Friday, October 31, 2008

Blackened Marginalia

The journal 'Glossator: Practice and Theory of the Commentary' has issued a call for proposals. Or rather, it has spewed forth anguished wails and tortured howls for proposals: the proposals are for contributions to a themed issue on Black Metal, to be published in the fall of 2012. The volume's editors are Nicola Masciandaro and Cyclonopedia author Reza Negarestani. Do read the call, as the call itself is already an extremely interesting gloss on the genre. Deadline: March 1st, 2009.

I must say I am sorely tempted to answer the call with some ghostly gurgling of my own.

However, Valter is a persona, a mask:

"Masks, always fabricated secretly and destroyed or hidden after use, transform the officiants into gods, spirits, animal ancestors, and all types of terrifying and creative supernatural powers. (...) The eruption of phantoms and strange powers terrifies and captivates the individual. He temporarily reincarnates, mimics, and identifies with these frightening powers and soon, maddened and delirious, really believes that he is the god as which he disguised himself, cleverly or crudely, in the beginning." (Roger Caillois, "Man, Play And Games").

The mask speaks, whispers, mumbles and moans only through the blog. The blog is its "arena, card-table, magic circle, temple, stage, screen, tennis court, court of justice", its "playground, forbidden spot, isolated, hedged round, hallowed, within which special rules obtain." (Huizinga, Homo Ludens). Publishing in another medium, even in such a wonderful journal as Glossator, would mean a recontextualization of the mask's utterances which is sure to affect its message, even if its occult nature would be respected.

But then again: "No-one knows what may not burst forth from behind the mask." (Elias Canetti, "Crowds And Power")

6 comments:

Dominic said...

psst...I'm pretty certain Nicola is a chap...

Valter might choose to remain in blogobscurity, but I would enjoy trying to guess which of the contributors to this edition was (another mask of?) the person (?) behind the mask.

Jan said...

Simon Vinkenoog, die ik onlangs nog eens live en van dichtbij mocht meemaken, had het ook over Huizinga en Homo Ludens in zijn collectie Goede Raad is Vuur die ronduit uitstekend is.

Succes met je proposal. Ik kijk ernaar uit.

valter said...

Thanks, Dominic - though the name 'Nicola' does sound ladylike.

Jan, heb ik je ooit verteld dat - toen ik nog jong en onbezonnen was - ik een paar jaar meedeed aan een wekelijkse dichtersworkshop van Simon Vinkenoog in Amsterdam? Ik ben zelfs bij zijn huwelijk geweest, in Artis - was erg leuk!

fishskull said...

You really should consider it Valter. Either that or you could splinter another identity off specifically for the book. Wouldn't you enjoy the opportunity to write at a bit more length?

magick mike said...

I also encourage yr participation, whether via the Valter avatar or a new conduit for yr brilliant ideas.

Nicola Masciandaro said...

Agreed, all the more so because author-as-mask harmonizes so perfectly with commentary-as-possession.

Just returned from Salzburg metal conference. Highlights were: talking metal as atheology with Scott Wilson, hatching plans for metal studies journal called Exuberance, listening to Avsolutized, Blood of Kingu, Tenebrae in Perpetuum while travelling through mountains to Italy.

Lowpoint was launching into 'War Pigs' and 'Paranoid' as drinking songs at an Augustinian Beer Monastery without backup from too-timid metal minions.