, for the most part. Even when teenagers and younger children participated, they too reacted in this same way; but according to Lacan’s basic theoretical structure, this mirror phase has already passed them by and will no longer carry the same weight as it once did. If that’s the case, how can one classify these reactions to her performance? Saying that the audience was simply emotional or overwhelmed doesn’t really fit the feeling of the scenario. There’s more to it than that. Certain audience members were interviewed …show more content…
He isn’t—the concept of this mirror phase is simply more applicable in other stages of life, rather than just between 6-18 months. He actually touches on this broadness, though not in the same direct manner, saying that “[i]t suffices to understand the mirror stage […] as an identification, in the full sense analysis gives to the term” (Lacan 76). He himself is defining this stage of development as a manner of identification. Mirriam-Webster defines that word as a “psychological orientation of the self in regard to something […] with a resulting feeling of close emotional association”. Is this not what Lacan is describing through his explanation of the mirror phase’s applicability to film and media as a whole? The emotional connection is directly related to the reader’s sense of self, hence the concept of mirroring, and the reaction that comes from it becomes a self-defining experience that lasts as long as the one-on-one visual connection is maintained. A lot of Lacan’s theory is presented in the context of film—that the reader is witnessing themselves mirrored up on the big screen and thus it becomes a source of identification for them. However, can’t this be extracted from film theory and simply be presented as a human theory? The desire to find ourselves is something that stretches throughout a lifetime. There is a Faustian element woven into human nature, in that there is constant desire to be better than before,

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