Tag Archives: hauntology

The Walking Dead (trailer)

I’ve mentioned before how fascinated I am with the pop-culture zombie; I think this show is the next logical step as the undead become more and more mainstream. This is a polished re-presentation of what has now become essentially the standard zombie-mythos, steeped in the emergence of disease, humans becoming nothing but the vessels of some virus or bacteria which thinks of nothing more than it’s own propagation. What’s amazing in all of this is the way that life is portrayed as evil, that it is unable to curb itself to the point of it’s own collapse at the hand of it’s own parasitic drives. Life is evil because it is excessive, because Nature cannot be domesticated, because it is ultimately unpredictable. How far we’ve come from the undead as a figure of demonic possession, beings that were simply Evil. Now, evil needs a reason and that reason is unsustainability.

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This malign influence from the future

LHC

There’s a great article in the New York Times on the Large Hadron Collider, and the possibility that it is sabotaging itself from the future. A sample:

A pair of otherwise distinguished physicists have suggested that the hypothesized Higgs boson, which physicists hope to produce with the collider, might be so abhorrent to nature that its creation would ripple backward through time and stop the collider before it could make one, like a time traveler who goes back in time to kill his grandfather.

Where we’re going we don’t need grandfathers.

Something else of interest to those of us interested in Meillassoux and speculative materialism is this:

Another of Dr. Nielsen’s projects is an effort to show how the universe as we know it, with all its apparent regularity, could arise from pure randomness, a subject he calls “random dynamics.”

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Some Notes on Relationality – Mourning

The First Mourning

– All things exist in relation to other things. There is no thing that exists in isolation.

– There is no isolation because no thing is complete, but is historical. This means that even if a thing never relations to any other thing, it will at least relate to other instances of itself (past or future selves).

– If no being is ever complete then ontology as the study of Being qua static presence is useless as static presence is impossible. We will hereby discard ontology in favour of hauntology, that is, the study of spectral being, becoming and unbecoming, the raveling and unraveling of beings across time.

– Since all things are incomplete (historical) beings, their relations must themselves be incomplete because they too are historical, that is, always coming to be and passing away. It follows that if a thing is always changing due to time, then that things relations are themselves constantly changing as the thing takes up new relations and no longer relates to other things. Partial objects have fleeting relations.

– If hauntology is first philosophy then there are two starting points for metaphysics: either we begin with coming to be or we begin with passing away. I am not yet sure what difference this makes and so will begin with the latter, passing away.

– All beings are in mourning. What do we mean by mourning? Mourning is the other side to haunting. It is essentially the residue of a relation which is carried on by a thing with more existence. Nothing is impossible. This should be taken literally, nothingness itself is impossible; things always persist through relations, across history (across time). Haunting/Mourning, a persistence beyond existence. Any relation between entities of unequal existence can be said to be a relation of haunting/mourning (depending on which perspective is taken).

– But what is mourning? What is it to mourn or be mourned?

– When a relation passes away, fading out, it does not simply dissolve. There is a process whereby the network of relations is altered by the newfound gap. I catch myself thinking another that isn’t there, not any more. We catch ourselves relating (in this case thinking, feeling) the gap. The network must be reformed anew.

– “My double is wandering through the networks…” (Jean Baudrillard. Impossible Exchange, Verso, 2001:15). Not exactly “double,” though you do persist. We should say rather, “Pieces of me cling throughout the networks.”

– I am covered in these pieces of history. They stick to me and try as I might I cannot shake them off.

– These pieces of history define me in some way. These pieces of you become pieces of me. These pieces of me become pieces of you.

– I am always mourning because I am always in relation to the past. History forces itself on me, on everything. Everything is always mourning. Sometimes it’s simply more pronounced. Sometimes I mourn even more.

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The Art of Time and Place

line

Richard Long sculpts time itself by walking through nature. Simple activity in nature as minimalist art, the aesthetics of intention. This makes me wonder whether we could consider all activity as some form of art, the art of geology, the art of living, the art of…

boots

Besides the art of walking, he also creates simple sculptures along his journeys using natural materials to give identity to place, like the ruins of a lost civilization.

stones

This makes me think of inuksuit and inunnguat, the latter of which I used to build on the coast of the Bay of Fundy.

