srijeda, 6. studenoga 2013.

Accelerationism & Accelerationist Aesthetics

Akceleracionizam je novi teorijsko-estetski hip-koncept.
Libra Libera uskoro mu posvećujetemat.

Pojam akceleracionizam uveo je Benjamin Noys kako bi identificirao tendenciju kod postšezdesetosmaških mislilaca koja je stremila okretanju kapitalizma protiv njega samog.- Ante Jerić

Budućnost mora biti nanovo izgrađena. Srušio ju je neoliberalni kapitalizam te je svedena na bagatelizirana obećanja još veće nejednakosti, konflikta i kaosa. Urušenje ideje budućnosti simptom je regresivnog historijskog  statusa našeg vremena, više no, kao što bi cinici diljem političkog spektra željeli da vjerujemo, znak skeptične zrelosti. Akceleracionizam cilja prema budućnosti koja je modernija, alternativnoj modernosti koju neoliberalizam zbog inherentnih ograničenja ne može stvoriti. Budućnost ponovo moramo otvoriti i otpustiti naše horizonte prema bezbrojnim mogućnostima Izvanjskoga. - Nick Srnicek i Alex Williams
Tristam Adams, Jon Lindblom, Andrew Osborne, Benedict Singleton, Nick Srnicek, James Trafford, Tom Trevatt, Inigo Wilkins, Alex Williams, Peter Wolfendale.

This is a term I've coined (unless someone out there proposed it w/o my knowledge) to describe the kind of strategy beautifully conveyed here. In a sense it has a fairly impeccable pedigree as one of the "spirits" of Marx, especially the oft-quoted passage from the Manifesto on "all that's solid melts into air". To quote myself, this is "an exotic variant of la politique du pire: if capitalism generates its own forces of dissolution then the necessity is to radicalise capitalism itself: the worse the better. We can call these positions accelerationist."
Unsurprisingly I'm made more than a little nervous by these attempts to argue "the path leads only over the dead body of capitalism" (Brecht, see below). A "red thread" can be traced from Marx, via Brecht, down to the libertarian current of the early 1970s. Rather than seeking the subject of revolt as the marginal to capital, the subject of revolt is the subject in capital (although the dangerous elision is that the subject of revolt simply is capital). As Lyotard, whose Libidinal Economy is the book of accelerationism, puts it: "in the immense and vicious circuit of capitalist exchanges, whether of commodities or ‘services’, it appears that all the modalities of jouissance are possible and that none is ostracized."
Interestingly, in a previous post titled 'Against Hauntology' Splintering Bone Ashes (SBA) sketches two options:
Firstly (if we believe the hauntologists discursive a priori), as I have hinted at above, we might think a more nihilist aesthetic which seeks not merely to foreground the processes of postmodern audio-necromancy, but rather to accelerate the system to its ultimate demise, to speed up the rate of fashion-flux to a point of irredeemable collapse. Rather than an act of reverence, of mourning, of touching at impossible universes from a distance, this would be a deliberate and gleeful affirmation [option a]. Alternatively, we might consider Badiou's analysis of the emergence of the new, which would entail a more strategic examination of precisely where the pop-musical evental sites and historical situations exist within our current time: those regions which appear, from the in-situational point of view, to be marginal, and properly undecideable. [option b]
Obviously I'd choose option b, and in a sense, although departing from Badiou precisely on the grounds of his "affirmationism", this is the argument of The Persistence of the Negative. The later post firmly chooses option a. While this is one way to cash out the politics of speculative realism, and hence admirable, I'm not sure it exhausts those possibilities or is the only such politics extractable.

In terms of artworks I find a lot to agree with in the critical remarks concerned with hauntology, and can certainly see the jouissance of the nihilistic embrace of capital qua accelerator. Much of the shock of Detroit Techno in its initial phase (to show my age) was its choice to embody the robots of the production lines of Ford (which had obviously been a factor in the devastation of Detroit), rather than the "humanism" of Motown. In a way this it is impeccably Brechtian.

That said I feel there are definite problems with this as political strategy (as well as artistic - cf. the late Warhol - Jeff Koons - Damien Hirst line). Instead, unsurprisingly, I prefer the position of Benjamin: "Marx says that revolutions are the locomotives of world history. But the situation may be quite different. Perhaps revolutions are not the train ride, but the human race grabbing for the emergency brake."
Some examples of accelerationism:

Behaviourism is a psychology which begins with the needs of commodity production in order to develop methods with which to influence buyers, i.e., it is an active psychology, progressive and revolutionizing kathode (Kathoxen). In keeping with its capitalist function, it has its limits (the reflexes are biological; only in a few Chaplin films are they already social). Here, too, the path leads only over the dead body of capitalism, but here, too, this is a good path.

Roland Barthes
There is only one way left to escape the alienation of present-day society: to retreat ahead of it.
Pleasure of the Text (1973)

Galloway & Thacker
One must push through to the other side rather than drag one’s heels.
The Exploit: A Theory of Networks (2007)

"Accelerationism: An Introduction", Lecture by Steven Shaviro @ Grand Valley State University   

