Collapse is a philosophical journal that aims to cut free from standard categories of thinking, and blend various concepts and strands together in an attempt to synthesize interesting new areas of contemplation. Its producers, Urbanomic, describe themselves as a “Philosphical Research and Development” group. Urbanomic have just released the fourth volume of Collapse as a free pdf download, to celebrate the issue’s (limited) print run selling out.
Collapse IV: Concept Horror is a fascinating and often quite terrifying exploration of both the philosophical side of horror, and the horrific side of philosophy. It’s not easy reading — the various articles are all academic to a greater or lesser extent — but it is well worth perservering with. If you are in the least bit serious about the creation of horror, there’s a genuine wealth of material in Collapse IV talking about what is horrific, and why, and how it stems from the nature of being alive. There are also a number of stunning visual contributions.
The articles include:
- George Sieg discussing how horror is the result of abstraction and too much knowledge,
- Eugene Thacker on the horror implicit in theology,
- Czech art collective Rafani presenting a series of drawings inspired by the Nazi occupation,
- China Miéville on the rise of the Tentacle,
- Reza Negarestani suggesting that the idea of life itself is a farce played out amongst the shades of the dead,
- Jake and Dinos Chapman offering some disturbing childrens’ colouring illustrations,
- James Trafford exploring Thomas Ligotti’s ideas unravelling the notion of ‘self’,
- Thomas Ligotti talking about how consciousness is a mistake, and procreation a betrayal,
- Oleg Kurig photographically counterpointing Ligotti’s text, in the form of a procession of dead monkeys,
- Quentin Meillassoux examining ways of coping with unendurable bereavement,
- Benjamin Noys’ looking at time as the ultimate horror, and Lovecraft’s notions thereof,
- Todosch’s drawings of strange coagulations,
- Iain Hamilton Grant on the importance of a philosophy of nature,
- Stephen Shearer offering poems created from the worst excesses of Black Metal band and song names,
- Graham Harman arguing that there is a tension of the weird within phenomenology,
- Keith Tilford showing a series of Singular Agitations,
- and Kristen Alvanson describing a taxonomy of monsters and deformity, which she illustrates with a series of photos of preserved medical ‘monstrosities’.
Collapse IV: Concept Horror is a hell of a read. You can download it here.Red Phone Box, a darkly magical story cycle written by myself, Warren Ellis and twenty-six other writers, and edited by the sublime Salomé Jones, is out now. I think you'll like it.