Capitalist Realism: 10 Years On — This Weekend

I’m traveling around the North a bit for the rest of the week. Hull tomorrow to see my parents, then onto Derbyshire, before I spend the weekend at the University of Huddersfield for Capitalist Realism: Ten Years On where I’m going to be giving the keynote on Sunday morning with a lecture that bares the nondescript title of “On Desire”.

It’s been a tricky thing to work on… I have a feeling that, with Egress now just a month away, I’ve said all that I have to say about Mark’s work, and it would probably be healthy, after this whole book situation has run its course, that I should take a step away from writing about him for a bit and stop fiercely carrying a torch that I never really meant to act so possessive of.

Nevertheless, I still find wider perceptions of Mark’s work quite alien to my own and I still do occasionally get caught up in a desire to extend Mark’s work outwards beyond the limits of the gathering storm of a “Mark Fisher Studies” discourse. (I’m also anxious about my book being seen as an attempt to inaugurate this, although I hope Egress‘s content will speak for itself.)

This is the paradoxical desire that I want to talk about on Sunday: the desire to not be the one writing but also the desire you might find yourself possessed by which keeps you typing away incessantly regardless.

It is a desire that I can’t seem to qualm and it has been something I’ve been spending a lot of time writing about recently. (Oh, the irony.) I’ve been trying to find a way to articulate these pathologies on the blog here and here, for instance, and doing this all feels like a way to practice addressing any questions I might get regarding my own position with the book’s narrative once Egress is out in the world.

This isn’t just for my benefit but also to address the more common misunderstandings around Mark’s work. I want to find a way to talk about Egress and this blog, and Mark’s books and his k-punk blog in particular, as exercises in letting the Outside in. However, I want to articulate this Outsideness in such a way that it does not dissolve impotently into a superficially understood Facebook meme of void-loving nihilism. I want to articulate what this experience is like at its most banal and quotidian but also its most radical and practical. I want to explain how, in writing a book like this, the “anti-ego” emerges and the ego unravels away from itself, with the “I” becoming a gate for desiring flows to travel through. I think this sort of strange experience is important to talk about because it is, at its heart, the impetus behind Mark’s use of his k-punk persona as a channel for what he called “uttunul signal” and his belief in a popular modernism.

So that’s what I’ve chosen to talk about on Sunday — how a desire for outsideness runs through Mark’s work and also connects his ideas to worlds far beyond his immediate environment.

We only tackle the light topics on this blog…

I’m excited to see all the presentations over the weekend. It looks like an excellent line up. There’ll be recordings of the sessions up on YouTube at a later date, I think, and I may also rework this lecture into a text to appear elsewhere soon. Watch this space.

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