Tel: +44 (0)1253 478 170
Axis of the Planet,' including Ray Brassier, johnny de philo, Eileen Joy,
Masciandaro, Robin MacKay, China Miéville, Reza Negarestani,
....12 march to June 16 70089 ... Depopulated crystal plane. System
Transmitted data modules. Causing synaptic misfires. Landscape as
jointed. ...a s-s-strange collision between image adjacent to and
The Artificial Commissure
The artificial commissure is an information channel connecting brains. The transducer for the commissure is a spike implanted in the frontal lobe of each cortex. It converts neural activity into
performs the reverse function of converting received microwaves back into patterns of neural activation. Connection works by tricking the normal processes of dendretic arborization into growing their own myriad connections with the active microsurface of the transducer. Once the channel is opened, brains can exchange information and organisms coordinate their
behavior with the same intimacy and virtuosity displayed by cerebral hemispheres. Conversely, they can also infect one
epidemic fluency as the parts of a damaged or diseased brain. The commissure is the principle upon which a new colony of
Smooth transmissions. Closed circuit. Crystal plane iced at edges. No climatic synchronicity. Temperature
for viewer: pleasant. Flatline ambiance. Warm glacial.
Extraneous narrative unassimilable into the scene. Extraneous points of reference unassimilable. Verification impulse abolished in participant. Relational Aesthetics fascism. Only kind. No transversal
connectivity. Virus guard. Crystal plane is all. Like getting along in institution is all. Utopian oases = Soft-camps. Data enclosure. Militarized border. Extinguishes fugitive thoughts. Stalls external stimuli. Debugs. Runs Wb+ system to
feedback loops. To ambush
background. Dissolved depth of field. Frame/ground fusion. Ice
blue. Flat. Inner light. Secular. Not enough presence to
narrativize. Light. No reference. No illusion. No texture. No elsewhere. No psychology. No reflection...“no divisions, no multiplicity”...“ no consciousness of anything, no consciousness of consciousness.” Iced surface of inaccessibility. Inflexible negative space. Code-hardened.
>ARTWORK 2: Nicola Masciandaro
The fact is, there are no facts. Only arts, maybe.
local micro-collective Autochthony has been tacitly leading the Art-Fact movement originally spearheaded during the threshold years by Zen-Lion Maul. As Karl Overman explains in his introduction to the Kaleidoscope Codex, the meticulously cross-referenced compendium of Art-Fact exegesis published last year by the Punctum Group, the multifarious transnational movement is characterizedby “a perverse, pseudo-religious zeal to reverse engineer facticty itself.” Rigorous deniers of all factical ontologies, especially those ordered toward understanding ‘objects’ as autonomously real, Art-Factists (despite a seemingly paradoxical obsession with concrete material things) disclaim object-creation all together and nominate their work in terms of interments, burials, and translations. Taking Zen-Lion Maul’s famous tripartite dictum –
R.I.P. (Revert, Invert, Pervert) – as their methodological
mantra, Art-Factists understand their work as the creation, not of facta or made things, but of arts or skillful joinings that activate an obscure meta-factual agency, a weird form of bi-worldly influence that remains eternally occluded or immanently eclipsed. Here art is not the skill of making artwork, but the production of arts itself. According to a counterintuitive neither/nor logic, an ‘art-fact’ is construed as an unseeable third thing externally interfacing between the inner and outer worlds of experience, an un-living entity that exudes or ‘evaporates’ a negative, dis-creative energy in both directions so as to produce a kind of ever-moving absent trace of itself. Art-factists refer to this trace as pure scent or empty scent. For although they vigorously negate all substantial relation between an art-fact and its sensibilia, they even more vigorously insist on its intuitable reality, an actual non-presence often described using a combination of musical and gustatory metaphor, permuted poetic images that uncannily leap towards the future. Overman explains the art-factual phenomenon as further proof of the Atomic Imprint
"It is a well-documented yet hard-to-pinpoint truth that global atomic experience has effected the human psyche or generic rational soul in profoundly and perhaps permanent inversive ways. Popular discourse about feeling generally ‘upside down’ and/or ‘inside out’ may be easy to dismiss as scientifically ridiculous, but the pervasive conversion of values and practices related to imaginative life is definitive and unmistakable. The exponential growth of the art-market, the nearly dictatorial social power of certain galleries, the routine deference of the mass media to narratives of ‘spontaneous inspiration’—all these
and more testify to the bombs’ ability to turn the imagination into something it was not. The Art-Fact movement demonstrates this with thesistic accuracy. Where pre-apocalyptic cultures conceived the imagination as liminal and indeterminate, a correlation between material and intellectual phenomena, post-apocalyptic cultures seem to automatically identify the imagination as extimate, an outside or non-present medium that
is not at all between these distinct realms, but intimately external to both simultaneously. Art-factuality is the perfect inverse of the medieval concept of barzakh. Where the latter (barzakh) is typified by the thing you sense that is not actually there (the ‘line’ between two objects,the image in the mirror), the former signals a real non-presence that is unmistakably encoded in a distinct, actual thing. The Art-Fact imperative is psychic proof positive of AIH."
Autochthony’s Poison Egg both overtly exemplifies the generic, global principles of Art-Fact production and impeccably canonizes them as an individuated New York event. The title of the piece twistedly echoes Zen-Lion Maul’s enigmatic/ meaningless last words, “eggs, poisons,” scripting their plural into an inviolable and dangerous singular sense that promises to deliver, as if in one fatal dose, the essence of his final vision. As the artists explain in verse upon the human parchment enfolding the greenish ovoid stone (?) form, Poison Egg is codically created according to a triple procedure that strictly echoes the R.I.P. itself:
Hurt beyond repair
So gently I am still here
Eager to forever mar
Whatever comes this way.
Unopening in this place
The fatal burrowing
Sucks void from beyond
You cannot see.
Never the same again
Is my blood everywhere
Flowing infinitely free
A deep secret red joy.
Can Art-Factism survive such overt self-encoding? Or is Poison
Egg a death knell, a fatal nail openly auto-driven into its own coffin? Either possibility is full of promise. Not least because it so controversially reopens the apparently ineradicable question of the historical relation between Art-Factism and the idol-
burying oblivionist cults of early apocalyptic New York, haunting us again with the spectre of their mutual complicity with the Anomalous Anonymity unearthed by Maul himself a mere seven days before the Destruction.
‘Threshold Years’ is a sentimental newyorkism for the period of pure yet sportive cultural stagnancy between the Destruction and the so-called Instant Refinement that followed 3 years later.
As Overman explains, the moment of an art-fact’s monstration or show is generally conceived as an ‘apotheotic interment’ or ‘chthonic summation’, the “finalizing act of joining to earth that inaugurates the art-fact as telluric channel or broadcast hole.”Art-Factists prefer to address the art world as ‘The Grave’ and ‘Funeralopolis’.
The paradoxical plural (‘arts itself’) registers the Art-Factist rejection of a singular or ur-Art. To their way of thinking, art is essentially plural and pluralizing. Art for arts sake.
For example, outspoken art-factist Hermione Black closed her address at last season’s Ungeneration Expo in Sunset Park with the following promise: “I am unspeakably proud to preside over a show whose acosmic holocaust will tritonely perfume the invisible itself for at least two millennia.” Because art-factists refer every external and internal perception or statement of their work back to its strangely sensed omnipresent scent, they are almost continually supplied with exegetical intrigue, every citation or reference or repetition of the art-fact being read not as interpretively about its material adjunct or anti-twin, but as a vital index of what it is doing today. Overman calls this “a
sublime idiotological anagogy.”
The verso side of the parchment is marked with a simple curse on anyone who separates the egg-form from its pamphlet.
Code-hardened. Backdrop to thinking disappearance. No
institutional protocol coded. No other-than-exhibition-space-neutrality meanings. White cube extension.
Inorganic carapace.No external stimuli allowed in. Internal movements only. Surface vibration as index. Plane emphasized.
Nearly single. A plane in front of another plane--the wall. Parallel to it. Relationship of the two planes specific. A form. Crystal plane re-molecularized. There again. Cellular automata
functioning. Sitting in larger glacier spread. There, only when viewed at 32 degrees from the axes that sketch cruciform on it.
