META-NOMAD

TSPDT8

The Threepenny Opera (1931) is nothing particularly special, in fact many of these films ranked higher than 500 in terms of merit I have a feeling were picked due to some extremely specific consideration, and many film reviewers are against qualifying a contemporary film as a great until the consensus has been agreed, well I say ‘fuck that’ to be quite honest, there’s little in me that can accept that these films are anything but dry, tiresome and archaic visions of a dead-time, lusted over by those too far into a thematic rabbit-hole, if it cannot hold my attention in its remastered state, then by christ I am in awe of those who can drag anything but a sentence or 2 from these dated perspectives. Which brings to Limite (1931) which is often called Brazil’s greatest film. Well shit Brazil, if this is your greatest I hope I don’t have to see anything even close to your worst. Don’t get me wrong, it was beautifully shot and had some interesting juxtapositions in multiple shots and the narratives were told in a somewhat original way, but this is truly one for the hardcore film nut, one who wishes to analyse each frame and produce a lucid post-modern text in the process. In this day and age it’s quite something to admit that the collectively-agreed-upon ‘classic’ is actually quite dull, and you don’t really care for it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luis Bunuel’s Land Without Bread (1932) begins as a melancholy look at a small, isolated town. Who due to their location have hardships with food, death, education and farming etc.. It’s trajectory quickly becomes more sombre, more lucid, towards what it means to live in isolation, the strange traditions, the thoughts of death and loss, the acceptance of both.

And then I was like ‘Finally…Freaks!’ and…I was let down. Perhaps a testament to modern shock, the destruction of taboo and general contemporary decadence and degeneracy, but Tod Browning’s Freaks (1931) neither shocked me, disturbed me or even really woke me up. There’s some deformed and generally admirable people whom are part of a carnival, there’s a bit of plot lying around somewhere but hell, it’s quite transparent someone had the foresight to gain a career off the backs of genetic rarity, watch it for a snapshot of peculiarity at best.

Howard Hawks Scarface (1932), a slow burner, a slow starter and a slow mover, a technique in cahoots with its characters, all of whom in their arrogance and masculine confidence own everything in a certain manner. The initial striking a match off a policeman’s badge acts as a short metaphor of 30’s gangster power, the utilization of the bureacratic and controlled as a means for further mob-expansion, though of course this expansion continued long into the 70’s.

An interesting point to make here however is that this film from 1932 does in fact condemn both the gangsters for their illegal and mob behaviour, as well as condemning the police for doing little about the menace. Cinema lacks the audacity – potentially in the face or current identity politics – to cast a finger upon any group, they fear and skulk away from any real potential for confrontation, except wherein that confrontation is one being dragged by ever-leftward swimming Cthulhu, that is, Hollywood simply stands with the majority now. Which in Hawk’s day would be bending to the gangster’s whim even though they didn’t like them, they stood up for what it was they wanted to say, as opposed to helping pronounce that of the loudest whiner.

I have to admit something once more in relation to these musings on film, these much older films, at least from what I’ve seen prior to 1950 have a certain incoherence, the camera works, the film is displayed, the actors are speaking and the sets are standing, but all seems in the singular, yet to truly connect into a unified whole, when one focuses on one single point in these films, the rest loses any intensity, no flow or flux, no rhythm or beat, they jolt and bang along with stops and starts, parts and bits, mashed together into spikingly-dynamic assemblages of cinema, often jolting to the (poisoned) modern mind seeking linearity and ease in all.

Just a short one whilst I get things back ticking along here.

Towards a Serresean Patchwork

Introduction


In this essay I plan to analyse that which shall be called the ‘Serresean patchwork’, a spacio-temporal multiplicity which also acts as global topology, akin to a knitted patchwork quilt pertaining to the work of Michel Serres. Utilizing texts from both Michel Serres and Gilles Deleuze & Felix Guattari, all of whom have conceptualized the idea of ‘patchwork’ within their work. Alongside utilizing Lucretian atomism as the materialist philosophy underpinning the work of the aforementioned theorists. I shall begin by briefly expanding on Michel Serres’ conception of time as a ‘crumpled handkerchief’, for this temporal reading is both relevant at a foundational level and acts as the cause for the contemporary Lucretian process. Following this I plan to appropriate this reading of time onto the materialist framework of Lucretian atomism, extrapolating on the Lucretian process of material becoming itself, from laminar flow to vortex. I then plan to move the Lucretian process from its traditional temporal/abstract root to physical space via assimilation of the process itself onto the ‘smooth and striated space’ of Deleuze & Guattari, allowing each abstract atomist process to be assimilated onto a material movement or allotment between smooth and striated space. Finally I intend to explain how this atomic spacio-temporal triptych of crumpled time, Lucretian atomism and Deleuzoguattarian space allows for a clearer vision of a ’Serresean patchwork’. A patchwork which inherently utilizes each section of this essay as a means for its own structural and topological becoming. Each theoretical underpinning contributing to various factors in relation to the patchwork’s becoming, movement, purpose and realization.

 

Serresean-Time and Lucretian Atomism


I shall begin from the bottom and work my way upwards, axis here being factually useless, but metaphorically useful. The foundation is time itself. In this case Serresean-time. Take the temporal plane and imagine it appropriated onto a handkerchief (Serres, M. Latour, B, 1998: p60). One could, for ease of familiarity, draw a grid, or line onto the handkerchief, plotting points equidistant along the line as a means to track days, weeks or years. Now imagine one is to crumple this handkerchief, one would find points from the line’s ‘past’ meet points of the line’s ‘now’ or ‘future’. Not only does this conception of time reveal the falsity that is temporal linearity – for ancient ideas are still present, as I will show it also conveys the nonlinear dynamics of Serres.

In the act of crumpling, a rigid linear system is transformed into that which can now touch, meet and share data with parts of the ‘system’ further than one ‘step’ backwards or forwards. Of course, in the case of the handkerchief in relation to time, there is no physical sharing going on, there is no literal material time-travel. The crumpling of the handkerchief is a Deleuzian moment of historic-cultural warping, wherein traditional linearity is found archaic, and in specific reference to Serres’ utilization of such a temporal conception, we find that which we now call fluid systems or atomic physics has always been upon the handkerchief in another form, under another name, previously Atomism, or more specifically Lucretian Atomism. Lucretius arrives from the past riding a Serresean handkerchief crumple, allowing the nonlinear dynamics of the ancients to infect the future. And so from this act of crumpling one understands that “There is nothing new under the sun.” (Serres, M. Latour, B, 1998: p93) only retro-temporal discoveries.

This nonlinear temporality is with or under Serres at all times and as this essay deals directly with Atomism and flat planes intended for temporal crumpling, one needed to expand upon this re-conceptualizing of time before moving forward. For if at a foundational level there can be some form of temporal transition, then movement, line, becoming and space are all inherently altered. Keep the potential for crumpling at the forefront at all times, even the dullest of historical islands may find new life via a crumple transition.

There is one specific philo-scientific crumple I wish to discuss in-depth, the aforementioned Atomism, specifically of the variety shared by both Serres and Deleuze & Guattari, Lucretian Atomism. An ancient physics thought and thus made redundant by contemporary science and henceforth resurrected in time via new found evidence and interest within the area of nonlinear dynamics; or, compressed, the ‘ancient’ physics of Lucretius met with the ‘now’ during a temporal crumpling. In either case, the idea pertaining to the form of both Lucretian Atomism and atomic physics remains. A Deleuzian moment wherein the ideas of the ‘future’ were already within the culture of the future, waiting for their chance for materialist assimilation, waiting for two distant points on the handkerchief to meet. The specifics of Lucretian Atomism in its ‘original’ state are relatively simple, a few interconnecting parts and intensities creating a process culminating in compound realities. Yet, this process of Lucretian Atomism in relation to that which I wish to write about – the Serresean patchwork arising from Deleuzoguattarian space – is a little more intricate, as such, the following section is pure Atomist extrapolation as a means for latter clarification. From laminar flow through to vortex, the Lucretian process arrives.

For Lucretius everything flows, “Everything begins with atoms falling through the void.”(Webb, D. William, R., 2018: p4). The flow of these atoms in the void is such that each is parallel to the next, a series of symmetrical atoms falling through an infinite space, forever. This parallel atomic descent is called ‘laminar flow’. The underlying atomic reality prior to the world – this is made clear later – the recurrent element from which difference equals/becomes actuality. The question is, how does change appear within the laminar flow?

My first point of interest is the common comprehension and perception of the laminar flow, attesting to a stereotypical form of sequential order, yet this order, wherein each atoms falls to zero, this order of ‘the same’ is thus of “non-being” (Serres, 2018: p134) and acts as the disordered, allocated and striated plane from which can arise – at the very least – a possibility of the world (Ibid, p133). The growth of something from the void is thus ordered, the void itself is disorder. Yet for there to be a world something needs to come from the ‘non-being’ of the laminar flow, and thus there needs to be some form of difference or division within the sequential atomic parallel, and therefore a beginning of such a form of division. Enter the clinamen, the minimum angle of declination against the laminar flow (Ibid, p25), the diagonal within and from the parallel atomic sequence and the spontaneous breaker of symmetry (Serres, 2006:p15). The clinamen acts as the primary agent of division, underpinning the possibility of a patchwork – as I will show – for the clinamen is “transformation in general” (Serres, 2018: p114). Acting as the ur-transformer, the clinamen is that which quasi-instantaneously begins a chemical reaction, and is that which over the course of a thousand years leads to erosion of a coastline.

