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beyond repair: TALK by Marina Vishmidt

Juddering Reflexes: Stories of Ruined Part-Objects

The stakes of fascist positions that position themselves on a cultural and aesthetic terrain are increasingly spelled out in terms of liberation, “taking back control,” and transcendence or transgression of the status quo. Though these representations have evident historical roots that divide their proponents as well as their critics, they are also positioned as uniquely contemporary in their emphasis on restoring a politics of self-realisation argued to have been forsaken by the “authoritarian left,” as well as the tendency to indulge in fantasies of universal reason that have more to do with capitalist eugenics and neo-reactionary data science than the fetishized Enlightenment public sphere. The fetish of rationality can then be seen as the acceptable face of the apocalyptic mysticism that prevails in many of these circles, now as in the 19th century. The sovereign individual is the main vehicle for this fetish, which dissembles and mediates the desire for death and the obedience characteristic of (here a speculative) fascist psychology.
The presentation will enquire after the structural as well as ideological determinants of this individual as a ruin spectacularised by the escalating eco-social crisis, and which is offered as a line of defense from both the politics of identity and non-identity embodied by a hegemonic left, and what forms of collective practice have been cutting through the heat and noise of these juddering reflexes.

Marina Vishmidt is a writer and editor. She teaches at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her work has appeared in South Atlantic Quarterly, Ephemera, Afterall, Journal of Cultural Economy, Australian Feminist Studies, and Radical Philosophy, among others, as well as a number of edited volumes. She is a member of the Marxism in Culture collective.