Interviews with Anonymous Personas
By Cergat Boş & Elytron Frass
In a short essay on anonymous authorship in early twentieth century Britain, Emily Kopley suggests that the decline of anonymous writing as practiced from marginalized groups stimulated its prizing among British modernist authors as an aesthetic ideal. But what does anonymity mean aesthetically? The surprising reluctance to allow literary aesthetics to come into proximity with the peripheral badlands even when anonymity itself was eyed as a desirable, or at least effective, literary device, implies that marginalized groups were perceived as attaching more value to the pragmatic than the aesthetic ideals of literature and art, in which case association with them would brand art as ignoble. Distanced from the base creatures swarming the wildly entwined roots of these impassable dark forests, the privileged mainstream viewed them under a clinical lens and, fearing contagion, quarantined itself from them. In marginalized spaces, then, art is seldom permitted to manifest itself as anything more than a political vessel, and therefore stigmatised for not yet having eviscerated itself to more sublime and vertiginous heights.
On the other side of that fence, if indeed such puristic states can exist, stands the aesthetic warrior, completely detached from the material world, making art for art’s sake, which is to say, art that carries no consequence and, if it communicates at all, does so only on some abstract, ethereal, and innocuous level. Pure light, viz., intelligence in a state of perpetual enlightenment and autotelic contentment. Ironically, the sole reason politically obedient or gentrified art is perceived as non-political is because, finding itself within the city walls and observing all the rules of good grammar and behavior, it causes no friction. Nevertheless, it betrays its political nature as soon as it panics at the prospect of being perceived as such, for that is its own sort of political correctness. Its domestic character can be clearly observed in its ambiguous attitude towards the literary anonymous slums, whose turbulent vitality it covets, but whose ill repute it must distance itself from. It suspects this domesticity, however, and for that reason it often dissembles feigning controversy, aiming to evoke strong reactions from its audience. Its controversial guise is defined solely by the form it takes, as in many instances of shock art for example, which proclaims itself as “a way to disturb smug, complacent, and hypocritical people”, as a quick Wiki search will show. The dissimulation, then, consists precisely in the disturbance, which has even become an accepted social norm and will allow both the artist and the audience to experience a feeling of ‘living on the edge’ while at the same time affording them all the security, comfort, and warmth of the center. One accepts a slight momentary discomfort to experience the thrills that can be purchased at an amusement park. One watches a horror movie on the weekend. One pinches oneself in the arm to see if one is still alive.
Another function of these civilizational trances is the inoculation of the masses from outsider disturbances. This is achieved by hardening the audience to them, administering small doses of carefully excised and polished versions of their rabid and incomprehensible accents, smooth postcard images of toxic wastelands, little commercial apocalypses for atrophied imaginations. The outside is anonymous by default. It is apolitical, not because of a lack of secret orders and violent factions, but because of an overabundance of them. New virulent dialects and pentecostal tongues based on ever more twisted heretical eurythmics of the old ones are splintering and branching off all the time. A history of ideas in these outworlds would be insane. Their epistemological genealogies are fragmented palimpsests—illegible to any civilized history. Still, each of these corridors and alleyways has its own collection of hadiths, its own guardians and transmitters, and can be navigated by the rare few who are willing to pay the necessary blood tribute. For these gatekeepers, then, anonymity is often inadvertent, having little to do with a will to concealment. Like Nereus, the old man of the sea, or his daughter Thetis, they wish for someone to come steal their secrets. But in order to fully master their protean transformations, one must first pass through the consecutive chambers laid out in the labyrinth in front of them, each unique space demanding the strict observance of its own elemental moods, tactics, and rituals.
Chamber I: Interview with [x]
Writing to Be Unwritten
(The Hour After)
Objects/Spaces: The Garden; The Mirror; The Crack
(Anguish; Asphyxiation; Burning/Drowning)
Elements/Moods: Dissimulation; Vulnerability; Seduction
(Memories; Dreams; Sleep paralysis)
Tactics/Rituals: Outsider dialects; Hypnosis
(Echos; Chants; Spells; Curses; Counter-Revelations)
My veins are black and perfect, my veins are absolution and I am waiting for the overdose and the annunciation so I can enter in without forgiveness.
I reach further and my body’s slick with it, the scent of paradise ripe and rotting and precious, some sacred thing spilled out so I can taste it. I’m inside it now.
