Notes on Blacceleration by Aria Dean in e-flux

From the e-flux website (December 2017):

Let it be said that this is not a unified theory of blaccelerationism. It is not a black accelerationism—that is, a “black perspective on accelerationism”—nor is it an accelerationist theory of blackness. It is not a critique of accelerationism from the position of blackness or black studies. These are notes on blaccelerationism. This portmanteau—binding blackness and accelerationism to one another—proposes that accelerationism always already exists in the territory of blackness, whether it knows it or not—and, conversely, that blackness is always already accelerationist. It is my modest proposition that activating this blaccelerationism serves to articulate a necessary alternative to right and left accelerationism.

At large, accelerationism and black radical thought—especially as delivered in afrofuturism and afropessimism—share a number of concerns. Both are occupied with “the future” or a lack thereof, with the end of the world, with the logic and tendencies of capital, and both are locked in a struggle with humanism. However, accelerationism’s articulation is rife with absences. In particular, accelerationist thinkers absent their own relationship to black radical thought, feeling their way for answers in the dark. Most crucially and consistently, the accelerationist account passes over slavery’s foundational role in capital accumulation. The only accelerationist theory and politics that can contend with right accelerationism is one grounded in an understanding that “capital was kick-started by the rape of the African continent.”

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Aria Dean (b. 1993) is an artist, writer, and curator based in Los Angeles. She is Assistant Curator of Net Art and Digital Culture at Rhizome. Her writing has been featured in ArtforumArt in AmericaThe New InquiryReal LifeTopical Cream MagazineMousse MagazineCURA Magazine, and X-TRA Contemporary Art Quarterly. She has exhibited at American Medium (NYC), Arcadia Missa (London), Chateau Shatto (LA), The Sunroom (Richmond, VA), and Boatos Fine Art (São Paulo), among other venues. Dean has spoken at the New Museum, UCLA, Reed College, Oberlin College, The New School, and Machine Project (Los Angeles). She also codirects Los Angeles project space As It Stands