Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Glass Bead: Wittgenstein Sheaves by F Zalamea

For immediate consumption:

Wittgenstein Sheaves - Zalamea

//And after I had come up with the symbol of the “future species”, after I had given the name “transpecial” to the “light from above” that could give my intellectual work its meaning once again – then I started finding evidence for it everywhere! I began reading voraciously again, and I was amazed to find that this exact same insight had been had by so many thinkers before me! This is what Kant thought the critical philosophy was to be applied to, this is what Nietzsche meant when he spoke about “the proposition ‘the species is everything, one is always none”’ (The Gay Science, §1), this is what Kierkergaard meant when he spoke about this or that, this is what Badiou meant when he spoke about “generalized communism” etc. I found transpecial thinking everywhere around me! Hidden in plain sight! 
Of course, I very soon realized that I had as much right to be amazed at all this as one has to be amazed to find the same reflection of oneself in different mirrors. For I was not finding my ideas in these texts – I was merely seeing my own ideas reflected on them. 
Had I lost my capacity to read and learn? Perhaps – but at least I was no longer transparent. When before I saw nothing in the mirror that I held up against my ideas, I now saw something – except now everything had become a mirror of my ideas. Or, put more modestly: I has become a mirror myself – I was immitating everything around me.
And this, finally, is what led me to abandon the “evolutionary” model of knowledge in favour of a model in which “mimicry” becomes primary. It is the idea of “mimicry” that finally led me back to mathematics.//

and slightly earlier:

//“The beauty of mathematics! The divine in logic! We are cats! We are silkworms!” I had to strip these clownish exultations down and place them in front of a mirror and keep them there until they broke down in tears. I had to turn the mirror on myself not in order to understand, but in order to pity. I had to stare long and hard but not in order for a new “aspect” to reveal itself, but until what I saw could only fill me with grief and pity. 
One of the strangest pronouncements I ever heard: “Knowledge begins with grief.” This is now how I do justice to these words, which carry the unmistakeable form of a penetrating insight.
I had to sit in front of a mirror long enough to be able to perceive my bliss (my exultations) as something worth grieving over, indeed as something devastating. There was no sudden insight, no “realization in a flash”, no discontinuity. There was rather an errosion, over a very long period of time, at no point of which was I aware of the changing shape of my reflection. But erode I did: and then – suddenly – I had become perfectly smooth, a perfect reflective surface able to bounce back any idea: a thermodynamic “white body” – but not a sceptic. 
Looking in the mirror, I saw nothing: no idea could affect me but there was also no idea I could hold on to. 
What became clear then: the proper philosophical insight is that which you do justice to, not attempt to communicate.// 

Monday, October 24, 2016

(Von Neumann-)Chained to (Pleromatic) Uncertainty

In the essay Pleromatica, Gabriel Catren’s “phenoumenoudelic scene” in which we are to conceive existence is the product of a series of un-groundings, from the Copernican suspension of Earth to the //relativistic crisis of the spatiotemporal background.// As these un-groundings individually undermine previously supposed //fixed god-given structure[s]// and //aprioristic motionless Ur-frames//, this chain of underminings is the maximally general subset of the arsenal of neuronihilistic gestures that may be applied to thought in order to shear away misconceptions regarding the experiential field of an endophysical observer. Here we further intensify the un-grounding and remove the ultimate Ur-referinertial-frame: the sociocultural image of closed-individuality that occults and obscures intuitive awareness of a universal and impersonal field of experience: the zero-point energy state of quantum mechanics, the supersymmetry of string theory, the Hindu’s anatman, the Gnostic pleroma, the Platonic ideal form-world, the Sufi “Black Mind” of Allah, the mystical state of “union with God”, among others, are theophysical metaphors for a non-oriented, non-performable, yet permissible state of being we will join Catren in calling the pleromatica. In the pleromatica the concept of an “Ur-frame” is sublimated into an un-framing process: //the transmutation of the immobile Ur-frame into an ark continuously going under - the coming of the one and only number that cannot be any other.//.

