Symposium: Until the End of the World, 2012. Photography by Steve Payne
Public Access - Toronto, Canada
Symposium: Until the End of the World 2012
61 - Toronto City Hall, Council Chambers
100 Queen Street West
[ selected photographs ] [ video ]
Three world renowned philosophers consider the profound ecological and economic issues that confront
the Planet in 2012. The symposium is inspired by the Wim Wenders film of the same title, Until the End
of the World. The director's cut will be screened after the last talk. The symposium is organized by
Christine Davis, Janine Marchessault and Scott MacKenzie for the journal PUBLIC: Art/Culture/Ideas. This
intense symposium explores a shift from global consciousness to planetary awareness in a world of radical
interdependencies where ecology must win out over political economy, where a history of the world must
become a history of the earth. The symposium explores the very concept and reality (ecology and economy)
of end times. What does it mean to say that the world is ending? Has capitalism come to an end? What
is left behind? The Symposium will be held in Toronto City Hall Council Chambers.
7:30-8:45 PM – Techne ; Arthur Kroker, moderated by Susan Ruddick
9:15-10:45 PM – Bios; Brenda Longfellow, moderated by Ken Rogers
11:00-12:30 PM – Capital; Slavoj Zizek, moderated by Matthew Flisfeder
1:00 PM – Film Screening - Until the End of the World
Artist Biography: Public Access, a non-profit charitable organization founded in 1986, is directed by
a collective of Canadian artists, curators, and educators. Collective members bring their expertise and
involvement in art, academic, and literary communities to explore new spaces and technologies for the
curation of contemporary art. Art/Culture/Ideas is an intrinsic aspect of this commitment to thinking
about public space and public art. The collective also regularly organizes public talks and symposia.
Scott MacKenzie, the Symposium Host is a Visiting Research Fellow at the Robarts Centre of Canadian Studies,
York University. He is co-editor of Cinema and Nation (2000), Purity and Provocation: Dogma
and The Perils of Pedagogy: The Works of John Greyson (2013), author of Screening Québec: Québécois
Moving Images, National Identity and the Public Sphere (2004) and Guy Debord (forthcoming). He is currently
completing Film Manifestoes and Global Cinema Cultures, an anthology of over 150 film manifestoes from
1898 to the present.
Panel 1 – Techne - 7:30 - 8:45 PM
Presenter: Arthur Kroker, Moderator: Susan Ruddick
Techne speaks to the circular and dynamic presentation of knowledge. How do we know of end times and
the end? Is the end always present, yet never reached? This panel explores the question of how we know
of the end.
Arthur Kroker is a Canada Research Chair in Technology, Culture and Theory, Professor of Political Science,
and the Director of the Pacific Centre for Technology and Culture (PACTAC) at the University of Victoria.
His recent publications include The Will to Technology and the Culture of Nihilism: Heidegger, Nietzsche,
and Marx (University of Toronto Press) and Born Again Ideology: Religion, Technology and Terrorism.
Susan Ruddick is Associate Professor in the Geography Department at the University of Toronto. Her areas
of research include social policy, identity and reproduction within the urban political economy with
a focus on youth, children and marginalized groups. Her translation of Hegel or Spinoza by Pierre Macherey
Panel 2 – Bios - 9:15 - 10:45 PM
Presenter: Brenda Longfellow, Moderator: Kenneth Rogers
The notion of the end is central to any concept of bios. All biology ends, but will all of biology end
at the same time? This panel explores biological and ecological end times.
Brenda Longfellow is Associate Professor of Film Studies and Production at York University. She
is co-editor of Gendering the Nation: Canadian Women Filmmakers (1999) and The Perils of Pedagogy:
The Works of John Greyson (2013). Her films include Our Marilyn (1987), Gerda (1992), A
Balkan Journey/Fragments From The Other Side of War (1996), Shadow Maker: Gwendolyn MacEwen, Poet (1998); Tina
in Mexico (2002), and Weather
Report (2009). She is currently working on an interactive web documentary entitled Offshore.
Kenneth Rogers is Assistant Professor of Cinema and Media Studies, Department of Film, York University.
His interdisciplinary research and publication is concerned with the intersection of labor, attention,
political economy, art practice, and digital media. Current book project, The Attention Complex:
Media Technology and Biopolitics (forthcoming Palgrave Macmillan 2012).
Panel 3 - Capital - 11:00 PM - 12:30 AM
Presenter: Slavoj Žižek, Moderator: Matthew Flisfeder
Capital is, in essence, the engine that drives end times, pushing biology, ecology, and the planet to
the brink. This last panel explores these issues: are we heading towards the end of capital or is capital
heading us toward the end of the world?
Slavoj Žižek, Ph.D., is a senior researcher at the Institute of Sociology, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia,
and a visiting professor at a number of American Universities (Columbia, Princeton, New School for Social
Research, New York University, University of Michigan). Slavoj Žižek received his Ph.D. in Philosophy
in Ljubljana studying Psychoanalysis. He also studied at the University of Paris. Slavoj Žižek is a cultural
critic and philosopher who is internationally known for his innovative interpretations of Jacques Lacan.
Matthew Flisfeder is a media and cultural theorist, and the author if The Symbolic, The Sublime,
and Slavoj Žižek’s Theory of Film (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012). His work has appeared in the Canadian
Journal of Film Studies, Cultural Politics, the International Journal of Žižek Studies, and cineACTION.
He has held teaching positions at OCAD University, Wilfrid Laurier University, and Ryerson University.
Film Screening - Until the End of the World, Wim Wenders - 1:00 PM
Until The End of the World is an odyssey for the modern age. As with Homer's Odyssey, the purpose of
the journey is to restore sight -- a spiritual reconciliation between an obsessed father and a deserted
son. Dr. Farber, in trying to find a cure for his wife's blindness, has created a device that allows
the user to send images directly to the brain, enabling the blind to see. The creation and operation
of such a machine is in stark contrast to a deteriorating global situation, where the continued existence
of mankind is under threat from a nuclear powered satellite that is falling toward earth.
With assistance from The Jackman Foundation