True Detection, The Generator, Dublin, April 29 6-10pm

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“Time Is a Flat Circle”

 

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THIS IS A FREE PUBLIC EVENT

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True Detection Symposium, April 29 6-10pm

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Exploring Bataille’s Accursed Share Project, Bristol, April 25th

Bataille Conference

AGAIN + UWE Philosophy, Bristol, April 25th

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Cross posted from Philosophy in Europe (LIV.AC.UK):


Sovereignty and the Human: Exploring Bataille's Accursed Share Project

[Again] and UWE Philosophy

We are pleased to announce the details for the Bataille conferencebeing held in Bristol on April 25th 2014.

Keynote Speakers:

- Prof. Howard Caygill (CRMEP, Kingston University)

- Prof. Scott Wilson and Edia Connole 

- Dr. Oxana Timofeeva (Humboldt University, Berlin)

Speakers:

- Dr. Sacha Golob (King's College)

'Bataille, Heidegger and the Possibility of a Sacred Object'

- Dr. William Pawlett (University of Wolverhampton)

'The Accursed Share and the "Left Pole" of the Sacred'

- Prof. Roy Boyne (Durham University)

'Bataille and Giacometti: Verbal and/or Vertical'

- Keegan Goodman

'Miracle, Chance and Anima in Bataille's Accursed Share'

- Cooper Francis

'The Paradox of Sovereignty and the Avant-Garde: Agamben and the use-value of GAM Bataille'

- Kris Cowell (UWE)

'Self-organisation and Sovereignty in Kant and Bataille'

- Michiko Oki (UCL)

'Contagion and Transgression: Distribution and Expenditure of the Visual in Sound Art' 

Details:

Times: 11am - 7:30pm

Location: 

South Bank Club
Dean Lane
BS3 1DB

Short bus or walk from Temple Meads train station.

Admission is free, but please register a place by e-mailing: William.stronge@...

There are regular trains from London, which typically take 1.5 to 2 hours. Book early to ensure 
cheap tickets.

Messages to the list are archived at http://listserv.liv.ac.uk/archives/philos-l.html and http://blog.gmane.org/gmane.science.philosophy.region.europe.

Current posts are also available via Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PhilosL


 

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A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness – Live II

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Booking for this event is now LIVE through Darklight HERE


