[-empyre-] the virus, tactics of nonexistence, political love

Zach Blas zachblas at gmail.com
Thu Nov 12 15:34:42 EST 2009

i’d like to follow up my post from yesterday and flesh out a bit more
on a politics of the imperceptible and its possible relations to viral
tactics and aesthetics in political art practices.

as i previously pointed out, in “the exploit,” galloway and thacker
write that “future avant-garde practices will be those of
nonexistence.” This statement is in response to their question: “how
does one develop techniques and technologies to make oneself
unaccounted for?” They outline possible answers in their “tactics of
nonexistence.” For them, nonexistence is not an absence but a fullness
only to be found within the abilities to be a nonrepresentable
identity. G&T build off of Agamben here. In “The Coming Community,”
Agamben writes, “A being radically devoid of any representable
identity would be absolutely irrelevant to the State.” So,
nonexistence is the mode or function to escape or avoid sovereign
control—not as an outside, some excluded fantasyland, but as a
full-outside that is within.

i would like to connect this back to G&T’s point about the virus--that
it is “illegible and incalculable.” Queer Technologies is attempting
to think about viralities in relation to a tactics of nonexistence. I
would be excited to hear thoughts and provocations around what the
joining of the virus and nonexistence in this context could offer
toward developing tactics, aesthetics, and various interventions.

in his book “the laws of cool,” alan liu attempts to articulate a
viral aesthetics through his notion of destructive creativity: a
creativity that goes “beyond the new picturesque of mutation and
mixing to the ultimate form of such mutation and mixing: what may be
called the new sublime of ‘destruction.’ [. . .] the critical inverse
of the mainstream ideology of creative destruction [. . . a] viral
aesthetics.” (How) Does destruction fit in to viral nonexistent

Something about being devoid of a representable identity brings the
face to mind. Queer Technologies is in development now on a project
loosely named Fag Face, which deals precisely with these issues of
nonexistence, escape, and evasion in relation to powerful / sovereign
claims made upon the face. I would just like to share some words on
Deleuze and faciality (of course, keeping in mind Jussi Parikka:
“virsus, too, have faces.”)

Deleuze: “to the point that if human beings have a destiny, it is
rather to escape the face, to dismantle the face and facializations,
to become imperceptible, to become clandestine [. . .] by strange true
becomings that [. . .] make faciality traits themselves finally elude
the organization of the face.” Yet, one must know the organization of
the face before dismantling: “Know them, know your faces; it is the
only way you will be able to dismantle them and draw your lines of
flight.” Suggested nonexistent dismantlings of G&T, such as nonaction,
pointless desertions, unmeasurable or not-yet-measurable human traits,
configure against the technologies of the face that must be known.
These tactics, therefore, hinge upon a not-knowing, which implies a
race of speed—for who will have the means (be they technical,
financial, social, etc.) to develop such practices first and force the
foe to not-know? When Galloway and Thacker write that “the bland, the
negligible, the featureless are its only evident traits,” it is the
“de-facement” brought by a not-knowing that construes these traits as

Crucially, for them, nonexistence is constituted by a politics of
love. Indeed, they call nonexistence “the purest form of love.” Thus,
as tactics that are sutured to an avant-garde—that is, a front of the
line of technique, nonexistence locates us within a precarious bind,
for if the purest form of love is to be found within a tactics that
many may well not have the means or technique to perform, what are the
feasibilities of nonexistence (and therefore, of this love)? Which
faciality will be able to perfect its nonexistence and proliferate its
own form of pure love? While nonexistence is the “compassion” that
abets the escaping of face, can people escape the face of the
sovereign or does the sovereign subsume the people into its faciality
machine—its own “compassion”?

For Galloway and Thacker, pure love seems to stem for a notion of
political love, which qualifies the tactics of nonexistence as an act
excluded from the sovereign. Michael Hardt writes that love as a
political concept, in a passionate fusing of the personal and the
political, binds us to transformative operations of reason that extend
beyond rationality yet hold us within a training or disciplining. In
opposition to political love, Hardt notes that evil is this type of
love gone bad, the destruction of love as a political concept. While
political love produces joy in the construction of difference, evil
distorts and blocks. The logic of the sovereign denies itself the
obtainability of political love, leaving it to reside somewhere in the
bad love of evil.

Can the tactics of nonexistence be enacted both as the trick of
sovereign evil and as force of the people nonexisting for love? How do
/ can we work with this?

I share these thoughts not because Queer Technologies or myself think
they are necessarily the best approaches, but these ideas, tactics,
and calls to action seem to link up in many fascinating ways to
questions of the viral as well as the feasibility of being able to put
this to practice?

Is the viral what can allow us to hack into this nonexistence?

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