sábado, 28 de febrero de 2015


*The online criticism journal hosting the original version in Spanish of this essay is currently unavailable

The central theme of Pedro Reyes’ “Permanent Revolution” installation project and puppet play at the Jumex Museum in Mexico City is the heritage of the ideas that inspired communism seen from the point of view of the triumph of androcentric and anthropocentric neoliberal capitalism in the 21st Century. The project includes public workshops for creating agit prop paraphernalia teaching people how to protest: engraving (to print bills), binding (to produce pamphlets), drawing (political satire) and writing (manifestoes). As part of the project to be seen at the new Jumex Museum at the Plaza Carso complex, were also granite busts of Ernesto Che Guevara, Frida Kahlo and Vladimir Lenin.  The public performance with 25 hand made puppets began with a microwave TV commercial, and the mise-en-scène takes place before an exquisite stage that represents a modernist-style public library. The puppets were conceived by Japanese artist Takumi Ota, who gave life to historical characters: Che Guevara, Joseph Stalin, Adam Smith, Karl Marx, Lenin, Leon Trotsky, Milton Friedman, Mao Tse Tung, Henri Ford, Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Julian Assange, Steve Jobs, etc. And to fictional characters: Mili, Moni, Miss Hipatia, Salim Rascagarra and Nico. The performance starts in the Topus Uranos, a kind of heaven for historical figures where they are divided in two camps: the “bullies” and “snobs” and the “rebellious” and “hippies”; they discuss politics presenting complex ideas through reductive slogans such as: “The proletariat must rebel”, etc. Besides from being extremely boring both for adults and children, the script, as almost all Mexican cultural production addressed to children – which tends to insult their young intelligence – is splattered with language and references to popular culture (Televisa, Ricardo Arjona, Salma Hayek’s Frida, the Oscars, Dora the Explorer, the Thundercats); seeking to entertain, it includes dumb jokes, strident effects and hysterical attitudes in the characters.
            Most of the story takes place in a dying public library, as we learn, because it is no longer “self-sustainable.” The library’s director, Miss Hipatia, receives an eviction order on behalf of Salim Rascagarra, an entrepreneur-oligarch who plans to build there a corporate commercial and entertainment complex called “Freedom Towers.” Mili and Moni, two friends who often visit the library to read and to see their friend Nico (who lives there, as the library offers to him a strange Welfare State collision between public library and orphanage), take up the task to rescue the building; not as a public service that supports public education and democratic access to knowledge and information, but because they do not want Nico to lose his home. With this first twist in the script, it becomes evident that Reyes’ ideological “screwball” is neither comical nor confusing, but profoundly transparent in its neoliberal revisionist vocation. When Mili suggests occupying the library to save it, Moni responds: “Ew! We’re not (public school system) teachers.”[1] All of a sudden, a figure on a hood, which is Julian Assange in disguise, throws two books at them: Capital and The Wealth of Nations. Assange’s role in the play is not to defend access to information repressed and censured by governments and corporations exercising democracy’s fundamental right of transparency of information, but to vouch for access to information in general (is this not a basic right precisely ratified by public libraries?). Seeking to learn how to make money and save the library, the kids put the books inside the “Smart-o-wave,” a device Nico invented; they add Che Guevara’s The Motorcycle Diaries and all of a sudden, Che Guevara, Adam Smith and Karl Marx jump out of the microwave. To the tune of “The International,” the thinkers narrate an elliptic history of communism. The kids conclude that the philosophers and their ideas are not helpful for solving concrete problems; in this case: finding funds to save the library. Mili and Nico, therefore decide to revive two monumental figures of Mexican modern art, whose political trajectories – or rather, their relationship to the Communist Party, communism as an assumed political position and the Soviet Union – transcended national politics: Siqueiros and Rivera, who are invited to paint murals in a competition with the purpose of having the library classified as “Historical Heritage” site in order to save it (as in misogynist art history, Kahlo’s role in the competition is that of being mere supplemental decoration and here, sexual object). One of the rules of the competition is that each painter may revive a model of their own choosing through the Smart-o-wave; this is when Trotsky (Rivera’s model) and Stalin (Siqueiros’) enter into the scene to revive the drama of the Stalinist scission in Mexico under the obscure and reductive affirmation (in this context) that “We are all puppets of the system, after all.” Meanwhile, other characters cede to their animal drives and begin to pursue individual desire: Diego starts inhaling thinner while Che Guevara hides away with Hipatia to have sex, and Trotsky and Kahlo revive their legendary romance. Moni, a dumb, superficial and climber blonde is convinced by Salim Rascagarra to counterattack and steal the “Smart-o-wave” so that they can revive his teacher, Milton Friedman, to help them solve the problem of the mural competition and thus seize the library.
