This will not be the only post on Mark Fisher. We woke up on a cold early January day in 2017 to find out that he has taken his own life. It was only two years since we were fascinated by Ghosts of My Life: Writings on Depression, Hauntology and Lost Futures (Zer0 Books). The book alone had opened our eyes to beautiful and horrifying vistas of thinking. It was also a hub to a world of art that we had merely hitherto “consumed” — the biggest of which being Burial.
We are no longer mere enthusiasts of Fisher. We have nibbled the most significant chunk of K-Punk, his widely influential blog on a whole host of topics, and have revisited his Capitalism Realism as the name is increasingly heard on debate pods and articles. We have also read The Weird and The Eerie (Repeater books), his swansong, and a marvelous extension to Ghosts of My Life, but on a niche that probably no one else would have put under a magnifying glass.
Using the duality of two words that most of us use interchangeably, unaware of the subtle distinction, Fisher sets his flare into motion. He does not speak employing a theoretical cluster of words and concepts, but rather an education by examples. In effect, The Weird and the Eerie reveals itself through references to Lovecraft, H.G. Wells, the music of The Fall, Philip K. Dick, David Lynch, Tarkovsky, Nolan, Margaret Atwood, and a vast array of sources of darkness and light.
The text in the post comes from the chapter Approaching the Eerie we rudely glued together. Repeater Books posthumously published the Weird and the Eerie in 2017.
The weird is constituted by a presence — the presence of that which does not belong.
The eerie, by contrast, is constituted by a failure of absence or by a failure of presence. The sensation of the eerie occurs either when there is something present where there should be nothing , or is there is nothing present when there should be something.
A bird’s cry is eerie if there is a feeling that there is something more in (or behind) the cry than a mere animal reflex or biological mechanism — that there is some kind of intent at work, a form of intent that we do not usually associate with a bird.
What exactly is strange about it? Is, perhaps, the bird possessed — and if it is, by what kind of entity? Such speculations are intrinsic to the eerie, and once the questions and enigmas are resolved, the eerie immediately dissipates.
You can also read my post Hauntology From Bulgaria, Japan, and Sweden below.