the conversations

20: The Dictatorship of the Factual

“If there is to be any basis for solidarity, much more intensity is required. Firstly, to salvage and revitalise, and then to acquire full comprehension of the cohesive energy that binds the different elements our mistaken beliefs have disconnected from the primal origin. And then to synchronise that energy with the alienated environment in which it was lost.” — Nadezhda Kharitonov, Alien Republic

I was sent from the future. Any verbal object was a tool of the imagination. I was writing from within the essence of things, but the centre would not hold, so I related the following…

Nasrul was consenting and often anecdotal. He was aware that his collaboration with the author was in both their interests. Nevertheless, in making the golden choice, he was denying the cost of life or death and leaving behind the need to survive as a character. He had no belief in evaluation or development and had abandoned the mental effort to grasp the fact of time some time ago. None of this entailed withdrawal or disinterest. On the contrary, it enabled a fuller penetration and excavation of the great unknown.

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19: Beacon & Vessel

“Allow me the pleasure of your destruction.” — Agapios Stojanov, Bonds

The world inhabited by Nasrul was one in which the rationales of quantification and categorisation were dominant throughout all forms of human action and interaction. His life was experienced by its readers both within and outside this novel, but less via his character than his status as transmitter of the novel’s primary superstitions, yet his absence as a coherent character and his mysterious presence as an anomalous cipher meant that the novel had no conceptual form. Rather than possessing a core integral message as a communicating vessel, whatever was communicated was unknown / anomalous.

One accurate impression that was conveyed was of N as the last man standing. The one who best portrayed N was YOU, but YOU could not realistically expect to fulfil all the requirements of the main character by recourse to facts.

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18: The Great Homunculus

“I see its eyes as they move in its head and on to me. I feel it looking at me. I feel that it apprehends the very nature of my being and at the same time transmits its own. I move, but I cannot move from its sight. Happily, I am transfixed.” — Jodi Stroman, Gimmicks

The new era had unleashed a new evil: the birth of the Great Homunculus. As the buzzword left the mouth of the Reality TV presenter it was quickly absorbed into the brains of the watchers. Some concern was shown for a rabbit hole. It lead to the tomb of established law and order. But later in the day, the buzzword was rediscovered on the floor of the interrogation room, scrawled on an ancient repeat prescription.

The cybernetic fantasy had become the template for a new kind of unreality. Pseudoscience had brought the human population into unerring compliance with the social body. All those under the rule of the economy were forgotten. Society’s gods were factual data that were fabricated, re-constructed and replicated by the available machines. Automation provided freedom of expression under the rule of the economy. There would be no need to compete for survival because the thing called society would be ruled over by the majority and finally reach TOTAL DEMOCRACY.

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17: The Entertrainment Consultancy

“In utilising the audio-visual-spatial ability it is possible to affect a trance through which the cognitive restructuring takes place, leading to almost infinite modes of perception and expression. However, it is important to work with human nature rather than against it, and to practice patience, discipline and trial and error.”— Danica Klossner, New Frontiers in the Practice of Psychology

I was attempting to write the definitive article when some kinda energy association happened. Must’ve been my carnivorous soul recalibrating the diagnostic entrances.

The Entertrainment Consultancy had formed a general consensus that gave superficial material power to the survival of functions via the use value of the names of things but not their meanings. The tyranny of the obvious had made organic substance, being, thought and objects serve the separate illusions of free choice. People and things were representations of functions rather than vessels of imagination.

Time was distorted. In the reflection zone, artificial parallels were engendered between communications, making them appear to correlate with each other to the extent that they matched almost exactly and therefore cancelled each other out.

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16: No Signal

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“The best way to kill a snake is to set a lethal trap.” — Barber Coleman, Into the Outback, a Survival Guide for the Adventurous

The tyranny of chatterers and tattletales had to be overthrown. But even anti-narrative had to have a narrator. The language of transaction was disingenuous, so the problem’s solution would have to be the same as that of the non-self.

In this episode, after a meeting with unity, misrule, phantasmagoria, and various anomalous artefacts, we would be met with a seer whose un-knowledge would finally unravel the confusion engendered by the sign of “no signal”.