A SPELL TO WARD OFF THE DARKNESS – LIVE II

‘What’s interesting about film is not the film, actually.’
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A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness, directed by Ben Rivers and Ben Russell, is quietly connected to the history of Black Metal Theory (BMT), a simultaneously nascent and dying ‘metallectual’ movement that aims to invert, entangle, and reinvent the ordering of thought and music within the blackened continuum of metal and theory. The earliest known formulation of BMT was voiced around the ‘phenomenology’ panel of the first international conference on heavy metal, convened at Salzburg in the winter of 2008. The following winter, the first BMT symposium was held in Brooklyn, NY, resulting in the essay volume HideousGnosis, edited by Nicola Masciandaro. Two similar events followed: Melancology (London, 2011) and P.E.S.T. [Philial Epidemic Strategy Tryst] (Dublin, 2011). The website that announced the symposia defines BMT thus: ‘Not black metal. Not theory. Not not black metal. Not not theory. Black metal theory. Theoretical blackening of metal. Metallic blackening of theory. Mutual blackening. Nigredo in the intoxological crucible of symposia.’ In the wake of these gatherings, other publications have applied and/or reflected upon the BMT principle: Black Metal: Beyond theDarkness, ed. Tom Howells (Black Dog, 2012); Glossator 6: Black Metal, eds. Masciandaro & Negarestani (2012); Helvete: A Journal of Black MetalTheory (2013-); and Nab Saheb & Denys X. Arbaris, Bergmetal: Oro-Emblems of the Musical Beyond (HWORDE, 2014).
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A Spell’s sideways connection to this history is evident generally in the pacific and patently non-kvlt space it creates for the genre and more specifically in its choice of Queequeg for the film’s black metal performance, a collaboration between the film’s lead actor Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe (Lichens/OM), Weasel Walter (Flying Luttenbacher/Hatewave), Nick McMaster (Krallice), and Hunter Hunt-Hendrix (Liturgy), whose manifesto ‘Transcendental Black Metal: A Vision of Apocalyptic Humanism’ has been a touchstone of BMT discourse since its first publication in Hideous Gnosis. At the 9th Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival, in what was described as the festival’s ‘darkest and most trippy evening. An audiovisual mindfuck from another world and a black mass of monumental dimensions,’ Hunt-Hendrix’s lecture on Transcendental Black Metal formed the introductory component in a tripartite evening program curated by Rivers and Russell entitled ‘A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness – Live.’ Characterized as ‘an intriguing confluence of curation, criticism and practice,’ this program offered ‘an oblique sneak preview’ of Ben & Ben’s upcoming collaboration in the form of an ‘annotated riff’ on A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness. Continuing the structure of this event, according to the film’s three principal sequences, Darklight will apply insights of BMT to further expansion, dilation, and blackening of the film’s significance on the occasion of its Dublin debut. A true symposium or discursive together-drinking (sym-posium), ‘A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness – Live II’ will conjure itself in the form of three hours of bleak speculation, loving commentary, and intoxicated pedagogy, under the aegises of Solitude, Community and Phenomenology:
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Solitude
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Under the aegis of ‘Solitude,’ and addressing what has in relation to this section of the film been described as ‘a beautiful loneliness,’ Paul. J. Ennis will present ‘Bleak Theory.’ Much less a philosophy than a disposition, what he calls ‘an aesthetic impulse’—an attempt to ‘outbleak black’ that emerged out of P.E.S.T. (Dublin, 2011)—Ennis’s bleak theory captures the solitude and misanthropy characterizing the second wave of Norwegian Black metal, and will speak to Rivers’s interest in the power of landscape freed from context to immerse observers in the mysteries of the natural world (previously addressed with Two Years at Sea).
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Paul J. Ennis completed his PhD in Philosophy at University College Dublin. He is the author of Continental Realism (Zero Books, 2011), co-editor, with Peter Gratton, of the Meillassoux Dictionary (Edinburgh University Press, forthcoming 2014) and co-editor, with Tziovanis Georgakis, of Twenty-First Century Heidegger (Springer, forthcoming 2014).
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Community
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Under the aegis of ‘Community,’ and addressing the transition from solitude to collectivity immanent in the third wave of US Black metal and the original vision for the film, Edia Connole will answer the all important question ‘What is Black Metal Theory?’ by explaining the communal concept of love as it is taken-up and understood by Black metal theorists through medieval mystical exegesis, wherein all knowledge is understood to be knowledge acquired through love, per amorem agnoscimus. In exposing the instrumentality of Nicola Masciandaro to the transmission of this idea and its expression, Connole will speak to Russell’s interest in magnifying the nuances of cultural evolution (most prominently illustrated in Let Each One Go Where He May).
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Edia Connole is the author of ‘What is Black Metal Theory?’ in P.E.S.T., edsMichael O’Rourke and Karin Sellberg (forthcoming 2014) and co-author, with Scott Wilson, of ‘“[os mentis] mouth to mouth” with Nicola Masciandaro,’ in Weaponising Speculation,ed. Caoimhe Doyle (Punctum, forthcoming 2014).
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Phenomenology
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Under the aegis of ‘Phenomenology,’ and addressing the tripartite dialectical progression of the film, Nicola Masciandaro will present ‘Silence: A Darkness to Ward Off All Spells.’ This presentation will unveil the question of silence as a dark intensive invalidation of discursive human identity, an increasingly powerful warding off of its terrible psychic spell. In the first stage of A Spell To Ward Off the Darkness, silence is what hovers within and without human conversation, disclosing it’s essentially hallucinatory, centrifugal, and hypocritical structure. In the second stage of the film, silence is what haunts human self-presence and aloneness in the minute and expansive forms of the extra-human world. In the third stage, silence is what secretly unnames the human inside the negativity of its own desperate self-representation, in the shared a-community of musical non-belonging. Interpreting these three levels of silence as phenomenal stages of a mystical ascent, Masciandaro’s presentation aims to invert all possible horizontal, human-to-human messages of the film into the pure verticality of silence itself.
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Nicola Masciandaro is Professor of English at Brooklyn College (CUNY) and a specialist in medieval literature. Some principal themes of his work are: mysticism, commentary, decapitation, and heavy metal. Recent publications include: Dark Nights of the Universe, co-authored with Daniel Colucciello Barber, Alexander Galloway, and Eugene Thacker (NAME, 2013) and And They Were Two In One And One In Two, co-edited/authored with Eugene Thacker (SCHISM, 2014). Current projects include Sorrow of Being, a book on mystical sorrow, and Sufficient Unto the Day, a collection of essays against worry. He is the founding editor of the journal Glossator: Practice and Theory of the Commentary (glossator.org).
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THIS IS PARADISE – [Amazing] Vernon Howard Resource

TIPTHIS IS PARADISE: This Disappearing Act

 

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THE CONGRESS OF PESSIMISM

CONGRESS OF PESSIMISM

 

Cross posted from The Whim:

