Interview on Black Metal Theory – Queen Mob’s Teahouse

DIDominik Irtenkauf interviews Edia Connole on Black Metal Theory over at new art/lit mag Queen Mob’s Tea House:

DI: You started with black metal theory after you had first gone through much theory. When did you come across the first black metal record and do you still remember its impact on you?

EC: I grew up listening to punk, but black metal was always there in the background, forming part of the soundscape. Its foregrounding for me coincided with my discovery of black metal theory – that was in November 2011, when the third black metal theory symposium, P.E.S.T., was held in Dublin. I was fortunate enough to be co-hosting a dinner with Scott Wilson for some of the participants at my house. As it happened, I had met Scott rather obliquely at the second black metal theory symposium, Melancology, over in London, and we formed a conceptual-culinary partnership, MOUTH, following that. Anyway, at this time we were listening to a lot of Cascadian black metal while we cooked. I was due to give a lecture on black metal theory a day or so following that, and the principle reading material for it was a collection of essays that emerged out of the first symposium, Hideous Gnosis (2010). All this goes to say, black metal was really foregrounded for me at this time. I remember my aural experience of Fauna’s Rain (2006) being very deeply affected by Steven Shakespeare’s commentary in that collection, ‘The Light That Illuminates Itself, The Dark That Soils Itself: Blackened Notes From Schelling’s Underground.’ Shakespeare is a brilliant black metal theorist, he really knows how to think with the music. His insights in that text, on the changing nature of black metal, on deep ecology, and melancholy, particularly as it emerges out of this conflicted desire for a pre-modern pastoral world, really affected my aural experience. You once asked Nicola Masciandaro, why intellectualism about black metal? And I remember he said to you, why not? Especially if it improves the music i.e. the black metal in my head. Well, black metal theory improved black metal for me, and it was foregrounded – indeed became a central part of my life – from that experience of listening to Fauna and WTTR and thinking with the music through Shakespeare’s phenomenological reading, hence black metal theory’s essential function, as Masciandaro would have it, ‘of exposing and exploring the non-difference between thought and metal.’

DI: Your work is guided by Georges Bataille. Do you see traces of his philosophy in black metal and if so, is it rather random that black metal musicians might come up with parallels to this Frenchman’s philosophy?

EC: Yes, and no, I don’t think it is random at all, inchoate, perhaps, in instances, but never random. Particularly in French black metal. Not necessarily because Bataille himself was French, or because French black metal has never been shy of intellectualism, but because it is more explicitly mystical, sonorously and so on, and from there I think we can see traces of Bataille’s thought in black metal more generally, especially as he is read through Nick Land, for example, in The Thirst for Annihilation (1992); which, of course, even sounds like a black metal album, instantly intriguing, a sort of heretical inversion of the premise that ‘liking the way it sounds without knowing what is meant is very metal.’ Anyway, I’m reminded of this here because you used the word ‘philosophy,’ and this is the key to answering this question correctly, or certainly as best I can. At some point in this publication, Land, musing on our dead God, begins by saying that ‘Bataille does not transmit a philosophy, but rather a delirious negative evangile: “death can be tasted.”’ It follows, that if death can be tasted for Bataille, his gargantuan appetite or, thirst for annihilation, if you like, grows out of an attempt to link the sensuous and corporeal with an ineffable first principle and this, coupled with a virulent disdain for the Western metaphysical tradition, insofar as this tradition is understood to have determined the sensational emptiness of modern life, is how he comes to precede Masciandaro, however obliquely, as a highly unorthodox but nevertheless key thinker in the contemporary retrieval of Neoplatonism; particularly apophasis, which is a powerful, widely, and significantly present, but little recognized feature of black metal.

