|School||Continental Philosophy, Comparative Literature, Media Studies, Philosophy of Religion|
|Pessimism, Nihilism, Antihumanism, horror fiction, horror film, mysticism, weird fiction|
Eugene Thacker is an author and Professor at The New School in New York City. His writing is often associated with the philosophy of nihilism and pessimism. Thacker’s most recent books are the Horror of Philosophy series (including the book In The Dust Of This Planet) and Cosmic Pessimism. He received his Bachelor's degree from the University of Washington, and a PhD in Comparative Literature from Rutgers University.
Thacker's most widely read book is In The Dust Of This Planet, part of his Horror of Philosophy trilogy. In it, Thacker explores the idea of the "unthinkable world" as represented in the horror fiction genre, in philosophies of pessimism and nihilism, and in the apophatic ("darkness") mysticism traditions. In the first volume, In The Dust Of This Planet, Thacker calls the horror of philosophy "the isolation of those moments in which philosophy reveals its own limitations and constraints, moments in which thinking enigmatically confronts the horizon of its own possibility." Thacker distinguishes the "world-for-us" (the human-centric view of the world), and the "world-in-itself" (the world as it exists in essence), from what he calls the "world-without-us": "the world-without-us lies somewhere in between, in a nebulous zone that is at once impersonal and horrific."
Thacker's major philosophical work is After Life. In it, Thacker argues that the ontology of life operates by way of a split between "Life" and "the living," making possible a "metaphysical displacement" in which life is thought via another metaphysical term, such as time, form, or spirit: "Every ontology of life thinks of life in terms of something-other-than-life...that something-other-than-life is most often a metaphysical concept, such as time and temporality, form and causality, or spirit and immanence" Thacker traces this theme from Aristotle, to Scholasticism and mysticism/negative theology, to Spinoza and Kant, showing how this three-fold displacement is also alive in philosophy today (life as time in process philosophy and Deleuzianism, life as form in biopolitical thought, life as spirit in post-secular philosophies of religion). Ultimately Thacker argues for a skepticism regarding "life": "Life is not only a problem of philosophy, but a problem for philosophy.
Thacker's work has often been associated with contemporary philosophies of nihilism and pessimism, as well as to speculative realism. His text "Cosmic Pessimism" defines pessimism as "the philosophical form of disenchantment." The text begins with the following line: "Pessimism is the night-side of thought, a melodrama of the futility of the brain, a poetry written in the graveyard of philosophy."
In an interview with True Detective creator and writer Nic Pizzolatto, Thacker's book In The Dust of This Planet is cited as an influence on the TV series, along with Ray Brassier's Nihil Unbound, Thomas Ligotti's The Conspiracy Against the Human Race, Jim Crawford's Confessions of an Antinatalist, and David Benatar's Better Never To Have Been.
Thacker's poetry and fiction has appeared in anthologies such as Degenerative Prose (published by Black Ice/FC2), Diagram: Selections from the Magazine (edited by Ander Monson), and Debug: Primary Techno Noir (edited by Kenji Siratori). Thacker has produced book arts projects, and an "anti-novel" titled An Ideal for Living, of which American poet and conceptual writer Kenneth Goldsmith has said: "this an important book...these pages take cues from Burroughs and Gibson, while at the same time presciently pointing to the web-based path writing would take over the next decade." With Ronald Sukenick and Mark Amerika, Thacker helped establish Alt-X Press, for which he edited the anthology Hard_Code. Thacker has also collaborated with art, media, and music collectives.
Thacker has written the Forewords to the English editions of the works of E.M. Cioran, published by Arcade Press, as well as the Preface and Annotations to Clive Barker's novella Cabal, published by Fiddleblack Press.
In September 2014 the WNYC's Radiolab ran a show entitled "In The Dust Of This Planet." The program traced the appropriation of Thacker's book of the same name in contemporary art, fashion, music video, and popular culture.
Thacker is a regular contributor to The Japan Times Books section, and he has written a column for Mute Magazine called "Occultural Studies."
- Into the Influx Incision (Mercury Arts Press, 1994)
- Editor, Hard Code: Narrating the Network Society (Alt-X Press, 2001)
- Biomedia (University of Minnesota Press, 2004)
- Creative Biotechnology: A User's Manual, with Natalie Jeremijenko and Heath Bunting (Locus+, 2004)
- The Global Genome: Biotechnology, Politics, and Culture (MIT Press, 2005)
- The Exploit: A Theory of Networks, co-authored with Alexander R. Galloway (University of Minnesota Press, 2007)
- After Life (University of Chicago Press, 2010)
- In The Dust Of This Planet - Horror of Philosophy, vol. 1 (Zero Books, 2011)
- Editor with Ed Keller & Nicola Masciandaro, Leper Creativity: The Cyclonopedia Symposium (Punctum Books, 2012)
- Dark Nights of the Universe (with Daniel Colucciello Barber, Nicola Masciandaro, Alexander R. Galloway and François Laruelle) ([NAME] Publications, 2013)
- Excommunication: Three Inquiries in Media and Mediation, with Alexander R. Galloway and McKenzie Wark (University of Chicago Press, 2013)
- And They Were Two In One And One In Two, co-edited with Nicola Masciandaro (Schism Press, 2014)
- An Ideal for Living: Anti-Novel (Gobbet Press, 2014 )
- Starry Speculative Corpse (Horror of Philosophy Vol. 2) (Zero Books, 2015)
- Tentacles Longer Than Night (Horror of Philosophy Vol. 3) (Zero Books, 2015)
- Cosmic Pessimism (Univocal Books, 2015)
- Georges Bataille
- Gilles Deleuze
- Michel Foucault
- Arthur Schopenhauer
- horror fiction
- experimental literature
- Emil Cioran
- Thacker, In The Dust Of This Planet - Horror of Philosophy vol. 1, p. 2.
