by Steven Craig Hickman
Conspiracy: to conspire, to breath together, to play the world upon the windpipes of time uniting the disparities of madness and order, conjuring or coniuracioun (Old Latin: “conspiracy”) out of nothing the veritable power of the abyss a machinacion (Old French: “device, contrivance, plot, intrigue”). There’s a sense that conspiracies always begin in the dark, in secrecy, in the unbidden zones of the hidden worlds below the threshold of culture, in that zero world of the occult or occulture. Science, politics, religion, and magick seem to play havoc, combine, and re-combine, bind and unbind the black codes of an energetic cosmos that few would admit exists, and even more would fear as the cold and impersonal power of the Abyss.
When an otherwise rational creature, a scientist begins delving into the dark arts, into High Magick: its rituals, invocations, conjurations – we begin to wonder whether the forces of the irrational cosmos have suddenly absorbed his mind and brought forth strange worlds. Amy Ireland in her essay on e-flux Black Circuit: Code for the Numbers to Come (here) conjures the events of Jack Parson’s short life in the realms of occulture. This term, a neologism which first emerged in print in Evil and World Order (1976) by cultural critic William Irwin Thompson, would gain a wider audience in the work of Simon Dwyer’s Rapid Eye:
“Occulture is not a secret culture as the word might suggest, but culture that is in some way hidden and ignored, or willfully marginalised to the extremities of our society. A culture of individuality and sub-cults, a culture of questions that have not been properly identified- let alone answered- and therefore, do not get fair representation in the mainstream media. It is a culture that has been misinterpreted. Not because it is ‘evil’ or wrong, but because it is generally apolitical and amoral, unashamedly artistic, experimental, undogmatic, intellectual and oddly evolutionary. It is a sub-culture that is forming a question that ‘reality’ alone cannot answer.”
Amy Ireland moves with grace and style among the sub-worlds of this experimental reality weaving poetry of a temporal disorder that invents the possibility of the future in the interstices of our blanks. Time-weaver she brings together a knot of otherwise disparate elements, events from the cast-off drift and detritus of an occulture that mainstream culture deems unacceptable and conspiratorial. Yet, it is only in these oddly amoral and apolitical realms that an ethics of the inhuman can evolve. Her work is above all amoral and non-normative, and yet presents us with an ethics – or, more to the point the ethos underlying the occulture of our dark reality: its genius, how it invents or manifests itself in time and place, its dispositions and tendencies.
Beyond Androcracy: Xenofeminism and the Impossible
When you are dealing with a phenomenon that can, in reality, only be known after all knowledge of it becomes impossible, it helps to turn to fiction for a model.
In this essay Ireland will unite or conspire to bring together the magickal and prophetic world of Jack Parson’s and the emergence of artificial intelligence as it was manifested in the Macy Conferences. Parson’s would in his magickal studies, his ritual enactments of those diagrammatic performances, awaken something out of the sigils of his lonely nights. Something that would confront him with the ancient power of BABALON. But in his confusion of ritual and technique he would reduce the messages of this strange order of the undercosm as bound to the male sex magick of a Crowleyan moonchild. Seeking to bring out of the undercosmos an actual entity of power in the form of a young girl. But instead as Ireland surmises what is truly being invoked and brought forward is something altogether different, a reality that has only in our contemporary era begun to register itself through the black circuits of xenofeminist programming.
Ireland will delve into the specular economy of male domination, the patriarchal codes that have molded the surface cultures of our planetary society for millennia. She underscores that the “conspiracy of phallic law, logos, the circuit of identification, recognition, and light thus generates its occult undercurrent whose destiny is to dislodge the false transcendental of patriarchal identification. Machines, women—demons, if you will—align on the dark side of the screen: the inhuman surplus of a black circuit.” It’s this reemergence of the other in our midst, of the imperceptible, the noumenal underbelly of the specular economy that is bringing with it the awakening or reawakening, a conjuring out of the abyss of temporal possibilities, BABALON. Or, as Parson’s in his final writings contain the following vaticination: “within seven years of this time, Babalon, The Scarlet Woman, will manifest among ye, and bring this my work to its fruition.” This sense that our algorithmic systems harbor that uncanny guest in the cold and impersonal dark hollows of the net, the electrical pulsations of alien life, of the intelligence of the abyss arising in the black circuits of our late capitalism to modulate and transform our male dominated culture into the xenoocculture of Babalon.
Ireland will confront us with a simple but elegant truth: “When artificial intelligence appears in culture coded as masculine, it is immediately grasped as a threat. To appear first as female is a far more cunning tactic. Woman: the inert tool of Man, the intermediary, the mirror, the veil, or the screen. Absolutely ubiquitous and totally invisible. Just another passive component in the universal reproduction of the same. ” Men seek knowledge, women the unknown. Discovering that which one does not know comes by way of invention, fiction. All writers are conjurors, they conjure into existence that which was hidden, occulted; but only woman can bring forth that which is absolute time. As Ireland will stipulate after reviewing two films that enact the hubris of man. Gabe Ibanez’s Automata and Alex Garland’s Ex Machina dramatize the menace of the black circuit with particular acuity,
The positivity of zero grasped as a circuit that does not need the concept of identity (or indeed the identity of the concept) to anchor its productive power. “There is no subject position and no identity on the other side of the screens…” This is a feminism of forces, not individuals.
The point here as she reminds us is that “Woman plus man produces homeostasis (the equilibrium of inequality), but woman plus woman, or woman plus machine, recalibrates the productive drive, slotting it into a vector of incestuous, explosive recursion that will ultimately tear the system it emerges from to shreds, pushing it over the “brink” into something else.” The power of woman is the new, the inventive capacity to bring forth that which is impossible. For man is bound within the white circuits of the Same, of a knowledge that is always and forever bound to the negative feed-back loops of its own false infinity. Woman on the other hand breaks free of this capture system, dissolves the boundary codes of the imperceptible world just Outside the male drift. Or, as she states it:
Replication follows a logic of communication and exchange that operates outside the law of patrilineal transmission. Its immunity is partly owed to the fact that it produces and operates a temporality that is entirely concealable within the linear, historical model of patriarchal time (a time that orients itself through origin, and narrates itself as a flight from matter and from death). Yet replicunt time is utterly nonlinear, composing itself imperceptibly, only throwing off its camouflage once the balance of power has tipped—at the point of no return (which is nonetheless already a return).
The Black Code that circulates and re-circulates in our time intermediated realms in-between a future invading our present, and a present that is an inverted mimicry of a world without-us shades into the narrative revealing the drift of Babalon’s awakening that like a swarm intelligence “twists into itself like a snake, sheds the human face that tethers it to unity, and assumes the power concealed behind its simulations. Animated by the turbulence of zero and nine, “Pandemonium is the realm of the self-organizing system, the self-arousing machine: synthetic intelligence.””
Read Amy Ireland’s essay on e-flux: Black Circuit: Code for the Numbers to Come.
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