fuel4talk: Slavoj Zizek

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On November 15, 2006 the haudenschild Garage held a FUEL4TALK for the Slovenian sociologist, philosopher, and cultural critic , invited by the Visual Arts Department of . This event followed Zizek’s lecture, Politics Between Fear and Terror, at UCSD.

Click here for more information about his lecture.

About Slavoj Zizek

Slavoj Zizek is a senior researcher, Institute of Sociology, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, and visiting professor at American universities (Columbia, Princeton, New School for Social Research New York, University of Michigan). Ph.D.(Philosophy, Ljubljana; Psychoanalysis, University of Paris). A cultural critic and philosopher who is internationally known for his use of Jacques Lacan in a new reading of popular culture and is admired as a true “manic excessive”. Author of The Invisible Reminder; The Sublime Object of Ideology; The Metastases of Enjoyment; Looking Awry: Jacques Lacan through Popular Culture; The Plague of Fantasies; The Ticklish Subject.–> Zizek has cast a very long shadow in what can only be termed “cultural studies” (though he would despise the characterization). He is an effective purveyor of Lacanian mischief, and, as a follower of the French “liberator” of Freud, Zizek’s Lacan is almost exclusively transcribed in mesmerizing language games or intellectual parables. That he has an encyclopedic grasp of political, philosophical, literary, artistic, cinematic, and pop cultural currents — and that he has no qualms about throwing all of them into the stockpot of his imagination — is the prime reason he has dazzled his peers and confounded his critics for over ten years.

Primarily the goal appears to be to demolish the coordinates of the liberal hegemony that permit excess and aberration insofar as it does not threaten the true coordinates. He suggests as well that the true coordinates are much better hidden than we realize. The production of cultural difference is to Zizek the production of the inoperative dream — a dream that recalls perhaps Orwell’s 1984 or even Terry Gilliam’s Brazil where a kind of generic pastoralism or a sexualized nature substitutes for authentic freedom — the flip side of this is film noir. Zizek has determined that late-modern capitalism has engendered a whole range of alternative seductions to keep the eye and brain off of the Real. The Real only exists as a fragment, fast receding on the horizon as fantasy and often phantasm intercede. These dreams and nightmares are systemic, structural neuroses, and they are part of the coordinates of the hegemonic. The hegemony — the prevailing set of coordinates — always seeks to “take over” the Real, and, therefore, this contaminated Real must be periodically purged.