A Matter of Sorrow  -  Nicola Masciandaro

[for the Congress of Pessimism in Bucharest]

All men have grounds for sorrow [mater of sorow], but most specially he feels grounds for sorrow who knows and feels that he is. In comparison to this sorrow, all other sorrows are but a game.– Cloud of Unknowing

Two lectures concerning a universal theory of sorrow. Radicalizing Heidegger’s insight that “the being of Da-sein is care [Sorge, sorrow],” I will affirm that sorrow belongs to the simple fact of being. Far from being limited to the evolutionary environment of our terrestrial sphere or the humoral confines of the human, sorrow is more properly a weird kind of cosmic substance composed of all being’s refusal of itself, the intrinsic negation of its own event. Grasping sorrow in these terms does not render actual, particular sorrow irrelevant or merely ontologically atmospheric, but rather redeems sorrow’s palpable darkness from both the hallucinogenic obscurity of affordable, instrumentalized problematicity (sorrow as something to be fixed or solved in the putative self-interest of making everything OK) and base ‘Manichean’ materiality (sorrow as merely an evil ingredient in things). In this theory, sorrow is projectively restored to reality as not only a reflective index, but a perfectible operation of the universal, a way forward into new reality. Everyone knows that “he who increases knowledge, increases sorrow” (Ecclesiastes 1:18). Now is time to see the necessity of the obverse: he who does not increase sorrow, does not increase knowledge.

I: The Trouble with Not Being Born

A body came into the world, but it wasn’t you. – VH

The overwhelming and inescapable aporia of individuation—why am I me?—is an inevitable actual impossibility whose only ‘answer’ is that you are not. The fact that you are yourself is direct and irreparable proof that ‘you’ do not really exist, never have, and never will. Following E. M. Cioran’s instructions to rid ourselves “of the traces of this scandal [of birth], the most serious and intolerable of all,” this lecture will explicate the falsity of being born in relation to medieval concepts of mystical sorrow and patristic commentary on the crucifixion darkness, when “all creation mourned.” If all goes well, the conclusion of the lecture will coincide with finding yourself on the cross, surrounded by a voidal cosmos whose blackness is at once lamenting your birth and sucking you into the unending paradise of never having been.

II: Following the Sigh

Becoming is nothing more than a cosmic sigh. – E. M. Cioran

Pessimism’s fidelity to the sigh—“In pessimism, the first axiom is a long, low, funereal sigh” (ET, “Cosmic Pessimism”)—is tied to its secret cosmicity, as if in silent inverse repetition of certain late medieval precedents: “Oltre la spera che piú larga gira / passa ’l sospiro ch’esce del mio core” [Beyond the sphere that widest turns / passes the sigh that exits my heart] (Dante); “Beyond the sphere passeth the arrow of our sigh. Hafiz! Silence” (Hafiz). What is the relation of sigh and cosmos? Where does one touch the other? On the one hand, the sigh, like a live pneumatic form of the soul’s impending exit from a corpse’s mouth, restores consciousness to the general funeral of being, to the passing away that is all existence. On the other hand, the sigh is not deathly exhalation at all, but a stranger kind of being-breathed-in by the cosmos, as if within spirit there were another breath still, inhaled by some larger superessential body that has nothing and/or everything to do with the life of the breather. This lecture takes pessimism as a starting point for following the cosmic sigh via commentary on select verses from Dante’s Vita Nuova, Leopardi’sCanti, and Rasu-Yong Tugen’s Songs from the Black Moon.

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‘Leave Me In Hell’ [excerpt from 'What is Black Metal Theory?']

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‘Leave Me In Hell’ [excerpt from Edia Connole, 'What is Black Metal Theory?']

