When our desires become the product of tech giants, what ways are there left for us to dream?
In an age where Silicon Valley dictates what it means to innovate a painless future, knowledge and enjoyment are fertile breeding grounds of political contestation. But it’s not exactly democracy. We are controlled through platforms that turn us into data for the profit of billionaires. Control has become so playful that we carry it in our pockets, as we continue to crave likes and followers.
What is to be done? Should the Left continue to cling to the promise of a political Event, patiently waiting for a revolutionary rupture where new possibilities emerge? Is there a way to delineate its horizons amidst the chaos?
Through a psychoanalytic interrogation of the intersections of online culture, sexuality, and politics, Bonni Rambatan and Jacob Johanssen explore such horizons at the limits of capitalism. Event Horizon examines how capitalist ideology functions in our current moment, and, more importantly, how it breaks down. With the increasing urgency of formulating a proper Leftist response to the rapidly growing violence that seriously threatens the lives of marginalised communities, this book could not be more timely.
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"The book’s title draws on an astrophysics concept (said horizon is the edge of a black hole), with the “black hole” variously capitalism or digital culture in general, but also on Badiou’s notion of the event as a rupture in political, scientific, or artistic domains. In six tightly argued chapters, they show, in a fast-moving way, how different elements of the digital can be understood with Lacan. While such harnessing of psychoanalysis to popular culture may seem to be the province of Slavoj Žižek, Rambatan and Johanssen show quite well that we need more engagement with the internet, the worlds of memes and online dating, and the like. Or to cite the Woody Allen/Žižek quip, this book could be called Everything You Need to Know about Psychoanalysis but were Afraid to Ask Siri." https://link.springer.com/article/10.1057/s41282-022-00294-0 ~ Clint Bunham, Psychoanalysis, Culture & Society
"...an authoritative voice and a reassuringly vast knowledge of the hyper-specific discourses that increasingly permeate Internet platforms and online sub-cultures. The book is important for understanding the rise of the Alt-Right, the distinctive psychological components of Internet culture that new fascist groups exploit, and the perverse tendencies of social media platforms that transcend political orientation and must be accommodated by any prospective emancipatory Left project." https://www.triple-c.at/index.php/tripleC/article/view/1325 ~ Jamie Ranger, triple C
"'Event Horizon' is a unique and most compellingly written book, composed – not unlike a piece of music – of a radical dystopia and an equally radical utopia. The first part presents us with powerful and pitiless analysis of the predicaments of our present social order, focusing particularly on how digital technology informs and shapes our lives and our social bonds in all their multiple aspects. But then, in the last part, it does not simply turn against technology, but envisions its involvement in a very different kind of social tie. Sexuality and its 'beyond', or transformation, are put at the center of this transformative revolution, which we are invited to imagine as the only Real on our horizon, with 'love or death' as our only choice." -- Prof Alenka Zupančič, author of "What Is Sex?" ~
“Event Horizon calls to overcome the contemporary internet and networked AI in favour of a new erotic. Working within the Lacanian tradition, the book pairs interpretation of classic sources with critical foresight on all matters digital. This theory manifesto provides an alternative framework that relates memes, selfies and online dating to rising heteropessimism and fascism. What should be the response when cuteness flips into violence? The authors' cautious motto: we are all part of the problem, but there are solutions. I’d say: vulnerable universality, bring it on!” -- Geert Lovink, author of "Sad by Design: On Platform Nihilism" ~
"This bristling little book embarks on nothing less than a total diagnosis of our sick capitalist present. Rambatan and Johanssen cut right to the chase in their incisive reading of forms of contemporary enjoyment online, disclosing a mutation in Lacan’s four discourses." -- Prof Sianne Ngai, author of "Theory of the Gimmick: Aesthetic Judgment and Capitalist Form" ~
"In 'Event Horizon', Rambatan and Johanssen combine Lacanian psychoanalysis and various critical theory approaches for the analysis of how the mindset of the Alt-Right has shaped the contemporary internet. The resulting study is an excellent must-read for everyone who wants to understand how the subject thinks and acts in contemporary digital capitalism." -- Prof Christian Fuchs, author of “Social Media: A Critical Introduction“ and “Digital Demagogue: Authoritarian Capitalism in the Age of Trump and Twitter“ ~