Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Interview #4/2017: Jonty Tiplady

(Four helicopters passing by while I was editing this. Shot from my balcony.)

Dear Readers,

I am proud to present the Interview #4, 2017 featuring this time Jonty Tiplady. It was executed via e-mail dialogue in between April and October 2017. And what a meanderthalltale to unfurl and with what an end in view of squattor and anntisquattor and postproneauntisquattor ! Maybe you can start reading with this hear written after all is zed and done to ride the Joycean horse a few steps longer to circle back to Howth Castle and Environs and to begin again before there is a fin again. So hear comes everybody, HCE, or: Here Comes Extinction how Jonty Tiplady would possibly overwrite it. Rebooting everything again at the beginning as if there ever was one. In a way this monumental interview covers all the relevant topics today. And remember: eye or wii decide hear, today and forever what is relevant - or what is a relevant trancelation to mock myself a little about one of J/D's texts. Yes, reading him or her as Jackie/Jacques feels like visiting a taxidermist (cf. Tom Cohen’s reading of one taxidermist in his Hitch). End (no typo grandpa!) you already knew too much too like Jimmy Stewart: J/D had severe problems with his double invagination: l'érection ne tombe pas vraiment. S/He changed even his prénom because of his/her deeply gender-bookmark(ed) trouble. The cool old macho viagrad out the possible woman for the french book market ! How cheap of you, phallscher Meister! He was so deeply troubled that he even tried to trace “Jackie” back to Jackie Coogan (a mansonge peut-être?) sending his heterosexual messages to Geoff, Hélène, Simon and Peggy and now it is in wikipedia, too. Nochmal Glück gehabt, lieber Freund ! The only question that remains hear and now d'un Derrida: who is dead / dad ? Or to say it with Carl Reiner “Where's Poppa” ?

By the way, in Berlin we call this style here schnoddrig. And you presumably uncorked a bottle of champagne too after you have read all of J/D’s texts like me. Knowing that you will pray in vain that you will not have to read all le reste of this notorious thought hoarder (Do you remember the cabin in his garden and sein Erhabenes in Ris Orangis?). In Germany we would call him a Messie. A weird proximity to an important cluster in Derrida. This gives Seezoos’ book "Messie"(1996) an ultra-funny twist ! Reading J/D is like listening to a car crash imaginaire or a misslungenem Auto-Unfall (you know this mock-suicidal micro-thread/t/s in his work. Maybe Bennington will bless us with one of his intricate readings of this. He talked about this already in the bonus material of the Kirby Dick film.). It’s ugly but you can’t stop listening to this totally driven driver (a possible depiction of J/D's auto-(mobile)-(erotic)-fetishism: a superimposition of Carpenter's "Christine" (1983) and Anger's "Kustom Kar Kommandos"(1965)). On top of that - aut(o)-of-control, too -J/D iswaswillbe a pusher if there ever was one, ha ha -- "trouver la veine" (J/D, Circonfession, no.1, p 10) --, I am still feeling his syringe (cf. the syringe in his mummy-graphie Circonfession. And most recently Michael Naas about new infusions and bloodstreams in his "Derrida Floruit"(in: Derrida today, Vol. 9.1, 2016, esp. p. 16)). And I am still guessing what der goldene Schuß might be - finally ?! Kimme Korn Ran ! I would guess it will have been the amazing double-gestured fracto-spectro-archipelagus à venir of his seminars. But is the Derrida-Lego-Land (sadly build up by his friends and that's what friends are for! Maybe you play Dionne Warwick and her corny friends in the background) ready to cope with the wirklichen goldenen Schuß that happened way earlier in the 1990’s. Overdose Comatose ! This is my favorite working hypothesis when I try to get rid of  one J/D I call Jackie Central - pour sonner un autre "Glas" ?

Maybe this interview with Jonty Tiplady here starts to unfold or tries to map some of the possible consequences of a different landscape after "Derrida" beyond mourning. If you can’t stand this interview, please stay away, dial 911, scream 9/11 or whisper NSA. All the others (we like to call them friends hear) can read about the Anthropocene in between the most important and innovative scholars in this field today Tom Cohen, Claire Colebrook and Bernard Stiegler, about the terminus of deconstruction(s), about how to kickstart the birth-death of reading-writing very early as an infans (yes, we know everything about this from Heraclitus to Hölderlin, Heidegger, Benjamin, Agamben, Deleuze Guattari and Derrida to Lyotard (and I leave out Lacoue-Labarthe and Nancy on full purpose because they will not and never ever count in any possible calculation.) before the overregulative academical protocols could have turned you into someone aphasic or simply a brain dead walker (Remember me simply as one of the Rick Grimes Team - say from the ultra-ethical Season 6!), about how poetry and philosophy can be reshuffled again, about drugged Burroughsian HIGH-potheseis and Benjaminian Reine-Sprache-Fogs, about the Sixth Mass Extinction and Paul de Man, about an Aussterbenstrieb (invented by Jonty Tiplady), about lethal n-counters of the Freudian Todestrieb (that never was a real Freude at all except for very La(te)canians) and Extinction, about leftist Wunderkind’s writing, about how Aronofski's mother! (2017, giving the Lady a Tip!) reconnects khôra and cinema again (kickstarted once by Tom Cohen in his epochal Hitchcock stereo-graphie.), about the End of the World Now, about Blade Runner 2049 (I think I will try to watch it in 2049. The year it wanted to eggsist) and Logan, about the split between matheme and the poème and a lot lot more. So please take your time and read it ![SKG].

More info about Jonty Tiplady
Academia.edu HERE

All Answers are copyright [Jonty Tiplady, J.T.].
The Questions are all mine [SKG].

The Interview

"The Discourse of 
the End of the World Now"

Jonty Tiplady, ‘poem’ (from: hidden lake)
[Figure 1]

[SKG] Jonty Tiplady, as usual, I will start my interview with the following question: if you had to introduce yourself to the audience what would you write?

[J.T.] I always knew I was the best at something, I just didn’t know it was language. That has been my sort of personal, self-jokey, self-mythologising, self-branding punchline or mascot phrase for a while now, but I believe in it and I believe in what it tells you about any possible relationship with language. In terms of what I do, language is where I really hunker down and get off. As it happens, I am a creature of language, and I must mean that excessively so because the descriptor is relatively universal. Coached as I am in Derridean styles of reading (I studied with Derrida in Paris as a teenager) that are still almost semio-xenophobically sniffed at in this country — England — I guess what I am saying is that I feel most at home when ferreting out Language as a foreign and sensationally revolutionary force, and the latter despite everything I’ll say on a more negative axis below. Which is another way of saying that I’m not at home in the English scenography of language, and never have been. The ‘no books in my house’ cliché was true of my childhood in north Doncaster, and it was only exotic stuff — ‘theory’ from abroad — that broke through and didn’t seem bullshit to me as a kid, and not the other way round. I couldn’t understand Auden or Armitage but I could understand Derrida instantly, almost like knowing maths without having studied it, and perhaps strangely that never struck me as strange. I already sensed language as something translated from inside of itself, inside out. I read Derrida and other theorists crazy young with little sociological awareness of how he was hated. I mean I was reading him at the same time as twagging off from school so why should I have cared? I scoped out a copy of Feu la cendre, in that beautiful LP-sized design by Richard Eckersley (who I later found out was from Lancashire), in a bookshop in Leeds, and made a decision early (about 17?) to devour everything Derrida had done and everyone he had ever referred to. That book literally stood out on the shelf, as if a different type of thing from a different non-archive of non-literature. Why would I want to read some little Faber book of poems when I could read this high-tech, incredibly designed, bilingual, two-columned event that was so much more poetic and philosophical and mysterious at the same time? Maybe there was a kind of prejudice (an Anglophobia) in this pull towards the exotic, sort of like Clarice Starling driven to do all she can to evade her status as poor white trash, ‘getting out . . . getting anywhere . . . getting all the way to . . . ’, and yet where do I mean? In that sense ‘theory’ would have been an exuberant and psychopathic lure (the will to really read once and for all and be a Lecter), but in any case I think that is how the will to writing is, criminal and illicit and cannibalistic, always tending back to trash. I ripped the cellophane off that book and read the whole thing standing. The other decision there and then was to only write books like that.

Another way of describing it is that I had been waiting for an unexpected sound — a different graphism — and that this sound had finally arrived, that I would pay anything for it, and that suddenly most English writers were silenced-partners. That remains the case. What I mean by language is itself different, not the language you think — language, you could say, is not what you think — and this language has now reached a sort of final Ozymandian endgame that has a lot to do with the global fate of the ‘Anglo-’ itself. When I cite ‘language’ I mean something like the ‘pure language’ (reine Sprache) of Benjamin, which he connected explicitly to extinction, something forced into eventualities and that goes on in the body of language before poetry, philosophy, theory in the theoreticist sense, and so on. My first book was named Zam Bonk Dip after the pure language of exclamation marks in the first Popeye cartoons — that’s all they had in the speech bubbles! I still go after that sense of language’s crash, sound and vision, anything cortex-wobbling, or cranio-juddering, since it’s just this kind of ‘shake’ that makes a difference within the Khoratic element. The edge of English, you could say, isn’t English at all, and doesn’t need the passageway back through the virtual Scotland Yard of the poetic tradition, which is always there but is also a way of losing time seeking something lost. We’re talking about a kind of verbal neon installed a priori, laying it on thick with fresh concepts, a formalised AI, a type of painting extinction and not death (which I’m coming to), even what I call the childhood of language. Jagged breath; global breathlessness; hardly just the negative; not so much the via negativa in the early twenty-first century, but the early twenty-first century as a type of ecophagy of the powers of formalisation put in place by language itself. Zag and jag of Zug.

When I speak about language, then, as passion and adventure and as pre-poetic, beyond linguisticism and language poets, I mean language as such, as language, even as Language! Where Heidegger says Die Sprache spricht, I’d splice in Benjamin and say die reine Sprache spricht. Pure language can be said to speak: it speaks itself: it speaks and tells you what can be said. ASAP. As a kid from Doncaster I didn’t have time to wait for anything else.

But my subjective relation to language also has to do with mess and a kind of asubjective beatitude of mess. I let go texts quickly, many unfinished, many stashed, and some worked on over very long periods but then deleted — how to stay still to come, still to happen, still happening. To some extent I keep the bulk out of sight, ready as an archive, or destroyed as an auto-archive, but I’m also wary of the zelophiliac eros of that self-hoard. What I’m really into is what Moten calls the ‘amazing arrival at unfinished, condensed, explosively multi-matrilineal seriality, the amazingly beautiful’. If I have a right to exist in and impact on language it comes from this sense of amazing arrival, the feel of something that makes a lifetime, that I think is always allotted in Language! and never just in ‘poetry’ as a kind of generic lay-by. If something can be taken down and notated in language that is still arriving, that is amazingly beautiful, but also perhaps starts in the amazingly messy, in the surge of a muddle, I want it. I relate to the beautiful mess and its compression and I relate to Moten’s free love of Derrida and theory, saying as he does in his 2014 lecture on Delaney that ‘we need to be talking about Derrida all the time’ and indexing ‘what Marx and then Derrida more emphatically it seems to me makes possible for us’. It’s this attention to the both in all respects that I’m about. ‘Language’ allows one to work on all fronts and get into the worklessness of the poematic as primary right and historical fever, a grand mal de rhythme archive—but then again, as I say, it’s a home that has nothing to do with where I’m from save where I’m at. I’ll be bitchy for a moment and say I’ve never really understood the point of any British poetry. As a kid I just looked at the stuff and it left me cold — it seemed like we were already in the serious lull of an Ozymandian freeze-up and the objects of the supposed master discourse were heavily sedated and inoperative. No access.

But poetry also now computes globally as something else. So that, where I constantly go now, stepping over the body bags onto the post-Ozymandian strip, interested in the sovereign English household and tiddlywink adjustments on the deck of the world Titanic, where I go is to try and see if it can be prevented, this trap one always falls back into, poetry itself as relapse flamed out. It comes down to other media: I could easily live without reading another poem but the idea of never hearing ‘Nikes’ again or Chief Keef’s next album, or of being prevented from following the history of Hollywood through the second term of Trump’s reign, or of not seeing Isiah Medina’s next films—all of that bothers me. Every poem now comes with a kind of D.O.A. spoiler that it ‘did not need to be written out!’ (as Warminski says riffing on de Man) — the very material act of the poem can’t get away from the historical vibe-iness of being-a-poem but a Chief Keef song has a different status and a different meaning of abbreviation. You’re gonna tell me that’s what a poem is too, but I’m not in a position to believe you anymore. For me it’s not that poetry has to struggle harder and harder to create something new but that it should admit there really is nothing new in it in a quite specific (new) sense. There again where I’m at now there is part of me that could live without any of this ever again just as long as I can carry with me a while longer the feeling of the singular everything I’ve felt and seen. That feeling of compacted grace has been with me since very early: one second is enough. What I call the matheme below is a way to stratify the feeling in an ongoing way, in so far as this is still it.

[SKG] Jonty, this is a very interesting description of an admirable kick-start into reading-writing and I can mirror myself here easily. Remembering quite well my own combustive agents Heidegger—Benjamin—Derrida soon to be bombed out by Paul de Man and Tom Cohen, I think it would be interesting for our readers to learn more about how things evolved later on for you in your works and projects? What were your main concerns later on and most recently?

[J.T.] My main concern at least for a decade now has been with a language power that precedes thought, poetry, art, even politics, what I’d call a general plasticity that moves in all directions and allows one to in principle say everything. In my recent writing I’ve focused on the politics and aesthetics of extinction, and partly because that matches what now tilts language as a whole. Extinction is what is most happening and moving now. I feel I couldn’t live without trying to say what our extinction might mean and has meant in the fullest terms. It’s a lived theme, paradoxically, an entwined obsession, an internal politics of statements, but also the feeling that no adaption can take place in time. I’m interested in how people see, feel, think, disavow and avow extinction, and of course in the ways in which ‘extinction’ is not one, is and is not One, is maybe not even given at all. I go after or am drawn to the ways in which extinction is different from death, and the what and how of when of just how this difference itself is. Is it a new type of ontico-ontological difference? Is there an extincto-thanatological difference that remains unrecognised, and that is covered over by the contemporary noise of writing systems? My hunch has been that there isn’t any natural setting for extinction and that it bypasses and compromises ontology and hauntology and even the most sophisticated aesthetic apotropaics and rebuttal systems. Blind brain theory (BBT) is useful here even if just as an index of what we can’t think in that direction, and of what we can’t even know we are not thinking (even when we try to make these types of formulations), like Michael Redmond’s YouTube commentaries on AlphaGo’s self-paired games. I guess I am insisting (and insistence itself is a motif) that the writing of extinction is now all but unavoidable, that there is a pressure in the air, and that language, whether it likes it or not, is touched by an extinction unconscious at every point and that this is new as a matter of degree and economy, that is, in the oikos of death. Extinction is not of the household. Nor is it of the enclave (of the Anglo- for instance). It is not one of us. And insofar as (to go quickly) ‘theory’ for de Man simply names the attention to the materiality of inscription that just is extinction, the resistance to ‘theory’ also historically reads off in every way a refusal to think and factor in extinction, which refusal is at the same time understandable though ipso facto no less erroneous. Initially my focus in this area was on the ecologies of denial that seem to sustain contemporary aesthetic codes and tribes. I was in a kind of advocacy spin, mistaking an absence in the discourse of the Other for the thing I wanted to say, and to some extent perhaps the discourse of the end of the world is always structured that way (marked out as Paranoia as such). But the ‘do they know’ or the ‘why do they not know’ quickly becomes ‘do I know’ and then ‘there is something I do not know’ and then perhaps ‘there is something we do not know’, and so the spin became more concentrated as self-attention. As a sort of retired member of the poetry sector I put in the hours notating and suffering from an unsaid on that ‘scene’, took minutes for what felt like a kind of remote control release group therapy. Even more informally I worked in therapy on a kind of passion of extinction as the unsaid, extinction itself as passional. But after a while I closed my eyes and trusted, or rather I closed (my somewhat cagey) reading of the poetry sector, determined that there was a kind of semiotic hustle there, an unresolved squabble hard to metabolise using the internal terms and house styles, and so had to draw a line. The issue then becomes the line itself of course, the edge as question, and not a simple leaving—the ext rather than the exit. At the same time if I sometimes refer to leaving the poetry scene, it’s true—I did. There seemed to me very few nonphobic lines of reception going on, and once I kicked the angels out of the air-lock . . . it was then that I began to truly notate extinction, and to be hit sideways by what, now, in 2017, I’m calling a discourse of the end of the world now.

