Hey New York City-area friends, tonight I’ll be part of a discussion called Occupy Their Desire at the Austrian Cultural Forum. The panel will include Jodi Dean, the art/activism collective Not An Alternative, and yours truly — followed by a discussion. Here’s the info:
Tuesday, August 21
6:30pm – 8:30pm
Austrian Cultural Forum
11 East 52nd Street
New York, NY
It’s free, but you can make reservations. I hope to see you there.
Here’s the description from Not An Alternative:
Occupy Wall Street occupied mainstream media headlines via a question: what do they want, what are their demands? Philosopher Slavoj Žižek, pushed the question further when he enjoined occupiers not to be afraid to want what they desire — suggesting a gap between conscious want and unconscious desire. In effect, his injunction was for occupiers to occupy their desire; for us to occupy our desire.
Inspired by this, Not An Alternative will host a research discussion that investigates and inquires into the desires expressed by and repressed in Occupy Wall Street. The discussion explores questions such as:
- How is the expression of desire a necessary element in building a movement?
- Where has Occupy succeeded and failed in this task?
- How might we contrast the movement’s expression of desire with that of the 2008 Obama campaign (Hope!), or traditional Left / progressive politics?
- What role does representation play in the expression of desire — and relatedly, how do the disciplines of art, advertising and psychoanalysis inform this inquiry?
I’ll be starting out my portion with the following two quotes:
“There is a danger. Don’t fall in love with yourselves. We have a nice time here. But remember, carnivals come cheap. What matters is the day after, when we will have to return to normal lives. Will there be any changes then?”
(speaking to and about Occupy Wall Street at Liberty Square)
“The attribute ‘utopian’ does not apply to political will in general, but to specific wills which are incapable of relating means to end, and hence are not even wills, but idle whims, dreams, longings, etc.”
—Antonio Gramsci, Prison Notebooks
I’m not giving away any more than that.