The course is a two-parter, with James covering the philosophy of accelerationism and me on politics. (I’ll put the full course outline after the jump…)
We’re both very excited to be coming together on this. The course comes in three tiers. Tier 1 (£100) gives you access to all the course materials — almost seven hours worth of video + audio + lecture transcripts; Tier 2 (£150) is the course materials and the opportunity to take part in two seminars with James and myself; Tier 3 (£200) is all of the above and you also get a one-on-one seminar (or more like a threesome) with James and myself as well.
As we discussed the other day, we’re both very excited about the kinds of conversations that the course might generate — Ed Berger has already written a genius blogpost in response to the promo chat. So please join us for what we think will be a really exciting set of conversations.
Meta-Nomad very generously asked me to collaborate with him on a course about accelerationism six weeks ago. He suggested that he’d cover the philosophy of accelerationism and I could cover the politics of accelerationism. I thought this was a really interesting idea. The result is a load of content that we’re going to be releasing this Friday (24th July 2020) via his Teachable page.
I don’t want to give away too much — we’ll be sharing more info later in the week, including course outlines and costs — but we have recorded the above chat which begins a particular conversation that we hope this course will go on to further develop.
A promotional video for the second Hermitix course called The Philosophy and Politics of Accelerationism, a collaboration with Matt Colquhoun (www.xenogothic.com). The course will be a paid course consisting of 10 lectures and transcripts, with optional seminars and one-on-ones. James Ellis (Meta-Nomad) will cover the philosophical aspects of Accelerationism and Matt Colquhoun will cover the political aspects.
I’m really excited to have been invited to give a guest lecture as part of k-punk quarantined, a online workshop around the work of Mark Fisher organised by the University of Birmingham’s Contemporary Theory Reading Group.
I’m going to be talking about some of my more recent research around Mark’s final postgraduate module at Goldsmiths, building towards his Acid Communism, excavating a thread that can be traced back through ten years of his writing, revealing how Acid Communism might still be a project reconstructed using Mark’s various essays already out in the world on the likes of Spinoza, accelerationism, consciousness raising, psychoanalysis, Marxism and a bunch of other things. (It’ll also serve as a sneak peek at forthcoming book project I’ve been working on — and have recently finished — during quarantine, due out in September. More on that at a later date.)
The abstract for the lecture is below:
In the months before his death, in late 2016, Mark Fisher had returned to that most fundamental political question in the twenty-first century: “Do we really want what we say we want?”
Beginning a new postgraduate module at Goldsmiths, University of London, entitled Postcapitalist Desire, Fisher explored the convoluted relationship between desire and capitalism, all the while wondering what new forms of desire we might still be able to excavate from this relation, whether from the past, our present, or the not-so-distant future.
From the emergence and failure of the counterculture in the 1970s to the continued development of his left-accelerationist line of thinking, this train of thought was tragically interrupted. Nevertheless, this course was an attempt to think through and enact one of Fisher’s more implicit overarching concerns: the raising of a new kind of consciousness. He also considered the cultural and political implications of doing so.
For Fisher, this process of consciousness raising was always, fundamentally, psychedelic — just not in the way that we might think… This lecture will further excavate this trajectory, not only as it was articulated in the final months of Fisher’s life but also from within the depths of his written output, from the k-punk blog to The Weird and the Eerie.
If you’ll allow me a momentary simping, back in February, before all… this happened, Robin was in Melbourne giving a lecture at the MSCP. They’ve just put the audio up online and I spent the morning listening to it.
At the start, Robin makes the case for doing philosophy in our own way right now — whatever that is. “Philosophy has not yet attained its contemporary form,” he says. The “old style” is too encoded in a bourgeois leisure time that is not afforded to the rest of us, so rather than ape an old way of doing things that is categorically unavailable to us — unless you can afford to leach off Mum and Dad — we need to find new ways of doing things.
Pop (or pulp) philosophy is his term for what might be to come, but there’s a great rallying cry in here that insists we are the ones that need to shape it rather than wait for it to land in our laps. Or, rather, the mediums for it are already all around us but we need to push a little further to really strike them in our own image.
There’s one anecdote in particular that takes on a double resonance right now, I think, in which Robin implores us to “rep for the living room.” I wanted to transcribe it:
I turn here — with apologies for repeating the anecdote from elsewhere — to something that Mark Fisher once said to me. I was bemoaning to him the fact that — we were listening to the Wu Tang Clan and I was saying, “people like us are never going to do anything as good as this.” And Mark just said, well, “we don’t come from the street, we come from the living room.” I thought that was brilliant. In a way, it kind of sums up Mark’s authenticity to who he was and where he came from. But in the current context, we also don’t come from the palace or from the Greek agora. And what does the living room mean? The living room means not being a first-hand participant in culture, and especially high culture, but being immersed in and surrounded by technologically mediated mass cultural products: TV, film, records, comics, paperbacks… We don’t come from ancient Athens or from Yan’an so, while we can have admiration for all of these historical figures, I feel like it’s our duty, if we’re not gonna be fakes, to take seriously Deleuze’s demand that we find our own way of doing it.
I don’t know who needs to hear this right now but go and give it a listen. This lecture feels like a defibrillator thrown into the heart of the blogosphere.
It is a strange time to join a university department — even if only as a “visiting lecturer” — because the second and third weeks of the module coincide with the third(?) round of strike action that many British universities have engaged in over the last couple of years. It feels strange to be supporting strike action after just one day of teaching but I also took part in the Goldsmiths pickets as an alumnus and greatly appreciate the cause and its aims.
Attending the Goldsmiths teach-outs at a pub near Telegraph Hill in 2018?was an experience I really enjoyed. However, with this modernist / Situationist-inspired module, which takes walking as “the most radical gesture”, already encompassing a series of planned “walk-outs” from the institution, exploring London, the line between striking and teaching already felt weirdly blurred before I was even aware that the strike would affect my plans.
Thankfully, the students have been incredibly receptive to this, with one member of the class suggesting that we use one of our scheduled sessions to walk between RCA picket lines from Battersea to Kensington — a brilliant idea.
I’ve never really taught before — although I’ve wanted to — and navigating the institution from this side of the classroom is something I’ve been worrying about, especially with carefully laid plans seeming like they were about to go to waste.
I’m really looking forward to teaching a short three-week module of workshops at the Royal College of Art in February and March.
Over three sessions, I’m hoping to introduce students to Deleuze’s central provocation — “we don’t yet know what our bodies can do” — through three mediums and moments within popular culture, imploring them to take a walk like Virginia Woolf in week one, Lee Friedlander in week two, and Burial in week three, wandering from the literary to the visual to the sonic.
I was invited to do this by the wonderful Eleni Ikoniadou and intend to use this opportunity as a testing ground for another book I’m working on, so I won’t say too much more about it here but I may reflect on the experience at a later date.
You can find a very condensed course introduction after the jump…