The Revenge of Fiction in New Languages of Protest: Holograms, Post-Truth, and the Literary Uncanny
This essay probes the political force of the fictional in new languages of protest. It centers on recent demonstrations in various cities that used holograms to oppose the criminalization of protest, state control of public space, or violation of people’s land. The hologram protests fostered a spectral space, in which the hierarchical opposition between fiction (as non-serious, trivial) and reality was redrawn differently. They thereby issued a critique of neoliberal governmentality and an unexpected challenge to post-truth politics. If post-truth rhetoric invites people’s “willing suspension of disbelief” by simulating facticity to produce “felt truths,” the hologram protests functioned as Freud’s “literary uncanny”: they reintroduced the conflict between fiction and reality as a condition for critique in a post-truth era.