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Tracing the Desire and Lack on Semiotic Landscape of a Daniel Garcia Art: Your Own Personal Slaves

Tracing the Desire and Lack on Semiotic Landscape of a Daniel Garcia Art: Your Own Personal Slaves*

Yohanes Padmo Adi Nugroho & Eri Susanto

  • Universitas Brawijaya, Indonesia

*This paper is first published on

Your Own Personal Slaves by @daniel_garcia_art

Your Own Personal Slaves is an artwork made by Daniel Garcia. This research tries to answer three status questions upon the artwork:
a) Is this art merely a symptomatic hysteria of the oppressed condition?
b) Does this art success to be the sublimation, a jouissance?
c) Can this art let the subaltern speak?

The art is uploaded on Garcia’s website, Instagram, and Facebook. There are two versions of this title: 2016 version and 2018 version. This research is conducted with qualitative method in order to describe the artwork by Daniel Garcia entitled Your Own Personal Slaves (2016) used as data in the theoretical framework of semiotics and psychoanalysis. This research would trace the desire and lack, in the paradigm of lacanian psychoanalysis. The research results that we see the irony depicted on this art. The tears she holds make her seems have kind of empathy toward the people in suffer. The Che Guevara shirt shows us as if she is a leftist who will fight against any oppression. Yet, she herself sits upon all of these oppressions, so comfortably that she had her white bourgeois supremacies privilege.

Daniel Garcia’s art titled Your Own Personal Slaves is indeed a sublime art that depicts and criticize oppression without fall into a hysterical amok. The artist shows us the suffering without dramatizing that suffering, yet he shows cynicism. Cynicism is the way we can deal with very bitter reality. Therefore, he lets all the oppressed subject, the subaltern, speaks for themselves; their sincerity depicted on the drawings sue our sanity.

This is a window to us to see, that we are part of the main character that enjoys every privilege we get from that very oppression. We see that Thing, a void that sucks our existence, that after we see this drawing, we would see our daily world and its civilization (entertainment, culinary, fashion, etc.) in the new perspective, a perceptive which makes us aware that we are not that alright and must do something about it. We see an irony we are living in; the irony depicted on this art speaks for itself, that we see our ugly truth. The modern life we live, however modest or leftist, will always need the silent slaves. Yet, there is still a question to be answered: how we can alternate this kind of reality or let us surrender to this structured symbolic order? We need to discuss further about the Fantasy.

Read this paper further here.
Read other writings by my colleagues here.

psychoanalysis, desire, lack, semiotic, subaltern