Jump to content

Nick Land

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Nick Land
Born (1962-01-17) 17 January 1962 (age 62)
EraContemporary philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
SchoolContinental philosophy[1]
Dark Enlightenment
InstitutionsUniversity of Warwick
Main interests
Notable ideas

Nick Land (born 17 January 1962) is an English philosopher, who has been described as "the Godfather of accelerationism".[2] His work has been tied to the development of speculative realism.[3][4] He was a leader of the 1990s "theory-fiction" collective Cybernetic Culture Research Unit after its original founder cyberfeminist theorist Sadie Plant departed from it.[5][6] His work departs from the formal conventions of academic writing and embraces a wide range of influences, as well as exploring unorthodox and "dark" philosophical interests.[7]

Land is also known for later developing the anti-egalitarian and anti-democratic ideas behind neo-reaction and the Dark Enlightenment, which he named.


Land obtained a PhD in 1987 in the University of Essex under David Farrell Krell, with a thesis on Heidegger's 1953 essay Die Sprache im Gedicht, which is about Georg Trakl's work.[8]

He began as a lecturer in Continental philosophy at the University of Warwick from 1987 until his resignation in 1998.[7] At Warwick, he and Sadie Plant co-founded the Cybernetic Culture Research Unit (CCRU), an interdisciplinary research group described by philosopher Graham Harman as "a diverse group of thinkers who experimented in conceptual production by welding together a wide variety of sources: futurism, technoscience, philosophy, mysticism, numerology, complexity theory, and science fiction, among others".[9] During his time at Warwick, Land participated in Virtual Futures, a series of cyber-culture conferences. Virtual Futures 96 was advertised as "an anti-disciplinary event" and "a conference in the post-humanities". One session involved Nick Land "lying on the ground, croaking into a mic", recalls Robin Mackay, while Mackay played jungle records in the background."[10] He was also the thesis advisor of some PhD students.[11]

In 1992, he published The Thirst for Annihilation: Georges Bataille and Virulent Nihilism.[12] Land published an abundance of shorter texts, many in the 1990s during his time with the CCRU.[5] The majority of these articles were compiled in the retrospective collection Fanged Noumena, published in 2011.

Land taught at the New Centre for Research & Practice until March 2017, when the Centre ended its relationship with him "following several tweets by Land this year in which he espoused intolerant opinions about Muslims and immigrants".[13]

As of 2017, Land resided in Shanghai.[14]

Concepts and influence[edit]

Early work[edit]

Land's work with CCRU, as well as his pre-Dark Enlightenment writings, have all been influential to the political philosophy of accelerationism, an idea resembling that of the "fatal strategy" of "ecstasy" in the earlier work of Jean Baudrillard, where "a system is abolished only by pushing it into hyperlogic, by forcing it into an excessive practice which is equivalent to a brutal amortization." Along with the other members of CCRU, Land wove together ideas from the occult, cybernetics, science fiction, and poststructuralist philosophy to try to describe the phenomena of techno-capitalist acceleration.

Land coined the term "hyperstition", a portmanteau of "superstition" and "hyper", to describe something which "is equipoised between fiction and technology".[15] According to Land, hyperstitions are ideas that, by their very existence as ideas, bring about their own reality.[16]

Later work[edit]

Land's Dark Enlightenment philosophy (also known as neo-reactionary movement and abbreviated NRx) opposes egalitarianism, and is associated with far-right movements. According to reporter Dylan Matthews, Land believes democracy restricts accountability and freedom.[17] Shuja Haider notes, "His sequence of essays setting out its principles have become the foundation of the NRx canon."[15]

His writing has variously discussed themes of scientific racism and eugenics, or what he briefly called "hyper-racism".[18][19][20][21] Land's current version of accelerationism incorporates explicitly racist views and since late 2016 has been increasingly recognised as an inspiration for the alt-right.[22]

Land disputes that the NRx is a movement, and defines the alt-right as distinct from the NRx.[23]

Reception and influence[edit]

Mark Fisher, a British cultural theorist and student of Land's, argued in 2011 that Land's greatest impact so far had been on music and art, rather than on philosophy. The musician Kode9, the artist Jake Chapman, and others studied with or describe their influence by Land, often highlighting Land's inhuman, "technilist," or "delirious" qualities. Fisher underscores in particular how Land's personality during the 1990s could catalyze changes in those engaging with his work through what Kodwo Eshun describes as a manner "immediately open, egalitarian, and absolutely unaffected by academic protocol" which could dramatise "theory as a geopolitico-historical epic."[5]

Nihilist philosopher Ray Brassier, also formerly from the University of Warwick, stated in 2017 "Nick Land has gone from arguing 'Politics is dead', 20 years ago, to this completely old-fashioned, standard reactionary stuff."[24]


  • Heidegger's 'Die Sprache im Gedicht' and the Cultivation of the Grapheme Archived 31 October 2020 at the Wayback Machine (PhD Thesis, University of Essex, 1987)
  • The Thirst For Annihilation: Georges Bataille and Virulent Nihilism (An Essay in Atheistic Religion) (London and New York: Routledge, 1992)
  • Machinic Postmodernism: Complexity, Technics and Regulation (with Keith Ansell-Pearson & Joseph A. McCahery) (SAGE Publications, 1996)[failed verification]
  • The Shanghai World Expo Guide 2010 (China Intercontinental Press, 2010)
  • Shanghai Basics (China Intercontinental Press, 2010)
  • Land, Nick (2011). Mackay, Robin; Brassier, Ray (eds.). Fanged Noumena: Collected Writings 1987-2007. London: Urbanomic. ISBN 978-0955308789.
  • Calendric Dominion (Urbanatomy Electronic, 2013)
  • Suspended Animation (Urbanatomy Electronic, 2013)
  • Fission (Urbanomic, 2014)
  • Templexity: Disordered Loops through Shanghai Time (Urbanatomy Electronic, 2014)
  • Phyl-Undhu: Abstract Horror, Exterminator (Time Spiral Press, 2014)
  • Shanghai Times (Urbanatomy Electronic, 2014) ASIN B00IGKZPBA.
  • Dragon Tales: Glimpses of Chinese Culture (Urbanatomy Electronic, 2014) ASIN B00JNDHBGQ.
  • Xinjiang Horizons (Urbanatomy Electronic, 2014) ASIN B00JNDHDVY.
  • Chasm (Time Spiral Press, 2015) ASIN B019HBZ2Q4.
  • The Dark Enlightenment (Imperium Press, 2022) ISBN 978-1922602688
  • Xenosystems (Passage Publishing, forthcoming 2024)


