Thursday, September 24, 2009

Militant Dysphoria

k-punk has a great post on Margaret Atwood's surfacing:
Surfacing belongs to the same moment as Baudrillard's Symbolic Exchange And Death, Lyotard's Libidinal Economy, Irigaray's Speculum: Of The Other Woman - and Deleuze and Guattari's Anti-Oedipus. Though it is A Thousand Plateaus that Surfacing most obviously prefigures - yet what separates Surfacing's "terrifying Deleuzian devenir-animal" (Jameson) from Deleuze and Guattari is precisely Atwood's refusal of affirmation(ism). At her moment of schizophrenic break-rapture, the narrator certainly sounds like a good Deleuzean: "they think I should be filled with death, I should be in mourning. But nothing has died, everything is alive, everything is waiting to become alive", but this febrile delirium is more in tune with Ben Woodard's "dark vitalism" than Deleuze, and what flows and stalks in the body-without-organs zone of animal- and water-becomings is something like Ben's sinister "creep of life". "I hear breathing, witheld, observant, not in the house but all around it." The place beyond the mortifications of the Symbolic is not only the space of an obscene, non-lingustic "life" but also where everything deadened and dead goes, once it has been expelled from civilization. "This is where I threw the dead things..." Beyond the living death of the Symbolic is the kingdom of the dead. "It was below me, drifting towards me from the furthest level where there was no life, a dark oval trailing limbs. It was blurred but it had eyes, they were open, it was something I knew about, a dead thing, it was dead."

This Militant Dysphoria, or Dark Vitalism,as a framework could contribute much to the discussion of poets such as such as Aese Berg, Ariana Reines, and Johannes Göransson; and as Dominic Fox has stated, in the Black Metal of acts like Striborg and Xasthur. Also worth considering would be the work of musicians such as Kevin Drumm, Campbell Kneale (as Birchville Cat Motel/Our Love Will Destroy the World and Black Boned Angel), Wolf Eyes, et al.


Andrea said...

Might have to dig out my Birchville Cat Motel album - Campbell Kneale is great.

Some interesting links here too. A lot is always made of the fact that New Zealand produces a lot of dark art - I actually found a book on the subject recently which I'm looking forward to reading.

Ross Brighton said...

Yeah, there's a certian southern (hemisphere) gothic thing - like Keri Hulme's short fiction... I recently got a copy of Te Kaihau / the Windeater, and there's some really creepy stuff there.