> télécharger l'article

Parasitical Politics and Epistolary Games: The Art of Chris Kraus and Sophie Calle

Anna Fisher

Brown University

Parasitical Feminism

FOR the artists Chris Kraus and Sophie Calle, the recurring motif of romantic correspondence comes to represent a state of play by which operations of language acquire a certain potential for the renegotiation of gender relations. These projects re-invest in epistolary and diaristic practices, historically feminized literary forms, to politicize, women's (real and performed) hostility toward men, the designated "guilty agents" of their (real and performed) suffering. Such artistic practices confront feminists with, if not a new set of questions, then at least a broader set of possibilities for thinking through ways in which women might "take advantage of" or engage tactically with the various schema within patriarchal late capitalism that persist in positioning professional, adult women as romantic failures and emotional messes.

Any number of women writers and artists have played with the unnerving representational potential to be found in the female subject who abjects herself in order to write, draw, or paint with the intimate mess of her public bloodletting, across a broad spectrum of claims to authenticity and theatricality (I am thinking here of figures that have fueled debates about performance and its feminist representational politics in the U.S. and Europe since the 1970s and into the present, such as Carolee Schneeman, Ana Mendieta, Orlan, Christine Angot, Tracey Emin, Heli Rekula, and Elke Krystufek). There, however, would seem to be a rather more, if not restrained, targeted quality to a number of recent art projects by women that seize upon themes of heterosexual romantic abjection (real and symbolic) for their creative production. Gender would appear to offer a crucial interpretive key for recognizing the interest of such work as, rather than the self-indulgent work of an individual artist, performative actions that literalize, in ways compelling and problematic, long-held notions of femininity as a bad copy of or vampiristic threat to masculinity.

Not surprisingly, the figure of the parasite has historically been a dangerous and disparaged one within feminist discourse. Simone de Beauvoir turned to the parasite in the The Second Sex (1949) to characterize women's dependency on men as "like that of a parasite sucking out the living strength of another organism." [1] A half a century later, in an interview published in 1991, Avital Ronell was asked: "What's 'wrong' with feminism today?" "It's dependent on what man does." she responded, explaining: "Feminism today has a parasitical, secondary territoriality, and if you respond to present conditions, you're subject to reactive, mimetic, and regressive posturings." [2]

Across this feminist historical gap, and into the present, the parasite has been invoked to articulate a fundamental problem for twentieth and twenty-first century feminism and feminist theory, namely, women's constitution in relation to, and secondarily to, patriarchal structures as a result or redress of injury, elaborated by way of the persistent metaphor of the heterosexual romantic relationship. According to Ronell, feminism is best characterized by the Nietzschean concept of ressentiment, denoting a psychological state arising from feelings that cannot be acted upon, often resulting in a form of self-abasement and a tendency toward a symptomatic, reactionary politics. [3] And yet, precisely what has been rejected within feminist discourse as "parasitical" in discussions of ressentiment and postfeminism, as a certain endlessly internalized recursivity, is the very condition of possibility that Kraus and Calle's modeling of parasitical feminism seeks to recover and exploit.

Epistolary Games

I Love Dick
A New Zealand expatriate now based in the U.S., Chris Kraus is a filmmaker turned writer. Her most well-known work, I Love Dick (1997) chronicles her romantic obsession with "Dick," widely identified as the British cultural theorist Dick Hebdige, [4] an academic colleague of Kraus' husband, the influential French theorist and self-described "foreign agent provocateur" Sylvère Lotringer. [5] After only a single meeting, one later described by Dick as "genial but not particularly intimate or remarkable," [6] Kraus undertakes to make Dick into an object of worship onto whom she might confess the wound of her feminine abjection and intellectual rapacity.

In the accumulation of over two hundred, confessional letters written to Dick, she manipulates Dick's identity into a faceless, patriarchal screen (as in "Dick and Jane" or "Every Tom, Dick, and Harry") onto which she projects her sexual fantasies, personal anxieties, and critical interventions. By Kraus' own hand, the proper name Dick becomes dick, through a process that Derrida terms "emajusculation," his play on the emasculation of the "majuscule" that is the capital letter. [7] It is through this "capital punishment," the castrating force of writing as a kind of cut reflected in the gesture of "the letter," that, in Kraus's work, Dick is separated from his personality, leaving behind only the dick-the phallus that is the paragon of masculinity and vulgar slang used to name its most insensitive member. With the blunt force of her pen, he is cut from the Real and made to enter the Symbolic where he stands for the very idea of men in Kraus' endless litany of disappointments in the spheres of love and sex chronicled in the book.

