Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari
A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia
"1440: The Smooth and the Striated"
Department of Biological Flow
Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari
pen drawing on parchment
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"Let us try to understand in the simplest terms how space escapes the limits of its striation. At one pole, it escapes them by declination, in other words, by the smallest deviation, by the infinitely small deviation between a gravitational vertical and the arc of a circle to which the vertical is tangent. At the other pole, it escapes them by the spiral or vortex, it other words, a figure in which all the points of space are simultaneously occupied according to laws of frequency or of accumulation, distribution; these laws are distinct from the so-called laminar distribution corresponding to the striation of parallels. From the smallest deviation to the vortex there is a valid and necessary relation of consequence: what stretches between them is precisely a smooth space whose element is declination and which is peopled by a spiral. Smooth space is constituted by the minimum angle, which deviates from the vertical, and by the vortex, which overspills striation. The strength of Michel Serres’s book is that it demonstrates this link between the clinamen as a generative differential element, and the formation of vortices and turbulences insofar as they occupy an engendered smooth space; in fact, the atom of the ancients, from Democritus to Lucretius, was always inseparable from a hydraulics, or a generalized theory of swells and flows. The ancient atom is entirely misunderstood if it is overlooked that its essence is to course and flow. The theory of atomism is the basis for a strict correlation between Archimedean geometry (very different from the striated and homogeneous space of Euclid) and Democritean physics (very different from solid or lamellar matter). The same coincidence means that this aggregate is no longer tied in any way to a State apparatus, but rather to a war machine: a physics of packs, turbulences, “catastrophes,” and epidemics corresponding to a geometry of war, of the art of war and its machines. Serres states what he considers to be Lucretius’s deepest goal: to go from Mars to Venus, to place the war machine in the service of peace. But this operation is not accomplished through the State apparatus; it expresses, on the contrary, an ultimate metamorphosis of the war machine, and occurs in smooth space.”
— Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus, p. 489
(via fractal ontology)
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when i’m describing relation being simultaneously bubble and weave, this is the best visual approximation of what i’m suggesting … put this into rotational motion and you have a self-contained vortex … what puts it into motion? … affects, desires, psychic fields, material vibrations, electromagnetic transfers, etc., with other klein bottles? … the “opening” of the klein bottle as sucker or sphincter, in non-touch contact with other openings … can there be a sort of n-dimensional klein bottle with n-openings to describe our n-relations? and how do we understand n+1, n-1 deleuzoguattarian relations with this interpretive model? … the klein bottle as umbilicus and placenta of copoietic impulsion — in material, psychic and semiotic connection — giving birth to one’s self-in-relation … the outer surface of the klein bottle is composed of razor sharp fractal edges … we are told we may create a klein bottle by suturing two moebius strips together, one right-handed and one left-handed … is bennett’s klein bottle illustrated above a version of n-dimensionality? …
Kinoderm Abrasion: Notes on a Pedagogy of Deterritorializing the Archive
Department of Biological Flow
Artist/Scholar-in-Residence, University of Western Ontario
(to be presented at the ‘Deleuze, Guattari and the Arts’ Conference, King’s College, University of Western Ontario, May 4-6, 2012)
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We approach as if wasps forming a rhizome with the orchids of Deleuzian thought. Or, we thank you in advance for legitimating our presence and granting us the power of voice. Nomads or agents of the state, we are not certain as to whom we should address our submission, but we shall initiate a politics of approach that errs on the side of the former. And is this not to a certain degree the politics Deleuze and Guattari advance in their admittedly undertheorized concept of holey space: the ability to surf at the threshold between the ever-contingent striations of state authority and the myriad subjectivities and contexts we may understand as nomadic?
From 2008-2011, the art collective Department of Biological Flow developed an extended project of research-creation titled “Walking is In(di)visible”. Beginning with an interest in the aesthetics and politics of surveillant optics in urban milieus, and an embodied engagement with Deleuze and Guattari’s concept of smooth and striated spaces, the “Walking is In(di)visible” trajectory produced 16 artworks spanning performance, installation, text, image, poetry and motion capture. Following an initial walking study in Toronto titled Gait Surfing, emergent questions for our processes and technics concerned intensity, archiving, witnessing, memory, gender, ethics, fragility and minor practice.
