Please visit oca.no/programme/audiovisual/the-state-of-things-the-experience-of-defeat to see the lecture in its entirety.
T.J. Clark held this lecture in Venice on 17 November 2011, at Auditorium Santa Margherita, Università Ca' Foscari Venezia, Campo Santa Margherita, Dorsoduro 3689, Venice as part of the lecture series 'The State of Things' as organised by the Office for Contemporary Art Norway.
"Whether or not the present Restoration is invulnerable, the Left in advanced capitalist countries has lived for the past two decades looking failure square in the face. The disappearance of a Left alternative from the space of politics, or even from the space of political imagination, remains the great fact of our time. Taking its title from Christopher Hill's great study of radical writing after the English Civil War, this lecture is concerned, as part of that work, with the Left's sense of progress. It asks what it could mean to a Left politics for it no longer to consider itself 'on the side of history' -- not to imagine its task, in other words, as the realisation of the baulked potentials of capitalism and/or modernity, not to see its eventual victory written into the DNA of an economic order, not to posit some version of utopia, not, in a word, to 'have the future in its bones'. Is a Left with no future a contradiction in terms? If not the future, then what? Is it only the Right that can (imaginatively, politically) dispense with the myth of freedom in full possession of technics? What aims and imagery might there be for an 'un-modernity' to come?"