In graphic verbal depiction, Kraus recounts her humiliations, due not only to Dick's refusal to get romantically involved with her, but also to the "insults, slights, and condescension" that she endured as the wife of a successful public figure. He gets top billing, and she gets "on the guest list as his 'plus one.'" [8] The very pride and personification of the white hetero-patriarchical institution, her husband Sylvère-known for his kinky sexual and critical appetite-plays dominant to her submissive, academic darling to her amateurish supplementarity. The ironic banality of Kraus' outsiderness is rendered exceptional by her status as very well connected, if still parasitic, "hanger-on," his perpetual "plus one." Kraus writes to Dick, "And I wonder if they'll ever be a possibility of reconciling youth and age, or the anorexic open wound I used to be with the money-hustling hag I've become." [9] She is the emotive excess that spills over the institutional permissiveness granted to his "subversive" Ivy League, deconstructive critical cachet. Her claimed affinity for "Dick" is perhaps unsurprising, as Kraus describes her own position in her marriage as a kind of unsightly appendage attached to something larger or more important.

Kraus admits early into the pages of I Love Dick, "Dick's presence in their lives was a vacation from this kind of scheming. It was a foray into scheming of another kind." [10] And yet she swears by her belief in and love for Dick like a little girl clings to the idea of Santa Claus, concluding her daily letters to him with affirmations of her unequivocal faith in his sexual power, critical majesty, and patriarchal omnipotence. Kraus signs off in one entry, "I keep you in my heart, it keeps me going" and another, "Knowing you's like knowing Jesus. There are billions of us and only one of you so I don't expect much from you personally. There are no answers to my life. But I'm touched by you and fulfilled just by believing." [11]

Kraus' "love letters" to Dick comprise a brutally public practice in forced voyeurism ("…you, poor Dick, do not deserve to be exposed to such a masturbatory passion"), [12] recalling Jacques Derrida's reflections on the postcard that is an open letter, a mode of intimate exchange that remains unsealed. The letters taunt Dick, mocking him for his status as a forced exhibition/ist, at one point even inviting him to write the "Introduction" for their publication. "It could read something like this," Sylvère suggests, having agreed to play the role of co-conspirator, "…I believe these letters will interest the reader as a cultural document. Obviously they manifest the alienation of the postmodern intellectual in its most diseased form. I really feel sorry for such a parasitic growth, that feeds upon itself…" [13] Making him into an appendage in the appendix to her book, Kraus publishes the letter that Dick wrote to Sylvère, when, ostensibly writing to follow up about some French-theoretical-business-matter, Hebdige turned in closing to address the project, misspelling Kraus' first name, in a moment shared between men:

…I can only say that being taken as the objective of such obsessive attention…was, indeed still is, utterly incomprehensible to me. I found the situation initially perplexing, then disturbing and my major regret now is that I didn't find the courage at the time to communicate to you and Kris [sic] how uncomfortable I felt being the unwitting object of what you described to me over the phone before Christmas as some kind of bizarre game. [14]

Indeed, Kraus' correspondence stalks Dick, shocks him into stillness, assigning him in the public record of her "open book" with the "post" (la poste) of unwitting art object that Derrida reminds us with the French (le poste) is "the sense of position to be held." [15] The violence of her letters is in the gesture of their "binding." Published and publicized as a book, Dick has no choice but to hold the post/pose Kraus has given him. Just as Derrida "plays the post card against literature," Kraus' love letters and diary entries-the fluffy, feminized stuff of adolescent daydreams-make themselves into unlikely weapons and thus, "inadmissible literature" for Dick's defense. [16] In this sense, Dick fails to find protection under patriarchy. Kraus' feminine subterfuge turns Dick's own logic against him, as she insists on the excess produced by the system's supplementary parts-low forms, affect, contamination-that by dominance's own logic cannot be taken into the court record.