In my present writing I work with three main statements and five main subject positions. You could say that these three statements and these five subject positions, taken together, and seen as a moveable set, fully are the discourse of the end of the world now. I make no bones about that. They are everything you will need. I also call them an endology, to distinguish them from an ontology or a hauntology. The five subject positions of the discourse of the end of the world are insister; exister; detractor; outrager; indifferentist. And the three statements of the discourse of the end of the world are 1. death is not extinction, 2. the death-drive (Todestrieb) is not the extinction drive (Aussterbenstrieb), and 3. the task of civilisation is to understand its own breaking point as a universal claim and to invent a science of astrobiological extinction, which is to say plural generic anthropocenes. Statement 1 is also expressed as the matheme

e < > d

which is perhaps the first matheme to appear within the body of English poetry in the history of verse and numbers. Each of the three statements may be immediately re-written. They are themselves a mark — a marking — of plasticity in primary writing. For instance at the moment I am trying to think again about this discourse in terms of love, which is to say not quite as a lover’s discourse, but as a discourse of the end of the world now as love, and I came up with the statement the other night that it’s never the end until the end is love. It’s not so much about, or in the first instance it’s not so much primarily about, understanding what such a statement means, but about wondering about where it might fit in with the overall discourse and what other statements might then be produced, as though by a machine. One might add for instance that there is an endological distinction to be made not only between death and extinction, d and e, but between the end of the world and the End of the World, between ends and end. The implied voiding of the death drive (statement 2) might go via a reading of Wilfred Bion, who already spoke, much closer than us in Freud’s wake, of a force notated as ‘←↕’ which ‘represents a force that continues after ∙ has been annihilated and it destroys existence, time, and space’. Michael Eigen likes to repeat that Bion said that, and Bion himself (who was Beckett’s analyst) resorted to pure notation to say it in the first place. If I insist on anything, it’s that we do not yet know what extinction is or what it can do. We do not yet know that the technology of ‘the poem’ is enough when faced with this thing the matheme e < > d notices and notates. It seems that the poem is implicated in the occlusive fold of everything we pretended to know and feel again and again. In Haribo Ozymandias: Season 1 I riff a lot on the phrase, what do we talk about when we talk about extinction or what do we known when we pretend to know extinction. I also move all this in the direction of Lacan and Badiou, to complement and add to the four discourses (of the master, the university, the hysteric, and the analyst) and the typology of three subjective figures (faithful, reactive, and obscure). I stress that insofar as neither typology seems to factor in the updated content of statements 1 and 2, and insofar as the mathematico-scientific maturity of statement 3 could not have been known to them, the discourses (Lacan) and the theory of the event (Badiou) must be considered incomplete. Perhaps statement 3 is the more difficult axiom to contemplate at first sight. It is a mathematico-formalogical attempt to capture what I call the endological primacy of the answer, at least as test. Instead of the tired Heideggerian-Derridean primacy of the question, which always assumes at least in outline a kind of endlessness of reading horizons and time to come, I take up the problem of the answer. Not the answer to the question, then, but the question of the answer. This is something both more breath-takingly finite and infinitely plastic than the endlessness of further micro interests. The reality of statement 3 relies for its traction on very recent work by Adam Frank and Woody Sullivan and others on what they call the ‘astrobiology of anthropocenes’, or on what Frank himself specifically happens to call generic anthropocenes (‘the anthropocenes are generic’). In a forthcoming paper by Frank and Jonathan Caroll-Nellenback called ‘The Anthropocene Generalised: Evolution of Exocivilisations and their Planetary Feedback’, the authors speak of studying ‘generic behaviours possible in the interaction between a resource harvesting technological civilisation (an exo-civilization) and the planetary environment in which it evolves’. The matheme itself, therefore, has multiple forms, and allows itself to be transcribed as a cosmomatheme, wherein U = the as yet unknown potential of generic extinctions that would begin to alter the value of e:

Ue < > d

In turn, in things I have just written, love begins to affect the force of both U and e in the equation, and therefore d too, in ways I don’t fully understand, so that

LUe < > d

What at first (1) seems universally desperate (and is) is later on (at 3) viewed as the plasticity of optimism itself insofar as one has here a first definite constraint on any astrobiological optimism allowing any other genuine optimism to come into play. In the work on the astrobiology of anthropocenes the Drake equation is as if reduced for the first time. There is a kind of phenomenological epoché of cosmogenesis.
To summarise:

1. extinction is not death (e < > d);
2. the death-drive (Todestrieb) is not the extinction drive (Aussterbenstrieb);
3. the task of civilisation is to understand its own breaking point as a universal claim and to invent a science of astrobiological extinction, which is to say plural generic anthropocenes.

The speculative correlate here is what I call Principle X:

X: if the world ends now, here on earth, and what is called human life does not continue elsewhere, which remains possible according to the current state of the non-human sciences, then there may be no more anthropic life or world here or anywhere else ever again.

To go back to Lacan, the objet petit a was the uncovering of something that could fit in the bucket of surplus value discovered by Marx. Lacan effectively assimilated his own discovery to that of Marx. It’s new wines in old bottles, but in the most spectacular of senses. One invents and the formula is there, and that is what the matheme e < > d is; and the sort of emotional volatility (smile) it implies with regard to the passing of the aesthetic sector is held to. Lacan was not optimistic for the possibility of change precisely because Marx’s system was so elegant. The more Marx’s discovery was likely to last, the more it seemed it would be describing something destined to remain and worsen. I talk a lot in my discourse of the end of the world now about emotion, about betrayal, about music. Insofar as the insister often imagines the exister to have something on the insister, there is a great deal of drama or even melo-drama in the three statements. Think of Ismene and Antigone or Will and Molly Graham in Manhunter or Claire and Justine in Melancholia or Moten and Wilderson. Betrayal in the discourse of the end of the world now is the feeling that the exister is not me, and that even my conversion to another subject position is not mine. One replaces the object a (which already has the status of an algebraic sign) with e, with the objet petit e, and the effect, paradoxically, is a surplus of life.

[SKG] Let’s look at this problematic from a slightly different angle. For me reading-writing can no longer be handled or taken care of (in the brutal Enlightenment-Mafia sense of this formulation) within the dull canonized idea of philosophy versus poetry and/or the maybe even infinitely duller [yes, this is only a High-pothesis to fast-forward to the drugs we will talk about later on] vice versa version of it or within the even more complicated or refined ideas of reading-writing as inaugurated by Heidegger, Benjamin, Nietzsche, Blanchot, Deleuze or Derrida still remaining more or less petrified in the dull counter-embodiments or in the lame (Eric Cartman!) counter-performances as Mister-(Not)-Professor-Sir. For me it always seemed that reading-writing already took care of all of this in a very lethal manner all-ready—to put it deliberately a little sillily—strictly unrestrictable. How would you formalize the problem (is it really one or is this only a weird residue of useless transcendentalism(s)) of reading-writing in the pseudo(?) tensions between ‘philosophy’ and ‘poetry’?

[J.T.] I think we should all be allowed to form concepts and make art objects, although it has taken me a long time to do both, and I remain hesitant about what it means to do either. More recently I’ve been creating concepts instead of poems — or seeing poems as no longer capable of keeping up with concepts — but that distinction has always seemed to me a delusion created as much by poets as by philosophers. All poets talk about disliking poetry, perhaps especially in interviews. Why, for example, do we love our houses more than our poems? Poets even historically claim to be the first to hate poetry and to be uncomfortable with the appellation ‘poet’. But short of Rimbaud repeatedly reporting back from the desert, tired, and planning to go to China and Japan again and again, do we, ‘the poets’, actually go anywhere and cognise what this ‘hate’ really means? If you take everything up to the penultimate layer, there is something like a generic poem that lets go of the object still being created behind a kind of screen that takes us elsewhere. I don’t mean an essay on poets as haters by Ben Lerner or Harold Bloom or someone still in that groove; I mean the recognition that because we are not poets now, we are mathemes of the end of the world now. I’d add here, here where the individual poet stops mattering despite all appearances, that one may begin to say things like ‘I am a trans-poet’, and that the trans- in this case means an opening to quantic subtraction and a sensitivity to the foreshortened set of quantic finality. Another way of formulating all this is to say that in every attempt to transform poetry, to do something with it, to formally move it forward — and to some extent this is why I’m perhaps more on the side of a certain populism rather than an overly coded avant-garde — in all of these attempts, the essence of poetry as idea or even as philosopheme remains to be transformed. So there is a new practice of something, if you like, that remains poetry, that remains identifiable as poetry, and so remains to be transformed.

Perhaps one can imagine a kind of inner edge of the poetic from which to create concepts unheard-of in philosophy, but that is already to assume an untransformed essence of philosophy just as poetry assumes an untransformed essence of itself when it proposes new formal inventions. Such an edge of the poetic — not a bleeding edge, and certainly not a cutting edge — would be something like an inner edge, so that the whole topography is split open here, and available, without for all that having need of a poetic object. Poetry overflowed, then. But the first sense created here, anew, is the sense of poetry not having to have — poetry does not have to have the poetic object it has been taught to think it has to have even as a moment of sublatable tension between it and the future. The inner edge of poetry has little and everything in common — both, impossibly — with modernist progressivism as a kind of centrifugal law of most poems, whatever their orientation. Even the idea that there are certain poems that guard the sense of being through elongation can be truncated along the edge of an internality of the poetic that has to be in its ‘essence’ no longer poetical. Is there any edge at all?

So at a certain stage I felt like poems didn’t exist for me, even if they de facto obviously did. They seemed suspended. They still feel suspended. That there should not have to be a poetic object has little to do with their having not to be a poetic object. The poetic object is free to exist like any other relic. Wallace Stevens, who was much less of a poet than he seemed, said one day the poem will be as antique as the idea of heaven. Somehow there are no more poems in this world, and this is as much a strange feeling, a suspension in itself, an answer, as an axiom that poetry allows on its inner edge. There are no more poems in this world, only what Laruelle calls thought-art or what I have started to call the quantic finality of the discourse of the end of the world now. 

When you observe poets now as a kind of Subject-X loafer you see all sorts of things you didn’t before. The manoeuvre that poets make of insisting that poetry somehow provides us with a distinct form of cognition is also an argument of a philosophical type. Taking things up again to another layer you could even say that the inside edge of the poetic is essentially philosophical insofar as the definition of poetry as essentially different from philosophy is itself a distinction that philosophy allows and makes possible. This sounds like a nicety but it’s also a serious problem and a productive one if you move in that direction. Heidegger for example already said that poetry had to be safeguarded as a special type of saying and that went along for him with a specific natio-linguistics, so one gets a measure of how difficult things really are, and I don’t just mean for poets. Scanning back, think of Hölderlin’s ‘Remarks on Antigone’ for an index of how poetry becomes philosophical (in a theoreticist sense) at the precise moment it attempts to push theory away. Hölderlin writes there of ‘poetic logic’ and of how ‘philosophy always only treats one faculty of the soul, so that the representation of this One faculty makes a whole, and the mere linkage of the members of this One faculty is called logic, whereas poetry treats the different faculties of man, so that the representation of these different faculties makes a whole, and the association of the more independent parts of the different faculties can be called the rhythm, in the higher sense, or the calculable law’. Philosophy is monodic, then, working logically towards the universal, which by implication is out of bounds to poetry—or at least poetry here has restricted access (it remains recalcitrant to the universal)—whereas poetry is various and works towards an exalted sense of rhythm, and this lends it its own ‘logic’ which has to be separated from philosophical logic. But this very distinction, that of philosophy from poetry, is itself a decision that poetry makes, philosophically, from its side, which side then confuses itself with philosophy, since it is precisely philosophy (or so we think, so we think when we consider philosophy only philosophically) that does the work of distinction. What you get even in Hölderlin is a very philosophical conception of poetry’s difference from philosophy in a language that never asks the question about its own status right now. What is the language happening here in ‘Remarks on Antigone’? Or even here for example; is it merely the language of an interview? In modern terms it is as if poetry wants to philosophically tell itself that the algorithm is the problem, but the algorithm isn’t the problem since it already won, you know? Poetry wants to guard against the matheme and the algorithm but the matheme already corrupts and makes possible the poematic’s inside edge.

However counterintuitively, Hölderlin’s distinction is typical as a kind of alibi disco; that limitation is itself classically philosophical and pre-guided. The belief (which is nothing but philosophy unawares) that poetry has privileged access to the truth or even just to a truth, however political or ambiguous or otherwise, severely limits the plasticity of language in ways actually quite hard to admit and see. It is at this juncture that language loses its narcissistic genericity and moves across into a quantic finality or general plasticity. In Julie E. Maybee’s terms this juncture might simply be the becoming-AI of absolute knowledge wherein the process of passing back and forth between the poetic and the philosophical is completed and one finds the fecundity of the concept (the matheme) more attentive than the singularisation of the poem. This is why I also refer to endology as a form of AI, to move to what Derrida calls while reading Angelus Silesius a process of absolute formalisation. Sure, a poem can contain that process or even be it, but insofar as it remains saturated by an old technology (the line break for instance) it does not and cannot draw its own generic conclusions. The fact that some ‘poems’ attain just that level of plasticity should interest one less than formulating the outlines and horizons of the plasticity itself, the ways in which it is what Césaire called the only thing worth starting and what de Man called the only thing worth knowing. An answer like that has no real designation, either letteral or numeric. 

It’s hard to track the moment when one starts to do thought, but I now think it exists as a right and a transition. As soon as this took place, which is to say since always, the poem exercised a different type of grip on me. All of this coincided with a moment of turmoil and break in my life. The first concept that came to me and felt like it was not a poem, a not-poem, like a piece of new technology, was the matheme e < > d, which was not just a way of writing extinction is not death. Suddenly that idea was there, very simple, like something a child says, but also the matheme felt like a moment of fissure and pure language. At the same time one suspects straight away the matheme covers over again the pain that went into it, so that the relation of avowal and disavowal here becomes highly over-determined. It is just as possible to be ‘in avowal’ as ‘in disavowal’ and there is no reason now to retain a kind of teleological horizon of avowal that follows any uncovering of disavowal. The uncovering of disavowal does not have to be a symptomatology anymore; we seem to be past that. Allow extinction to be e then, but also allow e to be __________, in memory of the chaos and emotional upheaval that produced it. 

From that first matheme the other statements and language nucleants followed and I had the uncannily simple feeling that the poem — I also mean, I maybe even primarily mean my own poetry— really is a theo-apotropaic mechanism, a carrying system for an ideology that has taken us down, and that is being looked back on, in theory, as a kind of historical wave of cisology. Tom Cohen has this idea that the movements of extinctive acceleration are themselves literary structures, and I think this is a much better way of understanding the function of ‘hate’ and ‘self-hate’ in the poetic respiratory system. The ‘hate’ would not be a feature that can be accounted for from within the history of poetry and poems, or from within the re-jigging of institutional arrangements, but points onwards to a complicity with irreversibility and onticidal world settings. Worse or better still, I found that within my own poems, which had to be marked more and more as late Ozymandian in a very serious way, and in terms of my own experience of what I was writing, I began to feel that poetry could not state this particular set of dynamics even if it stated it clearly within a text! Poetry, in other words, can never read itself, and it is just that self-blinding that is useful as function, as a moment of AI ongoing — it is the quantic, bare materiality found in the read surface that can be indexed as ‘extinction’.

