published in:
A Film By Stephanie Stein
Cologne 2001
Do we have to lie to understand Antigone? Can we avoided stepping into the domain of destroyed certainties in order there, at the border to this domain and in daring to step over the border, to come across Antigone about whom we know that she turned a lie into her truth without offering even momentary resistance against it? If Antigone's lie, which comes to rest neither in the love of Polyneikes, nor in the exaggerated fulfilment of a divine law and not even in the pleasure of merely opposing Creon, exists, it may become necessary to call this lie the love of lying in general. Perhaps a mad girl has to bring forth a strong image of lying, perhaps the rage and resoluteness of this mad girl is dedicated from the outset to the allegory of measureless love. Perhaps loving does not mean anything more than lying and loving the lie of love itself. Perhaps there is no simple beyond for this original ideology. A plethora of uncertainties gather at the altar of the loved lie. The lie of love can only be conceived as an overexertion. It overtaxes every conceivable truth; it is irreducible to any ethics of goods, as Lacan has shown , and it refuses to be placated by sound reason. It costs more than one can pay. With this lie, one lives a life without any back-up or security. A love-life at the border to the forbidden..., lonely and impatient up until its lethal finale.

Antigone caresses this lie. She jealously receives it. She kisses and sleeps with her lie which for her is not only a child but also a lover in solidarity. Who has noticed the nakedness of the girl who in her rare mourning clings to a lie as if it were the only thing she possessed? With the sharp wits of someone who is overtired, Antigone has an overview of her fate. She accepts that she has to die. It costs her less than living without having loved with this kind of passion which is equally madness and crime. Completely absorbed with herself and her lie, she nevertheless surrenders herself to the incalculability of the act of loving. One will have to follow the traces of a desire which directs its pleasure at itself in order to experience this self as a something unknown which is no longer able to discriminate between lie and love. One will no longer be able to close oneself off from cruelly witnessing this act of self-annihilation. One will answer to the question concerning the object of love, lie, and conversely. One will recognize Antigone as one’s own lie of love and submit to her immoderateness by confusing from now on her fatigue with one's own sleeplessness. The lie is just as much a frenzy as it is love. One falls without knowing for how long and with what consequences and whither. And yet, Antigone is not without certainty. Her death has assumed the character of something matter-of-fact. Death robs her of her lie and consummates it at the same time. Antigone's death has something resembling a mendacious self-evidence. What does matter-of-factness mean when one is speaking of dying?

To love Antigone means to love this lie of love for which her name stands in the history of literature and theory. This love is itself literary. It produces its own singular law which is not binding for society in general. To love the lie of love is an act of self-literarization. The entire effort aims at setting up and maintaining a fictitious state which is binding only for itself. This form of production of meaning has been opposed as ideological and insincere. One speaks of the imaginary. One suggests an authenticity with the means of psychoanalysis and equally with the instruments of Critical Theory. But Antigone could represent a problem which is far more questionable. It has to be understood that Antigone is naked. Her nakedness is decisive for the question concerning a new understanding of politics and ethics and their relationship to violence. The intensity of Antigone's love can be taken as a result of her desertedness in view of a freedom which, as absolute freedom, is more a curse than a happy dispensation. The frenzy of the lie seizes the girl at the brink of this abyss, which is the abyss of her freedom and complete nakedness. Thrown back onto the herself, Antigone decides in favour of a lie which consists in the love of decisiveness as such. What does Antigone decide in favour of? She decides in favour of decisiveness. What does Antigone love? Love. It is similar to the child playing the great game of the world, about which Heidegger speaks in his critical engagement with Heraclitus' 52nd. fragment. Why does the child playing at the brink of the abyss play? "It plays because it plays." It has no ground, no reason.

transladet by Michael Eldred