Steven Shaviro: More on Accelerationism

I have recently, without having planned to in advance, found myself giving talks on the subject of accelerationism. First there was an “Introduction to Accelerationism” that I gave as a talk at Grand Valley State University. The video is here. And then, this past week, I gave a talk at the e-flux “Escape Velocity” symposium. What follows is the text of the latter talk. Long-time readers of this blog may recognize that the last portion of the talk actually recycles something that I initially published on the blog seven or eight years ago, and that is an extract from my still unfinished manuscript The Age of Aesthetics (which I swear I intend to return to and finish at some point…). The text that I present here is mostly complete, but there are a few points where I just have notes to myself, which I filled in more or less well while speaking.
In his science fiction novel Pop Apocalypse, Lee Konstantinou imagines the existence of a “Creative Destruction” school of Marxist-Leninist thought. The adherents of this school “interpret Marx’s writings as literal predictions of the future, so they consider it their mission to help capitalist markets spread to every corner of the world, because that’s the necessary precondition for a truly socialist revolution.” This means that the Creative Destruction Marxists are indistinguishable, in terms of actual practice, from the most ruthless capitalists. In the novel, their actions coincide with those of a group of investors who have concluded that “there’s money to be made off the destruction of the world,” and that in fact apocalyptic destruction constitutes “an unprecedented business opportunity.” They therefore seek to precipitate a worldwide nuclear conflagration: “On behalf of our investors, we’re obligated to take every step we can to insure that we corner the Apocalypse market before anyone else does.”
Let us take this satire as a preliminary parable of capitalism and accelerationism. Benjamin Noys, who actually coined the term accelerationism, does indeed present it somewhat like this, as “an exotic variant of la politique du pire: if capitalism generates its own forces of dissolution then the necessity is to radicalise capitalism itself: the worse the better.” But perhaps Noys’ critique is a bit unfair. Accelerationism is a new response to the specific conditions of today’s neoliberal, globalized and networked, capitalism. But it is solidly rooted in traditional Marxist thought. Marx himself writes both of capitalism’s revolutionary effects, and of the contradictions that render it unviable. On the one hand, Marx and Engels write in the Manifesto that capitalism is characterized by
Constant revolutionizing of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation… All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind.
Note the way that capitalism’s relentless “revolutionizing” of technologies and social relations also revolutionalizes our self-understanding. As capitalism shakes up the material basis of life, it also demystifies and disenchants; it destroys all of the old mythical explanations and legitimations that were previously used to justify our place in society, and in the cosmos. We are left, as Ray Brassier puts it, with a world in which “intelligibility has become detached from meaning.” My difference with Brassier on this point is that he attributes the demystification of old narratives to some supposed “normative ideal of explanatory progress,” when in fact it is, as Marx says, a consequence of capitalism’s overwhelming development of productive forces. This does not mean that science, in practice, is in any sense arbitrary or “socially constructed.” But it does suggest that any talk of the alleged power of inferential links in the logical space of reasons is itself little more than a post hoc rationalization — rather than any sort of actual explanation of the way that science works. We ought to be as wary of Sellarsian neo-rationalism as we are of the meaning-laden narratives the Brassier so categorically dismisses.
In any case, Marx refuses to separate the radically liberatory effects of the “constant revolutionizing of production” from its creation of vast human misery. He insists that these go together, precisely because the development of capitalism is beset by severe internal contradictions. These contradictions are both the reason why capitalist development is not benign, and why it cannot be the ultimate horizon of history or of technological invention. In particular, Marx emphasizes the violent contradiction between the forces of production unleashed by capitalism, and the relations of production that organize it. The discordance between these, he insists, must lead to its downfall:
The monopoly of capital becomes a fetter upon the mode of production which has flourished alongside and under it. The centralization of the means of production and the socialization of labour reach a point at which they become incompatible with their capitalist integument. This integument is burst asunder. The knell of capitalist private property sounds. The expropriators are expropriated.
At the risk of belaboring the obvious, I will point out that Marx’s diagnosis of the maladies of capitalism has been amply confirmed by subsequent events; even though his vision of a movement beyond capitalism has never come to pass. In today’s neoliberal, globalized network society, “the monopoly of capital” has indeed become “a fetter upon the mode of production.” We can see this in all sorts of ways. Insane austerity programs transfer more wealth to the already-rich at the price of undermining living standards (not to mention spending ability) for the population as a whole. The privatization of formerly public services, and the expropriation of formerly common resources, undermine the very infrastructures that are essential for long-term survival. “Digital rights management” and copy protection restrict the flow of data, and cripple the power of the very technologies that make them possible in the first place. Ubiquitous surveillance by both corporate and governmental entities, and the consequent consolidation of Big Data, leads to stultification at precisely those points where the ruling ideology calls for “flexibility” and “creativity.” Investment is increasingly directed toward derivatives and other arcane financial instruments; the more these claim to comprehend the future by pricing “risk,” the more thoroughly they move away from any grounding in actual (and short-term, much less profitable) productive activity. And of course, massive environmental deterioration results from the way that actual energetic expenditures are written off by businesses as so-called “externalities.”
And yet, none of these contradictions have caused the system to collapse, or even remotely menaced its expanded reproduction. Instead, capitalism perpetuates itself through a continual series of readjustments. Nearly all of us, as individuals, have suffered from these blockages and degradations; but Capital itself has not. Despite the fact that we have reached a point where capitalist property relations have become an onerous “fetter upon the mode of production” that they initially helped to put into motion, this fetter shows no sign of being lifted. The intensification of capitalism’s contradictions has not lead to an explosion, or to any “negation of the negation.” The “capitalist integument” has failed to “burst asunder”; instead, it has calcified into a rigid carapace, well-nigh suffocating the life within.
Accelerationism is best understood as an attempt to respond to this dilemma. On the one hand, we have massive dialectical contradictions that, nonetheless, do not lead to any sublation, or “negation of the negation” such as Marx — in this respect at least, all too faithfully following Hegel — envisioned. On the other hand, and at the same time, actually existing capitalism has in fact brought us to the point where — perhaps for the first time in human history since the invention of agriculture — such a supersession is at least conceivable. With its globe-spanning technologies, its creation and use of an incredibly powerful computation and communications infrastructure, its mobilization of general intellect, and its machinic automation of irksome toil, contemporary capitalism really has produced the conditions for universal affluence. In the world today, there is already enough accumulated wealth, and sufficiently advanced technology, for every human being to lead a life of leisure and self-cultivation. As William Gibson famously said, “the future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.”
We should not underestimate the significance of this. In principle at least (even if not in fact) we have solved the economic problem — just as John Maynard Keynes, writing in 1930, predicted we would do within a century. “This means,” Keynes added, “that the economic problem is not — if we look into the future — the permanent problem of the human race.” Instead, Keynes predicted,
for the first time since his creation man will be faced with his real, his permanent problem — how to use his freedom from pressing economic cares, how to occupy the leisure, which science and compound interest will have won for him, to live wisely and agreeably and well.
What the Bloomsbury aesthete Keynes foresaw as the outcome of capitalism — assuming, of course, “the euthanasia of the rentier,” which Keynes hoped would happen gradually, and without a revolution — differs little from the socialism imagined by Charles Fourier and Oscar Wilde, among others. They both saw general affluence as the necessary condition for human beings to be able to flourish, cultivating their individuality or their passions. Keynes’ vision is not even all that far from the communism described by Marx himself in his early writings: a society which “makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticize after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, shepherd or critic.”
This seemingly old-fashioned (19th-century aesthete) view of self-cultivation can be connected, not only to late Foucault, but also to the whole question of becoming posthuman.
But of course, the rentier has not gradually faded away; nor has the capitalist organization of production been overturned either by reform or by revolutionary upheaval. In other words, the Hegelian dialectic has definitively failed. The real is unquestionably not rational. Hegelian dialectics is not adequate to describe the delirious, irrational “logic” of capital — even though Marx himself originally analyzed this “logic” with Hegelian categories. For our experiences of the past century have taught us that, the worse its own internal contradictions get, the more fully capitalism is empowered. Marx wrote that “capital is dead labour which, vampire-like, only lives by sucking living labour, and lives the more, the more labour it sucks.” But in fact, capital is even more monstrous than this. For it is actively auto-cannibalistic. It feeds, not only on living labor, but also upon itself. As David Harvey reminds us, Marx envisions “the violent destruction of capital, not by relations external to it, but rather as a condition of its self-preservation.” When profit rates decline, then vast conflagrations of value — whether in wars or in economic crises — allow the accumulation of capital to resume anew. The lesson is that capitalism is never undone by its own internal contradictions. Rather, capitalism both needs and uses these contradictions; it continually regenerates itself by means of them, and indeed it could not survive without them.
In other words, we cannot hope to negate capitalism, because capitalism itself mobilizes a far greater negativity than anything we could hope to mount against it. The dirty little secret of capitalism is that it produces abundance, but also continually transforms this abundance into scarcity. It has to do so, because it cannot endure its own abundance. Again and again, as Marx and Engels say in the Manifesto, “there breaks out an epidemic that, in all earlier epochs, would have seemed an absurdity — the epidemic of over-production.” The wealth that capitalism actually produces undermines the scarcity that remains its raison d’etre. For once scarcity has been overcome, there’s nothing left to drive competition. The imperative to expand and intensify production simply becomes absurd. In the face of abundance, therefore, capitalism needs to generate an imposed scarcity, simply in order to keep itself going. This is the irrational turn that Keynes missed, in his all-too-rational hope for capitalistically-generated affluence. And this is why Deleuze and Guattari, in the notorious and much-quoted passage that is the ur-text of accelerationism, urge us
to go further still… in the movement of the market, of decoding and deterritorialization… For perhaps the flows are not yet deterritorialized enough, not decoded enough, from the viewpoint of a theory and practice of a highly schizophrenic character. Not to withdraw from the process, but to go further, to ‘accelerate the process,’ as Nietzsche put it: in this matter, the truth is that we haven’t seen anything yet.
This passage has in fact been taken out of context, and interpreted much more broadly than I think Deleuze and Guattari ever intended. For the statement only makes sense in the light of their overall understanding of how scarcity under capitalism “is never primary,” but rather “is created, planned, and organized in and through social production.” More specifically, they say that scarcity “is counterproduced as a result of the pressure of antiproduction” arising from Capital as the socius, or monstrous “body without organs” of social being.
The larger point here is that political economy needs to be understood first of all in terms of abundance instead of scarcity. The classical economics of Smith and especially Ricardo, and after them Marx, and revived in the 20th century by Sraffa, was concerned with social production, distribution, and expenditure. These political economists asked how a society could materially reproduce itself, as well as how it could grow by generating a surplus. And they were therefore concerned with the management and distribution of such a surplus. But neoclassical economics, ever since the late 19th century, and especially today, has a very different set of concerns. It deals, not with the problem of surplus, but with the problem of scarcity. It asks how individuals make decisions, given limited resources. Rather than noticing that we in fact have more than we can use, neoclassical economics insists that we are bedeviled by infinite desires and only finite means. This mimics the way in which capitalism must suppress the very abundance it produces, by subjecting it to an imposed scarcity.
Keynes also opposes the argument from scarcity:
Now it is true that the needs of human beings may seem to be insatiable. But they fall into two classes-those needs which are absolute in the sense that we feel them whatever the situation of our fellow human beings may be, and those which are relative in the sense that we feel them only if their satisfaction lifts us above, makes us feel superior to, our fellows. Needs of the second class, those which satisfy the desire for superiority, may indeed be insatiable; for the higher the general level, the higher still are they. But this is not so true of the absolute needs — a point may soon be reached, much sooner perhaps than we are all of us aware of, when these needs are satisfied in the sense that we prefer to devote our further energies to non-economic purposes.
This can also be linked to self-fashioning, in opposition to the 19th/20th century idea of infinite desire.
In the latter part of the twentieth century, Keynesian policies were replaced by neoliberal ones — precisely because the latter are premised upon the imposition of a universal requirement for competition in all areas of life. over scarce resources, as Foucault was the first to note.
This is a question for environmental considerations as well. Do we think in terms of resource scarcity, which would mean that we must learn to live with less? Or do we understand our destruction of the biosphere, our causing mass extinctions, etc., as a kind of imposed scarcity (in contrast, perhaps, to the Bataillean overabundance and sheer gift of solar energy?). General economy needs to be decoupled from fictions of the infinitude of desire.
Everything I have said so far about contradictions and going further needs to be understood in terms of one of the most contentious doctrines in Marxism, that of the fall of the rate of profit. Although Marx refers to “laws” of capitalist political economy; but he also says that these laws are tendential ones. The “the law of the tendential fall of the rate of profit” (Gesetz des tendenziellen Falls der Profitrate). There are many countervailing factors to any tendency. The tendency is real in itself; it is a part of the present situation. But because of the countervailing factors, there is no guarantee that the tendency will actually happen.
What Marx calls a tendency has some similarities to what Deleuze calls the virtual. Both are fully real, without being entirely actual. It is a question of futurity. Science fiction articulates the futurity that already exists as a virtual component of the present. It grasps both technology and socio-politico-economic organization.
Among all its other accomplishments, neoliberal capitalism has also robbed us of the future. It turns everything into an eternal present. The highest values are supposedly novelty, innovation, and creativity, and yet these always turn out to be more of the same. The future exists only in order to be colonized and made into an investment opportunity. The genuine unknowability of the future is transformed, by means of derivatives trading, into a matter of calculable risk. I am haunted by the condition of what Mark Fisher calls capitalist realism, in which — as Fisher puts it, channeling Jameson and Zizek — “it’s easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism.” In this way, accelerationism is an attempt to answer a problem of imagination, no less than than a problem of economics.
Deleuze and Guattari’s reconceptualization of capitalism was of course picked up in the 1990s by the British philosopher Nick Land. Land pushes the deterritorializing schizophrenia of D & G to the maximum, while dropping the anti-capitalist rhetoric. Instead, Land celebrates absolute deterritorialization as liberation, to the point of total disintegration and death. He sees Capital as an alien force that exceeds and ruptures the human; but he celebrates this destructive force (whereas Marxists denounce it; and defenders of capitalism deny that such is the case).
Land offers a science-fictional view of capitalism. But he identifies with Capital itself — against human beings, or any other sort of organic life. This picks up the monstrosity of Capital as body without organs or socius. But do we need therefore to identify with it, against ourselves? Land develops a kind of Stockholm Syndrome with regard to capital. Contrast the way Hardt and Negri try to reclaim the multitude as a monstrosity that the ruling order has always tried to repress. But they are wrong and Land is right; it is really Capital that is excessive and monstrous. Of course, we cannot remain the same and deal with this monstrosity. In order to survive the monstrosity of capital, let alone flourish under it or despite it, we need to change. This is where we become posthuman.
Paul De Filippo’s science fiction short story “Phylogenesis” deals directly with this situation. The story is an accelerationist one, in the way that it pushes to the end of the full monstrosity of the body of Capital, and especially of the ecological catastrophe that is one of its most important consequences. “Phylogenesis” is a story about living on in the face of monstrosity.
The literal premise of “Phylogenesis” is that an alien species of enormous “invaders came to Earth from space without warning… In blind fulfillment of their life cycle, they sought biomass for conversion to more of their kind.” As a result, “the ecosphere had been fundamentally disrupted, damaged beyond repair.” The invaders’ massive predation leaves the earth a barren, ruined mass: “the planet, once green and blue, now resembled a white featureless ball, exactly the texture and composition of the [invading species].” Human beings are reluctant to accept the hard truth that they cannot repel the invasion: “only in the final days of the plague, when the remnants of mankind huddled in a few last redoubts, did anyone admit that extermination of the invaders and reclamation of the planet was impossible.” The human agenda is reset at the last possible moment: with victory unattainable, sheer survival becomes the only remaining goal. In this situation of general dispossession, there is no longer any environment capable of sustaining humanity. It is necessary, instead, “to adapt a new man to the alien conditions.”
And so the “chromosartors” get to work, genetically refashioning Homo sapiens into a new species. We are reborn as viral parasites, living within the very bodies of the spacefaring invaders. On the outside, the host presents a smooth surface: it is a “tremendous glaucous bulk,” with skin “like a bluish-gray compound of fat and plastic,” possessed of “a relatively high albedo,” and shaped like a “featureless ovoid.” The host, just like Deleuze and Guattari’s body without organs, “presents its smooth, slippery, opaque, taut surface as a barrier.” But beneath this surface, Deleuze and Guattari tell us, the body without organs “senses there are larvae and loathsome worms… so many nails piercing the flesh, so many forms of torture.” Or, as Di Filippo tells the story, a whole ecology pullulates beneath “the sleek uniformity of the host’s thick skin.” Its “interior structure” is “a labyrinth of cells and arteries, nerves and organs, structural tubules and struts… A nonhomogeneous environment of wet and dry spaces, some cluttered with pulsing conduits and organs, some home to roving organelles, others like the empty caverns formed in foam.” And this is where the genetically refashioned human species takes up residence.
Most of the text of “Phylogenesis” lovingly recounts the physiology, psychology, and overall life cycle of the new parasitic humanity. The bioengineering is precise and efficient. Everything is optimized in accordance with the physiology and metabolism of the host, and in the interest of flexibility. Anything deemed superfluous to survival is unsentimentally jettisoned. The “neohumans” mate quickly, reproduce in great numbers (in “litters” of five or more), and mature rapidly. They exhibit both swarm behavior — ganging up together when necessary to overwhelm the host’s defenses — and nomadic distribution — “scattering themselves throughout the interior of the gargantuan alien” to reduce the chances of being all wiped out at once by the host’s counterattacks. Once they have killed their host, they go into hibernation within “protective vesicles,” in order to survive the vacuum of deep space until they can encounter another host. In this way, they are able to perpetuate both their genes and their cultural heritage. Since they unavoidably “possess a basically nonmaterial culture,” they only use light-weight technologies that have been interiorized within their bodies. They are especially gifted with “mathematical skill,” including a genetically-instilled “predisposition toward solving… abstruse functions in their heads.” Aesthetically, they are all masters and lovers of song, “the only art form left to the artifact-free neohumans.” Mathematics and music are the sole “legacy of six thousand years of civilization” that has been bequeathed to them. The lives of the neohumans are short and intermittent; they are “mayflies, fast-fading blooms, the little creatures of a short hour. Yet to themselves, their lives still tasted sweet as of old.”
We can see Di Filippo’s story as an allegory of capitalist realism and accelerationism. The story turns upon devising a brilliant strategy for adapting to catastrophic monstrosity. When “There Is No Alternative” — when it no longer seems possible for us to defeat the monstrous invasion, or even to imagine things otherwise — Di Filippo’s parasitic inversion is the best that we can do. The neohumans of “Phylogenesis” evade extinction at the hands of the monstrous aliens, by devising a situation in which their own survival absolutely depends upon the continuing survival of the monstrosities as well. The parasitic neohumans end up killing whatever host they have invaded; but their continuing proliferation is always contingent upon encountering another host. The extinction of the invaders would mean their own definitive extinction as well.
As far as I can determine, Di Filippo never intended “Phylogenesis” to be read as an allegory of Capital. Yet the traces are there, in every aspect of the story. The downsizing of the neohumans (adults are “four feet tall, with limbs rather gracile than muscular”), the rationalization of their design in the interest of mobility and flexibility, their uncanny coordination and ability to “monitor the passage of time with unerring precision, thanks to long-ago modifications in the suprachiasmatic nuclei of their brains, which provided them with accurate biological clocks,” the “inbuilt determinism” by means of which their sexual drives are canalized “for a particular purpose,” their severely streamlined cultural heritage, and the ways that even their nonproductive activities (singing and nonprocreative sex) serve a purpose as “supreme weapons in the neohumans’ armory of spirit”: all these are recognizable variations of familiar management techniques in the contemporary post-Fordist regime of flexible accumulation. The neohumans make use of the only tools that they find at hand; they parasitize and mimic the very mechanisms that have dispossessed them.
The emotional lives of the neohumans are effectively streamlined in a post-Fordist manner as well. Feeling an overwhelming sense of loss, and aware of all the ways that their potential has been constrained, these people nonetheless conclude that “we just have to make the most of the life we have.” As for the prospect of these monstrous hosts ever going away, “we can’t count on it, we can’t even dream about it.” Both socially and affectively, Di Filippo’s neohumans are thus the very image of the multitude invoked by Hardt and Negri, and even more explicitly by Paolo Virno. They exercise a genuine creativity under extremely straightened circumstances; and they produce, and themselves enjoy, an experience of the common. But Di Filippo recognizes, more clearly than Virno or Hardt and Negri do, the limitations of any “mobilization of the common” in our current situation of the “real subsumption” of labor (and forms of life more generally) under capitalism. “Phylogenesis” is a demonstration of a kind of vitalism in spite of capital, but that is also the reslience that neoliberalism demands (cf. Robin James on this): “Life is tenacious, life is ingenious, life is mutable, life is fecund.”

