Questions – Andrej Tomažin
Answers – Achim Szepanski
1. In the nineties, you were running the label Mille Plateaux and before that – in the eighties – you were a part of noise/post-punk collective PD and later P16.D4. With Mille Plateux and Force Inc. you’ve incorporated the Deleuzian-Guattarian rhizomatic (and accelerationist) theories and connected it with praxis – with raves etc. In one interview from 1994 you say that the connection of music with philosophic theory is »to find instruments and tools that directly inspire the process of producing sounds.« If that was possible in nineties, when there was jungle, there was CCRU etc., could the same pattern or system be transhistorically ascribed to 21st Century, when capturing energies and allowing intense quantities to flow seems to represent the core of the capitalist system? It’s something that Deleuze predicted in his later essays, most effectively in the Postscript on the Societies of Control and something that Galloway and Thacker, for example, are criticizing – in short, when they say, that they are »tired of rhizomes«.
2. Mark Fisher somewhere discusses juke/footwork (»a form of Chicago ‘ghetto house’ at 155-165 bpm, with repetitive and often aggressive sampling«) in relation to jungle, where it seems that footwoork continues the hardcore continuum and instanties some kind of acceleration. He says that while jungle “was dark, but also wet, viscous, and enveloping,” footwork is “strangely desiccated”. If jungle was predictive of accelerative temporalities the footwork, according to Fisher, only captures the impasses of the present moment. What happened?
3. On the other hand, we have vaporwave, where artists often sample or manipulate tracks via chopped and screwed techniques and other effects, mainly using the samples from 80’s and 90’s. It incorporates the utopian early Internet imagery,1990’s web design, alludes cyberpunk and in a way seems like a satirical take on accelerationist and technoutopian 90’s. It seems like an reterritorialiazation and rigidization of some basic producer techniques – but is it really so unambigiously reterritorializing? Could we see it as a radicalization of Noys’ final question in one of his papers on music and accelerationism, when he says »The impasses of the present, if we accept the characterization traced in the aesthetic of footwork, prevent any kickstarting of acceleration. Detached from the claims of iterative speed associated with capitalism, I’m left wondering what it is we are accelerating and who is doing the acceleration?«
4. The subversiveness of raves, as you saw it in the nineties, was in its anonymity. You said that »the immediate subversive moment at all small illegal events, warehouse parties, was that the face check at the door of every disco didn’t take place.« Is that in any way similar to the deep web of today? Is anonimity a thing to rescue at all costs (pedophiles, drug smuggling etc.)? Shouldn’t the concept of anonymity also be historicised and contextualized – in a sense that capitalism and it’s (darkest) flows in a way already strive for this?
5. There seems to be a void from the middle until the end of 2000’s, when you turned to literature – the trilogy of novels Pole Position (Rhizomatique, 2011), Saal 6 (Rhizomatique, 2011), Verliebt ins Gelingen (Rhizomatique, 2014). How did this turn happen – from music as the medium of 20th Century to literature – a 19th Century institution par excellence?
6. Your writings are much – by your own words – indebted to the works of DF Wallace. How did he manage to portray the contemporaneity in the form of a novel? In one of the interviews you write the following: »Umgekehrt sind die Individuen tatsächlich zu Stichproben, Banken und statistischen Punkten geronnen, Individuelles zerfällt in Dividuelles, wobei eine Vielzahl von Dispositiven ( TV, Chat, Games, Handys, etc.) die Individuen desubjektivieren und süchtig machen, ohne auch nur ansatzweise irgendwelche neuen Subjektivitäten hervorzubringen. Und das macht die gängige Roman-Logik mit ihrem Individualisierungs-Overkill nur noch absurder.« If DF Wallace used mathematization, the Sierpinski Triangle, what would you call your own method? Can the form of a novel be revitalized to serve the 21st Century or is it just a remnant of some long-lost past, which still haunts us?
7. A genre, called Theory-Fiction, emerged with Deleuze & Guattari’s Anti-Oedipus (1972), got brought back to life mainly with CCRU and Nick Land in 90’s and now again with Negarestani’s Cyclonopedia in 2008. On your web platform non one of the sections is called »philofiction«. What is your take on theory, combined with fiction? At one point you write that your theory on economy could be called »Philo-Science-Fiction«.
8. Your recent theoretical books are concerned with the question of Marx and its reintepretation in Laruelle’s sense of »unilateral duality«. And at the same time you are using a Deleuzian vocabulary and his ideas to revitalize Marx – is there a need for new concepts that go well beyond the methods of analysis offered by the classical texts, eg. Marx etc.?
9. Laruelle’s key concept of “decision” brings forward the philosophical determinations of all prior theories on the One, be it for example a principle of Unity or a numerical oneness. But the One – as non-philosophy and Laruelle sees it – is pre-conceptual and pre-philosophical. In the light of Laruelle’s appreciation – if we can say so – towards heretical knowledge, gnosticism etc., we are interested in this basic “leap of faith”, which is taken to acknowledge non-philosophy itself.
10. In the second part of Kapitalisierung you are writing about synthetic finance – the financial capitalism – itself, with its exotic operative instruments, which plays an essential role in neo-liberal governance. Real economy has already been substituted by financial economy in large parts, the acceleration of this economy has already reached unimaginable measures. With this comes the transformation human subjectivity – you also talk in depth about technology, machines etc. It seems that human consciousness is becoming a pure means of technological processes that control it all the way down. What are the possible lines of flight?
11. It seems that your critique of Left Accelerationism is in line with that of Nick Land, where he – in interview – argues that »If you’re saying, complete the capitalist process, that means that all the policy recommendations, if there are any, are maximally beneficial to the vitality and dynamism of capitalism. So there is a structural necessity there can be no difference between pro- and anti-capitalist in this accelerationist framework.«
12. At the cental point of Marx’s capital is profit as a psychologial trait of capitalists – ‘if they don’t seek profit, they cannot be capitalists’ seems to be the idea behind it. But what if this is just too antropocentric and there exists some alien force behind capitalism, where the central notion becomes competition? Since it seems pretty clear that humans are less and less in control of capital – it’s the other way around. What is there to be done? Will humans – as Negarestani sees it – need to see their reason as divided from their subjectivity – hence the reason is something nonhuman, which will evolve because of the world that is almost entirely governed by algorithms, where money, in its selfreferential quality, is calculating methodically?
13. In 2015 you’ve started the web platform non.copyriot.com. What are the main ideas behind it and how is it curated?