Nature is not natural and can never be naturalized — Graham Harman

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


Just about to take Miljohn Ruperto's amazing gift from his Whitney show to the framers. I wrote this piece for him, in part about the "ghost plants" of the Voynich Manuscript.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Malign Velocities

I'm getting my copy today! There's a whole bunch on this in Dark Ecology so I'll need to.

Malign Velocities: Accelerationism and Capitalism
By Benjamin Noys

Against the need for speed, Malign Velocities tracks acceleration as the symptom of the ongoing crises of capitalism.

We are told our lives are too fast, subject to the accelerating demand that we innovate more, work more, enjoy more, produce more, and consume more. That’s one familiar story. Another, stranger, story is told here: of those who think we haven’t gone fast enough. Instead of rejecting the increasing tempo of capitalist production they argue that we should embrace and accelerate it. Rejecting this conclusion, "Malign Velocities" tracks this 'accelerationism' as the symptom of the misery and pain of labour under capitalism. Retracing a series of historical moments of accelerationism - the Italian Futurism; communist accelerationism after the Russian Revolution; the 'cyberpunk phuturism' of the ’90s and ’00s; the unconscious fantasies of our integration with machines; the apocalyptic accelerationism of the post-2008 moment of crisis; and the terminal moment of negative accelerationism - suggests the pleasures and pains of speed signal the need to disengage, negate, and develop a new politics that truly challenges the supposed pleasures of speed.

Always deterritorialize! Or so goes the mantra of recent "accelerationist" theory. Intoxication against intoxication, schizophrenia against schizophrenia, delirium against delirium--the accelerationist tendencies of millennial life are laid bare in this concise volume by the author who first suggested the term. From the historical avant-garde, through Detroit techno and science fiction, to Nick Land and the Cybernetic Cultures Research Unit (CCRU), Benjamin Noys reveals the ideological fantasies of speed. We should dismiss accelerationism for its capitalophilia, he concludes, but preserve it for its extremism: go far, go deep and go negative to get real. ~ Alexander R. Galloway

'The notion that 'the worse, the better' has an obvious appeal to disempowered communists in a time of capitalist crisis. Malign Velocities steps in and registers the futurist thrill of those theorists who would arrive at communism via an advanced, high tech capitalism - and registers the often disastrous results of these 'accelerations', which took us more often to Stalinism or neoliberalism than to utopia. Noys' writing is erudite, clear, and coloured by the darkest humour' ~ Owen Hatherley, author Militant Modernism, Zero Books 2009

In the midst of a hair-shirt neoliberalism, with growth-rates stagnating and accumulation reliant on ever-deeper dispossession, the sirens of speed are once again luring the advocates of radical theory. Malign Velocities diagnoses the moment of 'accelerationism' with exacting lucidity, revisiting prior iterations of the idea of an excessive exit from the clutches of capital – from futurism to cyberpunk – and uncovering these theories' political-economic unconscious, the accelerationist's fantasy of labour. Noys's book is a model of dialectical critique, combining a sophisticated account of accelerationism's historical conditions of possibility with an incisive verdict about its incapacity to generate strategies adequate to this conjuncture of crisis. Malign Velocities succeeds in both being true to the materialist injunction not to tell oneself stories and in weaving an engrossing tale of theory's struggles with the limits and compulsions of capitalism. ​ ~ Alberto Toscano, Reader in Critical Theory, Goldsmiths, and author of "Fanaticism: On the Uses of an Idea"

Monday, July 28, 2014

A Heaping Bowl of Lovely Mind

Tai Situ is devastatingly powerful.


For the first time in a year plus I am ahead of my projects. What an immense relief. It's like being on top of the laundry. Which is also one of my projects. 

Hyperobjects in 3 Quarks Daily

Thank you so much Bill--this looks very interesting!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Past Talks Updated

Haven't done it for a while. Sorry!

