Borders of Discourse and Media

Our concern is in the final analysis the frame and operations of framing, particularly as that which remains when that which is framed is crossed out and disavowed, thus seeming to disappear entirely. History then takes place on a stage which was designed for another text and often only partially redesigned for the new text, if at all. The ‘master-example’ seems to organize of the rest: during and after the ‘destalinization’ operations of the 50s and 60s, the physical and institutional framework (party organisations, five year plan, etc.) remains in place. The operations turn out to be literally ‘half-hearted’.

But even if it had been anyone's desire to eliiminate the frame, it would have been impossible, for its omnipresence made it invisible. The ergon, the work, had disappeared, but the parergon (the Kantian term as underscored by Derrida) remained and occupied the center without anyone noticing it.

We would clain that the imperial traces have infiltrated the half-conscious or unconscious frames, these in turn being on the border between the non-discursive and the discursive. They are a source of continuity beyond all breaks and interruptions (such as the so-called “destalinization”.

The truth(s() of Stalinism can be reconstructed in the non-discursive, also in the sense of statements which never could have been openly expressed but are legible as unconscious messages. „The truth is out there“ in Stalinism, as Slavoj Žižek stresses at tje beginning of The Plague of Fantasies (1997). The system does not totally conceal its inhuman nature, but rather displays it is non-discursive messages such as as huge statues of the „new man“ on the rooves of office buildings who effectively stamp down the actual people working there, but also in discourse rules which forbid not only criticizing Stalin, but also expressly saying that it is forbidden to criticize Stalin.

An analogous argument is possible for „Socialist Realism“. That which is discursively presented as the avantgarde of art and literature is in reality a cynical return to the petit bourgeois penchant for realism.