What Would We Mean By Realism?


Session Title:

  • Digital Reality and the Perception of Self

Presentation Title:

  • What Would We Mean By Realism?




  • Both Lenin’s and Althusser’s materialist anti-humanism attempts to think through a politics of society with a strong comprehension of an inorganic world as prescient to this politics. More recently this legacy has been worked through the philosophy of Alain Badiou, Quentin Meillassoux and Ray Brassier, where in particular, the idea that the world is ‘for us’ is understood as the tired fantasy of an anthropocentric humanism, that fails to move beyond the status quo of neo-Kantian philosophy, and fixes itself within the problematic mythology that self-understanding produces emancipation. This paper also takes this anti-humanism as its ground to ask how speculative realisms may be in fact proposed by the image and explores what conception of the social this operation of the image produces now. If the causal ties between artwork and world are no longer connected or guaranteed, then what conception of the artwork and the social is now drawn? If a technology of the image as some manifest fiction of our lives is not the focus of our fascination then what is this world of images without us? Working across Meillassoux and Davidson this paper explores the conditions of the relation or non-relation between image and its referents as well as what might be our expectations for art’s effective and affective potential.

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