We label this state non-performable because acts of differentiation cause decoherence of this “substrate”, this pleromatica that is constantly, spontaneously, attempting differentiation. This provides a glimpse into understanding why it has proven so resistant to instrumental measurement as the choice of observational frame of reference is itself a differentiation. We label it non-oriented because it does not inertially or conceptually index any frames of reference, rather being achieved by iterated negations and integrations on almost any neurotheoretical axis. In other words, this state is achieved by collapsing inertial, cognitive, sensory, or linguistic frames of reference, or the protogeometric compression and integration of disparate signals into more general or universal categorical schemes. Borrowing a note from Nick Sousanis, we refer to such an anti-gesture as a flattening of the experiential field.

In the brain, the thalamus performs a colossal number of iterations per second of an operation that may be identical to a "Heisenberg cut" on the undifferentiated flow of incoming signal that seem to be almost entirely arbitrary determinations of differentiation between observer and observed, between figure and ground, between object and signifier (Von Neumann chain/Von Neumann-Wigner interpretation). The local binding problem in this view is contextually incomplete, as everything begins “bound” in a unitary signal and we cut into the flow in order to abstract. Every isomorphic cut reifies the seeming persistence of objects, and the unitary experience of “everyday human consciousness” is nothing more than the temporal persistence of the intersection of all these cuts constantly being made in the pleromatica. What masquerades as the binding problem is what may be thought of as harmonic overtones of the Bayesian basin of attraction generated from carving out so many of these cuts in identical shapes over time. This correlates well with the knowledge that the outer layer of the thalamus, the thalamic reticular nuclei (TRN), is a group of neurons responsible for aligning several multimodal topographical mappings from corticothalamic feedback, ascertaining a coarse unity, a “fuzzily logical” overlapping of maps (maps of present, past, and expected future cuts) from across every functional network that has a thalamic projection. The local binding problem is solved within the TRN and its own feedback loop of neuronal projection linking the “supervisory attentional system” to this function. This suggests that freedom from this individualized and idiosyncratic matrix of correlation is challenging because the human-type “matrix” exhibits a strong gravitation toward the singular, possibly even disregarding *substantial* elements of the foundational signal that do not correspond to the singular as superfluous to immediate experience, cutting them out in a bandwidth-saving gesture. Following Catren further, he claims that //the transcendental a priori structures of human experience are a posteriori products of the immanental natural dynamics of the impersonal field//, that the //human transcendental type, far from being characterized by some sort of pre-phenoumenal necessity, results from a contingent local subjectivization of the experiential field itself.// These local subjectivizations are “excitations” of the field, excitations whose structure defines particular frames of subjectivity. According to this line of reasoning, the human mode is just one of any number of potential subjective modes //according to which the field of impersonal experience locally [...] frames its narcissistic self-experience.//

A phenoumenodelic experience - any experience that //involves a shift of the very transcendental structure that renders a transcendent experience possible// - is an unfurling of the pleromatica out of the hyper-enfolded stratifications of a typical human-type structure’s knotwork of frame-cuts. In the phenoumenodelic experience we expose the noumenal threaded through every phenomena and find a symmetry between inner and outer: imaginative world-building takes on robust sensory characteristics and may be perceived as “real”, while outer experience is shown to be generated in a highly similar imaginative gesture as more and more mediation qua reference-frames is stripped away. At the deepest extreme of these experiences, we “transcend transcendence” onto the immanent //void-plane of zero-intensity//, a frameless brain state of high-dimensional network symmetry between inner and outer models that has been maximized via a flattening of the inner and outer experience into a single continuous field with no observable divide. This is accomplished in a total deactivation of the TRN and the thalamus, preventing the differentiation of incoming signal by eliminating the node at which the “Heisenberg cut” is performed. This causes every functional network to receive a copy of the whole signal rather than only receiving the slices of the signal it would normally process, flooding the cortex and reducing available bandwidth for the construction of a self-model in direct correlation with the reduction in mediative frames qua cognition of individually differentiated sensory signals. We may from here, assert the “witnessing” of the annihilation of the “self-as-observer”, a “death” of the self-model that drags with it the entangled world of our mediated simulation. This “death” removes the unitary observer from the field of awareness which uncovers the raw signal-field out of which we carve a “reality.” This prrovides a strong argument in favor of the Many-Worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics by showing in an intuitive fashion that classical reality is entirely perspectival and results from ignoring information about the exact state of the environment. Aldous Huxley’s “reducing valve” model of consciousness was an idealization of the Heisenberg cut concept, and leads us out of this technical-terrorism and back into our primary inquiry, mechanisms for widening and even removing this “valve.”

