Published in 2008, Cyclonopedia, Reza Negarestani's 'so-called novel' (as the author himself puts it), is a simultaneously philosophical, literary and theoretical text which inscribed itself (or rather was inscribed) into the then-embryonic production of texts within the literary genre of theory-fiction and defining it in a significant way. The impressive cast of elements and entities from ancient mythologies and from theologies related to the Middle East is intertwined with contemporary oil politics, addressing for example the War on Terror and US imperialism, and is linked to highly complex philosophical concepts, ranging from textual fragments of the Cybernetic Culture Research Unit (CCRU) to a discussion of chapters from Gilles Deleuze’s and Félix Guattari's A Thousand Plateaus to an examination of 'Anonymous Materials' in terms of geopolitics, physics and capitalism. All of this takes place against the background of a cinematic gore that is meta-referentially engraved in the text.
Although recently described as 'Reza’s somewhat abandoned child’ (Xenogothic, Cyclonopedia Hypercodex, 2020) – Negarestani’s approach to writing and philosophy has significantly changed since the release of Cyclonopedia in 2008 – the text continues to linger: Just like inorganic demons you can’t get rid of once they’ve latched onto you, like bodies decaying but never dying, its influence and relevance simply doesn’t fade. The self-referential 'actualization’ of Cyclonopedia's inventory can be traced back to its insidious modes of narrativation: The text must be read through its innumerable plot-holes, which are generated by strategies of unreliable narration, self-reflection, auto-fiction, pseudo-authorship, and above all, hidden writing.
‘As a reading model for structures or formations with a degenerate whole, Hidden Writing corresponds to the dynamics of emergence and the perforated architecture of middle-eastern formations. In fact, Hidden Writing is a model of complicity with ( )hole complex - it suggests we read stories through their plot holes. If texts with narrative plots and wholesome structures are read and written according to disciplines and procedures conforming to their configurations, then perforated structures, degenerate formations and plot holes must have reading and writing methodologies of their own.’ (Cyclonopedia, p. 60)
In the seminar we will examine these modes of narrativation and pursue the question of what it means to ‘read middle-eastern events in connection to “The World” (the visible or base plot) […]’. (Cyclonopedia, p. 61) This research question, which in Cyclonopedia alone spreads out in innumerable directions, is equally intended to be an instrument for inspecting and dissecting political events and formations of our present, such as US and European oil and migration policy, Islamophobia, QAnon, New-Right, Trump and COVID-19. Our approach is to analyze the unknown implications and consequences of current global developments with and through Cyclonopedia – as Negarestani states himself: To experiment with literature can function as a means to 'inventing new ways of knowing’.
Please register via e-mail and briefly explain what interests you most about the seminar: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
In preparation: Take a look at the highly-referential preceding text part 'Incognitum Hactenus', watch one of the films mentioned and read one or more sections from the chapter 'Bacterial Archeology’. Additionally, follow Reza Negarestani on Twitter.