It Is the Eye of Truth That Persecutes: An Excerpt from VAMPYR

In front of a landscape of erasures, a darkness that engulfs everything. (There was a border they didn’t always let you see, but you still knew you had to cross it.) This is the key to the game. Life stands under orders to retreat to the Quarantine Zone. Positioned outside the game, the adversaries pretend they’re only imaginary. Il n’y a pas de hors=jeu. Stated otherwise, existence of strategy doesn’t automatically confer a “tactical” advantage. There are, for example, two types of mask: those that are worn openly & those worn in secret. >the chill of sodden paper stuck to the neck glued smooth over eyelids force=fed between cracked teeth a papier=mâché of endorphined suffocation inkblotted gagging mute to dream of surfaces & air when all is a red pulsing of the eyelids turning black the blood in the ears bile in the throat welling up w/ sudden ferocity like a fountain pen from a jugular to scrawl its immodest encyclopaedias. Like Miss Muffet, you watch in sick fascination as the giant blowfly sucks the brains out of the itsybitsy spider. “There is a great danger threatening the task of emancipation, which isn’t an excess of ideology, but the opposite: an insufficiency of ideology in the direction of the task itself.” Immense relief from breathing (after all). They are selling oxygen in bottles. First degrade, then ration, then commodify. THE ONLY FUTURE WORTH ANYTHING IS ONE THAT PAYS! (“Virtuous & meek means lead to nothing!”) You’ve seen this coming but weren’t always prepared to believe it. An alibi only gets you so far, the real art is in convincing them of everything you say. Palinodes of complacency. Trocchi: “Protest is based on the assumption that social behaviour is intelligent: the hallmark of its futility.” What if everything to be accomplished, & the means of doing so, were self=evident? [An inevitable invisible insurrection?] Yet nothing cld be less clear / i.e. further from the truth (like a point on a Möbius strip returning to itself “as the crow flies”). >in place of “landscape,” write “geometry.” Perhaps before proceeding further we shld define what is meant by a distance: being the magnitude of an anomaly between two frames of reference. “She looked in the mirror but her reflection wasn’t there [wasn’t where she expected it to be.]” ¿Somewhere inside the mirror time had slowed down? The virus integrates an error into the system, which propagates until the error IS the system [the system “fails”] [or until it evolves a different system].[1] Q: Is the virus a “revolutionary” force? At what point does it renounce revolt? At what point does it dissimulate? i.e. by precipitating collapse, does the virus in fact strengthen the hand of e.g. the I=L=L=U=M=I=N=I=S=T conspiracy? “We must restate the problem of Evil upon new information.” [Every demon serves a master, but not only a demon may kill its master.] Once more back in the realm of false consciousness & instinctive dread, where G.O.D. alone maintains the Supreme Good in perpetual tumescence. To the extent that sublime revolt lives, grows & develops over the course of History… Does violence so quickly lose its attraction, when all it does is pay a salary? [A riot must also be a deconstruction.] Note, to be inscribed on every mirror: KNOW THYSELF / KNOW THY ENEMY. Thus are we all creatures of speculation. Yet who wld be the logos fallen among those deprived of speech? image among the blind? vaccine among the terminally sick? And if the virus itself wld send the image=cancer consuming the world into remission? [i.e. by debilitating global kapital], or only appear to, while in reality accelerating the cancer’s spread under a regime of inoculation [i.e. against whatever remains in the cancer’s way]? Or: if it participates in the regeneration of the world it destroys like an active supernatural force? Or: if though it represents a step towards a new world, it must still be excluded from this one? One crisis washes the hands of the other. The opportunism of love or tenderness: an open secret in front of the camera. Always the hope of future antagonism. (In the end there will be only the sound of dollars crying themselves to sleep at night.) Even when the lights have finally gone out, our task is more fraught & uncertain than ever, & the enemy is everywhere.

[1] >memory: discontinuity / a zone of inconsequentials? [political memory: power vectors that have expired?] >nostalgia: an image returning to its starting point after its reflection has already flown the coop?

VAMPYR is the novel of the end times, that is to say, the epic/demic “new normal” of 2020. Set in the heart of Mittle-Europa’s Golemgrad under the spell of the deadly CORVID-69 virus, this multi-genre technicolour tale tells of the revenge of one OFFENSIA, an orphaned leader of the WILD GRRLS gang, who in tandem with the Š.V.Ǝ.J.K. insurgents take on the Corp[orate] $[tate]. Featuring such beloved characters as Eddie Van Helsing, Juuls Ebola, Rupert Merdecock, Papa Walt, Asperger Zifčák, Louis Armand, Spinoza, El Divo, the Wyrd Sisters, the Voynich Manuscript, and of course, the @RealPresidentChloroqueen: “I’ve never even heard of these people. Š.V.Ǝ.J.K.? Sounds halfbaked! Offensia? Can’t we just drone this bitch?” “CyprineTM taken together w/ Clorox & bat repellent has a real chance of being one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine! I personally swear by it & Im the goddamn president! Aint no 2 ways about it CORVID=69 is a goner!”

You can read more excerpts here and here.

Feature image by the author.

Louis Armand is a Prague writer, theorist, and visual artist. His novels include GlassHouse (2018), The Combinations (Equus, 2016), Abacus (2015), Cairo (2014), Canicule (2013), Breakfast at Midnight (2012), Clair Obscur (2011), Menudo (2005), and The Garden (2001), recently re-released by 11:11 Press (2020). His theoretical works include Videology (2015), Helixtrolysis (2014), The Organ-Grinder’s Monkey: Culture after the Avantgarde (2013), and others. He is the editor of Mind Factory (2005), Pornotopias (2008), Avant-Post (2006), Hidden Agendas: Unreported Poetics (2010), Pornoterrorism (with Jaromir Lekel; 2015), and others. His website is here.

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