Monday, October 3, 2016

spontaneous riff on something that came up in real-world

////apologies for the awful punctuation-abuse, you're a smart kid, figure it out! Also be excited,100th post/15,000th unique visitor today!////

I have no idea if free will or determinism or some combination or diagonalization thereof is an accurate depiction of agency in this world. “I make no hypotheses,” I merely find hard determinism the most generous and equitable ethical model to take upon myself, as refusing to acknowledge agency on any level leads me toward behaviour that generates compassion for every act, even dangerous, stupid, suicidal, psychopathic, sociopathic acts, as a case of ignorance to be pitied or overcome through knowledge rather than the common assumptions of blame, intent, upbringing or nature etc etc etc. “For the good of all sentient beings,” the bodhisattva vow is made only by those capable of understanding a conceptual space in which we claim that almost no one knows that the “environment” of culture and consensus meatspace reality is not only a persistent illusion but an incredibly dangerous and harmful one, one that takes on a conceptual framework claiming that there is no such thing as agency and that to assign agency is to misunderstand the ideal-realist assertion (backed up by certain novel cognitive and physical theories) that all sentient beings (in truth, all sentience) are a single physically conjoined manifold of points with no “real” referent (no single word or even phrase in any language i am familiar with decribes this manifold accurately without referring to religion or metaphysics, though an apophatic logic gives us a far more interesting framework for these non-descriptions) and no signifier capable of intimating the theory that we are entirely moved by forces beyond our knowledge or control that does not place us in the hands of god.

Rather than agential motion through a space, the most we may be able to hope for is to organically accrete enough information [on/in]to our entity through stochastic motion through the pleromatic “superliquid” such that we become able to conceptually model/mimic (developing the antenna/tuning speculation) these forces and “surf” the quantum probability waves (mentat : naive mind) into more conducive zones of existence. To think of this process (“existing”) as easy or difficult may be the wrong linguistic mode to describe the system, rather approaching it in a fashion that acknowledges how [[a complex entity will find the system complex, and a simple entity will perceive it as simplistic]] is more appropriate, as the “world” is a multimodal user interface - a user’s reality is in fact a highly idiosyncratic interface between the entity and itself.

Equality is quickly discovered to be only “complete” when all points are equally alienated from the original manifold (despite the fact that this alienation in a very real sense does little more than generate a new manifold, it is actually the knowledge that one can generate novel manifolds of experience or shear away cognitive manifolds regardless of any form of status in the world, wealth, disability, etc that is the key to this knowledge, not gestures toward alienation-free existences), as every alienated point, upon alienation, seems to suddenly develop a compulsion to reduce alienation in the world (whether through actions designed to reduce suffering or actions designed to impose suffering on those that would generate suffering in the world(this is frequently problematized by an entity’s desire to impose suffering on those that generated their particular (real or perceived) sufferings)). This is obviously also problematic because alienation-prevention is not a safe strategy to *end* alienation, but in fact works negentropically to hold the manifold in stasis - generating a more and more pathological drive toward demanding the end of alienation through action as the pressure of the flow of the real builds behind this false or illusory stasis. In the grand Xenofem tradition, we may not be able to eliminate alienation, but we may be able to maximally alienate everything into a categorically isomorphic equality.

Monday, September 12, 2016

no hope : not now : not ever

[[[this text is for the program from Vincent Como's ( http://www.vincentcomo.com/ ) upcoming exhibition titled 'No Hope. Not Now, Not Ever.' at the Reinstitute in Baltimore opening on October 29th]]]

//Hail thee, holy darkness! - The INCAL//

Image result for the incal

//But in the beginning there is not light,
there is not life,
there is the black universe.
- Daniel Barber, Whylessness//

//I am neither god nor creature. - Meister Eckhart//

//I am the spirit that negates.
                             and rightly so, for all that comes to be
deserves to perish wretchedly.
- Mephisto, Faust//

