New Release: The Isle of Lazaretto

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Mors Mystica: Black Metal Theory Symposium (forthcoming, 2015)

Mors Mystica: Black Metal Theory Symposium. Edited by Edia Connole and Nicola Masciandaro.

Only that person who says: My soul chooses hanging, and my bones death can truly embrace this fire . . . for it is absolutely true that no one can see me and live.

– Bonaventure, The Journey of the Mind into God

In this endless extreme tomb of weeping sadness, / I am embraced by the cosmic force of night.

– Inquisition, Into the Infernal Regions of the Ancient Cult

A collection of essays based on the proceedings of Mors Mystica, a black metal theory symposium taking place at St. Vitus Bar in Brooklyn on 25 April 2015. Focusing on the theme of mystical death (ego death, annihilation of the mind/self, fana, man-o-nash), the writings offer diverse theoretical exposures of the living intersection between mysticism and black metal.


Autonomy of Death, Nothing Like This – Daniel Colucciello Barber

Ablaze in the Bath of Fire – Brad Baumgartner

‘Don’t worry Kyoko (Mummy’s Only Looking for Her Hand in the Snow)’ – Charlie Blake

Xenharmonic Black Metal: Radical Intervallics as Apophatic Ontotheology – Brooker Buckingham

Seven Propositions On the Secret Kissing of Black Metal: OSKVLVM – Edia Connole

The Day of My Death Had Finally Arrived – Simon Critchley

Following the Stench: Watain and Putrefaction Mysticism – Drew Daniel

‘It’s a suit! It’s ME!’: Hyper-Star and Hyper-Hero through Black Sabbath’s Iron Man  – Caoimhe Doyle & Katherine Foyle

dying to find I was never there – Teresa Gillespie

Mycelegium – James Harris

The Perichoresis of Music, Art, and Philosophy – Hunter Hunt Hendrix

How Dead is a Corpse-Painted Face? Patterns of a Visual Mysticism – Dominik Irtenkauf

Memoriam – Ed Keller

Floating Tomb: On Inquisition – Nicola Masciandaro

On Darkness Itself – Niall W. R. Scott

The Tongue-Tied Mystic: Aaaarrrgghhh! Fuck Them! Fuck You! – Gary J. Shipley

Sirr – Ulku Tekten

Black Bile – Eugene Thacker

This Place is A Tomb: Infinite Terror in Darkspace– Dylan Trigg

Serial Killing: A Philosophical Anthology (forthcoming, 2015)

Serial Killing: A Philosophical Anthology 

Edited by Edia Connole & Gary J. Shipley




Beauty is desired in order that it may be befouled; not for its own sake, but for the joy brought by the certainty of profaning it.
– Georges Bataille

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, and my ways are not your ways.
– Isaiah 55:8

… Betrayal means breaking ranks and going off into the unknown.
– Milan Kundera

Betrayal as necessity. The betrayer as a father who lets his son fall without catching him, to teach him the cruelties of the world … akin to [the] description of holy men and gurus, who are said to have a coldness that comes from their holiness, ‘as impersonal as nature itself,’ echoing the chaos of creation.
– Samara Hennett

I did not feel bad. I did not feel evil.
– Dennis Nilsen

James Douglas: Is there evil in the world?

Baba: No, there is nothing like evil.

Douglas: What do you mean?

Baba: There is nothing except bliss everywhere.

Douglas: How could that be?

Baba: In reality, that is the case.

Douglas: Then how would you explain the thousand and one evils in the world, such as theft, murder, rape, treachery, dishonesty, immorality, torture? Can these wickednesses not be considered as evils?

Baba: Not necessarily.

Douglas: Then what do you call them? What are these to be considered?

Baba: They are more or less of a degree of good itself.

Douglas: Oh God, how wonderful. Why couldn’t the poets and metaphysicians have explained it in such a straightforward and intelligible manner?

Baba: As I have said, there is nothing but bliss in the world. What the world calls evil is an extremely lower aspect of good.

Douglas: Of course, of course. How easy. Why the people of the world cannot understand such a simple thing is surprising. Could you enlighten us as to when the world will understand this simple truth?

Baba: When its angle of vision has changed.

Douglas: But when?

Baba: It is going on internally.
– Meher Baba interview with James Douglas

There was a man who was a great murderer. In his life he murdered 99 people. One day he felt very depressed and sick of it all. So he went to the Buddha and frankly and openly confessed before him all his crimes, adding that he was feeling most dejected and wanted to end it all. The Buddha told him to go and sit by the side of a certain road and think of him. The murderer did so. Years passed.

One day, while he was sitting there thinking of the Buddha, a rider came by, stopped before him, and told him to move aside. The man refused, and the rider started lashing him with his whip. Instantly reverting back to his old ways, the man pulled the rider from his horse and stabbed him. He killed him. However, at that very moment, the man realised God.

The rider was carrying on his person a message from one king to another ordering the death of one hundred spies. By saving the exact number of lives that he had murdered, his good and bad sanskaras balanced. The man, of course, did not know all this, and was only thus saved by the Buddha because the Master knew.

Therefore, if you obey implicitly and unquestioningly, you win, because, whereas your conception is limited, the Master knows all, and gives you just what is best for you.
– Meher Baba

… The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
Because each has been sent
As a guide from beyond.
– Jalal al-din Rumi

[Religious ecstasy] begins where horror is sloughed off.
– Georges Bataille

The supposed grotesqueries of murder are nothing but auto-conspiracies designed to have us remain comfortably wallowed in our own rot, dancing and singing the odour of putrefaction (the embodiment of it), instead of drowning each breath in the perfume of sphacelation, aware to our mortified condition and born anew from it.
– Gary J. Shipley


2. CFP

What Bataille once termed the ‘horror of philosophy,’ to refer to the dread felt by philosophers when making abstract claims of thought, has been taken-up by Eugene Thacker to refer more specifically to a fundamental unknowing embedded in the fabric of existence, suggesting the impossibility of our ever comprehending it. For Thacker, as for Bataille, this inherent dread moves the question of existence beyond the grasp of philosophy into the realm of religious and mystical ecstasy where, once sloughed off, along with human-centric concerns regarding morality – ‘psychology, desire, motive, free will, and so on’ – horror becomes, in this ‘radically singular self/world-negation,’ what Nicola Masciandaro, after Meher Baba and Rumi above, would term ‘individualized salvation or God realization.’