While the Social Bureaucrat Party distributed indicators of generally accepted behaviour, the Identity Study confirmed terra firma as the prime location—not ideology, and far less consciousness. Those who claimed they were changing the paradigm and disrupting the status quo were the Party apparatchiks and FreeDomination’s corporate flunkies. So, Nas knew his escape from the factory-prison was bound to be imminent. (more…)

15: At the Zero-Core

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“Without touching each other we lay on the quilt and watched the dawn. The blissfulness I felt might overwhelm me. Nothing I could say would be with words.” — Rick Lindsay, The Lapis Daybook

When the impulse occurred to write sensibly there was always a certain risk involved because many people tended to look at writing as if it were information or a set of instructions. This was before the discovery of its unknown properties when writing was co-opted by narrative.

You may have said that freedom was a carrot or an apple, but its most sacred duty was to trust the truth of fiction which is the spinal fluid of poetry. There was plenitude and substance at the Zero-Core, deep underground, where deadly impermanence had been solved by the negative theology of the anti-narrative.

In the following passages are recounted days and nights that flourished in the wonder of uncontrolled joy. (more…)

14: Joy & Play, Uncontrolled

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“I have always felt driven to write about how our co-existence as a species is vital. We should recognise all the ways we can enhance and celebrate it. But at the same time, I find myself to be quite implacable. All I desire is contradictory and fantastical. The strange and quixotic, the uncertain: that’s where my real passions lie.” — Francis Hernández, Natural Receptors, Interviews with Karl Gruber, 1979-93

All narrative was false narrative. This was the antidote. This was anti-narrative.

Attempting to assess the numerical correspondences between comings and goings in the library scholarly prejudice had the nasty habit of interfering with the calculation.

On the night of the Sabbath volumes of the classics had been incinerated, and the revolutionary texts reinstated. Weaponised play had become the disorder of the day.

“There hasn’t been a mistake.”

The totalising urge of the orthodoxy was shown up for what it was: a macabre desire to protect the mythical object of the utensil.

“$120,000? How much would it be for the human?” (more…)

13: Night of the Sabbath

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“Technology proceeds by technique. In business, medicine, entertainment and so on, technologies are set in motion through the improvement of order and economic calculation and by the effort of advancing technique.” — Valerie Gaspari, Decree and Petition

The blot thickened. As the black letter was raised up to the light the invisible ink read like a key to the attic. The Cipher Agent utilised a predictive reasoning originally developed in the 1950s by the Italian mafia. She had been assigned the gruesome task of investigating the historiography of the decomposing bodies which littered the cult’s compound. But first they would have to be re-located.

“How you settling in? Everything okay?”

When the psychotherapist asked Nas what his favourite Reality TV shows were his mind went blank: white noise. (more…)

12: The Removal of the Logos

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“Preconceived ideas and buzzwords are represented by hypnotic devices for the cognition of purpose which coerces and fixes the senses of things and the connotations of actions within the narrow limits of closed and absolute systems of rationalization.” — Julianne Fortuin, Cognitive Markets

As the subjective world impressed itself Nas found himself unimpressed. It was as though he had been afforded the privilege of that special allotment known as “inner space” as a sanctuary or consolation away from the intimations of power. But it was all so unconvincing. The more he contemplated the nature of subjectivity it showed itself up time and time again as fictitious, as did power.

While floating in the algorithmic floatation sphere it became apparent that no-one could ever hope to achieve much with algorithms, except maybe in non-fiction stories calculated to ground the self-narrativising subject into the ground, which might have been of some use or other, but it was either a quarter past six in the evening or the morning and already the cloudless sky was as still and clear as day. (more…)

11: Fiction is Stranger than Truth

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“We live in Utopia amongst the shells of the un-dead, / Unseen behind the veils of empire’s walls. / The emperors kill for pleasure and spoils of war bring them bread, / But we have made the laws that bring their fall.” — Gordon Pearce-Lonsdale, Collected Poems, 1924-1977

Technocrats in smart rooms were asleep and dreaming in barcodes and serial numbers, arguing that the end of history and the end of society had brought more effective securitization and a more sustainable repackaging of the consumerist catastrophe with their branding schemes: FreeDomination, Leaphonine, Equipole, etc.

