How to Do Things with Pain?

Mirjana Stošić


Speaking of the monstrous or ‘foreign’ body archivally inscribed in culture, one notes a surfeit of imagery at play, a slideshow of supplementary images which both circumscribe and stultify any attempt to write or speak about the body outside of this code of foreignness. This paper argues that such an archive of etiolated body is shadowed by a similarly circumscribing archive of pain. Archives of pain, whether medical, cultural, literary, or ontogenetic, have long been conceived in terms of montage, a series of ‘signs, images, or ciphers’ belonging to the language of diagnosis. This code of diagnostic expertise constatively works to describe and inscribe pain as a supplement to inscriptions of bodihood which are themselves supplementary. This paper seeks to affectively map a shift away from constative taxonomies of pain and body image, towards an approach that ethically and aesthetically privileges the performativity of pain, the pain-act that speaks its suffering without recourse to image or inscription.


Article received: December 12, 2018; Article accepted: January 23, 2019; Published online: April 15, 2019; Original scholarly paper

How to cite this article: Stošić, Mirjana. "How to Do Things with Pain?" AM Journal of Art and Media Studies 18 (2019): 1–7. doi: 10.25038/am.v0i18.300


pain-act; speech-act; diagnosis; performative; ex-citable pain; pained

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Publisher: Faculty of Media and Communications, Singidunum University, Belgrade, Serbia

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