When we say that someone did a double take, we are saying that they looked again, looked back. They saw something and rather than assimilating what they saw into the manifold of impressions, they were pushed, impelled, to look at it again. With a double take, it's not that the person chooses or decides to look again, to look back; rather, they find themselves already looking back.
What makes one look again?
A rupture or a glitch, a disconnection or seam, a fault line in the manifold of impressions that, somehow, is more than that manifold. The plenitude of sensory impressions, the multiplicty in which one persists, at that moment exceeds itself. Some kind of excess in the field calls attention to the field.
The Lacanian term for that excess rupturing the field is the gaze. The gaze, then, isn't what the viewer sees; it's what makes her look and become aware that she is looking. The gaze confronts the viewer in her viewing, disturbing it, denaturalizing it, making what was formerly seamless appear with seams, with cuts, with splices.
In a media setting filled with interruptions, with cuts and splices, segments and seques, the gaze, rather than becoming more apparent, retreats. The field itself seems comprised of bits of footage, multiple layers of impressions impressing themselves into layers. Interrupting this field of interruptions thus becomes a challenge: what makes one interruption different from another, what lets it rupture the field of interruptions, what lets it become an opportunity for an encounter with the Real of the gaze rather than simply another moment in the imaginary?
Perhaps because I've been teaching the Republic, perhaps because my thinking looks back more easily than forward (or even around), I wonder if the interruption of the gaze in a field of interruptions depends on something like what Plato describes as a summons--a sensory impression that extends in opposing directions, that impresses a contradiction on the senses, calling forth some need to understand. On the one hand, we could describe this as a lack, insofar as their is a lack of understanding. On the other, it is just as easy to think of the situation as one of surplus, an abundance which pushes the one who senses in conflicting directions.
And the summons can only summon so long as it remains in conflict, opposed. If there is a resolution, the conflict or opposition becomes only apparent, imaginary, and not Real.
In a field of interruptions the gaze manifests itself as an interruption of the interruptions, perhaps as a bracketing that makes us say, 'but wait! there's more' and that in so doing calls us to look back on our looking. What makes this interruption the work of the drive is that we find ourself already lost in it, already having turned.