Most black metal theory and, of course, all of Masciandaro’s oeuvre, as its inaugurator, is unknowingly driven by the defining phenomenological features of apophasis – the negative way of unknowing and unsaying – we find in black metal. The central feature is one of loss, or of losing, whether that is in the sense of declarative meaning in the instrumental or vocal orientation of the genre, or in those corresponding moments in interviews where the black metal artist, ‘asked to articulate the deeper meaning in their music/philosophy … retreats/advances into tautological reductiveness (it’s just fucking metal) or some absolute emotion or stance (I hate everything, I just do what I like).’ This kind of loss or learned ignorance apropos of Nicholas Cusanus is both epistemic and existential, we find the dysphoric affective quality of it in monstrosity – hence the masks/corpse paint of the genre – and in self-violence – the much maligned theatre of blood. And while this divestment of certainty and of self is mostly painful, as we all (un)know, it can be cause for positive emotion too. An oft cited passage from Bataille that seems to capture this best, for black metal theorists, brings us back to the death of God: ‘THE OBJECT OF ECSTASY IS THE ABSENCE OF AN OUTSIDE ANSWER. THE INEXPLICABLE PRESENCE OF MAN IS THE ANSWER THE WILL GIVES ITSELF, SUSPENDED IN THE VOID OF UNKNOWABLE NIGHT.’

… Continue reading here.

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Loops and Augmentation: Pragmatism, Accelerationism, and Navigation

Originally posted on Naught Thought:

One of the core concepts of the neo-rationalist (and more broadly pragmatist) camp is that of boot-strapping – that certain capacities or processes, are capable of self-augmentation. While less colloquially discussed in terms of recursion (invoking a functionalist or mathematical context) boot-strapping indexes the material consequence of such activity or, in a related fashion, that a process can be recursively defined given it’s self-evident productivity. One instance would be discussing thought as a process of thinking which produces thoughts wouldn’t seem to get us too far except that we that this process engenders a massively complex chain of consequences for everything including itself.

Where boot-strapping indicates a metal act informing a self affecting physical act, a recursive definition seems to operate in one abstract realm yet, if this were the case, then recursion would be the same as circularity. But even in this abstract sense circularity can be avoided in…

View original 1,538 more words

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Hyperstition & The New Weird I

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REGISTRATION: Here

TITLE: Hyperstition & The New Weird I:
Entities and Worlds/Genres and Climates

NUMBER: NCTP 400-1114

INSTRUCTORS: Ben Woodard and Tony Yanick

Guests: Lendl Barcelos, Amy Ireland, Nicola Masciandaro, & Jeff VanderMeer.

TIME:  6:00 PM-8:30 PM EST

DATES: Mondays: November 17th & 24th; December 1st & 8th

MODULE: 1 of 2

CREDIT: 1

DESCRIPTION: The New Weird is a notoriously difficult literary genre to define, as it involves splicing together of fantasy, horror, and science fiction genres – but as Ann and Jeff VanderMeer suggest, The New Weird undermines those genres’ fixed cliches and overtly romanticized worldviews. Indeed, the genre remains difficult to define further. As Michael Cisco has put it:

“Nothing could be more unenlightening or useless than a New Weird manifesto. What strikes the observer is precisely the spontaneity with which so many different writers, pursuing such obviously disparate literary styles, should vaguely intersect in this way. Instead of a set of general aims, we have a great proliferation of correspondences on a more intimate level, like a sprawling coincidence of idiosyncratic choices.”

This Fall seminar, “Entities and Worlds/Genres and Climates,” sets out less to pin down what the new weird is and more to establish what it does. Following Cisco’s lead, the New Weird attempts to demonstrate how types of writing do not depend upon the entities invoked, and that the creation of worlds is not the automatic inhabitation of a genre or its typical style. In essence, The New Weird brings the generation of worlds and the depiction of our world closer together.

Furthermore, this seminar will explore how and why the Weird and the New Weird has influenced the Cybernetic Cultural Research Unit (CCRU) notion of hyperstition and the subsequent concept of theory-fiction. Hyperstition, which Nick Land and Sadie Plant defined as ‘making fictional entities real’, has a Lovecraftian provenance which is accelerated by the New Weird’s philosophical and political realisms which still utilize seemingly impossible creatures, dimensions, and technologies. Thus the boundary between speculative philosophy engaging with fictional entities and fiction, which engages with speculative philosophy (theory-fiction) further, mutates the boundary between genre, world, nonfiction, and fiction.

