RADICAL TALKS # 2: Sharing the Lack

Now, when you gaze long into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.


Spider 2022

17. June, 17.00–19.00, Jakopič Promenade, Tivoli Park

Curator and moderator: Bara Kolenc

Speakers: Ajda Pistotnik, Dino Manzoni, Magdalena Germek, Gal Kirn, Saša Hajzler

The gaze is not in the eye of an individual, the gaze is outside. It is the gaze of the other. The perception of the world as I see it, and the idea of conscious individuality based on this perception is a huge falsification. The subject has no firm ground, no identity – it is founded on a lack. In the moment of self-recognition and alienation through speech, the subject loses what she never possessed: the thing. What the subject lacks is the object and it is this lost object that she desires evermore. But because she desires the object that is by definition a lost object, desire, unlike need, cannot be satisfied. As such, is the driving force of subjectivity. When she speaks, desire speaks through her utterance: che vuoi?

The other is taking the place of the object: the other is the other of the other. Alienation forms inter-subjectivity as something pre-existent, as the fundamental social tissue. In this sense, inter-subjectivity preconditions individuality.

Erik Swyngedouw recently pushed this Lacanian proposition further, posing a question of whether practicing otherness, the social bond founded not on possession (of the goods, of identity) but lack, is capable of breaking the neoliberal ideology of individualization as privatization? Following this, we want to ask what does it mean to fully recognize the lack as something that installs the social bond? What does it mean to practice it? What is sharing a lack in view of social metabolism and environmental issues, from the perspective of de-growth and the ideas of sustainability, autonomy, and equality? To grasp this proposition, is there something we can learn from the juxtaposition of the Yugoslavian and European realities in the past? Is there something we can learn out of the radicalization of the conditions of life that we have been recently faced with?