Diabolic Marks, Organs and Relations: Exiting Symbolic Misery – 2019

Published in Angelaki, 24:5, 88-103. Download here.

‘The globalised societies of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries are de-composing, according to Bernard Stiegler. This decay is expressed by the breakdown of the compositional process between symbol and diabol. This is because the dynamic circuit of interiorisation and exteriorisation that he argues is vital for individuation has become subject to mass calculation, marketisation and hyper-synchronisation. For Stiegler there is no way out of this impasse and the result is misery—a diabolic world. In Stiegler’s narration of symbolic misery, diabolic activities and aesthetic forms are not considered capable of conditioning social relations. This article develops the concept of the diabol through readings of Emily Dickinson’s poetry – her diabolic marks – and the diabolic organs and relations of feminist free improvisation. I demonstrate how diabolic inscriptions, that intensify singularity and diachrony, are social aesthetic resources that can support individuation and trans-individuation and open up a new epoch of diabolic sense.’

Keywords: diabol, free improvisation, singularity, proletarianization, Emily Dickinson