[SKG] I would describe myself mainly as a reader-writer with a quite dominant and obsessive emphasis on ‘reading’ (in itself a complex polyphonic, ephemeral, unstable, already disowning, and disarticulating act of rewriting and no writing après could possibly tame or transform this later on). This brings me to my second question, which I usually ask out of curiosity because for me it is very difficult (but this difficulty is neither related to the usual descriptive kitsch of desperation related to the ineffable nor to the even sillier feuilleton style ideas of a writer’s block) to find any reason whatsoever to move my pen over the paper producing random letter combinations for non- and/or never ever existing readers. This amounts to the very light-footed question asked in company with a tender and humorous smile: Why, for whom, for how long and for what purpose should the silence be broken anyway?

Jonty Tiplady, MS (2015) [Figure 2]

[J.T.] If I could speak then perhaps I would shut the fuck up. I guess my only real answer to your question about breaking the silence or to any of your questions in fact is, dunno. Dunno, I guess. Writing in its apparent facility can look like it gets over this Dunno but really it never does. I’m tracking back here to something old and messy in me, something beautifully and importantly messed up, something very English, and yet really it could be any language, Rilke’s German for example, the German of the Duino Elegies, that says: Dunno. I don’t know. I am coming from a place of unpower, of an a priori ‘there is something I don’t know’ or an a fortiori ‘there is something we don’t know’ that may seem to get everything started and yet really it keeps on failing to do that and to not do that. I want to feel that I’ve learned to speak from this place (a Dunno place), to hold close the wound at arm’s length, lovingly, and this is part of what I call being good at language. You talk about a writer’s block and in another sense there’s nothing wrong with that. Why not block? Why not be blocked? Any speed and fluidity and any mainlining capacity I have in language still comes from nowhere even if I want to locate it in the block time (as relativity theory calls it) of a Dunno. Let’s say that the matheme e < > d is a block. It’s what I call a wedge term or even an extincto-thanatological wedgie. Perhaps everything I say and have to say and will say has willingly stopped there. This recalls the feeling which I’ve had since I was very young, primal, hard to say, a type of ferocity-clarity that has maybe got me by, got me through — the feeling that one second of life was enough, to be born once as if now forever, if only I could say it, was already and always enough. As Ryan Gosling says in Blade Runner 2049, ‘Someone lived this. Yes, it happened’. You ask me why I write, then, and I say dunno, I really dunno. Is this dunno a kind of via negativa, a childhood of language, a wedge term that everyone sticks to and is struck by, which is to say the matheme itself as the voluptuous subtraction from language? It’s as you say, why bother with any of this at all, it can’t just be . . . writing!

But I would say more about this Dunno and what it implies. For me the matheme e < > d is the active dream of a simple language that knows how to say now, and to keep on saying now, all it needs to say now, all that can be said now, and this brings one perhaps to the tradition of the via negativa again. By being the potential for carrying language beyond itself, negative theology  (the ‘Dunno’)  always seems to have been the possibility of language talking to itself about itself — like Novalis, Heidegger, and Derrida like to say, language speaks of itself to itself. An even more simple way of saying this is that language itself speaks. Die Sprache spricht, as Heidegger puts it. I think this fact and the way it shows up in a one-off poet like Angelus Silesius is cool because it reminds you that language goes beyond language — it touches something very real, something beyond even the world (we are already post-world or rather off-world) — and thereby tells you something about language, a sheer language close to Benjamin’s reine Sprache (pure language) and Frege and Macbeth’s reine Denken (pure thought). If you wanted to form another matheme, a sort of secret version of the first, then you might combine Heidegger and Benjamin and Frege and Macbeth and say die reine Sprache Denken spricht, or, pure language thought itself speaks, pure language thought itself tells you what it says and thinks. The matheme as a childhood of language is Hitchcockian in its voiding of and recalcitrance to the archive and a type of thoroughgoing resistance to the cognitive proscenium. Because, let’s face it, the whole thing has become a drag. The whole of literature as a scene and archive has become a problem. And this is for at least one reason — it has to do with time. If we were living on one of several superhabitable planets, there might be time for saying something else, for fine-tuning a tradition and a still historicist progressivism. What we’re dreaming about here instead is a discourse of the end of the world now, there where the emphasis is on the word now as much as the words the end of the world. This discourse, which is in fact the system of the matheme, is everything short of becoming totally pangraphic. It’s what Drake does when he fucks the past tense in ‘0 to 100 / The Catch Up’ (‘Damn, fuck how it was in the past tense’), and says ‘I was ready. Fuck that . . . I been ready’. There is no time now for saying anything else but the catch up, no time for signatures and semiotic capital, and so the discourse of the end of the world now says 1. dunno and 2. extinction is not death and 3. die reine Sprache Denken spricht and 4. love save the end of the world now. One must risk a kind of subtractive dunno. A double illiteracy of the gut. An extinction affirmer. One must risk the signature becoming the Signature-X. One must become anybody. One must risk an extinction sentence and being phagocytized by Principle-X. One notes here as well that this is not the dream of a post-aesthetics but its active practice running already in language. If you want to know what I do and what I’m best at, it’s this: it’s language. I’m good at language. I’m the best that language can do. English poetry is not just dead but laterally extinct and I’m the best that poetry can do. Or what I mean is that language is the best we can do. We are the best (at) language and this is what alternative (artificial) intelligences mean. What the simplicity of the matheme e < > d means is that at a certain moment, way beyond linguisticism, there is Language as such, the languageness of language, as Language!

I think the discourse of the end of the world doesn’t even begin to threaten, as some might fear, to be a linguisticism or a post-aesthetics, a simple leaving behind, but instead shows the immense and real-life plasticity of the concept as something we still vastly underestimate. You can understand the defensive reactivity of contemporary poetic ideology in terms of this same underestimation. Most of the poets I once knew don’t read theory well and so in underestimating the concept they constantly have to overcompensate by overestimating what poetry can do under extinction conditions. As bad readers of theory, the poets end up doing 101 theory in the name of what they think is against theory. That was one reason why I left the English poetry scene. It got boring and was stymying in every direction. I don’t actually read poetry now. I spend most of my cultural downtime either listening to music, watching films or studying Twitter. I love following someone like Diana Havas’s online presence. Her Twitter is one of the few poems of this century I think still really functions. I’ve also been really into Isiah Medina’s Tumblr presence while on set during the summer of 2017. The rest of the time I am watching The Gilmore Girls or thinking things up while listening to Chief Keef. I watch films because they allow me to think and I listen to trap music because it allows me to form concepts. Films in particular offer a great amount of conceptual and poetic plasticity. I agree with Syberberg that cinema is ‘the most beautiful compensation’. I watched mother! recently and the strange thing is that I found in it absolutely everything I’ve just been trying to say about poets and their relationship to theory and about the obsolescence of poetry. The Man in the film (Javier Bardem) is a poet but one who suffers from a severe writer’s block which doesn’t seem to make any difference to his status as a writer. He is still seen by Her, the mother (Jennifer Lawrence), as a writer regardless of whether anything is poetically produced, and in a way that perfectly figures the radical subtractor function in language we’ve been talking about — let’s call this something like quantic poetry or poetry-AI, certainly not po but PIA (Artificial Poetic Intelligence). Why this indifference to production? Well, it’s because the poet here in the film does not write and does not have to write. J-Law holds a khoratic or matricial place for ‘baby’, the poet, but ‘baby’ as the poet without poetry is the poet who cannot write. The poet in effect is like a baby who cannot write and yet this internal lack of writing does nothing to prevent or stop the space of the film as a proneness to generic insurrection. I think this is what Moten is talking about in his ‘Cinematic Migrations’ talk on Kara Keeling from 2014 when he says that what he’d ‘like to be able to describe, under duress and in privation, by way of an overabundantly poor critical poesis, is what it is to be discovering a new art form without producing’. I think that phrase (‘what it is to be discovering a new art form without producing’) is breathtakingly beautiful because it doesn’t just bring into being a poetics without object but allows ‘a new art form’ and a kind of sheering away from all non-generic language. To translate this back into the language of poetry, we could say that the poetic is now just an imago, and what should interest the Subject-X in the act of subtraction is where poetry is being forced to change and become something other than what it is, or rather the relation of poetry and thought here is interrupted by something that poetry is not. When I speak of a discourse of the end of the world now I mean a discourse that takes into account our lack of infinite reading horizons and the ways in which poetic Marxism and progressivism are now inoperative, and so the discourse has nothing left but to implicate all this in the imminent radicalities of a new discourse, a new act, and that this is what already tenses us and makes us move. The discourse of the end of the world now becomes a real discourse, the question becomes an answer, a philosophical hauntology becomes an endology, and so on. It’s as if one is vibing on an overpowerfulness of language to let oneself be changed by it in no time at all and in the time being — as if Language really could say, die reine Sprache spricht, and always before poetry and literature and philosophy, always before being language even or always before being beyond or over language, not just the imminence of life and death, but the sudden terrible and universal language-anxiety of an extinction that is more than death or any one of death’s vectors; a very fragility of precarity itself; terse pneuma; god.

[SKG] If I had to formalize the contours of relevant thinking to come I would put it under the heading of subtraction. As subtractive I would describe any project of post-Kantian philosophy that will have deduced the crisis and the impossibility of systematic thinking out of this immense event by inventing new means, forms and concepts of ‘thinking’ without falling into the post-Kantian death trap of so called ‘dialectics’ struggling with the pluri-dimensional and ultra-monstrous event-cluster Hegel, Hölderlin, Nietzsche, Lacan, Marx, Benjamin, Heidegger, Derrida, Deleuze, de Man and to open this event-cluster up to the most important contemporary reader-writers like Tom Cohen, Werner Hamacher, Bernard Stiegler up or down to the late work of the little uncanny formalizer Alain Badiou. While all the ill-informed others had preferred and still prefer to take a little nap in the cosy and warm occidental bathtub ending up as bloated academic or historicist corpses with fetishized and bloated Werkausgaben you can comment on and cross reference for the next 10.000 years without even coming across the skandalon of the inconceivable blankness of linguistic materiality (Christopher Morris) ending up in troping  away from ‘it’ in a series of audacious and ridiculous auto-dafés of Heidegger, de Man, Derrida et al. For me it seems that only the most rigorous abstractions, subtractions and negations can really aim at an ‘answer’ to the uncontainable threats of geo-techno-allo-material ‘negativities’ (obviously the word ‘negativity’ is not really useful here since it is still too much connected to the philosophies of consciousness). This subtractive thread/t—I feel indebted to—would have been confronted furthermore with an important bifurcation or schism to cope with. This is namely the poème/mathème split in occidental philosophy (so usefully formalized by Alain Badiou). At the moment I am experimenting around [of course without claiming to have a concluding answer for all the implied ultra-difficult questions] feeling equally indebted to the ‘Dichtungs’-Traditions and the Ascetical Traditions of all ages starting let’s say with Lao Tse, Heraclitus, Parmenides, Saint Paul to the Desert Fathers (Evagrius Ponticus, Macarius of Egypt, John Climacus to John Cassian), 13th century Soto Zen, Meister Eckhart, Walter Benjamin, Martin Heidegger, Jean-Luc Marion to Paul de Man, and Jacques Derrida (having at least one toe in a certain and uncertain desert) connecting them furthermore with the line of pre-philosophical or pre- and post-academic thinking [data: Plato’s academy was closed in 529 c.e. by Justinian, the Professor/Independant scholar split and all the well-known escapees out of these contexts from e.g. Nietzsche, Benjamin, Artaud, Bataille, Blanchot, Jabès, Wittgenstein to Heidegger and other derived schisms]. My question would be accordingly: How would you position yourself in this complex field of questions, methods and forms (no one thinks about new ‘forms’ anymore today!) governed by the poème/mathème split and would you support my suggested formalization to place these debates ‘about’ the inconceivable blankness of linguistic materiality (Christopher Morris) under the heading of (real) Abstractions (cf. Alberto Toscano et al.) and Subtractions (the usual suspects being weirdly enough both or either/or poetical and mathematical)?

Jonty Tiplady, Haribo Ozymandias #3(2017)
[Figure 3]

[J.T.] This is an amazing question, an amazing piece of writing in itself. But I want to sort of answer it more than quickly, homing in on the moment you mention, a bifurcation or schism between poème and mathème, and ask why this split, why the seeing double at all? Why for instance the Death-extinction duo? Of course this question is speeded and precipitate, as if I were trying to draw a diagram of your mini history of subtraction itself, from Hölderlin’s alibi disco to the Desert Fathers. I would pick up here on your insistence, and your use of the word ‘answer’, and recall an article of mine from 2007 in Angelaki on Derrida and Stevens where I spoke of a kind of primacy of the answer replacing the primacy of the question, since, as you indicate, what happens is that otherwise we spend millennia not getting to the negative fecundity of the endological matheme e < > d as itself in question. We are saying that the discourse of the end of the world becomes a real discourse now, the question for instance of poème/mathème becomes an answer, and philosophical onto-hauntology becomes an endology. Discourse thus finds its end, in a kind of double infinity of speed-différance.

What I am suggesting is that the matheme e < > d already subtracts itself from the variety of subtractive processes on offer, the historical drop-down menu, for example what Laruelle calls art-thought or music-fiction. The endological matheme short-circuits the need to either choose or make a peace offering between over-transcendence and insurrectional interruption. What your question helps bring out is that the history of inscription as a history of formalizations can be wound up in an act of forced closure and double infinity at the heart of the threat to conditions of life. Just as we distinguished narcissistic from quantic finality, d from e, we can also distinguish absolute from radical subtraction. What the matheme e < > d involves is a kind of erotics of subtraction, a touching of the body and skin of the world, quickly, because there is the feeling of X on the way out — and what’s exciting about this way of thinking is that it is not trauma-bonded by posterity. The matheme e < > d is ex-citing because it presupposes no carrier and no reader. No more career of the carrier.

You rightly say as well that the subtractive is a thread and a threat, a thread/t, a promise of potential over-abbreviation, but perhaps that is also a misunderstanding. Why after all do you say that you don’t have ‘a concluding answer for all the implied ultra-difficult questions’? Modesty can be hubristic after all. What if instead one says that we are concerned with the question of the answer now: the question of the answer, which is not perhaps the answer to the question? We must then immediately run the risk of moving from insurrection to over-transcendence, not out of some kind of taste for extremism, but because there is what is happening, and this is what is already happening and this is what we are already notating and noticing. There must be here an arche-acceleration towards the matheme at all costs, at the cost of the poem as material, and yet all the time while under-determining what our new totalities are. Let’s also put it this way: even Badiou is guided by a hesitation here, by a lack of trust in the hyper-unequivocal fecundity of the endological matheme. There is in other words no poème/mathème split at all, there is only the over-matheme e < > d.

But if discourse is obliged to find its end, discourse has also already been endological since at least Hamlet, the moment when the gravitational technology of delay becomes a matter of urgency precisely through not happening. As soon as delay is laid bare and said, as soon as the King won’t be killed right now, it all pushes on irritation and enthusiasm and love as triple forces of change, it turns real and it fails not to be what it is. A new différance seems to be happening through all that, the end’s infinite appearance to itself, like a scriptorium on rainy glass that says ‘don’t waste my time’. Thus the latent desire of discourse as the present action of a differential choreo-tempography, and as a different seeing and as the seeing of the earth before the end of the world, becomes the question of the answer and launches an alternative phase of the technology of the notational interview, for example here or between Michael Redmond and AlphaGo self-paired games. We therefore insist on three things: that 1. the discourse of the end of the world has not yet been written at all, that 2. it is only being written now (that it has only been written now — for instance in 2017, between you and me here) and that 3. quantic finality names a kind of in-the-last-instance of subtraction. The secret desire of discourse is to provide the answer of a loving discourse of the end of the world, even when, of course, it fails to happen. Just like Chief Keef’s song ‘I Don’t Like’ as it is used in the 2016 film Nocturama, the discourse of the end of the world now is, strangely, in the end, the finite and technically empty answer of a completely different origin of the world.

