The Philosophy of Accelerationism


Lecture 1: Kant, Time and Machines

If Accelerationism is anything, it's a philosophy of time, specifically, transcendental time.

In this lecture we will consider the major role Kantian (critical) philosophy plays in outlining the philosophical underpinnings of Accelerationism, whilst simulataneously understanding the Deleuzoguattarian conception of 'machines' via the Kantian lens.

 

Required Reading:

Anna Greenspan - Capitalism's Transcendental Time Machine - http://wrap.warwick.ac.uk/4520/1/WRAP_THESIS_Greenspan_2000.pdf

Nick Land - Accelerationism & Capital (Hermitix podcast) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgEqQujsNTY&t

 

Recommended Reading:

Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari - Anti-Oedipus, p1-56

Nick Land - Machinic Desire - http://xenopraxis.net/readings/land_machinicdesire.pdf



Lecture 2: The Outside and Zero

For the process of Acceleration to be possible, we need to 'let the outside in'.

In this lecture there will be a indepth consideration of the transcendental Outside and the major role it plays in creating difference, as well as aligning the possibilty and potential of difference in relation to 'Zero'.


Required Reading:

James Ellis (Meta-Nomad) - On Z/Acc (Zero-Accelerationism) - https://parallaxoptics.com/2020/03/16/on-z-acc/

 

Recommended Reading:

Nick Land - The Atomization Trap - https://jacobitemag.com/2017/06/06/atomization/

Nick Land - Hellbaked - http://www.xenosystems.net/hell-baked/

Nick Land - Disintegration - https://jacobitemag.com/2019/07/15/disintegration/



Lecture 3: The Process of Accelerationism

This lecture is a compounding of the previous 2 lectures into a coherent whole (process), each singular part culminates into a working transcendental model of what it means to philosophically (and actually) 'Accelerate the process'.


Required Reading:

Nick Land - Teleoplexy - http://s3.amazonaws.com/arena-attachments/2118354/b390e4336afaec0f023cb1198bed3691.pdf?1525169195

Social Ecologies - Nick Land and Teleoplexy: The Schizoanalysis of Acceleration - https://socialecologies.wordpress.com/2014/06/14/nick-land-and-teleoplexy-the-schizoanalysis-of-acceleration/

 

Recommended Reading:

Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari - Anti-Oedipus, The Civilized Capitalist Machine, p257-276



The Politics of Accelerationism



Lecture 1: What Happened?

We must start at the end, so that we are better prepared to go back to the beginning.

In this lecture, we will briefly consider the various slippages in accelerationism’s meaning over the last decade and uncover the crisis of negation that this course will address.

 

Required Reading:

 Andy Beckett, “Accelerationism: how a fringe philosophy predicted the world in which we live”, The Guardian, 11 May 2017: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/11/accelerationism-how-a-fringe-philosophy-predicted-the-future-we-live-in

Zack Beauchamp, “Accelerationism: the obscure idea inspiring white supremacist killers around the world”, Vox, 18 November 2019: https://www.vox.com/the-highlight/2019/11/11/20882005/accelerationism-white-supremacy-christchurch

 

Recommended Reading:

“What is Accelerationism?”, New Statesman, 5 August 2016: https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2016/08/what-accelerationism

Roc Jiménez de Cisneros, "The Accelerationist Vertigo (II): Interview with Robin Mackay", CCCB Lab, 5 November 2014: http://lab.cccb.org/en/the-accelerationist-vertigo-ii-interview-with-robin-mackay/

Mark Fisher, “‘A social and psychic revolution of almost inconceivable magnitude’: Popular Culture’s Interrupted Accelerationist Dreams”, e-flux, Journal #46, June 2013: https://www.e-flux.com/journal/46/60084/a-social-and-psychic-revolution-of-almost-inconceivable-magnitude-popular-culture-s-interrupted-accelerationist-dreams/

Matt Colquhoun, “Accelerationism and the Christchurch Shooter”, xenogothic, 20 March 2019: https://xenogothic.com/2019/03/20/accelerationism-and-the-christchurch-shooter/



Lecture 2: The Crisis in Negation

The negation of the negation is a convoluted process central to Karl Marx’s dialectical materialism. However, this process has been in crisis for some time.

In this lecture, we will discuss how this crisis came to the attention of the blogosphere, following the financial crash of 2007/08 and that one time Slavoj Žižek watched the movie 300


Required Reading:

 Slavoj Žižek, “The True Hollywood Left”, lacan.com, 2007: https://www.lacan.com/zizhollywood.htm

Jason Smith and Filippo del Luchesse, “‘We Need a Popular Discipline’: Contemporary Politics and the Crisis of the Negative — Interview with Alain Badiou”, lacan.com, 7 February 2007: https://www.lacan.com/baddiscipline.html

Shaviro, Steven. “Zizek/Hollywood”, The Pinocchio Theory, 30 April 2007: http://www.shaviro.com/Blog/?p=574

 Recommended Reading:

 John Van Houdt, "The Crisis of Negation: An Interview with Alain Badiou", Continent, issue 1.4 / 2011: http://continentcontinent.cc/index.php/continent/article/view/65



Lecture 3: The Impotence of Affirmation

The crisis of negation is complicated by its mirror image: the impotence of affirmation.

