Defeating the Object
By Heather Weston
London, England: Heather Weston, 2004. Edition of 100.
Cover in digital four colour printing. Text in mono digital printing. Uses matt laminate. Perfect bound.
This book explores the uncomfortable subject of suicide, the ultimate mal-adaptation to reality. In making a direct parallel between life and narrative, this book describes the baffling reality of a life cut short at the hand of its author. Taking as its starting point Freud’s writings in ‘Mourning and Melancholia’, it probes the shifting realities we encounter in extreme psychological circumstances: in this case, that of being in love, and of suicide. In both, we are subject to massive distortions of reality, and are temporarily or permanently overwhelmed by an external / internal object (person/thing) that is either to be enjoyed, or suffered. For the suicide, the ultimate solution is to do away with the oppressive internal object and so achieve a life on their own terms. Of course, a rather high price is paid in the achievement of these terms. A life for a life. The book takes the form of a traditional paperback novel and explores the issue of suicide through the fictitious life and death of its central character, an author. His narrative, along with his life, ends prematurely on page 28, and in this act he defeats both the internal and external object - life, the book, the father, himself. Implicit within the book is the notion of the creative legacy – perhaps the symbol of a life that cannot be lived in the flesh, but may instead be lived posthumously or variously through the artist’s creations.