-G-a-p-s-1-0-1- : Creative Chasms of Bi-Pedal Spinal-Catastrophism

-G-a-p-s-1-0-1- Anthropoid communication systems have, for millennia, been tortured and mutilated under the remit of galactic forces. Such cataclysmic gravities have operated along political, evolutionary, phylogenic, biological, psychological and psycho-social vectors. Every utterance we make is an impeded stutter, a malfunction, a glitch. Every time we shriek or howl, every time we express reason, interject or propose, every time we vocalize an order, an instruction, or snap back a refusal, a counter argument, a resistance we are doing so via a system so blackened by history, so scarred by politix and evolution it is not even natural. We are the croaking possessed; emitting tics, clicks, glitches, whirrs and morbidly rattling breaths of affect. We were mutilated till we spoke:

“Sick apes spitting blood bubbling throats torn with the talk sickness. Human faces tentative flicking in an out of focus. We waded into the warm mud-water, hair and ape flesh off in screaming strips. Stood naked human bodies covered with phosphorescent green jelly. Soft tentative flesh cut with ape wounds. Fingers and tongues rubbing off the jelly-cover. Body melting pleasure-sounds in the warm mud. Till the sun went and a blue wind of silence touched human faces and hair. When we came out we had names”[1]

But even despite this sublime tragedy of progress, hidden forces still haunt the territories between our languishing origin and mechanized destination; deformed spectres of pure potentiality stalk the arena of tortured cries. For despite our physical perversions and twisted contortions into the realm of logos and language we cannot shake off the past. We bent our spines, cracked our thorax, smothered our howls and gagged our screams- but we still cannot transform all the phlegm, bile, blood, saliva and vapor into zeros and ones, order and disorder, positive and negatives. In our coded parlance, of chittering teeth, lisping protocols and phoneme disciplines we may still vomit through our accepted apparatus of inter-‘human’ communication; after formatting there is a strange ancestral remnant. We may find a rogue sonic, a grain at odds with the strata of logos. Rising up from the order of digitalized phonix we find an ethereal qubit. Accelerate to re-discover your soul. The more we bind ourselves to the rotting cadaver of logos, the more we breath in digits, and voice ourselves through our fingers, the more we blacken ourselves and become one, a la nupta cadavera the more we may find potentialities and possibilities of ourselves. The possibilities (as well as the long history behind our current dilemma) to come from accelerating towards such a (albeit counterintuitive and unhuman) mode of being and communication are outlined by Professor Barker:

“Due to erect posture the head has been twisted around, shattering the vertebra-perceptual linearity and setting the phylogenetic preconditions for the face. This right-angled pneumatic-oral arrangement produces the vocal-apparatus as a crash site, in which the thoracic impulses collide with the roof of the mouth. The pipedal head becomes a virtual speech impediment, a sub-cranial pneumatic pile-up, discharged as linguo-gestural development and cephalization take-off. Burroughs suggests the protohuman ape was dragged through its body to expire on its tongue. It’s a twin-axial system, howls and clicks, reciprocally articulated as a vowel-consonant phonetic palette, rigidly intersegmented to repress staccato-hiss continuous variation and its attendant becomings animal. That’s why stammerings, stutterings, vocal tics, extralingual phonetics, and electrodigital voice synthesis are so laden with biopolitical intensity – they threaten to bypass the anthropostructural head-smash that establishes our identity with logos, escaping in the direction of numbers” [2]

Barker’s understanding of the potential to numerically re-discover our pre-logos essence within the possibilities in the gaps, cracks, ruptures and the hemorrhages of formatting is a form of accelerationist nihilist- positivism. But there is a history of repression, mutilation and encoding that is so entangled with our, to put it generally, ‘current’ psyche - our auto-elect(ro) socio-politcal format forces; that to contemplate any emancipatory automalum we must first examine the socio-politcal scars of our voco-political encoding. In the process of formulaic flaying, amidst the carnage of screaming strips of code, in this ordeal of acquiring names so much happened. There are fruitful chasms between the events, there is a ghostly shadow of telling history between any 0 and 1. The violence of verbal automalumizing coding itself is as much an effect and affect of ourselves as any lost romantic ancestral kernel or possibly post cyborgization digital epiphany. Between the humid clamors of swamp atrocities, biopolitcal cranial-crushings and accelerationist-numerico potentiality there lurks a linguo-politcal history, a history that is not about being and unbeing, thought and unthough, zero and one, presence and unpresence – animal and language. This linguo-political evolution and our understanding of it must lie in the very trauma of how to be one is also to be zero: to create is to destroy. An alchemical concoction of cannibalistic metaphysical culinarism is more attuned with how one needs to think languages political and philosophical dynamics:

