abstract-land

Chilling out                                               #IG : lilian_cazabet                                            

Seignosse, France, 2016.

§ 109 — Abstract literature writes in clues, with clue words, but without hope. It is the detective fiction of the insoluble crime, the science fiction of an inconceivable future, the mystery fiction of the impregnable unknown, proceeding through cryptic names of evocation, and rigid designators without significance. The weirdness it explores does not pass, unless to withdraw more completely into itself. There is no answer, or even – for long – the place for an answer. Where the solution might have been found waits something else. Description is damage.

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§ 114 — Because literature knows nothing, it can turn blindness to a vision of the abyss. It evokes an apprehension of non-apprehension, or a perception of the imperceptible as such. Milton explores the abyss, in order to say nothing, positively, with unsurpassed eloquence. He makes Paradise Lost the Bible of abstract literature where “darkness visible” (I: 63), “the palpable obscure” (II: 406), shadow the ultimate unilluminousness of “Old Night” (I: 543). Horror is structurally Miltonic. What cannot be seen, or in any other way shown, can still be said.

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§ 116 — Except, it is not fear that guides us. Abstract literature complies with a rigorous critique of fear, conducted in the name of horror. Fear nothing, until fear sheds its concreteness, and nothing switches its sign.

§ 117 — The Thing horror pursues – and from which it flees – cannot be an object (if life is to continue). Its nonexistence is a presupposition of mental equilibrium. At the virtual horizon where thought encounters it, absolute madness reigns. This coincidence is fundamental. At the end of horror lies that which – if there is merely to be sanity – cannot conceivably or imaginably exist. The image of the monster, then, is more than an error of method. It is a radical misapprehension. Anything that can be captured cannot be what horror seeks. Pictures are mistakes.

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§ 119 — Horror anticipates philosophy, spawns it automatically, and provides its ultimate object – abstraction (in itself). It comes from the same non-place to which philosophy tends. If skepticism teaches philosophy what it need not think, horror persuades it that it cannot. In this way, the pact between abstraction and horror – the thing – surpasses anything philosophy could ever be, or know. It is a connection as old as time. Exactly as old. Horror builds the mansion of ruined intuition, through which philosophy wanders, like a nervous child.

Nick Land, “Manifesto for an Abstract Literature”