 #ACCELERATE MANIFESTO for an Accelerationist Politics

Accel­er­a­tion­ism pushes towards a future that is more mod­ern, an altern­at­ive mod­ern­ity that neo­lib­er­al­ism is inher­ently unable to generate.


01. INTRODUCTION: On the Conjuncture

1. At the begin­ning of the second dec­ade of the Twenty-​First Cen­tury, global civil­iz­a­tion faces a new breed of cata­clysm. These com­ing apo­ca­lypses ridicule the norms and organ­isa­tional struc­tures of the polit­ics which were forged in the birth of the nation-​state, the rise of cap­it­al­ism, and a Twen­ti­eth Cen­tury of unpre­ced­en­ted wars.
2. Most sig­ni­fic­ant is the break­down of the plan­et­ary cli­matic sys­tem. In time, this threatens the con­tin­ued exist­ence of the present global human pop­u­la­tion. Though this is the most crit­ical of the threats which face human­ity, a series of lesser but poten­tially equally destabil­ising prob­lems exist along­side and inter­sect with it. Ter­minal resource deple­tion, espe­cially in water and energy reserves, offers the pro­spect of mass star­va­tion, col­lapsing eco­nomic paradigms, and new hot and cold wars. Con­tin­ued fin­an­cial crisis has led gov­ern­ments to embrace the para­lyz­ing death spiral policies of aus­ter­ity, privat­isa­tion of social wel­fare ser­vices, mass unem­ploy­ment, and stag­nat­ing wages. Increas­ing auto­ma­tion in pro­duc­tion pro­cesses includ­ing ‘intel­lec­tual labour’ is evid­ence of the sec­u­lar crisis of cap­it­al­ism, soon to render it incap­able of main­tain­ing cur­rent stand­ards of liv­ing for even the former middle classes of the global north.
3. In con­trast to these ever-​accelerating cata­strophes, today’s polit­ics is beset by an inab­il­ity to gen­er­ate the new ideas and modes of organ­isa­tion neces­sary to trans­form our soci­et­ies to con­front and resolve the com­ing anni­hil­a­tions. While crisis gath­ers force and speed, polit­ics with­ers and retreats. In this para­lysis of the polit­ical ima­gin­ary, the future has been cancelled.
4. Since 1979, the hege­monic global polit­ical ideo­logy has been neo­lib­er­al­ism, found in some vari­ant through­out the lead­ing eco­nomic powers. In spite of the deep struc­tural chal­lenges the new global prob­lems present to it, most imme­di­ately the credit, fin­an­cial, and fiscal crises since 2007 – 8, neo­lib­eral pro­grammes have only evolved in the sense of deep­en­ing. This con­tinu­ation of the neo­lib­eral pro­ject, or neo­lib­er­al­ism 2.0, has begun to apply another round of struc­tural adjust­ments, most sig­ni­fic­antly in the form of encour­aging new and aggress­ive incur­sions by the private sec­tor into what remains of social demo­cratic insti­tu­tions and ser­vices. This is in spite of the imme­di­ately neg­at­ive eco­nomic and social effects of such policies, and the longer term fun­da­mental bar­ri­ers posed by the new global crises.
5. That the forces of right wing gov­ern­mental, non-​governmental, and cor­por­ate power have been able to press forth with neo­lib­er­al­isa­tion is at least in part a res­ult of the con­tin­ued para­lysis and inef­fec­tual nature of much what remains of the left. Thirty years of neo­lib­er­al­ism have rendered most left-​leaning polit­ical parties bereft of rad­ical thought, hol­lowed out, and without a pop­u­lar man­date. At best they have respon­ded to our present crises with calls for a return to a Keyne­sian eco­nom­ics, in spite of the evid­ence that the very con­di­tions which enabled post-​war social demo­cracy to occur no longer exist. We can­not return to mass industrial-​Fordist labour by fiat, if at all. Even the neo­so­cial­ist regimes of South America’s Bolivarian Revolu­tion, whilst heart­en­ing in their abil­ity to res­ist the dog­mas of con­tem­por­ary cap­it­al­ism, remain dis­ap­point­ingly unable to advance an altern­at­ive bey­ond mid-​Twentieth Cen­tury social­ism. Organ­ised labour, being sys­tem­at­ic­ally weakened by the changes wrought in the neo­lib­eral pro­ject, is scler­otic at an insti­tu­tional level and — at best — cap­able only of mildly mit­ig­at­ing the new struc­tural adjust­ments. But with no sys­tem­atic approach to build­ing a new eco­nomy, or the struc­tural solid­ar­ity to push such changes through, for now labour remains rel­at­ively impot­ent. The new social move­ments which emerged since the end of the Cold War, exper­i­en­cing a resur­gence in the years after 2008, have been sim­il­arly unable to devise a new polit­ical ideo­lo­gical vis­ion. Instead they expend con­sid­er­able energy on internal direct-​democratic pro­cess and affect­ive self-​valorisation over stra­tegic effic­acy, and fre­quently pro­pound a vari­ant of neo-​primitivist loc­al­ism, as if to if to oppose the abstract viol­ence of glob­al­ised cap­ital with the flimsy and eph­em­eral “authen­ti­city” of com­munal immediacy.
6. In the absence of a rad­ic­ally new social, polit­ical, organ­isa­tional, and eco­nomic vis­ion the hege­monic powers of the right will con­tinue to be able to push for­ward their narrow-​minded ima­gin­ary, in the face of any and all evid­ence. At best, the left may be able for a time to par­tially res­ist some of the worst incur­sions. But this is to be Canute against an ulti­mately irres­ist­ible tide. To gen­er­ate a new left global hege­mony entails a recov­ery of lost pos­sible futures, and indeed the recov­ery of the future as such.

02. INTEREGNUM: On Accelerationisms

1. If any sys­tem has been asso­ci­ated with ideas of accel­er­a­tion it is cap­it­al­ism. The essen­tial meta­bol­ism of cap­it­al­ism demands eco­nomic growth, with com­pet­i­tion between indi­vidual cap­it­al­ist entit­ies set­ting in motion increas­ing tech­no­lo­gical devel­op­ments in an attempt to achieve com­pet­it­ive advant­age, all accom­pan­ied by increas­ing social dis­lo­ca­tion. In its neo­lib­eral form, its ideo­lo­gical self-​presentation is one of lib­er­at­ing the forces of cre­at­ive destruc­tion, set­ting free ever-​accelerating tech­no­lo­gical and social innovations.
2. The philo­sopher Nick Land cap­tured this most acutely, with a myopic yet hyp­not­ising belief that cap­it­al­ist speed alone could gen­er­ate a global trans­ition towards unpar­alleled tech­no­lo­gical sin­gu­lar­ity. In this vis­ion­ing of cap­ital, the human can even­tu­ally be dis­carded as mere drag to an abstract plan­et­ary intel­li­gence rap­idly con­struct­ing itself from the bri­c­ol­aged frag­ments of former civil­isa­tions. How­ever Land­ian neo­lib­er­al­ism con­fuses speed with accel­er­a­tion. We may be mov­ing fast, but only within a strictly defined set of cap­it­al­ist para­met­ers that them­selves never waver. We exper­i­ence only the increas­ing speed of a local hori­zon, a simple brain-​dead onrush rather than an accel­er­a­tion which is also nav­ig­a­tional, an exper­i­mental pro­cess of dis­cov­ery within a uni­ver­sal space of pos­sib­il­ity. It is the lat­ter mode of accel­er­a­tion which we hold as essential.
3. Even worse, as Deleuze and Guat­tari recog­nized, from the very begin­ning what cap­it­al­ist speed deter­rit­ori­al­izes with one hand, it reter­rit­ori­al­izes with the other. Pro­gress becomes con­strained within a frame­work of sur­plus value, a reserve army of labour, and free-​floating cap­ital. Mod­ern­ity is reduced to stat­ist­ical meas­ures of eco­nomic growth and social innov­a­tion becomes encrus­ted with kitsch remain­ders from our com­munal past. Thatcherite-​Reaganite dereg­u­la­tion sits com­fort­ably along­side Vic­torian ‘back-​to-​basics’ fam­ily and reli­gious values.
4. A deeper ten­sion within neo­lib­er­al­ism is in terms of its self-​image as the vehicle of mod­ern­ity, as lit­er­ally syn­onym­ous with mod­ern­isa­tion, whilst prom­ising a future that it is con­stitutively incap­able of provid­ing. Indeed, as neo­lib­er­al­ism has pro­gressed, rather than enabling indi­vidual cre­ativ­ity, it has ten­ded towards elim­in­at­ing cog­nit­ive invent­ive­ness in favour of an affect­ive pro­duc­tion line of scrip­ted inter­ac­tions, coupled to global sup­ply chains and a neo-​Fordist East­ern pro­duc­tion zone. A van­ish­ingly small cog­nit­ariat of elite intel­lec­tual work­ers shrinks with each passing year — and increas­ingly so as algorithmic auto­ma­tion winds its way through the spheres of affect­ive and intel­lec­tual labour. Neo­lib­er­al­ism, though pos­it­ing itself as a neces­sary his­tor­ical devel­op­ment, was in fact a merely con­tin­gent means to ward off the crisis of value that emerged in the 1970s. Inev­it­ably this was a sub­lim­a­tion of the crisis rather than its ulti­mate overcoming.
5. It is Marx, along with Land, who remains the paradig­matic accel­er­a­tion­ist thinker. Con­trary to the all-​too famil­iar cri­tique, and even the beha­viour of some con­tem­por­ary Marxi­ans, we must remem­ber that Marx him­self used the most advanced the­or­et­ical tools and empir­ical data avail­able in an attempt to fully under­stand and trans­form his world. He was not a thinker who res­isted mod­ern­ity, but rather one who sought to ana­lyse and inter­vene within it, under­stand­ing that for all its exploit­a­tion and cor­rup­tion, cap­it­al­ism remained the most advanced eco­nomic sys­tem to date. Its gains were not to be reversed, but accel­er­ated bey­ond the con­straints the cap­it­al­ist value form.
6. Indeed, as even Lenin wrote in the 1918 text “Left Wing” Childishness:
Social­ism is incon­ceiv­able without large-​scale cap­it­al­ist engin­eer­ing based on the latest dis­cov­er­ies of mod­ern sci­ence. It is incon­ceiv­able without planned state organ­isa­tion which keeps tens of mil­lions of people to the strict­est observ­ance of a uni­fied stand­ard in pro­duc­tion and dis­tri­bu­tion. We Marx­ists have always spoken of this, and it is not worth while wast­ing two seconds talk­ing to people who do not under­stand even this (anarch­ists and a good half of the Left Social­ist– Revolutionaries).
7. As Marx was aware, cap­it­al­ism can­not be iden­ti­fied as the agent of true accel­er­a­tion. Sim­il­arly, the assess­ment of left polit­ics as anti­thet­ical to tech­noso­cial accel­er­a­tion is also, at least in part, a severe mis­rep­res­ent­a­tion. Indeed, if the polit­ical left is to have a future it must be one in which it max­im­ally embraces this sup­pressed accel­er­a­tion­ist tendency.

