[-empyre-] Excommunication

Alexander R. Galloway galloway at nyu.edu
Fri May 9 01:49:30 EST 2014

Greetings all.. particularly to all the email list veterans. This book is definitely a product of the net criticism scene from the old rhizome and nettime days, so it's nice to be back on empyre and see some familiar faces. (And incidentally I agree entirely with the spirit of Simon's post--regardless of who made it and for what reason, the internet is the most highly controlled mass media hitherto created. And here i disagree a bit with Geert: i don't see Snowden as a turning point; we've known this about the 'net for years.)

As for the book, where did "Excommunication" come from? The idea grew out of a conversation Eugene had been having with his editor, and it quickly gelled after that. We wanted to explore the more theological wing of philosophical thought -- hence our crude chronology with me focusing on a series of archaic divinities, Eugene inspired by the heretical monotheism of medieval mysticism, and Ken working on a more modern and post-secular form of heresy.

And so the concept of “excommunication,” with both its theological and media-theoretical connotations, seemed like a fitting framework. We wanted to push the term excommunication a bit further: not just exile or exclusion, but a more radical sense of what lies beyond the human entirely, toward what Quentin Meillassoux has called “the great outdoors.”

And all three of us quickly gravitated to excommunication as a theme, particularly this counter-intuitive promise of mediation with the radically non-human. In essence, we're hoping to skirt the classic metaphysical questions about worlds opening up to solicitous subjects. This book is not about the world “for us,” and not the world “in itself,” but what Eugene calls “the world without us.”


PS i'll note too that Jussi Parikka has also written an interesting review of the book for those of you who might be interested. download here http://www.radicalphilosophy.com/reviews/185-reviews

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