Alenka Zupančič: The End of Fantasy Versus the Fantasy of the End

For a long time, we were living in a configuration best described as being caught between two ends, expecting the change that never comes. This “end that couldn’t end” on the one hand caused a sense of hopelessness, almost ontological fatigue, and on the other hand, it fueled the fantasies of the end that imagines it through some sort of catastrophic scenario - thus actually maintaining the status quo.

However, such an idea of the end of history has lost its grip, claims Slovenian philosopher and social theorist Alenka Zupančić in a talk “The End of Fantasy Versus the Fantasy of the End”, held in Ljubljana at the final conference of the Reshape project. The end of the world as we know it is not static nor will it happen as a cataclysmic event, she argues. Our daily lives can confirm that change is already happening - the world is being reshaped and transformed not as a sudden explosion but rather as a long, ongoing struggle.

In the old configuration of the world, we wondered how to prevent change from happening, but the new paradigm shows that change is occurring and the endpoint of the world as we knew it is already behind us. Can art help us catch the “train of the change”, to recognize the crack of the transforming system, and to risk acting on it? These questions were discussed in a talk moderated by Marijana Rimanić.

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