Oliver Ressler, The Bull Laid Bear, HD film, 24 min., 2012, film still
Dr Stephanie Polsky speaks
at the Agency Gallery,
March 11 from 13:00 to 15:00
Shadow Democracy is an event that complements the aims of Oliver Ressler’s exhibition, Bedtime for Democracy, in exploring the West’s progressive shift into a post-democratic era and the motif of perpetual crisis that has become the hallmark of neoliberal capitalism. Shadow Democracy borrows from the concept of shadow banking insofar as it seeks to do its work from the outside, or in ways only loosely linked to the traditional system of understanding institutions such as migration, citizenship, democracy, and capital to which we as a public have become formally invested. We have made capitalism a depository for the real, while at the same time organising grassroots movements and intellectual witnessing projects that aspire to expose the murky fantasy structure subtending neoliberal capitalism. This presentation and public discussion lead by Dr. Stephanie Polsky seeks to raise questions regarding the economics of democracy that have their basis in colonialism, racism, criminalisation, and historical corporate profiteering as a new way to consider the enduring agents that veil our currentunderstanding of contemporary political, economic and climatic systems.
Dr. Stephanie Polsky is an interdisciplinary writer and academic whose work focuses on political economy, cultural identity and the revelatory points of intersection held between the two. She is a Visiting Fellow at Goldsmiths, University of London’s Department of Visual Cultures and Principal Researcher at Vienna University of Technology’s Institute of Art and Design. Her current research project ‘Data Publics’ surveys the impact of a “data mentality” on our expectations and articulations of public spheres, experiments with new visual and cultural modes of transgressing the digital public realm and speculates about new models of governance in the context of self-generating data publics. She has lectured widely in the areas of Cultural Studies and Critical Theory at a number of prestigious UK institutions including Goldsmiths University, Winchester School of Art, University of Greenwich, and Regent's University London.
Her recent book 'Ignoble Displacement: Dispossessed Capital in Neo-Dickensian London' (Zero Books 2015) critically revisits Dickens's canonical works to demonstrate how Victorian era liberal discourses around free market capitalism and imperial expansion still implicate themselves in the way we look at both culture and capital, both human and financial, as we approach the twenty-first century in some senses as Neo-Victorians operating on registers of neoliberal and neocolonial enterprise that have their antecedents in the historical atmosphere of Dickensian London. She is now preparing the manuscript of her next book entitled 'The End of the Future,' which explores how the rapid proliferation of access to digital platforms has radically refigured the terms and topography of representation, politics, and cultural expression in particular ways that subtly advance neoliberal governance, neocolonial warfare, environmental denigration, and social and economic barbarity.