Last week, I had the wonderful opportunity to talk about Dark Deleuze with Joe from the Theory Talk podcast and the blog Fractal Ontology. We talk about my bio, the motivations behind Dark Deleuze, and quick thoughts on recent post-Deleuzian trends (Land, neo-rationalism).
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“I am a forest, and a night of dark trees: but he who is not afraid of my darkness, will find banks full of roses under my cypresses.”
This event addresses a fundamental problem for contemporary theory: How can we think the darkness? On one side of this darkness is a regression and slippage back to gothic-romanticism, a state of mind, and thinking that FWJ Schelling alluded to when he said that: “History as a whole is a progressive, gradually self-disclosing revelation of the Absolute”. On the other side, is the scientific-realist perception of and about the darkness, as it overwhelms us, and encourages immersion in absolute [nothingness-strangeness-the alien]: i.e. it performs as the nature of the universe.
We begin from a consolidated position of darkness: >No hope, no future, no humanity, no way out, no limitations to thinking the darkness …
From this start-point spring 3 perspectives:
Dark Anthropocene = geology folding back into a singularity <
Afropessimism = contemporary methodology for destroying the world <
Non-standard animism = a politics of indivisible extra-terran non/humanity <
The three perspectives are material experiments in working with and in the darkness. The stakes of these experiments are multiple — they constitute finding something when one is blind. The risks are high, the rewards potentially immense. This is not theory by any other name than an encounter on a dark horizon …
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”
An interview with Alexander R. Galloway about my recent book Dark Deleuze has been published at boundary 2 online. In it, we discuss Deleuze and Guattari, technology, queer feminism, blackness, intolerance, and many other topics.
The interview can be read here.
Join me for a reading of Dark Deleuze at Left Bank Books, 92 Pike St, Seattle, WA on July 9 at 7:30pm.
Dark Deleuze, Rekindling Deleuze’s opposition to what is intolerable about this world
Gilles Deleuze is known as a thinker of joyous affirmation and rhizomatic assemblages. Andrew Culp argues that this once-radical canon of joy has lost its resistance to the present. Culp unearths an underground network of references to conspiracy, cruelty, the terror of the outside, and the shame of being human to rekindle Deleuze’s opposition to what is intolerable about this world.
Andrew Culp is a lifelong anarchist who has been involved in radical collectives in Kansas City, California, Ohio, and Washington State. Dark Deleuze is part of his work on revolutionary thought inspired by the recent circuit of struggle that poses no demands, resists labels, and refuses to engage in formal political systems.
The conspiracy against this world will be known through its war machines. A war machine is itself “a pure form of exteriority” that “explains nothing,” but there are plenty of stories to tell about them. They are the heroes of A Thousand Plateaus – Kleist’s skull-crushing war machine; the migratory war machine that the Vandals used to sack Rome; the gun that Black Panther George Jackson grabs on the run, and the queer war machine that excretes a thousand tiny sexes. “Each time there is an operation against the state – insubordination, rioting, guerilla warfare, or revolution as an act – it can be said that a war machine has revived.” War machines are also the greatest villains of the book, making all other dangers “pale by comparison” – there is the constant state appropriation of the war machine that subordinates war to its own aims, the folly of the commercial war machine, the paranoia of the fascist war machine (not the state army of totalitarianism), and worst of them all, the “worldwide war machine” of capitalism “whose organization exceeds the State apparatus and passes into energy, military-industrial, and multinational complexes” that wages peace on the whole world. Continue reading “Task: Destroy Worlds (Not Create Conceptions)”