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 “Humans are more open to bonding than are animals” Bruno tells us—and, returning to A|X, we witness modal agency transposed from animal to human such that abstract desire perfuses concrete need. “Desire is first grasped in the other,” Lacan tells us, “and in the most confused form. The relativity of human desire in relation to the desire of the other is what we recognize in every reaction of rivalry, of competition, and even in the entire fundamental exploitation of man by man… As a breeding­-age male consumer, how does this A|X ad recapitulate my phantasy? It is not enough that I simply ‘want what he wants’—for without the exacting details, its compound effects would be lost: e.g., if her hand were on top, he would be rendered impotent—as my emboldening rival or as my vicarious stand­-in; thus her glance—imploring, from his clutching hand, would be refracted to surprised offense—at my violating eye. With details intact, the image is clearly structured around ‘my’ desire—but rather than empowering ‘the male subject­-position’ it distributes semblances of an agency so imbalanced that we cannot pretend to sight it along one unilateral active/passive axis.

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 Thus, in the fig.51 Plot (above), we split X­-axis modalities with Y­-axis dispositions such that our four­-cornered contraries retrace the shifting portrayal of agentive control: At first glance, her (1) active role appears independently determined (autonomous), as she pins him in (2) a static pose of passively determined (heteronomous) submission—whence the surface appearance of subversion. At second glance, his (3) stable grasp grounds her (4) mobile figure, rendering the subversive play harmless (i.e. safe for general consumption). Conversely, his (3) passive enjoyment is strictly dependent upon her (4) full assumption of the dynamic sexual energy. So, who’s ‘in control’? By generalizing the question, Wildgen widens our scope: “the controller/controlled has to consider a complex ecology of affordances, proper situations, shifts in evaluation/desire, etc. In large sociological contexts, rational control is only possible if very strong (or subconscious) flows control the dynamics and guarantee the stability necessary for collective activities. In general these social systems have higher degrees of freedom than animal communities have and therefore are less stable over time.” (2001) 

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