[SKG] It is obvious that in the ‘age’ of the menacing sixth mass extinction and all too vivid genocide memories and presences the most difficult and most important threads and necessary nodes of contemporary thinking, that I would call for the sake of clarity and brevity ‘non-anthropomorphic’ or ‘non-anthropocentric’ ‘thinking’ [adding in brackets that there is nothing that is not problematic about this pseudo term having maybe only a pedagogical sense or to fill the bookshelves since it negates something that strictly speaking never existed at all.] circle around a re-evaluation of ‘death’, ‘life’ and ‘extinction’. This debate will have to circle around a lot of templates having more or less the tendency to exclude ‘mass extinction’ since Plato. To name a few more recent ones: Hegel’s ‘Tod und Macht des Negativen’, Hölderlin’s ‘Leben ist Tod, und Tod ist auch ein Leben’, Martin Heidegger’s ‘Tod als Schrein des Nichts’, Sigmund Freud’s ‘death drive’, Theodor Adorno’s ‘Sterben heute’ from his Meditationen zur Metaphysik, Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Tractatus sentence ‘Der Tod ist kein Ereignis des Lebens. Den Tod erlebt man nicht’, Maurice Blanchot’s ‘la mort impossible necessaire’, Emmanuel Levinas’ ‘la mort de l’autre’, Gilles Deleuze’s and Félix Guattari’s ‘transvimort’, Paul de Man’s dictum ‘death is a displaced name for a linguistic predicament’, Jacques Derrida’s ‘la vie la mort’, ‘le travail du deuil’ and ‘déconstruire la mort’ (cf. La Peine de Mort, tome 1, 1./8. Mars 2000, p. 327) boiled down in between by Derrida in—say—Survivre (1978), Spectres de Marx (1993), Apories (1995), Demeure (1998), and Donner la mort (1999) to his late La peine de Mort (1999/2001) and La bête et le souverain (2001/2003), Tom Cohen’s difficult an-archè cinematic tentatives to demystify ‘life-death’ ‘beyond mourning’ and ‘psychoanalysis’, down to very different formalizations in Alain Badiou’s neo-platonic polemics against ‘finitude’, Quentin Meillassoux’s 2006 book Après la finitude and Ray Brassier’s Nihil Unbound, Enlightenment and Extinction (2007). In your most recent texts you write about the tensions between Extinction and Death. You have formalized these tensions as the matheme e <> d in your Haribo Ozymandias Book Series (2016/17, see figure 3 and 4) and in two of your most recent texts called ‘Beyond The Death Drive, or, The Matheme e < > d’ (2017) and ‘Psychic Extinctness’ (2017). I would like to ask you right away in the form of a rather cryptic and polysemic sentence: (Absolute/ly) Nothing(ness) Matters More (than) death or extinction?

Jonty Tiplady, Haribo Ozymandias #3 (2017)[Figure 4]

[J.T.] I’m glad you pick up on this phrase from Haribo Ozymandias that ‘nothing matters more’. It’s one of a complex set of variations on matter and mattering and ‘the more’, the ‘what is more’, which climax with another phrase which isn’t in that book but is there in forthcoming writing, that there is that thing such that that thing is the only thing that matters. I have an email friend called Martin Waterson who writes to me about my work, and he told me this story of remembering a radio broadcast in which occurred the phrase nothing matters so much as to matter alone. We emailed a great deal about this one phrase, which I think was said by the Scottish writer Margot Bennett, turning it this way and that, because it seems a stunning piece of language in several ways, not least because it is now a sort of rumour, a little unsourced, but especially if you take the matter alone as openly transitive, so that for example there really would be that impossible thing such that that thing is the only thing that matters, that matters alone, something that alone matters, the only thing to alone matter, to matter alone . . . but then, as you hint, the question becomes what thing is that thing and what does it mean when you say nothing matters more? I guess, again, that the matheme e < > d is an athematic attempt to answer that question even or especially when you can’t, which is to say by mathematically notating this very situation. It is itself the exacerbated break-and-enter issue or paraphrase of the answer. There’s perhaps a certain adolescent linguistic lurching and precipitation in the matheme if you see it that way. It wants to break with millennia of unresolved aesthetic disorders and ideological brooding and rows, all of that historical performativity anxiety, and it does that, it admits the psychotic break that marks and thumb-prints the materiality of the present, and says that nothing matters more. For that, I want to keep on saying, you need to reboot and reshoot the poetry sector; you need a shot, a single shot, at what remains outside, and you need a love of the mono- or even over-matheme to get there. I’m talking about a kind of metabolic journalism where language goes into overtime — ASAP — and can still be found working, insofar as you are still here and can get through the pain. What I’d shoplift from Derrida at this point, or rather from Stiegler’s neganthropic mobilisation of Derrida, is a new type of phase or phrase of abbreviation, even a simplification of différance. I’d say the matheme remarks a singular speed of difference, an urgency already under pressure to meet extinction more than half way and under new starting orders, new conditions of threat, new conditions of conditions as the conditions of threat to the very being of threat. We draw a line under various aesthetic primal time broadcasts and create mathemes for the end of the world.

But your question is amazing matter in itself, a cool stockpile and historical depot or better still graveyard of what my work calls the thanatocentric strain in all plasticity. With the gathering of extinctophobic memes you already have ample evidence for the ongoing prosecution, since the matheme e < > d is also a kind of militarised court case or order in the wars of inscription against a universal silent treatment with regard to e. In ‘Death and the Maiden’, that is, death and eros, in Hamlet’s to be and not to be, in Ismene and Creon’s resistance to Antigone, but also perhaps in Antigone’s resistance to Creon and Ismene, in Freud’s neologisation of a Todestrieb but not an Aussterbenstrieb, in Cixous’s presentation of the hyperdream as an answer, but as an answer to death, in Derrida’s choice to dally with la peine de mort till the very end even as he was elaborating a deconstruction of the end of the world, in vulgar Marxism’s insistence that a critique of all existing conditions has all the time in a world only death and not extinction can take place in, in contemporary poetries’ ironic apotropaics and social insurance policies in favour of what Verity Spott calls the primacy of death (‘The primary is death . . . ’), in Joyce’s restriction of extinction to one word in Finnegans Wake despite the book being about the deep death of sleep, in Pynchon’s overwhelmingly symptomatological determination of extinction in Gravity’s Rainbow, and then, as you say, in Hegel’s ‘Death and the power of the Negative’, in Hölderlins ‘Life is Death, and Death is (also) a life’, in Heidegger’s ‘Death is the Shrine of Nothing(ness)’, in Adorno’s ‘Dying today’, and in Wittgenstein’s dumb-sounding ‘Death is not an event in life: death is not lived through’, in all of this, and in all the other examples you mention, Badiou’s beatitude and Brassier’s Promethian conversion, what is evident across all of  these instances is an almost criminal accessorisation of thanatocentrism. In other words everyone is obsessed with death but not with extinction. It’s a bit like the desert scene in Casino where Ace drives out to meet Nicky to the sound of Delerue’s Theme du Camille and all he wears is his shades as a shield frame against pulverisation from the petit objet e. But really we are constantly on location with Principle-X here, and that’s what makes all the money move now (it’s what’s moving in Scorsese’s film). What lies literally buried in the desert of recent aesthetic history is the encrypted transmission of the matheme e < > d. (There exist Chinese satellites which use quantum encryption—travelling outside of space and time— to encode information back to Earth and it’s that sort of thing the channels are skipping over to.) Screen protection is natural enough. The Americans try it on. The DeVito character is pretty terrifying of course and he ends up buried alive with his brother, like all of the internet and sons. It’s cool to watch the whole thing pan across the desert to the mountain and to listen to the remnants of the sound  of twentieth-century music, but time is flying now, and we’re gonna have to be quite a bit cooler. You could say the matheme is a terminal cool, a dissolve of the terminal cool, a pair of obliterated shades.

[SKG] To reopen this debate about death and extinction again from a slightly different Deleuzian angle I would like to insert one of my post its into the debate that I have glued on my desk for quite a while now, carrying a quote by Gilles Deleuze saying ‘Il appartient à la perception de pulvériser le monde, mais aussi de spiritualiser la poussière’ (Deleuze, Le Pli). For me this sentence contains a lot of possibilities to be unpacked as a ‘thinking’ of extinction worthy of its name reading perception as the prolepsis of extinction. How would you read the relevance or possibility of this sentence in the given context of death and extinction drawing the line to more recent post-derridean questions of ‘new materialisms and allo-materiality’ raised by say Tom Cohen, Claire Colebrook, Adrian Johnston, Alain Badiou, Slavoj Zizek, Quentin Meillassoux, and Alberto Toscano (also circling around the neo-materialist debates launched in the online journal ‘Crisis and Critique’?).

Jonty Tiplady, Haribo Ozymandias #3 (2017) [Figure 5]

[J.T.] I guess when you melt a pair of shades in the desert something happens to this sound and the sand is a kind of dust. De Niro has remote vision in the desert, wearing the shades like Deanna Havas on Instagram in ’17, stepped back, as you say, to visually take in the end of the world now. You play here on thinking, reading, seeing the end of the world, on the perceptual proleptics of seeing the e before d. Again what’s cool in that is that this is what’s happening. What I mean is that, shaded away or not, you get a kind of future perfect extinct tense vision. I think Havas is one of the best theorists of that kind of world-seeing right now, especially insofar as she doesn’t really do theory in terms of slugging out think-pieces, but instead you get this daily flow of theory-intelligent and theory-belligerent memes as her ‘content’. Online presence and online content as a cool larval flow and radiance is a spiritualised pulverisation, the inter-passive enjoyment of favourite archives and saved posts that are cut off and backed up (ended) after a relatively short amount of time. If we can’t think extinction, I’m tempted to think we can feel it on our skin, but there again if we can’t feel it on our skin, because we are numb, then perhaps we can see it. Ed Robertson talks about this in that poem of his which Moten likes to name-check, ‘Seeing the Earth Before the End of the World’. Insofar as there is a materialism and skin of the world, it’s impossible now that it get away from the matheme as an incursion but also as a kind of traumatic limit on corporeality, a serial bloodbath of emotivity. I’m getting dark here, but that’s how it is, and also, the matheme is a kind of concession — a kind of kindness — to thought of thought. We are seeing the end of the world, and we now know we want to see it. I’m speaking from the shaded part of my heart but what I’m saying is that we do want to be fucked and that there’s nothing wrong with that. We are phreaks and script kiddies of an unacknowledged extinctophilia, accessories to Principle-X, and to mathematics as a kindness of life to thought, and the matheme as a summation of the last century and everything that dragged on from it into this, as somewhere between a photographic apparatus, a black box messenger and a universal coffin. One says: I’ve had a great life. Bye. It was pretty fucking cool.

The matheme totally gets it, or it totally gets the century that was, super-summarises it before it really is too late. We get down to the more than mortal graveyard, the extyard, of endo-pathic perception. And yes, the dust from all this is a form of infinity. In a recent essay on the nuclear in Angelaki I created a long-form smiley version of the matheme in line with Gilles Châtelet’s axiom about how being smiles in certain diagrams. It’s a kind of Silly Symphony moment where Walt draws up the worst, like Xi Dada grinning or the angel’s smile which Lacan describes as being because one is overly full with the ‘supreme signifier’. When you really rock bottom with the matheme e < > d, when you really get down with it, when you really work through the plasticity and quantic finality of concepts to the point where aesthetics is mostly an accessory, the mathemic does become an emoticon, a kind of aid to abbreviated visualisation. It smiles. Look, the matheme e < > d smiles. If you followed it this far, you see this. Extinction, which is personalised as death in the tradition, a tradition which in assuming death as a natural horizon is overdetermined unawares by extinction (the petit objet e goes viral automatically), all of this is expressed first of all in a pseudo-matheme, and then, secondly, in its long-form Japanisation

(2)e ¯\_(ツ)_/ d (1)

and finally, coming to the spiritualisation of dust in Deleuze’s quote, as what I want to call a cosmomatheme, where U = the as yet unknown potential of generic extinctions that would begin to alter the value of e:

Ue < > d

This movement from a mathematisation of extinction to its cosmomathematisation was something that coalesced only this year for me, and I’m really into the way things are time-stamped in this way. I had my first holiday in years and travelled to Paris to launch some French translations of Haribo Ozymandias by Lise Thiollier and then went down to the Riviera and caught the boat across to Corsica. I was stunned by the sun and didn’t write at all for those weeks and didn’t even think, or was as close as possible to not thinking as I’d been for a while. There was this one perfect week, not a single cloud, the citadel in Calvi, the trip to L’Île-Rousse, and I started a yellow notebook which I still can’t open comfortably even now — everything stalled in and out of focus in this notebook, and in any case I was swimming in the sea five or six times a day, really basking in the heat like some kind of animal which doesn’t exist yet, shined on, and thinking or rather feeling about what all this means for the cosmomathematisation of forms of death. I had no internet access and one night I went out for a midnight swim and stretched my body out in star-pixellated water on my back in all directions, the Corsican vault of the sky above me, clear stars. I felt like I’d never understood anything and I started to ask myself simple questions like what a star was, what a sun was, were they the same thing, what light was. I realised I had no idea how many stars there were supposed to be in the known or unknown universe, that nobody had ever taught me this in school, or rather that even if they had I’d probably been unable to listen at the time. On the beach I got my sister to Google it for me on her new iPhone, and apparently there are 300,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 suns or stars in ‘the known universe’ (which we do not know), which is to say 300 sextillion. Obviously I couldn’t get over this. Obviously I can’t get over this. When I was star-fishing on my back in the nightwater, I had a sense of this and everything I’d been thinking at home about the matheme and about extinction, which Sarah Wood has abbreviated as ‘the ext’, and of how it seemed just so far away and inoperative, like it had never existed. The thought of extinction as a type of divine inexistence. In some ways all of this is of course the definition of what a holiday is and I was probably in a state of shock and ecstasy because I’d left it so long. But something was happening here to the various vocables of the matheme and the ext that I was just feeling and not really formulating yet: there was the sea, there was the stellar culture of holiday and recovery, there was the everyday brain unscrunching, there was the name of Antibes and the sun-lit graffiti there as I swerved through on a local train, there was my mother’s birthday (we were gathered in Corsica for that), there was ext, sext, sextillion, extinction, and there was, here the words get watery, sextinction and sextinctionillionism. The matheme was morphing into or proving itself to already have been formulated on top of a cosmomatheme, the ext worked through in a pulverising way by the sext of sextillion and unevenly vice-versa. To see the stars before the end of the world I must have had to catch the train down through France on vacation to the Mediterranean. Travel can of course have that kind of civilizational effect. Just before the trip I had discovered Frank and Sullivan’s work on the astrobiology of generic anthropocenes, which is to say the postulation (in our terms) that the matheme of e’s difference from d would be generically available. Which is to say, in the swim. On the cover of my yellow Calvi notebook I had written ‘In The Sun It Means Something Else’ and I guess that is what was happening. To say we are not going down like that, after all, is to produce our own kind of matheme, at your own pace, in your own good time. Whether we know or even fucking care, we are observing a milieu overburdened with cognitive drugs and swamped with the near-term feel of the sun that will not negotiate its own solar clarity in either way, and so the matheme is a sunshine app, but also a push-button slasher act in a living dead end.

To some extent I’ve been formulating the best of this for years in pm chats and in unpublished manuscripts. At a certain point you have to come out and stop this civilizational stashing, probably right about now — what I mean is, perhaps, in terms of local emotion. But the matheme and its wedging act is itself doomed, perhaps all the better to submit to the sun. It is doomed to lose the speed race against the rampant and understandable instinctivism of aesthetic relapse, which is gaining on us, threatening to make of this negative eureka moment a pixel that blips out in the sun-bonded super-void. That matheme booms as a last-instance adjustment. We made some pre-mediatic content, but by now it does not even try to escape. That’s that, as Ace says at the end of the film. I’ve had a great life.

