Bullfighting, Sex, and Sensation 2001


I will flex in four directions, backwards and forwards, the elastic thread that ties the event of the bullfight to sex and thence a warm spill of sensation, or to appropriate a term from Gilles Deleuze: I will four times visit asignifying ruptures that map these elements, one across the other. I ask you to consider this paper as the arena of a bullfight, or rather four bullfights. At the end of the day, having sat too long under the sun as spectators, we may well confuse the thrusts, circuits and feints of the collected fights, that is to say these events may bleed one into the other. Nevertheless, I will attempt to grasp the problem at hand by the horns, but as Nietzsche has suggested, also using this trope, this “frightful and dangerous” something is not necessarily an enraged bull.[1]  Instead, what this paper is in pursuit of is the bloc of sensation that is aroused in the midst of the spectacle and, in turn, the tenuous hold of sense in this realm.

[1] Friedrich Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy and The Case of Wagner, trans. Walter Kaufmann (New York: Vintage Books, 1967), p. 18.

This is a paper that was presented at a postgraduate colloquium at Monash University September 2000, and subsequently published in a Monash University online journal, that appears to no longer exist, called Colloquy. Hélène Frichot, “Bullfighting, Sex and Sensation,” Colloquy, 5, Monash University Melbourne (September, 2001). http://www.arts.monash.edu.au.edu/others/colloquy (previous web address)