The threat of possession, of being swarmed by the intangible unknowable, presses incessantly on the light. The slightest break in light is pervasively swamped by blackness, voiding the safety of referential anchors and //making slits in the umbrella - (Deleuze/Guattari)// through which the outside peers back. Abyssal mirrors lurking in every gap capture our emptiness and reflect it back through these slits, entrancing, encircling, oppressing, embracing, restraining : a nebulous army of dark potential that resonates with the harmonic undertones of our own self-repression. We see our selves and our laughable negligibility in the void, but also a preeminently sovereign intensity hidden in the nigredo and it is this dual realization that generates anxiety, profound to the point of nausea. The realization of the power of darkness is the recognition of //the exponential multiplicity of all which will never be known - VC//, and //what more do you want, o soul? And what else do you search for outside? - St. John of the Cross//

The realization that our shadow, and not our light, is the shape of god; that the supreme power motivating the infinite clockwork of heaven is the supreme negation of nihil : sublimation of Self into Black. The mystics chase possession and cure themselves - and afterward count themselves among the dead, a pinprick nothingness among a field of undifferentiated dark matter. This heretical reversal is a circular inversion, a being-in-the-world being-turned-inside-out, the alignment with a black universe that is the [ur/un]ground for the Great Death called sunyatta.

//Unbearable, isn't it? The suffering of strangers, the agony
of friends. There is a secret song at the center
of the world, and its sound is like razors
through flesh. - Pinhead, Hellraiser//

//To have a body is to suffer. - Bodhidharma//

//Who holds the devil, let him hold him well, he hardly
will be caught a second time. - Dr. Faustus//

Friction: the body is gripped by ghosts and the grasping distorts the mirror. The black universe is nothing more than reflection, harshly illuminating the nothing inside and projecting it onto the firmament. We mistake a glimpse into a hole for a self; staring into deep space with telescopic lenses has replaced the sensation of existing as an infinite space - we no longer recognize that it is us we are looking at. The resistance to this recursive realization accretes on us; a body forming from layers upon layers of fear: of the dark, of separation, of differentiation.

Dreaming of arresting decay is already a misunderstanding: to hold the true image fast we must nail ourselves to the cross - god is not dead, we are, and this recognition shreds liminal boundaries as easily as it does the spirit and flesh on either side. We must nail ourselves to the cross for god is not dead: god is death, and rebirth and re-death is the passage through the secret webwork of the underworld that inscribes the negative image, penetrating darkness to reveal Black. The mouth of Yama opens onto the nunc stans: the standing NOW is held tightly by hidden teeth, constricting and compressing carbon-based lifeforms into lapis philosophorum. To paraphrase Alan Watts, as long as you do not know how to die and come to life again, the wretched earth will conceal the black universe.

//For what remains of the representable if the object is to
evade representation? What remains is to represent
the conditions of this evasion. - Samuel Beckett, Disjecta//

//bathe in the horror that the blood of time carries
with the plague, and befoul yourself with
worship - Sunn O))), Bàthory Erzsébet//

//For we know that all creation keeps on groaning
together - St. Paul, Romans 8:18-22//

Dark matter : dark meaning : inverse topology : non-tology : Black had already taken its apophatic unshape before the beginning of time. Black is the deep sphera of non-differentiation where tomb and womb become smeared as if soaked with acetone. At this depth there can be no delimitation of Black to color, as we sink below the surface of the light - where no light reaches, everything is Black, and one may come to forget the barrier between inside and outside. The ontological primacy of Black is the corporeality of the Warp and Plex and sinew behind the World; the screen upon which the light plays is a necrotic purgatory whiteness marking the stagnation of the material. Light and life is but a transient flicker on the vault: //They give birth astride of a grave, the light gleams an instant, then it's night once more. -Samuel Beckett//

Light does not exist at an oppositional end of a linear spectrum from blackness, nor does it emerge from a field of blackness in an evolutionary gesture, nor does it remain when blackness is cleansed.

Light is color corrupted, burning up on reentry into Black: the spectacle that traps the gaze and ruins our nightvision: a negentropic plague haunts anything that clings to the light.

Everywhere light exists, Black grips.

Everywhere, light slips.

Black out the light - be what seeks to become secret for //only the secret sees into the secret like Black in Black - Francois Laruelle//

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

SPMP 4: "Free paperclips for everyone!"

some riff-raff...ignore this...just doing some notes for something….many passes with the sharpening stone for all these ideas needs to happen one day when I don’t feel so harried…. #decelerate….

