Working notes from the Scandinavian Institute for Computational Vandalism

like a finger pointing, denouncing

At this level, all structures are dissolved, or, rather, those that constituted the essence of the clinical gaze are gradually, and in apparent disorder, replaced by those that are to constitute the glance. And they are very different. In fact, the gaze implies an open field, and its essential activity is of the successive order of reading; it records and totalizes; it gradually reconstitutes immanent organizations; it spreads out over a world that is already the world of language, and that is why it is spontaneously related to hearing and speech; it forms, as it were, the privileged articulation of two fundamental aspects of saying (what is said and what one says). The glance, on the other hand, does not scan a field: it strikes at one point, which is central or decisive; the gaze is endlessly modulated, the glance goes straight to its object. The glance chooses a line that instantly distinguishes the essential; it therefore goes beyond what it sees; it is not misled by the immediate forms of the sensible, for it knows how to traverse them; it is essentially demystifying. If it strikes in its violent rectitude, it is in order to shatter, to lift, to release appearance. It is not burdened with all the abuses of language. The glance is silent, like a finger pointing, denouncing. There is no statement in this denunciation. The glance is of the non-verbal order of contact, a purely ideal contact perhaps, but in fact a more striking contact, since it traverses more easily, and goes further beneath things. The clinical eye discovers a kinship with a new sense that prescribes its norm and epistemological structure; this is no longer the ear straining to catch a language, but the index finger palpating the depths. Hence that metaphor of ‘touch’ (le tact) by which doctors will ceaselessly define their glance. (Michel Foucault, The Birth of the Clinic: An Archaeology of Medical Perception, pp121-122)

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