“Primal Split” October 2018 Photo Documentation by Diva Martinez, Video available upon request/permission

Performance for the Stigma Unbound Event, “Lust For Life” held at Spread Bar/Venue

Conceptually structured & inspired by psychoanalyst Melanie Klein’s Object Relations Theory with specific emphasis on the moment of the “Primal Split” in relation to stigmatized notions of gender roles, sexual identity and the female/ “mother” body as idealogical landscape.

White Veil, Head lamp, Green Silk, Skeleton Arm/Hand, Chains, Good , Bad text written in Dry Erase Marker on various parts of body/ skin, White Tinted bubble mixture, sound designed & produced by artist


Sound produced for performance (11:24 min)

“The hungry infant desires the good breast who feeds it. Should that breast appear, it is the good breast. If the breast does not appear, the hungry and now frustrated infant in its distress, has destructive phantasies dominated by oral aggression towards the bad, hallucinated breast

Klein notes that in splitting the object, the ego is also split

The infant who phantasies destruction of the bad breast is not the same infant that takes in the good breast, at least not until obtaining the depressive position, at which point good and bad can be tolerated simultaneously in the same person and the capacity for remorse and reparation ensue.

The anxieties of the paranoid schizoid position are of a persecutory nature, fear of the ego’s annihilation

Splitting allows good to stay separate from bad. Projection is an attempt to eject the bad in order to control through omnipotent mastery.

Splitting is never fully effective, according to Klein, as the ego tends towards integration”

Klein saw the depressive position as an important developmental milestone that continues to mature throughout the life span. The splitting and part object relations that characterize the earlier phase are succeeded by the capacity to perceive that the other who frustrates is also the one who gratifies. Schizoid defenses are still in evidence, but feelings of guilt, grief, and the desire for reparation gain dominance in the developing mind.

In the depressive position, the infant is able to experience others as whole, which radically alters object relationships from the earlier phase. “Before the depressive position, a good object is not in any way the same thing as a bad object. It is only in the depressive position that polar qualities can be seen as different aspects of the same object.” Increasing nearness of good and bad brings a corresponding integration of ego.

In a development which Grotstein terms the "primal split", the infant becomes aware of separateness from the mother. This awareness allows guilt to arise in response to the infant’s previous aggressive phantasies when bad was split from good. The mother’s temporary absences allow for continuous restoration of her “as an image of representation” in the infant mind. Symbolic thought may now arise, and can only emerge once access to the depressive position has been obtained. With the awareness of the primal split, a space is created in which the symbol, the symbolized, and the experiencing subject coexist. History, subjectivity, interiority, and empathy all become possible