            In the next scene, Smith, Friedman and Ford, the pillars of contemporary neoliberal capitalism, explain to Moni how the system works, and she sums it up to the public: “The private sector has bought public services to destroy them through bankruptcy; it has expropriated citizens from the nation’s wealth, and has made the financial debt public with financial rescuing.” Moni’s narrow and abstract description of capitalism, obviates the fact that neoliberalism, more than a policy of privatization, implies the hijacking of the commons: not only natural resources and infrastructure, but also knowledge, language, images and affect. Neoliberalism, moreover, is a strategy of domination that uses the State to promote certain competitive dynamics that benefit the super rich. In that sense, neoliberalism is less a strategy of production, than a massive transfer of wealth that has brought inequality, environmental devastation, food crisis, dismantling of the Welfare State, debt crisis, austerity measures, decrease of purchasing power and increase of unemployment. Finally, neoliberalism is a system based on the scission between private (domestic)/public domains and has the sexual contract at its basis; that is to say, neoliberalism is a system traversed by the sexual division of labor, imposing the nuclear family model and unjust economic roles, by thriving also on the unpaid, invisible labor, of the reproductive sphere.
            When Moni “understands” capitalism, she betrays Rascagarra and converts to the library’s cause; with the Smart-o-wave, she revives Steve Jobs, the figure that embodies in this context an ideal symbiosis between capitalism and socialism, and who will deal with the problem. For Jobs, to fight to preserve and old library that failed to survive the comings and goings of the market, is a mistake; from his point of view, what we must consider is that the “value” of a book, is the information it carries within itself. In that way, and in sync with Calros Loret de Mola’s documentary film De panzazo (2012), produced by Televisa and financed by Mexicanos Primero, A.C., a group that lobbies for the privatization of Mexican education, Reyes’ effectively displaces the question of public access to knowledge as a fundamental domain of political struggle to transform it into a matter of “democratic” access to information through private technological devices. Jobs presents his invention, the “iWei”, a device to digitize books and to make all information available of the world to the world; for Jobs, the virtualization of information (and its availability) are a natural result of progress and technology. Because Jobs’ invention makes the library obviously “obsolete,” the mural competition becomes unnecessary. In spite of that, Rivera paints the “Mural of Digital Revolution,” a version of the “Man at the Crossroads” panel of his infamously torn mural in 1933 at the Rockefeller center in New York, reproduced a Bellas Artes in Mexico City. In Reyes’ version of the mural, Steve Jobs appears at the center carrying one of his iconic devices next to a cat. Once Jobs has solved the problem of the library, the kids expect that Rascagarra will either adopt Nico or find him a place to live, and it appears that the screwball comedy will have a happy ending. The characters, however, try to get a hold of the Smart-o-wave for personal benefit. This is when Stalin’s already grotesque parody – every time that he exits the stage he becomes a bat – becomes even more partial: we find out that Stalin wants to use the Smart-o-wave to change history by mating men and monkeys and produce monsters so that he can get more attention and get made more movies about him than Hitler – he imagines that what would make him more famous than Hitler would be his aberrant transgenic practices. Reyes makes a further parody of Siqueiros’ figure; in a personal vendetta, Siqueiros makes a “bomb mural” that he viscerally makes explode against “the corruption of revolutionary ideals.” In the meantime, Salim Rascagarra realizes that there are more important things than his “Freedom Tower” and as a “socially responsible good capitalist,” decides to transform the library into the “Gutenberg Foundation.”
            Ultimately in this comedy, the revolutionary figures are Assange and Jobs, who represent a kind of “third way,” between neoliberalism and socialism: communicative capitalism. According to Jodi Dean, communicative capitalism is an ideological formation in which capitalism and democracy converge in networked communication technologies under the ideals of access, inclusion, discussion and participation, which materialize in the expansion and intensification of global telecommunications. Following Dean, however, digitalization, acceleration and storage of information intensify negative elements of capitalism. For example, the enthusiast participation in personal and social media is a trap that increases surveillance while work, culture and entertainment are being accelerated and intensified with the consequence that communication has ceased to be the critical “outside” to the system[2].
