Mladen Dolar


Mladen Dolar (Ljubljana, 1951) is a philosopher and theorist of culture, as well as film critic. Since 1984 he has been working at the Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Philosophy in Ljubljana, where he still works as a professor and researcher. He is frequently lecturing at European and American universities. From 2010 to 2012 he was research adviser at the Academy Jan van Eyck in the Netherlands, while in 2013 he was visiting professor at the University of Chicago. He has published numerous works in a number of languages, including ten or more books in Slovenian and several in English, most notably A Voice and Nothing More (MIT 2006, translated into six languages, [Serbian edition: Glas i ništa više, Fedon 2012]). Two of his new books will be published next year in English.

October 2, 2014
Belgrade Cultural Centre
Screening of Ernst Lubitsch’s To Be or Not to Be (1942)
Mladen Dolar’s lecture: To Be or Not to Be? No, Thank You!
Participants in the debate: Iva Nenić and Petar Bojanić

The lecture’s starting premise is that Ernst Lubitsch’s To Be or Not to Be (1942) is a serious candidate for possibly the best film in the history of cinema, although it never appears in top lists. The author will elaborate this premise in three apsects. First aspect: the film is a comedy made around the end of 1941, perhaps the darkest moment in European history. Why should we understand this comedy as the best way of confronting fascism? The historical circumstances will be examined, as well as the hitsory of the film’s reception and resistance to such an approach. Chaplin’s The Great Dictator will also be reflected on, alongside other great comedies of the time. Second aspect: how does the comedy treat the questionto be or not to be, which is, in fact, the most dramatic question in human history. Finally, the author will examine the role of repetition within the comedy. In that respect, To Be or Not to Be can be seen as a paradigm comparable to Hegel’s and Marx’s theories of repetition.

October 3, 2014
Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory
Lecture Mimesis and Ideology – From Plato to Althusser

As soon as something is imitated, it stays, it leaves a mark on the imitator. There is no guiltless imitation. The imitation inevitably impacts the imitator, for better or (most often) for worse, and the creation of a simple copy of something unavoidably affects the original. This is perhaps the shortest way to recapitulate Plato’s perspective on the nature of mimesis in the Republic. The aim of the lecture is to present a short review of different understandings of the magical powers of mimesis and different attempts to resist them. This is a broad topic, so the lecture will focus on several perspectives, starting from the theatrical parable of St Genesius, which will lead to Pascal and to Althusser’s theory of ideology, as well as to the analysis of modernity’s attempts at dissasociating itself from mimesis (Brecht’s alientation, femininity as mimesis in Luce Irigaray, Badiou’s anti-mimetic standpoint, Freud’s understanding of magic and Lacan’s perspective on pleasure). What is real in the magic of mimesis, what has lead to such differentiation of aesthetics and its political consequences? The lecture will present a defence of mimesis, defending a view that modernity, having banished traditional art to the history of mimesis and representation, has nevertheless retained the essence of mimesis in its own core.