REQUIREMENTS AND DETAILS: The seminar will be composed of four two and a half hour sessions, each of which will be split between an hour to an hour and a half lecture (or guest presentation) and around an hour of group discussion.

Session Preparation: Students are expected to do the required readings assigned for each week, along with participating in presentations and discussion both in session on Google Hangouts On Air and asynchronously on the discussion board provided by the seminar (Google Classroom). In addition, each student is expected to lead at least one discussion on assigned readings during the course of the seminar (schedule to be determined during the first session).

Writing: The final assessment consists of a 2500 word essay on a topic agreed upon with the instructors in advance. Students do have the option of presenting their own project as a replacement for the final essay. In addition, throughout the session, short weekly responses (400 word post) regarding some aspect of the week’s topic due the Sunday before each session (except the first session). This will be shared via Google Classroom for everyone to read and comment upon as they wish, providing some preliminary threads for the group discussion in each session. If you like, each short response could be working towards the topic chosen for your final essay, although this is not a requirement.

DEADLINE FOR FINAL ESSAY: two weeks following the final session (Dec 22nd).

Assessment: The New Centre students enrolled in seminars are not given academic grades or marks but evaluated based on three criterion: Pass, Fail and Extraordinary. The last category is saved for students who throughout the seminar have demonstrated an extraordinary ability to contribute to the research and practice involved in the course load.

SCHEDULE:

November 17th: Hyperstition (Guests: Lendl Barcelos and Amy Ireland)

  • CCRU: “Lemurian Time War”
  • How Do Fictions Become Hyperstitions? (June 19th, 2004)

http://hyperstition.abstractdynamics.org/archives/003345.html

  • Cartography of the Virtual (July 2nd, 2004)

http://hyperstition.abstractdynamics.org/archives/003496.html

  • Hyperstition an Introduction: Delphi Carstens Interviews Nick Land (2009)

http://merliquify.com/blog/articles/hyperstition-an-introduction/#.VFtm24ee_KB

  • Delphi Cartens: Hyperstition (2010)

http://merliquify.com/blog/articles/hyperstition/#.VFtnIYee_KC

  • Nick Land: “Meat (or How to Kill Oedipus in Cyberspace),” in Fanged Noumena

Citation: Land, Nick. “Fanged Noumena: Collected Writings 1987-2007.” (2012).

  • Nick Land: “Meltdown,” in Fanged Noumena

Citation: Land, Nick. “Fanged Noumena: Collected Writings 1987-2007.” (2012).

Optional:

  • William Gibson: “Burning Chrome” (1985).
  • William Burroughs: “The Invisible Generation” (1962).
  • Marc Couroux’s PAF 2014 Presentation: “Adventures in Disorder: carg(occult) pragmètics across the templexed circuits of hyperstition xenopraxis, with invaluable supervision from Dr. Linda Trent and the faculty at Miskatonic Virtual University” (2014, video).
  • Eldritch Priest: “To Make a Better Crease” (January 26th, 2013)

http://www.theocculture.net/to-make-a-better-crease/

  • Hyperstition. Tedx Talk by Delphi Carstens (2012)

http://www.orphandriftarchive.com/neofuture/delphi-hyperstition-tedx.php

November 24th: The New Weird (Guest: Jeff VanderMeer)

  • Ann & Jeff VanderMeer: Introduction to The New Weird

Citation: VanderMeer, Ann, and Jeff VanderMeer. The New Weird. Tachyon Publications, 2008.

  • Jeff VanderMeer: “The Uncanny Power of Weird Fiction” (October 30th, 2014)

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2014/10/uncanny-fiction-beautiful-and-bizarre/381794/?single_page=true

  • Jeff VanderMeer: Annihilation (excerpts)

Citation: VanderMeer, Jeff. Annihilation: A Novel. Macmillan, 2014.

Optional:

  • Michael Cisco: Member (excerpts)

Citation: Cisco, Michael. Member. Chomu Press. 2013.