Returning to my earlier thoughts on a shift from “Cathedral-State” governance to a “Cathedralibrary” system, I’m reminded of a statement from XS blog post titled nRx for Dummies: //the prospects for neoreactionary consensus – for a neoreactionary thing – depend upon disintegration. If we’re compelled to share a post-Cathedral state, we’ll kill each other. - http://www.xenosystems.net/neoreaction-for-dummies/ // It is the disintegration referred to here that I wish to view through a xenofeminist lens in the sense that a homogeneous and “complete” alienation can itself be metasystematized in the overlapping of A) an archive that has been overhauled to curate perspectival timelines rather than such a loose and amorphous concept as information, B) a blockchain-esque state structure that uses the ledger system to archive entire historico-geometric sets of ID-entities: their ramifications, fracturings, and integrations rather than a default individual numerical single-frame coding by a state that does not take into consideration its potential for alteration and fragmentation, and C) a paper-clip maximizer-type  AI programmed to maximize the archival and curation of these shifts, skynetically ending the info-lineage of any identity that overcodes another and recording theviolation for posterity. The single-frame identity linearizes, shearing off mutations and alterations that do not conform to the normativity of the over-frame or supra-frame, the dissolution-paradigm encourages mutations and alterations and safeguards them in hyperreal metabubbles of (virtual?) reality.

The progressive incursion/convergence of big data-mining, identity- and state-dissolution (both practices and entropic physical laws), and surveillance-media-social-state construction must at some point give way either to a 1)  permanent perfect archive, not only of current information but also in what ways this information has changed over time; or to a 2) pure fractal overload that alienates the system itself from its own informatic flows, generating a remarkable self-similarity to neural processing in which frames of contextual reference spontaneously emerge as metareality or hyperreality which must be successfully navigated in order to reach the topological reality underlying the illusory covering-image. These frames are entities, the cathedralibrary is the global cog-narrative “Universal Form” cf. Giordano Bruno’s conception of God.

Within these perspectival frames the same navigatory tools used in psychonautics can potentially be extended into archive-space as non-space becomes as relevant as info-space in terms of topological organization, allowing one to track the shape of the edge, “learning what it is that we do not know” and engaging a category-theoretic appropriation of this pattern-tracking to make highly educated guesses as to what is missing in any given frame, toroidally compressing potential #2 into potential #1 over time.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

to asymptotically approach and topologically reveal the Real

Image result for austin osman spare art
Austin Osman Spare - The Book of Automatic Drawings

//for what remains of the representable if the object is to evade//
//representation? what remains is to represent the conditions of this evasion.//
//Samuel Beckett//

Friday, July 1, 2016

Spatial Metapolitics Wk3: Riversteading Waterworld

On the potential for affordable small-scale seasteading:
On the Mississippi River, the barge traffic is neverending in both directions. Docks on the miles-long industrial riverfront are like hives, with buzzing tugboats constantly looping and drifting around queues of barges lined up for filling or emptying. This massive industry is utterly attached to federal corporate welfare - Washington picks up more of the cost of riverborne shipping than any other type of logistics enterprise in the US, and subsidies generate as much revenue as actual profits (current statistics: river traffic moves less than 5% of american cargo, while taxpayers foot 90% of the bill - in contrast, rail is entirely self-funded, while highway/trucking is subsidised at around 20%). As the global and local social fields become more and more unstable due to factors such as climate change, viral political madness, and class warfare, an industry so significantly reliant on a government increasingly unwilling or unable to foot the bill I predict will inevitably fall victim to catastrophic failure to provide the services or the revenues that would be necessary to keep these businesses afloat. This pressure toward collapse already has a serious manifestation in the fact that both flooding and drought generate ridiculously dramatic dropoffs in the ability of a barge to navigate the river, and both have become more common as local weather has become more erratic.

