The most horrible violence that can happen to a subject is usually not physical pain, but violence that destroys the subject’s identity, his or her self-perception. Psychoanalysis teaches us that this self-perception is structured like a fantasy. The notion of fantasy here is not meant as an illusion, but as a scenario that helps the subject to mask the lack, the so-called Lacanian real (which can also be understood as a trauma) that shatters the subject’s very being. The most horrible violence occurs when the subject is touched in his or her inner being, in such a way that the story s/he was telling him or herself no longer makes sense. When the subject’s fantasy has thus been destroyed, he or she may feel like a mere pile of bones, covered by flesh and skin. The subject has lost a sense of identity and desperately tries to fashion a new story about him or herself that would also give meaning to the traumatic event.
—Renata Salecl, Cut-and-Dried Bodies, or How to Avoid the Pervert Trap (on Holzer’s Lustmord)
Stan Brakhage, The Dante Quartet, 1987