As with our salutation above, Gait Surfing was an attempt to negotiate a liquid terrain, perhaps a metaphor for our ability to move through public and quasi-public corporatized spaces: the surfer who rides at the break-point between the wave’s signal and its becoming-noise, who stays slightly ahead of the movement in order to glide stylishly to the beach. Our attempts to document these practices at the threshold between surveillant optics and smoothing gestural haptics led to works titled Kino-Gait Study No.3 and Natality (Ingrid)—experiments in the non-representation of process that deeply informed the subsequent unfolding of “Walking is In(di)visible”.
At the terminus of this broader trajectory, in a subtle move from intuition, affect and percept to retrospective coding, we produced a catalogue of our efforts and a conceptual framework titled Toward a Kinoderm Aesthetics, which at its core asked simply “what if one’s skin could see?”
Shortly thereafter, as one terminus flipped into the incipience of new tendencies, our concern shifted: had we simply reproduced (once again) the invisible powers of surveillance that govern everyday movements and tempos—this time as a perfect enclosure of illusory freedom, a kino-plasticity appropriate to the society of control? If so, how to tear apart this conceptual framework and yet continue to push forward with experimental investigations concerning the opportunities for movement in surveillant publics? Or, as we came to understand the question thereafter, how to deterritorialize a certain image of thought before it sedimented within our own work and infected the set of relations it was in the process of creating? Call it kinoderm abrasion.
This paper presents a short case study of the Department of Biological Flow project “Walking is In(di)visible”, exploring some of these emergent questions through process. It then concludes with more recent pedagogical efforts as Artist/Scholar-in-Residence at the University of Western Ontario: the transduction of certain research-creation technics, the negotiation between art and philosophy, and the performative deterritorialization of the archive.
(Includes group participation performance workshop of Gait Surfing.)
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Gilles Deleuze: “When a language is so strained that it starts to stutter, or to murmur or stammer … then language in its entirety reaches the limit that marks its outside and makes it confront silence. When language is strained in this way, language in its entirety is submitted to a pressure that makes it fall silent. Style—the foreign language within language—is made up of these two operations; or should we instead speak with Proust of a nonstyle, that is, of ‘the elements of a style to come which do not yet exist’? Style is the economy of language. To make one’s language stutter, face to face, or face to back, and at the same time to push language as a whole to its limit, to its outside, to its silence—this would be like the boom and the crash.”
potenza: outering your innards, or bringing the outside in
"There is another deactualization process in addition to quantification and qualification: codification. The digital is a numerically based form of codification (zeroes and ones). As such, it is a close cousin to quantification. Digitization is a numeric way of arraying alternative states so that they can be sequenced into a set of alternative routines. Step after ploddingly programmed step. Machinic habit. … Nothing is more destructive for the thinking and imaging of the virtual than equating it with the digital. All arts and technologies, as series of qualitative transformations (or in Deleuze and Guattari’s involuted evolutionary vocabulary, “machinic phylums”), envelop the virtual in one way or another. Digital technologies in fact have a remarkably weak connection to the virtual, by virtue of the enormous power of their systematization of the possible.”
Brian Massumi, “On the Superiority of the Analog,” Parables for the Virtual: Movement, Affect, Sensation, Duke University Press, 2002, p.137.
Holey Space [espace troue]: the ‘third space’ of the machinic phylum (of matter-flow), inhabited by itinerant metallurgists, and by extension the ‘underground’ space that can connect with smooth space and be conjugated by striated space. Holey space is the subsoil space of ‘swiss cheese’ that bypasses both the ground [sol] of nomadic smooth space and the land [terre] of sedentary striated space. In this bypassing, holey space is suspect; for Gilles Deleuze, the mark of Cain is not the biblical mark of the soild, but a mark of the subsoil [sous-sol], since holey space is conceived of by surface dwellers as created by theft and betrayal.
