Chris Basmajian / Work /

Interactive video (video camera, display, custom software, computer

Mathemes are the symbols developed by psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan in an attempt to build a system of scientific notation around his elusive and often contradictory ideas. Lacan's writings lead readers to continually varying interpretations, and his Mathemes were a self-conscious attempt to move beyond mere words. In essence, they are stand-ins for concepts that cannot be completely described by conventional language.

For each work in this series, a matheme and its mirror image define the borders between mirrored image sequences of the viewer, which are in varying states of temporal flux. The symbols themselves have no positive appearance, but are only recognized as a difference between the changing images.

Demos: The downloadable demos below are Java applications created with Processing. A Mac with a good web camera (iSight recommended) is required to run them. Place the camera in a stationary position and in a well lit area.

Split Subject

Little Other

Big Other

Barred Other

Phallus (Imaginary)


Phallus (Symbolic)