Extricating Arendt from the Dustbin

Not so fast Mr. Historian

This, of course, is not the Eichmann of Hannah Arendt (“the world’s worst court reporter,” as I’ve described her), who credulously bought into his “poor schlub,” pen pusher trial defense — just following orders, moving things along deep within the bureaucracy...
Functionalism [the idea that the Nazis simply exploited the Jews], going strong when I first wrote this book, has been cast into the dustbin of history along with ‘the banality of evil’.”

That's so not what Arendt is talking about. She is describing how banality itself is evil, not a cover for evil. Banality depends upon a lack of anxiety, the basic affect, the emotion that never lies etc. Psychopaths offer extremely banal explanations for their behavior. Which is not in the last to say that they didn't sadistically enjoy it. Banality is a form of sadistic enjoyment. 

Just listen to anything by Throbbing Gristle, e.g almost anything on 20 Jazz Funk Greats, or the first track on the Second Annual Report. You will hear people talking blandly about absurd cruelty. Casually.  

Hypostasizing “evil” as this smoking metaphysical lump of coal totally misses this, as the end of Terry Gilliam's Time Bandits makes quite clear. 

Banal << “pertaining to compulsory feudal service” (OED). The enjoyment of being a component of a hierarchical machine. Casual. Slack. Just another day...

"The Real Physical World"

Spot the metaphysical assumption

It can be stated thus: quantum phenomena are effects of measurement. 
<< to measure is to make real 
= correlationism

>> Bohr: “There is no quantum world.”

This ontology has already been decided on, then erased, before the argument even gets off the ground. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Going South

Apollo 440 did their usual fantastic job here. The music is so vast I listened to it driving hundreds of miles, south of course, in Colorado, to Crestone.

The jaded noirish vocals are just excellent.

I don't know why but the vocals plus the music seem to say “Right, that's it. I'm evacuating samsara, now. ”

Indeed it appears to at 6:40.

Contact Is Content (Olafur Eliasson)

Wow, I'm looking at the try-out for this beautiful new book by Olafur Eliasson. It's photographs of land. That is such a flat description! How to put it into words. Very difficult. There is something unspeakable about it.

He has used my phrase Contact Is Content for the title. Well I said The contact becomes the content and he compressed it. I prefer the compressed version...always nice to be remixed...

The photographs exemplify this sentence, silently. Actually that's not quite right. The title exemplifies the silence of the images, and of the succession of images. There is something magical in their succession.

Danish Ecopoetics plus Morton

Thank you Olafur Eliasson for pointing this out to me!

Professor Morton, What Are All These Talks Doing on Your Blog All of a Sudden?

Well, the thing is, I did some talks that were adjunct to the Wellek Lectures. And I was waiting until those had been done and unveiled before I put the others together. You'll see that pieces of the Lectures are in those other talks. 

Dark Ecology is such a nice project right now. Graham has been writing about politics a bit recently, and so am I, at this point. One has to give us a bit of a chance, you know. Hard to get everything together all at once, although if you read my stuff a bit you'll see it's quite strongly implicit, and sometimes explicit. It's called anarchy.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Humanities in the Age of Ecological Emergency (MP3)

Some people go, Morton's hyperobjects come with no easy to identify politics so I don't have to feel anxiety!”

I may have some kind of temporary cure here...

Wondering whether there is a politics with this package of things I keep on about? Look no further. Heavily indebted to the Icelandic Best Party in that respect.

Jón Gnarr, Your Audiobook Is Coming

The Mayor of Reykjavik, about whom I hear many good things, will get his wish for an audiobook of Hyperobjects, courtesy of Stand by for more information!

Accelerationist GOP

The Republican response was predictable: a resounding “we told you so.” All along, they insisted that the ACA wouldn’t work, that it would raise costs — and when reality didn’t match with their scary stories, they took deliberate action to make the bad outcomes they fervently wished for more likely. In the case of the subsidies, which are helping real people get coverage, it took an extensive lawsuit, some friendly judges, and some twisted legal reasoning to undermine them.”

(How different is that, really, in intent, from the idea from the opposite end of things that Obama should have pushed for national health and have it fail, so as not to compromise?)