Matthew Clark

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




James King




My thesis examines the ways in which the art of David Lynch and Slavoj Žižek intertwine. My research has lead me to the discovery that the absent Žižekean 'big Other' that is responsible for maintaining symbolic cultural frameworks finds a direct representation in the character Bob from David Lynch and Mark Frost's Twin Peaks. The major emphasis of my thesis examines the idea that time does not exist outside of the human consciousness and that our lives exist in a symbiotic relationship between the symbolic universe - the world in which we are theoretically existing currently - and the post-symbolic universe of the Black Lodge. Within 'our' world the big Other is theoretically absent apart from its representation within the camera's lens. Within Bob's world, the big Other is Bob: Bob is the symbolic logical excess that cannot find a place within 'our' world yet exists theoretically nonetheless. Bob governs a dimension in which the inversion and convolution of the boundaries structuring symbolic reality - words becoming corporeal, bodies becoming linguistic - find a physical formulation. My thesis' contribution to knowledge lies in its extensive analysis of Mulholland Drive and its demonstration of how Mulholland Drive and Twin Peaks can be thought of as coincidentally occurring within and without of the temporal and spatial dimensions of each other. My development of the process of Fire Walking and its relations to Lynch's films also offers an interpretive tool that can be used to analyze several of Lynch's works. My thesis also offers methods through which an individual can understand his or her identity and cultural relationships.

McMaster University Library