Eleusinian Press: Aleksandra could you tell us more about Suspect M
Aleksrandra McHugh: Among other things—in fact you could say its topic is everything—Suspect M is a (maybe Jung-like) confrontation with the unconscious. It’s always collective, the past is in the present, etc., as in infinite filo pastry layers, if they were kind of melting together. It’s archeology, right? Depending on how far you dig down it can have the quality of rhizomatic wormholes, the separating walls so thin in places they might just collapse so you’re all of a sudden somewhere else you hadn’t intended going.
Let’s say our entry point was the latest dating app of the long-standing psychoanalytic “love cure”—it was in fact—the one that inspired all manner of interventions from vibrators to clitorodectomies to prescribed marriage for intractable women. Go deep enough and you’ll glimpse of some hell or other. Ever watched “Some Ordinary Gamers” with Mutahar (don’t recommend) or “I’ve Seen Footage” by Death Grips (go ahead!). It’s like that.
As you can imagine, such trippy experiment gets quickly unwieldy. You rein it in with such things as plot, however sketchy; place, however shifting underfoot. Patients of a “borderline” asylum whose alt-worlds are integrating, much as a (apparently) singular ego might. An above-ground patient Lucy A (Anti-gone) who undergoes a series of trials, merging with archon-like suitors, mostly other patients of the “borderline” facility. Borderline to what? Worse realities. Whatever lies outside taken-for-granted boundaries. A missing patient, Sophia P, is rumoured to reside in the asylum’s “severe wards,” a leftover from Charcot’s La Salpetriere asylum for hysterics, now revamped and with paranormal tours.
From there it’s the world blender in at your eyes, ears, mouth, fingertips, otherwise sieve-like skin, assimilating, sorting, nearly drowning. Drowning. That famous witch test. In a sense it was also the test of hysterics. The once “black beast of medicine,” she was subjected to all sorts of trials to (dis)prove her willful malingering. Many DSM mutations later, her inheritor, the “borderline” (as in Borderline Personality Disorder) remains the most notorious of patients, deemed similarly incurable, parasitic and plastic, absorbing the fears and anxieties that surround, projecting them back upon the surface of her own body, through mysterious physical symptoms that communicate, among other things, antagonism.
The same as it ever was with hysteria (ascribed variously to ecstatic religious experience, post-war PTSD, epilepsy, disobedient housewives and political nonconformists), vastly dissimilar subjects are corralled under the same BPD warning label, the hypersensitive and the sociopathic. Like that list of reasons for admittance into Transallegany or the fictional Chinese encyclopaedia at the start of Order of Things.
Whatever else it is, being borderline is (in this book at least) is a disorder of boundaries. They simply lack integrity. Your symptoms and traits don’t belong to you but the world. Likewise, there are compulsions of will, an apparent “death drive,” that seem to come from elsewhere. It’s one of the reasons, the crisis is best described (as Jung did) as “spiritual” as opposed to strictly psychological, shifting question of origin from etiology to ontology—sorry to say that, but it does—and from the individual to the collective, the pathology of surrounding conditions.
Most of all, the state of being borderline is adopted as a genuinely antagonistic mode that might reveal the true nature of the facility that seeks to contain and master it.
Suspect M Kickstarter