[NetBehaviour] My name is [Your Name Here] and I am an Accelerationist

Tom Kohut thenewennui at gmail.com
Fri Apr 22 00:09:13 CEST 2016


Regarding what an accelerationist aesthetics might resemble (or the set of things which m ight be grouped via family resemblance as an "accelerationist aesthetics"), there's the June 2013 EFlux which was devoted to exactly this question. In it, Patricia MacCormack (In "Cosmogenic Acceleration: Futurity and Ethics") asks:
"[…] what is the qualitative difference between a nihilistic reading of acceleration as saturation without refined intensity [as in its 90s, Nick Land versions], and an accelerationist aesthetic that does not equate speed with the too-fast replacements of capitalism, instead seeking intensity in all movement, and thus all movement as acceleration (even multidirectional)?"
I think this last point is particularly interesting insofar as it insists, as I think Rob Myers pointed out vis-à-vis Futurism, that speed is not an absolute quality, but is a relational concept. In this sense, no continents without islands. 
I also wonder about how accelerationism's aesthetics relates to the larger question of political aesthetics. What I mean by this is: accelerationism, in its latest version, started off primarily as a way of naming a political tendency: how to best bring about a post-capitalist global situation using the tools which are available. Thus, not exactly an oppositional stance – we must smash capitalism – but rather a repurposing/hacking of the platforms that capitalist interests have made available and using them as weapons against that which impedes a transition to post-capitalism. Is aesthetics one such tool? I might point out that the 90s cyber version of accelerationism certainly had aesthetic investments (Neuromancer, Blade Runner, Terminator, etc.). So the question that accelerationism poses might be something like: what sort of coordination can/should exist between a post-capitalist political program and art? 

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> On Apr 21, 2016, at 3:11 PM, Rob Myers <rob at robmyers.org> wrote:
> 
> I think Haraway is a good historical example. Their Cyborg Manifesto was written against sclerotic essentialist-/eco- feminism and amidst the decline of left politics in the US during the Reagan era. They take the Cold War figure of the cyborg and re-purpose it to critique all of this. There are strong parallels to Srnicek & Williams' current argument that "folk politics" is insufficient to bring about political change.
>  
> I don't think that Accelerationist aesthetics are even slightly resolved yet, and that's a good thing. In "Accelerationist Art" I mention some examples and possibilities, particularly art that tries to exit the confines of Contemporary Art's simulacrum of freedom. Maybe we can come up with something here. :-) In general, Accelerationist aesthetics would presumably be about increasing the capabilities of our reason in/via art, which I think would require increasing the capabilities of our perception. One view of this would be something like Cultural Analytics, the ability to deal in millions of images or other cultural/perceptible phenomena at a time. But then there's the singular power of myth and icons/iconography to guide and organise our thought and perception. Which brings us back to the quarantine zone in which we can look at Hyperstition...
>  
> I think that a) and c) are good positions to combine. If they lead to b), that's great. If not, hopefully understanding why not will lead to positive action in other ways.
>  
>> On Thu, 21 Apr 2016, at 06:25 AM, dave miller wrote:
>> I don't understand what accelerationism is yet, as I need to read a lot more - and a few times - and let it sink in. I find it hard to understand, to be honest.
>>  
>> I'm interested though in the connection with Donna Haraway's Cyborg Manifesto
>>  
>> And I'd like to know more about the accelerationist aesthetic, what it is, and why.
>>  
>> I'd like to know the general view from people on this list - as we are all new media/ net art/ media techy types , who have been experimenting with art, networked technology and politics for ages, is this something we should 
>> a) take very seriously
>> b) embrace
>> c) be sceptical of?
>> d) be scared of?
>> e) wish that we'd thought of
>  
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