Kraus perverts the meaning of the letter, typically thought to record the material bond between two subjects in exchange. Instead, the letters in I Love Dick are serialized and bound for their diaristic quality, and Dick is rendered impotent not only by the manic intensity of their proliferation as a joke-turned-conceptual art project but also finally by the force of their very "serious" circulation as a published book. It turns out that Dick has little "point." Dick's value is mostly as a token in the exchange, first between Kraus and Sylvère and finally between Kraus and her reader, as the book serves as guarantor that the letters made "to his address" are always already intercepted. As "Dear Dick" replaces "Dear Diary," the form of the letter becomes a means of transforming Dick from subject to object, from writer to reader, from critic to critique. This time it is [the] Dick who finds himself on the receiving end of things.

Take Care of Yourself
It is French artist Sophie Calle, of course, who is generally credited with having set the gold standard in the genre of "break-up art," having masterminded such works as her film No Sex Last Night (1996) and later, "Exquisite Pain" (2004), among other projects that centralize "girlish" thematics such as infatuation, pursuit, and unrequited heterosexual love and loss. [17] Calle again raises the stakes of a career made on the conceptual politics of romantic art practices based on her "one-way" investigatory performances and forensic auto/biographical aesthetics [18] with her much-praised 2007 Venice Biennale exhibition and subsequent book project entitled Take Care of Yourself. This latest book visualizes the abundance of Calle's return on her missive to 107 women professionals in which she requested that these women read and analyze, according to their particular occupational skill sets, a break-up email that she received. Calle writes of the project, "I received an email telling me it was over. I didn't know how to respond. It was almost as if it hadn't been meant for me. It ended with the words, 'Take care of yourself.' And so I did." [19] And so they did-women all chosen for their professional skills and distinctions. The lexicometrist, whatever that is, offers an extended analysis of the email, including textual dissections of its typographical appearance, genre, enunciation and vocabulary. The proofreader rips the email apart, citing "awkward repetitions," "clumsy sentence openings," and "long, ill-constructed sentences." The cartoonist makes him into a caricature of himself, the press agent "yesterday's news."

"Take Care of Yourself," he writes to close. Appropriating these words for the title for her project, it is Calle who gets the final word. Jilting her, her ex-lover leaves her with this parting shot, a polite imperative to do as he asks one final time. This imperative recalls Michel Foucault's late work on "the care of the self" in his third volume of The History of Sexuality in which he describes self-care as, "The name of the ethical principle that leads people to cultivate themselves, that is to work to improve themselves: This 'cultivation of the self' can be briefly characterized by the fact that one must 'take care of oneself.'" [20] Calle's project cleverly exposes the paradox of this Socratic injunction that, according to Foucault, prompted the whole enterprise of philosophy. [21] The paradox is explicit when "Take care of yourself"- already a translation of Socrates' "Know yourself"-is thus glossed: "Make freedom your foundation, through the mastery of yourself." [22] Calle's project reveals the insidious arrogance of the parting line as a critique of a larger Western patriarchal tradition that offers the door to freedom as a trap, thus installing and maintaining a culture of ressentiment. How is a woman supposed to exercise her liberty if doing so means obeying an imperative? How can a woman make freedom her goal, if she doesn't possess the freedom to do such a thing in the first place?

Take Care of Yourself is a massive effort that boldly echoes Kraus' turn to multiplication, the mathematical operation of scale, to quantify the infinitely subjective stakes of heartbreak. Barbara Cassin notes Calle's use of seriality as a formal technique that, in a sense, feeds on itself and is used to draw together the self and other into the shared relation of the many,

To create a series oneself [sic] via others, the others making up a series themselves to the extent that they have an identity trait-you'll all be women reacting to his way of leaving me…you're all laid out in this notebook…in the case of me barbara, it's in the role of a philologist to fill in the Sophie series. You want to be used up this way, you want that? Yes I want. [23]

