Crises of imagination and of action are often traced back to all sorts of economic, political and cultural reasons. However, it is often the case that the roots of such crises stretch much deeper than that, down to a crisis of our understanding and perception of reality itself – and of our presence within it. A crisis of reality occurs when ‘everything becomes everything’ – as the anthropologist Ernesto de Martino puts it – and ‘nothingness emerges’.
When such radical nihilism emerges – paralysing all possible action and imagination, while relegating any attempt at struggling for emancipation to the realm of psychopathological phantasies – a reconstruction of reality itself becomes necessary before anything else returns to be possible. As de Martino claims, this is the work and the aim of magic. In this talk, I will claim that this is also the aim and work of philosophy, and the first step for the reconstruction of emancipatory politics in the present age.
Federico Campagna is a Sicilian philosopher based in London. His current work revolves mainly around the ontological and ethical challenges posed by contemporary nihilism, and the possibility of a fundamental philosophical architecture of emancipation. His latest book ‘The Last Night: antiwork, atheism, adventure’, was published by Zero Books in 2013. He has discussed his work at institutions such as Serpentine Gallery (London), Documenta 13 (Kassel), MACBA (Barcelona), Fabbrica del Vapore (Milan), and on publications such as The White Review, E.R.O.S. Journal, Anarchist Studies Journal, Adbusters, The New Humanist, The Guardian, Corriere della Sera, Alfabeta2. He currently works at Verso Books and is a PhD candidate in Design Interactions at the RCA, London.
George Moustakas is an artist and has also worked extensively as a theatre and production designer. Recent credits include ‘Recent work by Artists’ at Auto Italia South East, ‘Burmese Days’ at 59E59 Theatre in New York, ‘Auto Italia LIVE: Double Dip Concession’ at the ICA and the ‘The Southall Story’ part of the Alchemy Festival at the Royal Festival Hall. He is also managing with Nick Hartwright a non profit guardian company for artists called Art Guard.
Art Guard is a not-for-profit property guardianship scheme that directly supports Londoners working in the arts and is more beneficial to both the property itself and the local community than many of the existing schemes out there in London today. For more information check our website: www.artguard.org
We are currently in Haringey, right opposite Wood Green Station at 12-27 Station Road, N22 6UX.