The schizoform: The amodern and the modern
Modernity is often lauded as the single historical form that, in its persistent drive toward a progressive future, unites humankind to overcome its existential crises. While this project of human development appears profitable, concealed beneath its glittery surface lies a distinctly problematic aspect: the amodern, which opposes the rational, communal, and industrious goals of progress, and thus, despite its organic presence in the state of human affairs, is repressed to seeming non-existence.
A simple critique of modernity is nothing innovative, as such criticism is as old as modernity itself; I offer instead a shifted perspective that redefines our perception of modernity. Figuring modernity as a repressive agent lends attention to what material is repressed. In my thesis I demand a certain attention not to the progressive features of works created under the regime of modernity, but rather to the conflicted nature of the works and the interpretation of repression within them.
This complex and unstable relationship between modernity and amodernity manifests itself most vividly in the individual's psychology through the condition of schizophrenia. While those who deny rationality are labeled with a range of other psychological "disorders," the schizophrenic is rather the one who is aware of the inherent disconnection between competing logics within the mind. If schizophrenia is the hyper-awareness of the conflicted and repressed nature of humans living within modernity, schizoformia is the displacement of this same condition from the phrenos (body) of the afflicted to the form that the abstract discourse takes, such that the conflict between forces and subsequent repression of that conflict become obvious: there is a recognition that it has always been present.
Provided with this understanding, I develop the technique of schizoformal analysis to interpret texts so as to explore the violent conflict concealed beneath the project of modernity. I then examine a number of works in prose and drama from Anton Pavlovich Chekhov as well as Ivan Dykhovichny's 1992 film Prorva as two examples of very different works that illustrate the practice of schizoformal reading.
0314: Slavic literature