The clinamen is only the initial part of the multi-stage process which ends in the formation of things (Ibid, p50). Alongside acting as ur-divider, the clinamen is “the smallest imaginable condition for the original formation of turbulence” (Ibid, p24). The pre-condition of turbulence as it were. To understand turbulence one must return to the laminar flow as seen as a river or stream. A river descending wherein both its periphery and centre follow the same path, that is until a peripheral trembling begins, or in the words of Lucretius “trementia flutant”, ‘trembling thy undulate’ (Ibid, p61). And it is this ‘trembling’ which is seen by Serres as turbulence, an intense halt within the rivers’ flow, stability within the ever-descending instability of the stream (Ibid, p61). Turbulence, a point on Serres’ handkerchief begins to form, begins to darken, begins to stabilise in its ability as temporal transmitter…a historic-cultural point begins, for “time is the fluctuation of turbulences” (Ibid, p115).

To return to turbulence as it is atomically. The wish of Atomism and physics in general is to understand how order comes from disorder, how, to utilize the Serresean tongue, a single sublime form may arise from the general background of noise or static (Serres, 2008: p51-55). The transition from the disorder of the laminar’s atomic chaos to the order of formed things begins with turbulence; it is a transition both acting as turbulence and made possible by turbulence. (Serres, 2018: p47). The clinamen declines into the flow causing an inception of turbulence (Ibid, p25), which in turn “secures the transition” (Ibid, p47) and a point in the flow begins to tremble. From this ‘trementia’ “it preserves the forms” (Ibid, p61). Against the ever flowing laminar decline, against atomic chaos, turbulence acts as a temporary island of stability, a form of transition in the river’s flow, a form amongst a multitude of others. Not sequential, systematic nor symmetrical in their becoming, only spontaneous, “appearing stochastically” (Ibid, p25). Each separate turbulence born via its own repulsion of another, “born from deviation” (Ibid, p114).

Random scattered turbulent stabilities within the flow form a pseudo-coherent system when viewed from a single turbulence’s birth in relation to another’s fall, or when viewed from ‘first’ to ‘last’ to arrive across the tempo-spacial length of a human life. As such they’re often referred to as ‘history’, which in the intelligent materialism of Serres acts as nothing but the stochastic collection of intense impermanent spacio-temporal unstable-stabilities (Lezra, J. (ed.). Blake, L. (ed.), 2016: p28). As with the clinamen, these stabilities stolen from the process as a whole become disconnected, cogs without reception, if only one could maintain each element atop one another simultaneously, an un-halting all-at-once proclamation is the only route to traditional articulation of the Serresean multiplicity.

Yet all of the process thus far has been nothing but transition. Turbulence as transition to that which is the ‘stage’ able to form things (Serres, 2018:p50), to the tourbillon or vortex (Ibid, p49). To think of a ‘children’s top’, spinning top or rhombus (Ibid, p50), for that is the image of the vortex: “unstable and stable, is fluctuating and in equilibrium, is order and disorder at once.” (Ibid, p50) the most stable of instabilities momentarily printed onto the handkerchief of time, for the vortex is “the formation of things” (Ibid, p50) and is thus that which we materially interact with. Born from a hierarchic process of instability: laminar, clinamen, turbulence, vortex, each more stable that the last, yet all temporally mortal and destined once again to deteriorate to zero (Ibid, p41). Each further stage a greater layer of stability atop the laminar flow, concluding in the tangible vortex sitting in the world, a conjoiner of atoms, a stable-unstable safe haven from the cosmic atomic horror of Atomism. “Rotating, translating, falling, leaning and swaying.” (Ibid, p49), the spinning top of the Lucretian atomist idea itself has remained a stable-instability for thousands of years, its velocity slowly dwindling until the 17th century, wherein the spinning top traversed a crumple in the handkerchief of time, allowing it to superimpose its image upon the minds of Galilei, Descartes and Gassendi, wherein the vortex was rejuvenated.

This extrapolation of Serres’ reading of Lucretius will, for now, seem lonesome and without relation to anything tangible. Yet this preliminary framework is necessary for a full understanding of that which is to be undertaken later. The Atomism of Lucretius and the Serresean crumpling of time spills, connects and overflows into much, if not all of the patchwork-structure to come.

 

Deleuzoguattarian Space in Relation to Lucretius


With Lucretian Atomism established as Serres’ atomically recurrent reality (Lezra, J. (ed.). Blake, L. (ed.), 2016: p28), the question remains as to what arises from the turbulent birth, what is it in actuality the Lucretian process forms as its conclusion? Wherein does one find the formed thing which is brought forth by the vortex? Following the process through from laminar flow to vortex I intend to answer the question – along with the questions above – what of the ‘space’ unto which the vortex forms its things? For initial answers to these questions I turn to Deleuze and Guattari’s A Thousand Plateaus, for both Serres and Deleuze & Guattari both take their philosophical trajectory – in part – from the writings of Lucretius, especially in relation to where space and flow are concerned. And so in terms of utilizing a theoretical reading of space which can be appropriated onto the later patchwork for need of physical becoming, I look to ‘the smooth and the striated’.

Deleuzoguattarian space of the duality, or more aptly plurality ‘smooth and striated’ is much akin to the Lucretian duality of matter and void, one immediately finds that a simple opposition between two parts leads to a complex difference in relation to wherein each coincides, that is, the simple opposition of two camps brings forth a multiplicity of relations. The conceptual pair move quickly away from geometrical ideas of space in relation to material, borders and enclosures and towards a “complex mixture between nomadic forces and sedentary captures” (Lysen, F. Pisters, P., 2012), these Deleuzoguattarian spaces are less – if at all – spaces of tradition, but spaces within which events and movements can happen and the type, intensity and relation of events and movements to the space is key in determining the space’s own type of either ‘smooth’ or ‘striated’.

As I have stated smooth and striated space “exist only in mixture: smooth space is constantly being translated, transversed into a striated space; striated space is constantly being reversed, returned to a smooth space.” (Deleuze, G. Guattari, F, 2016: p552) and so a definition of one is reliant upon the other, the task of description itself an intertwined nonlinearity. However, I shall begin with the smooth alone, until mixture is mandatory for articulation. “Smooth does not mean homogeneous, quite the contrary: it is amorphous, non-formal space prefiguring op-art” (Ibid,  p554). Smooth space is of events and haecceities (Ibid, p557), directions rather than metrics or dimensions (Ibid, p 556). Striated space on the other hand, is a space in which empires occur (Ibid, p575), a momentary stability much akin to turbulence, for on either side of the striated is the smooth, one side waiting to once again produce striation, the other the smoothness striation becomes; the perpetual transition of one into the other, yet only striation allows a compound reality to occur.

A simple metaphor allows greater clarity in understanding the notions of smooth and striated space in relation to the Lucretian process, the metaphor of the farmer and the nomad (Ibid, p559). The farm and the farmer exist in a closed off, allocated striated space. A space which is a line or shape between points, a stability within chaos (Ibid, p559), each seed a clinamen of its own. The nomad on the other hand is entirely unallocated in its existence, a point between lines, over boundaries, allowing the plot & grid, the natural and the cosmos to pull him to and fro. “The respective role of point, line and space” (Ibid, p560) matters not when the point in question acts upon the whim of intensities, allowing wind – as an example – to control the point’s direction.

However, both spaces in relation to the Lucretian process reveal the strange peculiarities of both the smooth and the striated. For even though Serres attests that turbulence brings order from disorder, with said disorder being the laminar flow itself, the laminar flow is in fact a space of striation, which is a space of order and allotment. For the symmetrical atomic repetitive space has been succinctly allocated and allotted. The homogeneity of the laminar flow attests to the fact that the flow itself is the tightest striation of all – atomically regular intersections make it pure limit-form (Ibid, p566) – this is why Serres places much emphasis on the relation between the clinamen and freedom. Not only is the clinamen an escape from a limit, but it is the birth of all possibility after the recurrent atomic cage. “- the clinamen appears as freedom because it is precisely this turbulence that resists forced flow” (Serres, 2018: p107) the clinamen not just as a chaotic break for the sake of symmetrical-breaking, but the angle deviates in the direction of a spontaneous freedom, it begins the journey “From pure to applied” (Serres, 2006: p15).

The striated fabric exists in a tight, interwoven manner, a fabric allocated and allotted to become a place for the formation of things within axis (Deleuze, G. Guattari, F, 2016: p552), a place of archetypal, physical progress. For “-progress is made by and in striated space, but all becoming occurs in smooth space” (Ibid, p564). So, perhaps we must say that all progress is made within and from the vortex, but all becoming occurs between the clinamen and turbulence – order from chaos, not the reverse as it seems at first glance. The transition of turbulence is the transition of smooth to striated. For one begins with the pure cosmic limit-form (Ibid, p566) of the laminar flow, tight, recurrent striation allocated between successive points, descending eternally. The clinamen comes forth, an atomically smooth nomad deviating across the laminar’s striated totalitarian farmland, no longer allowing itself to be hemmed in, it takes up the angle of direction and in its revolutionary act literally draws smooth space upon the direction taken (Ibid, p433).

