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.

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Comments (9)
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  • 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.

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