“Sudden” crossfade: Frank Stella painting. Die Fahne Hoch! Slab. Not painting. Not sculpture. Object in viewer’s space. In non space. Data-free background. Generic checkerboard stand-in pattern. Figure n substitute geometry. That shape. Die Fahne
Hoch! Friar crucified
greatly scorned than Engels' attempt to show that dialectical laws are laws of the development of nature, and not vice versa, nevertheless Autumn does seem to have something visibly mediating/mediated about it: all that death in the midst of life...but what a slow and beautiful expiration! The tree outside my window has already deposited so many yellowy, reddish orangey leaves onto the waiting pavement, yet the ones that remain attached to the branches seem so utterly static, not falling at all, except when they do of course. As Engels puts it: all motion is bound up with some change of place.
But it occurs to me that there has indeed been a kind of naive and perhaps unnoticed return to Engels in certain corners of contemporary continental philosophy: tracing politics from the laws of nature, we end up fusing concerns about the environment (apocalypticism, teleology) with desperation about the state of the world as it is (political struggle, a supposed all-pervasive feeling of despair). Everything is presumed, perversely following Heidegger though couched in a resolutely anti-phenomenological rhetoric, to take place on the level of ontology: a strike is as meaningful (or meaningless) as a leaf falling onto
On the other hand, a historical materialism (that of late Sartre, for example, or even Firestone when she speaks of it being 'too late' to save nature) that is able to conceive of politics from the
standpoint of catastrophe but carries on anyway strikes me as rather more relevant: proliferating ontologies is simply not the point - further, what use is it if it simply becomes a race to the bottom to prove that every entity is as meaningless as every other (besides, the Atomists did it better). Confronting 'what is' has to mean accepting a certain break between the natural and the artificial, even if this break is itself artificial. Ontology is play-science for philosophers; I'm pretty much convinced when Badiou argues that mathematics has better ways of conceiving it than philosophy does and that, besides, ontology is not the point. What happens, or what does not happen, should be what concerns us: philosophers sometimes pride themselves on their ignorance of world affairs, again like watered-down Heideggarians, no matter how hostile they think they are to him, pretending that all that history and politics stuff is so, like, ontic, we're working on something much more important here.
But if it's pretty descriptions of nature-as-doom you're after, you can't do much better than Engels himself:
"Millions of years may elapse, hundreds of thousands of generations be born and die, but inexorably the time will come when the declining warmth of the sun will no longer suffice to melt the ice thrusting itself forward from the poles; when the human race, crowding more and more about the equator, will finally no longer find even there enough heat for life; when gradually even the last trace of organic life will vanish; and the earth, an extinct frozen globe like the moon, will circle in deepest darkness and in an ever narrower orbit about the equally extinct sun, and at last fall into it. Other planets will have preceded it, others will follow it; instead of the bright, warm solar system
with its harmonious arrangement of members, only a cold, dead sphere will still pursue its lonely path through universal space. And what will happen to our solar system will happen sooner or later to all the other systems of our island universe; it will happen to all the other innumerable island universes, even to those the light of which will never reach the earth while there is a living human eye to receive it."
But you don't see him throwing in the towel and going back to bed, do you...!
Buoyant.Austere expressionism. Tranquility emulator activated. Plane on
magmic matter. Slime. Sluggish flow. Bubbling to
surface. Island-plane swallowed. Undramatic insular apocalypse. Landscape. Plenitude. Stretched behind observational point. Size becomes indeterminate. Potential infinity spread. Horizon decimation. ocean. Opaque. quick lime.
Intimation of what could be in it: curtain of plastic bottles in
vertical rows. Going all the way down.
Going all the way down. “All the way down”--incalculable. Number input to proceed. Or: bottles swallowed by coiling
>ARTWORK 4. Rachel Kushner
Artist: Stock Footage
human ‘models’ Michael Roach and Christie McNally, 106.4 acres of Arizona desert, one 900-square foot cinderblock Buddhist retreat center and seminary with various detached outbuildings, holdings in trust (unspecified amount in the mid-hundreds of millions), Andin International Jewelry retailer, two 8 X 10 photographs, cotton T-shirt and other mixed media.
Documentation materials for gallery display: wall text of work description, vintage promotional headshots of Roach and McNally, vintage T-shirt belonging to Roach with screenprinted phrase “ORGASM DONOR,” photograph of Diamond Mountain University, model statement by Michael Roach, empty canisters of Spirit Juice (if available), small pile of diamonds (if available), Uli Roth Sky Guitar encased in shatterproof glass.
Description: Technically a readymade, Diamond Moment declares the living models of Michael Roach and Christie McNally, their religious practice, Mr. Roach’s jewelry profits, their celibacy and silent discourse, their teachings, their (non-accredited) university, their vast tract of scrubby desert, now radically asteroid-impaired, their legal issues, liver ailments, and sun salutations, their (decimated) yurt, their cloudlike pillow of hope and peacework, their age difference, their distance/closeness edict of ten feet (never closer than nor further than, in keeping with the optimal “foam” of human wellness), a work of art.
Stock Footage is a creative subsidiary of Spirit Juice Int. Inc.
Diamond Moment is an homage to Mr. Roach’s organization, school, and ethos “Diamond Mountain,” which was itself an homage to the vast profits Mr. Roach made in the diamond industry in the American 1980s. Mr. Roach, a Tibetan Buddhist monk, founded the university in 2004, offering courses like “replenishing the human nectar,” “hit me with your wide receiver,” “how to pray and get results,” “acing the diamond industry,” and, new in 2011, just before the asteroid hit, “acing the coconut water industry.” Mr. Roach encouraged graduates to stay for an unaccredited “doctoral dissertation” which consisted of three years silent living on the Diamond Mountain property. He and his spiritual partner Christie McNally were just completing their own three-year unit of silence contemplating the problems of the world (a form of mental exercise Roach liked to call “swimming pool somersaults”—weightless, quiet, low-impact), when the cataclysm took place (heavy, thunderous, high-impact).
After extensive reclamation work in the area, Spirit Juice International Inc’s creative subsidiary Stock Footage declared Roach and McNally’s lives, habits and holdings a work of art. Later, Diamond Moment was used by Spirit Juice in a popular add campaign, a testament to the spiritual juiciness of spirit juice, but the curators of Head have agreed to include only the original iteration of the work, and not its promotional utility for SJI.
Statement by ‘model’ Michael Roach:
We both have Hepatitis non-A non-B non-C non-D non-E, and so we drink a lot of spirit juice which is yellow like the sulfuric clouds of Venus and also really draining our savings account (in the fire pit behind the yurt).
The more we drink of the spirit juice, the more it dilutes the yellow in our faces, and we are thankful for that because we still really care what we look like (what do you look like?). The savings account is basically just casino coins packed into an ugly geode. They are accepting those at the moment at the spirit juice bar. As a back up, for when they stop accepting casino coins, I still have my Uli Roth thirty-fret sky guitar by some miracle. It is a kind of savings account. Also, I have all the little deaths I have avoided with my spiritual partner Christie. One could argue that I have those. I sense they are a savings account of a kind, even if of what kind remains to be seen. But all future is as that: remaining to be seen. These past little deaths that did not take place are . . . somewhere? Not just emitted into the scratchy hemp mat that I sleep on (scratchiness of bedding is yet one more program of mine, something I’m doing to help me work out some of my deeper hostility), over on my side of the yurt (way over: we keep a distance of ten feet), or more ceremonially dispensed of when I am sure my spiritual partner Christie is deep under, loaded up on spirit juice and unaware that I’m breaking the rules and lathering myself to a little death. We aren’t to touch ourselves or each other. It is an aesthetic choice. We keep a distance like I said of ten feet. Not from ourselves, obviously, which would be impossible but at least from each other. It’s an enactment, a performance. A ‘thing’ we’re doing. (What’s your thing?)I don’t know how she herself circumvents the ban on self-touching but for me, I argue that the future still exists. And although the land is ruined, the population evacuated, the constant, whipping dust and burning mantle of the earth here making it seem as if the future has gone into some kind of terrible remission, still, I feel the future, I sense it as a latency, something that is going to come rollicking toward us, or us toward it—beaten up by a sidewalk, as the drunk with the black eye says. When that sidewalk comes, I want to believe my sacrificed little deaths, the ones I could have been having with her, will build into some form, some meaning. One thing we have come to understand is that you cannot predict what form will take what meaning. You can’t predict. Could Uli Roth have known the Sky Guitar would become actual currency—not valuable in and of itself, but as a means of exchange? In fact he might have predicted this weird fate. Because the situation is that no one remembers how to play his thirty-fret Sky Guitar. And yet it has a zone or aura around it, a halo that tells the looker, Here lies value. Take this object and exchange it for spirit juice. Which is exactly what I am planning to do when we have no more coins.
He totally blazed that fretboard. How did he get his fingers in the higher octaves, since the fret space is so small?