Acting as the “shorthand for nonlinear dynamics” (Abbas, N. (ed.)., 2008: p51) the clinamen is that which begins – from its nomadic drawing of smooth space/declination – the process of interweaving, fragmenting, tearing and axis producing whilst simultaneously allowing the growth of temporary points of turbulence atop the Serresean handkerchief. With its inherent attribute of bifurcation and division it acts as the messenger of smooth space, “that smooth space that changes in nature when it divides” (Deleuze, G. Guattari, F, 2016: p 563), the clinamen as division’s pre-condition and its intensification of turbulence-becoming-vortex; the clinamen as the messenger of temporal and spacial fragmentation and freedom. And yet this atomic nomad is but the pre-condition for another authoritarian allocation. For the clinamen intensifies into turbulence and the transition from smooth to striated begins, the turbulence-becoming-spinning-top intensifies further into a vortex for a final allocation of vortex-striated. With the vortex or space of striation becoming a “central perspective” (Ibid, p574) upon the global and temporal topology to come.

Beneath both Serres and Deleuze and Guattari is De rerum natura, is an ever-flowing, ever-intersecting and interweaving postulation of freedom, not just within the reductive confines of man, but at the atomic level. A nonlinear uncertain world, making and not-making decisions and from such a text, from such a conceptualization and conclusion comes the possibility of an interwoven reality. Separate atomic retirements existing away from the void within a topological patchwork of their own creation.

 

Towards a Serresean Patchwork


My direction for a Serresean patchwork takes its trajectory primarily from the preface of Serres’ The Troubadour of Knowledge and as such, this is where I shall begin and return to for need of topological clarity. We begin with an emperor on stage, ridiculed by the crowd for his clothing, “A motley composite made of pieces, of rage, of scraps of every size. In a thousand forms and different colours, of varying ages, from different sources, badly basted, inharmoniously juxtaposed, with no attention paid to proximity, mended according to circumstance, according to need, accident and contingency – does it show a kind of world map.” (Serres, 2006: piii), in short the emperor is “enveloped in a world map of badly bracketed multiplicities” (Ibid, pii) It is this ‘world map’, this topological ‘mosaic’ (Ibid, p155) I wish to explore, not the epistemological connection to the emperor, nor the dry satire of power, no, one intends to assess the becoming of the enveloping patchwork. For the plurality of a mosaic is the proposition of a puzzle (Ibid, p154), a puzzle to be worked out away from archaic monism and centrality. The puzzle itself is of the Serresean vein and thus becomes within and from the Lucretian process. The Emperor’s patchwork a world map and allegory of spacio-temporal difference, and so, I view the potentiality for a triple layered actuality: Lucretian Atomism, Deleuzoguattarian space and Serresean topology flow into one another as a means for the construction of a topology.

We begin once again by assessing the foundation, the potentially flat plane that is the emperor’s “map-cum-greatcoat” (Ibid, pxiv) – herein abbreviated as ‘greatcoat’. A temporal and spacial plane, much akin to Serres’ handkerchief, the coat folds, crumples, rips, tears and bundles together, a metaphorical spacio-temporal and cultural map of ragged, patched history crumpling up, for the emperor states “my time has sewn them, then melded them together, tattered rags, certainly, but rags become my very flesh” (Ibid, p147). Prior to this ‘melding’ however we have a composite, the melded coat is of personal attribution, each melded composite is of and for a single being, yet what of the composite, the coat prior to the ‘incandescent assimilation’ (Ibid, pxviii) into unification, what is the nature of the non-unified composite? The patchwork material without owner? And yet to focus on the singular perception of the patchwork unified/melded, one finds “the sum of these individually experienced perceptions creates a global topology that has no common language because it is composed entirely of subjectively gleaned information” (Lee, C, T., 2014: p195-196) and so even though ‘one’ has a sum experience, the underlying dynamic is still at question. The patchwork exists with or without an owner, the global topology of rags and tatters continues to assimilate and flow whether or not a unity of personal relations is found.

A construction mirroring the Lucretian process must too begin with a laminar flow, a foundational layer, the greatcoat’s own fabric. A fabric which “intertwines in this way: over, under” (Serres, 2006: p20) akin to the Deleuzoguattarian intertwining of the horizontal and vertical. The fabric-qua-laminar-flow is the metaphorical embodiment of sequential limit-form, a greatcoat of striation allocated as world-space for the progress of the Lucretian process. Yet the greatcoat exists in a paradox. For acting as laminar flow the greatcoat ceases to materially exist if it is without stray threads, rags, tatters or patches, without the becoming of atomic-difference within its striated-eternal-sewing, the greatcoat simply remains a parallel void of non-being and thus materially ceases. It is not until a nomadic thread divides the fabric that a world may possibly be born. That a single patch may arise from its cloth.

To move from the laminar layer of fabric to the singular parts of the greatcoat: A rag, a tatter, a scrap or more aptly, a patch; “local patches activated or created by contact and brought together into an ocellated fragment” occupying volume and expanding into the global (Serres, 2017: p140). A patch as the shadow of a fingerprint within a topology, within a bouquet, a patch as a single momentary turbulence pulled inwards towards other fragments, to form an un-analysable mingle (Ibid, p172). The singular patch as a state of momentary turbulence entering into an “intelligent materialism” which “considers the world a network of primordial elements in communication” (Abbas, N. (ed.). 2008: p65). The stochastic repulsion of turbulences and thus patches (Serres, 2018: p114) creates in its wake an immanent network, a birthing of difference, actualized into the formation of multiple patches (or a patchwork), each their own mixture of smooth and striated within a vortex-qua-striation, a space trembling vortically until its declination back to zero.

These singular patches, these “Knotted points” in the fabric (Ibid, p150), working at the intersection of many other patches (Serres, 2006: pxvii) become the greatcoat-qua-patchwork. A temporally-crumpling plane, a “combinatory topology in the literal sense” (Serres, 2018: p122) and a cybernetic combination of chemistry and contemporary physics (Ibid, p147), alongside being “-the birth of things – the fundamental mode of existence of all things”(Ibid, p122) and so “the angle of the atom” i.e. the clinamen, is not just ‘the freedom of the subject’ (Ibid, p27) as Serres states, but truly is freedom in the purest sense, away from political, geographical and metaphysical tyranny. As I previously made clear, the Lucretian process is in part synonymous with the transition of smooth to striated space and as such allows for the becoming of a space wherein cities or empires may occur (Deleuze, G. Guattari, F, 2016: p575). The greatcoat-qua-laminar as world map, is atomically indebted to the Lucretian process and thus assimilates the same process onto its own periphery, therefore, to return to the clinamen, we find our single revolutionary atom has transformed into the physical embodiment of a patchwork-becoming; a clinamen-qua-nomad cuts through longitude and latitude, slicing the grid of striation, following the process through, until, atop the greatcoats’ periphery we find a vortex-becoming-city, the birth of a patch. This is how the atomic language allows us to become master. (Serres, 2006: p48)

Not a master of the centre, for a universal centre only exists for a single emperor – hence the never ceasing laughter of the public (Ibid, pxv)-, but the master of a patch or single centre, or unified composite of patches, for “you need a cross to locate the a centre” (Ibid, p18) and as such any idea of subjective centrality implies a composite of interlacing patches. Not a point on a line, nor a line between points (Deleuze, G. Guattari, F, 2016: p 559) but a mixture of both systems, wherein the former point on a line is a nomad-qua-clinamen bifurcating the stable line-qua-relation of the latter line between points, the points of which are vortex-qua-striation, a quasi-chaotic process which gives birth to “a topology of interlacings, a hydrology of what flows through the network” (Serres, 2018: p72) And so each crossing, – not perpendicular, but sporadic –  each line between points is additional communication within the global topology of subjective relations. And so “the world is only laminar flux” (Ibid, p79) the perpetual order from atomic disorder, birthing into lines between points, birthing into smooth spaces from the clinamen, the nomadic clinamen intensifying/drawing smooth space from the greatcoats’ laminar fabric and following the process forward into further spaces of striation, striated vortexes, which are allocated patches of striation upon the world and as such potential empires (Deleuze, G. Guattari, F, 2016: p 575). Each of which flows in relation to that which it previously deviated from, a topology. A topology atop the temporal handkerchief, each patch a historic-cultural stability with the potential for the metaphorical warp, the temporal superimposing. The greatcoat temporally crumpled, ripped and torn, nomadically sliced, divided and transformed, approximately striated, allocated and allotted, topologically connected, related and interwoven. Or put very simply “The world is a multiplicity of flows inclined in relation to others” (Serres, 2018: p79).

