Cybernetic Culture Research Unit

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The Cybernetic Culture Research Unit (Ccru) was a student-run interdisciplinary collective founded in 1995 out of the University of Warwick's philosophy department.[1] It was associated with the work of Sadie Plant and Nick Land.

History[edit]

The collective's research was closely tied to the work of philosophers Sadie Plant (around whom it was founded), Nick Land, and their colleagues throughout the 1990s, and in particular the emerging cyberfeminist thinking that would lead to the Virtual Futures conferences at Warwick in the middle of the decade.[2] Ultimately, Plant would abandon her academic post and affiliation with the Ccru in 1997, during which time it came under the direction of Land. Under his leadership, the collective became increasingly experimental and unorthodox in its work, with its output (which included writing, performance events, and collaborative art) crossing post-structuralism, cybernetics, science-fiction, rave culture, and occult studies.[1][2] In 2015, a collection of Ccru pieces entitled Ccru: Writings 1997-2003 was published.[3]

Members and affiliates[edit]

Although it only existed in an official capacity for little over two years—following the departure of Plant, the University of Warwick would deny any relationship to the renegade collective—the Ccru's cultural impact has been significant.[4][5] Those who were affiliated with the Ccru during and after its time as part of the University of Warwick Philosophy department include philosophers Iain Hamilton Grant, Ray Brassier and Reza Negarestani; cultural theorists Mark Fisher and Kodwo Eshun; publisher and philosopher Robin Mackay; digital media theorists Luciana Parisi and Matthew Fuller; electronic music artist and Hyperdub label head Steve Goodman, aka Kode9; writer and theorist Anna Greenspan; novelist Hari Kunzru; and artists Jake and Dinos Chapman, among others.[1][4] Land and the Ccru collaborated frequently with the experimental art collective 0[rphan]d[rift>] (Maggie Roberts and Ranu Mukherjee),[6] notably on Syzygy, a month-long multidisciplinary residency at Beaconsfield Contemporary Art gallery in South London, 1999, and on 0[rphan]d[rift>]'s Cyberpositive (London: Cabinet, 1995), a schizoid work of cut-and-paste cyberphilosophy.[7]

Influence[edit]

The role played by Land, Plant, and the Ccru in the development of what has come to be known as accelerationism is profound, and its legacy is apparent in contemporary debates concerning the viability of the theory in its various guises.[8] It is important to note that accelerationism as it was deployed by the Ccru should be distinguished from the term more frequently associated with Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams’ ‘Manifesto for an Accelerationist Politics’.[9][10] Land himself makes this distinction clear in his commentary on the manifesto.[11]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Mackay, Robin. "Nick Land: An Experiment in Inhumanism." Divus. 27 February 2013.
  2. ^ a b Simon Reynolds, 'Reynolds, Simon. "Renegade Aacdemia"', unpublished feature for Lingua Franca, 1999. Accessed 27 December 2014.
  3. ^ "Ccru: Writings 1997-2003". Retrieved September 13, 2015. 
  4. ^ a b Fisher, Mark. "Nick Land: Mind Games." Dazed and Confused.
  5. ^ Simon Reynolds, 'Renegade Aacdemia', unpublished feature for Lingua Franca, 1999. Accessed 27 December 2014.
  6. ^ "0rphan Drift Archive". www.orphandriftarchive.com. 
  7. ^ "0rphan Drift :: Neo Future > CTM13 Berlin". www.orphandriftarchive.com. 
  8. ^ Robin Mackay and Armen Avanessian, 'Introduction' to #Accelerate: The Accelerationist Reader, (Falmouth: Urbanomic, 2014) pp.1-46
  9. ^ Williams, Alex; Srnicek, Nick (14 May 2013). "#ACCELERATE MANIFESTO for an Accelerationist Politics". 
  10. ^ Nick Srnicek & Alex Williams, ‘#Accelerate: Manifesto for an Accelerationist Politics,’ Dark Trajectories: Politics of the Outside, ed. Joshua Johnson (Hong Kong, NAME, 2013)
  11. ^ Nick Land, #Accelerate; Annotated #Accelerate (1, 2, 3); On #Accelerate (1, 2a, 2b, 2c), series of posts made on Urban Future 2.1 between 13 February and 11 March 2014.