Mark Fisher’s final lectures, Postcapitalist Desire, edited by Matt Colquhoun (@xenogothic) is out in hardback today.
It’s a bittersweet honour to be memorialising k-punk’s writing and teaching, which defined critical writing for a generation.
Repeater is very much correct about how bittersweet this is. Postcapitalist Desire is out today. Tomorrow, it is four years since we lost Mark.
The reception this collection has had so far has been fantastic. It was released as an ebook first, back in October, to much less fanfare from us. This was because publishing something by Mark for the sake of it was not our intention. My own book Egress had only come out a few months prior. We did not want to burn people out on Mark.
But, personally speaking, I would not have undertaken this editorial project in the first place if I didn’t think the material collected here was of great value. Initially, I sent a transcription of the first lecture to Tariq Goddard, which I’d first undertaken back in February 2017, as a nice little curiosity. But, on reading it, Tariq felt the same way I did — that there was something here worthy of being shared.
I was reminded of this the other day when I saw a Deleuze quotation online, in which he makes the case for three questions that you should ask yourself if you are about to bring a book into existence. “I believe a book,” he writes, “if it deserves to exist, can be presented in three quick aspects”: it fixes a perceived error; it re-centres something presumed forgotten; it generates a new concept.
Mark had already done these three things with tantalizing brevity in his unfinished introduction to Acid Communism — he had generated a new titular concept, returning to the forgotten potentials of the 1970s that he felt had been contemporaneously maligned in error. But there was very little else shared beyond that.
Since then, to me at least, the errors have only proliferated. What Mark hoped to explore with Acid Communism has been assumed without much evidence. The consistency of his thinking, on his blog if not in his wide-ranging books, was forgotten, and Acid Communism was seen as a do-over rather than a capstone to over twenty years of public thought. New concepts were nonetheless generated in response but none that seemed to really engaged with the stakes Mark held in his sights.
This is why Postcapitalist Desire exists — to realign our sense of Mark’s thought and see if it can be generative in the way he intended. Time will tell if this collection assists with that. I hope it will.
Four years on from Mark’s death, it remains clear that there is no substitute for his own sensibilities. But the Mark captured here, in these transcriptions that were — let’s face it — never intended to see the light of day, is Mark the teacher, and Mark was never more inspiring than when he was in a classroom.