NEOMEDIEVALISM and the CONFRATERNITY OF NEOFLAGELLANTS
During these Disturbing Times™ much crisis content conjectures on our apparent retrogression into post-truth condition. Are we retuning to the Dark Ages when our primitive ancestors lay dreaming under Burkhardt’s veil woven from faith and illusion? Is Trump the poster chimp for this coming re-endarkenment?
This is the apocalyptic, retro-futuristic brand of neomedievalism we choose to leave out on the sidewalk. Its tiresomely cyclical narratives adhere unquestioningly to the linear, ‘short now’ telos of modern historicism—that great, exponentially accelerating sausage machine that drives and feeds an increasingly unsustainable demand for neatly branded and packaged pasts, presents and futures. But we grow so weary of time served up sequentially as bite-sized chunks of disposable novelty. Post-postmodernity? Eugh…the carrot withers on the end of the stick.
We propose instead a polytemporal brand of ‘long now’ neomedievalism that regards periodizations such as ‘medieval’ and ‘modern’ as mutually constitutive and temporally entangled modes of existence (or worlds) rather than developmental stages along an evolutionary timeline. The neo is thus not indicative of a break with the stagnant traditions of the past (some exciting new Copernican turn or content-curatorial avant-gardism) so much as a speculative awakening to the multiplicity of pasts as active ingredients of an ever-fermenting polytemporal present. It is the cultivation of an anachronistic sensibility, a retuning of the human sensorium to the generative middles between the categorizations that produced the modern/medieval divide in the first place. Nostalgia, a modern malaise (perhaps the very condition of being modern) is transfigured from mournful alienation to enchantment. Instead of longing for (zombie) futures resurrected as (shuffling) monuments to the past we find that the past is not done with us yet. It is not so much a question of remembrance, necromancy, or homecoming but the removal of sepia tinted spectacles. With the donning of neomedieval cusps, the spectres of the past become not only visible, but also corporeal and materially available (non-zombified) agents of the long now.
Our speculative neomedievalism manifests as an untimely cosmology in correspondence with the para-modern ‘Middle Kingdom’ of Bruno Latour. In Latour’s endarkend space of continual mediation, modern epistemological binaries such as truth/fabrication, human/non-human, past/present lose their legitimacy as immutable foundations of ontological reality. This blind spot in modern thought (the expunged, hence endarkened, middle) is, paradoxically, where ‘everything happens’—entire worlds are assembled (and disassembled) through unending processes of negotiation, translation and subject-object hybridization.
It is from within this sensual hypereconomy of translatio that the techno-animist, theory-fictional worlding practices of neomedievalism gestate and take their ever-mutating forms. Unlike modern Art, these are amodern making practices that do not center the human subject as sole assembler, virtuoso conductor and final aesthetic judge of matter. To be neomedieval is to be a being of relation.Neither creating subject nor created thing. A person-object enmeshed in a hyper-economy of para-human rituals of humiltas through which all things (and times), inscribed or enfleshed, animal, vegetable or mineral, perceive and interact with one another. Like all pilgrimages, like all speculative adventures, the path is uncertain and arduous yet provides its own reward. As Deleuze and Guattari once said ‘it's not easy to see things in the middle, rather than looking down on them from above or up at them from below, or from left to right or right to left: try it, you'll see that everything changes’.
Your Confraternity Our Values.
Confraternity of Neoflagellants was founded in 2009 by Serjeant-At-Law Norman Hogg and Keeper of the Wardrobe Neil Mulholland. It is a quasi-secular, equal opportunities confraternity bound by immaculately tanned chirograph. @neoflagellants is constituted by pilgimizing person-objects dedicated to the ludic, ascetic, aesthetic and athletic sampling and propagation of live neomedieval contagions.
Your confraternity is a mouldy avatar for all our para-modern world-building, a neomedieval theory-fictioning gaster-machine, a GAN-oracle of the not-yet-MHz. As a world-building electrostatic-#gut relic-ing technology, @neoflagellants patent pending para-modern fictioning combines with gym-ripped mythopoesis to work on your core beliefs. Not arm day, not leg day, not head day but gut day everyday. With pilgrim sticks brandished with tentacular verve, we flagellate the difficult middles. #torsoism.
Mall walk with us.
What fresh heresy is this? Is this a joke?? Will no one stop them? Where are the guards, cops, bailiffs, etc, etc? Has the publisher no self-respect? No editors and censors or sense of decorum??
Psychosis as Method, here masquerading as para/post/pan-commodity prophesy/futurising and animist drama. No one – NO ONE! – will be convinced by this! These avatars and image-functions – laid out flat here, as on a table-top – will do nothing to assuage the opinion of those gate keepers that have never ceased to claim: ‘There are, after all, limits to the symbolic order!’ And (under their breath): ‘It’s called thee doxa for a reason you know!’ Imagine a future-traveller/neo-medieval© pilgrim chancing upon all this – in the charnel grounds – imagine their horror to read, again, about the adventures of the tech and of the mall, of how things might have been – and how, here, the things he/she/they hold dear have been cut-up, spliced together…the detritus of all that lays around us reanimated and repurposed. Her mother was burnt for less! Here, then, is a looping backwards and forwards so quick as to cause whiplash. I am not writing this to warn you off – who am I to talk? – but, Dear User-Group, please be aware: what you hold in your hands/are about to read on your screens is not what you might expect from a book or syllabi. It is text/un-text as test and time-travel, not so much about another futural world as summoned here – for youze - from it. A codex that, when seen FROM THE CORRECT ANGLE, performs a transportation. If, whilst reading, you are making notes and, reading them back, you begin to make some sense from the various scenarios and phrasings – as if something, finally, is cohering, foregrounding itself…or, indeed, as if the vast assemblage is beginning, at last, to tip – then let me say immediately that you have been very much miss-stark-en – there is no such meaning here – not for you lot, with your heads on your shoulders walking around on your feet as if its the most natural thing in the world. On no, no siree. No, this is NOT a book to be READ by the likes of you! It is, perhaps, a pattern and diagram for something behind you…something you will have helped made (if you are lucky enough to have worked in IT), but which, now, does not recognise your all-too-human operating procedures and protocols. You might call it fik-shun but this is only to begin to approximate what its performance and programme is. Things here are decidedly not what they seem. To enter the pan-pan myth-system is already to be seen, interpolated by it – and thus to already be caught within its test. Try it for yourself: drill down in to any of the so-called paragraphs that follow and you will see that the syntax is specifically for you…don’t think about it just DO IT! NOW!! In fact, if you have read this far then it is more than likely already too late. Understand? The Mushroom King – if he really is a king - has you already on trial! The Great Moderator has already taken you up in their huge hand and turned you slowly under their twinkling eyes. And the future-dead with their Dog Heads are already here to carry out the sentence and spend their coupons. Pan-pan, for youze all gathered here, is a grimoire, yes, but it is also, before it’s too late, A WARNING!