Jean-Etienne Liotard, L’ Écriture (1752) [Figure 6, Cover of "MS]

[SKG] One of your most recent books entitled MS published in 2015 struck me almost instantaneously as one of the most interesting and most courageous attempts to develop a ‘practice’ of leftist writing preceding or transforming the worn and sedating distinction of theory and praxis, and worn materialistic or dialectical ideas of ‘human work’ circling around the left hand or what’s left of the hand aiming maybe at a new form of ‘poetic-prosaic’ writing in between Martin Heidegger’s ‘dichtendes Denken, denkendes Dichten’, Walter Benjamin’s versatile ‘Quote Abuse Collages’ or G.W.F. Hegel’s dictum ‘Im Sklaven fängt die Prosa an’ exploited at large by Paul de Man. A line of thought that I would also tend to relate to a complex line of tradition sketched by Derrida in Spectres de Marx (1993) and earlier in his cours Théorie et pratique (1975-76/2017) or in the polysemic motto ‘la philosophie en effet’ speaking of interruptive events in ‘SdM’: ‘Des événements pratiques, là où la pensée se fait agir, et corps et expérience manuelle (la pensée comme Handeln, dit quelque part Heidegger), travail mais travail toujours divisible - et partageable, au-delà des schèmes anciens de la division de la travail. Ces événements séismiques viennent de l’avenir, ils sont donnés depuis le fond instable, chaotique et dis-loqué des temps’ (270). I would extend this line of thought sketched out by Derrida also in the direction of Bernard Stiegler’s most recent thoughts about ‘L’avenir du travail’, exosomatisation, neguanthropocène and organologie générale, Toni Negri’s and Michael Hardt’s unconvincingly bloated and ludicrous trilogy Multitude-Empire-Commonwealth, and Alain Badiou’s challenging matérialisme dialectique including four truth procedures (love, science, politics, art) boiled down to the sentence ‘oui, il n'y a que des corps et des langages, sinon qu’il y a des vérités’ (E & E, tome 2, Logiques du monde, préface). Asking intentionally provocative and a little diabolic: what would be really left of the Left if the left would have really left Leftist writing in the disguise of silly and sometimes criminal attempts to sketch out revolutions and wonderful communities to come? Finding answers to the burning questions: What’s really left of and for the Left to write? What are words worth when Poetry (being relatable to poiesis) and Politics intersect? And how would this be relatable to a new idea of Work and Arbeitsteilung subverting the maybe worn and sedating bourgeois split of praxis and theoria, brain and hand?

Jonty Tiplady, MS (2015)[Figure 7]

[J.T.] MS was a book that cost me a lot of life. It was first written or rather assembled — in a fragmented, spasmodically illicit way — as a set of notes in a mental hospital in London and then a rehabilitation centre in Mississippi in the summer of 2012. In Mississippi much of the work we did was writing work, which was ironic because I was in there partly for a very narcotic relationship to writing itself, which I’ve slowly learned to harness. I remember complaining I was being allowed access to my drug — writing — but this was also a negotiation with getting better, which inevitably involved writing exercises in this case: obviously the pharmacological calibrations of recovering from or mourning the writing machine are very delicate and mega-ambivalent. So MS is very much about that, the ways in which the ‘endekhomenon allos ekein constitutes relapse rates and flows’. For one week in Mississippi we were asked to write only in our ‘wrong hands’ or ‘other hands’, and for me that is my left hand. This was an attempt, I think, to flip the manual brain away from its toxic materiality since if there is one thing an addict is good at it’s staying in a neuro-groove. To some extent the receptor sites in the brain of an addict — for instance a writing addict or a technology addict — are irreversibly gone, kind of gone in the sense that Celan said the world is gone, Die Welt ist fort. What you call leftist writing — writing in one’s other hand, the allos in endekhomenon allos ekein — was an attempt to switch delusion channels via a kind of cerebral lateralisation. It was as if I was trying to rise up and switch out of the pharmacological silo of writing itself. I wrote lots of notes using left hand, my other hand, a process that (I don’t know whether you’ve tried it) is very strange and painful. It brings up a kind of archive of pain data in the body. You plunge into a bodily khoratics, a ‘powder keg’, and catch a glimpse of the main drug substance, consciousness itself as Valéry said, and you see that making any kind of reversal there (traditional leftist interventions) is going to feel like turning around the irreversible. They showed us scans of the addict’s brain and there was just very low level activity. The brain goes dark and is sort of abandoned to the pull of infinity, the pull out of life, the glitter of the Todestrieb. If I have a suspicion of ‘the Left’ or, to be more specific, Leftist political poetry in the UK, it springs from this observer-site that perhaps the addict has privileged access to (to some extent we addicts are lucky). I’m risking mythologising here because we’re talking about a real thing: the drug-taking and omnipotent high (for Freud this relates to the power of a baby, and a certain wishing the other gone) of a civilizational drift pulled now towards a more than dying end. I think Marxist radical writing broadly isn’t radical enough or at all — it isn’t even on the Left in the sense we’re talking about — because it automatically underestimates ‘capital’ as a MacGuffin of its own denialism instead of appraising it as an addictogenic fix that really goes way beyond the more immediate memes of class, wage-labour, struggle, the locating of an enemy, and so on. In terms of the brain stem, victimologism (the class enemy) is a primitive habit. It’s a perfectly old, preindustrial program whereby sight is always relayed as an ocularcentric ‘order’ of the hunt and as consumption of prey. To want to have a class enemy is to want to kill an animal, in effect. We can see how far that has got us. I think Malabou is right when she says that only new addictions can save us, which is also a way of almost saying that only an addict can save us.

What got cracked open in Mississippi was the split dimension between brain and hand, which Malabou also wants to think is a split between brain and thought or aesthetics. By doing leftist writing, in your sense, I got a premonition of just how grooved non-revolutionary desire is, which is also to say how stalled and grooved revolutionary desire is. As my work insists, we are up against not just a Todestrieb but an Aussterbenstrieb. From that point of view, spying on the movements of matter from Mississippi inside addictive consciousness, I’d say I’m not a Marxist at all. I even believe in what Colebrook calls hypo-Marxism or counter-Marxism. The notes written or scrambled in 2012 were painful for me to even look at or keep as time went on. I got ‘clean’ and actually had to hand over to my sponsor this cardboard box with everything from that period in it, the notes as what recovery jargon calls ‘using paraphernalia’. I came back to England and plunged into further mourning of the writing machine. I didn’t write at all for two years and the scriptive hangover was awful. I lost touch with both hands. I literally felt like I could never touch writing again without quickly dying. It sounds dramatic, but it’s true. I felt like I’d discovered something there in Mississippi but didn’t know what it was. My body had shut down on the reading of the hangover. Lateralisation from the leftist side of the brain had pressed me into a close encounter, an encounter with a sort of self-technologisation (to some extent the brain wasn’t even needed anymore) and with a formative Paranoia. Basically, I suddenly felt distanced from the entirety of the English scenography and set, and the removal to Mississippi for expedient reasons (cheap rehab) felt emblematic. I was in the historical deep south of the Confederacy, heard talk of Jefferson Davis, and of how this had been where the largest concentration of white millionaires had been in the 1860s. In treatment my key therapist was a black guy, the only one in the unit, and he was easily the most sane member of staff there. He taught me some canny stuff about how my relation to a certain sort of pornography was itself racial, predicated in some way in an unconscious fugue of dominance. I dreamt every night of walking all the way to New York barefoot and they found it hard to help me.

Philip K. Dick says ‘every junkie is a recording’ and I like that a lot. Dallying with and recovering from graphomania is a kind of face-off not just on Death Drive but on Extinction Drive, with e before d, with e over d. If this face-off and brain pinging has an avatar today perhaps it is Dougie in Twin Peaks: Season 3. When you’re in the Mississippi River Valley forced through your left hand to feel and contemplate the whole pharmacological rainbow of irreversibility, you ask yourself like Dougie what state of matter you’re even in. I could have been in any state, MS, or what Derrida called the state of theory, CA. I felt abbreviated in both. As I say, I had a Huck Finn thing going on about catching a mail train up the east coast to New York City. Yeah, yeah, I was dramatizing in panic but I felt like Dougie in terms of the lateralisation-effect on my brain hemispheres. Dougie becomes the dark matter centre of things, and somehow finds himself arriving in New York via a high-tech dark glass, butchering the young lovers in the mercy seat. He is not where he is and he is where he is not and he is not even where he is not. He is the lobotomised heart of robodenihilist slapstick in 2017.

As regards MS itself, the title obviously plays on the state name in America, the abbreviation of manuscript, humanualism, and the notion of a masterpiece — and it’s also hardly my best book, whatever that means, but it probably retains its rights through that very fact and through those pressures I’m describing under whose weight it faithfully collapses. I eventually opened the cardboard box in 2015 and allowed writing to come back into my life. MS is the unedited mess of that time, maybe the first leftist manuscript in the world, and it probably also contains something like the origin story of the matheme. It’s not a fractured book, it’s a psychic fracture. Its meaning really isn’t in it. The book asks, what would you do and say if you were on your own at the end of the world? It was a way of being broken enough to be pulled out of the fatherboard but there again I don’t sense anything but further non-integration. There was a kind of foul and filthy air when I opened the box, Macbeth stuff all the way. But the cardboard was also a different kind of black box, the crash manifest offering feedback for future survival via an evolutionary adaption of brain technology incurred by the surging of the Aussterbenstrieb-event. In Mississippi we did trauma drills. We had to imagine handling our toxic assets with kid gloves, with asbestos hands, from behind a glass — over there. It’s certainly close, and closer. I feel we’re onto a close call. I think you’re right to read from MS that there is nothing left of the left and that the future of that illusion was an aesthetic crime, and a self-imposed dominance of rightist praxis undercover as a lure. What do I pick up now from all that? It seems to me we think extinction will run down to the crustacean level and then reboot, that it will run down to the trilobite level and then reboot, that ultimately once it reaches the protozoon it can always stir from there again. We always assume it can come back just like in The Day After Tomorrow of aesthetic ideology broadly, which always assumes a ‘day after’ and a survivor. Handling and screening the matheme we can certainly do a number on the various Leftist sectors still stuck in their twentieth-century modes, in their life assurance policies against a dunno that cuts through. MS also allows you to explode that clunky, crunky word ‘anthropocene’. The anthropocene, you could say, looking back already, proved to be the end for aesthetic ideology, Big Time. Suddenly the cat was all the way out of the civilizational body bag, and there were waves of shock, handling difficulties, panic debts, irritating palinodes and viral whataboutism. I’m no longer so shocked. We all know we’re going extinct now and yet ‘we’re all going extinct’ is something I can’t know, can’t quite handle. If there is a revolutionary front, still, it’s probably there in the labour of adaption to e and not just d, and in the name of future generics and genetics on the cerebellum of another frontier. I think what I discovered in the Mississippi River Valley, however too little too late it now sounds, is that the psyche is now ‘structured’ as utterly wayward mourning of the loss of death to extinction. What is broadcast and is beyond touch almost is an endopsychic set-up that knows full well we are going extinct (that is what death is on the family plot) and yet forms a crypt for the excess of extinction over the saving fiction of death. It traces, it races towards extinction.

[SKG] In your MS you approached the idea of leftist writing or the writing of the left hand furthermore in connection to the idea of childhood. Accordingly you have called the left hand in MS ‘more childhoodienne’ (MS, figure 7). Your focus on childhood leads directly into an epicentre, or pivot of contemporary writing. This finds further support in the cover painting called L’écriture (1752, see figure 6) you have chosen for your book. This painting shows a very complex writing situation which could be characterized as a dramatic scene or interaction between a writer-father-adult hesitating over what appears to be the final page of a book and a male child hesitating to give more light for further writings of his ‘father’(?) or trying to protect the candle light to show a failing male-writer-adult once and for all. How would you read this scene when I insert the complete spectrum of the infans-Childhood and thinking theories starting with the Heraclitean Aion meandering through all ages, say to Wordsworth’s famous ‘Collections of Early Childhood’, Walter Benjamin’s ‘Berliner Kindheit um 1800’ and ‘Einbahnstrasse’, Giorgio Agamben’s ‘Childhood and History’, Deleuze and Guattari’s Spinozist idea of a ‘devenir-enfant’ in ‘Mille Plateaux’, Derrida’s ‘childlike deconstruction’ and his subversion of the Logos-Su/on-Father motive (‘La philosophie consiste à rassurer les enfants ( . . . ) à oublier l’enfant’ (La Dissémination, p.151) down to Jean-Francois Lyotard’s infans?

Jonty Tiplady, MS (2015)[Figure 8]

[J.T.] Once again, you name the archive, from Wordsworth to Lyotard: and I love this because it allows us to quickly ransack. I also have a fear of this archive. I have a fear, for example, of going back into the black box survival mechanism of MS and its childhoodienne scene. The Liotard image I fell upon just as I was publishing the book, one of those instinctive connections I knew was right — at a glance — but haven’t analysed since. Liotard’s painting probably saves the book, for all I know. Looking at it now, I think it does. Writing for me . . . I’ve never thought about this, I’ve not been there yet with my analyst, and so it feels painful . . . I don’t know how writing for me divides between or comes from my mum or my dad. I’d never assumed the elder, seated figure in L’Écriture was a father but now you suggest it, it feels undeniable. Playing with language is something I do with my mum. We do the pots together when I’m at home — that’s our thing — and we play with language while we do so. She has a whole array of invented terms and catch-phrases and so there’s a strong link with the open maternal crypt of word-things, with the word pots, with feeling free with language, and right now, as I look at it, I’m wondering where the play-pen is in Liotard’s painting. It’s spooky, isn’t it, or not spooky at all, something else, like beautiful, that Lyotard wrote about childhood so well and here is Liotard making what must be one of the best images of childhood writing. But the child here isn’t writing and neither is the adult — the whole thing is stopped. The writer-father-adult is taking his (our) pulse with the leftist hand which is in the light. Again, that was the feeling of the book MS, that the left hand knew that it was time to stop and check the world-pulse, and there’s light, the window, mainly there where the finger reconnects the hand and arm with the heart. Are you still beating? Are you still here? Stop writing. But on the other hand, the darker side where the right hand is stopped, you have the whole irreversible machine of para-phernalia, what Cohen would call the literary structure of ecocide. Scripture, some kind of box, an oil lamp, a certain guarding or saving (a primitive ecology, a sheer formalisation, a divine ecology) from the boy with their left (not right) hand. It’s a frozen allegory (which is what an allegory always is according to de Man) of human production, holding, defending, the paralysis of the contemporary era snapped into a montage, a screenshot, before it occurs. If literary writing is the representative drug, intoxication or pharmakon for us, what is there to stop it, since here in 1752 we already see the final page, the childhoodienne economy of an apotropaics or ecology (be careful dad!) but also we’re stuck with what we see, the initialisation of perceptual orders inevitably going through ink, oil, blackness, all black optics in general, and the lethality of the prehistorical mimetic nervous system itself. A direct line can be drawn from the Platonic memory tools of hypomnemata to every other fuel and techno-material writing system that can go up in a flash. There’s no real way out there according to Liotard’s seventeenth century —; painting itself as an oil aesthetic traverses the same suicidal accelerations which are also by now addictogenic and spread to the eco-semioses of terrestrial life. MS asks the question the painting asks, I suppose, which is whether at the far end of formalising this legacy’s toxicity and by being just about ‘clean’ enough to state it (if consciousness is the drug, how does a civilisation count sobriety years?), some kind of ‘cold turkey’ procedure is available that doesn’t make the automaton go mad before it goes extinct. Were there no oil or carbon, there would have been no era of painting, no era of cinema, no Kuwaiti oil fields, no hyperconsumption, no concept of ‘clean time’ or blackzeit. But what is the male child doing here in the painting? Why are they lending a hand? I think you are correct and put it perfectly when you say that the child may be ‘trying to protect the candlelight to expose a male-writer-adult once and for all’. There’s also something cannily post-amazement about that kid because already in the seventeenth-century he seems post-irreversible. In other words, his tranquillity is a kind of good mascot for us. He isn’t intervening, he is watching. He isn’t asking why we let the carbon-set explode, but is holding back and watching the era of the book close out. There’s nothing wrong with a heavy dose of ‘game over’, after all. In any case he perhaps isn’t about the whataboutism I mentioned, and all of this is taking place way before Marx even sets pen to paper.