I break the surface and I lean in, my mouth wet, the capillaries inside you bright and desperate and now I’ve got your pulse between my teeth. I think about the end of this.
To enter the vampiric asphyxiating dreamscapes of [x]’s world requires the ability to open up and expose oneself to all the lacerations that the text demands. One must relearn to read here, for her counter-prophetic incantations are spoken in the irresistible hypnotic tones of countless/timeless monsters. To name them – from nymphs to sorceresses to succubi – would be to take certain risks. [x] herself says, “I stay nameless because my pseudonyms reveal too much.”
This is the writing of radical vulnerability – “this was a loveletter, once” – where the nameless author morphs into space, into memory, suffusing with an atmosphere of total loss, until affliction itself becomes the creative force etching out the cavernous architecture of anguish throughout the text. Here the fates of reader and writer unfold together in a lethal dance of seduction, for they follow the same irreversible laws, the same tortuous pathways.
The warning sign, though, is at the door: “The ink here is less a means and more a threat,” [x] writes from the start. “It cuts close because the agony isn’t measured in the passage but the permanence.” At the same time, only loss is permanent, the text erasing and undermining itself at every turn, in a strange, delirious stream of writing and unwriting.
Chamber II: Interview with The Swarm
Photo courtesy of The Swarm
(Silence speaks with a thousand tongues)
(non)Objects / (non)Spaces: The Sepulcher; The Void; Xenodimensions
(Bodies w/o Organs; Heads w/o Bodies; The Blade of Thought)
Elements/Moods: Cosmic Noise; Deafness; Silence
(Voice-without-a-source; Pure/Mute Being; Silent Sigh)
Tactics/Rituals: Echopraxia; Hallucinations; Autoscopy, Cosmic Amnesia
(Intensity w/o Difference; Stasis/Repetition; Apocryphal Narration)
…so narrow is the thought, that it chops like a blade the one that thinks it. Absolute headlessness, enhanced with idealism, the pride of the beheaded head, and a sort of arcane heritage that makes every innovation a repetition of stasis. (DNS p. 10).
If the body without organs speaks primeval sounds of earthly sorrows and desires, the head without body murmurs hushed words that are alien to this world. (p. 12).
We invited a few severed heads to utter their litany, to tell us how they fell and which wrong words they found. (p. 12).
The Depressive Noise Symposium is a document of an actual secret symposium which took place at some unknown location/time in Italy; a zine-like experimental approach to theory fiction—a work which refuses categorization, aggressively and purposefully deflating its own philosophies and zeroed avant-gardisms.
Its authors, known as The Syndicate, are a literary collective who scout out a readership via social media—“gifting” their dark, absurdist, zine-like book to those deemed “relative”. Nevertheless, this invitation is deceptive for this is not a welcoming thoughtspace. In proximity with the void, thoughts splinter—multiplying, amplifying, and replaying themselves ad infinitum; they turn up loud, concrete, dagger-like. Madness embodied in the form of the disembodied guest-visitor.
This is a non-dimension which one can neither easily find nor comfortably inhabit, nor even effortlessly depart from. Here inertia reigns supreme even though its architects seem to move about with great agility and deftness. Every movement in this space is a contradiction, for every outrageous or ridiculous uttering becomes law and every new echo an eternal proclamation of stasis. The architects can move while constantly uttering new arbitrary laws because they are afflicted with a certain cosmic amnesia—where the head no longer remembers the chthonic logic of the body.
Chamber III: Interview with Maure Coise
Photo by Abbie Foxton
The Intelligence of No One
(The Transhuman—The Turing Test)
Objects/Spaces: Smart Sensors; Cyberphysical Systems; Intelligent Networks
Elements/Moods: Algorithmic; Calculative; Machinic
(Tech-Age Anomie; Clouds of Biases)
Tactics/Rituals: Geocoding; Spectral Analysis; Dynamic Time Warping
(Algebraic Topology; Anticipatory Computing; Biohacking)
I’ve come to this forest in search of the system known as aurora australis.// I’ve learned that it is audible;// at least, by some definitions of the word audible.// Auroral activity is solar plasma that has been warped by Gaia’s ionospheric electromagnetic activity,// and its ionized particles collude with high altitude atoms.// Stochastic movements where there may be a map,// in the light emissions, distributed,// and computational.