Given the "calculated" quality of these highly conceptual projects, perhaps it is no coincidence that our visual encounter with Calle's "ex-" is signified by the very "sign" of multiplication: in the place of its absent referent is the signature "X." [24] Calle outsources a "mass production" of interpretative labor that would alchemize the brutally masculine piece of text into an intermedial army of feminine re-representations-photographic portraits of her sister-readers each holding the email (who are even now "still" reading it), their accompanying textual analyses personalized in an diverse lexicon of graphic styles (handwritten, digitized, animated), and filmed performances of them singing or citing the text playing in an endless round of looped choruses. I am most interested in the project in its form as an art book that is the product of skilled and networked, creative mass production-as a book that is one part of a greater whole (since the book was timed to coincide with the Venice exhibition) but also, in itself, as a 424-page art "volume" exceptional for its sheer size.

Perhaps it is Kraus and Calle's shared interest in an "aesthetic of overwhelm" that explains why the "Dicks" ostensibly at the core of their projects begin to look so insignificant under the protuberances that hold Kraus' proliferating sentiments and Calle's interpersonal mediations. Initially taking him up an idol, Kraus' words ultimately pick Dick apart, just as Calle's triangulated dissections undo "X," making both men into details that justcan't quite be recalled within the vast expanses of the projects' larger, and far more striking, critical and aesthetic fields. Calle's "ex/X" literally becomes a footnote in her larger project, as translator Adriana Hunter, one of her 107 readers, drops this footnote, giving X a new kind of appendage, in "X14": "I am intrigued by this 'X.' Is it a kiss, or the writer's initial? It would be much more tender to end with a kiss..." While it is merely a device used by the artist to hide his identity, the translator's note nonetheless renders Calle's "ex/X" into just something else to puzzle over, a "puzzle piece" among many [X14] resembling the kind one plays in a board game, or that might just as easily be lost and forgotten under a sofa cushion.

If to overwhelm denotes "to suffocate or drown, to bury beneath a huge mass"-the mimetic crime committed by these acts of creative repetition is indeed a kind of representational murder, by way of smothering, drowning, or burying alive. Kraus pleads guilty, writing during her early collaboration on the project with Sylvère, "At first they just share the letters with each other, but as the pile grows to 50 then 80 then 180 pages, they begin discussing some kind of Sophie Calle-like art piece, in which they would present the manuscript to Dick. …'Dear Dick,' she writes at one point, 'I guess in a sense I've killed you. You've become Dear Diary...' [25] In an interview, Calle admits that what began as a form of personal therapy developed into art, "After one month I felt better. There was no suffering. It worked. The project had replaced the man." [26] Kraus and Calle's creative logorrhea feeds and nourishes them. "Precisely what is a parasite?" writes David Bell in a review of Michel Serres. "It is an operator that interrupts a system of exchange. The abusive guest partakes of the host's meal, consumes food, and gives only words…in return" (my emphasis). [27] As the substance of language replaces its object, the men are forced to eat their words. Kraus and Calle do not kill "Dick." They kill the idea that "Dick" is larger than life; in a sense, by exposing these men, so very publicly, Kraus and Calle pierce the notion that patriarchy is somehow impenetrable.

Tactical Impositions

The parasite, previously a pejorative term for the supposed alien threat of femininity, gets reimagined as the condition of possibility by which the open wound, posed by the strategic supplementarity of the parasite to its host, makes possible a feminist remapping of the structural dynamics of gendered territoriality as the parasite overwhelms the terrain of its host. These procedures set the terms by which Dick and "X" undergo a kind of figural erasure; they seem to be eaten alive by the work. What begins for both women as an "it's all about you" project slowly turns into "it's all about me." The designation "X" represents the absent center held by the male figures left to g/host these projects, confined by language to the purgatory of signification. "X" represents Calle's conceptual "ex-" whose decidedly smarmy email to the artist serves as an invitation for an extended reading that he unwittingly has agreed "to host."

Dick naively initiates his role as the project's "host" when he invites Kraus and her husband to dine with him, as Dick's generosity quickly gets re-territorialized. Dick naively accommodates the parasitic trap around him, as he hospitably supplies Kraus the proximity that she uses against him. "X" for Calle signals a landmark for something that has "crossed" her and in turn, been crossed off. It is a symbol for what must be searched for and what has been buried. Or, in fact, the "X" may represent the variable that stands for the many possibilities that always coexist, and among them, the possibility not that X marks the thing that one must get away from, but rather that "X marks the spot" where one must burrow in even deeper. Dick and "X" get emptied of their meaning as individuals, as Kraus and Calle are recognized by the art world as original.

