Black Bedlam

by Rohit Lekhi

What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow 

Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man, 

You cannot say, or guess, for you know only 

A heap of broken images, where the sun beats, 

And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief, 

And the dry stone no sound of water. Only 

There is a shadow under this read rock, 

(Come in under the shadow of this red rock), 

And I will show you something different from either 

Your shadow at morning striding beside you 

Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you; 

I will show you fear in a handful of dust.

T.S.Eliot, The Waste Land

Eliot's invitation to behold the darkside is emblematic of a modernity that is always already putrefying. The darkside is not modernity's shadow, not its Other, the darkside cannot be reclaimed at sunset. The 'Son of man' cannot reference that for which he is not pivotal, that which eludes his regulative framework. Beyond there is only fear, modernity's fear - fear, loathing, contempt - Welcome to the Terrordome.

In the Waste Land 'the dead tree gives no shelter, no relief, no sound of water. Arboresence is death. The tree is ever more burdened - the White Man's burden - the centre must be reinforced - pathological state consumption is the only response. And as if obeying some logarithmic formula, the distinction between the centre and its burden becomes imperceptible. And the shadow - albeit astride - is recovered at dusk with elemental regularity. But paranoia and neurosis are by now endemic - something eludes totalisation - it can only be known by fear - by now, that fear is almost uncontrollable. Welcome to the Terrordome.

Identity is photographic image - positive and negative film - transparencies overlaid dissolve into blackness - blackness is Self-immolation.

The roots of blackness are strangulating. Predatory war machines accelerating through the jungle - uprooting arboreal sedimentation - mongrelising 'authenticity'. Feral improvisation displaces arboreal code with a revolutionary - almost cataclysmic - velocity. Speed kills! - the war machine invents absolute speed (Deleuze and Guattari: 386).

Accelerate through the de-industrialised cyberia of Detroit, Michi(ne)g(u)n. All that remains of the motor city are decaying monuments to the Rustbelt.

Sedimentation is suicide. But sedimentary death is slow and lingering - the centre screams ever louder, ever more anguished - desperate to replenish - to reterritorialize - through violence and coercion. But blackness always eludes this moment - its is always already beyond sedimentation. Blackness is not a state of being, only of doing.

Blackness refuses ontology - refuses the photographic moment of subjugation. That moment is always past. The centre territorializes the past in the present. But always the present is past. The future is all there ever is. There is only ever t+1 - and only blackness exists here. No beginning, no end, no directional impulse - only ever movement in time.

"What will make that current flow into words?" asks Irigaray, "It is multiple devoid of causes, meanings, simple qualities. Yet is cannot be decomposed...There rivers flow into no definitive sea. These streams are without fixed banks, this body without fixed boundaries. This unceasing mobility. This life - which will perhaps be called our restlessness, whims, pretence, or lies." (Irigaray: 215)

The sedimented identarianism of the Self-Other is always already past - deconstruction has no place in the future. In the future there is only noise. Mongrelised noise - re-mixed and re-spliced into epileptic intensities that are never known - only encountered. Thought is stretched/ reversed/accelerated noise - fu(n)cked-up schizo.

Arborescence demands silence - anti-cult de-programming techniques must be executed. Delete the future - surrender to the centre - postpone Armageddon. Yet, as Baudrillard says, "Everything has already become nuclear, faraway, vaporised. The explosion has already occurred: the bomb is only a metaphor now. What more do you want?" (Baudrillard). Slavery, imperialism and brutalising racism is always in effect. This is the future...

The future is black.