# PHILOSOPHY /// Oil as the Black Corpse of the Sun (Cyclonopedia + Jarhead)


Still from Jarhead by Sam Mendes (2005)

Oil is a fascinating geological product that contains in itself thousands of years old fossils and sediments and which drives explicitly or implicitly the majority of the world geopolitical behaviors. In his book Cyclonopedia (see the numerous previous articles about it), Reza Negarestani claims that the Middle East is a sentient entity whose shit is oil. Building-up on Deleuze and Guattari’s Thousand Plateaus and their War Machines, he indicates that such a machine requires fuel and grease that cannot be possible without oil. The film Jarhead recounts the encounter of the American army with this geological sentient entity during the first Gulf War. The film almost never introduce any Middle Eastern human being but the sand, dust and oil praised by Negarestani are the true vernacular elements that surround the heavy army.

In Najaf and Ninevah, contacts speak of a notorious female oil smuggler named Jay who has assembled a militant religious cult named Naphtanese in the mountains of Kurdistan in Iran. They believe that the Unlife of War feeds on oil or (as they put it) the ‘black corpse of the Sun’. Negarestani Reza, Cyclonopedia. Melbourne: Re-Press, 2010. P130

Still from Jarhead by Sam Mendes (2005)

War machines are dissolved in oil. The role of the oil pipeline is not military defense but life support. The pipeline provides oil as a strategic lube and a neutral vehicle of war machines with a mobile and diffusive effectivity. Oil reaches the crusading fronts through the pipeline. Once oil reaches its destination, the crusading war machines, whose first disposition is to be dynamic, will fuel up and assemble themselves with the oil and its derivatives. As the machines of the western enlightenment consume oil either by bruning the blob or fattening up on the blob, the smuggled war machines start to activate and are chemically unbound. The nervous system and the chemistry of war machines smuggled through oil infuse with the western machines feasting on oil unnotices, as petroleum has already dissolved or refinedly emulsifided them in itself, as its chemical elements or its essential derivatives (Islamic ideologies, ambitions, implicit policies, socio-religious entities and formations, etc.). Negarestani Reza, Cyclonopedia. Melbourne: Re-Press, 2010. P71

Still from Jarhead by Sam Mendes (2005)

War on terror cannot be radically and technically grasped as a machine without consideration of the oil that greases its parts and recomposes its flows; such consideration must begin with the twilight of hydrocarbonand the very dawn of the Earth. Negarestani Reza, Cyclonopedia. Melbourne: Re-Press, 2010. P17

Still from Jarhead by Sam Mendes (2005)

For more, see the lecture Black Infinity; or, Oil Discovers Humans given by Eugene Thacker at the Cyclonopedia symposium (New School NY) Leper Creativity (March 2011)

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