Coming back to MS, that was partly a move of self-exposure. I mean, who the fuck do I think I am? When I try to outline the thanatocentrism of the tradition in toto I also mean a phallo-thanato-centrism since it’s usually the stiffness of the dead and the hard-on that call out to each other here (death and eros turning each other on till the end of the world) while somehow the objet petit e gets left outside the circuit. It’s almost as if the father in L’Écriture doesn’t give a fuck and the pulse-checking is just an alibi for fitting in one last word or one last moment of reading before the end of the world. There’s a sombre placidity in the painting which makes me feel I have nothing to add (or even lose). Is the child just sucking up to the adult at this late stage?

[SKG] In this context of childhood and literature I would also like to embed the reality of her horrors and terrors relating this question to an admirably dense poetical account of secret stratifications of an early childhood non-event you give in ‘Missed A Bit’ (in: Haribo Ozymandias #2, 2017). If I may, I would like to relate this non-event and your dense reading of it embedded in a complex auto-hetero-thanato-biography to Hélène Cixous’ own poetical Geo-Logics circling around two deeply traumatizing events (the deaths of her father Georges and her first-born son Stéphane) concentrated in her dictum ‘D’ailleurs la Littérature tout entière est cicatricielle. Elle célèbre la plaie et redit la lésion’ (Manhattan, Paris 2002, p. 189, or more recently in Ayaï ! Le cri de la littérature (Paris 2013) asking: how would you relate your works to those of Hélène Cixous and her formalizations of ‘literature’ and her obsessive ‘(hand)-writing’ (cf. ‘le texte a besoin du papier. Il faut le contact entre ma main et le papier’ [Hélène Cixous, L’amour du loup, Paris 2003, p.98])?

Jonty Tiplady, Haribo Ozymandias #2 (2017)[Figure 9]

[J.T.] On paper, on the subject of paper, and on how this plays through the work of Hélène Cixous, there is always a surprising amount to say. When I was on the academic circuit I used to know Cixous, I’d see her now and again. I also went to some of her seminars in Paris. One week I remember it was snowing and we turned up and she improvised on snow in Proust (she must have been up since dawn finding her references with the snow falling outside). She spoke about snow in the present tense, le texte de la neige, the snow-text in Proust. I was struck by how she had sort of photographed where the snow was in those six volumes. Another time, this time in Lewes in England, I offered her some of my poetry books, but those little books felt like waste paper to me, a waste of time for her, so I added she could always use them for toilet paper. She responded as quick as anything, ‘but do you really want that?’ I think she was implying I did, and also challenging me, asking whether I really wanted her shit next to my text, my text next to her shit, whether I valued my papers so little as to want them to be shat on or rather (secretly) whether I valued them so much, beyond everything, that I felt comfortable evoking Cixous’ shit in the same breath as them. Poetry really might be (the) shit and she was asking that, giving the poet permission for that, proposing it, I felt—that was coming from the goddess (of shit). We were two poet-cats (shat) together. Cixous has written a shit text herself, a text on shit in Andres Serrano, called ‘Shit, No Present: Faecetious Serrano’, and one of the things about shit is that we guard against it every day with paper, manipulating the paper very close to where the shit is. I dunno, I guess I’m really into the where the shit is, so Cixous, who is one of my favourite writers, was instantly right. This lad called Shane Tierney used to come round my house when I was young. His brother had been thrown headfirst into an empty swimming pool. One day my mum said she’d had enough of him because he smelt of shit (my mum probably said ‘smelt of the toilet’). And he did, he smelt like shit — he didn’t know how to use the paper. But I had no problem with him being in the house. Something I wrote about in HO is the way shit-talk is perhaps less of a taboo than piss-talk. I argue my text is whizzographic more than shizographic. I ask ‘what will whizz be — the theory of urolagnia, of urophilia, of unidinism, of golden shower, of golden feed, of lagneia, of ondinisme, of renifleurism, of water sports — and the resistance to the theory of golden rain’. I was wondering in a way how shit and piss played out in terms of the matheme e < > d.

Paper is erotic, at least, and calls for contact not only between hand and sheet but between arse and hand. It can be felt, as in Cixous in particular, with all the cahiers and sections and just the feel of the sentences, the rustling, moving through or behind the scene of writing, whether it is typed, hand-written, word-processed and so on — the paper can be felt almost all the time. I spoke earlier about cross-addiction and I’d say my relation to writing spaces and materials is stratified and polymorphously cross-addicted. I move quickly between email, Twitter, word docs, jump between all these repositories to stay alert, just as Cixous does between decades and cahiers. The push-and-pull of all this is a lot like a shit-action. The fact that I have hoarded so much till now is perhaps a bit shitty. Great writers tend to like to hold it back for as long as possible, but then that makes you wonder where ‘the great work’ is really coming from and what its relation is to the immanence of the matheme. Shit is theory, says Cixous in the text on Serrano, and I think that can be connected to everything we’ve been saying about the baseline of linguistic materiality. Shit as theory, theory as the shit, the shit of sheer materiality that extinctive horizons just are — shit would be what we resist and partly that resistance comes through paper and further waste. We waste all this shit, we are wasted—and the colloquiality machine makes us say all these things. The resistance to theory, like the resistance to psychoanalysis, would be the resistance to shit (the shit) as the resistance to the matter of e and not d.

I was interested to see how paper plays this complex mediating role in Blade Runner 2049. In the original film paper is there at the very end in the form of the paper unicorn that Rachael knocks over, the last in a series of origami figures that Gaff uses to taunt Deckard. Gaff folds a paper chicken. Gaff folds a paper man with a paper erection. Finally Gaff folds a paper unicorn. It’s almost moving, this recourse of a veteran blade runner to the supposedly old technology of paper in a futural Los Angeles. In the Director’s Cut a deleted scene is restored in which Deckard dreams of a white unicorn (an extinct animal after all, a forever always extinct paper toy) and this is taken to perhaps indicate that Deckard is a replicant because Gaff seemed to know the significance of unicorns to him. If Rachael is connected to the unicorn it’s because she too is unique, ‘different to other horses’ as Tennessee Williams puts it, and has her own unique termination date. In all of these cases paper mediates between humans who are perhaps machines and machines who are perhaps humans. Gaff taunts Deckard by playing with paper but this also indicates what AI cannot otherwise indicate — if it cannot get its hands on some paper. In the new film paper again mediates (but this word feels wrong) after the 2022 archive blackout when paper records come in handy, and all of this seems to prove what Derrida’s Paper Machine says about a nostalgia for paper surviving the biblion. In fact the proof that anyone — x — is a replicant relies on the dream of a unique paper (the unicorn). 2049 has this holographic sex scene that also seems to play with genealogy, as if the human or the human as paper becomes a kind of genie between different phases in the archaeology of technology. Joi picks up a street punk played by Mackenzie Davis to have sex with Gosling, who is uncertain as to his human/AI status, and the two actresses sync to form an erotic holographic blur to caress his face. There is a peeling of layers here as if of holographic paper and Denis Villeneuve commented on how it was ‘like you were feeling a third woman’. The film is about the problem of AI retaining genealogy (sex) from the human set, but that tension is itself sexy. Derrida speaks of a nostalgia or sadness for and in paper and paper plays that role here, a kind of kindness of conditions of life ongoing. The sexual caress, at the very least, becomes triplicate or trillographic. A genie.

I’d add from some other direction here, on another paper entirely, that everything I write goes after this triplicate. One looks for a return, and a return despite everything, third terms and third thoughts. A return despite all is everything I am trying to think and write now, even under the name love and the discourse of the end of the world now as one name for love—and I would always say I am after that, this way that the logic of the ext also goes through a logic of the astro-, which is to say I think the job of civilisation is to understand its own breaking point as a universal claim and to invent a science of universal astrobiological extinction so that there can be more life, and that the ‘I’ thinks this as part of a mathematical set of statements. I say that is a task but also it’s a letting go, which is what Benjamin meant by task (Aufgabe—gift, giving up). I think if I have pushed the thought of extinction it is because I obscurely felt that was necessary and perhaps it is only once extinction is conceived in terms of astrobiological statements that it makes sense, and it makes this sense as task and makes difference, if I can use that phrase (make difference). In my own life it feels like I want that return too and I often feel like I am pulling out of a death bend constantly slightly too late, but not too late to die or think this, and that is what I want. It’s not so much that life is being invalidated by what I am writing, as one might fear, but that life is perhaps being invalidated and we want to show that. We do not show that and we want to show that. I guess I don’t yet know what the extent of this thought is or how much we and I will give with it and for it or how much will be paid, but I have been carried in that direction — it even gives life meaning as it all carries through on every front.

And the repetition here is crucial. I mean the repetition of the matheme itself, what is happening there? I am thinking about being, pure being — and how there is something that relates it to the pure repetition of the matheme. Perhaps by assuming the position of repetition (I am extinct), repeating it, slowing it down yet not changing the content, taking the position of the subject who says it rather than being said by it, this move from repetition and mechanism (that arises from his freedom to say it at first), then becoming stuck, and in that stuckness, appropriating it again, remembering and re-spacing what it is to say it, to see your spot in the repetition and how that means to end it not empirically but perhaps at a transcendental level.

My strongest desire (it’s beyond desire, it’s a need) is to write and to continue to write the discourse of the end of the world now. Pure repetition works such that autoencoding this dataset of the discourse of the end of the world creates the same feature-function again and again, and yet with no fear of lack of variety: e∞. Or even:

e < > d

That subject position and the repetition can be so important here is something to come back to time and again in the time being, in the form of a pure time being, the important thing for me is the beginning moment where one perhaps has to own the repetition, juddering and moving from an advocacy position (hermeneutic war) to a mirror extinction scene, and I guess I’m wondering how maybe only angels have faces or something, only angels can see and face extinction — the very worst — and bear its integration into pure being, since who else can be extinct or know extincting but an angel, who else save the beautiful mess of the repeated machine of the matheme. Facing extinction empirically and transcendentally then, but it remains as a type of material facticty (angelic facticity of e) to be faced — something happens through the working through as first time since it has to be assumed this really is a first time, a first take, a prima, and this hasn’t been worked through before. The angelic would be filmic, but only just, by a sliver, by the slightest margin, but in any case ‘I’, as for me, in terms of how one has something worth saying now in an interview for instance, I feel my own subject position changed in this way, like when I saw I didn’t have to say what I felt wasn’t being said, I just had to say it myself, to own it, to go into that pocket. There’s no projection in all this anymore, angelic or otherwise, or as well the angel would be a form of fully taken responsibility, and weight, weirdly, like pockets of angelic responsibility of the new discourse as an ampliative chance for new responsibilities taken, each a framing and cutting of one of the mathemes, or each a statement in a theory or a poem, and each time we add to this should relate to the further development of the pockets in the incomplete discourse we are on our way to completing, consistently, so there is a sense of extending, forcing the pocket, not cheating the pocket, but also a sense of not repeating a pocket either but of playing a statement to further extend this hypothesis of hearing out what is there in the thought of e and not d, or d with e finally, developing an ampliative tone that hasn’t been heard before, that can break into consistency, like a poem that can’t be counted on as one, and so we move on to a new line.

[SKG] After watching the film Logan, The Wolverine (2017) containing for me the character of a new poetic Wunderkind called Laura marking the grave of her father Logan with a cross or twisted ‘X’ as a sign (or tomb stele) as well for X-Men as for a crossing out of this heritage in the closing scene, I felt the desire to expand the Wunderkind dimension in this direction a little more. Should not the new Wunderkind be a female, dangerous mutant (being presented in Logan as superior to male mutants) interrupting the occidental ‘politiques de l’amitié’ as being phallo-fraterno-centric like Derrida had it? Or how would you imagine a poet-Wunderkind today in between Jeff Nichols’ male Wunderkind Alton in the film Midnight Special (2016), James Mangold’s female Laura in Logan, The Wolverine (2017), and the nameless male Wunderkind on the cover painting of MS called L’écriture (1752)? This could also give the opportunity to link the artificial candle light on the painting to a possible connection or intersection between Wunderkind, Cinema, Earth, Projector, Einbildungskraft and Poetry?

[J.T.] I wanted to think that the kid in L’Écriture had a type of refuge there in that scene as well. I believe in kids or in what Laurence Rickels calls the Teen Age. I’ve had this other phrase knocking around my head for a while now and not known how to deploy it: the childhood of language. If I really believe in anything it’s probably that childhood of language, and precisely because it isn’t age-specific. One might imagine too, as if in the style of Hegel’s Anthropology, a Teen Age of language as the period where the individual progresses to the state of being a rebel without a cause against the cause of the Universal. In Logan, The Wolverine what fascinated me was a kind of Hegelian progression again, but one that moves backwards, this time through a mid-life crisis to regain a new X, a new feminine abstraction and ferocity going forward. What’s really happening is the Übermensch as ‘transhuman’ is getting lost in translation. The ‘over’ or über of the super-powered is getting too old for us now — the human has crossed over to one in a series of stations of crossing in which pretty much everything is crossed out: man as X-(man) is over, over and out. In my discourse for the end of the world now I develop out of Laruelle a kind of savage ultra-generic subject-X who is a kind of pure x-clone, picking up the pieces and the trail in the same way Laura X-23 does. I’m also thinking of the song ‘X’ by 21 Savage and Metro Boomin, and there’s a ‘savagery’ there that is close to Laura, where rap becomes an aggression against the whole white bargaining table of the phallo-thanato-poetico-logical escarpment; that whole drag. I mean, I don’t just have a coded/moralising/whatever way of understanding how Chief Keef charges words like ‘thot’ and ‘bitch’ and ‘bitch nigger’ and ‘wtf’ and ‘htfwtf’ because the mutant now has to be allowed to experiment in hyper resistance and outright graffitification of the mainframe (while Professor-X retires to the motel room to watch John Ford cowboy movies). It’s possible the male Wunderkind in Liotard’s well-lit Western is a little too pale to get anything going. Even if you read their left-handed apotropaics as loving, one can always get frozen by all the good graces. I mean, in 2012 the 16-year-old Chief Keef just knew what he had to do. I don’t think he was even waiting anymore to get on the conveyor belt of the Anthropology. He doesn’t do a trap-bypass but he does seem to just sort of simply break the sublation protocol and contract. Is there sublation in ‘I Don’t Like’ or ‘X’? I’m not sure there is. Keef’s already a ruptured and full genus. The automated heart-rhymes of not-liking are a wholesale rejection of the suicidal epistemology of tropes. In the Kyle Kramer interview from 2012, he’s gone from kid to adult while he’s still sixteen, probably younger than when Rimbaud managed to rock and abandon the archive. He says ‘everybody I was looking up to is looking up to me’ and, like de Man, sees straight through metaphor (poetic ideology), saying ‘I don’t really like metaphors or punchlines like that’. Even math is a trope, you could say.

