I N T R O D U C T I O N
hunger in the event of subjectivity
The nutritive soul, in beings possessing it, while actually single
must be potentially plural. . . . There is one function in nutrition
which the mouth has the faculty of performing, and a di√erent one
appertaining to the stomach. But it is the heart that has supreme
control, exercising an additional and completing function.
—Aristotle, On Youth and Old Age,
On Life and Death, On Breathing
I see you. I don’t see you dying. I see you. I don’t see you living. I
see you. I don’t see you.
—Joseph Chaikin, The Presence of the Actor
I begin with the image of a dying man. He lies on an iron-framed bed, a
red bandanna tied around his forehead, his friends and family standing
nearby, photographs of others like him hung in a grid on the wall behind.
He is gazing o√ slightly to the left of the camera; he looks startled to be at
the center of so much attention, as if he has awakened in a place other than
where he fell asleep. His emaciation is extreme, and one can see through
the sheets draped across his body the gaunt, weakened limbs beneath. He
smiles, or nearly smiles, at nothing in particular, or nothing we can see.
The terms that we attribute to this image will depend upon the scene
of its enactment—for example, a hospital ward, a gallery space, a prison
cell—and upon the colloquy that imbues its composition. But the condi-