Laurent de Sutter discusses his book Narcocapitalism with Chris Richardson. De Sutter (°1977) is Professor of Legal Theory at Vrije Universiteit Brussel. He is the author of a dozen books translated into several languages, and dedicated to the endless exploration of the possibilities of thought outside philosophy. He is the editor of the "Theory Redux" series at Polity Press, and the "Perspectives Critiques" series at Presses Universitaires de France. Besides his academic and publishing career, he is very active in contemporary media and cultural life as a curator of many public events or as a columnist for major newspapers and radio shows. He has often been featured in the top 100 of cultural personalities of the year by various French magazines.
"Even though I have now completely distanced myself towards anything claiming to be 'critical,' I still owe a lot to the early discovery, as a teenager, to Roland Barthes. What blew my mind was the fact that he was able to think not from texts, but from objects. Suddenly, the scholasticism of reading gave room to something fresh and new to me."
"The impact of Jean Baudrillard's work on me has been immense. Every time something happened in the world, I would run to the shop and get the newspaper of day, where I would surely find his crazy interpretation - an interpretation that would deliberately challenge and irritate the ordinary understanding and explanation of it.
"Unfortunately, Serge Daney is not famous in the Anglo-American world. He was the editor-in-chief of Cahiers du Cinéma during their infamous 'theoretical years,' before going to lead the cultural pages of Libération. He was France's foremost movie critic - but a critic who elevated it to a true art of the decoding of the contemporary."
"I consider Boris Groys as the most brilliant mind of our time. His extraordinary looking at the world through the lens of contemporary art always displaces the most apparently grounded ideas and puts them on their head. What's more, he is one of the very few to have understood this old Barthesian motto: that thinking is an erotic process first."
"One has to pay Slavoj Zizek his due: he has radically altered the coordinates of what was thinkable and what not in radical circles, be them academic or militant. Plus, he has freed writers from the decade-long supremacy of twisted Derridean copycats, leading to new forms of clarity and electricity in the writing of ideas. And the guy is a sweetheart."