Hylotrauma: Primer/Prolegomena

Geotrauma is “…a subterranean study…it is digging, excavating; it is the space of reterritorialisation; it is the relation(s) of the universe to itself free from any intrinsic tran-scendental bound…”


If we take a materialist view of the current state of climactic affairs as being defined as “carbon where it shouldn’t be”, the entirety of the Anthropocene unfolds. It’s not just carbon; oh no, not at all—everything is drifting—it’s the Big Fucking Rip, its the suspension of particulates in liquid, its the dissolution of weak forces and the suspension of all magnetations, gravitations, inclinations, substantiations, concatenations, and sedimentations. The Process that Unites All isn’t occurring in reverse so much as it has simply stopped occurring. What was a solid is now a cloud, the chains that once united the disparate solitons of its construction now hopelessly demapped. In the smoke above the burning house, I can’t pick out in the billowing mass what was once a floorboard or drywall or structural timber. What’s left is the shock of deterritorialization, of the chaotic and abrupt redistribution of a solid. This is hylotrauma.

If geotrauma is reterritorialization (burrowing, exhuming) then hylotrauma is a deterritorialization so total it also answers to the name annihilation.

Like the rhizome, hylotrauma is the best and the worst, though it definitely tends toward the latter. It’s the rare earths in your phone and the dead, chemical-soaked wood supporting the building you may be in; but it’s also the scraping of smog in your lungs, the gravitation of shrapnel towards your heart. It is the brick, pried from the street, shattering the window of a shop—matter where it is not intended to be. Not the brick through the window, but the clay of the brick, the mold that shaped it, the oozing pseudosolid of the glass, the sagging weight of the structure that contains the window, the flesh and cartilage of the hand that threw it, and the material conditions that necessitated the brick to shatter the window.

Another analogy is the LCD screen—we know the screen is a composition of polarizing sheets, liquid crystals, and other plastics. These elements in turn break down further, and recede back into raw states. This does not lessen the existence of the LCD, or affirm it as immanent or triumphant. It simply is; hylotrauma allows for its taxonomization.

It is inside and adjacent to the dilation upon the object (hyper- and otherwise) and object-based ontics. What hylotrauma offers to studies of the object is the prospect and promise of dissolution. It forces us to recognize in all things a compositional atomism or a quantum materialism. Both of these phrases orient us toward a view of matter as an algorithmic or arithmetic construct and hold the promise of an eventual realization that affinities between objects are material in nature on discrete, distributed levels. Objects through a hylotraumatic optics are shown to be rough amalgamated DeLandian geographies of material populations. Mapping the members of these populations drapes intensities (of uranium deposits, atmospheric concentrations of water vapor, collections of chlorophyll, interstellar dark matter, etc.) and eliminates the universe and recomposes a blasted void with obvious connections to the body-without-organs. Where hylotrauma differs is all entities that answer to and orbit within this traumatic-diasporic system are inorganic; any consciousness is false, illusory, or in rare cases, emergent.


This is composed from two days of notes, roughly collected. It is also very naive and dramatically lacking in supporting research. A reading list for the project will follow.

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