16 year old Chief Keef interview ; Paul de Man unpublished notes 2012 [Figure 10]

When de Man goes to work on über here, reducing metaphor to machine or dismemberment, he’s being pretty ‘savage’, he’s being pretty tough. Keef is going there at sixteen and Laura goes there in the massacre scene in the Chinese-owned compound and maybe Liotard’s kid is doing the same thing through a kind of savage measure of poise. As I say, I can’t read poetry much now — or won’t or don’t on principle — and maybe it’s because Chief Keef made ‘I Don’t like’. I just love that sound, its undeniability. I think you have to notate it. You have to go figure it. It’s actually the sound- or thought-abbreviation, if you like, of not-needing-the-archive. You’ve got rock, pop, po, language, whatever, and then you have Laura, subject-X, the new mutation, rap, and this ‘rap’ seems far ahead in the world language game, close to and very far away from the Liotardian freezer kid because that’s what rap is, some kind of weird cross between other musical movements and the jerky pay-off of the khora. In that interview Keef just says, ‘it was gone’. Those three words are what I’m into — that’s what I’m on about — that extra level of language-trapping, where you just have the most trenchant epitomist (der mächtigste Epitomator) but fucked all the way up to a different level. What a subject-X relating to principle-X means is this type of thing, as if you were trying to make a transcription of Nobody part 2 which is just this beautiful, warm, messy, precise, postverbal type of work, a ‘type beat’. The subject-X is savage enough to live by the matheme e < > d although what that living-by looks like should be hard to say. It’s a way of casting off all the idiotypes of the end of the world (Marxism, the theotropics of rapture, even black theory, and so on) and making contact with a kind of last-instance last-instance, checking the pulse just before it goes. But this act of complex alleviation and loyalty is not a task but a sort of compression. It isn’t down to anyone. I think Hegel is starting to talk about it in the ‘Preface’ to The Phenomenology of Spirit but can’t fully get there because he doesn’t have the savagery of a Cohen or Keef or Laura or Stiegler or Wilderson, all these stockbrokers and ex-prisoners toughened up by time inside or on ‘the outside’. But Hegel points at all this when he talks about the difference in manner of study between the modern age and classical age. In classical times there was a proper formation (Durchbildung) but in what was for him already contemporaneity there was what he called abstract form ready-made (vorbereitet). So you’re already beyond the classical in Hegel’s time and you’re already at Duchamp (the abstract form as pre-given in an act of self-abbreviation). If that’s so, where are we now with a song like ‘I Don’t Like’ or a mixtape like Nobody Part 2 and why are people still even pretending not to analyse all this in 2017? There’s also something goofily feminine about sosa, like on the album Two Zero One Seven there’s that song made with his sister that seemed to form the sound template for Thot Breaker, an album that is just this undeniable mix-up of thot-thought-violence and calypso sweetness, just like the bit where Hegel eventually describes the progression of hand-me-down knowledge as being so abbreviated that it’s like or to do with ‘a young girl’: ‘beautiful fruit already picked from the tree, which a friendly fate has offered us, as a young girl might set the fruit before us’. A new mutant like Laura has to mark a break in the knowledge culture that is several more stages on from and a lot more ruthless than what Hegel called the modern. I’m wondering now whether the ‘yung’ are sons at all—certainly they are not just loser sons or loser daughters—but devolving like Cardi B from dance as money to money as moves, from ideology to blood — all of this may be a ‘discourse’. We’re talking at the very least about quantic cloning and not modernist aesthetic progressivism.

One can flip it again since it’s as if what I’m saying is that none of these workings of art require any work anymore. In contrast to the super ego of great art you get some kind of undertime experience — ASAP — of a different technology of discourse, like Chief Keef’s entirely technical heart rhymes or what de Man calls ‘dismemberment of the original de-canonization’. Liotard’s kid is interestingly placid (I’m still into him) but there’s also a holding the place of, holding the place of the archive open, freezing the signature-chain for later on. Everything comes to those who wait forever, but really now we can’t wait at all. Perhaps one even has to say waiting does not exist. In Logan what struck me most was that even Laura — as new speciation, the first in twenty five years — is recognised as prematurely obsolescent, in some sense sharing Professor-X’s out-of-control senility (maturity as ‘the joke’), already on the run because the uncontrollable soldier kids are in the process of being updated by pure clones. Harking back again perhaps irrelevantly to the terms of Hegel’s Anthropology, the young girl here, an eleven-year-old in the process of conceptual abridgment, is quickly regressing back through what Gerardo Contreras might call the Pre Teen Age, retro-evolving into the soft architecture of an airless compression.

Jonty Tiplady, MS (2015)[Figure 11]

[SKG] To come back to a different khôratic reading of the cover painting of your book MS that I would try to read otherwise in putting more emphasis on a different constellation depicted here too [see again figure 6]. I would read now: the index finger of the left hand of the adult-non-writer is pointing at his left ear while his right hand hesitates in the nanosecond between ink bowl and what appears to be the final page of poetry ever written into or inside of a book while something like an excluded khôratic piece of non-paper without an inside/outside distinction (‘disrupts and confusing the neat antithesis of the inside/outside pattern’ (De Man, AOR, 12)) is placed underneath it on the desk relocating reading-writing at the khôratic site of pre-originary extinctions—‘none of it impacted in the comfort zone of poetry’ (MS, and see figure 12 below). How would you locate your poetry in the complex field of ‘thinking-khôra’ taking (non)place everywhere unrestricted anyway but for example in and as Walter Benjamin’s ‘reine Sprache’, Jacques Derrida’s ‘matérialisme de la khôra’, Paul de Man’s ‘permanent parabasis’, Tom Cohen’s ‘mnemonic ars poetica’ sketched out as a new an-arche-cinematic reading-writing machine in his milestone book ‘Hitchcock’s Cryptonymies 1,2’, Andrzej Warminski’s ‘zero as material inscription’ (‘Allegories of Reference’, preface de Man, AI, p.31) and Werner Hamacher’s ‘Philology is an-tropology’ (Werner Hamacher, 95 Theses on Philology, in: Diacritics, 39.1, 2009) and or to make it short in the formula: de quoi de (la) Ma(i)n?

Jonty Tiplady, Haribo Ozymandias #1 (2017)[Figure 12]

[J.T.] I guess I have a real love of the khora, its trippy kind of precedence. It’s something like the colour of space, the touch of sound, the sex of thought to thought. I think Frank Ocean must have been in and on khora when he wrote ‘Nikes’. I must have got into it through Derrida again, and then back through him to the text of Plato’s Timaeus, and was probably unable to believe my eyes or ears at what Plato did. To me, the khora has always felt kind of dreamy—and this impression is borne out by what Plato says, that this thing that is not one, the khora, is perceived/conceived as if through a new type of dream logic, neither waking nor sleeping, hypnagogic, ‘as in a dream’. I’d only add or repeat that there is something in the closeness and apartness of the khora and what Plato also calls khorismos (separation) that seems mysterious and is often thought of in terms of a gap between the Platonic world of forms (the kosmos noetos) and appearances (the kosmos aisthetos). If the khora is repeatedly said to be what takes places in the place itself, in the place of the place, then what also seems to take place in the place of the place, in place of the place, instead of the place, is the place’s division, since khorismos perhaps is not just the split of the empirical and transcendental domains within themselves as the assured immanence of the khoratic lagoon, but the cutting out of the khora. The cut of the khora, the cut itself (of khora); its own absence taking place as the seriousness of what is not here, now, for now. To take what is perhaps a strange example, I have four gmail accounts and therefore four gdrives full of all sorts of unpublished things and screenshots and draft emails. I sometimes think my main work is there in those gdrives as a sort of khoratic archive, the whole place of it and not just one word file or text extracted from the mass. That is, the space and the space-between and not the items, since the space has little interest (and all-interest) in individual textual-events, in ‘works’. But what if I simply delete all the gdrives or what if the Google (that is, Alphabet) mainframe is itself taken down or obliterated? What if the Google archive is removed from the earth or the earth removed which contains or holds it? Or rather, to put it another way, if as Cixous says, the sheet of paper is Khora, what happens if I tear the piece of paper up and flush it down the toilet? Of course one can say — and this possibility just is the khora perhaps — that space itself may be removed and yet khora there is. That last thought is itself more than radical. It means that matter always is within and without, with and without: matter is with or without matter. No matter, with matter, always. There is a certain way in which the khora says, it itself speaks and says ((because for Derrida one can speak to it): we should recognise that the void is not simply ‘nothing’; if that were the case, the void would be a representation of this nothing. The khora thus effaces extinction or dissolves it into some undreamed-of alternatives, some completely other things. Isn’t that possibility, and no other, what makes us write? Imagine there’s no void, it’s easy if you try . . . Or rather, what the khora is is the possibility of something other than ‘being’ and the ‘universe’ . . . and in order for this place to keep on happening there is the adjacency of khora-khorismos, the shared K that more-than-splits here, the here, the possibility of khora’s own absence from itself and ourselves being absolutely within and out khora’s own spacing, and this itself cannot be thought, is not thought by ‘the human’. There is a move here where the human can’t follow and that is part of what the matheme e < > d wants to notate and look back on and hook back through the domain of inscription. Is someone saying, and if so who, that khorismos is the one-off possibility of something that is unkhoratic, of the suppose we don’t take place or the suppose it doesn’t take place? In an unpublished text in the oldest of my gdrives I find this little scrap by word searching ‘khora’: ‘You are not me. The ahuman mourning took place, the khora cutting off, and fielding. A trillion years, and you still cried.’ All of this could also be fed through mother! or rather just that title of the film which already says and alerts to all this, alerts us to this, warns us to us. It (the title) bespeaks the matricial under pressure, a warning! Why are you painting my house, the J-Law character asks early on in the film and she keeps asking those sorts of questions, which are just met with laughter. The sink breaks. She screams. The walls shake and quake, which is what the khora does, acting as a zone where ‘the four basic constituents were shaken by the receptacle, which acted as a kind of shaking implement’. Derrida will comment on this shaking movement: ‘There is in the Timaeus a figural allusion which I do not know how to interpret and which nevertheless seems to me decisive. It refers to the movement, the shaking (seiesthai, seien, seiomena), the tremor in the course of which a selection of the forces or seeds take place: a sorting, a filtering in the very place where, nevertheless, the place remains impassable, indeterminate, amorphous, etc.’ The film mother! carries the trace of this hard to discern shaking movement, a sorting but to what end, a judder-shudder. When She has her baby for instance, the house judders with the greatest intensity. It’s a little like the end of von Trier’s Melancholia where you literally feel the cinema shake. The poet says it’s everybody’s house, but there is a division—two worldviews seem more than that, more than indissociable. There seems no way to conflate or sublate the relation of The Mother and the Poet, which insist without alternating. At one point Jennifer Lawrence walks away and says, ‘I don’t want to interrupt, I’ll just get started on the apocalypse.’ 

Khora: side effects include extinction.

[SKG] In a Burroughsian mood I often fantasized about how I could succeed in mixing more addictive substances under my letter combinations, to produce a Hero:in Fiction in both senses of the formulation. Producing as well highly addictive, poisonous, and lethal letter combinations as something heroi(ni)c in a cute pharmacological manner. ‘Literature’ (= is used here for the sake of simplicity as a term for unrestricted writing-reading prior to philosophy) would then become a devenir-drogue with vicious, ruthless and brutal drug rings and menacing Colombian neckties for all too strict non-readers. I would like to ask you following a line of thought mainly present—as far as I know—in your book series Haribo Ozymandias (2016/2017): If a poet already is or should be addicted to letters, syllables, rhythmic blanks, and special characters giving the others once called readers their well-earned ‘fix’, how should the line be drawn (or be sniffed) leading from the letter ‘H’ (from Age to Hegel, Heidegger and Hitchcock et al.), to Heroin, to the formulation ‘being-on-H’ down to contemporary ideas of reading-writing being already a ‘Slave to the Rhythm’ (Grace Jones), a victim of the early nineties Benjaminian or Nietzschean ‘Crack Wars’ (Avital Ronell) and/or of Catherine Malabou’s most recent papers ‘What is Neuro-literature?’ (Substance, 45, 2, 2016) and her remarks about ‘addiction’ in ‘The Brain of History, or, The Mentality of the Anthropocene ?’ (SAQ, Vol.116, 1, 2017)?

Jonty Tiplady, Haribo Ozymandias #2 (2017)[Figure 13]

[J.T.] I’m glad you ask for the H. since it really is an important letter, especially as I let it drop in in Haribo Ozymandias, a book which could have had all manner of other names, and does have them in secret, such as Heroin Ozymandias or Hammerklavier Omphalos, the latter being a maternal Beethovenian thing-name naming the B’s Big Piano. Fyi, I took heroin for a number of years, intravenously and otherwise, but am now seven years clean of all narcotics, leaving open of course the question of what in recovery is called ‘emotional sobriety’. I also maybe got lucky as an addict in that I was that relatively rare type known as a ‘cross-addict’, a kind of X-addict — someone who switches quickly between one addictive substance or behavior and another and thereby economises and plasticises on the in-between of addictions. You could even say the cross-addict is on ‘the in-between’, or on the inter-plasticity of neuro-addictivity itself. Some Twelve Step heads assume the heroin user as ‘top’ in an unsaid hierarchy of addicts, but I’d probably say the cross-addict has just as much of an aristocratic bragging right because they innovate on and stretch addictive powers themselves. In any case I am now ‘in recovery’ and I make my own way within it. I’m not Burroughsian at all in that as far as I know he continued to use. I couldn’t do that. I’m too fragile in too many ways and too haunted by other substances and others of substances to take that one substance without imploding into others and going down a pretty radical mood slope quickly. Writing about the H. and about heroin in HO felt like a real risk but one I could just about take. I had the distance of sobriety and was also suddenly seized just before Trump’s election, reading about the heroin epidemic in the south of the United States and ‘the wall’ as partly a complex response to that epidemic (always blame addiction on the other), by the idea that heroin had a kind of epistemological or even historical resonance. You could say that just as Lacan wrote an ontology of sex, I wanted to write an ontology of heroin — and specifically for now. The discourse of the end of the world now is also an ontology of heroin. What Trump felt like to me, what he feels like to be on, or rather what the T. function feels like — since it’s not really him — was the clear statement of conditions of life being radically removable, and it’s just that absolute vulnerability of life that taking heroin is the serious phenomenology of. I’m talking about something very serious and costly. A serious taking of life. We’re talking about H. as a horror-possibility. We’re talking about the possibility of not being here at all.

So I felt I could just about make H. work in and as the writing, that really I wanted to show the full extent of (the risk of life in and as) poetic ideology as itself an addictogenic system that was taking us out. To that extent I think we can imagine a heroin fiction, a heroinicity, and ask the question of being as the question of heroin — and in what Ronell calls the ana-historical mood. What was the unconscious mood, I wanted to ask, of a national unconscious — ours, after all, in the shared telepolis — that would assign itself to Trump, that would want to be ‘on Trump’, and why did this coincide with a heroin epidemic on the poverty belt rarely factored in by supposedly thorough think-pieces on how the election could have happened? Being-on H. is in any case a mood question, a Stimmung thing, as if in a Foucauldian vein heroin would be the episteme of the American present and its silent cosmotechnical war with the Chinese. There are many other mood notes here, a completely different type of American pastoral, not to mention strains of Fentanyl, ‘the drug 50 times stronger than heroin’. The mood of ecstasy (also e) is the mood of love for instance, it brings awareness that time is love, that we can make time love, and so ecstasy is already on the side (figuratively and plastically) of Zeit rather than Sein, of the exister and not the insister. But the ‘Dasein’ of heroin, if there is one, is the extreme fragility of being-towards-extinction (Sein-zum-Aussterben) instead of being-towards-death (Sein-zum-Tode). If HO is a secret drug offered to the reader, it’s also in the mood of love and in the mood of the box set or the serial, and in allegiance with the idea that since it really is now the end of the world we need a pretty hard and Baroque pharmacology to take the edge off. HO, it’s the drug in the mood of drugs. Lots of fun at the end of the world. An exposure of the extinction drug. HO contains hundreds of texts and also isn’t fixed in its form yet so it’s easy to binge on. It represents the ultimate sugar-rush of the literary regime, the honeying of the worst possible news, but also in its blatant monumentalisation the full theory and question of the come-down, its extent and extend. If there is a vibe attached to the end of the world now, it’s late Haribo Ozymandian.

