Silent Neg(oti)ation: The Piano

By Siyaves Azeri.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Jane Campion’s "controversial" film, The Piano, contributes to the formation of a feminist discourse through offering the emergence of a negotiation between the oppressed sex, the feminine, and the oppressing discourse of masculinity. The kind of encounter that is represented in this film is not one of hegemonic nature; it is not a reversal of already existing hierarchy of genders through a simple act of negation, since such negation will simply reproduce a mirror image of the masculine, hence it will be trapped in its economy. The Piano avoids such reproduction by rejecting the vocally produced discourse of masculinity and offers a new language through elements of silence and music as alternative modes of speech. Clarification of the key terms such as 'voice,' 'silence,' and 'negotiation' basically from a Bakhtinian point of view contributes to the justification of the aforementioned thesis. These formulations will then be applied to recent debates concerning The Piano and to mostly psychoanalytically oriented theories, which are supposed to offer parallel claims in another realm. To justify these claims, I will elaborate on Kaya Silverman’s consideration of psychoanalytical theory that criticizes it for conceptualizing women’s voice as an essential inablity of expression. Such image is also reproduced and represented in classic Hollywood cinema. I will finally try to show that the discourse which is offered by The Piano will pave the way toward a 'cartographic' (Deleuze & Guattari) consideration of the gender issues and the relationship between the conscious and unconscious.

Keywords: Gender, Feminism, Psychoanalysis, Dialogy, Cartography, Film, Voice, Silence

The International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp.89-96. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 521.047KB).

Dr. Siyaves Azeri

PhD Candidate, Iranian Institute of Philosophy, Tehran, Iran (Islamic Republic of)

I was born in 1969 in Tehran-Iran. I studied electronics engineering for 3 years and then I changed my major to philosophy. I received my Bachelor of Science degree in philosophy at 1995 at METU, Ankara, Turkey. I received my Master of Arts degree in 1999. My MA thesis topic supervised by Prof. Dimitri Nikulin is "Mikhail Bakhtin: Dialogy, Act, Subject". At present I am waiting for my PhD defence at University of Ottawa. The topic of my doctoral thesis is "The Riddle of Subjectivity: The Humean Notion of the self" and it is supervised by Prof. David Raynor. My major field of interest is the problem of personal identity and the metaohysics of the self. In the meantime I am interested in both Modern and contemporary philosophy. I am also interested in application of particular philosophical theories to literature and film.

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