Moving through the films, political tendencies, and recurrent crises of late capitalism, Evan Calder Williams paints a black toned portrait of the dream and nightmare images of a global order gone very, very wrong. Situating itself in the defaulting financial markets of the present, Combined and Uneven Apocalypse glances back toward a messy history of zombies, car wrecks, tidal waves, extinction, trash heaps, labour, pandemics, wolves, cannibalism, and general nastiness that populate the underside of our cultural imagination. Every age may dream the end of the world to follow, but these scattered nightmare figures are a skewed refraction of the normal hell of capitalism.
The apocalypse isn't something that will happen one day: it's just the slow unveiling of the catastrophe we've been living through for centuries. Against any fantasies of progress, return, or reconciliation, Williams launches a loathing critique of the bleak present and offers a graveside smile for our necessary battles to come.
But this is not just another book about zombies and the end of the world. Like one of the junk-suturing recusants whose philosophy he has been central to constructing, Evan Calder Williams builds something rageful and compelling and quite new out of all this fucking wreckage. Not the end of the world or the end of capitalism, but both at once and one through the other. However, where I have dabbled in these topics, scribbling a few lines here and there, Williams brings a focused investigation, continuing the Zero Books tradition of merging sustained intellectual engagement with an attention to popular culture.
It asks what will remain of this world, our commodities, our obsessions, ourselves, after it comes to its inevitable destruction. It is thus an enterprise of salvage, of constructing another world from the gutted remnants of this one. The book deserves a lengthy response, more than I have time to dedicate to it here and now.
Combined and Uneven Apocalypse: Luciferian Marxism
A year or two ago, still in the flesh, it lay freshly severed in a heap of other heads—piled up, bloodied and frozen, in the snow outside a courthouse in the far north of Norway, in the northernmost province of Finnmark. In the courtroom, the skull makes a startling impression: inhuman, unearthly, but also consubstantial somehow with the aged mahogany of the walls, the worn benches, the imposing horseshoe table at the far end of the room where the five stern judges sit in formation—just across the flimsy partition that separates us, the watching public, from the unfolding operation of the law.
The hearing centers on his claim, and the claim of his lawyer, that this forced reduction is unlawful and in breach of international commitments. This hearing is the highest and final instance. It is hard to describe the sheer shock her head-pile conveyed when it first appeared, the raw challenge of it from the doorstep of the court. Blood stained the lens; from the top waved a Norwegian flag. The first time I saw an image of the pile I laughed out loud, stunned, recognizing a kind of brutal, electric charge.
It was direct, unapologetic, shredding. In their amassment they spoke to an exercise of such overwhelming force that the violence itself had become something obvious and given—like air, or sunlight. I had never seen anything like it; it tore open the asphyxiating mildness of national debates, manifesting in a torrent what the quiet, soft-spoken colonialism of the north—patient as it is, understated, polite, and bureaucratic—kept under wraps. The pile functioned—functions—in juxtaposition to other piles. I translate the text that accompanies it: 1. A disquieting parallel appears.
A dark history of colonization from North America in the s. I collect the reindeer heads as images of buffalo heads appear. Millions of buffalo heads, piled into great mountains of trophies. About Europeans who almost exterminated the buffalo herd of 50 million animals.
The chill deepens. It was a deliberate strategy, ordained from the top. They, the colonists, wanted the land, Regina, as it was to be called—but it was inhabited. The buffalo people stood in the way.
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The order, the strategy, was simple but effective. Eliminate what the people live off and the people will disappear. The buffalo, bang!
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I stand here with my reindeer skulls and I shiver with cold. I try to tie my scarf tighter but I know we are in the way. The reindeer we live from are stacked before me.
The state is forcibly reducing the herds, with a model that cuts the throat of future recruitment to herding. The chill is inescapable. The original heads quickly lost their flesh, baring themselves as new skulls joined the ranks, carefully boiled white to contrast with the weathered patina of the first wave—and as the work grew, spreading and translating across newspaper articles, magazine covers, walls, screens, art festivals, and national conferences, it refracted.
The skulls reorganized, shifting into new shapes and configurations: boxes, floor patterns, arrays. The human volunteers have been instructed in how to address people, what to tell them, how to answer questions. Sitting at an outside table, I watch two of them drift past my coffeeshop. Later in the day I come across three more of these skull—human assemblages in the lobby of the visitor entrance to Parliament, sitting patiently outside the security gate; disallowed entry.
Security officers apologize but the skulls are objects, and the list of objects that are permitted into the building is extremely circumscribed: pencils, notebooks, certain electronic devices.
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Dispersed and repeated, the shock of their presence exerts a kind of wounding power, cutting through the skin of the urban fabric to a sorcerous or mythical substrate—a layer of power that underwrites not just the city itself, but the secular State 5 that contains it. Like magical predators the skulls move through this space, tuned to its disavowed affects and the complex magical operations that sustain it: the sorcery hidden in the surface, in the mantle of its bureaucratic secularity.
In this context I read the skulls—no, I experience them—as a sort of disruptive counter-sorcery, an act of magical warfare erupting in the cool stone heart of the city, suddenly in the open. Flowing out from their point of release they enact an uncanny transformation, reshaping the city by revealing it as it already was: a landscape of colonial violence made stone, haunted by the exclusions it simultaneously effects and depends on.
The skulls manifest, physically, a siege that has gone on for centuries but hidden to your eyes, unavailable. The word has something of the titillating about it: a streak of prurience, redolent of spectacle and sentimental violence, the interminable grind of end-time pornography and death-fulfillment fantasies that saturates us here, on the catastrophic threshold of the Anthropocene. Evan Calder Williams is a theorist and writer in California. Du kanske gillar.
(DOC) Salvaging Hope and Belief in Dystopian Fiction | Ross Cunliffe - narhouhatchrucon.cf
For the Record David Cameron Inbunden. Spara som favorit. Skickas inom vardagar. From the repurposed rubble of salvagepunk to undead hordes banging on shopping mall doors, from empty waste zones to teeming plagued cities, Combined and Uneven Apocalypse grapples with the apocalyptic fantasies of our collapsing era. Moving through the films, political tendencies, and recurrent crises of late capitalism, Evan Calder Williams paints a black toned portrait of the dream and nightmare images of a global order gone very, very wrong.