Speculations on the Trojan horse
as part of Misleading Projectiles roundtable discussion at u10, Belgrade, June 2021
I came here with the idea to talk about weakness as a place of power, in different contexts.
I am thinking about this, in regard to our local geopolitical situation here in Serbia, in a post-communist society so to speak, entering and revolving around neoliberal capitalism
But of course Im also interested in this subject at an individual level, in relation to the system, and by system I refer to capitalism and the patriarchy.
I've been dealing with this subject for some time, through various approaches and themes even through I feel like I am just starting. Just to give you some theoretical background and just a little bit of it really, I really like the way Mark Fisher refers to capitalism and its problems, how it sucks everything in and devours and employs everything in its way, using even the things that oppose it for its own purposes and intentions, and, most importantly, leaving everyone with a lack of imagination, lack of creativity in the real sense of the word and not the one we throw around these days (the incapacity to imagine a new world, another way of living, etc.- even though, now that I think of it, Im not sure the world was ever different and I don't know if it ever had the capacity to truly change)
I like to think that this system does not have the capacity to see everything, and I am interested in these blind spots. The question is, what are these spots, these areas?
Freud, of all people, I think, introduced (to us) this term 'dark continent' when describing the female experience. Badiou talks about poetry as a form of independent expression that's partly un-inteligible to us - that has a life of its own - I like these ideas, in relation to general consciousness, if we can make an analogy between conssciousness and the system, us and some all-seeing eye.
But this is not just about gender, and when I say female I do not only refer to women or people who feel that way or only to people for that matter. I am talking about the possibility for something unknown, unfamiliar, secret, something that's not even on the map of the system watching it (something that doesn't exist on google maps for example, something you woudlnt even find in the drawing of Earth's territory, someething beyond this application, simply existing). I see a potential in it.
This all sounds great but the question is: how do we access (or create) this place, how do we 'know' it? Without the system knowing it?
I always like to go back to Irena Haiduk when I think about this, who uses fiction and auto-fiction, Greek mythology and portrayals of reality to tell her stories - and not just her stories, but stories of her home, of Yugoslavia, of immigration, of justice and truth. She uses self-exploitation as a method I would say, making a product out of herself and her work, and this is not just a question of arts value as a commodity but of herself, as a person, living in the world that we are all living in.
The way she tries to not get touched by this system is brilliant to me, completely opposite from Donna Haraway's fictions and para-fictions for example, when she talks about monsters and unities of different identities, and unfinished identities.
Anyway, in a piece I wrote for my phd studies that I greatly neglected in this past year, I made some points referring to all this and to Greek mythology as well as accellerationism
1. neoliberal capaitalism functions through fast communication, images that travel fast, that are interchangeable (this is described both by Fisher and Haiduk) - but we want this plastic visual culture, because
2. what capitalism doesn't see, it cannot exploit or use. What capitalism sees as thing, does not need to be seen as being - human being for example, soul. So we can play pretend, we can wear a mask. We can, like Haraway says, not even pretend but become - be.
3. In the spirit of Greek mythology, we can hide in Trojan horse. However, when we enter Troy, we are still participating in the image of the horse. We never leave it, we never reveal ourselves, not to the Trojans or to our own selves, that we are indeed human.
Unlike with cyborgs and Donna Haraway, this transformation from human to thing is not posthuman or postmodern in the sense that Haraway meant it. This transformation means constant, perhaps life-long performance, which knows that there is no way out of capitalism except forward, through it. Accelerationism does not want to push capitalism to its own end, even though that sounds utopian and romantic. On the other hand, the end of human is inevitable, but not the way it sounds at first. If humans are already equal to things, in front of the state same as corporations, if value is measured by productivity and purpose - and these are the words we use to describe devices - accepting this reality could be the only way to end up in capaitalism's blind spot. Inside the trojan horse, which is the unkonwn. Inside Troy, but independent from it.
Toprengesek a trojai falorol (Speculation on the Trojan Horse) MUERTO, Sep-Oct 2021
Translation by Anna Molnar Rahel