            We must also take into account that in the script, “La revolución permanente” confuses Wikipedia (the project of gathering all the information of the world in a virtual place available for everyone, the continuation of D’Alambert’s illuminist project) with Wikileaks: Julian Assange’s project for which he has been trapped for two years in the Ecuadorian embassy in London surveyed day and night for 50 policemen. Assange’s gesture to denounce the information that governments or corporations suppress or censor from public space because it has to do with the way in which state and corporate agencies mechanisms control us, questions the logic of the basis of “Western democracies” and their utopian basis on mass media transparency.  Moreover, the fact that the “communist” tendency of the WWW (which implies the free flow of the common of information) is being regulated and censored with the Secondary Laws of the “Federal Law of Telecommunications and Radio Broadcasting” that President Peña Nieto has recently passed in congress is ignored. The implications of this law are worthwhile mentioning here, given the utopia of transparency of communication and information availability are the constituents of the “third way” that Reyes proposes in the play: a “competent authority” is enabled to block access to websites and contents which purportedly affect national security; that the telecommunications providers maintain a database with users’ personal information and of any contact they may have done through communication networks. Legalizing direct State espionage to its citizens, the law allows to temporarily block telecommunications signals in critical places and events in the name of public security[3]. Ironically, because of a nominal issue, the law benefits Televisa, the audiovisual communication empire belonging to Emilio Azcárraga, the “namesake” for the story’s apparent villain: “Salim Rascagarra.” This character combines the name of Televisa’s emperor with Carlos Slim’s, the two if not most powerful, the most visible Mexican oligarchs and thus an easy target. Moreover, as we will see below, the performance ends up reaffirming the hegemonic idea that capitalism – with its denial of economic relevance of the spheres associated with femininity, and based on masculine experience in the markets to define economic normalcy – is the only alternative.
            This is achieved by setting forth a tendentious revisionism of the history of Marxism, Maoism, Socialism, Leninism, which appear as defeated and demonized ghosts. Marxism is interpreted as a failed ideology, the fossilized reminder of an experiment that went terribly wrong. Amalgamating “communism” with the Soviet Union to vilify it – as the Nouveaux philosophes have been doing since the 1970s  – “La revolución permanente” posits it as a kind of negative ideal before which the only sustainable and real paradigm for universal organization of the collective is (communicative) capitalism. The signifiers of communism appear emptied out of sense and context: “The International,” Mexican Muralism, public libraries, Che Guevara reduced to his Motorcycle Diaries. In this frame: if there was Lenin, then Stalin; if there was revolution, then gulag; if there is a Party, then there are purges. Reyes thus presents communism as an imaginary immutable object, as a lineal process whose end we already know. Communism, however, as an idea, is an extremely open thought process that implies reclaiming the commons and the common, an alternative conception of the economy, a way of organizing the collective to achieve a more egalitarian distribution of wealth. What is at stake today is that contrary to socialism, neoliberalism implies acting on behalf of self-interest in detriment of the common good. The values proper to hegemonic economy are based on individual worth; for example, neoliberalism understands women’s liberation as an array of individual processes and fails to address the question of patriarchy: there is equality of opportunities, but they are set above equality of results and salary, while independence is conceived as insertion in the market as workers and as consumers. This system of power relations conditioning the way in which the economy works, following Slavoj Zizek, is of a post-political order in which the only conflict that is considered legitimate is framed by the morality of personal “security” against crime and/or terrorism[4]. On the one hand, in contemporary political discourses (and in discourses of the left too), the concept of “worker,” has disappeared, and on the other, (as it happens in “La revolución permanente” with the public education system) it is consistently demonized in a class war fought from above. In this context, there is no common political enemy except for that framed by “illegality” and crime denounced by the middle and upper classes that march on the streets dressed in white demanding that the government “do its job properly.”  In the case of indigenous communities (augmenting in number) fighting against expropriation of their lands and exploitation of their natural resources, the enemies are the “government” and “transnationals” which, however, enemies without a face, slippery, abstract, manifesting themselves in legal battles and in counterinsurgency disguised as “organized crime.” This abstraction reflects the basic violence of capitalism, which is no longer assignable to neither individuals nor concrete ideas, but that is objective, systemic and anonymous.
