A Brief History of the New:
Recording Now Online

Earlier this year, I gave a talk fit for springtime on the history of the new.

The talk emerged from my research for a forthcoming book on accelerationism. In fact, as a work-in-progress, it is somewhat disjointed. I read out the drafts for two chapters that are, at present, tangentially related. (Making the bridge between them more stable and explicit is part of the work I’m still undertaking at present.)

The reason for reading out these two draft texts was that they responded to very recent discussions had online and around the blogosphere at that time. One was my back-and-forth with Matt Bluemink on anti-hauntology and the emergence of the new, and also my various blogposts emphasising Alain Badiou’s influence on the initial accelerationist blogosphere. As has also been discussed even more recently, accelerationism was never just about Nick Land and Gilles Deleuze; rather, I think the key point of tension comes from the continuities and discontinuities between Alain Badiou and Gilles Deleuze instead, specifically their differing positions regarding the emergence of the new.

The best introduction to this, for my money, remains Sam Gillespie’s The Mathematics of Novelty, but I think there is more work to be done to make this conversation more accessible to people interested in accelerationism in particular who perhaps don’t have much of an entry point beyond the memes.

As a way to introduce this conversation, my talk above goes back a bit further than Badiou and Deleuze. In fact, I attempt to lay out how their competing positions can be traced back to the pre-Socratics, showing that accelerationism’s political insistence on the new following the end of history taps into a philosophical debate going back millennia. But this history nonetheless begs the question of what are the current conditions of philosophy and politics and how do they impact these more generic debates about finitude and infinitude.

You can watch the talk above and read the announcement over on the CTRL Network website here and below. As it happens, the CTRL Network group are starting up again soon. They’re a brilliant community, based in Birmingham but open to all online. Go check them out! Thanks again to Josie Lilley-Byrne and Niall Gallen for the invitation and especially to Josie for editing the video above.

After a bloody long break we’re dusting off the recording from Matt Colquhoun’s fantastic guest lecture in the Spring. Though April feels like a lifetime ago, Matt’s musings on the history of the new seem just as fresh now as they did then.

Matt kindly agreed to speak for us as we concluded our Postcapitalist Desire winter reading group, giving us, as always, not and ending, but a jumping off point for further enquiry. Here’s how he described the lecture:

“How do we free ourselves from the tyranny of the “post-“? Jumping off from Fisher’s unfinished lecture series, which ends with post-structuralism’s moment of absolute negation, this lecture will return to the philosophy’s beginnings, tracing a wandering line of abstraction from Heraclitus to the Ccru, considering how “the new” has been thought and we might begin to think “the new” anew again.”

We hope you enjoy watching.


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