Well desipio1223 I’m sure there are already a number of ancient demons following us around just for having read the book. We helped to fuel their existence by the power we gave them reading about them. They’ll be haunting me for a while… ;)
Orangsphynx, ‘ppreciate the offer, but I’d like to tackle a couple of other pressing, more enjoyable things before undertaking the sequel, like having my gums scraped, pull weeds in the garden, and complete my last project. Thanks again for the heads-up, though. I can imagine being followed by a Greek Chorus if I did ever get around to reading this. ;)
Having finished Cyclonopedia and reflected more on the class discussion from yesterday, I can say with full confidence the book has digested for me. (As an update, Student won this challenge.) Granted, I didn’t understand a good third of the novel but that is okay.
I love that you posted that pic of the fertility statue! A huge statue like this was up for sale at an auction of ancient things in Hellboy 2. I was going to post such a picture but saw you already had. The age of such statues is amazing! It is about as simple,fundamental, and symbolic as you can get, which is what I think was an aim in the novel. To show how ancient things can be seen in and are still relevant for today. After all, everything is just one form of dust or another…
I’ve enjoyed reading Cyclonopedia, in the way one might enjoy a weirdly entertaining horror movie (by the way, thanks to everyone who posted the fun clips from Phantoms), and I do think it’s brilliant at times. This quote from “freelance critic” Jonathan McCalmont sums up what I think is interesting about the book:
“Cyclonopedia …embodies an academic culture where impenetrability, the playful use of data from other disciplines and indifference to objective truth are not hidden secrets but standard operating procedure. However, what is even more enjoyable about this book as a piece of guerrilla methodology is that Negarestani is not chiding the cultural studies for its wayward values… he is positively celebrating them. Cyclonopedia presents Theory as a form of artistic creation where words and images combine in obscure and unexpected manners in order to produce works of obscure but terrifying beauty.”
At times, however, I’ve been arrested by what I view as a strong current of misogyny in Cyclonopedia,in which productivity is equated with contamination, and contamination is specifically embodied as feminine. This complex of associations runs throughout all we’ve read of the book so far, but it’s especially apparent in the sections entitled “The Dead Mother of All Contagions” and “Mistmare.”
These characters are from The Brak Show which used to run on adult swim on cartoon network. What could they possibly have to do with our class? Why a connection to Cyclonopedia of course! Its the answer to all of life’s mysteries! ;)
On page 181 begins a section on decay, or “the undercover softness” matter experiences. Thundercleese (the robot) has a very deep quote when Brak says he doesn’t have time to speak with him. He says “Time is an abstract concept created by carbon-based life-forms to monitor their ongoing decay”. Brilliant. From the day we are born, we are dying. We were never created and we will never be destroyed, but only continue to alter and change from one state of matter to another.
The description of Angra-Maynu on page 189 of Cyclonopedia reminded me of this character from the first Hellboy movie. His name is Karl Ruprecht Kroenen. For those who haven’t seen the movie (shame on you) he was a Nazi assassin for Hitler and kept alive through the magic of Rasputin, a famed Russian sorcerer. He had an addiction to surgery, having his eyelids, and lips removed.
Relating to another topic in the novel, his blood had long run dry and he was full of dust and run by clockwork gears. This brings to question the definitions of life, death, and will. If we are dust and return to dust do we merely act on the thing-power contained in the dust of which we are composed?
All the dust talk reminded me of a “fact” I remember hearing when I was younger: that a high percentage of “dust” is human skin cells. A gross idea that goes great with this book. Here is an article about it…
“Reducing to dust is thus neither a monotheistic oversimplification nor a reduction. It minimally denotes a process by which a new people are liberated from the authorial Whole (the structure, the body, the creation) as it degenerates into dust. Everything that has resided within and has never…
The important stuff, closely related to what we are reading and discussing in Cyclonopedia, begins at 3:15. It shows the “living oil” and talks about how it lives and learns and changes. It absorbs knowledge from the people and things it feeds on. It also thinks it is a god or demon (similar to the status of oil in the book). A very interesting idea…