  • China Miéville: The City and the City (excerpts)

Citation: Miéville, China. “The City and the City [2009].” London: Pan-Macmillan (2010).

  • Kathe Koja: The Cipher (excerpts)

Citation: Koja, Kathe. The Cipher. Roadswell Editions, 2014.

December 1st: Theory-Fiction

  • Reza Negarestani: Cyclonopedia: Complicity with Anonymous Materials (excerpts)

Citation: Negarestani, Reza. “Cyclonopedia: Complicity with Anonymous Materials.” (2008).

  • Urbanomic: “A Brief History of Geotrauma or: The Invention of Negarestani” (March 12th, 2011)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=19V6wDujWyQ

  • Melanie Doherty: “Non-Oedipal Networks,” in Leper Creativity

Citation: Negarestani, Reza. Leper Creativity: Cyclonopedia Symposium. punctum books, 2012.

Optional:

  • Kate Marshall: “Cyclonopedia as Novel (a meditation on complicity as inauthenticity),” in Leper Creativity

Citation: Negarestani, Reza. Leper Creativity: Cyclonopedia Symposium. punctum books, 2012.

  • Ben Woodard: On an Ungrounded Earth (excerpts)

Citation: Woodard, Ben. On an Ungrounded Earth: Towards a New Geophilosophy. punctum books, 2013.

December 8th: True Detective (Guest: Nicola Masciandaro)

  • Nic Pizzolatto: True Detective (2014)
  • Thomas Ligotti: The Conspiracy Against the Human Race (excerpts)

Citation: Ligotti, Thomas. The conspiracy against the human race: a contrivance of horror. Hippocampus Press, 2010.

Recommended Readings from True Detection (Schism 2014), edited by Edia Connole, Paul J. Ennis, and Nicola Masciandaro:

  • Nicola Masciandaro: “I am not supposed to be here: birth and mystical detection”
  • Paul J. Ennis: “The atmospherics of consciousness”
  • Ben Woodard: “Nothing grows in the right direction: scaling the life of the negative”
  • Scott Wilson: “The nonsense of detection: truth between science and the real”
  • Caoimhe Doyle & Katherine Foyle: “The flat devil net: mapping quantum narratives in True Detective
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“Never Born, Never Die”: Professor Nicola Masciandaro’s Keynote Presentation—Gebser 2014

[cross-posted from Gebser]

With the 2014 Gebser conference just around the corner,  we would like to formally introduce this year’s Keynote speaker, Nicola Masciandaro.

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Professor of English at Brooklyn College (CUNY), and a specialist in medieval literature, Nicola’s work falls between philosophy, mysticism, and criticism, with special attention to the topics of sorrow, decapitation, and commentary.

In his Keynote, Nicola takes a critical approach to the problem of individuation and mystical birth in Gebser, and seeks to investigate its aperspectival structure. Gebser is brought into dialogue with more traditional concepts of mystical becoming, as articulated in the writings of figures such fourteenth century Christian mystic, Meister Eckhart, for whom “god shines in man”, as well as more contemporary figures such as Meher Baba (1894–1969), who claimed to be a divinely realised avatâra (manifestation of god).  According to thinkers such as these, spiritual evolution follows the pattern of a more radically singular process of self/world-negation.Here,  salvation is individualised through God-realization.

Nicola’s recent publications include “I Am Not Supposed To Be Here: Birth and Mystical Detection,” in True Detection, eds. Connole, Ennis, and Masciandaro (Schism, 2014), “Paradisical Pessimism: On the Crucifixion Darkness and the Cosmic Materiality of Sorrow” (Qui Parle, 2014), Sufficient Unto the Day: Sermones Contra Solicitudinem (Schism, 2014), and Dark Nights of the Universe, co-authored with Daniel Colucciello Barber, Alexander Galloway and Eugene Thacker (NAME, 2013). Current/forthcoming projects include: Floating Tomb: Black Metal, Theory, and Mysticism, co-authored with Edia Connole (Mimesis); Sorrow Of Being; and Dark Wounds of Light, co-authored with Alina Popa. He is founding editor of the journal Glossator: Practice and Theory of the Commentary.