One now views the greatcoat and finds it true that “existence is topological rather than geometrical” (Herzogenrath, B. (ed.). 2012: p44). The greatcoat-qua-world-map is a cybernetic wonder, a topological network and a geographical patchwork. All a constant mixture, patches as deviation from equilibrium on their rise from zero into stable vortexes – striated compound spaces -, towards their decline and deterioration back to zero. “Knotted points occur” in the fabric (Serres, 2018: p150) and are swiftly assimilated back into the laminar flow – the dull embroidery-, a patch is a moment, it is an event within the grand greatcoat and is prey to the realities of physics and so many cease simultaneously as others may begin. The patches stagnating and disappearing when moved to the singular melded patchwork, the owned unification, but when moved towards a global topology however, rags and patches grow and die, become and decline in relation to the Lucretian process. In accordance with an intelligent nonlinear materialism.

 

Nonsecular or: Perturbed Over Time


You feel the greatcoat’s fabric against your skin; the stagnated and complacent patches feel all too familiar, it is unification a priori. No one speaks of the emperor’s old clothes, incandescent and utterly complacent in their assimilation, each rag, tatter and patch heralding a part accepted. Why bother with the stage if the purpose of your theatrics is to boast a truth, your own truth. A voice from the back calls out Cast your coat to the floor!” A patchwork wound so tight as to suffocate, each part atomically chained to the next. You cast it into the global, the threads loosen and one can finally breathe. You shed your coat and it crumples onto the floor. You walk to the back of the theatre and take up a spare seat. Surrounded by a thousand languages, bereft of commonality. Amongst the cackling of the audience you ponder what’s so funny, a man to your right taps you on the shoulder, directing your attention to the stage. Your vision surveys the room. Everyone’s naked, their heads rocking in hysterics. You follow their line of sight to atop the staging. At first you see your old greatcoat, a greying heap slumped onto the boards. Minutes pass and you relax into the crowd. Your greatcoat livens, multiple gradients of colour wash across each patch. Your grin begins to widen. Threads begin to dive and fray, dance and duck. The greatcoat leaps from the floor, a few feet into the air, halting momentarily before finally exploding into a web of patches and tatters! Growing and shrinking, thickening and curling they dance along their threads of relation, you begin to chuckle. Until finally, materializing from the void of the stage, appearing from nowhere come a thousand separate greatcoats each retaining the singular for a mere moment before erupting into the dynamic physicality of multiplicity, a world of flows before you, a play of interweaving. You relax into the gales of laughter as the final remnants of your old greatcoat naturalize into the frenzy.

 

Conclusion


In conclusion one finds that not only is the Lucretian process relevant to the formation of a Serresean patchwork, but it is in fact integral to its structure, to the structure of global topological construction.  From the process one understands the clinamen-qua-nomad as that which acts as the pre-condition of the world. The clinamen which in relation to Deleuzoguattarian space acts too as the physical atomic embodiment of freedom against the sequential limit-form of striation. Striation-qua-laminar-flow in its universal allocation as parallel-void becomes the chaotic-nothingness of zero wherein everything can divide from. Division which in its spatially smooth/turbulent transition simultaneously draws smooth space and circuitry of relation; a stochastic bifurcation into turbulent deviation and onwards into topological communication. This process finds its physical conclusion atop Serres metaphoric patchwork-qua-world robes. The global periphery as laminar-fabric transforming via the division of a nomadic-thread which then incepts a turbulence, a knot-becoming-vortex, continuing into an unstable-stable vortical movement of multiple axis concluding in the formation of things, adhering to an intelligent materialism. Upon analysing the ‘Serresean patchwork’ one finds a process of multiplicity which in accordance with its underlying Lucretian flow is only analysable in its separate parts, but only tangible, realized and  sublime in its whole. That is, the Lucretian vortex must be still spinning, for observing this patchwork changes the outcome.

 

Bibliography


Serres, M (2018) The Birth of Physics. Trans. Webb, D. Ross, W., New York, Rowland & Littlefield

Serres, M (2006) The Troubadour of Knowledge. Trans. Glaser, S.F. Paulson, W. U.S.A, University of Michigan Press

Serres, M (2007) The Parasite. Trans. Schehr, R.L. Minnesota, University of Minnesota Press.

Serres, M (2017) The Five Senses. Trans. Sankey, M. Cowley, P. London, Bloomsbury Publishing

Serres, M (2011) The Natural Contract. Trans. MacArthur, E. Paulson, W. U.S.A, University of Michigan Press

Deleuze, G. Guattari, F (2016) A Thousand Plateaus. Trans. Massumi, B. London, Bloomsbury Publishing

Lezra, J. (ed.). Blake, L. (ed.) (2016) Lucretius and Modernity. UK, Palgrave Macmillan

Abbas, N. (ed.). (2008) Mapping Michel Serres. U.S.A, University of Michigan Press

Herzogenrath, B. (ed.). (2012) Time and History in Deleuze and Serres. London, Continuum International Publishing Group

Serres, M. Latour, B. (1998) Conversations on Science, Culture and Time. U.S.A, University of Michigan Press

Lee, C, T. (2014) Haptic Experience in the Writings of Georges Bataille, Maurice Blanchot and Michel Serres. Germany, Peter Lang.

An Atomist Reading of Accelerationism: The Machinic Clinamen

We begin here with Lucretius, the Roman poet and philosopher, or more aptly poet-philosopher. A thinker whose work within physics, especially his Atomism can be described as Deleuzian, and thus you should know about it, as it’s in and of and with the future already. So here we have it –

– a laminar flow. A series or parallel lines running next to each other, put very simply, let’s make it clearer for you –

– now the lines or ‘the flow’ are/is heading downwards. This laminar flow, or laminar plane consists of a series of atomic threads or lines, each parallel to the next and entirely stable within the void, heading downwards on an/the ‘extreme descent’ eternally – all thanks to the law of the optimal path – now, think of this laminar plane as time, or as a temporal laminar plane and the resulting possible/potential shifts of the atomic threads as possible/potential alterations to the physical world…due to the fact time has been altered.

Now, let’s begin the exciting bit. What is called ‘the swerve’ or more academically the ‘clinamen‘:

When atoms move straight down through the void by their own weight, they deflect a bit in space at a quite uncertain time and in uncertain places, just enough that you could say that their motion has changed. But if they were not in the habit of swerving, they would all fall straight down through the depths of the void, like drops of rain, and no collision would occur, nor would any blow be produced among the atoms. In that case, nature would never have produced anything. – Lucretius, De rerum natura

So, that is, one of those atomic threads within the laminar flow is changed, altered, swerved etc. it is no longer parallel or in harmony or eternal with the rest of the threads, and as such a change within history has been made. One could think of the laminar flow as an extremely simplistic cybernetic circuit for the entirety of human history if they liked, it wouldn’t matter much, for an Accelerationist reading will bring our demise, so let’s begin.

Acceleration(ism) enters. And due to the very nature of the laminar flow the only way in which something can alter the flow itself is to enter it diagonally, for the flow is vertical. This diagonal movement made by Accelerationism – remember Accelerationism is synonymous with Capitalismism – is a temporal movement, a movement in time, and as this movement is not simply in-keeping with the eternal Sisyphean drudgery of those other parallel atomic threads one can begin to analyse its – this new diagonal line’s – end, for that which is changing the course of such eternal descending bliss must have way of conclusion or end. So one should assess Accelerationism’s approach to obstacles.

Well, what are Accelerationism’s obstacles? Literally that which could potentially hinder its self-fulfillment, which, due to its very nature is very, very few things. How do we assess its approach? Well we give an assessment of its/our current access, presence, absence, strength, weakness and availability of that which could either constrain or bolster its direction towards its end goal. Or more succinctly:

“How well is capital doing?”

“Help me! They’ve commodified my every thought!”

It’s doing well. So well in fact that it routinely surprises even the most Bear Grylls-esque Outside-investigators as to its methods of temporal self-fulfilment. Rarely do such temporal end goals exist in such clear cut ways, rarely is there such finality to a temporal movement. That’s because it’s not just one thread being pulled.

The diagonal alteration of the laminar flow by Accelerationism, or, the machinic-clinamen, is itself capital. Capital which is going to alter or ‘swerve’ each and every singular atomic flow it needs to as a means for its own machinically desired end. That is capital swerves the laminar plane hyper-diagonally into the temporal circuitry of a cybernetic market process which utilizes the entirety of ‘history’ (meaningless in context to the plane) and agency (also meaningless) as a means for its own self-fulfillment, its own immortality…its own becoming.

Welcome, one and all to a future already designed, the culmination of multiple perfectly machnically-swerved atomic threads that have always-already instigated their own birth. To say you’re a meat-puppet, that’s the understatement of eternity.

 

TL;DR: Capitalism(ism) isn’t just reaching into the future & past to control its own becoming, but is in fact taking control of the very physics of being as a means for its own becoming.