            Overall, the logic behind the script of “La revolución permanente” is null, as it invokes great concepts as CAPITALISM, REVOLUTION and RESISTANCE in a grotesque manner, through simplifications, empty statements and misogynist stereotypes built upon vulgar dualisms. Hollowing out concepts, the tone of the performance is that of intellectual marketing of hegemonic ideology. We can no longer speak of propaganda but about soft indoctrination with the point of view of the ruling classes. At the center of Reyes’ play there is a questioning about what it means to be revolutionary, who is the true revolutionary and what it means to be revolutionary. One of the characters states: “To be revolutionary is to demonstrate against the government and to dance naked drinking tequila.” Then, Siqueiros decides to “train” Mili, an online artivist, with karate lessons to transform her into a “soldier of the revolution.” Mili and Siqueiros, however, fall out when it turns out that for the muralist, revolution is made with blood and sacrifice and for Mili, revolution means posting a video on Facebook. Surreptitiously endorsing the criminalization and jailing of young people who have participated in the past two years in demonstrations and manifestations, by promoting the practices of self-modeling and individual consumption are highlighted as places for action more important than large-scale organized movements. If militancy used to imply risking one’s life and dying for one’s ideas, today it is reduced to works of art and audiovisual productions as substitutes for political action. The aesthetic approach represented by Mili’s artivism, disconnects politics from organized struggle, transforming politics into a matter of spectacle. In this manner, spectators can pay to feel radical without having to get their hands dirty, while the dominant class maintains its position and the contradictions of this class and the rest is not made evident as such.
            The search for individual interests fulfillment as the only possible solution to capitalism’s problems, is reaffirmed by Diego Rivera when he concludes that: “The revolution does not live neither in Marx, nor in Lenin, nor in Trotsky… the permanent revolution lives in all of you.” With a similar approach, one of the key phrases that render the ideological discourse transparence in Reyes’ script is pronounces by Mili:
“Let’s not be afraid to act to seek what we really desire!”
“Long live the Permanent Revolution!”
The “permanent revolution” is thus the pursuit to fulfill our own desires cultivating personal interests, which not only alludes to the libidinal economy, but to the fact that the “permanent revolution” is the logic inherent to capitalism. That is to say, in order to survive, the capitalist system needs to constantly revolutionize its material conditions of existence and therefore, it is perpetually escaping its own contradictions (this is also known as creative destruction). In other words, in order to be continually productive, capitalism needs to get rid of obstacles and antagonisms that limit its material existence. And because its goal is to unleash productivity, eliminating the concrete contradictions of its existence, neoliberal capitalism is the permanent revolution. Taking this into account, Pedro Reyes’ “La revolución permanente” left me a strange feeling, especially at the end when the puppets invited the public to yell-out: “I believe in Marx, I believe in Trotski, I believe in Mao, I believe in communism and I believe in the permanent revolution.”
            As the declarations of the Mexican Soccer Association during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, before potential sanctions for discrimination and homophobia by FIFA, that the chant “puto,” addressed to the other team’s goalie at the moment of kicking the ball to start the game during the Mexican team’s games, is not homophobic, the ideological distortion in Reyes’ permanent revolution is extremely ideological: “The Permanent Revolution” is the subjective equivalent of the practice and doctrine of the free market, transforming dissidence into action in the name of self-interest. In this context, the political goals are personal elections of life-style; instead of defending a vision of a better world, less unequal and of production of the common for and by the collective, the message is that there is no other option than to fall into the seduction of individualism, consumerism, competition and privilege. From this point of view, the absence of a common goal is the equivalent of the absence of a future.
            Moreover, the script denotes anxiety of communism, as it is invoked reductively and as a proper name, set forth as a threat to be suppressed. Contrary to the version of communism presented by Reyes, communism is an alternative political energy to capitalism; the desire for communism manifests the need to abolish capitalism creating practices at the global level for cooperative and communitarian equality (the self-organization and autonomy experiments of the normalistas in Guerrero, the self-defense groups in Michoacán, or the Zapatistas in Chiapas are good examples of this, and this is why they have been systematically attacked). The desire for communism is to change the perspective of “neoliberal democracy,” defined in opposition to the fascisms of the 20th Century. It implies to reconfigure the components of political struggle in order to have as goals general inclusion, changes in lifestyle, militant opposition, the creation of organizations (party, councils, work groups, cells), above all, it implies to fight for the sovereignty of the collective above the economy through which we produce and reproduce ourselves. Communism is also healthcare for everyone, environmentalism, feminism, public education, right to collective negotiation, progressive taxing, paid vacations, bicycles and bicycle roads not only in affluent neighborhoods, to regulate the financial market, to tax the rich and corporations, to protect natural resources and the commons[5]. In sum, Pedro Reyes’ “Permanent Revolution” is the negation of politics and experimentation that sets forth a conformist relationship to the museum and that represents the submission of critical thinking to the Global Military Industrial Museum Complex.