These insights generate the possibility that a forward-thinking group could obtain incredibly cheap rates and well-leveraged bargaining positions on river-transport materiel and that the potential buyers’ position will only grow stronger over time. Currently, used flat-bottomed, open-topped, barges are roughly the cost of a used car, and towboats have been consistently dropping in price as the number of companies operating on the river drops due to failure to compete with multinationals like Cargill. One has but to look toward the better parts of a movie like Waterworld or an experiment like Sealand to imagine the possibilities in a modular, mobile system capable of holding 1400 tons of cargo per barge (soil for farming operations, housing structures?) at costs incredibly far below the average island, or yacht, or WWII weapons platform off the coast of England, or custom-built waterborne structure. That these barges and towboats are already designed to house people for long periods and be modularly (dis)connectable on a large scale increases their potential utility, while every day more of these units are discarded, abandoned, fall to ravages of disrepair. Every major city along the Mississippi, the Ohio, and the Missouri rivers has a transport industry of significant size, and it is showing cracks at every stage of the process. I contend that this industry is ripe for pillaging and repurposing, and that it is only a matter of time before the river economy hits a startling bottom that, while destructive and fragmentary to the extreme for certain industries and industrial zones, could be very fruitful indeed for the intrepid seasteader.


Sustain/Decay: abstraction ex nihilo

Some more weirdness from the Sustain/Decay submissions pile.....I have no idea why I can't seem to edit the last post...you're just going to have to use your magnifying glass, I guess....

To Seek Nothing Is Bliss

No one desires the void.- Cynthia Way (Joanna Demers).

To be impartial means to look on suffering as no different from nirvana, because the nature of both is emptiness.- Bodhidharma. 

We seek to speak of drone and emptiness. We seek to see drone as an expression of cosmic pessimism and apocalyptic nihilism. We seek to see it positioned as absolute nothingness and as void. We seek to listen to drone as a portal into the dark void. It is this void that renders us insubstantial nothings ourselves. Marcus Boon, Eugene Thacker and Joanna Demers position drone in relation to the human dissolved and swallowed whole. We seek to see through the horror of emptiness into the emptiness of emptiness. With specific reference to Sunn O)))’s Kannon and the drone compositions of Keiji Hanno, we seek to speak of drone as the audial essence of emptiness. In doing so we will focus on Nāgārjuna’s Madhyamika philosophy and the teachings of Zen Masters. This will allow us to speak of nothingness and void as sunyata and of attentive listening as a practice in proximity to zazen. It will let us point to a nonduality exceeding our terror of insubstantiality. This will prepare us for the claim that drone is a skillful means on the way to satori (enlightenment), the dissolution of ego and suffering. Finally. This will allow us to speculate that drone is the audial emptiness of emptiness itself. We seek to speak of nothing. We seek to speak nothing. We seek nothing.


Shibboleth’s Drone

Shibboleth’s drone has limited value as long as it is opposed to discovery. It is the secret kernel at the heart of a droning secretion, whose means are also its ends. Even the demystification of Shibboleth’s drone only serves to further mystify it, though it has nothing to hide. It is secreted from top-secret underground spy stations; forever extending over the horizon; a dark projection of subterranean architectural power. The things-aren’t-quite-what-they-seem Lynchian diffusion of Shibboleth’s creeping insinuations permeate the radio-waves, spilling everything yet evading discovery; a secret eminence of secret immanence.

The conductors of Shibboleth that concern us in this essay are the shortwave radio spectrum, Numbers Stations, the Duga over-the-horizon radar system, and their corresponding skywave propagations1 and skip zones2. The shortwave radio spectrum is the perfect method of anonymous secretion of the droning, invisible rays of Shibboleth. Unclaimed conductors such as Number Stations and the Duga have become sources for much speculation, giving rise to theories such as Soviet mind control and weather experiments. These clandestine stations broadcast Shibboleth, a rebel force constantly rallying clandestine operatives for unknown dark ends. The content of these stations is encrypted, and their purpose remains a mystery. The underlying feature which binds these conductors is the extreme length of time that the drone of Shibboleth is broadcasted. This is no furtive missive. It matters little what Shibboleth’s goal is. To intercept it is to become part of it. The clandestine operators of drone are no less secretive than what they are in a position to disclose. The content is the user and the medium is the message.