The oeuvre of each of these thinkers, in its own disparate way, serves to suggest that the holy exists at the site of the most profane. Uniting their thought is a religious intuition that extends back to pre-modernity, to mystical anatheistic texts that see a sacred excess emerging from the play of opposites. On the other hand, the bodily signature of this excess has become for some nothing more than the stigma of the profane everyday openness of everybody in modernity’s ‘wound culture’: ‘the public fascination with torn and open bodies, with torn and open persons’ arising from the intersection of private desire and public fantasy in a society based on the spectacle of atrocity. (Seltzer)

Central to the movement of the wound expressed, from sacred signature to serial kitsch, is the emergence in modernity of a ‘new’ ontological type and continuum, serial killing. Bound up with popular notions of the body-machine-image complex endemic to our digital culture, with its unremitting flow of codes, numbers and letters, the serial killer is said to represent a fundamental break with pre-modern thought and culture; specifically, with the scholastic notion of haeccitas, that which accounts for the individuality of an individual or the individuation of different members of a species. And yet, the most popular refrain in this regard pertaining to the devoid, anonymous, impersonal nature and character of the killer – ‘living composites,’ ‘minus men,’ whose methods of ‘material transportation (bodies) and message transportation’ bottom out in a flat ontology or desire for total unity, of direct fusion with nature or with an indistinct mass of others: ‘a mixing of flesh in a common flame and single unity of ashes … a uniform anonymous corporation cemetery’ [Nilsen]) – mirrors the self/world-negation sought by the pre-modern mystical tradition, what Bataille would term the indifferent world of ‘continuity,’ or ‘divinity.’ Understood thus, the dead-leveling, depersonalization and ambivalent dread that characterizes serial killing unshackles its art from well-worn media tropes, and maps the incomprehensibility of its methods onto questions of ontology, ecology and economy through corporeality, connecting individual dynamics of hope, fear and horror to larger scale environmental, planetary and cosmic dynamics of the same order.

In sum, while a great deal has been written on the subject of serial killers, very little has been written alongside them, approaching them as they approach us: without recourse to any of the usual courtesies or mercies, taking what they want, leaving behind new signatures in what remains. The point here, then, is not to construct further taxonomies, or to pin these killers down like so many zoological specimens, but to put their logos and their methods to use, to open them up not merely to observe their workings, but in order that we might fearlessly climb inside.



Dock Angus Ramsay Currie – Capital’s Chic Dismemberment: Luka Magnotta and Aggregations of Socio-Cognitive Damage

Charlie Blake – Dreamcancer

Fred Botting – Bataille’s Vampire

Brooker Buckingham – Gilles de Rais and the Theatrics of Excess

Daniel Colucciello Barber – Killing Positions: Metarelationality and Nonrelationality

Edia Connole – The Heresy of Annihilationism: Nick Land and Dennis Nilsen

Caoimhe Doyle & Katherine Foyle – ‘I’ve Brought You Here Too Soon’: Scenes from the Cathedral of Hate

Paul J. Ennis – On the Road with Jack

Anthony Faramelli – Amour Fou and the Ecstasy Of Destruction (or Love in Neo-Liberal Times)

Brad Feuerhelm – Murderabilia

Florin Flueras (Unsorcery) – Dreaming the End of Dreaming

Dominic Fox – Killing Spree!

Johannes Göransson – Atrocity Kitsch: The Necroglamour of Poetry

Jairus Grove – A Mind with a Taste for Murder

Hunter Hunt-Hendrix – Genesis Caul as Primordial Wound

Amy Ireland & Lendl Barcelos – DEATH SPRITZ

Dominik Irtenkauf – Anthropicide: An Ecology of Equalizing Death

Jesse Jones – Title Tbc

Ed Keller – Title Tbc

Sam Keogh – Title Tbc

Heather Masciandaro – Words in Blood, Like Flowers

Nicola Masciandaro – Thrilling Divine Romance

Dan Mellamphy – Sur-{la}-réalité des portraits cloués aux murs durs: Being an Essay on Becoming Holey

Fintan Neylan – On the Serial Destruction of Worlds

Paul O’Brien – Auschwitz, Animal Rights and Human Sacrifice

David Peak – Writing from the heart: puncture wounds and viral murder

Alina Popa (Unsorcery) – Title Tbc

David Roden – Inhuman Seduction

Niall W. R. Scott – So let it be written, A Creeping Death of Phagocytotic Chronapoptosis and the self that kills the other that the self created, slowly

Gary J. Shipley – Visceral Incredulity, or Serial Killing as Necessary Anathema

Alice Lucy Rekab – Title Tbc

Aspasia Stephanou – Exquisite Corpse

Will Stronge – They are dead. They remain dead. And I have killed them: Bataille’s Philosophy of Being

The Bureau of Melodramatic Research – Title Tbc

Frank Wasser – ELLIE

Scott Wilson – The Desire of the Corpse: Coupling with the Void

Ben Woodard – A Great and Downward Hunt: The Serial Co-Primordiality of Geology and Geo-Trauma

Tony Yanick – Serial Killing, or just Deleuzean Nonsense?