While Calle's relationship with her "X" is indulged more in the realm of the symbolic, remaining a kind of ongoing hypothetical in her collaborator's interpretations ("if X actually exists then Y"), Kraus' relationships to Dick and Sylvère are rather more exposed, given her willingness, indeed her pleasure in, naming (actual) names and toying with the so-called "fictive" identities of two very real, and very public, men. There would seem to be something altogether more raw, and frankly, unhinged, about Kraus' "parasitic growth" in comparison to Calle's, which remains firmly measured by the boundaries set by the rules to her own coolly played representational game. Calle "plays" the parasite, but one has the sense that it is just that: a piece of theater or a game with a finite duration. Perhaps Calle takes care of herself after all by modeling a deconstructive operation that is not self-destructive, engaging in less a tactic than a stratagem, which might offer a third term to sit alongside de Certeau's opposing strategies and tactics. A stratagem might be a way of playing the game without necessarily trying to win big at all costs (or for Foucault, without succeeding in reversing the state of domination). [28] And yet there is little buffer between fact and fiction in Kraus for whom deeper and darker drives seem to lurk. Kraus' game posits no foreseeable end, as she has no visible boundaries.

Calle and Kraus bifurcate notions of a "parasitical performance" to very different ends. For Calle, the performance of the parasite gets worn as a theatricalized, protective cloak, a costuming that to some degree shields the "real" just long enough to leave people wondering, "Was she or wasn't she just playing herself?" Calle's parasiticism is a carefully elaborated game of pleasure that, as a result, endures to play again; whereas Kraus' performance takes on the inflection of a high velocity event, the "break a leg" or "big break" of an opening night that seems mere minutes from a very real breakdown. Her parasitical "performance" would seem to signal that which is extreme, durational, and lived in constant rehearsal. At the halfway mark of I Love Dick, she and Sylvère separate. Her husband who was once "game" is no longer sure if the structure of their marriage is capable of withstanding the devastating blows of each hacking letter to Dick.

In a later interview about the project, Sylvère admits, "You have to pay for indulgence…it was a risky operation." [29] As if surgically to remove herself-as-appendage from her husband's overpowering career, Kraus' conceptual project hacks away at the relentlessly accommodating (super)structure of patriarchy but with little thought of the implications of its collapse for Sylvère, her marriage and her own survival without it. If this is a feminist operation, what will happen if the host dies? If Dick rejects her and Sylvère divorces her, who will be there to buttress the conceptual interest of the project and finally to publish her manuscript as Lotringer's press Semiotext(e) ultimately does? To give her the intellectual nod of approval on which the project so depends? To watch and desire her dangerous performance of femininity? Kraus' maniacal dedication to the project bespeaks the intensity of an artist willing to go deeper and further than anyone expects her to go, urging the need for further study of feminism's own willingness to acknowledge the politics of its internal death drive, following such work in American queer theory, [30] and what relation this disavowal bears on the persistence of feminism's ressentiment.

Unlike Calle who might best be described as a parasite who feeds at the surface of the skin, preferring to operate in the sphere of the conceptual, Kraus prefers a more dramatic depth-model, desiring to burrow ever further into the inner depths of the real until the accommodating structure finally gives way. She writes, "But Dick, I know that as you read this, you'll know these things are true. You understand the game is real, or even better than, reality, and better than is what it's all about…Being in love with you, being ready to take this ride, made me feel 16, hunched up in a leather jacket in a corner with my friends…It's not about giving a fuck, or seeing all the consequences looking and doing something anyway." [31] Kraus closes the letter, "Sylvère thinks he's that kind of anarchist. But he's not. I love you Dick." [32]

