Nyx 7: Machines, 2012
Nyx 7: Machines, 2012

Nyx 7: Machines, 2012


The journal belongs to the day: to the time of light, of clarity, of organised work. We wanted a place to record what we do outside of normal daylight hours – when the rules of work and the usual strictures of academic writing are relaxed; a place to write and think about what we see only obscurely, or not at all. At night, the relationship between the sensible and the real is different: a dimly-glimpsed contour, the shifting of a shade, the echo of a movement, maybe a sign of something present and important, whose full significance is waiting to emerge. Or it may be the effect of something trivial, a passer-by whose true influence on us we will never really learn; it may be something, or it may be nothing at all – a trick of the dark.

The thing is, it is difficult to see what you are doing in the dark. There are benefits: you no longer feel the same pressure to pretend to know what you are working on, or to be able to see and say clearly where you are going. But the danger is that when you wake up in the morning you find that you are left with nothing but pages of gibberish. Lewis Carroll invented his nyctograph as a means of helping him write down his night-thoughts without having to turn on the light – without having to return fully to the realm of consciousness. We have created Nyx, a noctournal with the same purpose in mind.


Nyx 7 is a radioactive, cybernetic, automated digital beast, slouching towards Silicon Valley to be born… This issue brings together for the first time a diverse selection of writers and artists from far corners of the world as well as the usual contingent that gravitate around the buzzing nucleus of our base at the Centre for Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths College, London. This is the biggest, most ambitious and furthest-reaching Nyx yet and confronts the vast and pressing topic of Machines.

As we are dragged ever deeper into the ideological abyss of the 21st Century, the increasingly ubiquitous interaction between the human being and her technological creations has become the most engaging and dynamic point of debate in philosophy, cultural studies and critical theory. With this in mind, Nyx invited an array of contributors to share their thoughts on this topic in the form of essays and images, as well as conducting exclusive interviews with some leading thinkers on the subject today. The philosophers Bernard Stiegler and Luciana Parisi and the anthropologist Michael Taussig discuss with us their varied takes on mankind’s techno-contingent fate, while a host of talented writers and academics such as Benjamin Noys, J.D. Taylor and Jon Lindblom add their personal musings on machines and the machinic in critically engaging essays that cut a wide cross-disciplinary swath through a variety of fields from politics and economics to metaphysics and art.

We also review Howard Slater’s Anhomie/Bonhomie, trace the terrifying history of the military drone, analyse the dehumanising political madness of the Greek financial crisis, weigh up the ecological and human impact of the production of our iPhones and computers, plunge into the bizarre hidden universe of sex machines, grapple with the maddening kafkaesque protocols of the Department for Work and Pensions’ Logic Integrated Medical Assessment, engage with theorists such as Benjamin, Foucault, Deleuze, Marx, Virilio, Arendt, Latour, Land and many, many others through the conceptual lenses of speed machines, time machines, art machines, writing machines, sound machines, anxiety machines, Detroit Techno and Saudi Arabian internet porn – before wrapping up with a challenging speculative realist outline for a new machinic materialism.


Issue 7: Contents
Editorial by Nicholas Gledhill, image by Zoe Hunn
Nyx essays
Speed Machines by Benjamin Noys, images by Mark Soo
Ecologies of Machines: Commodities and Contribution by Sy Taffel, images by Matthew Plummer-Fernandez
The Dehumanised Citizen: Politics versus a Machine-like Existence under the Pretext of the Greek Crisis by Sophia Kanaouti, images by Sinikka Heden
Anxiety Machines: Continuous Connectivity and the New Hysteria by J.D. Taylor, images by Caroline Yiallouros
Accentuate the Positive by Claudia Firth, images by Pil and Galia Kollectiv and Andy Weir
The Neoliberal Time Machine: a Device to Map Capitalism? by Yari Lanci, images by Jarek Piotrowski
Answering Machines: Video Games and the Bathos of Machinic (mis)Communication by Rob Gallagher, images by Alice White
Desiring and Destruction: Rosemarie Trockel’s Painting Machine by Katherine Guinness, images by Rosemarie Trockel and Peter Patchen
Deconstructing Sex Machines by Niki Duller and Mon Rodriguez-Amat, images by Alina Dolgin and Magdalena Suranyi
Game of Drones: Cubicle Warriors and the Drudge of War by Amedeo Policante, images by Peter Patchen
Resistance through the Algorithm: Saudi Arabian Anti-proxy Activities by Chiara Livia Bernardi, images by Evan Saarinen
The Ancient Workshop of Potential Literature by James Burton
The Anaesthetist Worship of Potter Liturgy by the N+6 Madame and the Shorter Oxford English Difference
Abstract Machinism and Synthetic Thinking: Outlines for a Machinic Materialism by Jon Lindblom, images by Space Sound Painting Machine

Nyx interviews
Bernard Stiegler: Call for Attention by Sascha Raschof
Michael Taussig: Notes from a Conversation by Kevin W. Molin, images by Centrefold
Luciana Parisi: The Holes in the Machine by Nicholas Gledhill, images by Re(mix) S.A.M.S

Nyx reviews
Howard Slater’s Anomie/Bonhomie & Other Writings by Steve Hanson