Nicola will be presenting his Keynote on Saturday 18th October 2014, at 10 a.m. The full presentation abstract is provided below.

NEVER BORN … NEVER DIE:
INDIVIDUATION, MUTATION, AND MYSTICAL BIRTH

Nicola Masciandaro, PhD 

Keynote Presentation, International Jean Gebser Society, Crisis and Mutation, 2014

Jean Gebser’s Ever-Present Origin, in keeping with the seeming paradox of its titular concept, may be said to be saturated with the problem/question of birth to the point of erasure. On the one hand, its understanding of the mutative evolution of consciousness is thoroughly general and collective, sited within the universality of mankind and the scientistic episteme of the human ‘we’. It address our crisis, the crisis of the mutable world we happen to inhabit. From this perspective, the work leaves scant room for the radical asymmetry of individuated coming-to-be and expresses almost nothing of its hypersubjective existential terror. It is difficult to imagine Gebser, in communion with Cioran, either “long[ing] to be free . . . as the stillborn are free” or claiming that lack of “mourning and lamentations” over birth is the best “proof of how far humanity has regressed.” On the other hand, by bringing the mutations of consciousness wholly to bear upon the imperative of the present, Gebser’s work is integrally ordered precisely towards the solution of individual birth, the evaporation of the all-too-specific enigma of one’s being here, now. Its weight places itself squarely upon the singular ‘anyone’ or ‘someone’ who “supersedes ‘beginning’ and ‘end’,” who alone “knows of origin [and] has present, living and dying in the whole.” Like the fact of one’s own being born, the impossible and inevitable event of oneself which makes suicide always-already too late, the question of birth is not elided but rather made absently present in Gebser’s thought. Beginning, then, with the assumption that Ever-Present Origin’s non-treatment of the question of birth represents in these terms a significant form of spiritual refusal or silent negation of birth, my paper investigates the aperspectival structure of the phenomenon of birth by bringing Gebser’s thought into dialogue with more traditional concepts of mystical becoming, in particular those found in the writings of Meister Eckhart and Meher Baba,  according to which spiritual evolution follows the pattern of more radically singular self/world-negation and individualized salvation or God-realization. As birth is a ‘ready-made’ aperspectival and four-dimensional truth par excellence—subjective, objective, both, and neither—so is it precisely the (w)hole one’s leap into which is the next mutation of human consciousness.

Nicola Masciandaro’s full presentation is now available to read at

The Whim

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Vol 1, issue 1of Metal Music Studies

metal_music_studies_subscriptions

 

Vol. 1, issue 1 of Metal Music Studies is freely available online

Karl Spracklen, editor of the journal Metal Music Studies, shares the news that

Intellect Ltd. (publisher of this ISMMS journal) is allowing the entire first issue to

be freely available online. Please see the quality of articles, spread the word, and

consider a personal or institutional subscription to the print or online versions:

Vol. 1, issue 1 of MMS:

http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/intellect/mms

Intellect: publishers of original thinking (books, journals, magazines, & more):

http://www.intellectbooks.com/

Interview with Dr. Spracklen and links:

http://www.intellectbooks.co.uk/weblog/view-Post,id=62924/

Info & subscriptions:

http://www.intellectbooks.co.uk/journals/view-Journal,id=236/

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Melancology

Out now from ZERO BOOKS: MIIThe Proceedings of the 2nd Black Metal Theory Symposium, Melancology, London, 2011.

TABLE OF CONTENTS: Catena // Introduction to Melancology – Scott Wilson // Corpsepaint as Necro-Minstrelsy, or Towards the Re-Occultation of Black Blood – Drew Daniel // Black Sun – Aspasia Stephanou // Blackening the Green – Niall Scott // WormSign – Nicola Masciandaro // Shuddering: Black Metal on the Edge of the Earth – Steven Shakespeare // Black Metal In the White Tower: Metal’s Formless Presence in Contemporary Art – Amelia Ishmael // In the Abyss of Lies: A Short Essay on Failure in Black Metal – Liviu Mantescu // To the Mountains: The Implications of Black Metal’s Geophilosophy – Dominik Irtenkauf // The Irreversible Sludge: Troubled Energetics, Eco-Purification, and Self Inhumanization – Ben Woodard // Musca Amusica – Scott Wilson // Black Metal Theory – Dominik Irtenkauf and Nicola Masciandaro // Discography.