These works capture a struggle with the French intellectual father for contemporary feminism-and the impossibility to escape him (as this paper performs in its own parasitical dependence upon French theory)-simultaneously a desire for his approval and a disdain for his control. What confuses the feminist politics of I Love Dick, a tactical confusion that might in fact be its politics, is that Kraus' "love" for Dick always appears a performance most intended for Sylvère. Her anarchic parasiticism, with its willful destructiveness toward the symbolic moral proprietary structures of marriage, home, and self, becomes a way for Kraus to literalize Sylvère's theoretical investment in poststructuralism with feminism as her uneasy guarantor. Kraus pushes poststructural theory to its furthest conclusions, impressing and alienating Sylvère in the process. Rather than rebelling against the "law of the father," what is here poststructural theory (a fraternity in which Dick is a brother), Kraus positions herself as a kind of deconstructive poster-girl, who in the name of feminism is willing to (death) drive her banner right off a cliff.

By piercing and feeding on the X that is "Dick," both Chris Kraus and Sophie Calle remap the ideological territory of the host who becomes dwarfed by its parasite. Reversing the stakes of women's emotionality as a point of weakness, affective and sexual attachments are remapped as sites of the "para"-a prefix in borrowed from the Greek, which indicates "beside or alongside, wrongfully, harmfully, unfavorably, among," that, Miller notes, has come to mean "the boundary line, threshold, or margin, and at the same time beyond it…at once a permeable membrane connecting inside and outside [and] confusing them." [33] In Kraus and Calle's art, women's emotionality is transfigured in the parasite as a kind of parachute-the promise of a way out of the same old gender dyad. The parachute offered by a parasitical feminism, however, does not guarantee survival or even successful escape. Casualties are inevitable.



Calle, Sophie, Take Care of Yourself, Arles, Actes Sud, 2007.

De Beauvoir, Simone, The Second Sex, New York, Alfred A. Knopf, (1949) 1993.

Derrida, Jacques, The Post Card: From Socrates to Freud and Beyond, trans. Alan Bass, Chicago, Illinois, The University of Chicago Press, 1987.

Foucault, Michel, Ethics: Subjectivity and Truth: The Essential Works of Michel Foucault, Ed. Paul Rabinow, New York: New Press, (1984) 1994.

——, The History of Sexuality: Volume 3, The Care of the Self, Vintage Books, 1986.

Gaston, Sean, Derrida and Disinterest. New York, Continuum, 2005.

Kraus, Chris, I Love Dick, New York, Semiotext(e), 1997.

Ronell, Avital, Interview. Angry Women, eds. Andrea Juno and V. Vale, Re/Search Publications, 1991.

Articles in Journals

Bell, David, [untitled review: Le Parasite by Michel Serres] MLN Vol. 96, n°4, May 1981.

Miller, J. Hillis, "The Critic As Host," Critical Inquiry, Vol. 3, n°3, Spring 1977, The University of Chicago Press.


Chrisafis, Angelique, "He Loves Me Not", The Guardian, consulted 1 May 2009.

Gentlemen, Amelia, "The Worst the Break Up, the Better the Art", The Guardian, 2004, consulted 13 December 2004.

Henson, Beth, "I Love Chris", Frigatezine, 1997, consulted 14 January 2009.

OED Online, "Ressentiment", The Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford University Press, 2009, consulted 9 March 2009.

Rimanelli, David, "I Love Dick." ArtForum International Magazine (Fall), 1998, consulted 13 December 2004.

This American Life, Episode 95: "Monogamy," Chicago Public Radio. Originally aired March 7, 1998, 1998, consulted on 4 March 2004.

[1] Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex, New York, Alfred A. Knopf, (1949) 1993, p. 724.

[2] Avital Ronell, Interview. Angry Women eds. Andrea Juno and V. Vale, Re/Search Publications, 1991, p. 127.

[3] "Ressentiment," The Oxford English Dictionary, OED Online, Oxford University Press.