[SKG] Tom Cohen and Bernard Stiegler are the two decisive readers of ‘deconstructions’ today, because they have started in the mid-1990s to interrupt as well J/D’s highly unproductive and sometimes really audacious self-clonings and rude copy/pastings as the academical neutralizations of ‘Derridean’ gestures and other fatal interventions [eg. Levinasian kitsch regressions towards an ethical turn and other unnecessary deviations connected to Simon Critchley, Robert Bernasconi, or John D. Caputo’s all too Christian readings of Derrida (triggered by J/D himself), or Jürgen Habermas’ strangely unproductive 1985 readings of what he and his daughter Rebekka  (what a silly dedication!) thinks ‘Neostrukturalismus’ is and is about, and/or on the level of orthodoxy Geoffrey Bennington’s 1991 ultra-brilliant milestone ‘Derridabase’ formalization that now seems to mark the exact year in which two exceptional scholars—J/D and G/B—wanted to say ‘Freeze!’, or the year in which the deconstructive engine was stalled having a seized-up piston since then. Ending today in the priggish [in german ‘moralinsaure’—sulking corner] opening it (without keeping this horrible and now absolutely useless (was it ever??) ‘name’ ‘deconstruction’). The signs: you can use ‘deconstruction’ for everything from deconstructed Black Forest Cherry Cakes down to Stephen Bannon’s most recent (ab)use/mention of the word ‘deconstruction’ in ‘Alt-Right’ contexts for 21st century norizons bringing in new interpretative relays and axes. Say: Tom Cohen’s mnemo-technical superimpositions ‘Nietzsche, Benjamin, Hitchcock, De Man’ and Bernard Stiegler’s arche-cinematic, epiphylogenetic re-openings ‘Husserl, Kant, Simondon, Leroi-Gourhan, Heidegger’. Instead of placing their money on ‘Animal studies’, ‘Quasi-messianic Futures’, and ‘All Too Close Readings of Derrida’ in the deconstructive casino, Cohen and Stiegler placed their respective stakes on the question of the reliability of deconstruction(s) for 21st century norizons in toto while bringing back in the excluded namely ‘Climate Change’, ‘Tertiary Retentions’, mnemotechnics, more rigid rebootings of ‘Techno-Anthropo-Genesis’, and ‘Cinema’. These two interventions were so bloodcurdling that someone really decisive felt the urge to dial 911 (Attention, Emergency! Emergencies! Someone tries to hurt our Master!) to keep the corporate identity safe and in the hands of the family and to protect the members of the deconstructive Gambino family against hostile takeovers. This brings me to my last question, knowing that it is only possible to ask strategically: how would you describe your argumentative tendencies and strategies in this immense and ultra-difficult field circling around the respective positions of Bernard Stiegler calling himself most recently ‘un post deconstructioniste’ (Pharmakon 2016, Séance IV, youtube video) and those of Tom Cohen being both en route to ‘a thinking of technics without reserves’ (Tom Cohen, ‘The Philotechnic Blind’, p. 533) and after an ‘Escape from the Anthropocene’ (Bernard Stiegler)? At the moment I would say for me retrospectively—to give you more possibilities to object or to answer— that I have started (of course without even knowing it back then) with a weird superimposition of Walter Benjamin’s materialistischer Geschichtsschreibung and Martin Heidegger’s Ereignis Denken being both the most rigorous thinkers of technogenesis as anthropogenesis. This brought me back then into a deep conflict with the ‘Derridean’ brand of deconstruction having blocked out these two thinkers maybe too rigorously, too early and too fast. This conflict I could not solve or make productive for me until I had discovered the works of Bernard Stiegler, Paul de Man and Tom Cohen’s mnemo-technical readings of them being the turning point for me; calling one Paul de Man already very early in 1995 ‘postdeconstructive’. At the moment I would say that I would prefer Tom Cohen’s approach to this ultra-difficult problem of technogenesis in an attempt ‘to think again the earth’ (Ideology and Inscription) connected with the concepts of aterra, abiosemiosis, and an an-archè cinematic différance preceding any questions of the self or protected interiorities and would tend to reduce my readings of Bernard Stiegler’s work accordingly to find answers to the following question: is Stiegler really able to protect his readings and unfoldings of the central sentence complex in is TeT, tome 1: ‘L’histoire du gramme, c’est aussi celle des fichiers éléctroniques et machines à lire: une histoire de la technique - l’invention de l’homme, c’est la technique. Comme l’objet aussi bien que comme sujet. La technique inventant l’homme, l’homme inventant la technique. La technique inventeuse aussi bien qu’inventée. Hypothèse ruinant la pensée traditionelle de la technique, de Platon à Heidegger et au-délà’ (TT1, p. 148) against further possible Benjaminian, Heideggerian and De Manian objections and radicalizations that I find more active in Tom Cohen’s impressive works from Ideology and Inscription (1997) to ‘Hitchcock’s Cryptonymies 1,2’ (2005) up till his latest thoughts about ‘OP and the Counter-Malthusian Trap’ (2016), the ‘Cinanthropocene’, ‘Extinction’ and the ‘Trumpocene’ (2017). My main problem with Stiegler (of course I have still the utmost respect for his immense, indispensable, and complex work) is that he overemphasizes the aufklärerische, prognostic, diagnostic and political potential of his work (a tendency that started maybe already with the TeT, tome III idea to bring in Adorno and Horkheimer’s ‘Dialektik der Aufklärung’ and his desire to keep the ‘subject’ for political struggles and for the project of a new ‘We’ to come) maybe to the disadvantage of a deeper or different radicalization or formalization of ‘Technogenesis as Anthropogenesis’ and of an ‘Escape from the Anthropocene’ that maybe would have to be connected to or be developed out of a deeper and even more rigorous Auseinandersetzung with Heidegger, Benjamin and De Man. Critical points that I found supported both in Claire Colebrook’s brilliant paper ‘Impossible, Unprincipled, and Contingent. Bernard Stiegler’s Project of Revolution and Redemption’ (boundary 2, Vol. 44, 1, February 2017, pp. 213-237) and Tom Cohen’s ‘Arche-Cinema and the Politics of Extinction’ (boundary 2, Vol. 44, 1, February 2017, pp. 239-265) splicing Stiegler’s dna furthermore with the early Sloterdijk’s cynical dna. To repeat the question above again: How would you describe your perspectives or working hypotheses in regard of post-deconstructive thinking in relation to the respective works and perspectives opened by Tom Cohen and Bernard Stiegler?

[J.T.] If I had the impossible task of picking one writer who seems to be the most important for understanding what’s going on in the world right now, I know who I’d choose. Tom Cohen has been the writer I’ve gone back to the most over the last ten years. If ecocidal accelerations and their avoidance by almost the entirety of contemporary aesthetic ideology has been the main mood of this era, then Cohen becomes extremely important — his work is undeniable, I would say, which is also to say ‘only deniable’. His essays on Derrida’s omissions in this zone were instrumental for me, enforcing among much else a critical and personal transformation. Up until sometime after his death Derrida remained the index of a writer who had somehow pulled off the unique feat of getting nothing wrong. Like HAL 9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey, which is to say like superintelligence itself, it seemed Derrida could not be wrong 1. because he was perhaps the first ‘philosopher’ to have a truly athetic style (he works in the middle voice and in the free indirect style and tends to write almost exclusively on others), and 2. because he himself (like de Man) formulates the law of supplementarity whereby each text leaves out something in order to make its own machine ‘work’. Other philosophers could be debated and evolved, it seemed, but Derrida (despite all the misguided criticisms his work still attracts) didn’t seem amenable to objections in that style, not least because he was never really attached to any of his own statements. In a weird way, Derrida is like a new type of conceptual artist who maximally dematerialises propositional objecthood to the point where he signs nothing at all. At the same time, even now an impressive dossier might be assembled to suggest that there was nothing about ecocidal acceleration that Derrida’s work failed to anticipate. The dossier would include everything from the early comments in the ‘Introduction’ to The Origin of Geometry on the phenomenology of the earth and the shaking up of the notion of anthropos (‘unity of anthropos’) in ‘The Ends of Man’ all the way through to the replaying of the logic of the trace late on in the repeated readings of Celan and in the very final session of the seminars on the meanings and the going of the world. He missed nothing, then. He missed nothing and he wrote nothing. The machine of reading really did not falter. Deconstruction was talking about nothing else but the ends of man and the logic of ‘pure loss’ (Margins of Philosophy) and absolute disappearance all along, mimicking a logic (‘talking about nothing but X all along’) that Derrida may himself have deployed had he lived to be challenged directly on this theme. Derrida was a creature of the response after all. He wrote to demand and rarely initiated his own thing except perhaps in the seminars. And yet—and here is what I want to say—whether we like it or not there is a problem here, a problem for those Stiegler calls the ‘little Derrideans’. What Cohen’s intervention marks, and what makes it undeniable, is not so much or not just a thematic avoidance that Derrida was complicit with but a disorder, what he calls a grand mal d’archive, in which despite its best efforts an entire generation of general plasticity and deconstruction seems to have been found wanting. In retrospect we can perhaps find what we need in Derrida’s writing — it is there de jure if not de facto — and yet why is it so much of a struggle? Why do we have to rely on the laws of the implicit and the analogical? Why the attention to a death sentence and not to the perhaps more difficult theme of extinction? Why are there virtually no explicit references to environmental depredation in the whole of Derrida’s work? Why in Specters of Marx, when Derrida pauses to address his ‘ten plagues’ (unemployment, homelessness, economic wars, free markets, debt, arms industries, nuclear weapons, inter-ethnic wars, mafia drug cartels, and problems of international lawlessness), does he fail to name ecocidal acceleration? Cohen’s intervention, which I am trying to situate here at depth, is to mark an inability of the archive to acknowledge the matheme e < > d even as it was going about the business of formulating the laws of reading-blindness (nowadays perhaps called Blind Brain Theory)—in other words, even as it does! In other words the rather defensive logic of ‘well, deconstruction was talking about nothing else but this all along, nothing but X all along’ is itself shaken up, closed down, finitised. That logic is itself part of the set being timed out. We still go to Derrida as an immense resource for thinking what is now happening and as an index of a kind of superintelligence of writing — its perfectibility — but we also now go to him as the moment where self-reading terminally fails, where there are moves in the game where the human reader is unable to follow. Stiegler writes of the falling-prey of Heidegger, his déchéance: ‘That someone who claimed to be a thinker of falling, of verfallen and Verfallenheit, would himself fall prey makes it all the more essential to undertake a meticulous reading of his thought and its history.I think for obviously different reasons we need to follow Cohen and say the same of Derrida: that he himself was blinded even in the process of graphically notating the self-blinding laws of reading. He missed out even as he was taking more care than anyone had before to not miss out. Said again, he who thought everything including touch, drawing, cinders, sex, paper, Marx, the ends of man, pure loss, the word ‘and’ itself, and the ends of the world, and so on, did not think extinction and ecocide as such. Or rather, he thought everything save this everything; he wrote everything that he did not write (even what he did not write) except the contemporary everything itself. Cohen indexes this for us better than anyone and therefore indexes in Derrida’s name the grand mal d’archive of an epoch, the going mad of AI before its time.

This is my roundabout way of beginning to make a claim for Cohen’s work, a claim it does not call out for so easily — since it is more self-effacing than ever (it doesn’t assume reading time) — but which I still think has to be made. Maybe a more unexpected way in is through the unconscious, since Cohen writes of, he invents, he conjures up the climate change unconscious. The word ‘occlusion’ recurs throughout his work like a refrain and yet I’m not sure he ever connects it to the Freudian function and mystery of Verneinung. What Cohen is saying is not simply that Derrida disavows the primal materiality of ontocidal accelerations, but that there is a problem and symptomatology of being in denial and of being in avowal, Verneinung, a troubling of Urverdrängung, around this area that may even lead us to write as follows:




The e wants to be here, visible and clear, in the position of situating all other objects and contemporary signatures as a function of it, and yet how can things be both so obviously there, as if to go without saying, and yet be misrecognised? The function e is there as e- in Derrida’s work but it is there as everything save itself. One might want to say that inscription as e- is there only between Cohen and Derrida, only in the writing Cohen does in Derrida’s wake, just as it is there too in the moment in Hyperdream where Cixous refers to something we don’t know. The discourse of the end of the word now would be, according to Cohen, an unexpected scene of the unconscious, an extra scene, and yet this discourse also belongs in the most unexpected ways to the Other, to the insister, exister, avower, disavower, complainer, and so on. One has a fear that the Other does say X and that they do not say X, and part of the difficulty is that even in its most blatant form X shares in the effects of repression. However avowed it may be, e is not shared without becoming E. It is not avowed without being found (wanting) in the other’s work. Cohen is immensely plastic as an artist of the essay. He is many different things in his semioliquidity, including the best reader of de Man, Benjamin, and Hitchcock that I know, but most of all I think he explores this zone of occlusion in which we discover without seeing our own disappearance.

You could even say that Cohen’s discovery is Freudian, which is not to say Freudian in a narrow sense, but in a very fundamental sense. Without the help of an analyst, a further reading, a formalisation, a subtraction, this thing, E, is not even recognised or recognisable. This is why there is a polemical edge to some of Cohen’s essays, especially those directed at the Anglo-Derridians who he reads with the necessary rigour of a slightly terrifying stance (think of what Badiou says about the ‘terror of the matheme’ and how that has to be respected—we have to have time for this). There is also a degree of astonishment, not thematised as such but still there, a degree of astonishment which passes in and out of focus, the astonishment that we never ask ourselves why we did not concern ourselves with it—an astonishment which, without asking ourselves why, and while still being astonished by this, we seldom concern ourselves with. How was it that we knew and yet did not know when it came to the x of E? As his work progresses and as he writes more in the mode of the ‘Game Over’ and the ‘arche-cynic’, this astonishment disappears or rather qualifies itself into something else, but in some ways you could say that astonishment or amazement are the main themes in Cohen, since even if we recognised that it (E) was available all along in a strange form of ongoing avowal, there is still the question of why we do not or did not concern ourselves with it, the grand mal and not just mal of the archive. That remains the fold of the question, of being in-avowal, and the reason why Cohen’s subtractive themes are relapse, occlusion, irreversibility—the fold of astonishment itself. With regard to Stiegler one might position him too in relation to this same quasi-psychoanalytic experience of astonishment. Stiegler is more of a system-builder in the great French philosophical tradition but there is an obvious problem with his work that seems almost consciously put on the reader or confessed on the work’s surface, as if he were in complicity with himself and so also in complicity with the Other who observes him. The problem is how could one ever actually shift from the runaway anthropocene in which we are into a neganthropocene that saves us without simply further accelerating the anthropocene we wish to escape from. Both Cohen and Colebrook raise this problem, in the essays you mention, and so I don’t think Stiegler can be read without them.

Again, as a subtractive reader — especially of Benjamin, de Man and Hitchcock — I think Cohen is indispensable. There’s a deep generosity in the ferocity of what he says, in the extent of the abstraction. Where a Hamacher or a Warminski would read de Man or Benjamin in helpful and endless detail, Cohen reads more quickly (if that is the term, since really it may be slower in the so-called ‘long run’) and doesn’t assume endless worlds, endless horizons, to get there. There is a deep love of the world in both Cohen and Stiegler, and in Colebrook as well, in this lack of assumption that the world will still be here. To put it very simply, what is Cohenesque is the attention to the finitisation of finitude, the care for what limits every attempt to read and start again in the present, or the question, if you like, if x (‘Derrida’) could get it so wrong, how do we know that we won’t continue to do so?

Jonty Tiplady, Haribo Ozymandias #2 (2017)[Figure 15]

[SKG] In my final question I usually ask: which sentence(s) you want to see published for an eternity?—

[J.T.] (2)(L)U(E)e ¯\_(ツ)_/ d (1)

[SKG] Thank you for the interview, Jonty Tiplady ?

(Four helicopters passing by while I was editing this. Shot from my balcony.)