Extrapolating on the Accelerationist Ritual

The Accelerationist (Acc) ritual is as follows: “Accelerate the process.” It’s best repeated at the end of a long, didactic blog post which alludes to multiple niche sources. The ritual in its usual form comes from Deleuze & Guattari’s Anti-Oedipus, and is to be found at the end of a section titled ‘The Civilized Capitalist Machine’, which along with the earlier sections on ‘The Desiring-Machines’ are all must reads for anyone interested in Acc and the Acc-sphere. The ritual itself is often taken for granted. For we have all read vast amounts about ‘acceleration’ now, and so the ritual seems self-explanatory, yet it this so? Has not the latter part of the ritual, ‘the process’ been left alone, if not mistaken for acceleration itself. The ritual is to be found like so:

“Or might it be to go in the opposite direction? To go still further, that is, in the movement of the market, of decoding and deterritorialization? For perhaps the flows are not yet deterritorialized enough, not decoded enough, from the viewpoint of a theory and a practice of a highly schizophrenic character. Not to withdraw from the process, but to go further, to “accelerate the process,” as Nietzsche put it: in this matter, the truth is that we haven’t seend anything yet..” (p276, Anti-Oedipus)

In relation to Anti-Oedipus this quote is – surprisingly – quite self-explanatory. That is, the Deleuzoguattarian ‘acceleration of process’ is the acceleration of the decoding and deterritorializing that is inherent within capitalism, to allow the markets and capitalism itself to continue its production of producers-of-production – roughly speaking. Yet what if one is to take a single step back and withdraw to the source of the ritual, to Nietzsche’s The Will to Power:

“The strong who are to come. In the past, it was only by a combination of necessity and chance that the conditions for the production of a stronger kind of man were occasionally realized. But now, we can understand and consciously choose them: we can create conditions under which such an elevation is possible.-” (p510, a898, The Will to Power)

Nietzsche here speaking of his rope, from animal to man to Superman, or perhaps merely a greater form of man as a means for the coming of the Superman, either way Nietzsche’s point of conscious choice and creation of conditions is in conflict with the supposed apolitical nature of Deleuze & Guattari’s ritual.

“So far, ‘education’ has sought to benefit society: not as much as possible for the sake of mankind’s future, but for that of present-day, established society. What was wanted were ‘tools’ for its use. But suppose the accumulated wealth of energy were greaterm we could contemplate the possibility of setting aside a certain amount of that for the purpose of investing, not in society, but in the future. The present form of society is undergoing such a powerful transformation that at some point it will no longer be able to exist for its own sake, but only as the instrument in the hands of a stronger race. The more the extent of this transformation is understood, the more urgent it will be to set such a task.” (ibid)

The quarrelsome education system stuck within its own contemporary loop, unable to set aside assets for the future, unable to allow itself to even attend the future, even in the most hopelessly meagre ideas. You’ll notice too that Nietzsche doesn’t talk of investing in a future society, but only future, for the ‘society’ of the future, (hopefully) inclusive of a greater form of man would be so different to contemporary society that taking such an investment trajectory would be futile.

“The progressive diminution of man is precisely what compels us to consider the cultivation of a stronger race: a race which would have a surplus of precisely that in which the diminished species had become weak and was growing weaker (will, responsibility, self-assurance, the ability to set goals for oneself). The means to accomplish this would be those which history teaches: isolation by virtue of the fact that one’s needs and interests are contrary to those which are usual nowadays; practice in the contrary value judgements; distance as pathos; a clear conscience about is today most belittled and forbidden.” (ibid)

This section actualizing a bastardized form wherein L/Acc & R/Acc are flattened and stripped down to something quite horrific. The remaining flattened entity is that which has drawn out the process of man’s emancipation via capitalist acceleration, yet has retained its trajectory atop convergent waves. The emancipation, self-actualization, will and weight of man utilizing the immanent force of right-accelerationist convergent waves as a means for its own ascension.

“That great process, the levelling of European man, is not to be retarded; it should even be accelerated.” (ibid)

Man must be consciously flattened, made horizontal.

“This levelled species requires a justification, once it has been attained; its justification is the service it provides to a superior, sovereign species who stands upon it and can arise and accomplish its tasks only upon this basis.” (ibid)

only upon this basis.” as such the process must come prior, man must become levelled prior to anything, man as the actualizer of the superior is a notion that still stands whether we ‘accelerate’ or not. And so to accelerate without this process of the levelling of [European] man in place one could argue that man is merely letting the future take the wheel, allowing conclusionless convergent waves take hold, without the levelling of man we accelerate along reversed temporal ripples that are heading towards a non-event, towards 0 itself.

The process, with thanks to Deleuze & Guattari, has become overcomplicated, ‘the process’ in its conservative (Nietzschean) state is quite straightforward, it is the cultivation of “that in which the diminished species had become weak and was growing weaker (will, responsibility, self-assurance, the ability to set goals for oneself).” (ibid)

The levelling, the conscious choosing, the creation of conditions is a must. Acceleration without conditions is allowing humanity to wither within an entropic-feedback loop of its own despair (contemporary progress), until it eventually fades into nothingness, dragging the ritual with it. As such, Acceleration must have conditions, for if it doesn’t what is it other that dull, decadent nihilism?

TSPDT7

This is a disappointing entry into my series, it really is, there’s no questioning the feeble nature of my analytic skills this time around. We begin with Murnau’s Tabu (1931) and hell, I got nothing to say, the film bored me, I struggled to watch, I found it utterly tiresome with very little to drag from its odd domain. Le Million (1931) was a non-find. Which brings me to this entry’s biggest flop City Lights (1931) often heralded as Chaplin’s magnum opus this film did very little for me. Chaplin’s ‘Tramp’ is a try-hard and I cannot be bothered with him, I find something so utterly despicable about his presence, his fumbling, tripping and accidental luck frustrate me, his conclusions make me role my eyes and his faux-sentimentality makes his suspicious, I said before and I shall say again, Chaplin simply doesn’t fit this era…Chaplin and school shootings cannot coexist. A Nous Le Liberte (1931) forgettable, I left it a little while before writing this entry and I cannot remember a single thing of this film.

Finally, some light in the darkness, Fritz Lang’s M (1931) is a masterpiece, there’s no question. I wont bother with comparison, ranking against Metropolis, they’re too different. From its very beginning M brings from the outside sounds and paranoia, a danger lurks just out of sight for us viewers, there’s a constant unease – even with killer in shot – that control has been lost and something entirely unnannounced may enter diagonally into the social-linear at any moment. This world of M rife with purchase of crime fiction, with crime and danger as capital and commodity, a societal lust for both overrides the real danger of a psychotic break. And thus from this mass connection via the overarching spell and enticement of crime begins the media’s hysteria, fuelled by fear, paranoia and murder; a mass contagion brough into existence by the failure of authority to act, to secure and to make those accountable safe. And so the murder is needed by many as a structural pivot. The media needs its existence to fuel their profits, the police their job and so society, the public are the ones left nearest the outside. A lot gets lost amongst the smoke of a hundred smoking gents here. The truth of danger flutters into a nothingness amongst the lusts and profits of the apathetic. The whistle warning offscreen marks the neglect of family, of children, of the family-unit. That which should be protected is currently at danger from the malicious whistle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Function of the Academy

There is much that can constrain or suffocate a work of thought, of theory, of philosophy. There are editors, critics and shills, classical religious and political bodies, demonstrations, burnings and bannings, yet none more harmful to a work of thought that that which promises it its sceptical freedom, indeed it is the Academy itself which is sole eroder of a theoretical work’s decency. It is the Academy in all forms which pollutes the very root it so promises to help grow. I say in all forms for the Academy has and always will enter into various areas of critique under different names. Whether it’s a Chomskyan Manufacturing, a Moldbuggian ‘Cathedral’, a doomsayer’s ‘devil-machine’, a Serresian ‘Parasite’, Debord’s ‘Spectacle’ or plain old media-systems-propaganda-worship, that which attempts to broadcast art, theory, music or vision to the masses always does so via a lense of constriction, and thus that which you are seeing, hearing or reading has already been tampered with.

Mirroring Buren’s essay[1] wherein I found inspiration for this piece, one must define the function of the Academy:

 

It is the place where the work originates.

It is generally a place of WEIRDness: Western, educated, industrialized, rich and democratic. It is indebted and economically-umbilically linked to a WEIRD government or state.

It is a stationary place where portable and lucid works are produced.

 

And thus the contemporary importance of the Academy is established, and if one is hopefully not too blind, they can see as to why a work created in such a place may have a few progressive stains dribbled upon it, or as to why certain work might not make it out alive so to speak. Buren calls the studio the ‘first limit’, upon which all subsequent limits will depends. Yet the Academy is not just some vague room in which anything can be produced, it is quintessentially WEIRD and that is thus our first limit. The Academy of course is also where numerous critics, lecturers, tutors, reviewers, scholars and specialists come to review papers, dissertations and thesis’ to see if they make the cut, to see if they’re moulded or mouldable enough to jump through the Academic hoops, if not of course there’s a pre-constructed system to deal with work unfit for Academy consumption: a bad grade. As such it is the Academy and its practioners alone whom decide that which is a continuation, that which is to become canon, that which is to be the ‘correct’ reading; it is the Academy and the Academy alone which decides whether or not a work shall become part of its and thus the recognized ‘future’.

