True Detection Symposium in association with Darklight Film Festival

29 April – 6-10pm
The Generator Bar, Smithfield Sq., Dublin

Aligning criminal detection and nihilistic terror, Nic Pizzolatto’s TV series True Detective saves the significance of detection from forensic positivism and restores its essential negativity (de-tect) to the immanent cosmic and existential horizon, that is, to the diurnal hell that is ‘you’. Against the anglo-historicist forensic norm of truth as something still there to be known, the crime show refreshingly advances the essential negativity of knowing, namely, the fact that truth is not an object of knowledge, but a swampy, lived matter of uncovering and exposure which perforce must stay open to its own most pessimal possibilities. The true detective, a secret friend of the irreligious saints of cosmic pessimism (Cioran, Ligotti, Thacker, et al.), is here one who entertains and contemplates the absolute worst. If he offers any salvation from evil, if he fulfills his duty to protect and to serve, it is at best in the name of the personally terrifying principle that there is no one to be saved.

This symposium, taking shape around the dark intellectual subtexts of this mass entertainment, and in the midst of not knowing how the story does or should end, seizes itself as an opportunity for spontaneous reflection upon the shared fate of crime, investigation, and cosmic horror. It offers, on the formal grounds of True Detective’s narrative double frame, a speculative detection of detection upon the precipices of the true abyss.


Daniel Colucciello Barber, “Affect Has No Story.”
Edia Connole, “Contemplating the Crucifixion: Cohle and Divine Gloom.”
Caoimhe Doyle & Katherine Foyle, “The Flat Devil Net: Mapping Quantum Narratives in True Detective.”
Paul J. Ennis, “Consciousness is an Error.”
Daniel Fitzpatrick, “True Dick . . . the Accelerated Acceptance and Premature Canonization of True Detective.”
Nicola Masciandaro, “I Am Not Supposed to Be Here: Sorrow, Birth, and Mystical Circumspection.”
Niall McCann, “‘This May Well Be Heaven, This Hell Smells the Same’: Dissecting True Detective’s Aesthetic through Burroughs, Passolini, and Tarr.”
Fintan Neylan, “Detecting Expiration’s Artifice: On Time’s Growing Frail Worlds.”
Scott Wilson, “The Nonsense of Detection: Truth between Science and the Real.”
Ben Woodard, “‘Nothing Grows in the Right Direction’: Scaling the Life of the Negative.”