A Strange Subject: X-Fiction II

A Strange Subject: X-Fiction II

Glenn Wallis

January 5, Tuesday, 6-9 PM EST

This seminar is the fourth in an ongoing series. It is for members of Incite Seminars. To become a member, please visit our Patreon page.

In this session, we will continue with our presentations, discussions, and collective brainstorming. As we stubble through (there is no other way!) our non-x work, I think it will be useful to read Anthony Paul Smith’s “Fabulation, or Non-Philosophy as Philo-Fiction.” It is the first item listed in the bibliography below.

Please email me at gw@glennwallis.com if you would like to present. I would also be very happy to meet with you individually on Zoom before the 5th to brainstorm. Let me know!

Each generation invents new practices and new writings of philosophy. Ours should have been able to introduce certain mutations that would at least be equivalent with those of cubism, abstract art, and twelve-tone serialism: it has only partially done so. But after all the deconstructions, after Wittgenstein, Heidegger, and Derrida, this demand takes on a different dimension: What do we do with philosophy itself? How do we globally change our relation to this thought, which keeps indicating that it is increasingly conservative and repetitive? —François Laruelle

Laruelle adds that “These two questions together have prompted what we call ‘non-philosophy.’” I think we can be more specific and claim that they have prompted the non-philosophical practice of philofiction; namely, “the invention of new usages of thought and language that disrupt the rational narrative of the real.”

The “fictional” character of these inventions does not lie in their newly rendered fanciful or purely imaginative form. Rather, Laruelle is clear that he derives the practice from”the ‘fictionalist’ school of mathematics, where the warring ontological commitments of traditional debates are eliminated by taking up a stance of hypothetical ‘acceptance’ with regard to the implications of the various objects they propose.” (See the Mary Leng article below.) This practice is driven by the question: how might the material be liberated from the “punctilious gaze” of tradition, and rendered fit for the human, rather than, as tradition insists, the human rendered fit for it?

In this session, we will engage in the creative re-description of some material of your choice (called “x-material” here) along the lines of Laruelle’s philofiction. His basic definition is that “philofiction is a genre parallel to science-fiction, a lowering of dogmatics and of philosophical axiomatics to the state of fiction.” In non-philosophy, this genre is considered to be optimally “radicalized” and thus rendered “rigorous” because it involves (i) the cancellation of the principle of x-sufficiency and (ii) the “axiomatizing” of the Real. These two moves alone result in the depotentialization of authoritative forms of thought and practice, thereby opening them up to our rather than their usages.

This practice can also be thought of as modeling. It can be performed with material from any expressive medium whatsoever: photography, poetry, religious doctrine, ritual manual, liturgy, mystical assertions, philosophical discourse, psychoanalytic case studies, aesthetic prescriptions and propositions, historiography, literature, and beyond. We should note that non-philosophical fictionalization does not entail creating fictions of or about some material. It involves, rather, rendering x according to the muted material. Finally, our x-fictional engagement follows from, and so assumes, a prior critical uncovering of the material’s identity using non-philosophical concepts.

Below is a brief bibliography. It is intended to stimulate ideas and strategies. Read or skim or spot-check or skip over the readings as you feel drawn. Texts with an asterisk * are, or include, actual x-fictions.


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