03: MANIFEST: On the Future

1. We believe the most import­ant divi­sion in today’s left is between those that hold to a folk polit­ics of loc­al­ism, dir­ect action, and relent­less hori­zont­al­ism, and those that out­line what must become called an accel­er­a­tion­ist polit­ics at ease with a mod­ern­ity of abstrac­tion, com­plex­ity, glob­al­ity, and tech­no­logy. The former remains con­tent with estab­lish­ing small and tem­por­ary spaces of non-​capitalist social rela­tions, eschew­ing the real prob­lems entailed in facing foes which are intrins­ic­ally non-​local, abstract, and rooted deep in our every­day infra­struc­ture. The fail­ure of such polit­ics has been built-​in from the very begin­ning. By con­trast, an accel­er­a­tion­ist polit­ics seeks to pre­serve the gains of late cap­it­al­ism while going fur­ther than its value sys­tem, gov­ernance struc­tures, and mass patho­lo­gies will allow.
2. All of us want to work less. It is an intriguing ques­tion as to why it was that the world’s lead­ing eco­nom­ist of the post-​war era believed that an enlightened cap­it­al­ism inev­it­ably pro­gressed towards a rad­ical reduc­tion of work­ing hours. In The Eco­nomic Pro­spects for Our Grand­chil­dren (writ­ten in 1930), Keynes fore­cast a cap­it­al­ist future where indi­vidu­als would have their work reduced to three hours a day. What has instead occurred is the pro­gress­ive elim­in­a­tion of the work-​life dis­tinc­tion, with work com­ing to per­meate every aspect of the emer­ging social factory.
3. Cap­it­al­ism has begun to con­strain the pro­duct­ive forces of tech­no­logy, or at least, dir­ect them towards need­lessly nar­row ends. Pat­ent wars and idea mono­pol­isa­tion are con­tem­por­ary phe­nom­ena that point to both capital’s need to move bey­ond com­pet­i­tion, and capital’s increas­ingly ret­ro­grade approach to tech­no­logy. The prop­erly accel­er­at­ive gains of neo­lib­er­al­ism have not led to less work or less stress. And rather than a world of space travel, future shock, and revolu­tion­ary tech­no­lo­gical poten­tial, we exist in a time where the only thing which devel­ops is mar­gin­ally bet­ter con­sumer gad­getry. Relent­less iter­a­tions of the same basic product sus­tain mar­ginal con­sumer demand at the expense of human acceleration.
4. We do not want to return to Ford­ism. There can be no return to Ford­ism. The cap­it­al­ist “golden era” was premised on the pro­duc­tion paradigm of the orderly fact­ory envir­on­ment, where (male) work­ers received secur­ity and a basic stand­ard of liv­ing in return for a life­time of stul­ti­fy­ing bore­dom and social repres­sion. Such a sys­tem relied upon an inter­na­tional hier­archy of colon­ies, empires, and an under­developed peri­phery; a national hier­archy of racism and sex­ism; and a rigid fam­ily hier­archy of female sub­jug­a­tion. For all the nos­tal­gia many may feel, this régime is both undesir­able and prac­tic­ally impossible to return to.
5. Accel­er­a­tion­ists want to unleash lat­ent pro­duct­ive forces. In this pro­ject, the mater­ial plat­form of neo­lib­er­al­ism does not need to be des­troyed. It needs to be repur­posed towards com­mon ends. The exist­ing infra­struc­ture is not a cap­it­al­ist stage to be smashed, but a spring­board to launch towards post-​capitalism.
6. Given the enslave­ment of tech­nos­cience to cap­it­al­ist object­ives (espe­cially since the late 1970s) we surely do not yet know what a mod­ern tech­noso­cial body can do. Who amongst us fully recog­nizes what untapped poten­tials await in the tech­no­logy which has already been developed? Our wager is that the true trans­form­at­ive poten­tials of much of our tech­no­lo­gical and sci­entific research remain unex­ploited, filled with presently redund­ant fea­tures (or pre-​adaptations) that, fol­low­ing a shift bey­ond the short-​sighted cap­it­al­ist socius, can become decisive.
7. We want to accel­er­ate the pro­cess of tech­no­lo­gical evol­u­tion. But what we are arguing for is not techno-​utopianism. Never believe that tech­no­logy will be suf­fi­cient to save us. Neces­sary, yes, but never suf­fi­cient without socio-​political action. Tech­no­logy and the social are intim­ately bound up with one another, and changes in either poten­ti­ate and rein­force changes in the other. Whereas the techno-​utopians argue for accel­er­a­tion on the basis that it will auto­mat­ic­ally over­come social con­flict, our pos­i­tion is that tech­no­logy should be accel­er­ated pre­cisely because it is needed in order to win social conflicts.
8. We believe that any post-​capitalism will require post-​capitalist plan­ning. The faith placed in the idea that, after a revolu­tion, the people will spon­tan­eously con­sti­tute a novel socioeco­nomic sys­tem that isn’t simply a return to cap­it­al­ism is naïve at best, and ignor­ant at worst. To fur­ther this, we must develop both a cog­nit­ive map of the exist­ing sys­tem and a spec­u­lat­ive image of the future eco­nomic system.
9. To do so, the left must take advant­age of every tech­no­lo­gical and sci­entific advance made pos­sible by cap­it­al­ist soci­ety. We declare that quan­ti­fic­a­tion is not an evil to be elim­in­ated, but a tool to be used in the most effect­ive man­ner pos­sible. Eco­nomic mod­el­ling is — simply put — a neces­sity for mak­ing intel­li­gible a com­plex world. The 2008 fin­an­cial crisis reveals the risks of blindly accept­ing math­em­at­ical mod­els on faith, yet this is a prob­lem of ille­git­im­ate author­ity not of math­em­at­ics itself. The tools to be found in social net­work ana­lysis, agent-​based mod­el­ling, big data ana­lyt­ics, and non-​equilibrium eco­nomic mod­els, are neces­sary cog­nit­ive medi­at­ors for under­stand­ing com­plex sys­tems like the mod­ern eco­nomy. The accel­er­a­tion­ist left must become lit­er­ate in these tech­nical fields.
10. Any trans­form­a­tion of soci­ety must involve eco­nomic and social exper­i­ment­a­tion. The Chilean Pro­ject Cyber­syn is emblem­atic of this exper­i­mental atti­tude — fus­ing advanced cyber­netic tech­no­lo­gies, with soph­ist­ic­ated eco­nomic mod­el­ling, and a demo­cratic plat­form instan­ti­ated in the tech­no­lo­gical infra­struc­ture itself. Sim­ilar exper­i­ments were con­duc­ted in 1950s – 1960s Soviet eco­nom­ics as well, employ­ing cyber­net­ics and lin­ear pro­gram­ming in an attempt to over­come the new prob­lems faced by the first com­mun­ist eco­nomy. That both of these were ulti­mately unsuc­cess­ful can be traced to the polit­ical and tech­no­lo­gical con­straints these early cyber­net­i­cians oper­ated under.
11. The left must develop soci­o­tech­nical hege­mony: both in the sphere of ideas, and in the sphere of mater­ial plat­forms. Plat­forms are the infra­struc­ture of global soci­ety. They estab­lish the basic para­met­ers of what is pos­sible, both beha­vi­our­ally and ideo­lo­gic­ally. In this sense, they embody the mater­ial tran­scend­ental of soci­ety: they are what make pos­sible par­tic­u­lar sets of actions, rela­tion­ships, and powers. While much of the cur­rent global plat­form is biased towards cap­it­al­ist social rela­tions, this is not an inev­it­able neces­sity. These mater­ial plat­forms of pro­duc­tion, fin­ance, logist­ics, and con­sump­tion can and will be repro­grammed and reformat­ted towards post-​capitalist ends.
12. We do not believe that dir­ect action is suf­fi­cient to achieve any of this. The habitual tac­tics of march­ing, hold­ing signs, and estab­lish­ing tem­por­ary autonom­ous zones risk becom­ing com­fort­ing sub­sti­tutes for effect­ive suc­cess. “At least we have done some­thing” is the ral­ly­ing cry of those who priv­ilege self-​esteem rather than effect­ive action. The only cri­terion of a good tac­tic is whether it enables sig­ni­fic­ant suc­cess or not. We must be done with fet­ish­ising par­tic­u­lar modes of action. Polit­ics must be treated as a set of dynamic sys­tems, riven with con­flict, adapt­a­tions and counter-​adaptations, and stra­tegic arms races. This means that each indi­vidual type of polit­ical action becomes blun­ted and inef­fect­ive over time as the other sides adapt. No given mode of polit­ical action is his­tor­ic­ally invi­ol­able. Indeed, over time, there is an increas­ing need to dis­card famil­iar tac­tics as the forces and entit­ies they are mar­shalled against learn to defend and counter-​attack them effect­ively. It is in part the con­tem­por­ary left’s inab­il­ity to do so which lies close to the heart of the con­tem­por­ary malaise.
13. The over­whelm­ing priv­ileging of democracy-​as-​process needs to be left behind. The fet­ish­isa­tion of open­ness, hori­zont­al­ity, and inclu­sion of much of today’s ‘rad­ical’ left set the stage for inef­fect­ive­ness. Secrecy, ver­tic­al­ity, and exclu­sion all have their place as well in effect­ive polit­ical action (though not, of course, an exclus­ive one).
14. Demo­cracy can­not be defined simply by its means — not via vot­ing, dis­cus­sion, or gen­eral assem­blies. Real demo­cracy must be defined by its goal — col­lect­ive self-​mastery. This is a pro­ject which must align polit­ics with the leg­acy of the Enlight­en­ment, to the extent that it is only through har­ness­ing our abil­ity to under­stand ourselves and our world bet­ter (our social, tech­nical, eco­nomic, psy­cho­lo­gical world) that we can come to rule ourselves. We need to posit a col­lect­ively con­trolled legit­im­ate ver­tical author­ity in addi­tion to dis­trib­uted hori­zontal forms of social­ity, to avoid becom­ing the slaves of either a tyr­an­nical total­it­arian cent­ral­ism or a capri­cious emer­gent order bey­ond our con­trol. The com­mand of The Plan must be mar­ried to the impro­vised order of The Network.
15. We do not present any par­tic­u­lar organ­isa­tion as the ideal means to embody these vec­tors. What is needed — what has always been needed — is an eco­logy of organ­isa­tions, a plur­al­ism of forces, res­on­at­ing and feed­ing back on their com­par­at­ive strengths. Sec­tari­an­ism is the death knell of the left as much as cent­ral­iz­a­tion is, and in this regard we con­tinue to wel­come exper­i­ment­a­tion with dif­fer­ent tac­tics (even those we dis­agree with).
16. We have three medium term con­crete goals. First, we need to build an intel­lec­tual infra­struc­ture. Mim­ick­ing the Mont Pel­erin Soci­ety of the neo­lib­eral revolu­tion, this is to be tasked with cre­at­ing a new ideo­logy, eco­nomic and social mod­els, and a vis­ion of the good to replace and sur­pass the ema­ci­ated ideals that rule our world today. This is an infra­struc­ture in the sense of requir­ing the con­struc­tion not just of ideas, but insti­tu­tions and mater­ial paths to incul­cate, embody and spread them.
17. We need to con­struct wide-​scale media reform. In spite of the seem­ing demo­crat­isa­tion offered by the inter­net and social media, tra­di­tional media out­lets remain cru­cial in the selec­tion and fram­ing of nar­rat­ives, along with pos­sess­ing the funds to pro­sec­ute invest­ig­at­ive journ­al­ism. Bring­ing these bod­ies as close as pos­sible to pop­u­lar con­trol is cru­cial to undo­ing the cur­rent present­a­tion of the state of things.
18. Finally, we need to recon­sti­t­ute vari­ous forms of class power. Such a recon­sti­t­u­tion must move bey­ond the notion that an organ­ic­ally gen­er­ated global pro­let­ariat already exists. Instead it must seek to knit together a dis­par­ate array of par­tial pro­let­arian iden­tit­ies, often embod­ied in post-​Fordist forms of pre­cari­ous labour.
19. Groups and indi­vidu­als are already at work on each of these, but each is on their own insuf­fi­cient. What is required is all three feed­ing back into one another, with each modi­fy­ing the con­tem­por­ary con­junc­tion in such a way that the oth­ers become more and more effect­ive. A pos­it­ive feed­back loop of infra­struc­tural, ideo­lo­gical, social and eco­nomic trans­form­a­tion, gen­er­at­ing a new com­plex hege­mony, a new post-​capitalist tech­noso­cial plat­form. His­tory demon­strates it has always been a broad assemblage of tac­tics and organ­isa­tions which has brought about sys­tem­atic change; these les­sons must be learned.
20. To achieve each of these goals, on the most prac­tical level we hold that the accel­er­a­tion­ist left must think more ser­i­ously about the flows of resources and money required to build an effect­ive new polit­ical infra­struc­ture. Bey­ond the ‘people power’ of bod­ies in the street, we require fund­ing, whether from gov­ern­ments, insti­tu­tions, think tanks, uni­ons, or indi­vidual bene­fact­ors. We con­sider the loc­a­tion and con­duc­tion of such fund­ing flows essen­tial to begin recon­struct­ing an eco­logy of effect­ive accel­er­a­tion­ist left organizations.
21. We declare that only a Pro­methean polit­ics of max­imal mas­tery over soci­ety and its envir­on­ment is cap­able of either deal­ing with global prob­lems or achiev­ing vic­tory over cap­ital. This mas­tery must be dis­tin­guished from that beloved of thinkers of the ori­ginal Enlight­en­ment. The clock­work uni­verse of Laplace, so eas­ily mastered given suf­fi­cient inform­a­tion, is long gone from the agenda of ser­i­ous sci­entific under­stand­ing. But this is not to align ourselves with the tired residue of post­mod­ern­ity, decry­ing mas­tery as proto-​fascistic or author­ity as innately ille­git­im­ate. Instead we pro­pose that the prob­lems beset­ting our planet and our spe­cies oblige us to refur­bish mas­tery in a newly com­plex guise; whilst we can­not pre­dict the pre­cise res­ult of our actions, we can determ­ine prob­ab­il­ist­ic­ally likely ranges of out­comes. What must be coupled to such com­plex sys­tems ana­lysis is a new form of action: impro­vis­at­ory and cap­able of execut­ing a design through a prac­tice which works with the con­tin­gen­cies it dis­cov­ers only in the course of its act­ing, in a polit­ics of geo­so­cial artistry and cun­ning ration­al­ity. A form of abduct­ive exper­i­ment­a­tion that seeks the best means to act in a com­plex world.
22. We need to revive the argu­ment that was tra­di­tion­ally made for post-​capitalism: not only is cap­it­al­ism an unjust and per­ver­ted sys­tem, but it is also a sys­tem that holds back pro­gress. Our tech­no­lo­gical devel­op­ment is being sup­pressed by cap­it­al­ism, as much as it has been unleashed. Accel­er­a­tion­ism is the basic belief that these capa­cit­ies can and should be let loose by mov­ing bey­ond the lim­it­a­tions imposed by cap­it­al­ist soci­ety. The move­ment towards a sur­pass­ing of our cur­rent con­straints must include more than simply a struggle for a more rational global soci­ety. We believe it must also include recov­er­ing the dreams which trans­fixed many from the middle of the Nine­teenth Cen­tury until the dawn of the neo­lib­eral era, of the quest of Homo Sapi­ens towards expan­sion bey­ond the lim­it­a­tions of the earth and our imme­di­ate bod­ily forms. These vis­ions are today viewed as rel­ics of a more inno­cent moment. Yet they both dia­gnose the stag­ger­ing lack of ima­gin­a­tion in our own time, and offer the prom­ise of a future that is affect­ively invig­or­at­ing, as well as intel­lec­tu­ally ener­gising. After all, it is only a post-​capitalist soci­ety, made pos­sible by an accel­er­a­tion­ist polit­ics, which will ever be cap­able of deliv­er­ing on the promis­sory note of the mid-​Twentieth Century’s space pro­grammes, to shift bey­ond a world of min­imal tech­nical upgrades towards all-​encompassing change. Towards a time of col­lect­ive self-​mastery, and the prop­erly alien future that entails and enables. Towards a com­ple­tion of the Enlight­en­ment pro­ject of self-​criticism and self– mas­tery, rather than its elimination.
23. The choice facing us is severe: either a glob­al­ised post-​capitalism or a slow frag­ment­a­tion towards prim­it­iv­ism, per­petual crisis, and plan­et­ary eco­lo­gical collapse.
24. The future needs to be con­struc­ted. It has been demol­ished by neo­lib­eral cap­it­al­ism and reduced to a cut-​price prom­ise of greater inequal­ity, con­flict, and chaos. This col­lapse in the idea of the future is symp­to­matic of the regress­ive his­tor­ical status of our age, rather than, as cyn­ics across the polit­ical spec­trum would have us believe, a sign of scep­tical matur­ity. What accel­er­a­tion­ism pushes towards is a future that is more mod­ern — an altern­at­ive mod­ern­ity that neo­lib­er­al­ism is inher­ently unable to gen­er­ate. The future must be cracked open once again, unfasten­ing our hori­zons towards the uni­ver­sal pos­sib­il­it­ies of the Outside.
Repos­ted from http://​spec​u​lat​ive​heresy​.files​.word​press​.com/​2​0​1​3​/​0​5​/​a​c​c​e​l​e​r​a​t​e​.​pdf