Jodi Dean, Democracy and other Neoliberal Fantasies: Communicative Capitalism and Left Politics (Durham: Duke University Press, 2009).

·      Jodi Dean, The Communist Horizon (London and New York: Verso, 2012)

·      Roberto García Hernández, “¡Viva la revolución permanente!” Gatopardo (Junio 2014) disponible en red: http://www.gatopardo.com/EstilosHomeGP.php?Id=822

·      Daniel Guerrero, Carta sobre la reforma de telecomunicaciones, disponible en red: https://www.dropbox.com/s/loe23gkt8qqoufh/INICIATIVA%20LEY%20CONVERGENTE%202.pdf

·      Amaia Pérez Orozco, Subversión feminista de la economía (Madrid: Traficantes de sueños, 2014)

·      Slavoj Zizek, The Fragile Absolute (London: Verso, 2000)

·      Slavoj Zizek, “What is an Authentic Political Event?” New Statesman, February 12, 2014, disponible en red:

[1] On August 19, 2013, a contingent of the public school teachers’ syndicate (CNTE) occupied the Zócalo as well as other important avenues in Mexico City to protest against President Enrique Peña Nieto’s Education Reform (towards privatization). The demonstrators were subject to public lynching through the mass media, and were blamed for disturbing city’s traffic and peaceful citizen’s everyday lives. On the eve of the celebration of Mexico’s Independence on September 15th, they were forcefully evacuated from their posts. On September 27, 2014, three buses full of normalistas (public school teachers to be) were brutally attacked, many were wounded, a few killed and 43 were illegally kidnapped by repressive elements of the State and taken away in official vehicles to an unknown location. Their whereabouts are still unknown.
[2] Jodi Dean, Democracy and other Neoliberal Fantasies: Communicative Capitalism and Left Politics (Durham: Duke University Press, 2009).
[3] Daniel Guerrero, Carta sobre la reforma de telecomunicaciones, disponible en red: https://www.dropbox.com/s/loe23gkt8qqoufh/INICIATIVA%20LEY%20CONVERGENTE%202.pdf
[4] Slavoj Zizek, “What is an Authentic Political Event?” New Statesman, February 12, 2014, disponible en red: http://www.newstatesman.com/culture/2014/02/slavoj-zizek-what-authentic-political-event
[5] Jodi Dean, The Communist Horizon (London and New York: Verso, 2012)

martes, 29 de julio de 2014

Gobernador de Puebla usa discurso del gobierno de Israel para justificar el asesinato de un niño durante una marcha

El 9 de julio elementos de la Policía Estatal Metropolitana desalojaron violentamente a los habitantes de Chalchihuapan, Puebla que mantenían un bloqueo en la autopista Puebla-Atlixco demandando que el servicio de Registro Civil se reintegrara a las Juntas Auxiliares. La madre, Elia Tamayo, junto con José Luis Tehuatlie, venían caminando de la escuela y pasaron al lado de la manifestación que fue dispersada por los granaderos. La madre escuchó explosiones, mientras vio a su hijo caer herido en la cabeza con una bala de goma, lo que le causó la muerte cerebral.
El gobernador de Puebla ha llevado una intensa campaña para deslindarse de responsabilidad por el incidente -a pesar de haber proclamado la infame "ley bala" que faculta a los policías a usar violencia contra manifestantes si ellos lo consideran necesario. Llegó tan lejos como asegurar que los manifestantes eran responsable de que en el operativo hubieran resultado niños heridos porque los usaban como "escudo humano" y por lo tanto infringiendo la ley. La manera en la que Rafael Moreno Valle responsabilizó a los militantes deriva directamente del discurso del Ejército y gobierno de Israel que justifican sus ataques contra la población civil de la Franja de Gaza alegando que las milicias de Hamás utilizan a los ciudadanos y a sus casas como 'escudos humanos'. Son preocupantes tanto la criminalización de las manifestaciones, como el recurso del gobierno de Puebla a medios de guerra israelíes (gomas de bala, la parte discursiva), sobre todo viendo la impunidad con que siguen bombardeando la Franja de Gaza y reprimiendo a los ciudadanos de Cisjordania.

jueves, 17 de julio de 2014

Los intelectuales bienpensantes denuncian las atrocidades del gobierno Israelí en la Franja de Gaza, en una guerra asimétrica abocada a denigrar más, las condiciones de vida de los palestinos. Pero eso sí, fueron a presentar sus libros a la feria del libro en Guadalajara el año pasado dedicada a Israel. Cuándo escucharán el llamado de la sociedad palestina que llama al boicot, desinversión y sanciones?

jueves, 5 de junio de 2014

Nymphomaniac de Lars Von Trier (2013)