  1. ^ Fisher, Mark (2014) [2012]. "Terminator vs Avatar". In Mackay, Robin; Avanessian, Armen (eds.). #Accelerate: The Accelerationist Reader. pp. 341–2.
  2. ^ Beckett, Andy (11 May 2017). "Accelerationism: How a fringe philosophy predicted the future we live in". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 11 April 2022. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
  3. ^ Mackay, Robin; Avanessian, Armen (2014). "Introduction". In Mackay, Robin; Avanessian, Armen (eds.). #Accelerate: The Accelerationist Reader (PDF). Falmouth: Urbanomic. pp. 1–46. ISBN 978-0-9575295-5-7. Archived (PDF) from the original on 27 December 2014. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
  4. ^ Mackay, Robin; Brassier, Ray (2018). "Editors' Introduction". Fanged Noumena: Collected Writings 1987–2007 (6 ed.). Urbanomic. p. 8. ISBN 9780955308789.
  5. ^ a b c Fisher, Mark (1 June 2011). "Nick Land: Mind Games". Dazed and Confused. Archived from the original on 9 June 2018. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
  6. ^ Land, Nick (2011). Fanged Noumena: Collected Writings 1987–2007. Introduction by Ray Brassier and Robin Mackay. Falmouth: Urbanomic. ISBN 978-0955308789.
  7. ^ a b Mackay, Robin (27 February 2013). "Nick Land – An Experiment in Inhumanism". Divus. Archived from the original on 25 November 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  8. ^ Acknowledgement section of Heidegger's 'Die Sprache im Gedicht' and the Cultivation of the Grapheme Archived 31 October 2020 at the Wayback Machine (PhD Thesis, University of Essex, 1987)
  9. ^ Harman, Graham (2011). The Speculative Turn: Continental Materialism and Realism. re.press. ISBN 978-0980668346 – via Google Books.
  10. ^ Beckett, Andy (11 May 2017). "Accelerationism: how a fringe philosophy predicted the future we live in". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Archived from the original on 11 April 2022. Retrieved 24 July 2019.
  11. ^ Sawhney, Deepak Narang (May 1996). Axiomatics : the apparatus of capitalism (Ph.D. dissertation). University of Warwick.
  12. ^ Wark, McKenzie (20 June 2017). "On Nick Land". Verso Books. Archived from the original on 14 July 2019. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  13. ^ "Statement on Nick Land". Facebook. 29 March 2017. Archived from the original on 7 September 2019. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  14. ^ "Accelerationism: how a fringe philosophy predicted the future we live in". The Guardian. 11 May 2017. Archived from the original on 11 May 2017. Retrieved 20 November 2021.
  15. ^ a b Haider, Shuja (28 March 2017). "The Darkness at the End of the Tunnel: Artificial Intelligence and Neoreaction". Viewpoint Magazine. Archived from the original on 13 October 2017. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
  16. ^ Carstens, Delphi; Land, Nick (2009). "Hyperstition: An Introduction: Delphi Carstens interviews Nick Land". Orphan Drift Archive. Archived from the original on 8 December 2020. Retrieved 19 April 2021.
  17. ^ Matthews, Dylan (25 August 2016). "Alt-right explained". Vox. Archived from the original on 31 August 2017. Retrieved 13 June 2017.
  18. ^ Burrows, Roger (10 June 2020). "On Neoreaction". The Sociological Review. Archived from the original on 21 December 2020. Retrieved 11 June 2020.
  19. ^ Topinka, Robert (14 October 2019). ""Back to a Past that Was Futuristic": The Alt-Right and the Uncanny Form of Racism". b2o. Archived from the original on 28 October 2019. Retrieved 28 October 2019. Land proposes an acceleration of the "explicitly superior" and already "genetically self-filtering elite" through a system of "assortative mating" that would offer a "class-structured mechanism for population diremption, on a vector toward neo-speciation".
  20. ^ Burrows, Roger (2018). "Urban Futures and The Dark Enlightenment: A Brief Guide for the Perplexed". In Jacobs, Keith; Malpas, Jeff (eds.). Towards a Philosophy of the City: Interdisciplinary and Transcultural Perspectives. London: Rowman & Littlefield.
  21. ^ Land, Nick (4 October 2014). "HYPER-RACISM". Archived from the original on 7 October 2014.
  22. ^ Bacharach, Jacob (23 November 2016). "I Was a Teenage Nazi Wannabe". The New Republic. Archived from the original on 16 December 2019. Retrieved 12 November 2019.
  23. ^ Gray, Rosie (10 February 2017). "The Anti-Democracy Movement Influencing the Right". The Atlantic. Archived from the original on 30 June 2019. Retrieved 16 August 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  24. ^ Beckett, Andy (11 May 2017). "Accelerationism: how a fringe philosophy predicted the future we live in". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 11 April 2022.

External links[edit]