Fisher: Capitalist Realism Pt.3. Flyer by Elliot C. Mason.

[SYMPOSIUM] BOOK CLUB

Mark Fisher: Capitalist Realism Pt.3

Friday, 9 November 2018, 6:30pm – 9pm
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Closest stations: Whitechapel / Aldgate East

Facilitated by Silvia Bombardini & Elliot C. Mason
Suggested donation £2, booking via Eventbrite

Join us in November for the third in the series of book clubs on Capitalist Realism by Mark Fisher, continuing with chapters 6-7 (pages 43-65) on practical solutions. This book club will be facilitated by Silvia Bombardini and Elliot C. Mason.

DOWNLOAD Fisher, Mark (2009). Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative? Winchester: Zero Books.

Fisher: Capitalist Realism Pt.3. Flyer by Elliot C. Mason.
Fisher: Capitalist Realism Pt.3. Flyer by Elliot C. Mason.

Mark Fisher’s short book Capitalist Realism is one of the twenty-first century’s great reactions to the material horrors of neoliberal capitalism. It guides us through the precarity and meaninglessness of contemporary work, epitomized by the endless web of the call centre. Everything is mediated, passed on to someone else, abstracted from our tangible grasp. “Work and life become inseparable. Capital follows you when you dream. Time ceases to be linear, becomes chaotic, broken down into punctiform divisions”. All material bases of the system are abstracted, and the possibility of an uprising, as Maurizio Lazzarato warns us, are divided and broken. We cannot fight back, because there is nothing to fight, only the physical oppression of capitalist culture keeping us in check.

Chapters 6 and 7 of Capitalist Realism attempt to provide practical ways of improving this situation. The main possibility considered is education reform. The pointless practices of call centres are duplicated verbatim in school and university checks by organizations like Ofsted. Teachers and lecturers are required to spend most of their time creating simplistic Powerpoint slides that ensure every student is kept as bored as possible so they hate education and leave it immediately, shimmering off into the reproduction of capital rather than learning the logic of their oppressor. Grassroots, collective, radically free and accessible education is only the first step towards a viable and full alternative to neoliberal education.

The other big theme of these chapters is the Big Other – psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan’s term for the collective fiction any society invests in: for example, the collective fiction that companies are well-meaning and provide necessary entrepreneurship to society, while privately we all recognize (without the awareness of the collective fiction) that the hallmarks of success in and for a company are ruthless, brutal exploitation and evasion of all social responsibility. Mark Fisher questions the claims that postmodern capitalism is beyond belief, no longer tied to a symbolic ‘Big Other’ narrative. In fact, it seems we do have a universal capitalist cultural belief, but what it mostly tries to convince us of is that all the idiots in the past were the only ones who really believed, while we are emancipated from that and now allowed to simply consume commodities, free from all ideology, without allowing the suggestion that the constant consumption of corporate commodities is itself a very gagging and binding ideology.

In this book club we will discuss these two chapters, pages 43 to 65, relating the philosophy to everyday life, thinking about what has changed in the nine years since the book was published, and asking questions like: Would an entirely independent and autonomous education system work in producing equality in output? What is the Big Other in education and how can we make it aware of itself? Is our collective reading of a text like this already a step toward the Big Other becoming aware of itself or does capitalism need us too?

  • Would an entirely independent and autonomous education system work in producing equality in output?
  • What is the Big Other in education and how can we make it aware of itself?
  • Is our collective reading of a text like this already a step toward the Big Other becoming aware of itself or does capitalism need us too?
  • Have immovable realities disappeared from our perception, or is it a western-centric argument?
  • Are we nostalgic toward the familiar, or toward novelty?
  • Is the autonomous force of an image in capitalist culture the cause or effect of bureaucratic immediacy – the sacrifice of the long-term in the past and future?

Monthly reading group for artists, researchers and anyone interested in the intersections between art practice and critical theory. Everyone is welcome to propose a text and facilitate the reading group. Please book your place and download the shared document. For more information and an archive of previous events please scroll down.

Free & open access

The reading group is free and open to everyone who wants to join as long as they commit to the reading. Please register and arrive early, doors will close when we reach maximum capacity. Don’t forget to download the shared document and bring a hard-copy to the book club. Please consider donating to help cover our expenses and keep us going. Alternatively, you can donate via this link.

Discussion & decision-making

Texts are selected by group consensus on the basis that they reflect on the relationship between practice and theory. This includes a broad variety of texts, from philosophy to politics and aesthetics to science fiction – there is no limitation.

Facilitating the book club

[SYMPOSIUM] is a supportive community of peers who discuss and unpack their research interests. All participants have the opportunity to facilitate the book club on a text of their choice. If you would like to propose a text, you can start preparing right now:

[1] Decide on a text that you want to discuss.

[2] Do some background research and write a short introduction to provide some context, from your own perspective. When was it written? Why was it written? Who wrote it? Was it a response to something else? Why are you interested in the text? How does it relate to, or inform, your practice or your research?

[3] Pace the reading. How long is the text? If it is short, can we discuss the entire text in a 2-hour book club? If the text is long you may need to divide it up between two or more sessions.

[4] Write down some questions that you would like to bring to the discussion. Suggest some further reading and an image or two, with captions.

[5] Download the infosheet and send us your proposal.