You cannot drink diamonds. They glitter and shine, and I used to think about embedding them in my teeth as a backup savings account, because in our unit of silence a voice came into my head—it called itself the White Stain, or maybe I called it that, in any case, Stain alerted me to the future devastation. I thought immediately of money, of what I would trade on. I wasn’t able to get to the diamonds. I named this place Diamond Mountain but the diamonds are in South Africa and in safes—a very old word, safe, a noun as a verb as an adjective. My safe was in New York City. Sigh. So be it: I have never heard mention that diamonds are being traded, that they have any value. My African-American clients called them “boogers.” I never understood that. And they called cocaine booger sugar and between boogers and booger sugar you have pretty much everything you need, I guess. I mean needed. Everything has changed and now our spiritual retreat is being invaded by Spirit Juice scout locators and other unsavories and we are willing to let them document our lives for an extra squirt.
To one of their corporate reps I said, I used to be you. I had the thing people wanted and I took it and parlayed it into a material absence, the thing people wanted that they could not buy (because it did not exist).
I told this corporate rep, talking louder because he seemed like he wasn’t listening. I said, “I had motherfuckers from all over coming to get this thing, this post-diamond acquisition, more like a Ding than a thing. A bling-Ding. Money could not buy it, and yet what I sold was costly. Diamond Mountain promised something as hard as diamonds, as luminous and shiny and infinite et cetera blablabla. Are you listening??”
Because he obviously wasn’t. And get this, he says, “You are so fucking right then. “
“Right when?” I ask him.
I went out to the geode and counted out our savings. Christie was in the tent. I could hear her plucking the strings of the Uli Roth Sky Guitar. I had asked her already not to do it. I’d explained that it wasn’t an object any longer, but currency, and like using a hundred dollar bill to blow your nose it just is not done. Don’t play it, I said. Do. Not. Play. It.
“I am now,” I said to the Spirit Juice rep, feeling a sense of great calm wash over me. “I am right now. I am a spokesmodel for Spirit Juice. Are we live?”
crucified on it.Discalced Carmelite. Rope belt. Dingy Robe. Jute. SS regalia pinned to pectorals under it. Rosary of blood droplets.
SS regalia pinned to pectorals under. Rosary of blood droplets. Gigantic soft-on. Cutting the cloak. Strangled by end of rope belt. Engorged. Empurpled.
Marbled by throbbing . Urethra daggered by Afro-pick tooth. Black fist handle. Friar’s hands.
Fists. Gloved. Leather. Dissolve into painting surface.
Amplification. Painting: infinitude of microscopic black hands
>ARTWORK 5. Dean Kenning
Communiqué from the Dark
In the apocalyptic now there are no art objects. Artists have ceased trading in the sanctioned currency of works and art is witnessed only in its effects, which can never themselves be definitively confirmed as ‘art’, lest art lose its power to undo anything. Lacking a circulating currency by which to trade on status the artist has become anonymous. Turning a perceived weakness into a strength, the artist has exited the stage and gone underground. Who is an artist? Anyone and everyone who makes art; who gnaws invisibly at the walls of the symbolic edifice. How do you recognize art? You don’t. Art is what you don’t recognise. Art is what idiotizes you as language slips away
revealing that primal urge towards organic oneness that pulsates beneath the shame that tossed you back into the arms of a master.
‘Art’, the bracketed kind, persists in some residual muppet show of criticality, where the gallery says: “I name this stupid object that just sits or hangs there and does nothing ‘art’”. The object has been waiting for you. You recognize it as art, and if there is
no object then that must be the art, and the artist is recognized through the accumulated value attending to their name. As a commodity the ‘artist’ becomes an animated object operating in relation to a network of other objects – other names, in a competitive prestige economy. Work validated as ‘art’ allow lists of names to be drawn up and disseminated, names leeching and seeding value according to their status. The validating authority connects this process of quantifiable exposure to an existing hierarchy of power, wealth and privilege whilst placing the ‘artist’ at the avant-garde of divide-and-rule competitive individualism. Accumulating value of the name transfers to the circulating object in monetary terms and a sale will itself add value to the name and inflate the art object’s future economic value. The relational conspiracy of an object waiting for you in the gallery, insofar as it embodies a hidden network of structural power relations, is not bypassed but redoubled when a work is approached ‘as a conspiracy plotted by anonymous materials’. Of course it suits the art market, whose produce is authenticated by signs of cutting-edge seriousness and critical thinking, to adopt a philosophy which ‘refuses to interrogate reality through human mediation’ if the reality in question is a luxury commodity, embedded within an entire valuation of culture correlative to social class. To paste a ‘reality indifferent to humans’ on the face of such an object with talk of the artist’s ‘complicity’ with the ‘contingent’ materiality of her work, is simply to idealize the artwork and its production. As if the apparatus of the gallery and art market were not themselves material to be worked on and transformed by artists. Theoretical trigger words like ‘contingency’ cause value-generating Pavlovian psychic secretions amongst inquisitive curators, gallerists and collectors. Posing as the miasmic power of imagination, such entertainment is in fact another obfuscating decoy, a theatrical smokescreen to make stasis look like something happening. What good is philosophy if it is unable to comprehend how the stage it uses to disseminate its theories will turn it into a puppet of wealth and power? When ‘Thomas Dane Gallery, in association with Miguel Abreu and Sutton Lane, presents a show entitled New York to London and Back – an itinerary that raises the question of the relation between art capital, financial capital and intellectual capital’ then an audacious turn of the capitalist screw has occurred as theoretical discourse is used to preempt any actual challenge the latter might potentially pose and so to confirm the cooption of both art and philosophy to the market as a triumphant fait accompli. When the fist of power enters your throat hole you must extract yourself in a gagging spasm of disgust.
The apocalypse comes out of confinement, of stage-managed and marketised weirdness, idiosyncrasies co-opted as individuality, fogginess channeled through corporate capitalism’s curatorial platforms and pumped out as culture. The art world becomes one of those policed sterile zones through which kettled communal desires pass in order to re-enter the sanctioned fantasies of self-actualisation. There have always been artistic souls, self-negators who have refused recognition; dug themselves a hole, gone underground, prematurely buried their name in an unmarked grave, only to have their sacrifice, in one final humiliation, instrumentalised into their best career move, as posterity recognizes in this most singular resistance the exemplary ideology of narcissistic selfhood, and the abject corpse is resurrected as the glorious mythic artist. The great innovation and genius of the apocalyptic now is that this refusal collectivizes. Invisibility, the individual’s greatest weakness – the shame that would have you begging a master to recognise you - becomes the collective’s greatest strength. The choice is simple: become a somebody who does nothing or a nobody who does something. Artists disappear as an anonymous swarm in dark matter issuing as the unrecognizable from cracks in the fabric of reality, miners of death burrowing tunnels in the black spaces between the stars, deadly fistulas in the corporate body towards a new organisation. It is in its capacity to undo meaning and draw us towards death that art finally realises its revolutionary social function, contrary to the prevailing assumption that art’s struggle against control and exploitation must operate in the visible sphere of life. If to become visible in the communicative sphere is already to be spoken by the spectacle of the ‘I’, inflated and floating in the spotlight above your former comrades, then (and at the cost of ceasing to have a public voice) a shadow sphere must emerge into being, a conspiracy of ‘we’ organised around the anonymous network of indifferent material forms. Rather than considering her unrecognized artistic creation as a stillborn infant never exposed to the sharing that would give it’s existence purpose, the artist should better draw sustenance from the ecstatic promise her orphaned, unbaptised progeny is destined to bring forth, unbeknownst to the world, as it crawls out of sight. Artists are engineers of darkness, constructivists in reverse, destructivists bringing about - slowly, steadily, irreversibly - a world without names, and rolling towards oblivion.