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Some Notes On Relationality- What I Know So Far

– What does it mean for a human being to be connected? When is one wired and where does this wiring go? Is the wiring visible like a marionette, or are we all wireless now? Am I connected? Of course I am, but to what? Is it to you or to…

– On my relation to my relations. As object, I remains distinct from those other objects around me. But I am not entirely distinct, as I am not simply an isolated atom, but am defined by the complex relations I build, maintain, and destroy. The family members I don’t speak to or foods I avoid are a part of me, just as my significant other or favourite songs are. There is no “at bottom” when describing myself, because I am more than myself, I am outside of myself.

– What then, if anything, am I? I am animal, of this I am fairly certain. I am mobile, desiring, creative flesh and bone. I have been told I am rational (of this I am always doubtful). I am a thing which thinks (though often doesn’t). I am real, this I accept. I am, but am not reducible to my relations. The same goes for my character. For I am also a history, and a trajectory.

– I am not my static presence, but a past and a future as well.

– My past is perhaps unknowable, as my past selves are themselves defined not in terms of isolated character traits or unchanging substance, but by their relations, both to other things, as well as to the relations of those things, and those things, and and and.

– I am a history in matter, a formation in the rock. I am a tender history in rust. I am an outgrowth in reality; a smudge on the windshield. I am a violent outburst of sight and sound. I am tired.

– How is history even possible?

– It gets crowded in here with all these memories (lies). For the amount that I write and think about memory, about haunting and the residue of relations, you’d think I had more of them. All my writing about memory is really about forgetting. (This is perhaps the thinker at his most candid, take note.) I forget everything. The vast majority of life forgotten: days, months, years, feelings, thoughts, homes. I would not survive without pockets of lists. My archive is continually destroyed by the washing machine. What would Freud say? (Don’t even get me started.)

– I am a force, a drive, a movement. I surge forward, in search of food, drink, this, that. I am empty, please fill me. Please, fill me.

– I am always to come, that is to say, I am not yet ready, but always in preparation. I am not yet, and yet…

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The Last Man On Earth (1964)

I’m excited about this one, and since it too is in the public domain, I thought I would share it. I will likely be watching this tonight:

There have been three films based on the book I Am Legend (1954), this one starring Vincent Price being the first, followed by The Omega Man (1971) starring Charlton Heston, and I Am Legend (2007) starring Will Smith (which is the only one I have seen up until now). What I find interesting about this series is that through combining the mythos of the vampire and the zombie, this may be the first instance in popular culture where vampirism and/or zombification is a disease or virus, rather than being seen as magical or other-wordly in some way. This is actually one of the important themes for my book, the relation between magic and biology in Vitalism, but also in how we view the death drive. I am also interested in the relation between Vitalism and the idea of “mutations,” and how these connect to post-humanism and/or anti-humanism.

Also significant for my current writing is the idea of the apocalypse, in the case of the I Am Legend book and film off-shoots as well as many zombie films inspired by it, the idea of a biological apocalypse and the relation it has to the common Christian apocalypse.

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White Zombie (the first zombie movie)

I will be watching this film this evening. Please join me and we can discuss it (maybe!). The copyright has expired on it, so I am posting it below. Here’s the Wikipedia page for the movie. Note: It stars Bela Lugosi as a voodoo master named Murder(!) and so can’t possibly be bad! Enjoy!

PS: Click through to watch it on YouTube with a dimmer.

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Wow talk about “undead labour,” huh? Creating the undead to work in a sugar mill? You’d think a voodoo master named Murder would aim higher than that. Maybe it was all part of a plan? As we all learned from The Simpsons, “First you get the sugar, then you get the power, then you get the women.”

I did love that scene when Madeleine sees Murder’s gaze in the glass of wine and says “I see death.” Nice.

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