After a Tour of Slavoj Žižek’s Pad, You’ll Never See Interior Design in the Same Way

How to react to celebrity academic Slavoj Žižek? You could see him as a wild-eyed visionary and grow infatuated with his powerful-sounding ideas about power, violence, cinema, psychoanalysis, and perversion. Or you could see him as a Pied Piper for delusional graduate students and grow enraged at his perpetuation of fashionable nonsense. But you’d do best, I would argue, to take him simply as a source of entertainment. How could you do otherwise, watching the above clip from Astra Taylor’s documentary Žižek! (previously featured on Open Culture here)? In these three minutes, the sweating Sublime Object of Ideology author gives us a tour of his pad, spending much time and excitement on his kitchen repurposed as a closet: clothes and sheets in the cupboards, socks in the drawers. “I am a narcissist. I keep everything,” he pronounces, having moved onto the shelves and shelves of his own work, from the pamphlets of his “dissident days” to his latest books in Japanese translation.

But it’s his poster of Josef Stalin that really draws your attention — just as Žižek meant it to. If he didn’t, he wouldn’t have hung it in his entryway, making it the first sight every guest gets of his home. Here he describes it not as a proclamation of Stalinism, exactly, but as — in line with everything else he does — a provocation. “This is just for people who come to be shocked and hopefully to get out,” he explains. “My big worry is not to be ignored, but to be accepted. Of course, it’s not that I’m simply a Stalinist. That would be crazy, tasteless, and so on. But obviously there is something in it that it’s not simply a joke. When I say the only change is that the left appropriates fascism and so on, it’s not a cheap joke. The point is to avoid the trap of standard liberal oppositions: freedom versus totalitarian order, and so on, to rehabilitate notions of discipline, collective order, subordination, sacrifice, all that. I don’t think this is inherently fascist.”

via Biblioklept

Related content:

Žižek!: 2005 Documentary Reveals the “Academic Rock Star” and “Monster” of a Man

Examined Life Drops Academic Celebrities Into the Real World (2008)

Derrida: A 2002 Documentary on the Abstract Philosopher and the Everyday Man

Colin Marshall hosts and produces Notebook on Cities and Culture. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall.

by | Permalink | Comments (9) |

Support Open Culture

We’re hoping to rely on our loyal readers rather than erratic ads. To support Open Culture’s educational mission, please consider making a donation. We accept PayPal, Venmo (@openculture), Patreon and Crypto! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Comments (9)
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
  • vanderleun says:

    I wonder how many of his parents’ friends got a provocative bullet in their brains from Stalin. Sounds like he needs one as well.

    • Roxy Redding says:

      meh let them postmodern wankers do their thing … this one imho again is quite a poser. Again, shallow and very big into big words and ohhh hes huge crow of fanatic followers lol like those of Foucault or Delleuze… but married to a girl half of his age and sometimes comes out ONLY with that: “provocation”. Big words and no action. They stick to their dusty academic trenches and do shit about the world. Sry and again, I prefer philosophers that come out of the dumbfuck world of recycled works about philosophers. Like Chomsky or Sartre or Simone de Beauvoir. Plus come on do a quick google search “zizek wife” … he can shave for his marriage or bath if he is doing the big ceremony blablabla. If heu00b4s really into behing a bohemian or whatever he sells for, then DONT MARRY. ___POSER___. And of course, he marries a gorgeous girl half of his age lol… pff damn postmos they are all the same

  • Stephanie says:

    Have you ever read any Zizek? Your explanation of his work seems like recycled crtiticism of someone who has…

  • Roxy Redding says:

    iu00b4ve read him. i regard him mostly as a postmodern wanker and sometimes a poser. Iu00b4ve work as a cameraman and had to tape and interview maaaany writers. Not to be mean, Im a big fan of open culture, but they ALL loke like that lol. Iu00b4ve even seen writers having books piled up in his bathroom. So apart from the “philosophical” part or whatever itu00b4s cool. Dunno about the “you wonu00b4t ever seen interior design like that” lol… well to those who havent been to a writer or intellectual … they are mostly that or even worst -as a joke or whatever ive actually interviewed a writer that had so many books and assorted papers and notes that (FOR REAL) had books in his oven LMAO. So itu00b4s ok… yeah clap clap for Zizek. His “provocation” poster is quite idiotic and heu00b4s always “provoking”. No, I donu00b4t have a degree in philosophy Iu00b4m mainly a journalist and a photographer and well worked many fields including screenwriting… but usually ppl big on “provocation” are empty shells with no real involvement with anything. Sry I prefer philophers of action like Chomsky. This one and hey itu00b4s cool its mi humble opinion maybe itu00b4s great for academics and stuff and that but well reminds me of Foucault. Academic rats in a way with big words, big acts of “provocation” but again… very few involvement in causes or the reality outside the academic bs. Plus be it a joke or not he openly states “he is a narcissist” … sry open culture i love you but iu00b4ve seen more crazy pads lol. And btw zyzek has been quite shady sometimes as to who he really is. Yeah ok he lives like that? Well I have some doubts, sorry, maybe itu00b4s his studio not his “pad”. Hes shallow too and I find if hard to believe that his half of his age trophy wife lives in there with him. Probably DONT lol and if you donu00b4t know about her just google… hes a shallow individual imho, itu00b4s cool too, having a stalin poster for “provoking” guests is a quite idiotic and wanker “joke” or whatever. Yeah I know his biography too. Makes sense in a way, at the same time again, seems like a very childish “gesture” or whatever he think he achieves. Why the fuck would you invite someone to your “pad” and “provoke him”? Come on… meh

  • Roxy Redding says:

    finally the article nails it when he states he is a ” celebrity academic” LMAO. Since when academics become “celebrities” lol… well since this “postmo” -deconstructivist-whateverbigwordstheyinvent shit got trendy…

  • Ricardo Morgado says:

    It’s amazing how the previous commenters quickly adopted the criticisms of Chomsky to Zizek as their own, as if sucked by bipartisan politics. It’s as if they outsourced their personal opinions.

  • Bev Ross says:

    Such a mixture of English as a Second Language and brilliance. Throw in genius, artist and monk.
    His apartment is so simple and he is not a rich man although very famous.
    I like him. I like his enthusiasm and his contradictions. Nice of him to let those people see his place and share it. It is surprisingly tidy.

    People sure want to attack him which he says means that he is on the right track.

    Sad that people are so vicious in their attacks.

  • Alonzo Riley says:

    How in the world is a study of ideology related to post modernism? Those two systems have almost nothing to do with one another, but study ideology is what Zizek does. Zizek sees postmodernism as another ideology, one that provided the cynicism towards institutions necessary to reduce the hypocrisy in their power over us.

    Zizek, ultimately, is playful

  • GregH says:

    I enjoy Zizek. He’s playful, and you have to listen carefully. He can also be annoying, but listening will pay back in carefully thought out ideas. Ideas that you won’t always like.

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.