“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.


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.


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



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:


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


Interview with Dr. Spracklen and links:


Info & subscriptions:


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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


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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AAG 2015 CFP: Feminist Geophilosophy

Originally posted on Mutable Matter:

Image: Still from Björk ‘Mutual Core’

Feminist geophilosophy

AAG 2015 CFP, Chicago IL 21st – 25th April 2015

Convenors: Angela Last (University of Glasgow) and Kathryn Yusoff (Queen Mary University of London)
Sponsored by the Cultural Geography Specialty Group (CGSG) of the Association of American Geographers

The current Anthropocenic milieu has given rise to a flurry of geophilosophical musings and “geo” appendages that are responding to the call to push thought further into the earth. Located in a wider field of engagements with matter and inorganic life, Anthropocenic thought must strive to rethink the relation between territory and earth and grapple with the emergence of a geopolitical field that is constituted by the geologic underpinnings of life and power. Planetary thought does not only represent a provocation to philosophy, but also to geography: what does it mean to think (with) the Earth? If geophilosophy claims this as its project, then…

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SCHISM: True Detection

New from SCHISM:

True Detection co-edited by Edia Connole, Paul J. Ennis and Nicola Masciandaro


Available now via Amazon

I. Black Stars
Gary J. Shipley – Monster at the End: Pessimism’s Locked Rooms and Impossible Crimes
Edia Connole – Contemplating the Crucifixion: Cohle and Divine Gloom
Nicola Masciandaro – I Am Not Supposed To Be Here: Birth and Mystical Detection
II. Separate From Itself
Fintan Neylan – The Labour of the Pessimist: Detecting Expiration’s Artifice
Paul J. Ennis – The Atmospherics of Consciousness
Ben Woodard – Nothing Grows in the Right Direction: Scaling the Life of the Negative
III. There Was A Videotape
Niall McCann – True Detective, Jean-Luc Godard and Our Image Culture: ‘This May Well be Heaven, this Hell Smells the Same’
Daniel Fitzpatrick –  ‘True Dick’ . . . The Accelerated Acceptance and Premature Canonisation of True Detective
IV. It’s Just One Story
Scott Wilson – The Nonsense of Detection: Truth Between Science and the Real
Erin K. Stapleton – The Corpse is the Territory: The Body of Dora Kelly Lange in True Detective
Caoimhe Doyle & Katherine Foyle – The Flat Devil Net: Mapping Quantum Narratives in True Detective
Daniel Colucciello Barber – Affect Has No Story
V.  And Closure–No, No, No
Dominic Fox – koyntly bigyled
Charlie Blake, Daniel Colucciello Barber, Edia Connole, Paul J. Ennis, Gary J. Shipley – Bird Trap
Edge to Edge
Caoimhe Doyle & Katherine Foyle – The Chole Story


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Sufficient Unto The Day: Sermones Contra Solicitudinem by Nicola Masciandaro

New from SCHISM :
Sufficient Unto The Day: Sermones Contra Solicitudinem by Nicola Masciandaro.
The writings in this volume are bound by desire to refuse worry, to reject and throw it away the only way possible, by means that are themselves free from worry. If this is impossible—all the more reason to do so. I. The Sweetness (of the Law) II. Nunc Dimittis: Getting Anagogic III. Half Dead: Parsing Cecilia IV. Wormsign V. Gourmandized in the Abattoir of Openness VI. Grave Levitation: Being Scholarly VII. Labor, Language, Laughter: Aesop and the Apophatic Human VIII. This is Paradise: The Heresy of the Present IX. Becoming Spice: Commentary as Geophilosophy X. Amor Fati: A Prosthetic Gloss XI. Following the Sigh.
SUD cover copy
Order Here
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