#Celerity: A Critique of the Manifesto for an Accelerationist Politics

McKenzie Wark (A Hacker Manifesto, and The Beach Beneath the Street) has been kind enough to send us his detailed response to the “#Accelerate” piece which has been circulating around the internet. Since the aim of that original piece was, in part, to polemically intervene in a number of contemporary debates in the UK and US left, it’s been encouraging to see both critical and supportive responses to the vision it set out. Wark’s response here forms a significant and comprehensive commentary on that vision.
It should be emphasised though that “#Accelerate” was written in manifesto form, which means it was presented with the rhetorical force of declarative certainty. Yet while we are confident in the broad strokes of this approach, the specifics are open to debate and we’ve only begun to think through the issues involved. The idea of the manifesto was, first, to initiate and generate conversations about the longest term viewpoint on left politics at a profound moment of crisis. It was meant as a provocation that would raise questions, broach some neglected topics, and put certain key themes on the table. The manifesto was, second, intended to put forth what we believe to be a unique set of possible answers – ones that will hopefully generate further research. Yet, we are not trying to create a new doctrine, nor to determine in advance what must be an experimental process involving the creativity of mass politics. The emphasis, both here and in the manifesto, is on experimentation beyond traditional leftist tactics, in order to discover what works in practice.

Wark’s response is available here. And you can find the original manifesto here.

e-flux magazineAccelerationist Aesthetics

  •                    Gean Moreno
    Editorial—“Accelerationist Aesthetics”
  • Alex Williams
    Escape Velocities
    It is Land who exemplified, and indeed exacerbated, this strategy of “the worse the better” to new heights of sick perversity in the 1990s. But what is of interest to us is not so much questions of conceptual genealogy but the resurgence of the idea: What is accelerationism today?
  • Steven Shaviro
    Accelerationist Aesthetics: Necessary Inefficiency in Times of Real Subsumption
    This is why transgression no longer works as a subversive aesthetic strategy. Or more precisely, transgression works all too well as a strategy for amassing both “cultural capital” and actual capital; and thereby it misses what I have been calling the spectrality and epiphenomenality of the aesthetic. Transgression is now fully incorporated into the logic of political economy. 
  • Benjamin Bratton
    Some Trace Effects of the Post-Anthropocene: On Accelerationist Geopolitical Aesthetics
    It measures its situation from picoseconds to geologic temporal scopes, and nanometric to comparative-planetary scales, and back again. It does not name in advance, as some precondition for its mobilization today, all the terms with which it will eventually have at its disposal in the future. The aporia of the post-Anthropocene is not answered by the provocation of its naming, and this is its strength over alternatives that identify too soon what exactly must be gained or lost by our passage off the ledge. 
  • François Roche
    Gre(Y)en (a history of local operative criticism)
    The machine collects the ingredients of this pathological period and recycles them for productive use, from a highly dangerous no-man’s land abandoned since the end of the war (more than half a century ago), which come back to its natural wildness, with the reappearing of elves, wizards, witches, and harpies, and some new vegetal species. Legends and fairy tales are transported out of the deepness of the forest, as in a Stalker experiment to touch the unknown … 
  • Franco Berardi Bifo
    Accelerationism Questioned from the Point of View of the Body
    The accelerationist stance, in my opinion, is an extreme manifestation of the immanentist conception. Paradoxically, it also seems to be a particular interpretation of the Baudrillardian assertion that “the only strategy now is a catastrophic strategy.” The train of hypercapitalism cannot be stopped, it is going faster and faster, and we can no longer run at the same pace.
  • Mark Fisher
    “A social and psychic revolution of almost inconceivable magnitude”: Popular Culture’s Interrupted Accelerationist Dreams
    We live in a moment of profound cultural deceleration. The first two decades of the current century have so far been marked by an extraordinary sense of inertia, repetition, and retrospection, uncannily in keeping with the prophetic analyses of postmodern culture that Fredric Jameson began to develop in the 1980s.
  • Benedict Singleton
    Maximum Jailbreak
    But his project extended further, and inevitably upwards, not least because an enlarging human race would require more room to expand. Freedom from death would extend to freedom from the earth itself, in quite practical terms. Technologies must loosen the grip of gravity, not eradicating it per se but meaning we would no longer be forced to obey it without question, no longer subject to its necessity. Epic and unexpected, the creativity of Fedorov’s vision extended to its detail.
  • Debbora Battaglia
    Cosmic Exo-Surprise, or, When the Sky is (Really) Falling, What’s the Media to Do?
    Interesting things happen when we translate this tactical orientation to the extreme environment of outer space. For one thing, the effect that accelerationism aims for is already a given there; the work of excessive velocity has been taken up by the disinterested force-fields and entities of “space as itself,” as I have elsewhere termed it, and the results are already threatening global communications and other infrastructures.
  • Patricia MacCormack
    Cosmogenic Acceleration: Futurity and Ethics
    The stranger the combinations are, the more inhuman they are; the more inhuman, the more minoritarian. The futurity thus opened to minoritarian recombinings—and not to the inclusion of “types”—is more ethical. Ethics and the need for unnatural, strange recombining are defined insofar as they are timely. Acceleration aesthetics is about qualities of time as intensity. Thus, it is arguably an ethical aesthetics.

John Russell

Abysmal Plan: Waiting Until We Die and Radically Accelerated Repetitionism
Billions of tons of meat sliding down a chute minced out into surplus value and programed into dull servitude of a bloated homogenizing ruling class (the contingent rule of the bovine). Dark capitalism … you got to crack a few eggs … I mean, exactly how many fucking cuckoo clocks do you want anyway?

Gean Moreno

Editorial—“Accelerationist Aesthetics”

Where did the critical tradition of art go? Maybe that’s the wrong question. Because we know the answer. It went into spectacle. It went into finance. It got privatized, democratized, scrutinized, defunded, bureaucratized, then professionalized. The critical stick became a seductive carrot. But maybe we don’t have to see this only in terms of a fall from grace. Maybe this is the time for a long-overdue realism that an art field still in the thrall of modernist humanism struggles to avoid recognizing. Isn’t it strange how we are subjected to the most extreme aspects of this new order and yet still suppress its most emergent qualities? What if we suspend the guilt of lapsed certainties and good-person compulsions for just a moment and take a look in the mirror? What would we see? We might see velocity-driven psychotics ravaged and dragged through sky and sludge, crying from revolution teargas and boring discussions at the same time. We might see uneducated beasts using their own bodies to mash culture with physics with economics with mysticism. We might see a strange new form of human tumble out. For the Summer 2013 issue of e-flux journal, we are very pleased to present Gean Moreno’s guest-edited issue on accelerationist aesthetics. Read it at the beach!

—Julieta Aranda, Brian Kuan Wood, Anton Vidokle

The entrenchment of neoliberal fundamentalism has been accompanied by a desire to save whatever critical edge art production can still muster. This has become increasingly pressing as art becomes decor for the offices of hedge fund managers, and as the art world—as David Graeber put it somewhere—mutates into “an appendage to finance capitalism.” The urgency to maintain a critical edge has manifested itself variously: in a turn toward post-autonomia theories that shed light on the position of the cultural producer within a post-Fordist regime of labor; in the production of artifacts that engage reflexively with the conditions of production, display, and circulation in the art world; in recovery operations that target particular legacies, such as those of politicized Conceptual art and structuralist or essayistic filmmaking; in interventionist efforts that leave behind the commercial circuits of art presentation altogether and attempt to work in the social field itself. The common aim of all these efforts amounts to approaching concrete conditions soberly, to being analytical and measured. A subtractive logic is the general animating force: take away—subjective imprint, gratuitous ornament, traces of skill, commercial viability, ambivalent postures, ideological residue, and so forth—until a potent and probing, if often flat-footed, proposal crystallizes.
Past the edges of the art world, however, where the condition of privilege doesn’t haunt every gesture with the possibility of contradiction, less “sober” engagements with the social are awake and on the prowl. There may still be a line of thinking excited by subtraction and formal rigor, but it is pitted against a proliferation of delirious and maximalist redeployments of pop culture: salvage-punk fantasy literature that probes obliquely, through gasoline fumes and/or unapologetic and slimy monsters, points of resistance to late capitalism and residual anthropocentric nostalgia; hauntological sonic archeology that calls up utopian traces often muffled by electronic music, using the latter’s digital methods of production; B movies that are jacked into the symptomatology of attention deficit disorders as a way to point to the incessant modulations that subjectivity suffers through in control societies; novels written and impossible buildings dreamt in code-language that has mutated like a virus and swallowed the antibodies deployed to eradicate it; soundings of the strange new territories—abyssal drops for a self now revealed as not actually there in the way we had thought—that neuroscience is carving open and sci-fi is mainlining onto its pages; board-game strategizing adjusted to new transnational networks and transformed, through the prism of “Total Design,” into geopolitical planning for the future. The gleefully overloaded and hyperactive artifacts that result often feel less handicapped than art objects that are safely ensconced in cultural institutions when attempting to cognitively and affectively mapping the spaces and forces of transnational capitalism. Perhaps these hyperactive artifacts can even begin to map a hard-to-imagine Outside beyond transnational capitalism.
One of the strands that participates in this revved-up deployment of forms is what has been called “accelerationist aesthetics,” even if the precise traits that establish its parameters and the full range of products that constitute it may still need to be determined. The name was suggested by Steven Shaviro in his book Post-Cinematic Affect. It derives from a political program—accelerationism—which comes down from the Deleuze and Guattari of Anti-Oedipus and the Lyotard of Libidinal Economy, and which finds its most virulent and seductive expression in the texts that British philosopher Nick Land began producing in the 1980s.
The term “accelerationism” was first coined by Benjamin Noys in his book The Persistence of the Negative: A Critique of Contemporary Continental Theory, as way to designate this tendency and the political praxis it suggested. Shaviro, in turn, drew a distinction between an accelerationist politics or praxis, and an accelerationist aesthetics. As a politics, in the version that comes filtered through the writings of Nick Land, accelerationism has been taken to task by a number of theorists, including Ray Brassier, Alberto Toscano, Noys, and Shaviro himself. However, as it is being questioned and bashed, there is a parallel effort afoot to think accelerationism beyond the boundaries that were established for it by Land et al. Reza Negarestani, Alex Williams, Nick Snirneck, and Benjamin Singleton, among others, have been looking for ways around the shortfalls and blindsides of an early accelerationism, generating new ways to think through it, employing it less as a drive toward meltdown than a cunning practice through which to capture and redeploy existing energies and platforms in the service of a re-universalized left politics.
Although often disparaged as a political program, accelerationism, which early on performed its ideas most notably through carefully crafted theory-fictions, has always had a robust aesthetic side. It is here, in both a seductive performative dimension (which spills into the everyday experiential field) and in the affective range of these aesthetics—which ran for a time parallel to an emerging cyberpunk, a fertile moment in electronic music and Cronenbergean flesh-melts, and now begin to link up with interfacial skins, data avalanches, predictive modeling at substantial scale and the like—that we may find what sustains the desire to keep accelerationism around even if some remain weary of it (or one of its versions) as political theory or praxis.
Despite Shaviro’s effort to define it, the notion of an accelerationist aesthetics remains an open problem, suggestively bubbling with, on the one hand, the potential to provoke innovative cartographic exercises that probe unprecedented social complexity and look for new liberatory programs that live up to it, and on the other hand, dark intimations that this aesthetics is indissoluble from the drive to deliberately exacerbate nihilistic meltdowns as the only response to being dragged by the vertiginous speeds of a runaway capitalism. It is working through the impasse between these two extremes—and, more often than not, assuming the first at the expense of the second—that fuels a number of the texts in this issue of e-flux journal. The essays respond to two sets of questions:

What constitutes an accelerationist aesthetics? Is it possible? Why would it matter? What should its scope be? And whose interest would it serve?
Does such an aesthetics, if possible or desirable, have anything to offer an art production exhausted with sober formalisms and critique-based models that increasingly spin in place, taking ineffective aim at the very protocols and institutions that allow them to exist in the first place and that provide the infrastructure for their sustainability?
Bound to these questions is a desire to turn the horizon that currently sets the coordinates of what is deemed of importance or value in art production into a porous border from which we can, through pendular sweeps, reach out to adjacent neighborhoods of thought and production and bring back fertile material. The returns on a model deeply invested in critique, as it has been structured within the art world, seem to dwindle at an alarming rate in the face of social and economic relations that everywhere eat away at whatever autonomy the cultural field ever had, or ever dreamed of. The very space of possibility that this model once ushered in with such force seems to have been foreclosed upon. Surely there are efforts still articulating themselves out there, refusing the institution and its co-opting logic no less than the market and its logic, sounding potential alternatives or prefigurations of a different world. But, barring full conversion into activism, these interventionist art exercises seem increasingly pushed to the cusp of having to default on their promise.

The anxiety to shake things up, in light of the disaster of a vanishing critical dimension, has to boil over into something concrete at some point, and this, at least from where I’m standing, demands a lateral move through the horizon that currently determines the conditions in which art production is allowed to unfold. It demands probing expeditions into other spaces, into terrains from where the other side of what we are currently inside may begin to take shape. And it demands the sharpening of robust synthesizing conceptual tools to engage in fruitful cross-fades and appropriations. This issue of e-flux journal is one of these probing expeditions.

Accelerationism and the problem of (un)binding

If the aim of Landian accelerationism is to fulfill 'the repressed desire of capitalism for meltdown' (Land), how can accelerationism detach itself from the embedded energetic model of dissipation inherent to conservative-dissipative, antiproductive-productive structures which are only capable of binding unilateral negativity or inflect upon death by means of an economical model of energetic dissipation or dying that they can afford? In other words, how can accelerationism bind exteriority or draw upon the so-called speculative opportunities of extinction in ways which are not already interiorized by conservative structures as economical 'models for affording' the exorbitant truth of exteriority? If accelerationism simply aims at accelerating the rate of dissipation, then its 'speculative opportunities' (Brassier) are limited to the most immediate source of exorbitant or traumatizing energy that the interiorized horizon has come into contact with. This is because in an interiorized horizon, the accelerative degradation of energy cannot bind or see anything beyond the very exorbitant index of energy (which means another interiorized horizon or 'source' of energy) whose model of dissipation has been at once partially repelled and economically adopted. Therefore, acceleration in this sense reinforces a restricted economical correlation which has never been more than a blockage against exteriority.

For the terrestrial sphere, this source or illusory exteriority is the sun. So, is accelerationism only capable of thinking exteriority and extinction in terms of a model of solar expenditure and thermonuclear decay (Bataille���s solar economy) or is it really capable of thinking extinction in terms of radical exteriority (i.e. ancestrality, deep space, material disintegration, asymptopia, �Ķ)? Is it possible to think of accelerationism in terms of alternative (i.e. plural and perhaps even multiversal) ways of binding exteriority? So far the Cartesian dilemma as the territory of philosophical thought has been about determining the course of life one should take, namely, the freedom of alternatives in life. But how can we shift the question to the radical freedom of having alternatives in binding exteriority and inflection upon death: instead of 'what course in life shall I take?' (Quod vitae sectabor iter) one should be able to ask 'what way out shall I follow?' (Quod exit?�s sectabor iter)
The bastardized Cartesian speculation 'What way out shall I follow?' is meant to emphasize the freedom (in thought and action) of having plural or alternative options of binding exteriority or inflecting upon extinction. However, this question should be further corrected as it still seems to erroneously imply that the unilateralizing truth of the outside is dependent upon a subjective decision or desire.
The main focus of accelerationism should be shifted from the act of acceleration itself to 'what is accelerated', because if acceleration coincides with the dissipative or energetic economy of the organism, then it is simply a restricted project. Why? Because what is accelerated is the very economical form of binding which is determined by the exorbitant source of energy but is unsuccessfully adopted by the organism as an affordable yet traumatic consumptive solution that inscribes circuitous paths for dissipating into that exorbitant index of exteriority (whether it is the exorbitant truth of extinction or the sun). As Freud argues, dissipative regression into the exorbitant or traumatizing bedrock of the originary is numerically monistic and functionally exclusivist by nature. The conservative organism does not have any choice regarding binding or not binding the exorbitant source of energy since the binding is unilaterally imposed by the exorbitant index of exteriority. However, the way binding is effectuated corresponds to the conservative economy of the organism according to which the exorbitant index of exteriority must be afforded by the organism in order to circuitously transform the unbindable excess into conservable yet dissipative ��� at an accelerative rate ��� energetic spaces (umwegen). Accordingly, the exorbitant exteriority (extinction, sun, ...) is inexorably bound but only in a way that is affordable by and for the organism. This is why the organism is inherently vulnerable to traumas: Traumatic binding of the exorbitant exteriority is not as much an 'unsuccessful binding' because it is energetically unbindable as it is unsuccessful because such an index of exorbitant energy should be economically afforded by the organism and correspond to the consumptive-dissipative rate dictated by the organic economy. Therefore, although the exorbitant index of exteriority is bound, this binding never naturally happens outside of the economical correlation with the organism.
The aim of all life is death but dying (binding death) happens only in a way that the interiorized expression of life can afford. This affordable way of dying registers itself as an economical correlation between the organism and the exorbitant index of exteriority. And it is this economical correlation that manifests itself as the dissipative rate of the organism. Since this economical binding or affordable correlation is energetically dissipative, it tends to generate new energetic spaces, that is to say, it moves toward emergentic processes and increasing complexification on semi-stable, local and transient levels. Landian accelerationism ��� especially by adhering to an escalated technocapitalism ��� seeks to intensify this dissipative rate that simultaneously coincides with an intelligenic complexification and the dissolution of organic conservatism on behalf of an exorbitant index of exteriority (viz. capitalism as an off-planet or planet-consuming event). However, as argued, the dissipative rate is energetically conceived as an economical (and hence, restricted) correlation; its existence is dictated by the exorbitant index of exteriority but its modi operandi are conditioned by the affordability of the interiorized horizon of the organism.
Therefore, as Freud maintains in BPP, the organism binds the exorbitant index of exteriority only in a way that it can afford. Or in other words, the organism wishes to die only in one fashion, which is another way to say, it wishes to die only in one fashion because such a fashion captures the inevitability of death in terms of the economical capacity and energetic requirements of the organism. Any other way of dying or binding the exorbitant index of exteriority (that is to say, alternative ways of binding unilateral negativity or inflecting upon extinction) are vigilantly staved off because they pose a fundamental threat to the economical ��� rather than passive ��� correlation of the organism with death. Since it is the economical correlation with the exorbitant index of exteriority (sun, meltdown, etc.) that determines the courses of life for the organism, this correlation is regarded as an irreproachable and axiomatic foundation that must be safeguarded by any means possible. For this reason, we can say that even in its most self-dissolving or schizophrenically emancipative moments, the organism conforms to a conservatively monistic regime of returning to the precursor exteriority or binding death. Monistic not only because it is the one and only one way that the organism affords but also because it is a necrocratic way insofar as it actively precludes the possibility of other fashions or courses of binding exteriority and inflecting upon extinction.
In fact the history of philosophy has consistently remained an accomplice in promoting the social and political consequences of organic necrocracy by corroborating the monistic regime of binding exteriority as an axiomatic and untouchable foundation of earthly thought. As far as the politics of exteriority is concerned, philosophy has not gone further than relocating ��� rather than disposing of ��� the organic economical teleonomy. Even the most passionate proponents of nihilism (Nietzsche, Bataille, Land, et al.) hold that life is determined by an exteriority irreversibly outside of the interiorized horizon without questioning the restricted economy or the monistic regime of binding such exteriority. For them having or thinking a unilateral and exorbitant index of exteriority is sufficient to break away from the conservative ambits of the organism and infringe the confines of our interiorized horizon. But what is really at stake here is the way the exteriority is bound: Is it bound only in a way that the organism can afford (therefore, it conforms to an ultimately conservative economical correlation between the interiorized horizon and the exteriority) or is it emancipated from such restrictions by being able to alternate between modes of binding because it does not conform to an emphatic economical correlation any longer? For example, Ray Brassier maintains that speculative opportunities of philosophy can be unfolded simply through the traumatic binding of extinction. In claiming so, he conforms to the traditional limit of philosophy whose object of critique is the unilateralizing power of extinction (manifesting as the inevitability of death of both thought and matter) and not the economical correlation between the organic conservatism and the exorbitant truth of extinction which is presented as a restrictively monistic regime of binding exteriority and inflecting upon death. In other words, by holding that the cosmological reinscription of the death-drive (anterior-posteriority of extinction) is sufficient to unbind the speculative opportunities of philosophy qua the organon of extinction, Brassier fails to question the ultimate comfort zone of the organism. Since a fundamental question still lingers: To what extent can the traumatic or rudimentary binding of extinction situate itself outside of the economical correlation with death that the interiorized organism conservatively remains committed to because it is the very affordable (and hence unsuccessful) way of binding extinction?
It is not the unilateralizing power of extinction that demolishes the comfort zone of the interiorized horizon; for such comfort zone is punctured precisely by those plural and multiversal ways by which the exteriority of extinction can be alternatively bound in order to abolish the monistic and economical system of binding exteriority that restricts the speculative opportunities of binding extinction to terms and economic conditions of the organism or the interiorized horizon. In short, the speculative vistas of extinction are only unlocked when extinction can be bound or inflected upon in plural or alternative ways. Positing the exorbitant truth of extinction alone as the apotheosis of enlightenment does not fulfill the conditions for unbinding the speculative power of philosophy since the exorbitant truth of extinction has never been repelled by the conservative economy of the organism in the first place; instead the organism is forced to 'economically afford' and bind such a disjunctive truth by any means possible, that is to say, by its own energetic capacity and economic conditions. Therefore, the emphatic positing of extinction (viz. conceiving extinction as an exorbitant index of exteriority) is usually doomed to be trapped within the axiomatic restricted economy of the interiorized horizon according to which binding exteriority should only take place in the fashion the organism can afford. It can be argued that accentuating extinction without questioning the monistic regime of binding inherent to the organism is tantamount to abetting the organic necrocracy in warding off alternative ways of binding exteriority and thereby trammeling the speculative opportunities of thought.
As long as accelerationism works on behalf of an exorbitant index of exteriority or operates according to an energetic-dissipative model, it risks abiding by the monistic regime of binding whereby the unilateralizing excess of the exteriority must be economically afforded at all costs. Respectively being in conformity to the monistic regime of binding means all other possible ways of binding exteriority (viz. alternative ways of inflecting upon extinction and binding exteriority) which harbor the speculative power of exteriorization must be thwarted. If as Land suggests Capitalism is imbued with courses of life (complexity and emergence), it is because capitalism as a process that conforms to the monistic regime of binding finds its plural and alternative expression not in binding exteriority or extinction but the interiority of life that is energetically made possible by the economical correlation that the organism utilizes to energetico-dynamically afford the exorbitant index of exteriority. Capitalism is abhorrently inflated with life-styles and courses of life precisely because it abides by a monistic regime of death. If philosophy should indeed hunt the speculative opportunities of thought, then its ambition should be shifted from investing in alternative courses of life to searching for alternative ways in binding exteriority, for it is the freedom of having alternatives in the latter that turns thought into an asymptote of cosmic exteriorities.
Posted by Reza Negarestani at May 2, 2010 12:49 PM