And so as Buren’s ‘studio’ is the reality for the work of art, so too is the Academy the reality for the work of philosophy. Much like Buren’s claims of art, the work of philosophy too becomes more mature the further it distances itself from the death-grip of the Academy, the further it strays away from the world of checkboxes, grading and marking the further it enters into the actual world of thought and freedom. And so Buren proclaims:

“If the work of art remains in the studio, however, it is the artist that risks death…from starvation…”

So too does the philosopher, writer or theorist risk death if their work remains within the Academy. One will find once they free their work from the academic cult of WEIRDness that is is finally able to breath, to live and to…feel uncomfortable. Indeed the supports you so relied upon within your industrialized-education-complex wither and die at the sight of an original mind, one not poisoned by the water of WEIRD canals. Unlike Buren’s art-from-the-studio however, one may, can and should produce work outside the Academy, not with the Academy and not of the Academy. Imagine that dear fellows, writing what it is that actually comes to your mind when reading Kant, Nietzsche, Hobbes or Rousseau without feeling an authoritarian obligation to sculp your supposedly contrarian musings into another dreary Academic repetition.

And so I say to you ‘amateur’ or ‘professional’ or ‘practicing’ philosopher there is no such thing. You have been moulded, your work sculped and the higher your form of personal academic achievement the further your work has been lost to the chasms of WEIRDness. So where does one wander once they’re banished or have managed escape from the Academy, sitting atop its marble steps you ponder what to write about, who and when to write about. After the Academy there no longer has to be a why, when, who or what as to you’re writing. You’re writing because you are writing. Your work becomes entirely its own existing for its own sake, within a decaying blog, or viral pamphlet. Your thesis read by 4 people disintegrated into the WEIRD-abyss, rife with merit-signalling and brown-nosing. Your 4000 word pulsating screed on the hell-time of a cybernetic patchwork transition stage on the other hand was read and enjoyed by many.

If the work of philosophy remains in the Academy, the philosopher and philosophy both risk death.

 

[1] The Function of the Studio – Daniel Buren

 

 

Blog: TSPDT6 & Note on Xenobuddhism

On Carl Theodor Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) Antonin Artaud stated that the film was meant to “reveal Joan as the victim of one of the most terrible of all perversions: the perversion of a divine principle in its passage through the minds of men, whether they be Church, Government or what you will.”

And in my opinion it does just that, and it goes about it in no overly complex way, there’s little in the way of sophistication or creative temperament, just a sublime (and I do not use that word lightly) performance by Renée Falconetti, a minimal set and a focused camera technique. The film is an exercise in compressed spirituality, wherein each time the camera is focused upon Joan of Arc’s face one gets the feeling of a real, visceral belief in God, in saviour. The feeling is akin to reading the works of Lovecraft, where that which is nowadays often accused of being a fiction is brought to life by those who have firsthand experience of the/an Outside, whether it’s Arc’s God or Lovecraft’s Occult, both are read as if that which is usually questioned is taken as reality, fictions become fact. The use of light and dark could be said to be kitsch, potentially obvious, yet it stands entirely true for its purpose as that which reveals the good from the bad. There’s very clear inspiration here for countless films to come, the use of harsh close-ups, little-to-no-makeup, angles utilized as status signifiers, yet it is unarguable that what stands out is Falconetti’s ability to make even the most staunch non-believer question their heart, even for just a second. In Dostoyevsky’s 1869 novel The Idiot, the character Prince Myshkin, having viewed the The Body of the Dead Christ in the Tomb (below) in the home of Rogozhin, declares that it has the power to make the viewer lose his faith. Well I claim the reverse is true for Renée Falconetti’s performance as Joan of Arc.

 

 

The Body of the Dead Christ in the Tomb – Hans Holbein the Younger, 1520-22

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Renée Falconetti as Joan of Arc.

Now, onto the rest. The Wedding March and Pandora’s Box (1928) are both difficult to find, in fact, now I’ve left the era of really early stuff I imagine I’m going to be confronted with both rare and protected films. People on Sunday (1929) was about as enjoyable as it sounds, don’t bother. The Man with the Movie Camera (1929) I generally thought of as pretty convoluted and hammed up, this is usually the case with a lot of French stuff to be honest, they try just that little bit too hard and what could have been an interesting experiment/experience trails into a nonsensical reference only a few people will get. The Blood of the Poet (1930) was another non-find. L’Age D’or (1930) supposed to be one of Bunuel’s greats, hell I couldn’t draw much from it. Earth (1930) by Dovzhenko was a film I was looking forward to, Tarkovsky lists it as one of his favourites, stating that Dovzhenko understood how to create simple cinema, truly minimal film, there’s a fine line and I guess once again my temperament fell onto the wrong side of it, alas…I was unimpressed. Hell, I never said I was going to glorify the whole list, hopefully by the end of this I can give you the films from this 1000 that’ll actually interest your 21st-century addled brains.

Edward Van Sloan: [Introduction to the film] How do you do? Mr. Carl Laemmle feels it would be a little unkind to present this picture without just a word of friendly warning. We’re about to unfold the story of Frankenstein, a man of science who sought to create a man after his own image without reckoning upon God. It is one of the strangest tales ever told. It deals with the two great mysteries of creation: life and death. I think it will thrill you. It may shock you. It might even horrify you. So if any of you feel that you do not care to subject your nerves to such a strain, now is your chance to, uh… Well, we’ve warned you.

James Whale’s Frankenstein (1931) I’m guessing is as clear cut as Frankenstein films are going to come, oh, and also it’s our first ‘talkie’, there’s dialogue again so these might just get a little longer. This is a very clear cut horror which arguably spent a little bit too much time in the editing room (unless there’s a story there I’m missing out on), it’s often jarring how quickly we’re moved along to the next clear piece of narrative, almost…mechanical. I jest, with a remaster this could quite easily sit alongside contemporary horror films as an example of how well a written work can be turned into film.

Extras:

Note on Xenobuddhism:

XENOBUDDHISM BEGINS WITH XENO by XENOBUDDHISM

‘Land goes on, gets blunt, boils this shit down:

“Xenobuddhism- the illusion of the substantial self isn’t dispelled by argument, and for most people it won’t be meditation or some of kind of psychological discipline that does it – getting copied, downloading thoughts, splitting/merging consciousness – that stuff will really have an impact and yes, it will be difficult to ignore”

Xenobuddhism is neither Buddhism nor accelerationism nor transhumanism. It is born from their convergence. It’s Buddhism once exposed to the mutagen, the black liquid. It’s the technocommercialist takeover of dharma in the realisation that techniques for realisation have outpaced humanity. Capital begins rerouting human agencies, demonstrating emptiness as the immanent engine of history. Buddhist modernism sought to update the former based on the latter; Xenobuddhism is dharma expounded by modernity itself. Xenobuddhism is unconditional accelerationism apprehended in the guise of a religion. The self illusion – the heart of the human security system – will be vaporized, and the species with it. Enlightenment and Enlightenment colliding. Whoever says it’s a dystopian picture really hasn’t been paying attention to history thus far.’

An intriguing read by Xenobuddism to be sure, I quarrel with the idea of the human-security-system here in relation to Buddhism. Yet it reads as if there were a mirror (=human-security-system), read the story of The Sixth Patriach Hui Neng. So here I would say that Xenobuddism makes the mistake of the first poem:

The body is the wisdom-tree,

The Mind is a bright mirror in a stand;

Take care to wipe it all the time,

And allow no dust to cling.

The human-security-system here acting as the mirror, yet the proposition that there is a mirror (within Buddhism) is wrong:

Fundamentally no wisdom-tree exists,

Nor the stand of a mirror bright.

Since all is empty from the beginning,

Where can the dust alight.

Whether or not this implies that the Buddhist mind falls quite sharply into unconditional ways of ‘thinking’ would require further investigation. There’s no mirror for dust to collect upon, there’s no human-security-system for the black liquid to collect upon, so it’s washed directly through you, potentially into you, there’s little time for transition here it seems. The substantial self (as Land puts it) in Buddhist terms never was, it was created after and so it’s more a case of realization of negation, as opposed to dispelling an attached psychological reality.

 

Blog: TSPDT5

Let me tell you, watching this much film is strange, you very quickly notice how repetitive certain techniques are, how music is utilized well or just for filler etc. etc. You very quickly notice films that standout, ones that do not make you think Oh, here we go again. I couldn’t find a good copy of October (1927), and as Eisenstein is thus far one of the few silent film makers worth watching, I didn’t want to spoil that which many claim is his best or most important work. Murnau’s Sunrise (1927), though it technically holds 8th place (ranked) in the list, I found it not at all that great, something which is held in such reverance I feel shouldn’t merely fade into the background of that which surrounds, but it did…and so I have few memories, at least none worth recalling. Seventh Heaven (1927) I was unable to find.

Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (1927). The version I watched [here] had the New Pollutants soundtrack, which in my opinion is far greater than some grainy classical number. The score by the New Pollutants throws you directly into the acidic hell of the clearly symbolic underclass, proletariat etc., their lives constrained by pipe and machine, their lives literally utilized as fuel for the fire, a fire that heats the bellies and homes of those above. A very clear symbolic message of class struggle in the age of industry. The industrial revolution and industry in general here acting as the ‘villain’, that machinic process which via exhaustion and overwhelming suffocates the energies’ of humanity; industry as the creative end-game of humanities’ soul, agree or disagree this is the message. As the pipes hum and shifts change, the cogs flow into one another seamlessly, a difference only of a linear time. Lives, place and acts all a series of bleak repetitions amongst a vast network of the same, sterilized life. So what is it about Metropolis that makes is so great? Well quite simply it’s everything, there isn’t a part of it (Character, location, theme, acting etc.) that isn’t great, each and every screw and bolt is wound so tight it’s difficult to spot any fault. The concentration usually on this idea of proto-AI or proto-Robotics, or even Transhumanism, or, at a push, Feminine overcoming via the emancipation of the body. Whichever way you wish to play it the discussion of the Maschinenmensch usually holds the fore. Not that it shouldn’t, only it begs the attention of one’s eyes elsewhere, what of the city, what of this…expanse. This glaring testament to Art Deco, this thematic will of the future; this film acting as a lost manifesto of blithered hope, riding a convergent wave to its doomed reality.

And what of these strange houses, overlooked by the centuries, the odd, cult-like elements of Metropolis are what help retain its presence in this contemporary clownworld. Within the alleys, atop the skyscrapers and deep underground here, still exists skulls of old and the knee to the crucifix. Those who will bow to master and ignore the reality. As the living skeleton acts his strike, looking the viewer directly in the eye, we witness a domination away from sci-fi and robotics, away from class struggle, away from the pillars of civilization, and so the film accelerates towards a mass escape from death as the tide rises, the malevolence of all involved froths to the top and the death and scorn is unavoidable no longer, welcome human race to your own demise, one you built, turned on, coaxed forward, encouraged and then, in a fit of narcissistic rage, told to halt.

Sadly, I cannot find a good copy of Abel Gance’s Napoleon (1927), and I have heard great things, this might be a special case wherein in I order a copy. Un Chien Andalou (1928), Dali is an artist I not only dislike, but also distrust, and so this film doesn’t sit right for me. It’s famous for the eye-slice scene alone. The Cameraman and Steamboat Bill, Jr (1928) both Keaton flicks, and that’s all they really are now, flicks…not films. I lose interest so quickly, it may be a little overdramatic to say such a thing, but post-1950 such infantile and excessive humour just doesn’t seem right, and now, both Keaton and Chaplin stand as fragmented comics whose humour rings for another time.

The Docks of New York (1928) The Wind (1928) Storm Over Asia (1928) and The Crowd (1928) are all without accessible good copies, and I refuse to sit through 2 hours of 360p grainy silent film, it simply would not do them justice.

On Left and Right Accelerationism

Where one begins with Acceleration or Accelerationism (or Capitalismism) in the scholarly philosophical sense can not be from any centralized point; this rhizomatic point-of-origin is quite in-keeping with Accelerationist theory. One could begin from Marx’s Fragment on Machines, The Accelerationist Reader, Hyperstition, Nick Land’s Oeuvre, Deleuzeguattarian philosophy, late Nietzsche, CCRU or even niche Twitter subgroups (search-terms: u/acc, l/acc, r/acc, z/acc, #rhetttwitter & #cavetwitter) So where shall I begin, from the list aboves glaring lacuna…

I shall begin with a the MAP. Unfortunately, this MAP isn’t full of detailed schematics, measurements or routes, no. This MAP is in fact a manifesto, The Manifesto for an Accelerationist Politics (MAP) If it were a map I’d argue that it’d be so dated in its approach to cartography that we’d be dealing with but a crayon drawing of robo-Marx pointing which direction to go in. So, why begin here as opposed to the other Acceleration labyrinth (Acc-Lab) entry points? The MAP is one of the few entry locations of the Acc-Lab that actually has a defined position which is relative to any agreement; thus far, the MAP Acc-Lab doorway is the only agreed upon entry-point which leads to any constructive discussion as to acceleration. Why is this? To the meat!

As I stated MAP declares a position, which is of/on the left. Their proposition in short is to accelerate technology as a means to emancipate the worker from the shackles of capitalism, the acceleration of technology as a utopian-accelerative gesture.

‘Work for work’s sake is a perversity and a constraint imposed upon humanity by capitalism’s ideology of the work ethic. What accelerationism seeks is to allow human potential to escape from the trap set for it by contemporary capitalism.’ – #Accelerationism: Remembering the Future

It is quite transparently a ‘Marxism for the 21st century’ (Isaac Camacho) and so one may wonder why anyone would take seriously such a proposition, the idea that post/after/beyond/through capitalism lies this Marxist utopia is deluded, capitalism has already subsumed Marxism and unless you wish to make the case that it still exists but as mere internal-cyst upon capitalism’ innards waiting for its day or rupture, then your argument comes to a halt rather sharply. Postcapitalism, if such a nauseating political reality could come into existence, would exist much akin to postmodernism, yearning to be free of its suffix-master, yet perpetually attached via an economic umbilical cord for stability.

Yet this idea of ‘postcapitalism’ allows us to view that which Acceleration is truly indebted to: time. Postcapitalism could only come into existence via the ability of future-construction, via the ability to construct the future: ‘24. The future needs to be constructed.’ – MAP.  

‘The notion that the future is less ontologically settled than the past is less transcendentally unsustainable position, it’s a metaphysics of time in a strict critical sense and it’s convenient for political orientation but it’s a philosophically unsustainable commitment.’ – Nick Land

This idea of ‘construction’ is ontologically and temporally muddled, albeit wrong. MAP’s notion of construction implies both a retainment of agency (not surprising from a Marxist perspective), yet it also implies that history presents a choice, and that history is on a divergent wave as opposed to a convergent wave. The ripples move in reverse, back towards the ‘event’, the singularity; capitalism drags and draws the ‘past’ and the ‘now’ from its place in the future. A temporal lasso cuts through common notions of chronic-time and acts out its transcendent selection process. Acceleration is the struggle to keep up with the demands of the future.

If one is in doubt of this strange, outside, diagonal temporal process they may only look upon the influx of subcultures and movements indebted to a non-linear, anti-chronic or atypical theorizations of times: Cyberpunk, Cybergoth, Neoreaction, Archifuture, Retro-progressivism etc. Imminent examples of disorder within the supposedly (currently) ordered security system; the prediction market was reliant on an incorrect form of time and as such…we got a lot wrong. If one returns to the idea of time as a convergent wave, they find that of course prediction markets would be wrong, their predictions were blind darts thrown against the pull of the future.

Back to our entry-point. Why did we enter at L/Acc? Because (as is often the case) it is the left who imply, if not create the first point of reference upon the spectrum. So with an entry at L/Left we now (apparently) have a political left, a directional left, and a positional left, from the trajectory of the MAP one can now – with rough certainty – say their hand is to the Left wall of the Acc-Lab. So with the existence of a Left comes the implication and almost forced (unwarranted) creation of a right. For you cannot have left without the existence of a right, wherever it may lay, and whatever it may be. R/Acc is an inevitable semiotic effect from the coinage of L/Acc.

Can you hear that clicking, hissing and screeching in the distance? It’s the noise of a hundred shitposters frothing at the mouth at the prospect of R/Acc articulation.

R/Acc, that grand phantasm of accelerationist thought. It is easiest to begin from comparison. In the traditional sense the political spectrum has on its left Liberalism and Communism, and on its right Conservatism and Fascism. So where L/Acc see a constructed future once again pertaining to Marxist thought, R/Acc sees (amongst a few perceptions – Wait your turn!) the possibility of acceleration only existing with a reversion to some form of hierarchical structure; this is where we see the convergence of Neoreaction and R/Acc, both taking the blackpill in acceptance of deterritorialization as capitalism – ‘it sees capital’s oppressive reconfiguration of the social space as the inevitable price techno-industrial development.’ – So, Acc

More recently both ends of the spectrum have altered in mirrored ways (as they would). We have seen the left become increasingly more egalitarian, more inclusive and more tolerant, to the point of ignorance, frustration and delusion. What the Left wishes to tuck neatly under the rug and act as if it will simply disappear once/if technological emancipation is achieved, the right wishes to bring to the fore and accept as a means to ‘prove’ and foster the idea that either we need a reversion, or more recently ‘It’s too fucking late!’

R/Acc: An increasing proportion of the industrial surplus is being absorbed by the task of masking bio-social deterioration.

Z/Acc: Over 100% soon.

U/Acc: Oh c’mon.

L/Acc: Look, a squirrel! – Nick Land (Outsideness)

The discrepancies of an R/Acc definition come about precisely because in its origination it was anti-capitalism. To paraphrase Moldbug ‘Just because you’re no longer a red, doesn’t mean you have to become a blue.’. R/Acc were anti-capitalist, but they weren’t/aren’t those anti-capitalists, they can’t be, otherwise the spectrum just shot up its own arse. R/Acc’s form of anti-capitalism begins from the idea that (for R/Acc) capitalism and acceleration are synonymous, and thus, they are not anti-capitalism in the strict, empirical, political sense, no. They are anti-capitalism in the sense of understanding that capitalism’s ‘industrial surplus is being absorbed by the task of masking bio-social deterioration’ and as such this isn’t a convergent wave leading anywhere pleasant. But then again, who ever said the singularity was going to be pleasant?

