One of my earliest BM-designs more than 10 years ago now. Perhaps a bit naive but I wanted to capture the unique BM spirit. I believe I succeeded: the rawness, its amoral and inhuman nature. Black Metal remains one of the few artistic exponents of Bataille’s base materialism.
The phrase aestheticising of the self refers to the work of the French philosopher Michel Foucault. In the last two parts of his work L’Histoire de la sexuality (The History of sexuality) Foucault develops the idea of an ethics of the self: “Through the formation of a ‘critical ontology of the self’ it is possible to formulate an alternative ethical standpoint from which individuals can begin to resist the normalizing force of the ‘government of individualization’.” (McNay 1994: 133) The ethics of the self is derived from a Greek – Roman understanding about morals as an excercise in modesty and self-control. Foucault goes against the normalizing process that has been going on since modernity.
This is a process that forces each individual to ‘fit in’, to obey the hegemonic laws. Foucault calls this “new forms of subjectivity through the refusal of this kind of individuality which has been imposed on us for several decades.” (Foucault 1984b: 216). The “refusal of this kind of individuality” started from (and actually still does) the judeo-christean morality which enforces a universal law. This understanding, secularized in today’s disciplinary power and the bio-power, requires total obedience of the human subject. The Greek-Roman notion, on the other hand, regards morality as a practice, an exercise. Foucault argues that man must create himself as ‘an individual’ instead of listening to external norms and rules. Those sets of rules that tell us how to dress, how and what to eat, how to behave and so on. The example of the new modern individual is Charles Baudelaire: Baudelaire, being a dandy, is modern because he craves for an ‘essential inner self’, but he produces or rather creates ‘a new self’ (McNay 1994: 149). This new self is able to control itself, its limits and desires, but plays freely with them and as such is truly able to transgress the limits imposed by society, the Symbolic Order. In this regard Foucault refers to the insights of Georges Bataille.
The Baudelairean individual truly stands out and creates his own self and destroys the one that is imposed on him. As such Foucault does not introduce a new ethics (thou shallt) but a new ethos, a mode de vie. This is an ethos which I see reflected in BM being an ominous, powerful and sovereign artistic movement that has created and recreated itself during the years. From Deathspell Omega onwards to Svartidaudi today the revolutionary black flame is still burning brightly. These artists are sometimes anonymous for they let their Black art speak for itself. They are Satanists, not because they boast about Satan, burn churches, not they have become vehicles, actual nexions that allow the sinister forces of the Acausal to enter. They are truly sovereign because there is no law that dictates their Art and they control them-selves, their limits and desires otherwise they would not be able to create such works of art.
The Sinister Way of the ONA can take various forms. Mine is a philosophical – mystical one, for others this means that practice of Black Magic, and so on, but something adepts of the ONA share, is the fact that they are individuals: self-control, knowing one’s limits and desires and using them to grow as an individual in order to transgress society’s limits each in his own unique way and to presence the Sinister.