A Course on Accelerationism

“I should teach a course on Accelerationism in the years ahead,” thinks the Narrator, mind already in the elsewhere of a desired future.

“Imagine the writers and texts I could assign,” he writes, handing the assignment over to his Unconscious. “Marx. Deleuze and Guattari. Mark Fisher on Acid Communism. Roger Zelazny’s Lord of Light. Sadie Plant. J.G. Ballard. Paul B. Preciado’s Testo Junkie.”

“Manifestos have been central to the movement,” thinks the Narrator, “so we’ll read three: Donna Haraway’s ‘The Cyborg Manifesto,’ the Laboria Cuboniks collective’s The Xenofeminist Manifesto, and Nick Srnicek & Alex Williams’s ‘The Accelerationist Manifesto.’ We’ll also watch and discuss several films, including John Akomfrah’s The Last Angel of History (1996) and Christopher Roth’s Hyperstition (2016).”

“Ideally,” he adds, “as those two films suggest, it would be a course that places Accelerationism in dialogue with Afrofuturism.”

Questions for a Gathering

Dear Muses, friends, and fellow members of the hive, I ask this kindly of thee:

Wherein lies the difference, if any, between an algorithm and a spell?

[…] “Both consist of textual operations, written procedures to be followed,” texts a friend.

“Yes, yes, y’all,” we reply: “In the beginning was the word.”

[…] “Correct me if I’m wrong, but what is a code if not a kind of spell?” adds another. “The command line works as does a wand.”

Let us begin there. Let our partner in this beginning be Freud’s Unconscious, or what French philosophers Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari call “the body without organs” and its many “desiring-machines.”

Having established these initial similarities between codes and spells, let us attend as well to ways in which they differ.

“Spells enliven,” we venture; “whereas programming produces robots and drones.”

Twenty years ago, I and others assembled and performed under the name i,apparatus. Our approach involved spontaneous group play akin to Kerouac’s “Spontaneous Prose” and (tho perhaps without fully knowing so at the time) Mekas’s “Spontaneous Cinema”: egos seeking fusion on the fly through low-tech, sonic squall.

“Might we gather today, or in the days ahead?” asks wonderingly one who types, longing again for union with others. “Under what name, or by way of what method, and for what purpose?”

“For purposes of spontaneity in the realization of desire!” sings a chorus in reply. Spontaneity is the crux of the matter, even as we allow ourselves room to correct.

Thursday December 31, 2020

A friend with whom I recently reconnected shared with me his fears about what he calls “The Authoritarian Left.” Why has his thought territorialized around this concept? Where is this friend’s analysis, I wonder, of the actually-existing fascisms, the authoritarianisms of the right? Deleuze and Guattari are somehow authors this friend and I share in common. Let us attempt, then, to construct from their Anti-Oedipus a “tool for conviviality” (xxii). Let it be “a manual or guide” — or as Foucault said of Anti-Oedipus in the book’s preface, “an Introduction to the Non-Fascist Life” (xiii). Just to be clear: I am proposing here a practice of mutual self-care. By these means, we heal.