Is there (Still) No Alternative?:
XG in Ljubljana

I am immensely excited to be flying to Ljubljana soon to give a lecture as part of the Maska Institute‘s 2021/22 Contemporary Performing Arts Seminar. In part a celebration of Mark Fisher’s Capitalist Realism, recently translated into Slovenian, I’ll be talking a bit about Mark’s legacy and what more can be said about Fisher’s debut 12 years on.

Taking place on 9th September 2021 at the New Post Office, this will be the first in a series of lectures organized by the Maska Institute, with future speakers including Lea Kuhar, Ana Reberc, Muanis Sinanović, Nina Hlebec, Jaša Bužinel, Robert Bobnič, Vesna Pobežin Roš, Varja Hrvatin, Maša Radi Buh and Jakob Ribič. There will also be a reading group for the book held alongside these sessions.

This is the first in-person event I’ll be attending since the pandemic began, so I am very much looking forward to it, and I’m also excited to meet the Ljubljana crew, who have done so much brilliant stuff in recent years. It’ll be nice to chat over a beer rather than over email.

You can find more information on the Maska Institute’s website here, and RSVP to the lectures and reading group on Facebook here. Below is their synopsis of the series and my lecture.

The allure of Mark Fisher’s social-critical theory may be found in his rare virtue of being crystal clear about what bothers him and what attracts him, of exposing in a completely honest theoretical way what he himself sees as the problem: capitalist realism, or the question: ‘Is there no alternative?’ The issue is not a new one, but it is raised in a new and honest way. Depressive hedonism, corporatism of desire, love of bureaucracy, reflexive impotence, fluid present and historical amnesia… so many symptoms or reasons why we cannot even raise the question of an alternative to capitalism. The autumn part of the Seminar will ask this question again and again, revolving around Fisher’s issue and confronting it in different ways, trying to find traces of an alternative. 

The fall semester will start in September with a lecture by Matt Colquhoun. Matt Colquhoun edited Mark Fisher’s posthumously published book Postcapitalist Desire: The Final Lectures of Mark Fisher and in 2020 published his own book Egress: On Mourning, Melancholy and Mark Fisher; he is also the author of the blog xenogothic, and writes on various topics such as photography, contemporary popular music, accelerationism, counterculture, etc. 

For the Seminar he will give a lecture on Fisher’s theoretical development from his first book Capitalist Realism, a translation of which was recently published by the Maska Institute, to his last, unpublished and unfinished essay Acid Communism, which was to serve as a preface to his new book, as well as on the theoretical nuances, digressions, and unrealised possibilities that Fisher’s work left us with. The lecture will be followed by a discussion with the author about why Fisher is so relevant today, what makes him a special thinker, what social critical theory meant to him and why he did it differently, and in what way – what precisely is the charm of Mark Fisher.

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