Video documentation from Occupy Their Desire, a research discussion in conjunction with the exhibition Our Haus at the Austrian Cultural Forum with art/activism collective Not An Alternative, political theorist Jodi Dean, and Occupy Wall Street organizer Matthew Smucker.
Occupy Wall Street occupied mainstream media headlines via a question: what do they want, what are their demands? Philosopher Slavoj Zizek, pushed the question further when he enjoined occupiers not to be afraid to want what they desire - suggesting a gap between conscious want and unconscious desire. In effect, his injunction was for occupiers to occupy their desire; for us to occupy our desire.
Inspired by this, Not An Alternative hosted a research discussion that investigated and inquired into the desires expressed by and repressed in Occupy Wall Street. The discussion explored questions such as:
* How is the expression of desire a necessary element in building a movement?
* Where has Occupy succeeded and failed in this task?
* How might we contrast the movement's expression of desire with that of the 2004 Obama campaign (Hope!), or traditional Left / progressive politics?
* What role does representation play in the expression of desire -- and relatedly, how do the disciplines of art, advertising and psychoanalysis inform this inquiry?
This event was presented in conjunction with the Austrian Cultural Forum's 10th anniversary exhibition, Our Haus, curated by Amanda MacDonald-Crowley. For the duration of the exhibition, nine New York-based organizations, associations, interest groups, and activists who deal with issues of housing and the urban built environment were chosen by Vienna-based collective WochenKlauser to use the ACFNY Gallery space for one week each. From August 20 to August 26, Not An Alternative was the WochenKlausur "NPO-in-residence"at the ACFNY.