Rearview Mirror: Art, Violence, and Sublimation
Athena invented the rear-view mirror, which allows us to face the horror,
not face to face, but beginning from the duplicate, the simulacrum.
— JULIA KRISTEVA, The Severed Head
If we interpret deconstruction as a form of translation as transference, we have moved into the territory of psychoanalysis. Indeed, if poetic majesty acts to unseat sovereign majesty through the cut that carries with it rebirth, as in the story of Little Red Riding Hood, then psychoanalysis may be the discourse best equipped for articulating the dynamics of this wound that is also a source of life. In other words, psychoanalysis may provide the tools with which to analyze the thorny relationship between violence and life, particularly through the concepts of death drive and sublimation. Returning to our violent girls, hunting and hunted, deconstruction does more than merely suggest a role reversal, that Little Red Riding Hood kills and devours the wolf. Bloodthirsty girls may provide good entertainment, and they may be even a step up from bloodthirsty wolves, but we are still left with bloodshed and violence. But how might the scissors that cut—what psychoanalysis calls the operation of castration—lead to rebirth or renewal