[SYMPOSIUM] ARCHIVE

#30 Debord: The Culmination of Separation
Friday, 12 October 2018, 18:30–21:00
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Facilitated by Penelope Kupfer & Darshana Vora

#29 Deutsch: Why are flowers beautiful?
Friday, 14 September 2018, 18:30–21:00
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Facilitated by John Fortnum

#28 Fisher: Capitalist Realism Pt.2
Saturday, 9 June 2018, 2:30pm – 5:30pm
UNISON/Yurt Café, Limehouse, London E14 8DS
Facilitated by Sophia Kosmaoglou
Part of Antiuniversity Now 9-15 June 2018

#27 Derrida: Signature Event Context
Friday, 11 May 2018, 18:30–21:00
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Facilitated by Nat Pimlott & Sophia Kosmaoglou

#26 Derrida: Structure, Sign and Play
Friday, 13 April 2018, 6:30pm–9pm
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Facilitated by Sophia Kosmaoglou

#25 Fisher: Capitalist Realism Pt.1
Friday, 9 March 2018, 6:30pm-9pm
The Field, 385 Queens Road, London SE14 5HD
Facilitated by Sophia Kosmaoglou

#24 Cohn: Representation and Critique
Friday, 9 February 2018, 6:30pm-9pm
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Facilitated by Aris Nikolaidis

#23 Adam Curtis: HyperNormalisation
Friday, 12 January 2018, 6:30pm-9pm
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Facilitated by
Neil Lamont

#22 Debord: Negation and Consumption
Friday, 8 December 2017, 6:30pm-9pm
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Facilitated by Aristotelis Nikolaidis

#21 Adorno: Commitment
Friday, 10 November 2017
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Facilitated by Nat Pimlott

#20 Foucault: Of Other Spaces
Sunday, 15 October 2017
UNISON/Yurt Café, Limehouse, London E14 8DS
Facilitated by Dasha Loyko

#19 Bishop: Pedagogical Projects
Monday, 24 July 2017
Guest Projects, 1 Andrews Road, London E8 4QL
Chaired by Renata Minoldo
Part of School of The Damned‘s Common Room

#18 Virno: The Dismeasure of Art
Friday, 9 June 2017
Grow Elephant, New Kent Rd, London SE17 1SL
Chaired by Rubén Salgado Perez

#17 Judd: Specific Objects
Friday, 21 April 2017
88 Fleet Street, London EC4Y 1DH
Chaired by Richard Burger

#16 Deleuze & Guattari: Rhizome
Friday, 10 March 2017
88 Fleet Street, London EC4Y 1DH
Chaired by Katie Tysoe and Sophia Kosmaoglou

#15 Marx: The Fetishism of the Commodity & its Secret
Friday, 10 February 2017
Wimbledon Art Studios, London SW17 0BB
Chaired by Sophia Kosmaoglou

#14 O’Sullivan: The Aesthetics of Affect
Friday, 13 January 2017
Louise House, Dartmouth Rd, London SE23 3HZ
Chaired by Katie Tysoe

#13 Foucault: The Four Similitudes
Friday, 9 December 2016
88 Fleet Street, London EC4Y 1DH
Chaired by Penelope Kupfer

#12 Foster: Post-Critical?
Friday, 11 November 2016
The Field, 385 Queens Road, London SE14 5HD
Chaired by Dasha Loyko

#11 Badiou: Art & Philosophy
Friday, 14 October 2016
The Field, 385 Queens Road, London SE14 5HD
Chaired by Kerry W. Purcell

#10 Sontag: Against Interpretation
Friday, 9 September 2016
The Field, 385 Queens Road, London SE14 5HD
Chaired by F. D.

#9 Groys: Under the Gaze of Theory
Friday, 8 July 2016
The Field, 385 Queens Road, London SE14 5HD
Chaired by Sophia Kosmaoglou, respondent Johanna Kwiat

#8 Rancière: Problems & Transformations of Critical Art
Friday, 10 June 2016
The Field, 385 Queens Road, London SE14 5HD
Chaired by Stephen Bennett
Part of Antiuniversity Now 9-12 June 2016

#7 Sewell: Tate Triennial III
Friday, 13 May 2016
The Field, 385 Queens Road, London SE14 5HD
Chaired by Richard Lloyd-Jones

#6 Duchamp: The Creative Act
Friday, 8 April 2016
The Field, 385 Queens Road, London SE14 5HD
Chaired by F. D., respondent Penelope Kupfer

#5 Latour: On Actor Network Theory
Friday, 11 March 2016
The Field, 385 Queens Road, London SE14 5HD
Chaired by Johanna Kwiat

#4 Barthes: The Death of the Author
Friday, 12 February 2016
The Field, 385 Queens Road, London SE14 5HD
Chaired by Henrietta Ross

#3 Owens: The Discourse of Others
Friday, 8 January 2016
The Field, 385 Queens Road, London SE14 5HD
Chaired by Sophia Kosmaoglou

#2 Abu-Lughod: Writing against Culture
Friday, 11 December 2015
The Field, 385 Queens Road, London SE14 5HD
Chaired by OmarJoseph Nasser-Khoury

#1 Kant: What is Enlightenment?
Friday, 13 November 2015
The Field, 385 Queens Road, London SE14 5HD
Chaired by Sophia Kosmaoglou