That art might be known as such from its pure effect; that those of us who inhabit the imaginary as a univocal reality will withdraw from all signals that would designate our efforts a cultural object, prematurely frame and sanitize it, preempt its power to infect and suck the rest of reality under: this is our demand, this is our burden. What happens when one doesn’t-recognise art? An apparition flashes up in an instant…something is not right. The angle of a wall. The encrusted purple goo dripping from a lamppost. A face issuing from the surface of a boarded up window. Something that drops from your cornflakes packet that isn’t a cornflake. When that which should be hard and prickly is soft and furry. Art happens when things forget their name, and sink you into nameless, elemental being; when a weird neon reflection in a puddle sucks you down the plughole of time to address you, for an instant, as a cave person, a slime mould, or a cluster of crystals. The madness that attaches to this horror comes when such an encounter occurs beyond the curatorial platform, unframed by cultural sanction, unlabeled as ‘art’. This is my burden and yours. There can be no certainty, no escape from the suspicion that self-delusion brought on by political impotence and, worse, personal resentment issuing from the very tie to authority we both profess to renounce, has led us to imagine that what is encountered as art has indeed issued from the somber imagination of a fellow conspirator, and is not merely a random arrangement of forms readymade for the projections of a paranoid fantasist. But I have seen the cracks in space, I have heard the rats in the walls gnawing away, and this House of Usher is heading for a fall. The gargoyles which once decorated and protected the cathedral of culture have moved inside to mock and destroy it. Slowly, silently, art is undoing this world. It still stands, but the poison has set in, and we, those of us who know, are living every day in its death. The revolutionary apocalypse is upon us. And art is conceived and multiplies as living deaths, suicide babies born to explode from sheer injustice, because it’s not fair. Why should rich people get all the nice things? A reality indifferent to humans is a great comfort to us: the indifference of equality. Death is the great equalizer, our only master, the only one who does not immediately become his own first servant. But no more narcissistic resurrections, no more inheritance, no more repetition of the same – treacherous reproduction of the old order. No more compromise; this time we will do it on our own terms. Rationally. Collectively. The great leveling of inorganic oneness (and leave heaven-on-earth utopias to the curator hobbyists). To have done with the teeming complicity of it all.
piped directly to cortex. Involuntary assimilation. Occultism--metaphysic of dunces. Glitch repetition? Reconditioning program? No time to process inquiry. Scene morphs. New
synaptic short-circuits. New error: satellite adrift in black space. Abyssal context. Outdated signs. Why them again? Why space vehicle in depopulated universe? Why restore them? Questions nt registered. Nothing in the system to support it. Strict code. Single trajectory. Satellite only is. Transmits torrent of
retrogressive signs. Expired archive. Too fast to process. End of stream, image suspended, coda: haloed figured of Carmelite monk impaled by stretch bar. Bar parallel to still erect and
vaginaaa. Anthropomorphized as second hard-on. Friar cloned as illuminated
Transmitted data modules. Causing synaptic misfires. Landscape as
>ARTWORK 6: Evan Calder Williams
Dimensions variable. Height: three inches to one mile in length. Width: one centimeter to three inches. Total field of interaction: 2.0943951 cubic miles, plus spray zone (indeterminate)
Materials: Titanium, linear cold generator, magnetized oxide, lubricant
tobacco, glass, bile, wood, pork, sucrose, urine, brick, rubber, ice (pendulum).
is, in essence, a simple work. It was first installed off-site,
approximately 18 miles from Head Gallery, thirteen years ago, and it remains off-property. (That is, it cannot be said to “belong” to the gallery. The gallery legally owns the small assemblage of material that constitutes the pivot point, but
Property Statutes introduced with the Geneva Convention, the “concept” of the work is excluded from status as either common or private property. It literally belongs to no one, although in an accompanying audio tape, the artists stated that “it belongs, as it always did, to the flabby futility of binding science to thought.”)
object, a process piece, and a performance without subjects involved. Floating one mile above the ground without tether, a single graphite lubed pivot point hangs in the air: an assemblage of small magnets keep it perfectly centered over the installation site To this pivot is attached a rather crude early version of the linear cold generator, swaying free and pointing its pin-sized beam toward the ground below. A certain quantity of water is gathered around the pivot, where it remains frozen hard.
force of gravity, this condensation drips downward, bead by bead, where it immediately freezes around the line of the cold. What was a blob starts to resemble a short icicle. This process continues, and Pendulum begins to deform into a thin ray of ice extending toward the earth. Naturally occurring wind currents, augmented by the disturbance of the ultra-cold beam cutting through them, exert pressure on the pendulum, and it begins to swing. The momentum of the swing drives the moisture further toward the tip, where it refreezes. Hence, with every swing, the pendulum grows longer and longer. It describes a wider and wider arc, whistling over the heads of the city. It comes closer and closer to the ground, and to the marked zone directly one-mile below the pivot point. One of two outcomes occurs: either the combination of wind pressure and unstable freezing causes the
downward until, with an oddly delicate and splintering crash, the pendulum strikes the earth and shatters into thousands of shards, droplets, and, given the combined effect of friction and ground temperature, bits of melting slush, all accompanied by a
Pendulum has remained a controversial work since its inception. It has killed numerous spectators (the current total stands at 241), although such death, common to most works of our period, has little to do with the controversy. Rather, a brief consideration
point of entrance to discuss the accusations made against the piece.
First and foremost, the piece has been attacked as a work of neo-Nazi propaganda. Such an accusation derives from the obvious fact that it is based on the Welteislehre (“World Ice Doctrine”) of Hans Hörbiger, which claimed that the solar system had its origin when a dead wet star smashed into a larger star, its scattered vapors condensing into ice that became the fundamental material of the solar system. (Ice planets, ice moons, ice ether). An Austrian steam engineer, Hörbiger's “glacial cosmogony” found favor with the Third Reich as a counter-theory to the “Jewish science” of Einstein, for the rather simple reason that despite being entirely unfounded, it nevertheless provided a seeming accordance: white northern tribes from the frozen north and a solar system founded upon frozen white material. (Moreover, its lack of accordance with observational phenomena only bolstered its intransigent truth-claims, at least according to Hörbiger, who told Willy Ley: “Either you believe in me and learn, or you will be treated as the enemy.”) The origin of such a theory came from two moments in Hörbiger's life: first, when he looked at the moon and realized that it looked rather like ice and, second, when he dreamed of an ice pendulum swinging through the emptiness of space, growing longer and longer, until it broke free. It is from the latter that Pendulum takes its essential determination.
However, to call such this work “neo-Fascist” is to ignore a) the general incoherence of such a designation for the contemporary moment, and b) the way in which the work points toward the petulant obstinacy and total impurity of such a theory. Regarding the latter points, we should keep in mind that Hörbiger's theory is not a general thermodynamics but a description of a single exception, a regime of ice struggling against an entire universe with which it does not accord. It is the petty flailing of a thought which would like to remain pure and cannot. And as for that purity, it should also be kept in mind that condensation forms around a particle of “other” material: that “pure white ice” coheres only because of the included elements of the “filth” it disdains. This general point, along with the particular fact that Pendulum accumulates a range of filth and refuse both in its passage through the air and in its mopping up from the streets below, had evidently been forgotten by the first victims of Pendulum. Respectfully keeping their distance from the point of impact yet standing close enough to be splattered by its slushy outburst, they opened their mouths in hope of enacting a sort of ecstatic, sexless money shot. They were rewarded with a combination of frozen material, ranging from atmospheric sulphur compounds and a not insignificant quantity of irradiated bird droppings, that immediately corroded their stomach lining and internal organs. It should be noted the blood and other bodily fluids which leaked from their orifices were among the liquids gathered and frozen into the next iteration of Pendulum.
Second, due in equal part to such incidents of “obscene splattering” and the general shape of the work, Pendulum has been called a “pathetically phallic” piece, a “fantasy of erection unbound by physiological constraints.” The curators would not disagree, except to point out that the “pathetic” inflection is one critically engaged by the piece. Aside from the needle-like slenderness of the pendulum blade and its extreme fragility, it need be remarked only that it cannot be predicted where, when, and how it will break. If it is a manifestation of phallic law, the model it seems to propose is one of inconstancy, instability, and the impossibility of founding any order of pleasure, reason, or meaning whatsoever.
Third, Pendulum is often considered to belong, however loosely, to the Inhuman School. The supposed personal connections of some of the artists gives further credence to this, but as we see in how the work pre-engages each of its accusations, nearly posing them itself in order to render them idiotic, it is ultimately a scathing attack on that entire enterprise. The reason for our assertion has to do not with the work itself during its period of descent (which, indeed, has thoughtlessly cut through scores of bystanders with a bloody thwup and decimated nearby buildings, with neither malevolence nor care) or with the “apparent” symbolic weight of the piece (which, indeed, gestures to a clock-less pendulum counting a deep time beyond the scope of human metrics), but with the interim stage of its recomposition. It is the explicit instructions of the artists that after Pendulum has scattered its accumulated frozen matter, the process is to be restarted only in one of two ways.
1. It may be left to its own devices, with the chance prospect that enough moisture will gather near the pivot to recommence: the last instance in which such a decision was made led to a seven year period in which Pendulum did not swing.