Those kinds of intellectual gymnastics recalled the triteness of that well-known 1960s Pop Art collage by Feigenbaum of the revisionist Joseph Stalin in 1942 as a Buddha with armalite rifles sprouting from his handlebar moustache.

Branding was what used to be done to slaves and livestock but now there were prized consumers to think about, more worthy jobs, enhanced revenue streams and much improved documentation. Also, convenient social media apps that would eradicate needless barriers to communication. (more…)

10: Equipole

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“I am not dead because I was never born. I did not live, and I never died. I am the living death that resides at the center of the world.” — Master Qiang Myeong-Suk, The Unvanquished

If the language of this “novel” was to function at optimal level, this alone would be insufficient proof that words are sounds represented by artificial symbols rather than units of communication.

They could be both, Nas figured. Words were noises, grunts and tribal signs that masqueraded as communication which meant that they must be under the control of certain shady operators for the prophet. Naturally, this implied that another form of justice would have to be enacted so that the illusion of power would be removed from the repressive order of the written and spoken. (more…)

9: Surrender to the Movement, Eros

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“I am a nuisance / I am a pest / When it comes to the worst / I am the best / I am the reason / You can’t reply / Cause the answer you’d give / I would deny” – Naii Chatak, Whoreticulture

Edward did not believe the anti-narrative. It was hogwash. Yet something about the novelty of it all appealed to his mustard and puce-green intelligence as it fed into a crude notion about timelessness he’d earlier toyed with and discarded, so he decided to investigate further. He comforted himself in the knowledge that this was comforting.

Suddenly, there was joy in birdsong and the approach of Spring. He squirted a lemon onto a dish of plaice, fell on the couch and surveilled his reading materials…

The Rules of Literature (more…)

8: Enter the Great Unknown

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“By dint of its literal form, a symbol is a representation of a symbol and other than what it is said to indicate.” — Fadia Bulus, Untold Signs

The chequered floor of the Freemasons gleamed with triple action Flash in the evening around 9 o’clock after a maid scoured the room.

“This way lies paranoia. This way you either know too much or too little. I want someone to haunt me.”

The narrativising subject surveilled its reading materials: “The more I read, the more I know.” (more…)

7: How to Break Algorithms

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“Under the rule of the algorithm, all modes of cognition and communication are manipulated, categorised and quantified to promote the dominant ideology of financialization. There is currently no parallel or alternative system to undermine or replace it.” — Yakim Janović, Dystopia Ltd

Art was pregnant with artificial intelligence. But intelligence had always been artificial anyway, despite its humanity.

The seven sensors raised their ugly heads. They’d been trans-mutated by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Biographia Literaria, but the rationalist purveyors of ideology served education. (more…)

6: The Image is Dead

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“As contradictions may be considered true and false at once, those closest to fiction usually tend to be the more precise, fiction being the prima mobile encompassing all that is factual in the naming of images and ideas.” — Mileva Martin, Clandestine Misdemeanors

To you the image was not dead. You saw literal forms in colours and structures as if their designs were of matchless purity. But the imagistic reproduction of a humanistic aesthetic profile which you fancied had social or political meaning was null and void.

The image was dead but to you the image was not dead.
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5: Paradise is Where I Am

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“The accretion of delusions engendered by the myths of capital and labor imposes a diabolical doctrine of competition and respectability which amplifies commodification to no end.” — Eugénie Villiers, The Meta-Psyche of Capital and Labor

On a bright cold day in April, in a land where everybody forgot technology equalled control, machine personae deepfaked the human category. It was not self-evident.

Their realness going forward pixel by pixel, bystanders began to take on the appearance of houses. Little fortresses were shielded against the elements. In the shelter of wayward appetites, structures of organic / machinic toil — produce — were couched in fabric, offset against buildings observing each other in the environment in queues and lanes and clusters. Plots of land divided into units each attached to different pairs of hands.

“Is identity the same as character?” wondered N.

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