Fill all my holes please
Para Joe, la vida erótica es un aprendizajes sin fin: el carácter místico de los orgasmos espontáneos, cómo deshacerse de la virginidad, el poder de seducción del coño, aprender el placer, trascender la frigidez, gozar masoquista o sádicamente, encarnar agresividad femenina. Joe habita los extremos y el entre: desde el estereotipo del eterno femenino deseado por hombres y mujeres, al de andrógina agresiva sexualmente, al rechazo de la feminidad neoliberal como un significante sin libido construida con mercancías, a la frigidez causada por la culpa católica o por usar el poder femenino, hasta explorar la sexualidad con “el amor” como ingrediente secreto. La jouissance se convierte en el medio y fin de su vida: desde los quince años, necesita hasta diez orgasmos al día y vive para procurárselos. En una sociedad permisiva que se auto-explota laboral y psíquicamente, en la que la sexualidad se encuentra constreñida por discursos de satisfacción, auto-realización, enfermedad, salud, enlace amoroso y en la que el deseo está sometido a la economía libidinal, la ninfomanía de Joe es una transgresión con consecuencias políticas. Nymphomaniac hace evidente que la sexualidad es el sitio donde todas las formas de represión se hacen sentir plenamente, donde se vuelven más legibles. Y la anarquía que plantea la película, se encamina a través de lo sexual.
Como la depresión de Justine en Melancholia (2011), la ninfomanía de Joe no es clínica sino pura sintomatología. De carácter más bien ontológico, implica rechazar circunstancias particulares en una búsqueda por romper con el orden social como tal. Generalmente, la ninfomanía se caracteriza como una adicción al sexo, que implica un desvío de un estado normativo de ser en la sociedad. A diferencia de Brandon, el personaje principal de Shame de Steve McQueen (2011), un ninfomaníaco que vive sintiendo asco y vergüenza de sí mismo, la ninfomanía de Joe es perversa, obscena, auto-afirmativa. Refleja su rebelión contra las constricciones impuestas primero, por la sumisión de los cuerpos a la auto-explotación y agotamiento mental y físico del régimen de trabajo neoliberal; segundo, Joe rechaza el lifestyle al que aspiran automáticamente las mujeres blancas privilegiadas construido a partir de una economía libidinal en la que las mercancías encarnan un fantasma en el inconsciente del cuerpo social incesantemente seducido por infinitas opciones de consumo.
La ninfomanía de Joe no es adicción, no tiene justificación, es auto-producida y un estado puro de deseo, y por eso podríamos pensarla como una máquina deseante parecida a la mariée del Grand Verre de Marcel Duchamp, o a joven americana desnuda de Francis Picabia: un pistón dentro de una máquina recíproca en perpetuo movimiento que transfiere energía de un cilindro a otro. De carácter inhumano, Joe revela la oposición entre animalidad y civilización, trabajo y voluptuosidad, ley y anarquía que se encuentran al centro del erotismo el cual, a partir de estas dicotomías, sólo puede existir como una transgresión. En ese sentido, Georges Bataille vincula la vida disoluta con la actividad erótica: como Joe, la voluptuosidad menosprecia la esfera de la producción, y es, en esencia, excesiva, ya que el orgasmo nos hace gastar nuestras fuerzas sin medida (por eso se le llama la petit mort). Por esta razón, el fundamento del erotismo es una prohibición que se opone a la libertad animal de la sexualidad; por definición, el exceso inherente al goce está fuera de la esfera de la producción; opuesto a la razón, hace imposible el cuidado de los hijos, la benevolencia y la lealtad (que son los fundamentos de la vida civilizada).
La película inicia en un callejón oscuro donde Seligman (Stellan Skarsgård) encuentra a Joe golpeada y sangrando; le da un té y escucha su historia en ocho capítulos en su ascético departamento. Joe le confiere a Seligman el papel de juez y confesor: “Descubrí mi poder de mujer y lo he usado sin tener ninguna consideración hacia los demás”. El primer volumen abarca su descubrimiento de la sexualidad hasta la edad madura; el personaje de Joe es encarnado por la joven actriz y modelo Stacy Martin. En el segundo volumen vemos a Charlotte Gainsbourg en el papel de Joe “descender a las tinieblas”. La estructura narrativa de Nymphomaniac es comparable con Juliette del Marqués de Sade: Juliette cuenta su vida de ninfomaníaca amoral, exitosa y feliz; la novela intercala escenas pornográficas y violentas con cuestionamientos filosóficos, morales y políticos y opiniones de Sade. De forma similar, Von Trier intercala las digresiones de Seligman con las historias de Joe; por ejemplo, traduce todo a problemas matemáticos (teorías de los números Fibonacci), a cosas banales (la pesca de mosca) o a referencias eruditas (sobre religión, música, botánica, etc.). En una escena discuten sobre la hipocresía de la corrección política como fundamento de la democracia; para Joe (Von Trier), “son demasiado estúpidos para la democracia” – aquí no podemos dejar de evocar Dogville (2003) y Manderlay (2005).
