- The Great Dividuation
In an age of collapse, and the temporality of many potential 2008s, monstrous conceptual figures appear on a mythic and symbolic landscape: fiat money, cryptocurrency, blockchain, machines of abstraction, factions of value operating at the borders of the recognized. In this brokedown palace, a hallucinatory questplatform for future telling emerges, where crypto-finance offers keys for accessing transhistorical mash-ups, for untangling the "algorhythmic" movements (Miyazaki 2012) that catch everyone already, always, in the now, from the future, the past, and across all of these. In the arc of impossible value chains—fiat to crypto, ethico-aesthetic and back—dramas of definition occur, as personalities bleed across the page into other bodies, expressions, and disjunctive collectivities.
This journey traces a movement of access to the future, within the present, a movement enacted by decentralized forces in a metastasizing [End Page 85] minion network. Blockchain appears at the stutter starts of this movement, as a figure with multiple purposes: part Minotaur at the center of a maze, part liberational code-virus. Our voyagers carry currencies as machines of abstraction—from the semantic treacheries of value by fiat, to the topological real abstraction engendered by derivatives, to cryptocurrency's camouflage in the haptic war to keep people alive. Our interlopers channel the dynamical tendency of derivatives, deploying mêtis practices (Srnicek and Williams 2014) as an emergent money form commensurating and decomposing the turbulent flows through which events precipitate. In a medium of contingency, the figure of the shaman (de Castro 1998) (e)merges as an undertow for the "universal transmutability of fluctuation" (Cooper 2010). Sustaining an encounter with "transcendental risk" (Land 2014), conceptual figures serve to transmogrify the alterity of finance at the terminal limits of capital—predating futurity.
Block Party became a collective moniker for brainstorming the possibilities of speculative financial fiction, where collaborative writing might approach questions of futurity by emulating (or dissimulating) blockchain as a system of value. With this preamble, Block Party imagines a transversal "diagonalization" of n-dimensional space at the limits of writing, thinking, feeling; a platform for machinic "hyperstition," where ideas bring about their own reality as the future invokes the present (Land 2011; Negarestani 2008). In its first group Skype, one of our Block Party (unsure of their avatar) wrote as we all came online, "i might be the beaver, i can't see myself." If Bratton's "black stack" (2016) is where we no longer recognize ourselves, in the artificial destiny of planetary computation to come, what is at stake right "now" for a political animality in which we become other things? For the futurity of this fiction, figures dissolve in a series of gestures, operating the passage between subject-forms and predatorial shapes. (We) seek to overreach the bounds of writing but also hold with care the condition through which writing marks boundary, stamps time, and derives value.1
Block Party: Joel E. Mason, Michael Hornblow, anique yael vered, Erik Bordeleau, Sans Covski, and two anonymous beavers. [End Page 86]
The Great Dividuation
I walked into a castle with a slow pivot on the strength of my right ankle. 5 butlers passed me doing the jig of their lifelong-practiced stiff walk. As their exceptionally restrained nods married my pivot, eyebrows activated themselves in all 5. A surplus was born, or mutated into a visual cue. I curtsied. I don't know why I did. But beyond the pale of social norms, I'll tell you that moment was a just-completed jigsaw puzzle for bodies and feelings. No words were spoken, no pauses for contemplation, just a row of stiffs, a pivot, 10 lifted brows, and a delightful little curtsy. A perfect quadrangle. I continued down the barren hall but now I paid no attention to my surroundings; my mind was full of the assemblage of derivatives—little bits and pieces coming together to form a temporary concrete whole. While it was alive, it could withstand every blast of empirical criticism. "Every moment a vortex," I said aloud awkwardly while a bird's howl echoed off the dark stone, in between my syllables...