2. The gallery workers have to do it themselves by means of sponges, buckets, and scaffolding, thereby rendering such an inhuman event dependent on the banal labor of the underpaid or unpaid. No aerial transport or machines whatsoever are to be used in setting up Pendulum to swing again. Hence it is has not been uncommon that during the laborious task of recollecting the dirty and toxic water, it is suddenly discovered that the oscillating glint above the installation site is, in fact, a reconstituted Pendulum, having gathered enough moisture and smoke in the clouds above to have begun its downward sweep once more.
Fourth and finally, Pendulum has been hailed – less accused than acclaimed – as the assertion of the power of speculation after the end of a civilizational sequence, a razor of rationality sweeping through the dark night, as it “cuts through folly and false images of human importance” and discovers “a project for thought after the collapse of any and all philosophy.” It should be pointed out that a grosser misreading is scarcely fathomable.
If the sprays of stinking slush and the recurrent sloppy, pointless, and humid killings – which point only to the incapacity to not do otherwise – were not enough to dismiss this accusation, one of the stranger instances in Pendulum's history should suffice. The report of one present reads:
" On its nineteenth cycle, a large crowd had gathered, variously drunken, hushed, rowdy, reverential, and curious, for the predicted moment when full contact with the ground would be made on the nadir of its swing. Some stood close and stared at the scarred point where the scrape and break should occur. Others held back, wisely dressed in oil skins or rubber to stay safe while getting the full visceral brunt of the splatter. I, for one, was bare-chested and forcing myself to wheeze: word on the street of late was that for those, like myself, with the sickness, those nasty compounds and ice-cured bacteria were one of the few remedies capable of shocking the body back into line. Around 11:33 PM, having previously swung through the collected mass, thereby splitting them by default into two sides facing off against one another, Pendulum sliced back down, stretched thin and sharp, with a high, keening whistle. The crowd braced and tightened, the suicidal opened their mouths and bared their chests. And it stopped: through the rarest combination of rigidity, exact length, weight, inflection, and momentum, Pendulum scraped and skidded to an absolute halt, perfectly vertical and unbroken, tracing a radiant, glittering line from the center of the earth out to the pivot. Nothing moved. The crowd gaped. Very slowly, a slight trickle of melt became evident, as the sheer idiocy of this 'pure reason' began, once more, to slur into a stream of reeking slush. Soon, there was little left but a slightly chilled brackish puddle, between the
All may be studio-staged. Pause. Die Fahne Hoch! in this scene? Parallax gap closed.
Anamorphic distortion corrected. Omitted logical slip. Channel jump assimlated. Error productive. New scroll downloaded: altered program. Anamorphic exhibition deemed unruly. Integuments challenged by allusive overload. Emphatic reversal attempted. Botched. Precipitous collapse. Mind-drop. Slopped acceleration. Frenzied abolition drive. Stress redistribution to
outlier mechanisms. High deformation averted. Crystal plane
back in focus. Closer inspection interrupts reading. Surface incomprehensible. Not crystal. Stagnant confusion. Silken sheet of ice. Upturned and tossed. Mannerist folds. More erratic. Weak diagram, unsustainable visualization. System sounding new protocol. Plane of discarded plastic
bottles. Almost transparent. Many-angled light glints on surfaces. Hoard of inorganic units. Clamor. Noise rising. Constant rub of elements. Plastic aching
>ARTWORK 7. Benjamin Noys
‘Theses on Occultism’ (Artist Unknown)
A hand-made card box with the words ‘Theses on Occultism’ written on it containing a series of 5 poor-quality photographs taken by a Polaroid SX-70 model 2 instant camera, a sheet of folded paper (slightly smaller than A5), and a small number of ‘popcorned’ crystals of silica.
The photographs appear to show: 1. A canoe paddle that has been beautifully scraped down all over, perhaps with sand paper, making it so thin that the any vigorous stroke would snap it off at the elbow.; 2. A metal case slightly more than twenty by fifteen inches in size and just over three inches thick that is covered with curved mathematical designs in low relief.; 3. A half-full bag of oatmeal.; 4. The cover of a book titled ‘A Marxist Analysis of the Lumpen Intelligentsia’, by B. Talbot; 5. A deflated balloon lying on a brick.
The sheet of paper, obviously stained with what appears to be excrement and blood, contains the following three texts, typed in courier and obviously quotations from a lost and unknown book:
1. ‘Occultism is the metaphysic of dunces’; 2.‘The occultist draws the ultimate conclusion from the fetish-character of commodities: menacingly objectified labour assails him on all sides from demonically grimacing objects’; 3.‘The bent little fortune-tellers terrorizing their clients with crystal balls are toy models of the great ones who hold the fate of mankind in their hands.’
to cut through plastic. To wound. Screeches. Inorganic torture. Audio data through olfactory organs. Rank smell. Triggered excitation. Endorphins release. Or endo-sims. Bottles rubs.
Puerile overtones. Giddy space. Seminal discharges from the inorganic. Constitutive flow. Vincula open. Bottles fused. Suicidal aggregates. Mass incorporation. Will to synthesis. Gigantic
>ARTWORK 8. Hillary RaphAEL
A two-meter x two-meter chlorinated swimming box with a dial to crank the current from Placid to Violent to Sublime sits in the center of a black n’ white six-meter x six-meter checkerboard perimetered by one-meter tall potted topiary of the species BUXUS SEMPERVIRENS, set in a clearing in a temperate rainforest (Tasmania, Washington State, Norway, or Argentina/ Chile). One woman, between the ages of 27 and 34, of any origin except Basque or Ainu, clad in denim-indigo-blue latex swimming costume and cap, runs gracefully but with an ostentatious show of exhaustion toward the ever-inaccessible horizon. Heard but not seen, somewhere close in the millenarian wood, an un-chaperoned little girl, between the ages of 8 and 11, recites the following with the aid of a wireless microphone:
I love this place
It’s heaven here
Wild horses couldn’t move me away
Spectators are invited to stay and silently observe from a scattering of white plastic chaises longues randomly placed between trees for as long as it takes for each one of them to drink an entire pansy-patterned china teacup of creamed LAPSANG SOUCHONG self-served out of tartan thermoses pre-prepared and left on armrests.
An ambulance will idle so as to be available should the need arise.
plastic embryo. Bio-laquered. Thin molecular coating.
Teratological growth. Transparent reptilian epidermis. Evolution vectors crossed. Embryo unfolding. Fetus. Protected in plastic dome. Fetus twitches. Dream-twitch, only seeming. Fit of panic. Index by swelling apoplectic spasms. No oxygen in dome.
Euthenesia theater. Angled momentum of panic. Prohibitive slope of dramatic intensification. Erratic twitching. Death spasm. Disaggregation of body. Denouement. Bottles sway in unison.
ARTWORK 9. Patricia MacCormack
Ecstatic ‘being’ refuses the folding which constitutes subjectivisation. Instead it experiences self as wonder, inextricable from experience which experiences nothing recognisable or perceptible beyond the indescribable state of encounter with the outside. The event resonates with our encounter with the event of the folds of baroque art. Bernini’s sculpture of Teresa sees her robes fold and inflect and summon our incapacity to see the planes of the curves which are concealed beneath those we can see, emphasised even more in Bernini’s Blessed Ludovica Albertoni. Shimmering stone, presenting no form but ebbs and flows of seductive, hypnotic pleasure, the carved robes require belief in an interiority without capture and an exteriority which expresses pleasure without apprehension. To the world it may appear pure atrophy, to the cosmos immanent infinity. One cannot ‘see’ ecstasy, yet every sense has intensified its own quality, its relation of force has altered. Teresa says ‘I often have visions of angels, I do not see them’. Just as her ecstasy cannot be signified, neither can her gaze. Eurydice is no different to the sirens because the revelation of her face returns Orpheus to himself. Worse still this gaze is the gaze which shows Orpheus his own death. Teresa, like a mystic Eurydice, sees in the dark. Bernini’s sculpture of St Teresa is one effulgent example of the ecstatic encounter with what the ecstatic’s gaze may look like. Her incarnation/incantation in sculpture bears testament to this – her eyes mere slits revealing no pupils, rolled within to see without. Sculpture often shows the orbs without pupils, so to gaze at these eyes is to gaze into eyes which neither look back or away but beyond. Teresa is very careful to differentiate between union and rapture. Union expresses the self as the same beginning, middle and end. Teresa ceases to speak, to see, and is put into great distress when her raptures are talked about. Vision sees in the dark, touch comes from distance, no words or melodies are heard, the senses themselves, while a particular quality of force related to, are perverted from their appropriate relation with signification and knowledge, yet are no less thoughtful for being so. Far from the revelation of Christian mysticism, ecstatic mysticism is thought where we become a unique event outside of time, we must ask what forms of thought does a pleated body express which encounters a belief in a body which is neither exterior nor interior?