This American Life, Episode 95: "Monogamy," Chicago Public Radio. Originally aired March 7, 1998,

[5] While the book is a representation and should not be mistaken for a factual account, I argue that the scandal of the book, nevertheless, is its insistence on representing itself as conceptual performance art rather than a piece of fiction. Kraus as character insists on representing herself in the narrative as a performance artist (engaging in a collaboration with willing and unwilling participants)-whose work draws on the mimetic power of her using her own body (and their own names)-rather than as a writer of fiction, despite her use of text rather than images to document her conceptual project. On the level of medial specificity, the project confuses medial boundaries by asking whether performance art can make claims to what Richard Schechner called the simultaneous state of "not being and not not being" of performance when it appropriates literature. In a performance context, the character of "Chris Kraus" in I Love Dick both is not and is not not Chris Kraus, whereas in a literary context, it would be considered amateurish to confuse a character by the same name with the author. I Love Dick asks, just as the genre of autobiography has by issuing a certain contract between the author and the reader: what happens when the body in literature insists on being "real"? cf. Richard Schechner, Between Theater and Anthropology, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985, p. 112.

[6] Chris Kraus, I Love Dick, New York, Semiotext(e), 1997, p. 143.

[7] Sean Gaston, Derrida and Disinterest. New York, Continuum, 2005, p. 111.

[8] Beth Henson, "I Love Chris", Frigatezine, 1997, consulted 14 January 2009.

[9] C. Kraus, p. 23 (note 6).

[10] Ibid., p. 17.

[11] Ibid., p. 98.

[12] Ibid., p. 17.

[13] Ibid., p. 26.

[14] Ibid., p. 273.

[15] Jacques Derrida, The Post Card: From Socrates to Freud and Beyond. trans. Alan Bass, Chicago, Illinois, The University of Chicago Press, 1987, p. xxvi.

[16] Ibid., p. 9.

[17] Amelia, Gentlemen, "The Worst the Break Up, the Better the Art," The Guardian, 2004, consulted 13 December 2004.

[18] The Paula Cooper Gallery, Calle's New York representation, describes Calle as "…well-known for her sleuth-like explorations of human relationships, which led her to follow a stranger in the streets of Venice and document his every move, or to find work as a hotel chambermaid in order to photograph the belongings of the hotel's guests." CF. Paula Cooper Gallery Press Release "Sophie Calle / Take Care of Yourself" April 9-June 6, 2009.

[19] Sophie Calle, Take Care of Yourself, Arles, Actes Sud, 2007, no page number.

[20] Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality: Volume 3, The Care of the Self, Vintage Books, 1986, p. 43.

[21] Michel Foucault, Ethics: Subjectivity and Truth: The Essential Works of Michel Foucault, Ed. Paul Rabinow, New York: New Press, (1984) 1994, pp. 300-301.

[22] Ibid., p. 301.

[23] S. Calle, no page number (note 19).

[24] In the book version of Take Care of Yourself, the break-up email is signed "G." However, Calle explains in a short note preceding the reproduced email, "The day I received this letter by email, ending our relationship, its author published a book…I replaced the name with an X and the title of the book with the word 'writing.' Once the project was finished I told him about it and, at his request, I reinstated the initials of his name and his book." "G" circulates as "X" until the project is complete, at which point, Calle does not replace the variable (X) with an exact quantity (or more precise signifier, his full name), but rather with another variable ("G").

[25] C. Kraus, p. 81 (note 6).

[26] Angelique Chrisafis, "He Loves Me Not" The Guardian, 2007, consulted 1 May 1 2009.

[27] David Bell, [untitled review: Le Parasite by Michel Serres] MLN Vol. 96, n°4, May 1981, p. 886.

[28] M. Foucault, p. 292 (note 20).

[29] Chris Kraus and Sylvère Lotringer were interviewed together on the radio program This American Life about I Love Dick. This American Life. 1998. Episode 95: "Monogamy" Chicago Public Radio. Originally aired March 7, 1998, consulted 2 March 2004.

[30] cf. Lee Edelman, No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive, Durham: University Press, 2004.

[31] C. Kraus, p. 11 (note 6).

[32] Ibid., 11.

[33] J. Hillis Miller, "The Critic As Host," Critical Inquiry, Vol. 3, n°3, Spring 1977, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, p. 441.


Anna Fisher, « Parasitical Politics and Epistolary Games : The Art of Chris Kraus and Sophie Calle », Le Texte étranger [en ligne], n° 8, mise en ligne janvier 2011.
URL : http://www.univ-paris8.fr/dela/etranger/pages/8/fisher.html