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Melancology: Black Metal Theory Symposium II

Posted: Monday 12 Jul 2010
by Wilson 5 comments


Black Metal Theory Symposium II

13 January 2011

The Fighting Cocks

Old London Road

Kingston-upon-Thames, London


Another gathering dedicated to the mutual blackening of metal and theory


12.30 – 1pm Registration

1pm Scott Wilson, London Graduate School, Kingston University, , ‘Introduction to Melancology’

1.15 Nicola Masciandaro, Brooklyn College, CUNY, ‘Wormsign’;
Aspasia Stephanou, University of Stirling, ‘Black Sun-Blank Metal Perversion’;
Drew Daniel, John Hopkins University, ‘Towards the Re-Occultation of Black Blood’

2.15 Amelia Ishmael, School of the Art Institute, Chicago, ‘Metal’s Formless Presence in Contemporary Art’
Ben Woodard, European Graduate School, ‘Irreversible Sludge: Troubled Energetics, Eco-purification and Self-Inhumanization’
Reza Negarestani, ‘_________’

Brief Drinking Break

3.30 Steven Shakespeare, Liverpool Hope University, ‘A Machine for Breaking Gods: Unity, Nature and Ritual in US Black Metal’
Liviu Mantescu, Max Planck Institute, Cologne, ‘Suddenly, life lost new meaning: Melancology as another new age metaphor for transcendental encounters’
Dominik Irtenkauf, Muenster, ‘To the Mountains or: rocking against melancholy. The implications of black metal’s geophilosophy’

4.30 Elliot A. Jarbe, University North Western Ontario, ‘Beyond Melancology: Hüzüncology and the Thymotic’
Hager Weslati, London Graduate School, ‘Going to Hell in Northern Deserts’
Evan Calder Williams, UC Santa Cruz, ‘The hot wet breath of extinction’

5.30 Eugene Thacker, New School, NY, ‘Sound of the Abyss’

6.15 The Black Buffet and longer drinking break

8pm Niall Scott, University of Central Lancashire, ‘Blackening the Green: concluding remarks and Introduction to Abgott’

8.15 Abgott (Live performance)

Throughout the day:
Mark Patrick Oughton, ‘’Visions of Kali: Attack Sustain Release’ (Video installation)

Live Act


‘Earthly thought embraces perishability (i.e. cosmic contingency) as its immanent core …. such perishability … grasps the openness of Earth towards the cosmic exteriority not in terms of concomitantly vitalistic / necrocratic correlations (as the Earth’s relationship with the Sun) but alternative ways of dying and loosening into the cosmic abyss … The only true terrestrial ecology is the one founded on the unilateral nature of cosmic contingency against which there is no chance of resistance – there are only opportunities for drawing schemes of complicity.’ …

‘Hence, the Cartesian dilemma, “What course in life shall I follow?” should be

bastardized as “Which way out shall I take?”’

Reza Negarestani, ‘Solar Infernal and the earthbound Abyss’


Black metal irrupts from a place already divested of nature, a site of extinction, ‘a place empty of life / Only dead trees …’ (Mayhem, ‘Funeral Fog’, 1992); ‘Our skies are forever black / Here is no signs of life at all’ (Deathspell Omega, ‘From Unknown Lands of Desolation’, 2005). As such black metal could be described as a negative form of environmental writing; the least Apollonian of genres, it is terrestrial – indeed subterranean and infernal – inhabiting a dead forest that is at once both mythic and real unfolding along an atheological horizon that marks the limit of absolute evil where there are no goods or resources to distribute and therefore no means of power and domination, a mastery of nothing.

A new word is required that conjoins ‘black’ and ‘ecology’: melancology, a word in which can be heard the melancholy affect appropriate to the conjunction. A new word implies a new concept and we know from Deleuze and Guattari that concepts have to fulfil three criteria. Accordingly, the plane of immanence of melancology is extinction and non-being. All things are destined for extinction; immanent to all being is the irreducible fact of its total negation without reserve or remainder. The development of the characteristics of melancology is to be addressed at the Symposium, of course, but there are already a number of apophasic determinations: it is not ecology, it is anorganic; it is not political economy, it is anti-instrumental; it is not love of nature, environmentalism, Gaia, geophilosophy … But it implies an ethos and a style that delineates the third aspect of the concept, its embodiment in a conceptual personae: the black metal kvltist whose ethos runs across the spectrum of melancholy from bile and rage to sorrow, depression and the delectation of evil all the better to affirm the desolation s/he contemplates in the sonorous audibility of black metal’s sovereign dissonance. This environment of absolute evil is exactly the same as the absolute good of black metal itself: the expenditure of a sonic drive that propels a blackened self-consciousness, a melancological consciousness without object that is the necessary prior condition to any speculation on or intervention in the environment.

The Black Metal Theory Symposium thus invites speculation and interventions on the blackening of the earth, landscapes of extinction, starless aeon, sempiternal nightmares, black horizons, malign essences, Qliphothic forces from beyond … in a general re-conceptualization of black ecology. 

Inquiries & abstracts to Niall Scott & Scott Wilson


  1. At 3:56 am on October 21, 2010, Exilljepjex wrote:

    interesting, bookmarked your blog!

    tablteki dlya potencii

  2. At 5:33 am on October 21, 2010, autoversicherung vergleich wrote:

    Very enlightening and beneficial to someone whose been out of the circuit for a long time.

    - Kris

  3. At 5:48 am on October 22, 2010, Exilljepjex wrote:

    Not much useful information on the blog.And the blog is slow to develop, albeit interesting.

    levitra v aptekax moskvy

  4. At 9:13 am on October 22, 2010, Scott Wilson wrote:

    Further information about Melancology including the full line up of speakers and how to register for the event will be posted in the next week. In the meantime for reviews, radio and press interviews about Black Metal Symposium I which was held in Brooklyn last year, and the resulting publication Hideous Gnosis, please see: the Black Metal Theory website:

  5. At 6:37 pm on October 22, 2010, Exilljepjex wrote:

    Because that is so urgent, here are the practical things in regard to doing this.

    kupit’ levitru pochtoj

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Thursday 09 Dec 2010
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Click here for a free audio download, 'The Government of Self and Others: On Foucault’s Lectures at the Collège de France, 1982/3', CRMEP, 2nd December...


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