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…because this is liberating, because it causes a revolution, or because destruction is the only logical answer.


There is this music genre called Vaporwave

that started around 2012 but is currently gaining popularity. It is a music genre heavily influenced by aesthetics of tumblr, the internet and a global market. This one article has a few well written sections relating this movement to the theory of accelerationism. Meaning, everything in our world is moving so quickly and becoming shit, so in order to create a change we need to push everything along even faster to burnout point and come out on the other side with something good.

Is it a critique of capitalism or a capitulation to it? Both and neither. These musicians can be read as sarcastic anti-capitalists revealing the lies and slippages of modern techno-culture and its representations, or as its willing facilitators, shivering with delight upon each new wave of delicious sound. We could apply to their music a term used to describe a certain sentiment and praxis that has recently gained currency among philosophers of capitalism: accelerationism. Accelerationism is the notion that the dissolution of civilization wrought by capitalism should not and cannot be resisted, but rather must be pushed faster and farther towards the insanity and anarchically fluid violence that is its ultimate conclusion, either because this is liberating, because it causes a revolution, or because destruction is the only logical answer.

It sporadically found voice in the work of twentieth-century continental philosophers François Lyotard, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari but was explored most thoroughly and alarmingly by the British philosopher Nick Land during the 1990s. With William Gibson’s cyberpunk fiction and Apocalypse Now’s Colonel Kurtz among his reference points, Land’s heady, nightmarish philosophy melted together scholarship and art into a staccato stream of penetrating and, in hindsight, disquietingly prescient tableaux. “Life is being phased-out into something new,” said Land in his 1992 essay “Circuitries.” “And if we think this can be stopped we are even more stupid than we seem.”

— From Vaporwave and the Pop-Art of the Virtual Plaza by Adam Harper.

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