The Areopagite, who delighted in etymologies, puns, and allusions, fictionalized himself [or herself] through the adoption of a pseudonym, that of an Athenian converted to Christianity by St. Paul in the first century AD. In Acts 17, we read: ‘When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said “we want to hear you again on this subject.” At that, Paul left the council. Some of the people became followers of Paul and believed. Among them was Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus.’ We should not be surprised that this same passage, which ends with Dionysius’ conversion, begins with a sermon on ‘THE UNKNOWN GOD.’ As yet unnamed and unknown, the sixth century Areopagite – whose pseudonomous corpus has inspired the open burial and consecration of authorial identity in a luminous blackened scriptorium of secret press [HWORDE] within secret press [gnOme] where, writing neither as ‘oneself nor someone else,’ bergmetal theorist Denys X. Abaris presents his [or her] Oro-Emblems of the Musical Beyond [2014] – is responsible for what has been identified [explicitly by Niall Scott] as Black Metal Theory’s apophatic outlook [Metal Hammer, June 2012]. This outlook is intimately connected to a symbology and a teratology embodied by the monstrous male protagonist in Metal culture [see for example, Scott’s ‘God Hates Us All: Kant, Radical Evil and the Diabolical Monstrous Human in Heavy Metal,’ Monsters and the Monstrous: Myths and Metaphors of Enduring Evil (2007)], and is nowhere more evident than in second wave Black Metal, which introduced corpse-paint, weapons and shadowy horror-film photos of dead looking musicians in cavernous basements and wintry Norwegian forests. Here, the sonorous and visual, ideally atrophic, are inversely tied to the Areopagite’s theories of symbolism and of cognition, both of which depend on what he calls affirmation and negation in the cognitive mode, and similitude and dissimilitude in the process of representation. In a medieval exegetical context this dyad corresponds to what are called the cataphatic and aforementioned apophatic traditions, concerning the open and evident on the one hand, and the mysterious and ineffable on the other. The one is ‘philosophic and employs methods of demonstration,’ the other ‘resorts to symbolism and involves initiation,’ ‘the one uses persuasion and imposes truthfulness on what is asserted,’ ‘the other acts and, by means of a mystery which cannot be taught, puts souls firmly in the presence of God’ [Pseudo-Dionysius, Epistle VIIII]. The one proceeds via positiva, and begins by asserting such broad statements as ‘God is life,’ ‘God is Good,’ and proceeds to ever more specific descriptions such as ‘small still voice’ [1 Kings 19:12]. The other proceeds via negativa, and begins by denying the lowliest and most specific descriptions, and proceeds up to the most comprehensive, negating every possible affirmation. Here, the journey that begins with ‘God is not a worm,’ ends with ‘God is not.’ It may thus be said with some justification that apophaticism is a pessimistic tradition, but like other systems of Neoplatonic thought this seeming pessimism is paradoxically optimistic, since what it dissuades us from is an over reliance on rationalism, and what it councils against is facile anthropomorphism. In recompense, it offers through a correct approach to cognition and symbolism a real and fulfilling comprehension of the intelligible. In fact, in the tradition’s epistemology as well as in its teratology, comprehension of a thing through its image leads to a direct experience of the thing, a becoming one with, through the transcendence of the image [David Williams, Deformed Discourse (1996), cf. Pseudo-Dionysius Divine Names 592D-593A; 708 D]. Nowhere is this movement of the spirit more explicit than in Black Metal, in the Black Metal art of adopting monstrous alias’s, pseudonomous inhuman name-images: Malefic, Ygg[drasil], Dagon, Fenriz, Frost, … the latter is a particularly striking example of what Dominic Fox describes as ‘black metal’s deliberate freezing of the world, [its] fixing it within a terminal image, in order that its frost-bitten surface may be shattered by anonymous inhuman forces rising from the depths of the self’ [Cold World (2009)] pace Frost: ‘I chose the name “Frost” when I entered Satyricon and became a member. I wanted a name that I could identify with as a black metal artist. I wanted it to be like a purification of the side of me that was into the darkness, the grimness, and the coldness of black metal’ [Until The Light Takes Us (2010), cf. Aspasia Stephanou, ‘PLAYING WOLVES AND RED RIDING HOODS IN BLACK METAL,’ Hideous Gnosis (2010)]. Whereas the apophatic mystic’s path ends with divine consummation, the bleakness invoked in Frost’s namesake inversely portends Black Metal’s renunciation of all objects, aims, or end [cf. the work of philosopher Emil Cioran (d. 1995) as it is taken up by the irreligious Fathers of Black Metal pessimism: Paul Ennis, Nicola Masciandaro, Eugene Thacker and Ben Woodard; in particular, Ennis’ ‘Bleak Theory’ (2011), ‘Even Bleaker Theory’ (2014) and, no doubt to come, ‘Bleakest Ever Bleak Theory’ and ‘Slightly Bleaker Theory’ (again), capture the sense of futility formulated in and constituting Cioran’s oeuvre, essentially the same book written and rewritten over the course of his life - that this ends without end echoes Ennis’ own ends: ‘I don’t know how to end