“Cut to pieces, slashed through the limbs, hacked into still unharmed members, amputated, scratched, furrowed by nails, incised with teeth, jagged with sharp edges of broken bones, cut unevenly along the lips, carving out the cheeks, shaving off all elevations of the body, trimming the feet and the hands by chopping off the toes and fingers, trisecting the nose to hair, bridge and the void, chunking out the face, clearing the face of idolatrous redundancies, pinking out the entire body, subtracting eyelids from the face, then nose, lips and the face from the head, provoking the head to be a body cavity, opening slits randomly or calculatingly, grooming by mauling, scooping out the chin, seizing the skin with remaining fingernails, turning the chest into a stash for flies, removing the abdomen, truncating the ears into bizarre shapes, perforating the gums with the teeth, rending the armpits, thinning out the neck, minimizing the flesh, reducing the body’s substance to its gist, rounding the limbs up to the nearest outline, increasing the daily chop sounds, today ten thousand cuts, tomorrow more or less; Angra-Maynu (Ahriman) continues to butcher his body as every day new meat and tissues flow into the wounds abnormally, as they shut the wounds closed and form scars – excessive scarring”[3]

Reza Negarestani’s vividly visceral account of the trauma of becoming, of making, of leper creativity can be grafted onto the trauma of creating/acquiring language, to speak as an act and also for the swamp apes painful ordeal of making a meal out of speaking. For each time one speaks there is a void between intent and logos, there is a cavernous ontological difference between hope and word. Every time I utter a word through the spinal catastrophy that is my anthopoid speech impediment I am, on top of producing such expressions through a mechanism comprised of myriad bio-evolutionary contortions and mutilations, also saying words that correspond via lack, via void, to my thoughts and intents. As I scream insults, whisper tender truths or exclaim emphatically- myself, my intent is maimed in the process, in making my vocal mark I leave a part of myself out on the track. To vocalize is to conduct a process of audible poly-furcational automalum, an ontological disintegration. Upon a singular word, we can contemplate how this tragedy of voice operates: as Nicola Masciandaro once commented – “The vocal image of death? – Saying ones name aloud”.

The sublime implicitness of automalum, scarring and mutilation are not just the preserve of the ontological implications of vocalization; self-destruction permeates the very physical act of speaking. When giving a speech, presenting a paper or participating in a public discussion, our throats, tongues and mouths become dry despite experience, confidence or familiarity. Any speaker can succumb to dehydration via the gruel of vocal labor. Whilst presenting a paper at Goldsmiths University, Graham Harman asked for water and told of how one of his colleagues had been advised by her doctor to stop lecturing because the work was so dehydrating. Even as we speak, as we pour our life (our Adamic Breath imbued with sonority and wisdom) and soul out into the ether we are losing a part of ourselves, hurting ourselves. Derrida in particular as written extensively about the negative in writing, the mark as absence, writing as network of hieroglyphic voids, a parade of a-presence, shadows. But vocality has not attracted such morbid directions of enquiry; this is for two reasons. Firstly, the voice is entwined and bound in an irreducible composite of forces; breath and physical presence is a tired mascot for life – as such, voice will always become lifelike upon audition. Inter-anthropoid communiqué operations have no other options that can marry sentiments of the soul to both language and corporeality. Skin, sensation, smell and taste are the poles of utter corporeality but their difference to voice is that only the latter can become simultaneously a purely corporeal mode of interaction and a Socratean mode of wisdom conveyance. Secondly there is a paradoxical topology at work- for in order for the listener to hear the speaker’s vaporous, sonorous and ontological[4] loss they do at least need to stand in the shadow of the speaker. The speaker will be present with an innate ‘thereness’ that appeals to our occularcentric paradigm. It is not our first impulse to ponder the teachers deathly croak of lethargy as a glimmer of loss when, standing before me, bathed in light that delights my retinae, my occularcentric understanding of ‘thereness’ is bombarded with ‘phenomena’ to the contrary. To take both of these reasons, to perhaps understand the voice outside of these trappings we must firstly re-think the entrenched sanctity of: 1) Breath in voice as an avatar for life and presence- instead hearing this as a loss, we must contemplate the corporeal trauma of emitting (sonically) Adamic vapor. 2) We must deconstruct the occularcentric paradigm that clouds our audition of voice, but not strictly through technological mediums as these harbor their own host of ontological ramifications for considering voice.

