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Stéphane Lojkine, , mis en ligne le 14/04/2021, URL : https://utpictura18.univ-amu.fr/en/rubriques/archives/critique-theorie/scenic-object-thing

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The chose of the tale is a stage object avant la lettre. It has its origins in the marvelous objects inherited from the oral culture of the Middle Ages (ring, philtre, horn, sword endowed with supernatural powers): these objects, in the novels of Chrétien de Troyes, lose their magical efficacy and are stricken with indeterminacy, to the point of becoming incomprehensible (like the grail). They remain as traces of a marvellous world that is moving away from the novelistic space.

Lancelot s'éveillant, un chevalier malade guérit devant le graal (Lancelot 343, F°18r)
Lancelot s'éveillant, un chevalier malade guérit devant le graal (Lancelot 343, F°18r).Here, the grail cup is a clearly identifiable object.

The thing, in a scenic device of crystallization (which opposes the classic screen device and gradually replaces it) is what, in the scene, attracts the eye, fixes, concentrates attention, desire. The text generally insists on the indeterminacy of the thing: "a kind of...", "something", that we can't quite make out, that we can't decipher. Yet in its very indeterminacy, which in the text designates something uncoded, uncultural, something to do with the raw or brutal character of the real, the thing is in the scene what crystallizes meaning, that is, what opens the scenic device to its symbolic dimension.

La Chose impossible - Fragonard
Fragonard, La Chose impossible.
The demon on the left embraces only light: the focal point of the representation is indeterminate

We can relate the thing, as a degree zero of the scenic object, to the psychoanalytic Thing (Das Ding).

(Stéphane Lojkine, La Scène de roman, A. Colin, 2001)

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