A Plea for Fundamentalism
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Listen to a 87 minute recording, or download the file
September 11-November 01, 2004
Slought Foundation Vault
Reception on Saturday, September 11, 2004
Slought Foundation, an organization rethinking contemporary arts, re-presents selections from our online repository of recordings in the interdisciplinary "Theorizing" series (1999-2002), organized by Aaron Levy and Gregory Flaxman. The second installment in this series features a DVD of Slavoj Zizek's September 2000 presentation, "A Lacanian Plea for Fundamentalism."
From 1999-2002, the Theorizing series at the University of Pennyslvania / Kelly Writers House showcased notable developments in theory, continental philosophy, and cultural criticism. 29 events featured architects, theorists and critics such as Daniel Libeskind, Slavoj Zizek, Joseph Masheck, Catherine Liu, Dorothea Olkowski, and Eduardo Cadava--many of whom continue to participate in ongoing Slought Foundation programming. A catalogue and online audio repository for the Theorizing series is available here: http://slought.org/series/Theorizing/
As discursive exchanges addressing contemporary issues, these events influenced the subsequent direction of Slought Foundation. Here we re-present Zizek's lecture on fundamentalism, so as to invite a reconsideration of the relevance of his theories to contemporary life in light of current geopolitical developments.
From Slavoj Zizek's "Repeating Lenin" (1997):
"In a proper revolutionary breakthrough, the utopian future is neither simply fully realized, present, nor simply evoked as a distant promise which justified present violence -it is rather as if, in a unique suspension of temporality, in the short-circuit between the present and the future, we are — as if by Grace — for a brief time allowed to act AS IF the utopian future is (not yet fully here, but) already at hand, just there to be grabbed. Revolution is not experienced as a present hardship we have to endure for the happiness and freedom of the future generations, but as the present hardship over which this future happiness and freedom already cast their shadow — in it, we already are free while fighting for freedom, we already are happy while fighting for happiness, no matter how difficult the circumstances. Revolution is not a Merleau-Pontian wager, an act suspended in the futur anterieur, to be legitimized or delegitimized by the long term outcome of the present acts; it is as it were its own ontological proof, an immediate index of its own truth."
Slavoj Zizek was born in Ljubljana, capital of Slovenia in the former
Yugoslavia, in 1949. He obtained doctorates in philosophy and
psychoanalysis from Ljubljana and Paris respectively, and has held the post of Senior Researcher at the Institute for Social Studies in Ljubljana since the 1970s. His many books include
The Sublime Object of Ideology, Looking Awry, Tarrying with the Negative, The Indivisible Remainder, and The
Plague of Fantasies, The Ticklish Subject, and, in regards to this presentation, The Fragile Absolute: Or, Why the Christian Legacy is Worth Fighting For. He has also edited several volumes including his 1992 classic, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Lacan (but were Afraid to Ask Hitchcock). He has taught in various American universities and lectured worldwide.
Zizek uses popular culture to explain the theory of Jacques Lacan and the theory of Jacques Lacan to explain politics and popular culture. He was politically active in Slovenia during the 80s, and a candidate for the presidency of the Republic of Slovenia in 1990. He is the founder and president of the Society for Theoretical Psychoanalysis, Ljubljana and a frequent contributor to Lacanian Ink and Lacan.com
Media files on the Slought.org website are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License.
Slavoj Zizek. "A Plea for Fundamentalism." Slought Foundation Online Content. [11 September 2004;
Accessed 24 May 2013]. <http://slought.org/content/11236/>.