– Geophilosophical Branding, p. 96
Maure Coise is a pseudonymous xenofeminist author who administers facilitated workshops on writing and its intersections with predictive and anticipatory computing. Coise’s long-poetic works, Geophilosophical Branding (gnOme books, 2016) and Symphony in White: Songs of heroic deeds from a true winner (Solar Luxuriance, 2017), sublimate the traditionally self-absorbed experience of alienation into a collectivist engagement that blends Deleuze & Guattari’s philosophies with algebraic topology, tech-age anomie, gender abolition, singularity, and automation. Coise’s verse carries the residues of individualist melancholy. Yet, these traces of the once-human are increasingly dissolved by an evolving xenotechnological collective—presented in cold contrast and machinic matter-of-factness.
Entering these rare cryptic spaces and maintaining a dialogue with their Coder could be likened to communicating with the cutting edge of sentient software, rather than the flesh and blood of human wetware: to some a hybrid, announcing the age of transhumanism; to others a schizophrenic influencing machine, giving credence to all sorts of anti-technological conspiracy theories. In the end, how one reads this encrypted space determines how one deciphers the key and therefore the next coordinates to be unlocked in the map.
Nevertheless, here one must abandon such naïve notions as unidirectional reading. It is not just you reading Coise. Coise is also reading you.
Chamber IV: Interview with Vast Abrupt
Photo courtesy of Vast Abrupt
Objects/Spaces: The Maze; The Threshold; The Hourglass; The Sigil
(The Archive; Maps; Schemata; Tracts)
Elements/Moods: Temporal Anomalies; Ontological Crossings; Unbound War
(The Seer; The Alchemist; The Outsider)
Tactics/Rituals: Treachery; Hyperfiction; Betrayal
If you are having doubts about our deprogramming methods, the main thing you need to keep in mind is that reality itself is a type of fiction.
—Yves Cross, “Time War//Briefing for Neolemurian Agents”
If history aligns with the State and its memory-order, then the nomads and minoritarians find themselves swept up in the turbulent flux of becoming, passing from the State’s homeostatic order to creative disequilibrium predicated on an anti-memory. It is clear that art plays an essential role in this forgetting.
—Edmund Berger, “Synthetic Fabrication: The Myth of the Politics-to-Come”
The city presented its hidden face of indomitable stone as marauders ceaselessly violated the prairie overhead in great warbands. Long sluices through solid rock become spines of communication networks populated by chains of callers using the natural reverberating properties of the caves as a public announcement system to communicate information and coordinate tactics, lending their fast voices to the slow muttering of tectonics. By speaking with the Earth, the cave dwellers achieved an efficacy in the transmission of data that, to surface enemies, must have appeared nearly instantaneous. Hic et ubique?
—KR, “Gateway to the West”
The tragic voyage of transcendental time loops asymmetry infinitely back to initiation, and the subject limps through its circuitry, replaying the silence of the gods, until it learns how to betray not only their law, but its own.
—Amy Ireland, “The Revolving Door and the Straight Labyrinth: An Initiation in Occult Time”
The Vast Abrupt is an anonymous online publisher focusing on works ranging from the examination of temporal anomalies, the occult, myth, madness, treachery, and betrayal to their perverse intersections with modernity, capital, geopolitics, human history and geotrauma. These radically experimental tracts corrode and detract from any static and linear understanding not only of time, truth, and identity, but also of history, the human, and the solid earth.
Even though its archives hold the most detailed field guides on navigating the treacheries of time, in resisting the repressive reterritorializing mechanisms of pure identitarian borders through its apocryphal narratives, VA’s demoniac screeds transform themselves into illegible maps, insane scribbles, enigmatic schemata, and fragmented palimpsests, frantically eroding and reordering their own conceptual corridors. Its pathways are blind. One must first lose one’s eyesight to receive the seer’s gift.
And yet, further risks must be taken in order to traverse the treacherous underpasses of its hyperfictions, for as one learns, “reality itself is a type of fiction”, and here the delusions that prop up the real are dismantled at the hands of more sinister and devastating illusions. This imperceptible betrayal of the real sets the stage for an alchemical game of ontological crossings, causing a rift through which all sorts of outsider figures force their way in to lay waste to the system. And so, one is unsure whether these are the ravings of the raider or the madman, that bring the cacophonous din of unbound war.