In this lecture we will explore how the blogosphere sought to counter Žižek’s contrarian arguments with a Deleuzian ethics of de-institionalised affirmation. This alternative, however, was not without some complications of its own…

 

Required Reading:

 Shaviro, Steven. “Zizek/Hollywood”, The Pinocchio Theory, 30 April 2007: http://www.shaviro.com/Blog/?p=574

 Steven Shaviro, “Negative or oblique?”, The Pinocchio Theory, 2 May 2007: http://www.shaviro.com/Blog/?p=575

 Steven Shaviro, “What is to be done?”, The Pinocchio Theory, 12 June 2008: http://www.shaviro.com/Blog/?p=638

 

Recommended Reading:

 Fisher, Mark. “Permissive Hedonism and the Ascesis of Positivity”, k-punk, 2 May 2007: http://k-punk.abstractdynamics.org/archives/009325.html



Lecture 4: Hauntology and the Potentials of Real Abstraction (Part One)

Prior to the emergence of accelerationism, hauntology ruled the blogosphere.

In this lecture we will uncover hauntology’s peculiar philosophical background and explore how the Gothic — and, more specifically, the xenogothic — as a mode of promethean negation that informs accelerationism’s less hyperactive cousin.

 

Required Reading:

 Simon Reynolds, “Spirit of Preservation”, Frieze, issue 94, 2006. Accessed via the Wayback Machine: https://web.archive.org/web/20060629195927/https://frieze.com/column_single.asp?c=277

Mark Fisher, “No Futurebleed: Kneale’s Hauntology”, k-punk, 18 October 2003: http://k-punk.org/no-futurebleed-kneales-hauntology/

Mark Fisher, “For Your Unpleasure: The Haute-Couture of Goth”, k-punk, 1 June 2005: http://k-punk.abstractdynamics.org/archives/005622.html

Wilhelm Worringer, Form in Gothic, trans. Herbert Read. New York: Stocken Books, 1972.

 

Recommended Reading:

Jacques Derrida, Specters of Marx: The State of the Debt, the Work of Mourning and the New International, trans. Peggy Kamuf. London and New York: Routledge Classics, 2006.

 “About”, Ghost Box Records: https://ghostbox.co.uk/about/

Mark Fisher, “Recording Ghosts”, k-punk, 12 November 2003: http://k-punk.abstractdynamics.org/archives/000818.html

Owen Hatherley, "well, that was actually more in the ragtime idiom", sit down man, you're a bloody tragedy, 9 October 2006: http://nastybrutalistandshort.blogspot.com/2006/10/well-that-was-actually-more-in-ragtime.html



Lecture 5: Hauntology and the Potentials of Real Abstraction (Part Two)

Lecture Five:

Hauntology and the Potentials of Real Abstraction (Part Two)

 

Hauntology oddly predicts accelerationism’s own fate.

In this lecture we will consider the unfortunate downfall of hauntology and its backlash, both in the blogosphere and in the music industry at large. We will consider how this fall in popularity is another kind of crisis in negation and one which accelerationism might have taken heed of…

 

Required Reading:

Mark Fisher, Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative? London: Zer0 Books, 2009.

Mark Fisher, "Unhomesickness", k-punk, 21 September 2005: http://k-punk.abstractdynamics.org/archives/006414.html

 Mark Fisher, “Going Overground”, k-punk, 4 January 2014: http://k-punk.org/going-overground/

Alex Williams, "Against Hauntology (Giving Up The Ghost)", Splintering Bone Ashes, 20 July 2008. Accessed via the WayBack Machine: https://web.archive.org/web/20100805024153/http:/splinteringboneashes.blogspot.com/2008/07/against-hauntology-giving-up-ghost.html

Alex Williams, “Xenoeconomics and Capital Unbound”, Splintering Bone Ashes, 19 October 2008. Accessed via the WayBack Machine: https://web.archive.org/web/20100805021724/http:/splinteringboneashes.blogspot.com/2008/10/xenoeconomics-and-capital-unbound.html

Benjamin Noys, “Accelerationism”, No Useless Leniency, 20 October 2008: http://leniency.blogspot.com/2008/10/accelerationism.html

 

Recommended Reading:

Simon Reynolds, "The Rise of Conceptronica", Pitchfork, 10 October 2019: https://pitchfork.com/features/article/2010s-rise-of-conceptronica-electronic-music/


 


Lecture 6: Towards an Inhumanities

We spend much time at present thinking about the world-without-us and the ecological ethics of the Anthropocene. To what end?