- Thacker, In The Dust Of This Planet - Horror of Philosophy vol. 1, p. 6.
- Thacker, After Life, p. x.
- Thacker, After Life, p. x.
- Thacker, "Cosmic Pessimism", continent 2.2 (2012).
- "Writer Nic Pizzolatto on Thomas Ligotti and the Weird Secrets of True Detective."
- From the back cover blurb, Gobbet Press re-issue, 2014.
- An electronic version of the book is available at the Alt-X Press website.
- These include Fakeshop, which has presented work at Ars Electronica and the 2000 Whitney Biennial, Biotech Hobbyist, and Merzbow. Thacker produced a CD of noise music released by Extreme Records (Sketches for Biotech Research, XCD-046), as well as a collabortive CD with Merzbow, part of the Merzbow Box Set released in 2000. The Box Set also includes a book titled Merzbook that includes Thacker's essay "Bataille/Body/Noise."
- Cabal & Other Annotations, published by Fiddleblack
- "Radiolab - In The Dust Of This Planet", original broadcast on Monday September 8, 2014. The story was also covered by NPR's On The Media in their show On The Media - Nihilism, and by Glenn Beck on The BlazeTV.
- The New School: Eugene Thacker
- Networks, Swarms, Multitudes, part 1, part 2, Ctheory (2004).
- Biophilosophy for the 21st Century, Ctheory (6 September 2005).
- Interview with Roy Christopher from 2006, also in the book Follow for Now.
- Pulse Demons, Culture Machine no.9 (2007).
- After Life, talk and interview, Ctheory/PAC-TAC lecture series, November 2008
- Nine Disputations on Theology and Horror, published in Collapse vol. IV (2008)
- Lecture at The New School, November 8, 2010
- Expanding Mind 9/30/2010. Erik Davis and Maja D'Aoust interview Nicola Masciandaro and Eugene Thacker on the subject of black metal
- Nekros or the Poetics of Biopolitics, "Incognetum Hactenus - A Journal on Art, Philosophy, and Horror"
- Black Infinity, lecture at the "Leper Creativity" conference, The New School, 11 March 2011 (with co-panelists Alex Galloway and Nicola Masciandaro)
- Interview on philosophy and horror, To The Best Of Our Knowledge, 10/30/2011
- Divine Darkness, lecture at "Dark Materialisms" conference, London Natural History Museum, 12 January 2011
- Divine Darkness, lecture at "Speculative Medievalisms" conference, King's College London, 14 January 2011
- Wayless Abyss: Mysticism, Mediation, & Divine Nothingness, Postmedieval journal #3 (2012)
- "Cosmic Pessimism", continent 2.2 (2012): 66-75.
- Dark Nights of the Universe, The Public School NYC/Recess Gallery, April 26–29, 2012 (with Daniel Coluciello Barber, Nicola Masciandaro, and Alexander R. Galloway)
- Day of Wrath, "Glossator 6 (2012): Black Metal", 89-120.
- 'Horror of philosophy' interview on Expanding Mind Radio, 9 July 2012
- 'Glossator 7: The Mystical Text (Black Clouds Course Through Me Unending)', journal issue co-edited with Nicola Masciandaro, 2013
- All for Nought, Nietzsche Workshop IV, Parsons/The New School, 13 April 2013 (starts at 35:00 min)
- "The Sight of a Mangled Corpse - Interview with Eugene Thacker" in the journal Scapegoat, issue 05 (2013)
- Excommunication - Mediating the Nonhuman, with Alexander Galloway and McKenzie Wark, NYU, 16 April 2014
- Radiolab - In The Dust Of This Planet, Radiolab interview with Eugene Thacker, Simon Critchley, and others, WNYC, September 8, 2014
- Black Bile, Plinth issue 02 
- Horror of Philosophy: Three Volumes, Interviewed by Carla Nappi on New Books Network (2015)
- Interview, TANK Magazine #64 (Fall 2015)
- Black on Black, The Public Domain Review (2015)
- En El Polvo De Este Planeta, Spanish edition (2015) of "In The Dust Of This Planet" presented by Materia Oscura
- 12 Fragments on Nihilism, Four By Three Magazine
- Occultural Studies, column for Mute Magazine | articles on Robert Desnos, And Also The Trees, Thomas Ligotti, Arthur Schopenhauer, black metal
- Japan Times column | articles on Ito Junji, Dazai Osamu, Nishitani Keiji, Sato Haruo