Jouissance, and the corresponding verb, jouir, refer to an extreme pleasure. A French-Lacanian term, Jouissance is used in conjunction with Freud's pleasure principle within the paradigm of Psychoanalysis; In which pleasure obeys the law of homeostasis whereby, through discharge, the psyche seeks the lowest possible level of tension. The pleasure principle thus functions as a limit or barrier imposed on enjoyment; it commands the subject to "enjoy as little as possible." Jouissance transgresses this law and, in that respect, is beyond the pleasure principle.
The pursuit of pleasure as an escape has become a characteristic of our time and culture. Everywhere in every corner of this country one can see how people are slaves to their passions. From sex, food and drugs, to material objects, and status symbols, our culture revolves around covetousness and greed. This body of work aims at the dissection of contemporary America and it’s addiction to pleasure and phantasy, something that seemed so natural to someone who grew up in Suburbia, unable to see this false-utopia of consumption and avarice that has plagued this country for decades. This was something that really fascinated me considering the view that people usually ‘consume’ or seek ‘escape’ from life when life becomes unbearable, not when life appears to be ‘perfect’.
This series of work also chronicles a spiritual awakening, and or self-awareness surrounding these various ‘religious’ overtones that comprise the American Dream as this dogmatic construct from which all personal goals of enlightenment must fall subsequent. This ‘religion’ of mass consumption coupled with self-righteousness and our narcissistic view of entitlement have never been more prevalent by one society since the twilight of Rome. Here we examine this conservative fundamentalist agenda and the masochistic relationship it shares with its’ followers, along with the wholesale acceptance of the corporately packaged “American Dream” as motivational infrastructure. While contemporary Christianity has been ‘hijacked’ by the conservative right, and is used and abused for it’s narcotic-like effect it can have on the populous in terms of offering social solace through compulsive rhetoric and the power of overbearing dogma to preach fear and intolerance all while condemning progress, individuality and reason as heretical to ‘Our way of life’.
Ryan J. Reininga