Zizek’s “Living in the End Times”, recent violence and art
In the final section of Zizek’s book “Living in the End Times”, (see previous blog post), having surveyed the responses to the anticipated end of global capitalism, under the headings: 1) Denial, 2) Anger, 3) Bargaining and 4) Depression he comes to the fifth: Acceptance.
He cites Badiou’s argument that we live in a social space which is progressively experienced as “worldless”, and suggests that ‘within such a space “meaningless” violence is the only form protest can take’. He is referring to the burning of cars in Paris in 2005, and it seems to me that he could equally be referring now to what has been taking place on UK city streets in the last few days. He goes on to argue that
This is why the famous Porto Alegre motto “Another world is possible!” is too simplistic; it fails to register that right now we already live less and less within what can be called a world, so that the task is no longer just to replace the old one with a new one, but …what? The first indications are given in art.
He seems to update the notion that art (may) help us to envision possible new worlds, to one where art (potentially) indicates the task at hand. From my reading of the chapter (a brilliant discussion of Kafka, Platonov, Sturgeon, Vertov and Satie), this indicating is itself extremely indirect, along the lines I mentioned in my previous blog where in film sometimes the plot is prefigured metaphorically during the opening titles.
(Since writing this post I noticed that someone else also quoted Zizek in relation to the recent riots at this excellent blog: http://cengizerdem.wordpress.com/2011/08/19/slavoj-zizek-shoplifters-of-the-world-unite/)