Research Reza Negarestani online:
Find an article entitled ‘John Carpenter’s The Thing: White war and hypercamouflage’, but the text has been replaced with this message: ‘This page is not available’; a piece with a similar title is in RN’s manuscript. Even though the post is not available, the comments are, the first comment from RN reads: ‘Identities are the plot holes of someone else’s curriculum vitae (course of life)’.
Ctheory, Hyperstition and Cold Me. I contact other contributors at the Hyperstition website who seem to have known RN for a relatively long time, but none of them have met RN or could offer much help. A contributor at Hyperstition asks if I know where Reza is because he has abruptly halted his regular contributions since June 18, suggesting to me that I contact RN’s Iranian friends. I look for his last article (again it says, ‘This page is temporarily unavailable’). Track a few blogs linked to on the Hyperstition website, apparently belonging to RN’s Iranian friends. Some of the people I contacted suggest that RN must be a fictional invention of Hyperstition, a term loosely defined as fictional quantities that make themselves real. A few people think RN might be another avatar of one of the contributors at Hyperstition website, and finally some took Reza at face value, believing that he would need to host his site outside of Iran to circumvent any internet laws that could cause problems for him (maybe that’s why he removed so many posts at Hyperstition).
Cold Me: apparently RN’s personal website, strangely hosted by a German server (‘nicht gefunden!’ upon entering a wrong URL), hosted by a German guy named B who signs himself ‘kraut-design’ and seems to be paranoid about discussing RN. He replies back, ‘Don’t make trouble for reza’.
Is Reza male or female? At first I thought female, but now I would like to believe that RN is male.
reza negarestani begins cyclonopedia by suggesting he has an account on suicidegirls.com. to me, this is audacious - in both contemporary fiction and philosophy there seems to be a total hesitancy in addressing the basic details of how we, in the 21st century, live our lives. an author like houellebecq is so alone in simply including brand names of products in his works that it’s a novelty. the school of speculative realism basically belongs to an insular community of bloggers but it’s unlikely we will ever see from them a speculative account of blogging itself. for the first plot device in his first major work to be a meeting crystallized over the internet, and a subscription porn site at that, negarestani appears a voice of unparalleled openness.
but, that may just be openness at face value. i mean, what do we know about negarestani? we are persuaded to believe by his various accomplices that he’s both an iranian dissident, educated in london and living in malaysia - and a fiction, an imaginary figure created by a group of anonymous theorists as a vehicle for a radical new approach to the issues plaguing contemporary theory. the latter idea is easy to believe, in many ways negarestani seems too good to be true: an islamic scholar who writes about the hideous gnosis of black metal and john carpenter films, a theorist that looks at contemporary guerrilla warfare through the eyes of lovecraft, a deleuzian obsessed with ancient eschatology and hermetic thought, all from a someone who operates in distant parts of the globe and has never presented his ideas in public (at least, not without the help of skype). it would be easy to dismiss the cryptic preface to cyclonopedia as a cute backstory, cultivating the mystery behind this fiction.
if you look closely, on the other hand, the reality doesn’t seem nearly as simple as that. although dead for a long time, the networks of websites referenced in the book are real, all with visible activity from reza spanning a period several years. when cyclonopedia references removed posts on hyperstition, this is easily verifiable, many articles have disappeared and while reza is a frequent commentor on the blog he seems to be the author of conspicuously few posts. most interesting, maybe, is the mention of negarestani working under a serpentine symbol - if you look up texts from archived versions of his now defunct personal homepage cold-me.net, you can find them hosted on “borderline”, presented under (what is presumably) the pseudonym “basilisk”. borderline itself claims to be a continuation of a site named “blackplague” - which appears to have operated from 1995 to 2003, a site that serves as an embryonic form of the macabre themes that pervades negarestani’s philosophy (and will perhaps reach its fruition in his upcoming “mortiloquist”).
whether he is a fiction or not, negarestani’s thought is (no matter how many articles he removes) necessarily tied to the internet. an internet, as discipline explored in a previous post, separate from the hyperreality of contemporary social networks, an internet that prized anonymity above all else and clouded itself in mystery. the times of cryptic flash introductions to black background webpages have been gone along time, but i can’t think of any better reference point to the works of this eminent thinker.