this, I’m just going to end’ (‘Bleak Theory’ [2011] cf. Apocalypse According to Cioron [1995])]. At the same time, in literally, visually, and sonorously embracing the suffering of Hell – ‘understood as the absence of/from the object of desire’ – as desire, Black Metal explicitly engages the apophatic tradition’s desire ‘to live without a why,’ though we do find this somewhat pejoratively in Cioran [who said, ‘If I were to be totally honest, I do not know why I live and why I do not stop living. The answer probably lies in the irrational character of life, which maintains itself without reason (without why)’ (On the Heights of Despair [1996])], the specific instances of whylessness within this tradition I have in mind are Beatrice of Nazareth [d. 1268], Marguerite Porete [d. 1310], and Meister Eckhart [d. ca. 1327] in whose formulation life ‘lives without Why, because it lives for itself. And so,’ Eckhart says, ‘if you were to ask a genuine man who acted from his own ground, “Why do you act?” If he were to answer properly he would simply say, “I act because I act”’ [Complete Mystical Works (2010), cf. Amy Hollywood, ‘Bataille and Mysticism: A “Dazzling Dissolution”’]. To put it more perfunctorily, as Masciandaro does: ‘the only purpose of life, which itself properly belongs only to what lives without principle – “Hoc enim propie vivit quod est sine principio” [Eckhart] – is to arrive at the purposeless Reality’ [‘The Sweetness (of the Law)’]. ‘Reality,’ according to Masciandaro’s master, Meher Baba, ‘is Existence infinite and eternal … Everything – the things and beings – in Existence has a purpose … Their very being in existence proves their purpose; and their sole purpose in existing is to become shed of purpose, i.e. to become purposeless’ [The Everything and the Nothing (1963); ‘The Sweetness (of the Law)’]. Purposelessness is perceived as heretical in the eyes of Christian Orthodoxy, because for the Christian there is always an underpinning purpose to life: salvation. Indeed, in Dante’s account of damnation, in Canto III of Inferno, purposelessness is on the same plain as sinful action. Here, on the banks of the river Acheron, which approaches the first circle of Hell, purposeless souls: ‘These miscreants, who never were alive/ Were naked, and were stung exceedingly/ By gadflies and by hornets that were there./ These did their faces irrigate with blood,/ Which, with their tears commingled, at their feet/ By the disgusting worms was gathered up’ [Divine Comedy, ed. Anna Amari-Parker (2007)]. In embracing purposelessness, the apophatic mystic heretically embraces Hell [indeed, the reference to preferring the suffering of Hell to divine gifts is present in many mystical texts, among which, of those by Marquerite Porete, Mechthild of Magdeburg [d. ca. 1275], Richard of St. Victor [d. 1173] and Angela of Foligno [d. 1309], a passage from the latter is especially indicative: ‘I have seen the One who is, and how He is being of all creatures. God is present in everything that exists, in a devil and a good angel, in heaven and hell, in good deeds and in adultery and murder, … Therefore, while I am in this Truth, I take as much delight in seeing and understanding his presence in a devil and the act of adultery as I do in an angel and a good deed’ (Angela of Foligno, cf. Isaiah 45:7, ‘I form the light, and create the darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I, the LORD, do all these things’)], but whereas the apophatic mystic turns purposelessness against God in a dramatization of what Daniel Colucciello Barber would call the baselessness of love in the service of life, Black Metal engages this process from the other side pace Venom’s ‘Leave Me In Hell,’ from the album that coined the movement, Black Metal (1982): ‘I don’t want to be born/ I don’t want it/ Leave me in Hell’ [cf. ‘Whylessness: The Universe is Deaf and Blind,’ Dark Nights of the Universe (2013)]. In a move similar to that made by Bataille, and later echoed by Jacques Lacan, one could claim that Black Metal attains the same Beyond as apophatic mysticism, without knowing anything about it: ‘Exuberance is the point where we let go of Christianity. Angela of Foligno attained it, and described it, but didn’t know it,’ ergo Nergal of Behemoth: ‘Do you remember Virgil’s “Aenid,” <<Obscuris vera involvens>> ? The idea of obscured truth is the source of each and every esoteric current – be it a major religious system or an intimate process of individuation – it all leads to numerous illuminations’ [commentary on ‘Ben Sahar,’ The Satanist (2013), cf. ‘Bataille and Mysticism: A “Dazzling Dissolution”’ ]. In a variant of what is regarded as Black Metal Theory’s inaugural text, ‘What is This That Stands Before Me?: Metal as Deixis,’ Masciandaro brings all of these points together in order to stress, moreover, the important relation between Metal and apophatic mysticism as a discourse-praxis immanently invested in facticity. As he notes here, ‘captured by the Vedantic formula neti neti [not this, not this], the apophatic mystic deictically negates all presence in affirmation and realization of a divine Beyond. Metal,’ he says, ‘practices a different but symmetrically and thus potentially complimentary craft with the same tool, held by the other end, … Metal negates all absence in affirmation and realization of itself as a Beyond’ [Reflections In The Metal Void (2012)].

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