A spectre is haunting Goldsmiths – the spectre of Acid Communism; spectres of Mark’s.
I have said a great deal about Mark Fisher’s passing over the past month – publicly and privately. Too much, maybe. His death has been the central event around which everything continues to revolve. Even Trump’s inauguration, inescapable as it was, felt secondary to an immediate and collective grief. I summed up my own thoughts best in a private letter. Having sent that letter, I can’t begin to say any more. I have spent my capacity to ruminate on his passing. The tributes from Robin Mackay, Ross Wolfe, Jeremy Greenspan, Adam Harper and Simon Reynolds say more than I could ever wish to. What I have done is photograph the moments of collective joy, which Mark hoped for, and that we’ve engaged in consistently and necessarily since we heard the news. Careful to photograph the smiles over the tears, there have nonetheless been ample amounts of both.
I now find myself continuing to feel and looking to the future. I find myself more distracted. Things have already felt bleak for some time but despite the sense that things are continuing to get worse and show no signs of stopping, look forward we must. Mark has left us but what he has left behind can nonetheless lead the way. Mark’s concept of Acid Communism was an inversion of Derrida. His was not a mourning but a reformulating of an ideal so that Communism could make itself as desirable as Capitalism has made itself. It is difficult to think this orientation right now. I find myself strangely comforted by Derrida’s words – there’s a first time for everything. Every “Marx” becomes a “Mark’s”. The mourning of a person and their thinking become inseparable.
Maintaining now the spectres of Mark’s.
“Spectres of Mark’s” was a pun I first made in my Geopoetics class two weeks ago – something Mark, the skilled neologist, would have perhaps loathed and cringed at – but it has stayed with me and probably will all year. He will remain with me, consciously. As his loss continues to feel raw within the wider Goldsmiths’ community (which has wonderfully expanded in its heartbreak to include many friends and former students of Mark’s), I am all the more aware of Mark’s own beliefs regarding our immediate political challenges. Whilst in some respects he opted out of our shared situation (and I can’t really blame him), it’s necessary to remember and try to channel his previous optimism and sense of responsibility.