‘Democracy is a Fiction’, Simon Critchley at the New School

Critchley is always interesting, more below


Each year an inaugural lecture launches the Vera List Center for Art and Politics annual theme, defining the intellectual territory that the center will explore in public programs. This year’s theme is Branding Democracy. The lecturer introduces the theme in the broadest sense, serving as a guide to the range and richness of the topic at hand and rooting the concept within The New School’s intellectual tradition.

On Thursday, September 18, at 6:30 p.m., the inaugural lecture for 2008-09, “Democracy is a Fiction” will be offered by Simon Critchley, professor of philosophy, at The New School for Social Research and at University of Essex, Colchester, United Kingdom. His research focuses on the history of philosophy, literature, ethics, and politics. Critchley will discuss how democracy relies on a series of fictions, most notably the fiction of popular sovereignty as government by and for the people. He argues that such fictions serve an ultimately theological function that must be exposed and criticized. Such is one of the crucial political roles of contemporary art. Critchley will propose the idea of a supreme fiction and invoke another model of democracy closer to the anarchist tradition.

The event will take place in the Theresa Lang Community and Student Center, Arnhold Hall, 55 West 13th Street, 2nd floor. Admission is $8, and free to all students and New School faculty, staff, and alumni with ID.

A complementary art and design exhibition, “Ours: Democracy in the Age of Branding,” will run from October 15, 2008, through January 30, 2009, at the Kellen Gallery in the Sheila Johnson Design Center, 2 West 13th Street. Co-produced by Parsons The New School for Design and the Vera List Center, this show includes video, photography, sound, sculpture, and information maps, as well as lectures, performances, and participatory events that happen in a “democratic structure” designed by British artist Liam Gillick.

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