Se ha hablado del supuesto carácter pornográfico de Nymphomaniac; sin embargo, si la comparamos con Baise-moi de Virginie Despentes (2000) – la historia de un viaje desenfrenado de sexo, crimen, muerte y agresión femenina – fue filmada con actores profesionales porno y que incluye penetraciones en close-up, rastros de semen en la boca sonriente de las protagonistas, etc., se hace evidente que mientras que Base-moi toma prestadas las convenciones visuales de la pornografía, las escenas de sexo en Nymphomaniac son obscenas y crudas. Como en todas las películas de Von Trier, la cámara parece siempre ser parte de la acción, aunque el punto de vista de ésta no esté contenido en la narrativa ni se pueda identificar con ningún personaje. El espacio filmado es dinámico e inestable y así, la cámara borra la distinción entre la acción en la historia y la acción visualizada por la cámara (que es un compuesto digital hecho con actores de pornografía). Mientras que al espectador le cuesta trabajo identificarse con la cámara, ésta transmite la sensación de “estar presente” en la acción; nos da acceso a demasiada intimidad, situando a lo visual con respecto a su propio límite: al filmar obscenamente al goce, busca mostrar lo no-visible de la particularidad del deseo, que es la animalidad inherente al orgasmo. El orgasmo es además el momento de la individualidad extrema, ya que nuestro ser nunca es tan singular ni tan simultáneo con el otro que cuando nos estamos viniendo (Bataille).
La noción de la sexualidad como fuerza liberadora estaba muy presente en los aires intelectuales en los 60s, ya que la jouissance era considerada como una forma de rebelión. Joe cuenta que en su adolescencia fue miembro de un grupo, “El rebañito”, un colectivo cuyas reivindicaciones recuerdan a la revolución cultural del ’68: dedicadas a coger, a ejercer el derecho a estar calientes, y a hacer sesiones de masturbación colectiva. Joe explica que el objetivo del “El rebañito” fue rebelarse contra el amor, o más bien, contra una sociedad erigida en la ficción que el amor hace que el sexo sea extático y transcendental porque el sexo sin amor es mera evacuación animal.
En una de sus digresiones, Seligman y Joe hacen una analogía entre la polifonía y las experiencias sexuales de Joe: la polifonía es una textura a la que se suman varias voces en harmonía, y el sexo es la suma de todas las experiencias de Joe constituidas por tres amantes: el bajo es un hombre cariñoso preocupado por su placer y por lo tanto monótono, predecible y ritualista; la segunda voz es un animal que la hace presa de su placer salvaje, y el cantus firmus es el amor: el ambivalente ingrediente secreto del sexo.
Cuando Joe se enamora de Jerome (Shia LeBoeuf) y tiene un hijo con él, pierde la capacidad de tener orgasmos. Jerome la anima a buscar otros amantes para la satisfagan, y tras varios experimentos, Joe recurre al sadomasoquismo para rehabilitar su sexualidad. La búsqueda del placer ocupa todo su tiempo y energía, al punto de fallar en la esfera de la reproducción: “Aceptémoslo, tú no eres madre”, le dice Jerome. Incapaz o sin voluntad de ser parte de la esfera reproductiva (que le es esencial al capitalismo neoliberal), Joe renuncia a todo un mundo (incluyendo a su hijo) para recuperar el orgasmo. Podríamos leer la pérdida del orgasmo de Joe como metáfora: una instancia en la que el cuerpo se expresa “histéricamente” como un significante desplazado de las relaciones psíquicas, sociales, económicas y sexuales. El orgasmo perdido es el principio de la caída en la obscuridad que Joe relaciona con la iglesia católica de la Europa occidental, según la cual, la sexualidad es pecado; de allí que la libertad sexual implique transgresión. A partir de la relación entre violencia y religión (encarnado en el carácter sádico de la crucifixión, que implica que hay que sufrir para redimirse y/o gozar), Joe explora el complejo placer/dolor a través de la humillación, castigo, culpa, crimen y expiación sometida por “K” (Jamie Bell). Sin embargo, la búsqueda de la cúspide del placer se aleja cada vez más y más dejándole una herida en la vagina (que le impide hasta tocarse) y síndrome de abstinencia. En este momento en la película, su jefa aconseja a Joe a asistir a un grupo de terapia de adictos sexuales; durante una sesión, Joe afirma su ninfomanía como algo distinto a la “adicción al sexo” (el término esterilizante del estado de la sexualidad plena); celebrando su obscenidad, ninfomanía y la suciedad de su culo y coño, Joe incendia un coche en la calle.