If one is to refer to the root of Deleuze and Guattari’s now semi-famous ‘accelerationist passage’ one can find articulation. The root of the accelerationist ritual ‘Accelerate the process!’ (Anti-Oedipus) is of course to be found is the latter fragmented jottings of Nietzsche’s nachlass The Will to Power: ‘The levelling of the European man is the great process which cannot be obstructed; it should even be accelerated.’ What does this quote reveal to us of both L/Acc and R/Acc? It reveals priorities: L/Acc dumbfoundedly wishes to control the ritual process, whereas R/Acc are primarily focused on what the levelling does to European man. Or: It’s all well and good ‘levelling European man’ but if that process results in a dysgenic, IQ shredding, weak, slave-like mess then perhaps it’s best to question the method. (I would add here for those interested that Neoreaction focuses more on European man that levelling or its effects.)

R/Acc is L/Acc’s compensatory reterritorialized element, yet unlike the L/Acc R/Acc has not chained itself to archaic theory set in chronic time, and as such acts as a reterritorialization acting and moving in relation to L/Accs consistent compiling of ignorance. This would be my personal argument against the idea that R/Acc needs or has a consistent political position, R/Acc’s inherent understanding of agency within unhinged time allows them to acquire the blackpill-visors and metaphorically witness capital’s convergent lasso come forth. With L/Acc searching for the – supposed – true agent of acceleration exterior to capitalism, which in the view of R/Acc is capitalism itself. Thus the spectrum upon which both L and R/Acc coexist is one of ontology, wherein one side (L/Acc) promote an ontologically objective structure of time, with humanities agency at the wheel, and the other end (R/Acc) accepting the ontology of the future as a constant. R/Acc accept that capital is critique.

Thus the circuit diagram of both L/Acc and R/Acc remain the same, their ontology however, is entirely different. The circuit diagram itself is Acceleration pure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

R/Acc

Chem and Narax #2: Exit

Artwork by Leo C

 

The idle Progville citizens began their vote. A chaos ensued complete with shouting, debating, crying, whining, screaming, kicking, more whining, gossip and the tiniest flickers of rationale, each and every voter attempting to hold-their-own opinion amongst the blithering of the crowd. Few had reason nor thought as to why they thought the way they did, the majority, like the stock markets of the old times, merely based their vote on whether or not it would favour them in relation to popularity; and thus, from afar one could watch as the Mexican-wave of opinion rolled throughout, one side barking ‘No!’ and the others a ‘Yes!’, the pendulum had been cast and now all there was to do was wait.

Seriously, Chem, look for a fucking exit!’

Well what’s that going to look like…’

If I’m honest with you here, no one really knows, but it definitely doesn’t look like Democracy!’

Huh, what you chatting about mutt?’

Oh, I’ll explain once we’re outside this dump.’

The citizens continued their democratic wailing long into the night, all the while Chem and Narax wandered the streets shadowed by no one. Peering into window after window, display after display, their eyes attempting to fixate onto a morsel of authenticity.

Narax, what’s happened here…’ Chem stated whilst gazing upon a ‘sculpture’.

This is what they call art Chem, a strange mixture of consumer capital and virtue signalling.’

A’right, I get it, you’re smart. Explain’

This sordid mess of wires and rust Chem is now…art. It is the end of the line in terms of democratic creation, for once the democracy is in place there is only one direction down which to travel, especially in terms of public display.’

And that direction is?’

The expansion the state, or in this case the ‘ville’ of Prog. That is the democratic process keeps on striving towards a bureaucratic nothingness of inefficiency, virtue and egalitarianism.’

For someone who licks his own balls you sure do use a lot of fancy words…’

This ‘sculpture’ wasn’t born from some creative act Chem, it was born out of the artist’s lust to signal virtue…sorry, to signal to his fellow man that he ‘gets it’, that he’s ‘in’, that he will abide by the latest social fad, the latest minor grievance. An artistic act tied up both in virtue, but also red-tape, for to display anything external to virtue becomes an impossibility, for it simply will not be shown. And thus, the majority of art within a democracy, unless historic, is merely nothingness, proof only of democratic assimilation.’

And the eggy-tarian-ism?’

Egalitarianism, put simply, is the belief that all are equal.’

Ok, what’s wrong with that?’

Nothing’s wrong with it…it’s just not true. Nothing’s wrong with saying these apocalyptic wastes are lovely, or men and mutts are the same, nothing at all…it doesn’t make those statements true though.’

So, you’re saying you think some people are better than others?’

No. Why do people always assume this. The problem lies herein: Once everyone is equal to one another, once ‘equality’ is achieved – which is impossible by the way, I hope you can see that – everything that someone wants to be tolerated, needs to be tolerated and thus has to be tolerated. For if all are equal my dear Chem, then no need, want or desire is of greater importance than the next and thus the all of everything must be tolerated.’

And what the hell is wrong with tolerance?’

Because tolerance as a condition of government eventually comes to be used as a political tool. If those with the power, the know-how or the numbers wish to enact something they needn’t worry about laws, legislation or thought, no, all they need do is make it widely understood that to stand in their way is to be intolerant. And to be intolerant is to be many things…’

Chem lets out a long sigh ‘Such as…’

Well to be publicly intolerant is to draw scorn from your neighbour, to be known as the mean spirited ‘-ist’ of society, it is to quickly become marginalized and no longer listened to. A rigorous or lawful intolerance is to walk on a tightrope, for if you win your case then it’s only a matter of time until you’re outed as something-or-other, to lose your case is to lose all political footing…and in both cases it is to align yourself, once again, with those deemed ‘fringe’, radical or dissident a priori.’

What’s a priori?’

Knowledge of something prior to experiencing it. To know someone is bad without even hearing their case. A sad state of affairs indeed. And thus why we’re currently searching for the way out…’

Narax, have you ever been jolly?’

…very briefly, when I was a pup. Now, what’s this here?’

Chem and Narax had stumbled upon Progville’s rear entrance, or their exit. A strange, multi-layered contraption, filled with gears, levers, small screen-based inputs, a questionnaire, a depository and bundle upon bundle of wires.

Looks like we got two choices here Chem, back the way we came via the maddening crowd and packs of wanderers, or out through this…thing.’

I think we shou-’

Ha! There was never a choice, I’ll take my chances getting garotted by wires before facing that intolerable mass again.’ Narax said.

Narax looked back upon the crowd one last time before swiftly stepping into the exit-contraption. Slowly moving each paw onto a patch of uncovered ground.

Ok Chem, hurry up.’

Chem followed in Narax’s footsteps, holding his rifle to his chest as he lifted a bundle of wires over his head.

I’m in, now what?’

We try get to the other side of this thing as quickly as possible.’

Both Chem and Narax began making their way through the contraptions mechanisms and wires, quickly interrupted by a polite, yet machinic voice…

“Hello Gentleman and hound, how are you?”

The small display screens littering the contraption clicked on, each loading into:

E X I T – P R O G R A M

“Nothing to fear. This is merely a series of questions and tasks. You’ll be out before you know it.”

Chem get a fucking move on, this strangely gracious robot is freaking me out.’

“Question 1: Why is it you wish to leave?”

Do we answer Narax?’

No, just move…and watch your footing!’

“Sorry, I didn’t quite catch that. Question 1: Why is it you wish to leave?”

Chem and Narax were roughly 10 feet from an opening before the wiring began to contract.

“You will be detained if you do not answer the questions. Question 1: Why is it-”

Quick, think of the answers it wants to hear…needs to hear!’

The wires slowly beginning to constrict Narax’s legs.

“We just wish to visit another town, we’ll be back!” shouted Chem.

“Question 2: On a scale of 1/10 how would you rate your stay?”

“Errr…7, 7 out of 10!”

“That score is rather low,-” The wires tightened “-why is that score so low?”

“Wrong score! Wrong sco-” Chem attempted to shout whilst a cable fastened around his neck.

“Question 2: On a scale of 1-10 how-”

“10. 10 out of 10.”

“Fantastic, and finally what improvements could we make to our town?”

Say something menial Chem…something material that won’t change shit!’

“You could have a…a cleaner gate!”

“Thank you for volunteering your time to take part in our quiz. Now if you wish to donate some DNA for our records please say ‘Yes’.”

“…No.”

“Sorry, I didn’t quite catch that. If you wish-”

Chem, haven’t you worked it out by now…’

“Oh for fuck’s sake…YES!”

“Thank you.”

Two needles extended from either side of the contraption, one for both Chem and Narax, slowly sliding into their legs, before retracting back into the walls.

“Thank you once again, and have a nice day.”

The contraption quickly shut off before any questions could be asked. Chem and Narax tore the wires from their bodies, and Narax looked back through the machine, witnessing a small screen slide along the wall of Progville and out of sight. The duo exited the contraption and the town, heading off into cinder-world.

The screen slid along the wall of Progville until it reached the front gate, where it slid into the hands of the mutated floor guard, the captain.

“Those fuckers said our gate is dirty! 10 out of 10 again though.”