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Weaponising Speculation

WS COVER

Brooklyn, NY: punctum books, 2014. 140 pages, illus. ISBN-13: 978-0615956664. OPEN-ACCESS e-book and $30.00 [€25.00/£21.00] in print: paperbound/8.27 X 9.84 in.

Distinct from the norm. Distinct even from the academic norm. Twice removed the para-academic is doubly unwanted. The ones you have trained are set loose and they know your secrets. They are pests and they want to be armed.

This book contains the proceedings from Weaponising Speculation, a two-day conference and exhibition that took place in Dublin in March 2013. Weaponising Speculation was organised by D.U.S.T. (Dublin Unit for Speculative Thought) and aimed to be an exploration of the various expressions of DIY theory operative in the elsewheres, the shafts and tunnels of the para-academy. The topics covered all come under the welcoming embrace of speculation, spanning a broad range: from art, philosophy, nature, fiction, and computation to spiders, culinary cosmology, and Oscar the Grouch. The book itself aims to be more than just a collection of essays and catalogue of artworks, but also a documentation of the event as a whole. An object that both those present at the event and those who missed it would want to own — bringing something new to both sets of readers.

The range of topics covered in this collection, along with the added elements of design and photography, result in a book that appeals beyond the (para)academic circle within which the Speculative Realist community currently resides. One of the original aims of the Weaponising Speculation conference, and by extension the book, is to expand what might be considered the expected reach of the subject, bringing Speculation to a new audience — artists, designers, fans of fiction, photographers, biologists, film theorists, comedians, culinary artists, illustrators, computer programmers, and individuals from any number of fields.

Before the storms the para-academic needs to equip herself. Not only with tools, but weapons. In this way this collection is not only a book to read, an object to own, or a tool for learning, but a weapon with which to break open academic discourse, to invade and conquer as yet unknown territory, and toaid thinkers in the siege to reclaim the real.

TABLE OF CONTENTS: Continental Realism and Computation: Turing’s Propaganda — Robert Jackson // A Seductive Union: Speculative Realism and Contemporary Art — Rebecca O’ Dwyer // Objects, Actors and Sites of Contingency — Alice Rekab // Taken from/Put in Oscar’s bin — Sam Keogh // How to Make Space-Time and Influence People — Isabel Nolan // ‘[os mentis] mouth to mouth’ with Nicola Masciandaro — MOUTH // Sweet Dreams Are Made of This: Speculation — Ridvan Askin // All That is Liquid Melts into Solid — John Ryan // Mutant: Infiltration of the Hallucinated Mountain — Rob Murphy // The Fossils of Sensation — Alan Boardman // restless tongues expending into rest — Teresa Gillespie // House of Sheaves: The Asymptotic Horror of Nested Nature — Ben Woodard // Spider Universe: Weaponising Phobia in Bataille, Nietzsche, Spinoza — Scott Wilson // + ARTWORKS by John Ryan, Rob Murphy, Alice Rekab, Andy Weir, Teresa Gillespie, Alan Boardman, and Ciara McMahon.

Caoimhe Doyle is a Graphic Designer and Black Metal Theorist living in Dublin, Ireland. She is a recent graduate of the National College of Art and Design where she studied History of Art and Design and Visual Communication. Forthcoming publications include “Sagmeister: Not not Black Metal?” in Michael O’Rourke, Karen Seliberg, and Kamillea Aghtan (eds.), P.E.S.T (Philial Edpidemic Strategy Tryst) (Radical Matters Editions and Label) and ‘The Flat Devil Net: Mapping Quantum Narratives in True Detective” (with Katherine Foyle) in Edia Connole, Paul Ennis and Nicola Masciandaro (eds.), True Detection(SCHISM).

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