La afirmación de la ninfomanía y la reivindicación de la agresión femenina a través del gesto anarquista de Joe, podrían interpretarse como la rebelión contra el peso de la culpa universal femenina que Joe no pudo redimir, y que es la causa de su frigidez: Joe sufre culpa por haber usado su poder de mujer sin considerar a los demás (mientras que en la sociedad actual, el uso del poder masculino no es causa de culpa, sino deviene más poder). Por eso, para Von Trier, las mujeres son mutiladas y oprimidas por su propio género – y aquí no podemos dejar de evocar la auto-ablación de clítoris de “Ella” en Antichrist. Joe hace además evidente que la liberación sexual no ha traído libertad corporal (y menos a las mujeres). De acuerdo con el escritor Michel Houellebecq:
“Es interesante notar que la ‘revolución sexual’ haya sido a veces mostrada como una utopía comunal, mientras que de hecho, fue simplemente un paso más en el surgimiento histórico del individualismo. Como la linda palabra “hogar” lo sugiere, la pareja y la familia serían el último bastión del comunismo primitivo en la sociedad liberal. La revolución sexual habría de destruir estas comunidades intermediarias, las últimas que separarían al individuo del mercado. La destrucción sigue hasta hoy en día” (Les Particules élémentaires).
Para Houellebecq, la desaparición de la familia nuclear, los rituales religiosos y formas arcaicas de relaciones sociales a partir de la urbanidad, constituyen la apertura hacia la colonización de la existencia afectiva humana, del sexo y de la sexualidad, y son ahora parte de la maquinaria comercial. En otras palabras, el hedonismo y la seducción son la base del mercado capitalista: la libido se encuentra dispersa en el cuerpo social del capitalismo empapando todo lo que se produce bajo su régimen, haciendo que el goce y el fantasma circulen dentro los ciclos de producción e intercambio. Como consecuencia, las mercancías son tentadoras y seductoras, libidinizan nuestros hábitos de consumo, haciendo que la sexualidad, erotismo y libido estén ausentes del acto sexual, transformando a las relaciones sexuales en formas de necesidad existencial como apego amoroso, necesidad fisiológica, simulacro de deseo. Ya que ha perdido su autonomía, capacidad de seducción y misterio, en vez de jouissance, la sexualidad presupone alegría y satisfacción dentro del ciclo neoliberal de producción y consumo.
En Nynphomaniac Joe afirma su posición de paria de la sociedad cuando articula un punto de vista a partir del coño: a través de una superposición, vemos a una vagina convertirse a en un ojo. El punto de vista del coño revela que la sociedad no tiene lugar para la obscenidad (de Joe, del coño). Joe sufre una muerte social por haber sometido la ley a su deseo, rebelándose contra la legislación del deseo, es decir, la afirmación de su propio ser. Usando su experiencia con los hombres y el sexo (“La sexualidad es la fuerza más poderosa de los hombres”, declara), poniendo a trabajar sus las habilidades especiales adquiridas en su vida ninfomaníaca, se dedica a presionar deudores. De este modo, se inserta en la esfera de la producción, pero para ello es necesario renunciar a la sexualidad, y dominar su agresión femenina. La película termina cuando Joe revindica la autonomía de su sexualidad afirmando su agresión femenina. Las moralejas: la sexualidad puede representar todo tipo de relación humana, tanto negativa como positiva, y la liberación sexual es una ficción que somete a los cuerpos a la lógica de las sociedades neoliberales de control, fundada en la economía libidinal, la auto-explotación y las ficciones de la auto-realización y el apego amoroso.

·      Georges Bataille, L’Érotisme, (Paris: Éditions de Minuit, 1998). 
·      Keti Chukhrov, “Sexuality in a Non-Libidinal Economy” e-flux Journal 54 (April 2014) disponible en red: http://www.e-flux.com/journal/sexuality-in-a-non-libidinal-economy/
·      Virginie Despentes, King Kong Theory (New York: CUNY, The Feminist Press, 2010)
·      Gilles Deleuze, Présentation de Sacher-Masoch, le froid et le cruel (Paris: Les Éditions de Minuit, 1967).
·      Michel Houellebecq, Les Particules élémentaires (Paris: Flammarion, 1998)
·      M. de Sade, Histoire de Juliette ou les prosperités du vice (Paris: Editions Humanis) disponible en red: http://www.editions-humanis.com/illustrations/enfer/Juliette_extrait.pdf.

·      Stephen Shaviro, Melancholia Or, The Romantic Anti-Sublime Sequence 1.1 (2012) disponible en red: http://reframe.sussex.ac.uk/sequence/files/2012/12/MELANCHOLIA-or-The-Romantic-Anti-Sublime-SEQUENCE-1.1-2012-Steven-Shaviro.pdf.