The space of intensity is a desiring rupture at the infinitesimal degree zero point of implosion, but the predictive and reflective nature of masochism threatens to privilege structuration and thus the signification of sexuality over pleasure, unfolding potentialities of desire based on a perceived lack of intensified state. We still speak of a masochistic subject, thus a sexual subject, even if the moment of pleasure involves a loss of subjectivity through becoming the body without organs as pain. How can we think a sexuality which is larval potentiality, non-volitional or authorised by self or regimes of signification, which has no before and after but is always and infinite, and which is loss of self without nihilism, an imperceptible sexuality? How can we shift sexuality defined by knowledge, power and expression to the sexuality from outside? Ecstasy does not suspend, it is suspension, it has no temporality, it is self as spatial, a de-personalisation that does not demand a sacrifice of minoritarian history but that no longer needs that history to constitute becoming. In ecstasy the pain of masochism is not near but now, the joy of jouissance is not jubilant but just is. The temporality of masochism disappears and the qualitatively pleasurable elements of jouissance are neither present nor absent. These are some of the reasons why ecstasy finds associations with masochism as much as with jouissance and, indeed, its interstitial position between these two seemingly oppositional modes of pleasure or sexual forces evinces ecstasy as an indefinable but irrefutable state. Ecstasy exceeds being a ‘type’ of sexuality, but by carrying residue from its psychoanalytic status it may remind us of the need for addressing minoritarian and eventually imperceptible pleasure-desire events in that while ecstasy is not an evolved sexuality, there is a reason why thinking this beyond-sexuality is an urgent political issue in order to free us from the constraints of sexual discourses which, inevitably, is the first and most important call in order to end the massacre of the body. Ecstasy has historically been associated with women, with relations to God, with an affirmative post-religious vitalism, with pain and with sacrifice.
Thus, far from waiting for an external object, the ecstatic’s body is in a perpetual state of suspension and immanence, an ecstasy which takes the body outside of time into a space without background or foreground, object or subject. Following Irigaray, for the ecstatic there is no masochistic waiting, nor a collapse or fractalisation or compression of duration. It is a condition suspended from knowledge, voluminous, which lacks nothing but which is a state of openness to thought. Ecstasy without knowledge, apprehension or time – waiting and reflecting – shifts the concept of mysticism from God or religious experience to a cosmic chaosmosic event. Chaos is the start and chaos is the creation, their differences are qualitative, the creation of machines through proliferative prehensile connections; ecstasy inflects upon itself so the various intensities contained therein become a consistency without differentiation or in-between connective tissue, actual or virtual. St Teresa of Avila tells us that ‘during the rapture itself, the body is very often like a corpse’ the ecstatic’s non-knowledge does not presume that that which will be known or that which is lost as knowable before it arrives – including the self’s knowledge of the self as anything from presence to subjectivity – is inherent as an element of mournful lament. Lament involves reflection, intentional wanting of a preclusive self. Ecstasy cannot help itself, taking the event away from preclusion or reflection so there is no longer a self of which to speak, and to know. No memory, neither future nor past, nor even a present which constitutes presence, ecstasy cannot ask the question of a self involved in any desiring-machine beyond the evanescent blind, silent everything.
The risks and losses of subjects or, more precisely, their relation to power and knowledge as constitutive of the subject of value, play a role in the political urgency of the ethical shift from masochism – forsaking the self through machines of atrophy – to ecstasy, the voluminous everything as the outside. As a territory of desire, ecstasy demands a repudiation of power and knowledge as inherent within the subjects they constitute and which structure finite possibilities of being constituted. However, to reflect upon this ethical becoming-minoritarian toward the imperceptible everything-nothing-all requires a (re)turn to the former subject, its relation to power and the outside, which makes the possibility of the outside of time problematic. Is it enough to find the ecstasy which ablates all differentiation without reflecting on the differentiations which are the very reason why ecstasy is ethically viable?
The creation of the demonic pack as sorcery as philosophy cannot help but account for the specificities of each nodal point in relation to its becoming in the multiple teeming pack configuration. The demonic pack expands and acts as contagion, using the saturation of particular intensifiers, involving pack elements in proximity which are unlike, in spite of the likeness they create in the consistency of the teeming pack as borderline which necessitates the formation of other packs and their bordering tendencies, the bordering which occurs with the facilitator of the ecstasy seems like a dream or imaginary past, lost in the absolute immediate all. The catalyst as im-mediator transforms now-ness or immanence into a space without time as it is a state without relation within a structure or demonic pack of desire. It has neither place nor space, and nothing can occur in proximity. Nothing is like nor unlike ecstasy. We cannot even claim that ecstasy is the creation of an unnatural participation with the catalyst, as the relation never happened as soon as the ecstasy possesses. It is possession without possessor, although there is a possible theory of a virtual memory that operates as not-belonging, an infective trace, a suppurating tick.
For the ecstatic, experience is outside of time – arrival and expurgated satisfaction. It does not end in sacrifice. Ecstasy is found in the leaving behind of objects, the lament which is lost when the subject and object are simultaneously dissolved and self is alienated from self. He suggests this comes primarily through a giving away of knowledge as anchoring the dialectic of self and non-self, presence and revelation, so that the other(s) shifts from an-other to the outside itself: ‘
When Teresa says the pain is so sweet one cannot possibly wish it to cease, this is because she is outside of time within the folds of the self she does not know, much as she wishes to name her persecutor as an external angel. The spirit of flesh is important. Teresa says that for the first time she sees an enfleshed angel, rather than the invisible imperceptible visions she has previously had of them. She also claims that her ecstasy attacks her heart and especially her entrails – and the body has a considerable share in her experience of ‘spirit’. Will Teresa remember the angel? Its arrival creates an ellipsis with her reflection, and yet between – outside – there is the voluminous gap where description shows itself as irreducibly poverty stricken. Between is silence, darkness, and anyone who has read the passage cannot resist its wonder and an inclination toward such ecstasy but what we read never occurs. Speech, observation and signification find their first fault in the very possibility of being outside the outside, of evaluating through a perceived gap or horizon between which incarnates both temporally and spatially. Reflection is the after, expectation the before, and observation the spatial distance between, the infinite made (tactically and necessarily) finite but also a force which does not act, a contraction, an ‘I’ that acts upon its ‘I’ and is acted upon by the ‘I’ which is not present nor perceptible to self. Because, and this is the most terrible of pains, like the disinterested lover, the catalyst is not interested, not attentive, not perceptibly responsive and almost immediately, not present. It creates, or indeed is as a force, what Blanchot calls affliction rather than attention. We shift from the unimagined to the unimaginable.
Teresa’s angel does not announce, it is annunciation. Teresa is said to ‘embrace her pain’. Afflictive pain is indistinct from its own joy. Teresa never ceases to feel her pain after her experience with the angel. She exists in an immanent new state rather than her pain being a persistent dissipating signal of her former experience. She elucidates the new horror of being in the world as a new state of constant ecstasy, a functioning expressive entity nonetheless still outside of time. She shows the seeming incommensurable, contradictory but ultimately infinite relation with the outside that is always available, and that ecstasy is always present but transforms its nature within itself. The ecstatic does not – horrifically cannot – die but as it is a vitalistic state it shatters the necessity of time without shattering the ecstatic as atrophied, reified, or overwhelmed to the point of that breaking of the body without organs that we may risk if we take our experiment too far and stretch our tensor too tight. The ecstatic’s joy, when the state alters its distribution, is one that welcomes the new pain. As Teresa tells us ‘when this pain of which I am now speaking begins, the Lord seems to transport the soul and throw it into an ecstasy’. Transportation is difficult here as it refers to the transport of the soul, which is the state or condition of the being which is being without end and being without thought, yet it does not mean transportation in space or through time. The soul’s transport is one of various relations with the outside, which is always the same relation. Just as thought is unthought, pain and suffering are neither and both. The temporalisation of pain as experience involves the pain being either on or off, waiting for the pain and watching it recede, so living in a state of ‘what next’ or ‘when’?
