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Slavoj Žižek and Graham Harman in conversation, moderated by Anna Neimark (March 1, 2017)02:20:28

Prompted by moderator Anna Neimark, Graham Harman and Slavoj Žižek describe their positions regarding the general concepts Subject and Object, and Ontology. Harman notes points of agreement with Žižek, as well as differences, stressing his “non-modern” approach to questions of the Subject with Žižek’s “neo-modernism.” Žižek argues that Heidegger’s transcendental description of the horizon that structures experience is itself something that needs to be overcome. He declares that it’s too easy to dismiss the Subject by calling it an Object: he prefers Lacan’s formulation of the Subject as an Object that is not available to itself. The ontological discussion is followed by interpretations of Donald Trump. Harman proposes that rather than “post-truth,” the more precise designation for the current situation would be “post-reality”. Žižek argues that Trump is a symptom of the failure of the Leftist/liberal center, and hopes it may shock the Left into action. When Niemark mentions architecture, Žižek points out that neoclassical Stalinist wedding-cake architecture was the opposite of anything dissident, but nothing provided a clearer or more devastating critique of Stalinist pretense and oppression. Slavoj Žižek and Graham Harman conclude by responding to audience comments on mathematical ontology, constructivism, the New Soviet Man, Nicholas Malebranche’s interpretation of Adam’s fall, Shakespeare and Wagner’s openness to re-interpretation, “Left-Fukuyama-ism,” and the ideal of well-structured alienation.

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