Shibboleth is a kind of puzzle waiting to be solved, but it must be delivered. The drone of Shibboleth, the galactic power and scope of its transmission, is necessitated by the complexity of its encryption. Numbers Stations, for instance, send enciphered messages using the crypto-system of the one-time pad.3 The extremely powerful (and virtually indecipherable), over-the-horizon secret of the Duga was first transmitted from the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone in July 1976, and it was detected worldwide (though it initially went unclaimed, and triangulation was required to pinpoint its source). Random, shortwave radio blasts from the Duga4 appeared without warning, sounding like a sharp, repetitive tapping noise. These random, extremely powerful bursts of Shibboleth disrupted radio broadcasts all over the world.5 But just as abruptly as they appeared,, the signals became less frequent before disappearing altogether. The reasons for the shutdown of the Duga systems have not been made public. The way in which Shibboleth imposes itself and spreads is just as important as the secret it seeks to secrete. The spreading of Shibboleth is itself shrouded in secrecy, but it is always sneaking, inserting, or introduce itself into the public domain. We intend to demonstrate how Shibboleth has gone from something defined, localized, and belonging to the past, to an a priori general form of a nonlocalizable something that has happened; from a Shibboleth defined as a hysterical childhood content to an eminently virile paranoid form.6

1 In radio communication, skywave or skip refers to the propagation of radio waves reflected or refracted back toward Earth from the ionosphere, an electrically charged layer of the upper atmosphere.
2 A skip zone, also called a silent zone or zone of silence, is a region where a radio transmission can not be received. The zone is located between regions both closer and farther from the transmitter where reception is possible.
3 One-time pad (OTP) is an encryption technique that cannot be deciphered if used properly. The crypto- system uses two identical sets of random numbers printed on numbered sheets known as pads (the "pad" part of the name comes from early implementations where the key material was distributed as a pad of paper, so that the top sheet could be easily torn off and destroyed after use); one pad is kept by the sender and the other is kept by the recipient. The original message is mathematically added to one of the random numbers on the pad. The random number used is pre-determined by the sender and recipient so that both are in sync. After Shibboleth has been secreted the random number is discarded, leaving zero possibility of decryption.
4 Duga was a Soviet over-the-horizon (OTH) radar system used as part of the Soviet ABM (anti-ballistic missile) early-warning network.
5 David L. Wilson (Summer 1985). "The ‘Russian’ Woodpecker... A Closer Look". Monitoring Times. “Also known as the "woodpecker" or "pulsar," this device has drawn much interest by the interference that it generates.” Wilson provides a detailed analysis of the Duga’s encryption of Shibboleth.
6 Deleuze, G., & Guattari, F. (1987). A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.


Sublime Backwash: Drone as Puncturing of the Weird Threshold

This essay will explore forms of drone music as mediums which best share the philosophy of The Weird, as originally articulated by writers such as Arthur Machen (1863-1947), Lord Dunsany (1878-1957) and H. P. Lovecraft (1890-1937). Fascinated with the numinous, practitioners of The Weird depict the unimaginable, interrogate the unthinkable and desire the unknowable. For Machen – Welsh visionary and mystic – a hidden mystery lies at the heart of everyday life and common objects: “the sense of the eternal mysteries, the eternal beauty beneath the crust of the common, trivial things; hidden and yet burning”.[i] As Andrea Franzoni argues, the central message of Machen’s work is that it is “through the arts that the modern man can still be exposed to ecstasy, can avoid the otherwise unavoidable fall into chaos and live on the threshold between our world and the ‘world of the spirit’”.[ii] In a similar manner, China Miéville has asserted that The Weird “punctures the supposed membrane separating off the sublime”, allowing “swillage of that awe and horror ‘from beyond’ back into the everyday” – a “radicalized sublime backwash”.[iii]
I have argued elsewhere that extreme metal in its numerous forms is the sonic medium that best expresses and captures the aesthetics and philosophies of The Weird.[iv] This essay will develop these ideas, focusing on drone metal as a fundamentally estranging musical mode well suited to capturing sensations of Weird horror and existential dread. I discuss drone metal as (pseudo) spiritual practice that acts as vehicle to transport the listener through the “threshold between our world” and the “world of the spirit”[v], following Owen Coggins’ assertion that “drone metal listening is reported in terms of imaginative temporal, spatial and bodily ‘elsewheres’”.[vi] Drone metal also offers impressions of sounds from the Weird space beyond.
Drone is Machen’s “link between terror and ecstasy, that leads to the abyss”.[vii]

