“ a honesty of this type threaten order,” said Chris Kraus friend, the poet David Rattray. It is precisely the kind of urjobbiga honesty that we find in Kraus cult classic from 1997, “I love Dick.” Now, the American book – which also recently received a British distribution – in Swedish, translated by Annelie Axen. The ambiguous American original title is still there, and it’s good. A dirty joke, a dick joke that set the tone for the text’s cape – and humor.
The autobiographical book is about the experimental filmmaker Chris Kraus, who lives with her much older husband Sylvère Lotringer. He is a popular French cultural theorist with remarkably good taste in women: the past, he has been with the feminist icon Kathy Acker. Chris is approaching 40 and is disappointed in their poor sex life, but also the loss of artistic recognition. As long as she is with Sylvère she is smothered in the role of his wife, a constant “plus one”.
Chris supplied by her husband’s money while she was doing her art. She is a feminist and Marxist but also a pragmatist: “Was there anyone who was free in late capitalism?” She negotiates up his lecture fees and invest the money in real estate that they rent out.
A day hits the pair cultural theorist Dick (as in real unit named Dick Hebdige). His cowboy mannerisms and vagabond-reeking alcoholic tendencies are in stark contrast to the Jewish, hyper-intellectual couple. He is the body, they are words. Something about him makes the dams that had enclosed Chris sexual desire shortcomings. She hit the psychosis-like state called new love. She loves Dick.
Together with her husband, she begins to write letters to Dick. First short, tentative, but soon more and more intense lyrics, full of “masturbatorisk passion”. She writes lying on your back, with your computer over him like a lover.
The letters are not sent at once, but they create a game that “is real, and even better than reality “. They remind me of the long literary tradition in which male writers are projecting their desire and their perceptions of good looking girls: Breton’s Nadja or Henry Miller Mona / June. Taking the liberty of making some of the objects of his desire is also a way of exercising power. And just sexual power is like a constant shadow over the text, where Chris Masters, even though she is the submissive, dependent. While she still had sex with her husband, there was a BDSM elements in the relationship, and it is not possible to ignore the meeting with Dick. Sylvères letter to rival Dick gets that sent from an intellectual cuckold , the term for men who are turned on by seeing his woman to be with others.
Dick turns out to be exactly the person Kraus think that he is. A pig – or, in English: a dick . The following day they finally had sex he treats her like a trash bag to be thrown out. But instead of defending themselves against the female-coded humiliation brought her, go Kraus into the feeling. She reminds the reader that those who admit their feelings – even the ones that make us who weakest – showing more strength than the rods of them.
The line between text-based art and poetry , between performance and theater, film and video art, sound art and music has become so fine that it is sometimes impossible to discern. It is something we have become accustomed, but “I love Dick” who then came out almost two decades ago is prophetic: this is the post-internet art from a time before social media even existed. Kraus himself calls his book “performative philosophy,” a performance that has become text. But it is just as easy to speak of it as a genre autofiction or a case study of erotic obsession. And in a time when artistic expression overlap as venn diagrams feels “I love Dick” hyper-date.
Chris has not previously been able to write since she compromised so much in life that it is impossible for her to “take a position “. As she writes, she is not only in love with Dick – but also in his own voice. Letters released in a diary-like form, where it is unclear whether DD stands for “Dear Dick” or the abbreviation commonly used: “Dear Diary”. The letters also moves ever further beyond the love relationship, to ideas about art and feminism. (There is also a section on an American lawyer on hunger strike to rescue her husband who belongs to the Maya people, who receive the reading to drop in tempo.)
The book says Chris Kraus that her role model is Hannah Wilke, the artist who transformed such that irritated her artwork, which “seemed so awkward while she was alive.” This is precisely what is so wonderful with the “I love Dick,” that its authors to fully embrace weaknesses, see their strength and power potential.