The Man Who Tortures Himself
Portraits, Video

This extremely rapid and efficient video tells about the dualizing of oneself (in this case the artist), facing oneself and administrating a punishment : two slaps.

Heauton Timoroumenos (The Man Who Tortures Himself) is the title of a Charles Baudelaire poem. It is part of the Spleen and Ideal section of the Flowers of Evil.

This text tells better than anything else the state of mind in which this video has been conceived.

I mean to strike you without hate,
As butchers do; as Moses did
The rock. From under either lid
Your tears will flow to inundate

This huge Sahara which is I.
My heart, insensible with pain,
Caught in that flood will live again:
Will care whether it live or die —

Will strive as in the salty sea,
Drunken with brine and all but drowned,
Yet driven onward by the sound
Of your wild sobbing endlessly!

For look — I am at war, my dear,
With the whole universe. I know
There is no medicine for my woe.
Believe me, it is called Despair.

It runs in all my veins. I pray:
It cries in all my words. I am
The very glass where what I damn
Leers and admires itself all day.

I am the wound — I am the knife
The deep wound scabbards; the outdrawn
Rack, and the writhing thereupon;
The lifeless, and the taker of life.

I murder what I most adore,
Laughing: I am indeed of those
Condemned for ever without repose
To laugh — but who can smile no more.

— George Dillon, Flowers of Evil (NY: Harper and Brothers, 1936)

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