Interregnum: Week 2

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Interregnum, Week 2

I began the week by finishing the “Media After Kittler” conference, with three incredible talks and a discussion.

 The first talk was by Samuel Weber, a huge name in philosophy and friend of Kittler. His talk, titled “The Calculable and the Incalculable: Hölderlin after Kittler,” was a masterful demonstration of how Kittler’s materialism contaminates idealism.

 The second talk was Matthew Fuller’s “The Forbidden Pleasures of Media Determinism.” Fuller’s strong philosophical acumen is on display as he digs into important areas of media theory, such as a consideration of “social form determinism.”

 The third talk is by Mai Wegener, titled “The Humming of Machines. To the End of History and Back.” While many mentioned history in their Kittler talks, Wegener performs the most rigorous and systematic use of Kittler’s non-anthropocentric media philosophy to push concepts of history to their limit.

 I continued the week with…

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Aliens, Monsters, and Revolution in the Dark Deleuze

This is the longer version of a blog post I initially wrote for the University of Minnesota Press. You can find the shorter version on their blog here.

French philosopher Gilles Deleuze is usually characterized as a thinker of positivity. Consider two of his major contributions: the rhizome as an image for the tangled connections of networks, and the molecular revolution as transform spurred by unexpected quantum drift. These concepts catapulted the popularity of his thought as the digital age seemed to reflect social forms matching each form, namely the world wide web of the internet and the anti-globalization ‘movement of movements’ that lacked central coordination. Commentators marshaled his work to make sense of these developments, ultimately leading many to preach the joy of finding new connections to the material world (New Materialism), evolving the human at the bio-technical level (Post-Humanism), and searching out intensive affective encounters (Affect Studies).

In my new book Dark Deleuze, it is not my contention that such “affirmations” are incorrect. Rather, my argument is that Deleuze was ambivalent about their development, and later in life, became more a critic than proponent. In updating Deleuze for the digital age, I did more than restore a critical stance – I worked out how his lost negativity could be set loose on this world by destroying it.

Here I expanding on the Dark Deleuzian notion of “Death of This World,” a term I introduce as an image of negativity, by rendering it here as “the alien.” Instead of using well-worn digital examples, I instead explore the greatest looming question for the humanities: the Anthropocene.

Continue reading “Aliens, Monsters, and Revolution in the Dark Deleuze”