BY GALI BLAY
On Tuesday October 17th, I arrived for the first time to the miraculous space of “La Terrasse”. The colorful walls with an industrial charm, the high ceilings and the magnificent light were intoxicating. At one crucial moment I was next to the curator when he received an email - “I'm really sorry to tell you that I've been sick since Thursday and haven't had a brain to focus on writing an essay”. That glamorous second sparked my imagination, that perhaps, he would ask me to replace her, was a pure thrill. The thought of having my text hanged in this space within the context of “fantasy” was magical. However, how could it be that my fantasy was aroused from an email of a writer which got the flu?
Sigmund Freud explained the term “competition” as a primal dilemma in which all infants find themselves. However, I find Karl Marx’s thoughts on competitive instincts as a fascinating ground to speculate on. Marx insisted that "the capitalist system fosters competition and egoism in all its members and thoroughly undermines all genuine forms of community". It promotes a "climate of competitive egoism and individualism". I do not consider myself as a competitive being. However, could it be that I have hidden impulses which are influenced from the regime I grew up in? Even more frightening, could this be that my fantasies are influenced from this system as well? To follow these questions I refer to Theodor Adorno’s critique on the novel Brave New World (1932) by Aldous Huxley. He looks at the capitalist regime that rose in the US in the beginning of the 20th century, and how it changed the perception of utopia. Before, utopia was perceived as a hope for a different reality or a better social life. However, since the rise of capitalism, the hope for a different reality has changed into a dream for commodity. When this hope turned into a materialistic dream, the opportunity to develop a new way of living became impossible. This means that the current regime will maintain its power and will never be threatened.
Following Adorno’s view on utopia in the capitalistic regime and its influence on fantasy, the film The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Peter Jackson, 2001), illustrates the extent to which the fantastic has become a default cultural vernacular. This film supposedly represents a fictional universe to our reality. However, it is driven by a capitalistic fetishism. The ring as the symbol of lust and power is in fact the representative to the fetishism of capitalism- commodity. In the capitalistic regime our commodities control us, and our social relations are dictated by their relations and interactions. The term “Fantasy” is perceived as an imaginative scenario which one enjoys to speculate on. One could say that fantasy is an individual utopia which one develops for his own egoistic needs.
In a society where our fantasies and utopic visions are tainted by capitalistic desires. Including myself, even though I see myself as a caring “social designer”, I am infused with a capitalistic impulse to compete. However, I argue that through our imagination, fantasy worlds and ‘grotesque ideas’ on reality a critical thought on it could evoke, and perhaps help to speculate on a different reality.