Phantasmagoria of the “One Divided in Two”: Architecture and the Capitalist Enjoyment

author: Nadir Lahiji, University of Canberra
published: Jan. 20, 2020,   recorded: January 2020,   views: 6

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Contemporary capitalism has opened a new world of Phantasmagoria in which the Subject is re-enchanted. Under this reactionary re-enchantment the human sensorium is anaestheticized and the Subject is depoliticized only to be subjected to a “surplus-jouissance” in the service of capitalist profit. Contemporary architecture has become an instrument in generating this surplus-jouissance. Taking the Marxist-Benjaminian-Psychoanalytical conceptual structure for my critique, this presentation will scrutinize this state of architecture by subjecting its “dreamworld” to a critical examination under the notion of Phantasmagoria – defined here, in psychoanalytical terms, as the ideological “structure of fantasy”. Under this notion, it will be argued that the subjectivization of architectural agency to the capitalist enjoyment is already an accomplished fact. The presentation will conclude by arguing that architecture must stand against the postmodern Re-Enchantment by returning, once again, to the Enlightenment Project of Disenchantment.

Nadir Lahiji is an architect and critical theorist. His publications include: An Architecture Manifesto: Critical Reason and Theories of a Failed Practice, Can Architecture Be an Emancipatory Project: Dialogues on Architecture and the Left, The Missed Encounter of Radical Philosophy with Architecture, and The Architecture of Phantasmagoria: Specters of the City.

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