A Tiger's leap into the Past
Slavoj, as ever looking like a vagrant in a Kieslowski film, has been regaling folk gratis at Birkbeck College. On Thursday a reading of Vertigo (what did you expect, surprises?) grew into a surprisingly Benjaminian conception of the temporal, in Hegel’s Philosopy of History and in Deleuze’s Difference and Repitition (of which I know naught) Not having mastered shorthand my notes are rather garbled, but nonetheless this seems to fit with various other discussions, such as this one at dissensus, where mms writes-
‘It's not that they're retro, they're not repeating what is a well trodden way of making the music buying public react, like indie 2006, its that they're kind of analogue utopian, they take their cues from times when technology made it look like anything is possible and would make human beings have a wonderful future beyond their mundane workaday lives.
This echoes thru doctor who and radiophonic thru to the original selling point of mcdonalds 'to unlock housewives from their role in the kitchen by producing nutrious fast food, for example.
This stuff is all over say raymond scotts manhattan research cds - outrageous electronics mixed with utopian messages about the future (through investment in its consumer products of course).
In this way i think just the sonics of abstract electronic music has seeped through british culture as a vast hopeful but irrational spectre, maybe not just these collector guys like Stereolab who worship it but the ravers etc too, an abstraction from the norm ..
Anyway bearing in mind the likelihood of massive change between the original content and my scribbled notes, Zizek said something like this…
Hegel does not declare that he has reached the end of history, but that at every point we are at the end of history. As in Benjamin’s Theses, you have to include the betrayed dreams, the lost possibilites, in order to assess history, as the proletarian revolution will repeat, faithfully and redemptively, these moments…The French revolution’s ‘excess’, as opposed to its foundation of liberal capitalism, carries on through history. For Deleuze ‘virtuality’ is possibility that ‘reverberates’, even if it is not actualised. To be haunted by what might have been is part of what was. As Agamben says we should ‘rehabilitate possibility’…
In Deleuze’s ‘static genesis’ all virtualities which sustain it are present. ‘A pure past’ in Difference & Repitition ‘where all events including those which have sunk without trace are stored and remembered’….for TS Eliot the ‘historical sense’ is a perception of the pastness and presence of the past. ‘A new work of art changes all previous.’….Rather than the dialectic discovering necessities, it takes a period that is ‘necessary’, going in stages, and grasps the concrete historical dynamics by including the possibilites and the thwarted hopes. Not to ‘close’ the past, but ‘open’ it. Not an evolution, but an outbreak of possibilities.