In this lecture we will consider Ray Brassier’s Promethean nihilism and how it inspired Alex Williams to put forward a view of capitalism-in-itself. This was the founding moment of the accelerationist blogosphere. It is also a moment that accelerationism has yet to escape…

 

Required Reading:

Alex Williams, “Xenoeconomics and Capital Unbound”, Splintering Bone Ashes, 19 October 2008. Accessed via the WayBack Machine: https://web.archive.org/web/20100805021724/http:/splinteringboneashes.blogspot.com/2008/10/xenoeconomics-and-capital-unbound.html

Mark Fisher, “Nihilism Without Negativity”, k-punk, 20 October 2008: http://k-punk.abstractdynamics.org/archives/010758.html

Mark Fisher, “‘Frankensteinian Surgeon of the Cities’”, k-punk, 23 October 2008: http://k-punk.abstractdynamics.org/archives/010770.html

Alex Williams, "Post-Land: The paradoxes of a speculative realist politics", Splintering Bone Ashes, 26 October 2008. Accessible via the WayBack Machine: https://web.archive.org/web/20100805024039/http://splinteringboneashes.blogspot.com/2008/10/post-land-paradoxes-of-speculative.html

 

Recommended Reading:

Ray Brassier, “Nihil Unbound: Remarks on Subtractive Ontology and Thinking Capitalism” in Think Again: Alain Badiou and the Future of Philosophy, ed. Peter Hallward. London: Continuum, 2004.

Martin Amis, “The age of horrorism (part two)”, The Guardian, 10 September 2006: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2006/sep/10/september11.politicsphilosophyandsociety1

Nick Land, “Horrorism”, Xenosystems, 3 November 2013: http://www.xenosystems.net/horrorism/



Lecture 7: What Next?

By now, we hopefully understand what has happened to accelerationism since 2007. So what happened next?

Many questions remain unanswered, but that is because these are big questions. Rather than follow the Twitter lemmings off the cliff, we should retain a space where accelerationism might be able to finally produce some answers to some of its questions.

Is that space online? Ray Brassier didn’t seem to think so…

 

Required Reading:

Vincent Garton, "Unconditional accelerationism as antipraxis", Cyclonograph I, 12 June 2017: https://cyclonotrope.wordpress.com/2017/06/12/unconditional-accelerationism-as-antipraxis/

Edmund Berger, "Unconditional Acceleration and the Question of Praxis: Some Preliminary Thoughts", Deterritorial Investigations, 29 March 2017: https://deterritorialinvestigations.wordpress.com/2017/03/29/unconditional-acceleration-and-the-question-of-praxis-some-preliminary-thoughts/

 

Recommended Reading:

"I am a nihilist because I still believe in truth: Ray Brassier interviewed by Marcin Rychter", Kronos, 11 March 2011. Accessible via the WayBack Machine: https://web.archive.org/web/20110814150145/http://www.kronos.org.pl/index.php?23151,896


James Ellis M.A.


James Ellis studied fine art at Norwich University of the Arts, after finishing his degree he completed an M.A. in continental philosophy at Staffordshire University. He blogs at Meta-Nomad and is the host of Hermitix Podcast. He is the author of Accelerationism: Capitalism as Critique & Other Essays (MVU Press, 2020)

Matt Colquhoun M.A.


Matt Colquhoun is a writer and photographer from Kingston-Upon-Hull, UK. He is the author of Egress: On Mourning, Melancholy and Mark Fisher and blogs at xenogothic.com.


Choose a Pricing Option

£100

Basic Course

Just the course materials

Course materials:


10 lectures (6+ hours) - Audio and video versions of both

Text transcripts of lectures

£150

Basic Course + Seminar

Course Materials + 1 Two Hour Seminar

Course materials:


10 lectures (6+ hours) - Audio and video versions of both

Text transcripts of lectures


Seminar:


1x 2 hour seminar via Zoom

Dates and times (BST/GMT+1):



15/8/20: 7pm - 9pm

16/8/20: 10am - 12am

22/8/20: 7pm - 9pm

23/8/20: 10am - 12am

£200

Course + Seminar + 1-on-2

Course materials, 2 hour seminar and a one-on-two with Matt and James

Course materials:


10 lectures (6+ hours) - Audio and video versions of both

Text transcripts of lectures


Seminar:


1x 2 hour seminar via Zoom

Dates and times (BST/GMT+1):


15/8/20: 7pm - 9pm

16/8/20: 10am - 12am

22/8/20: 7pm - 9pm

23/8/20: 10am - 12am


One-on-Two:


1x personal 2 hour discussion with Matt and James, date and times discussed via email.