In thinking the voice, even if we relinquish ourselves from the aforementioned iron maidens of occularcentricism, we will still be left with a void. This void is one of uncertainty, possibility and potentiality. We may pursue the Barkerian, accelarationist vocal enquiry of discovering greater and more aur-some data protocols, ghostly qubits squatting in the gaps between gaps, glitches, tics, croaks and stammers- the potential to create, to hear anew, to re-think can be pursued through data and how we talk, squawk and yelp between the words we utter, voice sifting through language. We may think through the sheer, hoarse trauma of voice, remove the language and scrutinize the painful mechanisms of its conveyance. We may re-investigate the evolutionary bio-politics of the voice an attempt to plot the descent into the hell of the speaking. But these exercises, whilst necessary for any nuanced appreciation of the voice, must not be seen a routes to solutions, the task is infinite. For there, becomes, at each turn, another dimension of possibility, if we identify the gaps center we are left with further gaps stretching out to the horizon. In the voice there are endless gaps, and what is at stake is the question of how we negotiate, graph and live through these gaps. We may call the sublime voice a melancholy voice, in that it is imbued with a paradoxical and irreducible extimacy of the greatest of realms. Voice is both deathly and living, logos and corporeality, presence and absence – but none, both, neither and either. It is a creative expression of potentiality and possibility, a “lifelessly living beauty”[5]

Bibliography

Theodor Adorno, 2006. Minima Moralia: Reflections from Damaged Life (Radical Thinkers). Edition. Verso

Professor Barker, 1992. Plutonics, Vol. 10, No 12.

William Burroughs, 1974. Soft Machine. Edition. BANTAM DOUBLEDAY @ DELL.

Reza Negarestani, 2008. Cyclonopedia: Complicity with Anonymous Materials (Anomaly). Edition. re.press.

Nick Land, 2011. Fanged Noumena: Collected Writings 1987-2007. 1st Edition. Urbanomic / Sequence Press.

Notes

[1] Burroughs, ‘Cross the Wounded Galaxies’
[2] Professor Barker, ‘Palate Tectonics’, Plutonics, Vol 10, No 12, Fall 1992
[3] Reza Negarestani, Cyclonopedia, 2008, pp. 189
[4] Contemporary technological implications of the voice will be addressed in other essays, for now I shall concern myself with the real act of speaking, not records, telephones or phonographs
[5] Adorno, 2006, pp. 121

4 comments:

  1. Good stuff, like the writing style in particular (even if the university may not). Looking forward to another year of spinal catastrophes and self-modelling systems.

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  2. Hi Jon - cheers. But I guess you have read every book I reference, and get an earful of my ideas every now and then too! I think it is important for me to learn how to write for strangers.

    Have you read Slime Dynamics yet by Ben Woodard yet??? Some serious Cyclonopedia theory at the back (very late in the book, but you need to read it all to get the best from it). Certainly needs reading with Thackers Horror of Philosophy vol 1. Most fascinating aspect for me was his formulations around corporeality/materiality vs meaningful presence.... meaning gets battered actually.....

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  3. Well, I guess that's a common issue, i.e. the amount of clarity you can infuse without loosing too much of your own personal style. It's good if not just Ccru-people can read it, of course, but at the same time there's something really absorbing with that writing style precisely because it is esoteric.

    Haven't read it yet, but will probably pick it up soon along with one of the major Lovecraft-collections lol.

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  4. There a few more books - I'd like to look at after Thacker's Horror of Philosophy vol 1 and Woodard's Slime Dynamics - namely Harman's Weird Realism: Lovecraft and Philosophy and MIchel Houellebecq's H.P. Lovecraft: Against the World, Against Life......

    The freudian Lamella is also intriguing (in regards to voice, sheer vitalist, vapourous, bodily remnant etc etc) - I'll definitely be revisiting Slime Dynamics and scooping out things to use in relation to sub/ob ectivities concerning the vocorporeal. Demons and slime (in Thacker and Woodard respectively) are, to put things way to simply, manifestations of our trouble in dealing with a unknowable materialist other object, the cultural history of, say things like the repulsion of slime/virus anxiety or the evil in small devils, possession or dark clouds etc - are all permeated with voice from start to finish.... the terror of an ambiguous line....

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