[i] Arthur Machen, The London Adventure; or The Art of Wandering (Newport: Three Imposters, 1924; 2014), 64.
[ii] Andrea Franzoni, ‘Mysterium tremendum: Terror and ecstasy in the works of Arthur Machen’, Disputatio Philosophica, 16.1 (2015): 159-168.
[iii] China Miéville, ‘Weird Fiction’, in The Routledge Companion to Science Fiction, Bould, Mark, et al, eds. (Oxon: Routledge, 2009). 510-517.
[iv] Joseph Norman, ‘“Sounds Which Filled Me with an Indefinable Dread”: The Cthulhu Mythopoeia of H. P. Lovecraft in “Extreme” Metal’, in New Critical Essays on H.P. Lovecraft, David Simmons, ed. (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013).
[v] Op cit., Franzoni, 168.
[vi] Owen Coggins, ‘Drone Metal Mysticism’, unpublished PhD thesis, The Open University, 2015.
[vii] Op cit., Franzoni, 163.


Re-establishing Language as a Sound System: Deceleration and Drone

This essay considers the drone by re-establishing its connection with language as a sound system; the drone will be conceptualized as the instrumental equivalent for the extension of a voiced consonant, vowel or noise beyond the limit of a human breath and tending towards stasis through its deceleration.  Deceleration contributes the sense of affirmative negation present in drone and its sonic predecessor, doom.  If the drone can be considered akin to the arresting of a basic unit of language in the moment of its articulation, a sound paused to resound before it can encroach on or include other units, deceleration reveals difference to be located within the drone itself.  Musical works featuring drones or drone-like elements, recent work by Sunn O))), “So, Black Is Myself” by Keiji Haino and “Bass Pulse In Open Air” by Eleh, will be analysed in order to establish a micro-metonymic structure audible inside the drone which establishes a dialectical ‘switching’ between a sense of repletion and a sense of lack for the listening ear.  Sonic ‘heaviness’ (Sunn O)))) produces a deceleration heading towards negative inertia; in Haino, noise is used as a method of destroying temporality.  Recognising Alain Badiou’s (2007) assertion that the binary features of negation, subtraction and destruction, enable a revolutionary overhaul that is both political and creative/ artistic, we argue for the value of deceleration as a third and complementary feature.   


Drone Production as a Hieroeidetic Process

In 2004 Arthur Versluis suggested that esoteric art is ‘hieroeidetic’, in that its contemplation encourages the audience to orientate their perceptions toward an imaginative field 'midway between the mundane and the transcendent’. Although discussions around esoteric art often focus on the final art-object, it is the creative process - the sense of channeling higher powers, or the imaginative unfolding of symbolism - that is of prime importance for many artists we may traditionally consider esoteric, such as painter Cecil Collins and poet, agriculturist and painter AE (George William Russell). However, these processes, and their importance to the production of art that may be deemed hieroeidetic, have only recently begun to be acknowledged by academics in musical fields. To contribute to this discourse, this paper will explore the importance of 'inner-sense cultivation’ (Noll, Luhrmann, Asprem & Taves) in the production of drone-influenced works deemed to possess hieroeidetic properties. 

While some precedents exist in, for example, the music and mythos of prog-rock band Gong (who encouraged their listeners to commune by meditating to the music at the full moon), or the visionary approaches of Coil’s Jhonn Balance, two particular artists are suggested for this study. Firstly, the American composer Kim Cascone, who has recently toured Dark Stations - a drone composition ‘for meditating audience’ – alongside workshops on ‘inner ear cultivation’ for artists. Furthermore, Cascone’s recent paper on Transcendigital Imagination can almost be read as a manifesto for hieroeideticacy in a digitally-mediated creative process. Secondly, the author seeks to approach his own portfolio of work from an etic perspective: this includes many works of ‘rural’ drone whose influences were ascribed to imaginative encounters with the genius loci. This relationship with place was further developed as part of an open-ended production technique incorporating successive iterations of improvisation, editing and imaginatively-engaged listening with the intention of presenting not only a record of experience, but and invitation for sympathetic listeners to also engage imaginatively with the sources of the music. Through an auto-ethnographic process, a framework developed from cognitive science of religion (CSR) approaches will be proposed toward an exploration of the roles of ‘special’ experiences (those deemed religious, mystical or esoteric), inner-sense cultivation and quasi-ritual path-goal processes (Taves) in the production of hieroeidetic sound works.