Extending Jouissance: The Excessive and The Transgressive in Contemporary Texts (Part 1) (Panel)


Comparative Literature / Cultural Studies and Media Studies

Yuting Hu (University of Pennsylvania)

Jouissance, the iconic Lacanian concept, means “surplus enjoyment,” where excessive pleasure converts into unpleasure and even pain after going beyond the subject’s affective or sensory capacity. Inherited from Freudian psychoanalysis, combined with Bataille’s eroticism, Marx’s surplus-value and adapted to feminism and socio-political theory by Cixous and Žižek, the connotations of jouissance have often been revised and reconfigured.

As more New Media and new forms of digital presentation have developed during the past decades, our aesthetics has become a space that Jean-François Lyotard regards as the sublime postmodern: with the infinite undefinable and formless postmodern art we presents the unpresentable and the limitless. From visually repulsive horror films such as The Human Centipede (2009) to conceptually fourth-wall-breaking video games like “Inscryption” (2017) and “Doki Doki Literature Club!” (2017) contemporary texts have been constantly challenging the audience’s thresholds with a surplus of sensory authenticity and mental stimulus. The notion of Jouissance — the excessive, the transgressive, and the overwhelming — is not only embodied by the surplus pioneering forms and unsettling narratives but is also endowed with new meanings by them. As an attempt to further investigate all the affective and sensory surplus brought by current media and presentation, this panel strives to seek for new applications and interpretations of Jouissance in contemporary texts, which include but are not limited to avant-garde art, literary texts, photography, films, graphic novels, video games, and social media contents.

This panel welcomes papers on new application and interpretation of Jouissance—the excessive, the transgressive, and the overwhelming—in contemporary texts (e.g. avant-garde art, literary texts, photography, films, graphic novels, video games, and social media contents).