Essays Elsewhere

As each term or concept is passed around from group to group, rising to the surface of public discourse by virtue of this promiscuity, we watch with horror as each word tumbles into meaninglessness, where one group’s gospel is another’s shameful misuse. This is a situation we are used to seeing, of course, in various different contexts, but to see it as a central trap from which contemporary politics cannot seem to wrest itself is depressing to many. Indeed, defining contemporaneity in itself as the temporally progressive shoreline of a universalised thinking, we find ourselves in a moment of traumatic untimeliness through which discourses and the concepts that fuel them become fatally entwined in a mutually destructive death-spiral, both seemingly incapable of affecting the other to the degree that we have long been told is necessary, each diluting the structural analyses of the other in the popular imagination. Consensus becomes both weapon and shield for all sides who proclaim possession of the majority’s support whilst ultimately finding it impotent as various positions go to war with one another over minor differences of opinion. We watch helplessly as Overton Windows overlap, creating a disorientating and kaleidoscopic politics.

So, what is to be done? How do we deal with words — with concepts — when their innate lack of consensual meaning is abused with such regularity? How do we stand by the words and concepts we deploy in our conversations, resisting their cooption, whilst retaining their potential for the production of the new? How do we remain true to our broader identifications with the left or the right when both umbrellas are so full of holes?

Published in Alienist Magazine #5 in 2019 by the Interior Ministry (pp. 161-173)

Anomalous Worlds: On Accelerationism & Patchwork

[H]ere we see an idea of accelerationism which is abhorrently violent and superficial but which we can interpret as only helping to embolden present ideological hegemonies by ejecting the radical outsideness of accelerationism, and in many ways calls for change in themselves, out onto the scorched earth of political extremism. This is a message has direct implications for patchwork politics as well and which we can see examples of around the world. Palestine might be the most obvious example, where patch-adjacent demands of self-determination are dismissed as being complicit in terrorism and must be denounced across all political lines.

A transcript of a talk posted on Diffractions Collective in 2019

The Wyrd Sisters Bring Death to Leviathan

…the Wyrd Sisters are a nefarious and multiplicitous being — like capital but also like the collective form of subjectivity that Fisher explicitly calls for in his Capitalist Realism — and they are able to see, we might presume, multiple futures. They share a subjectivity between them, collectively choosing a path ahead for those they encounter and, in their conniving and mischievous ways, shaping the future for their own ends, notably against the apparatuses of the State.

A transcript of a talk posted on Diffractions Collective in 2018

‘Acid’ is desire, as corrosive and denaturalising multiplicity…

Published in Krisis: Journal for Contemporary Philosophy in 2018

What does it say about photography’s beginnings that one of the first self-portraits depicts a staged suicide?

Published in ŠUM#9: Exit or Die in 2018 by ŠUM — Journal for Contemporary Art Criticism and Theory, Ljubljana (pp. 1121-1135)

Run script… Check for pulse… Out of the corner of my eye the rectangular screen of my laptop suffers strange non-Euclidean distortions.

Published on Vast Abrupt in 2018

Whatever horrifying and unthinkable form the Outside may take, the fact remains that it is seemingly through community alone that its affects can be harnessed…

Published on Vast Abrupt in 2018

Community Remains

This “community” is not something worked towards and achieved but rather something experienced in itself, outside of regulation […] It does not exist for the sake of networking or profit or climbing the ladder of industry — the pursuits of the individual — but as a way of being that requires a collective subject in order to sustain itself.

Published in Epilogue in 2017 by University of South Wales, Cardiff

Rather than becoming immediately facetious, can Mark [Fisher]’s real death recalibrate the stakes of his conceptual deaths? Can death in this mode be collectively thought in a way that prepares us for — and helps us to move beyond — our present reality, not only of personal grief but of capitalist apocalypticism?

Published in The Fisher-Function in 2017 by Goldsmiths, University of London (pp. 119-120)

The individual experiences of these exhibiting students are usually overlooked in favour of placing the show itself within a much broader context. With Leaving the Building, such experiences — both positive and negative — are often hinted at, sometimes openly discussed. It would be detrimental to all to suggest such explorations were merely navel-gazing. The works contribute to a wider empiricism; a collective knowledge of how we all interact with and process the world around us.

Published in Leaving the Building in 2014 by University of South Wales, Cardiff (pp. 151-153)