Steven ShaviroExcerpt from Post-Cinematic Affect: Coda

“Corporate Cannibal,” Boarding Gate, Southland Tales, and Gamer have almost nothing in common—except for the fact that they all belong to, and they all express, a common world. This is the world we live in: a world of hypermediacy (Bolter and Grusin 2000, 33-34) and ubiquitous digital technologies, organized as a “timeless time” and a “space of flows” (Castells 2000, 407-499), through which “divergent series are endlessly tracing bifurcating paths” (Deleuze 1993, 81). Such a world cannot be represented, in any ordinary sense. There is no stable point of

view from which we could apprehend it. Each perspective only leads us to another perspective, in an infinite regress of networked transformations—which is to say, in an infinite series of metamorphoses of capital. We find ourselves in a chronic condition of crisis; the “state of exception” (Agamben 2005) has itself become the norm. The repeated experience of disruption, or “creative destruction” (Schumpeter 1943, 81-86), is a necessary part of capital’s own perpetual self-valorization and rejuvenation: it will go on, whatever the human cost. “Corporate Cannibal,”

Boarding Gate, Southland Tales, and Gamer all bear witness to this state of affairs. We live in a world of crises and convulsions; but this does not mean that our world is anarchic, or devoid of logic. If anything, the contemporary world is ruthlessly organized around an exceedingly rigid and monotonous logic. For everything in the postmodern world is subject to the tendential movement of “real subsumption.”1 All impulsions of desire, all structures of feeling, and all forms of life, are drawn into the gravitational field, or captured by the strange attractor, of commodification and capital accumulation. There is no difference, in this respect, between

images and sounds on the one hand, and more palpable objects and markers of identity on the other. Everything moves along the same vectors of modulation, digitization, financialization, and media transduction. The movement is all in one direction; and yet it is also without finality. “The circulation of money as capital is an end in itself, for the valorization of value takes place only within this constantly renewed movement. The movement of capital is therefore limitless” (Marx 1992, 253). The proliferation and dissemination of images and sounds, together with other material and immaterial goods, is an endless process of circulation, with no content other than the self-reflexive reiteration of the mark of capital itself, in the form of trademarks and brand names. In the words of Marshall McLuhan, it is “a medium without a message, as it were, unless it is used to spell out some verbal ad or name” (1994, 8). In McLuhan’s time, “General Electric” was spelled out in light bulbs; by 1990, “IBM” was spelled out in atoms. Today, everything seems to come with a corporate logo and a brand name. Another way to put this is to say that the very experience of real subsumption is what makes our world a common one. It doesn’t matter which particularities are being subsumed; but only that they are all subsumed in the same way. The regime of capital today is indeed, as Deleuze and Guattari put it, channelling Nietzsche, “a motley painting of everything that has ever been believed” (1983, 34). We live in a world of extreme diversity and multiplicity: but the basic condition of possibility for this profusion is the functioning of money, or credit, as a single standard of value or “universal equivalent” (cf. Marx 1992, 162). The proliferation of variations, and of consumer choices, is underwritten by a more fundamental homogeneity. Money and credit make it possible for anything to be exchanged with anything else. In the realm of digital media, binary code functions in a similar manner. For this code is a universal equivalent for all data, all inputs, and all sensory modalities. Everything can be sampled, captured, and transcribed into a string of ones and zeroes. This string can then be manipulated and transformed, in various measured and controllable ways. Under such conditions, multiple differences ramify endlessly; but none of these differences actually makes a difference,

since they are all completely interchangeable.2

It is easy enough to deplore this situation on moralistic or political grounds, as high-minded cultural theorists from Adorno to Baudrillard have long tended to do. And it is tempting to wax nostalgic, and mourn the passing of a more vital, and more temporally authentic, media regime, as film theorists as diverse as David Rodowick (2007) and Vivian Sobchack (2004) have recently done. But such responses are inadequate. They are too wrapped up in their own melancholic sense of loss to grasp the emergence of new relations of production, and of new media forms. They miss the aesthetic poignancy of post-cinematic media, with their “peculiar kind of euphoria” and “mysterious charge of affect” (Jameson 1991, 16, 27). Also, these critiques denounce the symptoms of cultural malaise—Horkheimer and Adorno’s “instrumental reason,” or Zizek’s “decline of symbolic efficiency”--without paying sufficient attention to the processes of exploitation and expropriation that generate such symptoms.3 And they look toward the illusory comforts (or at least the relative explicability) of older modes of production, instead of taking the full measure of capitalism’s “constant revolutionising of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation” (Marx and Engels 1998, 54).

In order to come to grips with social and technological change, we need a “constant revolutionising” of our methods of critical reflection as well. In this regard, cultural theory lags far behind actual artistic production. Creative works like “Corporate Cannibal,” Boarding Gate, Southland Tales, and Gamer are several steps ahead—in relation to both technology and political economy—of all our attempts (mine included) to place them, theorize them, or account for them. These multimedia works are prophetic, in the way that Jacques Attali once proclaimed music

as being: “Music is prophecy. Its styles and economic organization are ahead of the rest of society because it explores, much faster than material reality can, the entire range of possibilities in a given code. It makes audible the new world that will gradually become visible, that will impose itself and regulate the order of things” (Attali 1985, 21).4 Today, post-cinematic works are directly engaged in this sort of proleptic exploration.

Writing a third of a century ago, Attali opposed the audible to the visible, and championed the deterritorializing force of “noise” against the reterritorializing effects of the visual image. At the time, he was right to put things in this way. The entire twentieth century was characterized, as McLuhan argued, by a shift away from visual (perspectival, linear) space, and towards an “acoustic space” that is “dynamic, always in flux, creating its own dimensions moment by moment” (McLuhan 1997, 41). This means, among other things, that sound—rather than image—was the leading edge of change, the modality in which new cultural forms first emerged. It is no accident that, in the last decades of the century, music was the first aesthetic realm to display the radical mutations, in both production and consumption, that emerged from new digital technologies. Today, however, in the twenty-first century, these changes have become ubiquitous. They have fully taken hold in the realm of moving images, and indeed in every aspect of our lives. We now live in the midst of an audiovisual continuum. With so many different articulations of sounds and images, and with digital transcoding as the common basis for all of them, it no longer makes sense to posit a global opposition between the audible and the visible. The prophetic function of art, its ability to “explore. . . the entire range of possibilities in a given code,” no longer has a privileged relation to any particular sensory modality, or to any particular art form. This is why works like “Corporate Cannibal,” Boarding Gate, Southland Tales, and Gamer are so important. In their engagement with new technologies and new media forms, no less than in their explicit content, they explore the possibility space of globalized capitalism, mapping this space both cognitively and affectively. They trace the lines of force that generate and shape the world space of capital; they follow its tendential movements towards limitless expansion; and, conversely, they try to locate its sticking points, its intermittencies and interruptions.5

Grace Jones as “corporate cannibal” consumes everyone and everything she meets, following the inner logic of capital itself. She hopes thereby to “make the world explode.” That is to say, she makes a dangerous wager: she bets on the extreme possibility that capital’s own virulent nihilism might lead to its downfall. For her part, Sandra in Boarding Gate follows the “lines of flight” that contemporary finance capital seemingly makes available to us. She learns, however, that every escape is also a new trap. Continually outrunning the dangers that threaten

her, she manages—just barely—to survive. But at the end of the film, she moves beyond mere survival, to something like a moment of decision. The wager here is that such a defection from the logic of capital can be sustained in spite of everything. Southland Tales pushes the logic of media saturation to the point of apocalyptic self-destruction, while leaving uncertain the prospect of a subsequent renewal. Richard Kelly’s wager is that sheer hypermediated excess can push the

logic of the “society of the spectacle” to the point of exhaustion and breakdown. For their part, Neveldine/Taylor stake Gamer on the hope that playing their way through gamespace, and exhausting its possibilities, might be a way to force a change in the rules, or in the very structure of the game. None of these works discovers an “outside” to capitalism; and none of them offers anything like revolutionary hope. But they all insist, at least, upon exhausting, and thereby perhaps finding a limit to, the totalizing ambitions of real subsumption.

Thus “Corporate Cannibal,” Boarding Gate, Southland Tales, and Gamer all explore the labyrinthine nightmare of the contemporary world system. They all operate on the premise that the only way out is the way through. The world of real subsumption is a world without transcendence; the only way, therefore, to get “beyond” this world is to exhaust its possibilities, and push its inherent tendencies to their utmost extremity. This means that these works produce their own version of what Benjamin Noys has called accelerationism: “an exotic variant of la politique du pire: if capitalism generates its own forces of dissolution then the necessity is to radicalise capitalism itself: the worse the better. . . What the accelerationists affirm is the capitalist power of dissolution and fragmentation.” Accelerationism therefore aims “to exacerbate capitalism to the point of collapse” (Noys 2010).

Rather than deploring our actual state of (semi-permanent) crisis, the accelerationists imply that capitalist crisis has never gone far enough, and that this is why they have so far only served to re-energize and reboot the movement of capital accumulation, rather than (as Marx at one point hoped) exploding it altogether.6 Noys is quick to point out the obvious deficiencies of accelerationism as a political strategy. On the one hand, its virulent radicalism—at least on the level of rhetoric—is not matched by any suggestions as to how the convulsive death of capitalism

might actually lead to liberation, rather than to barbarism, massive destruction, or some other form of universal catastrophe. On the other hand, accelerationism risks a paradoxically conservative return to “the most teleological forms of Second International Marxism” (Noys 2010): that is to say, to the complacent evolutionist belief that, in and of themselves, the economic “laws” of capitalist development will inevitably and automatically lead to the supercession of capitalism by socialism. This sort of optimism is scarcely even thinkable today—although some traces of it persist in Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri’s argument that globalization, real subsumption, and biopower are themselves inadvertently creating the

necessary (if not sufficient) preconditions for communism and the self-rule of the

multitude.7 In spite of all this, my argument comes down to the assertion that accelerationism

is a useful, productive, and even necessary aesthetic strategy today—for all that it is dubious as a political one. The project of cognitive and affective mapping seeks, at the very least, to explore the contours of the prison we find ourselves in. This is a crucial task at any time; but all the more so today, when that prison has no outside, but is conterminous with the world as a whole. As Jameson suggests, today we suffer from an “increasing inability to imagine a different future”; we find ourselves trapped by “the universal ideological conviction that no alternative is possible, that there is no alternative to the system” (2005, 232). What we need at such a moment, he adds, is precisely “a meditation on the impossible, on the unrealizable in its own right. . . a rattling of the bars and an intense spiritual concentration and preparation for another stage which has not yet arrived” (232-233). I am not sure that the accelerationist strategy of emptying out capitalism through a process of exhaustion is really what Jameson has in mind here; but I think that such a strategy does respond, in depth, to the condition that Jameson so cogently describes. When we are told that There Is No Alternative, that it is not possible even to conceive “alternative arrangements of daily life” (J. Clover 2009, 2), then perhaps there is some value in the exhaustive demonstration that what we actually have, right here, right now, is not a viable alternative either. In this way, accelerationist aesthetics points to the “disruption,” or the radical “break,” without any positive content, which is all that remains for Jameson of the Utopian gesture today (2005, 231-232).