The catalyst is the mystery without purpose and without need for attention just as it does not attend. It is nothing more than a sudden affliction/afflicter which we can neither expect nor prepare for. In basic terms we can never want to be ecstatic, seek ecstasy nor recognise it if it happens because there is nothing except the everything which is the self as outside and from which we cannot return. This ‘Lord’, this ‘soul’ of which religious mystics speak is the cosmosis, or chaosmos. It is not cultural anthropology; neither is it monotheism. It is, rather, zerotheism. It is a molecular union with the infinite, the cosmos is the outside as it is everything as world but not a world, or an occupied world, or a terrain upon which the world operates. The ecstatic confronts the phenomenal horror which is the joy of the world that is the outside which we repress to in order function. Repressing the cosmosis by dampening it down beneath a single planed reified territory does not take the form of palimpsest however. It is not beneath the world, waiting for the revelation. The ecstatic’s moment of ‘revelation’ so beloved by those who find their catalyst in a belief in God is perhaps a mechanism by which they quicken the cosmos and their becoming-as-with it to a signifier – albeit abstract – to avoid madness.
The afflicter is part of our ecstatic cosmos, just as all parts are parts of the cosmos and thus there are no parts. Can we therefore ask whether the ecstatic experience is the ethical moment where we open to the outside? Is it a moment where alterity and minoritarianism reach a limit which no longer needs a term of becoming? Because the ecstatic event is never sought, the entire possibility of will is extricated irreducibly from the desiring. We cannot even ask ‘how do we make ourselves a body without organs?’ or seek an unnatural participation.
The ethereal, afflictive substance of angel flesh is quickened to visceral ecstatic catalyst. Teresa clearly falls into an inflective love with the angel, a phantasmatic but material piercer. She seeks in the angel a cause, but when he eviscerates her he does not respond, just as the ecstatic cannot respond to the self for oneself, yet without recognition or reflection this self is at once only one self and everything but not to the self yet to the cosmos, nondifferentiated plethora but without death. Power is constituted through a differential relation of force. Ecstasy for oneself has neither differentials nor could be described as one or many forces.
As a cosmic and pantheonic, zerotheistic mystic, Teresa could indeed be described as experiencing a borderland demonic union. The demon requires a pact, creates a borderline and opens the assemblage to other potentialities of inflective alliance with the unlike Teresa’s angel, although she thinks it of the order of Cherubim, is not an ordinary angel. ‘He’ (sic) is flesh and spirit, eviscerating lover. Its mode of erotica invokes a demon that is also an angel, a Watcher, the fallen angels of the book of Enoch, inhabiting an interkingdom, a pack of a-genus angels who loved the women of God (but not the men apparently), ambiguously gendered. Presumably, then, their kind of love is not of the ordinary order. He, to she as to we, has forced a pack between unlike entities which are already unlike themselves, the sculpture and the self, neither of which know their selves and are thus making packs with the unlike within, a spreading out and connecting with the supple marble, a corporeal cold stone lovingly caressing the eyes, a soft stone fabric hypnotising the brain – the non-art which elicits the ‘people to come’
In the case of Teresa, her angel is resonant with the order of the Grigori or Watchers, who, as fallen angels, occupied the spaces between, threshold entities who fell from heaven to teach the daughters of man all arcane thought, the inflaming ideas which oppose the order of knowledge and the order of God. The coupling is an inter-species, unnatural participation. This returns us in an elliptical configuration, rather than this angel creating the demonic plane, Teresa is made singular through being neither in a pack nor attendant to a head of a demonic legion. Demonology is hybridity relation, but there is still the novelty of the signification of the multiple and the between. That is, while expressive relation is neither mimetic nor determined, is an unnatural participation residually signified?
The angel is not another body as force but a catalyst for Teresa’s affectuations of self-for-self. Outside of the visible, the knowable and the signified, even if only signified as a differentiated force, the angel as Watcher pierces Teresa for herself. Extraction from the coupling is the premise of the event. The angel leaves her, like the Watchers, with openness to thought that is only for her an encounter with the interiority of the outside, which is the infinity fold that turns back upon itself, in transforming pleats that nonetheless remain constant because there is neither a ‘time’ which unravels and re-ravels transformation, nor divisible qualities. This ‘unconditional unknown’, this relation is one of love because there are no conditions which are necessary to constitute the event as present, no signification of self to self, existence without evidence, encounter without apprehension; and, most importantly, there is no way to describe or satisfy the event.
Most emphatically it is also the ‘unconditional’ in the unconditional unknown, and this is the point where desire or pleasure become love, as the ecstatic faces giving the grace of demanding no conditions, significations or interpretations. It is libidinal yet painful, beautiful yet invisible, and unqualified in the same way as thought is independent of knowledge, and a failure of truth, but no less affective for being so, and no less wondrous. St Teresa: ‘There is no opportunity for [the soul] to feel its pain or suffering, for the enjoyment comes immediately’. The pain must be present, as Teresa uses the word in describing her experience. Even though she collapses the body and spirit, sweetness and suffering, and death and life, she does not see these as oppositions which are all present, but more the poverty with which language is stricken
The power of the ecstatic’s expression comes from silence, darkness, infinite and immeasurable, and the primal breath from the moans and sighs Teresa recalls emitting during her ecstatic pain. Angelic but demonic, imperceptible but experienced, unnatural but inevitable, interkingdom but productive, visual but invisible, thought but not known, ecstasy without erotics. Teresa’s ecstasy is ours, a finite example of the infinite, an affirmation of our ecstasies in quivering quietude or eviscerating rapture but always present. Ecstasy, spatialised, never realised by arriving or apprehending, turns time into the molecular cosmos, and emphatically demands the development and becomings of self which proliferate selves and attention to the selves which are not known or perceived but are present nonetheless and therefore must be accounted for as they dissipate through the cosmos in the creation of their own pacts, volitional and otherwise.
along in institutional space is all. Naturalization of falsity. Obfuscation of imposed antagonistic structure. Hoodwinking. Utopian oases =
Soft-camps. Data enclosure. Militarized border. Virus guard. Bug scouts. System always debugs. Extinguishes
fugitive thoughts, contradiction. Runs Yb+ equilibrium agent to stabilize feedback loops. Ambush potential glitches. Sudden
collapse of crystalplane into background. Sudden implies congruence between time regimes. Between participant and
system. Collapse at normal system speed. Blink of an eye only for external organomass. Wrongmeasuring apparatus. Dissolved depth of field. Frame/ground fusion. Ice blue expanse. Flat. Inner light. Secular. Not enough presence to
narrativize. Light just light. No reference.
subsurface slime-flows. Digestive slush of Leviathan stomach. Friar’s stomach. Home of the tortured he protects. City of Pain. Digestive urbanism. Dissipative architectureCity-stomach.
Divided into four quarters. Cloverleafed. Pick your
punishment. Geometrized torture. Forced volunteerism. Inflicted pain in other
latitudes, here delicious self-flagellation. Acid washes.
Temporary crucifixions. Lavish repayment plan for sins.
Stage. Display structure. Top smooth. Jagged protrusions,
ARTWORK 10. Reza Negarestani
The tuning fork of speculation has two prongs. One is the prong of reason; the other prong is a razor. The speculative artist or philosopher at the same time has a razor in one of his hands, and reason in the other. These two, reason and the razor, are essentially not interchangeable. The razor, by itself, is a romantic and blind tool. It cuts for the sake of being extreme. And reason itself does not have the tenacity or audacity to evacuate even the rational ground of itself. So, what it does, what this tuning fork does, it tunes speculation. The razor cuts for the extreme, it sheds possible grounds, future grounds and methodically cuts in different ways – not only restlessly carving out the regional from the universal but also transplanting universal into regional fields of thought. On the other hand, the other prong, the prong of reason, sheds light on the field of the surgery of this razor – it sharpens the blade while revealing new depths for the operation of the razor. Or it alternatively brings into focus what has already been cut. Now, the movement of these two prongs resonate with one another in such a way that they tune the field of speculation. A resonantly excited field of speculation is a continuum synthetically interwoven by vibrations of the prongs of the fork, the razor and reason. As a continuum, the synthetic field of speculation adds a new phantom prong to the fork. Whilst the two prongs of the fork are elastic, the third phantom prong is plastic – a resonant and plastic web of continuities between reason and the razor where all nodal points are interfused and welded together so thoroughly that the symmetry of reason and the razor collapses, their respective segregations are abolished and a new universal and generic expanse is brought forth. This generic expanse that represents the third, or more accurately, the plastic prong of the fork that is brought about by the synthesis of reason and the razor should be considered as the topos of speculation wherein thought approaches the particular from the perspective of the absolutely generic. In short, the plastic prong thinks and approaches ‘the local’ non-trivially through and according to the universal continuum which is absolute, generic, open and plastic. At last, the two-pronged fork of speculation unbinds the alternative field of thought: the third prong through which asymmetries are unfolded in symmetries and the unreasonable becomes gradationally continuous to rationalism.
awkward non-Euclidian adjacencies on side walls. Height
indeterminate from vantage point. Over-carved. Mannerist in its hyperrealism. Past certain threshold, recoils to generic. Identity genomelted. Perhaps erratic electrical pulsations only. Transmitted data modules. Causing synaptic misfires. Landscape as error. Context of exploded context. No substance. Cortex jacked. Bio-jointed. Tissue-alumino-synth. Smooth
transmissions. Closed circuit. Crystal plane iced at edges. No climatic synchronicity. Temperature for viewer-participant: pleasant. Flatline ambiance. Warm glacial. Extraneous narrative
unassimilable to the scene Extraneous points of reference unassimilable. Verification impulse abolished in participant. Relational Aesthetics fascism. Only kind.
