Nick Land - Fanged Noumena: Collected Writings 1987-2007



British philosopher Nick Land has left a legacy. His character is mythological and his critical interpretations are legend. Since the early 90's his thoughts and critiques have been at the epicenter ( or even been the genesis ) of numerous directions of enquiry. A myriad of multi-media, artistic, linguistic, logical, literary criticism and blogospherical areas of research have all derived and swelled since his teachings as lecturer in Continental Philosophy at Warwick University in the 1990's and his co-founding of the Cybernetic Culture Research Unit ( CCRU- co-founded with philosopher Sadie Plant at Birmingham University in 1995 ). His thoughts of 'rabid nihilism', 'mad black deleuzianism' and 'cybergothic' have spawned a multitude of modes of enquiry. The proliferating use of hyperstition as a tool in pursuit of dismantling standard models of social existence is one particularly prevalent effect of Lands philosophical and inspirational legacy - Reza Negarestani's occultist, post genre horror fictions and speculative theologix of Cyclonopedia being a recent example of a work derived, formed and inherently born out of the mode of the hyperstition praxis formats ( and the eponymous blog - Hyperstition that Land also contributed to ). Just reading the preface of Lands infamous critique/engagement/copulation/putrefaction of Bataille in 'The Thirst For Annihilation: Georges Bataille and Virulent Nihilism' ( Routledge Press 1992 ) the effect is violent, scary and profound. The level of emotion, the passion for the myriad of philosophies ( and their contextual exchanges ) is frightening and unique. When was the last time you put down a theory text feeling worried? When was the last time a theory text scarred you or made you sad? I can't think of anyone else. The only other book to effect such a response in myself recently was Eden Eden Eden by Pierre Guyotat - but thats fiction, and the fact that Lands impassioned engagement is focused on theories, established ( and/or erupting/hemorrhaging paradigms ) warrants all the more emotion and genuine interest, be it excitement, fear or elation - and thats just Lands unique delivery. The breadth of inspiration and the sheer volume of research areas and texts is phenomenal. Aqunias, Boltzmann, Hegel, Kant, Lukacs, Nietzsche, Marquis de Sade and Schopenhauer are just a few of the general reference Land draws on along with an almost encyclopedic referencing to Bataille's Oeuvres Completes that boarders on the religious - in that the connections and interpretations are engaged and impassioned to the nth degree. The experience is akin to an array of biblical epics - such is the breadth of emotional journeyings and weight of theoretical revelations. 
   Regarding just a few of the concepts brought forward, re-examined or re-integrated within the text it dawns on one just how influential Land has been. The penetration of fleeting analogies is vast and whole new modes of enquiry and axis for ontological explorations have emerged from the rabid flames of 'The Thirst For Annihilation: Georges Bataille and Virulent Nihilism'. Ontotheological and Logocentricist reassertions dance amongst a laughing cacophony of eroticist, morbid and transcendental polarities. If you were scarred by Bataille then dont read Land for the experience may enlighten enough to expose the putrid truth of ourselves life and death. This petrifying ( or putrefying! ) text holds so much at the epicenter of its ( panoramic ) rhizomatically aquired realms of research yet its so concentrated and potent. Lands other works that will all be included in Fanged Noumena: Collected Writings 1987-2007 ( to be published by Urbanomic in 2010 ) will no doubt have the same spectrum of revelations and potency of effect, for whilst a lot of these works have in existence since the 90s and their influence now fossilized in legend, the availability has been low with the texts scattered through small philosophical journals, blog posts and experimental webzine articals. Having a collection of such ( still ) vital texts is long overdue. I have no doubt that for Landians the consequence of having all texts in one place will further enlighten the rabid, mad or fatally sane ideological reproaches and contextual arguments. Another MetaStrata may emerge from this text. Lands Fanged Noumena are ominous - like rabid piranhas - or suspended maggots awaiting our putrefying minds and souls.  


Where The Wild Things Are - Spike Jonze - Going against the grain.



Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Stendak ( 1963 ) was one of my most cherished books as a child, the dark, slightly sinister world that Max ( the story's protagonist ) escaped to filled my imagination with wonderous thoughts of what goes bump in the woods. The books illustrations were perhaps the most striking I had come across - and years later they adorned the sides of skateboard wheels and the fronts of t shirts. The Wild Things had found a place in other hearts than my own. Perhaps it was the introspective nature of Max, or the possibility of escapism from a dull or fraught domestic situation? Perhaps it was the stripey furred monsters, the nordic palm trees or the proliferation of crawling vines. Perhaps it was the power of imagination, or the possibilities of a powerful imagination. Whatever the particular appeal Stendak tapped into throughout literary history childrens story books have often basked in the fantasy of escapism through ones own imagination. Another, alternative world of fantasy has often been the solace of an insecure child or even psychologically and/or emotionally insecure ( or ill equipped ) adults. Escapism is a natural tendency, but the escape to a realm of fantasy, totally separate form the current world,  could be the consequence of natural escapist impulses. The pull of these impulses may not be enough for a proportion of people to emancipate their conciousness and migrate between worlds from the familiar to the unfamiliar -  the uncanny. A push is needed. The push could be almost anything for almost anyone. ( Arthur Bremner killed Senator George Wallace because he was still a virgin - only connect ). The push could well be much stronger post 9/11. An overused and sweeping generalization but the slow slip of our entertainment preferences into more and more fantastical and removed tastes does hold a peculiar correlation. Could this increasing attraction ( after all the entertainment industry responds to demand in order to create sucess ) to fantastical elements be a reaction to a rather unwholesome post 9/11 universe? A chance to stick our heads in the sand if only for a short while amongst sticky seats and cumbersome cup holders? The world of entertainment has certainly provided all the sand needed for us ostreich's who need a place to put our heads, somewhere away from the desert of the real post 9/11 world. Entertainment will always be escapist in some capacity - but to what degree? The 80's world of John McClane fighting terrorist's at airports or Roseannne's dysfunctional sitcoms ( played out by an American working class family struggling to get by on a limited household income ) are realistic, familiar ( for reasons good or bad ) and essentially non-fantastic. In that the only escapism available is the escapism that Eastenders has flourished upon for years : Escaping away from ones own problems into a world of other peoples problems. The entertainment offered in the later half of the noughties seems utter fantasy in comparison. Ugly Betty, Lost, Life on Mars, Harry Potter, Sopranos ( the last two series in particular harbouring an acute existential detachment ), 300 and Sin City, Kill Bill, the Superman, Spiderman and X-men franchises - Where did all the realism go? Juno and The Wire, thats where - realism is now a minority, in fact reality TV,  the icy stare and glow of the cctv camera image is now a brushed and polished edition ( in thats its edited within an inch or two of its life ). The cold realism of airport, or Big Brother Series 1 has been  eroded by fantasy and the need for escapism leaving celeb ( not Celebrity ) dance competitions and the prozaic MTV series The Hills. So 2010 would seem like a great time to adapt Stendak's Where The Wild Things Are - bath it in fantasy and provide the comforting prospect of free escapism that I and no doubt so many children adore. Spike Jonze thought otherwise. So instead Max, the protagonist of his Where The Wild Things Are,  finds no escapism, no relief - just the same insecure, paranoid, emotionally dysfunctional and stubborn characteristics that he wished to run away from. No escape. Its the greatest horror trick in the book, to flee something or someone that terrifies; only to meet the dreaded fiend within the supposed realm of solace. The Wild Things are not magical or kind, just snarky, defensive and insecure. The horrid power struggles of life, the long held grudges, the locked characters ( where defense mechanism becomes personality ) are all painfully present in the world of the wild thing. Success is not given to Max, in fact, like life, success was never even available to him because he wasn't born a king. In short Max runs away from his problems into another bigger, colder and meaner world only to be greeted by a canned 'welcome to the world kid'.