Slavoj Žižek: Signs from the Future





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Published on May 15, 2012


Lecture: Slavoj Žižek: Signs from the Future

In his Arcades Project, Walter Benjamin quotes the French historian André Monglond: 'The past has left images of itself in literary texts, images comparable to those which are imprinted by light on a photosensitive plate. The future alone possesses developers active enough to scan such surfaces perfectly'. Events like the OWS protests, the Arab Spring, demonstrations in Greece and Spain, etc., have to be read as such signs from the future. Radical emancipatory outburst should not be analyzed as a part of the continuum of past/present; we should bring in the perspective of the future, i.e. we should analyze them as limited, distorted (sometimes even perverted) fragments of a utopian future which lies dormant in the present as its hidden potential. According to Deleuze, in Proust, 'people and things occupy a place in time which is incommensurable with the one that they have in space':, the notorious madeleine is here in place, but this is not its true time. In a similar way, one should learn the art to recognize, from an engaged subjective position, elements which are here, in our space, but whose time is the emancipated future, the future of the Communist Idea.

Slavoj Žižek
Slovenian philosopher and cultural critic working in the traditions of Hegelianism, Marxism and Lacanian psychoanalysis. He has made contributions to political theory, film theory and theoretical psychoanalysis. Žižek is a senior researcher at the Institute of Sociology, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, and a professor at the European Graduate School. He has been a visiting professor at many important universities. He is currently the International Director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities at Birkbeck, University of London and president of the Society for Theoretical Psychoanalysis, Ljubljana. He has been called 'the most dangerous political philosopher in the West'. He is a traditional guest and Parteigenosse at Subversive Festival. He has published over 50 books that have been translated into 20 languages. He writes on many topics including subjectivity, ideology, capitalism, fundamentalism, racism, tolerance, multiculturalism, human rights, ecology, globalization, the Iraq War, revolution, utopianism, totalitarianism, postmodernism, pop culture, opera, cinema, political theology, and religion. Some of his books are The Sublime Object of Ideology (2002.), The Ticklish Subject (2006.), Violence (2008.), The Parallax View (2009.), First As Tragedy, Then As Force (2010).


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