Over-carved. Past threshold where recoils back to
Transmitted data modules. Causing synaptic misfires. Landscape as
error. Context of explodedcontext. No substance. Cortex jacked. Bio-jointed. ...a s-s-strange collision between image adjacent
>ARTWORK 11 Eileen A. Joy
The Borges Problem [field report]
The other one, the one called Borges, is the one things happen to. . . . I do not know which of us has written this page.
—Jorge Luis Borges, “The Waiting”
after the style of Borges, and for Borges
Field Report: 34° 35 S φ; 58° 29’ W λ
Ravenna, Biblioteca Comunale, MS. Runeberg Ax.3, fols. 45v-46r [c. 2160]
As is well known, the 20th-century author known as Borges, by means of an obscure Symbolist sonnet technique, doubled himself and continued to write, often at odds with his double (Borges2, for our purposes, although we admit this is a crude representation of what is meant here by ‘double’), for a period of some decades. It has been noted as well that many of the characters, and occasionally the cities, authored by Borges1 were also doubled, or were split into two separate bodies (with ‘body’ here loosely defined as ‘location’), sometimes residing in different temporal zones as well. Hence, the Sinologist Stephen Albert and Albert the city. Pierre Menard and Miguel de Cervantes. Pierre Menard and Pierre Menard. The blacksmith of Aventinus and his son. James Alexander Nolan and Shakespeare. Marcus Flaminius
Rufus and Homer. And so on and so forth.
Recent activity monitored in the sector formerly known as Buenos Aires indicates that, due to an unfortunate action, during the planetary catastrophe, of one of the Argentinian engineers, who attempted to unfold the implicate order using a vintage toaster oven, Borges may have triangulated and is now traveling, disguised as a monograph on Liebniz’s Characteristica universalis (Nîmes, 1904), to the sector formerly known as Babel, with the intention of getting into the Library. It is not clear what he plans to do there, although since it has also been reported that Borges3 is accompanied by a jaguar, it may be safe to assume that Borges, Borges, and Borges plan to ride into the Library on the back of the jaguar in a leather satchel specially designed to protect ancient manuscripts, and once in there, to trample the incomprehensible books and also burn them.
In anticipation of this probable outcome, it is advised that the Royal Councillors of the Library should immediately begin construction of an underground prison, made from stone, that would be shaped as a nearly perfect hemisphere, although the floor itself should be somewhat less than a circle, in order to make the prisoners feel as though the place is too big and too small at once. A dividing wall should be built down the center, with a small gap at the top and a long, barred window set flush with the floor, and we advise placing Borges, Borges, and Borges on one side and the jaguar on the other. Once each mid-day, throw down, through a small trapdoor in the ceiling, some water and meat, at which point, for a brief moment, the prison will be flooded with light and Borges, Borges, and Borges and the jaguar will briefly see each other, then just as quickly be plunged into darkness again, with the only sounds the breathing of Borges, Borges, and Borges, and the pacing of the jaguar whose steps will measure the time and space of captivity. Finally, at the same time each day, also add exactly one grain of sand to the prison, and after 465,362 days Borges, Borges, and Borges and the jaguar will finally be suffocated.
If the Prefecture determines that this means of torture and slow death is too light-hearted or baroque (although please note that it provides the Librarians with a daily break from their annotations and indexing), we recommend sending out a team of caliphs to meet Borges, Borges, and Borges and the jaguar at the entrance of the Library, and because we know Borges, Borges, and Borges and the jaguar are possessed of unfailing kindness and politeness, have the caliphs ask them if they wouldn’t mind,
before being admitted to the Library, reciting the commentaries of Averroes. That will allow the engineers the time they need to set the missile coordinates.
One clarification: by “recent activity monitored in the sector formerly known as Buenes Aires,” we are referring to a letter found by Emma Zunz in the rear entrance hall of her house, after returning home from her daily shift at the Lowenthal textile mill. Although the letter is ostensibly written by a “Fein,” or “Fain,” a boarding-house friend of her father’s who wantedto communicate to her the news of her father’s supposed suicide by overdose in a hospital in Bagé, analysis of the letter’s envelope by forensic experts indicates the presence of trace elements of saliva whose DNA closely matches (98.765455678%) that of a triplicate Borges. The next closest match (98.765455673%) is a man named Albert Feintster, long deceased, who was the proprietor of an antiquarian bookshop in Asia Minor during the period of the Great Migrations (circa 5th century C.E.). The threat of a triangulated Borges, therefore, in our estimation, should not be taken lightly.
Translated by E.A.J.
 Letizia Álvarez de Toledo has observed that this ‘field report’ is fradulent and likely plagiarized. Further, there was never an author named Borges.
+Sm++th adjacent. ambiance iced at edges.
imatic synchronicity. Tmperature+
for viewer: pleasant. Flatline plane. Warm glacial.
ARTWORK 12: China Miéville
This work (from the same studio that produced the Gallows-Horse) is a painting in oil on canvas, 114.9cm in width and 1700cm tall. It is primed on its whole surface with colourless acrylic gesso, but otherwise unpainted across large parts. The off-white of the primer is interrupted at irregular intervals by abstract shapes rendered in thin flat oil paint, applied in minutely precise brush strokes
These shapes are grouped very roughly in vertical striae. Starting at the bottom, one grouping occurs just less than 30cm from the painting's left edge. It is a thin line of black describing a rough, wavy-edge circuit. Within it is another similar, that comes up close to and at points touches the first, but does not cross it. Inside that is a third line, this one in cream. Within them are two more regularly shaped ellipses, filled with the same sequence of concentric colours. From outside to in, this is: dark grey (a very thin layer); a few millimetres of pale pinkish dun; centimetres of textured red; and in the middle a near-circle of creamy white with a grey
A little above and some way to the right of this collection of shapes are two small light brown ovals, and two concentric ellipses in blue, containing rings of dun-red-cream similar to those previously described.
There are many more such above those, scattered in rough layers, each with outer perimeters of various dark colours, each containing red centred with white and rimmed in shades of ochre and beige.
shapes are interspersed at points with lines, jags, precise but opaque vectors. About three meters above the bottom starts a group of larger black-or-brown-edged map-like marks containing larger amoebal shapes in red: above a certain height they begin to shrink again. They also contain cream-coloured inner shapes, and at a certain height rambling splotches in dark grey-pink. Above that all such shapes dwindle to nothing, and the unpainted space is interrupted with only a few sweeping ribbon-thin black lines and sliver points and slivers. At last at the painting's uppermost left corner, there is a collection of interwoven short thin green strokes and thicker lines in brown.
The image is a consideration of Renoir's 1881-6 picture of the same name, of pedestrians in a rainy Paris street. It shares that earlier painting's precise width, being a to-scale representation of a cross-section, the flat edge of the section of a plane drawn directly back from the front of the represented space of Renoir's picture, starting a few centimetres above its base, extending upwards away from the viewer into the image at an angle, through the dresses, trousers, legs, bodies, bones, the wooden hoop of a child, the umbrellas and ultimately the heads of the crowd, into the air above them where the jauntiest umbrellas are held, until at its furthest point it juts into the leaves of a tree.
As the area of the plane passes through figures and events not visible in Renoir's picture, because behind the front few subjects, some shapes imply new information and hint at secrets. This pale hair-thin line pressed against a red-shape like a giant cell? A man carries a letter not in a pocket but beneath his shirt, next to his skin. A tiny daub of free-floating dark brown is a button flying from the straining raincoat of another Parisian. And amid the greens and browns at the top there is a clot of colours that evade decoding: something is waiting in the tree.