Writing in the age of cinema, Walter Benjamin suggested that the value of film resided in its “shock effect. . . which, like all shock effects, seeks to induce heightened attention” (Benjamin 2003, 267).8 In a similar way, in the post-cinematic age emerging today, media works like the ones that I have been discussing can be valued for what could perhaps be called their intensity effect. They help and train us to endure—and perhaps also to negotiate—the “unthinkable complexity” of cyberspace (Gibson 1984, 51), or the unrepresentable immensity and intensity accomplished through the accelerationist strategy of plumbing the space of capital to its vertiginous depths, and tracking it into its furthest extremities and minutest effects. Just as film habituated the “masses” of Benjamin’s time to the shocks of heavy industry and dense, large-scale urbanization, so post-cinematic media may well habituate Hardt and Negri’s “multitude” to the intensities arising from the precarization of work and living conditions, and the unleashing of immense, free-floating and impersonal, financial flows.9

The result of such an accelerationist exploration of the spacetime of capital should be, as Jameson puts it, “to endow the individual subject with some new heightened sense of its place in the global system,” so that “we may again begin to grasp our positioning as individual and collective subjects” (Jameson 1991, 54). Beyond this, Jameson expresses the hope that cognitive mapping (to which I would add affective mapping as well) may help us to “regain a capacity to act and struggle which is at present neutralized by our spatial as well as our social confusion”

(54). I am not bold enough to claim that “Corporate Cannibal,” Boarding Gate, Southland Tales, and Gamer have in fact accomplished anything like this. And I certainly do not claim – as scholarship in the field of “cultural studies” is sometimes wont to do—that these media works, or my discussion of them, or the reception of them by others, could somehow constitute a form of “resistance.” I do not think it is possible to make such a leap, because aesthetics does not translate easily or obviously into politics. It takes a lot of work to make them even slightly commensurable.10

This difficulty of translation is precisely why an accelerationist aesthetics makes sense, even if an accelerationist politics does not. “It is the business of the future to be dangerous,” Whitehead said (1925/1967, 207); and one important role of art is to explore the dangers of futurity, and to “translate” these dangers by mapping them as thoroughly and intensively as possible. This is not easy, since there is always a risk that the work will get lost within the spaces that it endeavors to survey, and that it will become yet another instance of the processes that it is trying to describe. “Corporate Cannibal,” Boarding Gate, Southland Tales, and Gamer all take on this risk; and these works’ accomplishments, as well as their limitations, are up to the full measure of their ambitions. This is what makes them exemplary works for a time when—despite the astonishing pace of scientific discovery and technological invention—the imagination itself threatens to fail us.



1. Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri define “real subsumption” as the moment when “labor practices and relations created outside of capitalist production” are no longer “imported intact under its rule”(which is what happens in merely “formal subsumption”), but instead “capital creates new labor processes no longer tied to the noncapitalist forms, and thus properly capitalist” (2009, 229). Hardt and Negri suggest that globalized capitalism not only “involves a general passage from formal to real subsumption,” but also provokes “a reciprocal movement. . . from the real subsumption to the formal, creating not new “outsides” to capital but severe distinctions and hierarchies within the capitalist globe” (230). As I have already suggested, however, I think that it is better to conceive the whole process as a tendential movement from formal to real subsumption. A tendential movement is just that: a tendency and not a fatality. It is never entirely accomplished, both because it is always opposed by what Marx calls “counteracting factors,” and because it never achieves any sort of teleological closure, but always reproduces its own tensions on an expanded scale. Marx develops his theory of tendential processes in Capital volume 3 (1993, 317-375).

2. If we accept Gregory Bateson’s famous definition of information as “a difference which makes

a difference” (Bateson 2000, 459), then we might say that the current Internet information glut is

really a condition of maximal indifference or entropy.

3. Today, of course, such processes particularly take the form of the disaggregation and precarization of labor, the aggressive privatization of public and common goods, the dominance of finance over production, and the continuing “primitive accumulation” of previously untapped and uncommodified areas of life and experience. Behind all these lies the neoliberal credo, which

inverts the relationship of part and whole: instead of the market being understood as a part of society, all social processes are now exclusively understood in terms of the market. The nineteenth-century roots of this synecdochial inversion are traced in great detail by Karl Polanyi (2001); the recent neoliberal reinvention and intensification of the reversal is dissected by Foucault (2008). The economic crisis that started in 2008 has, alas, not led to any rethinking of this fundamental assumption.

4. These lines come from the first edition of Attali’s book, originally published in French in

1977. They are omitted from the (as yet untranslated) revised edition of 2001. 

5. An earlier Marxist theory would have spoken here of capitalism’s “crises” and “contradictions.” In recent years, we have learned, to our cost, that crises and contradictions work more to reinvigorate capitalism than to endanger it. Mainstream neoclassical economics still tends to use equilibrium models; but actually existing capitalism is metastable rather than truly stable (cf. Simondon 2005). It functions as a dissipative system (cf. Prigogine and Stengers 1984), operating most effectively, and reproducing itself on an expanded scale most successfully, in far-from-equilibrium conditions. 

6. Noys locates accelerationism particularly in certain theoretical texts originally written and

published in France in the 1970s: Deleuze and Guattari’s Anti-Oedipus (1983), Jean-Francois Lyotard’s Libidinal Economy (1993), and Jean Baudrillard’s Symbolic Exchange and Death (1993). He sees the accelerationist theorizing of these texts as an understandable, if ultimately unsuccessful, attempt to “stay faithful to the libertarian effects of May ’68 that involved the breaking-up of pre-existent moral and social constraints, especially in education, sexuality, and gender relations,” while at the same time resisting the process by which this libertarian impulse was recuperated within the post-Fordist “new spirit of capitalism” (Boltanski and Chiapello 2007). The question of what value accelerationism might have today, thirty-five years after the fact, is one that I am trying to answer here in explicitly “aestheticist” terms.

7. Despite my general sympathy for Hardt and Negri’s position, I find it difficult to credit their

claim that the movement of real subsumption—involving the increased precarization and fragmentation of labor, and the horrific development of a “society-based capital in which society as a whole is the chief site of productive activity,” and hence of expropriation or surplus value extraction—somehow leads to a situation in which “labour-power is thus no longer variable capital, integrated within the body of capital, but is a separate and increasingly oppositional force” (Hardt and Negri 2009, 292). It would seem, rather, that labour-power is more integrated within the body of capital than ever, insofar as it is now ‘on call’ 24/7, with its leisure time as well as its formal work time, and its common social activity as well as its particular laboring tasks, harvested for the extraction of relative surplus value. 

8. The more literal alternative translation suggested in the Notes to Benjamin’s Selected Writings

is perhaps better: the shock effect of film, like all shock effects, “seeks to be buffered by

intensified presence of mind” (Benjamin 2003, 281). The point is that the shocks of industrial,

capitalist modernity are accelerated by the cinematic apparatus, thus allowing spectators to adapt

themselves, and habituate themselves, to such shocks. Thus “humanity’s need to expose itself to

shock effects represents an adaptation to the dangers threatening it” (281). We are presented in the modern world with “new tasks of apperception”; film trains us to master these tasks by creating the conditions under which “their performance has become habitual” (268).

9. I have taken the phrase “free-floating and impersonal” from Jameson (1991, 16), but applied

it to the financial flows themselves, rather than just (as Jameson does) to the structures of feeling

associated with them.

10. I am thinking here, of course, of Bruno Latour’s principle that “there are no equivalents, only

translations. . . If there are equivalences, this is because they have been built out of bits and pieces with much toil and sweat, and because they are maintained by force” (Latour 1988, 162). Or, as Graham Harman summarizes this principle of Latour’s, “there is no such thing as transport without transformation” (Harman 2009, 76).


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Event Date: 14 September 2010 – 13:30-18:00
Room RHB 256 Goldsmiths, University of London

But which is the revolutionary path? Is there one? – To withdraw from the world market, as Samir Amin advises Third World Countries to do, in a curious revival of the fascist “economic solution”? Or might it be to go in the opposite direction? To go further still, that is, in the movement of the market, of decoding and deterritorialization? For perhaps the flows are not yet deterritorialized enough, not decoded enough, from the viewpoint of a theory and practice of a highly schizophrenic character. Not to withdraw from the process, but to go further, to “accelerate the process,” as Nietzsche put it: in this matter, the truth is that we haven’t seen anything yet
– Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Anti-Oedipus
The English unemployed did not have to become workers to survive, they – hang on tight and spit on me – enjoyed the hysterical, masochistic, whatever exhaustion it was of hanging on in the mines, in the foundries, in the factories, in hell, they enjoyed it, enjoyed the mad destruction of their organic body which was indeed imposed upon them, they enjoyed the decomposition of their personal identity, the identity that the peasant tradition had constructed for them, enjoyed the dissolutions of their families and villages, and enjoyed the new monstrous anonymity of the suburbs and the pubs in morning and evening.
– Jean-Francois Lyotard Libidinal Economy
Machinic revolution must therefore go in the opposite direction to socialistic regulation; pressing towards ever more uninhibited marketization of the processes that are tearing down the social field, “still further” with “the movement of the market, of decoding and deterritorialization” and “one can never go far enough in the direction of deterritorialization: you haven’t seen anything yet”.
– Nick Land, “Machinic Desire”
In the early 1970s, post-68 French thinkers such as Deleuze and Guattari and Lyotard made the heretical suggestion that capital should not be resisted but accelerated. Deplored, repudiated then forgotten, this remarkable moment was returned to only in the UK during the 1990s, in the theory-fiction of Nick Land, Iain Hamilton Grant, Sadie Plant and the Cybernetic Culture Research Unit. Drawing upon Fernand Braudel, Manuel DeLanda, and cyber-theory, 90s accelerationism drew a distinction between markets (as bottom-up self-organising networks) and capital (an oligarchic and predatory system of control). Was accelerationism merely a new cybernetic mask for neoliberalism? Or does the call to “accelerate the process” mark out a political position that has never been properly developed, and which still has a potential to reinvigorate the left?
This one-day symposium will think through the implications of accelerationism in the light of the forthcoming publication of Nick Land’s Fanged Noumena: Collected Writings 1987-2007 and Benjamin Noys’s The Persistence of the Negative.
  • Ray Brassier – co-editor with Robin Mackay of Nick Land’s Fanged Noumena: Collected Writings 1987-2007 (2010)
  • Mark Fisher – author of k-punk blog and a founder member of the Cybernetic Culture Research Unit
  • Alex Andrews – a researcher at the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Nottingham.
  • Benjamin Noys – author of The Persistence of the Negative (2010), blogs at No Useless Leniency
  • Nick Srnicek – author of Speculative Heresy blog, PhD candidate at LSE, and is working with
  • Alex Williams on a book critiquing folk politics Alex Williams – working on a book on accelerationism, blogs at Splintering Bone Ashes
A music mix by Mark Fisher to illustrate the ‘Accelerationism’ event can be found here.
Session 1
Mark Fisher
Ray Brassier
Session 2
Ben Noys
Alex Andrews
Session 3
Nick Srnicek
Session 4
Alex Williams
Closing discussion


Lindblom, J. (2012) Techno-Cultural Acceleration: A Few Initial Remarks
Singleton, B. (2013) ‘(Notes Toward) Speculative Design’
Williams, A. and Srnicek, N. (2013) #ACCELERATE: Manifesto for an Accelerationist Politics
Wolfendale, P. (2013) The Ends of Beauty: Sinead Murphy’s The Art Kettle
Wolfendale, P. (2013) Freedom Renewed

Harper, A. (2012) ‘Vaporwave and the Pop-Art of the Virtual Plaza’ (Part 1)
Harper, A. (2012) ‘”Distroid” – The Muscular Music of Hi-Def Doom’ (Part 2)
Negarestani, R. (2013) ‘Abducting the Outside: Modernity and the Culture of Acceleration (Part 1, Summary)’
Noys, B. (2012) ‘Cyberpunk Phuturism: The Politics of Acceleration’

Bailey, F. & Longo, G. (2011) Mathematics and the Natural Sciences: The Physical Singularity of Life
Brassier, R. (2007) Nihil Unbound: Enlightenment and Extinction

Chatelet, G. (1999) Figuring Space: Philosophy, Mathematics, and Physics
Deleuze, G. & Guattari, F.  (1972) Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia
Detienne, M. & Vernant, J-P. (1981) Cunning Intelligence in Greek Culture and Society
Land, N. (1992) The Thirst for Annihilation: Georges Bataille and Virulent Nihilism
Land, N. (2011) Fanged Noumena: Collected Writings 1987-2007
Lyotard, J-F. (1974) Libidinal Economy
Noys, B. (2010) The Persistence of the Negative: A Critique of Contemporary Continental Theory
Reynolds, S. (1999) Generation Ecstasy: Into the World of Techno- and Rave-Culture
Shaviro, S. (2010) Post-Cinematic Affect
Accelerationism-Conference, Goldsmiths (2010)

A Brief History of Geotrauma, or: the Invention of Reza Negarestani (2011)

Fisher, M. (2011) ‘The Political Aesthetics of Post-Capitalism’

Inhuman Already? Zombies, Vampires, and the Accelerationist Moment


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