One Two Many: On Nick Land’s Numbering Practices
This paper examines Nick Land’s “numbering practices” for opening up language to modernity’s increasing technological entanglement beyond human comprehension. I begin by examining Land’s attempt to override our linguistic systems with machinic code and binary symbolism in a way which mirrors modernity’s technological future shock. I then consider his appropriation of Cantor’s set theory and Gödel’s incompleteness theorem to plot ever greater degrees of reality’s excess to all anthropic logic. The third section looks at Land’s use of qabbalistic numerology to uncover the absolute contingency of all our most strongly held beliefs, truths and values. The fourth section considers Land’s radicalisation of qabbalism through his own particularly abstract and inhuman notational “gematria.” I conclude by looking at Land’s interest in the computer keyboard’s lock-in to the QWERTY layout for proffering a glimpse of modern technology’s increasingly dehumanising meltdown of our anthropocentric delusions of grandeur.