Holey space has different relations to nomadic smooth and State striated space. Cave-dwelling, earth-boring tunnellers are only imperfecty controlled by the State, and often have allied with nomads and with peasants in revolts against centralized authority. Thus the machinic phylum explored in holey space connects with smooth space to form rhizomes, while it is conjugated (blocked) by State striation. The previously positive relation of holey and smooth space has turned around, however, now that States are able to create a smooth space of surveillance and global military interevention. Holey spaces have flourished for the only way to escape the spying eyes of State intelligence is to go underground: ‘Do not new smooth spaces, or holey spaces, arise as parries even in relation to the smooth space of a worldwide organization? Virilio invokes the beginnings of subterranean habitation in the “mineral layer”, which can take on very diverse values.
Such a turnaround has not gone unnoticed; led by the Bush Administration, global States now trumpet the danger of ‘rogue regimes’ that have taken their weapons-making capabilities underground where they cannot be detected by satellites and spy planes. North Korea in 2003 remains the prime example, but much of the premise upon which the Bush Administration built its case for the 2003 ‘pre-emptive’ assault on Iraq was the supposedly concealed nature of weapons laboratories and storage facilities. The post 9/11 Afghanistan war was also launched against the holey space of the so-called ‘Al Qaeda’ network, supposedly in possession of innumerable underground hideouts, indeed even elaborate bunkers (though these were discovered to be not nearly as luxurious as their reputations). The bunkers and tunnels of the American establishment are, of course, exempt from any suspicion.
Cyberspace and forest space may also be seen as holey spaces rather than as smooth spaces in that they provide protective cover for ‘underground’ operations. Guerrilla armies such as the FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia) use forests to great advantage, and indeed a long line of guerrilla forces in Latin American has used rain forests in this way. The armies of the State cannort array on it as on a battlefield, and the trees must be defoliated before air war can be successful. Cyberspace is filled with gaps and voids, black matter from which hackers (these may of course be in the service of States) launch coordinated attacks on sites and servers. A study of the paranoid tunneling in Cold War suburban backyards to create ‘fallout shelters’ would yield yet another aspect of the interrelations of smooth, striate, and holey space, as would the innumerable urban legends concerning sewers, subway tunnels, and the like.
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Mark Bonta and John Protevi. Deleuze and Geophilosophy: A Guide and Glossary. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2004.
Gilles Deleuze à Big Sur
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"Everywhere surfing has already replaced the older sports.”
THX 1138 FITNESS, Study No.1
September 26, 2011
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DOCTOR FOUCAULT, DOCTOR VIRILIO: YOU ARE NEEDED IN EMERGENCY … STATS!!
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- Foucauldian space of disciplinary enclosure overlaid on the remote television screen, the body-space quasi-doubled
- one is trained to know where the limits of the volume are located
- this training is reinforced by the uncanny portrayal of one’s body dematerializing upon challenging the boundaries of the enclosure
- this apparatus (luminescent diagram, psychoanalytics) has real effects in the control society: for a certain amount of time per day, the object of information may be located precisely within a 4’ x 4’ square
(one wonders about basketball and the principle of verticality?)
- hygiene becomes more explicitly spatialized
- registration and authentication of one’s identity begins the session (how are these different?)
- ambient voiceovers provide a normalizing aural context to the control
Foucault located the disciplinary societies in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; they reach their height at the outset of the twentieth. They initiate the organization of vast spaces of enclosure. The individual never ceases passing from one closed environment to another, each having its own laws: first the family; then the school (“you are no longer in your family”); then the barracks (“you are no longer at school”); then the factory; from time to time the hospital; possibly the prison, the preeminent instance of the enclosed environment. It’s the prison that serves as the analogical model: at the sight of some laborers, the heroine of Rossellini’s Europa ‘51 could exclaim, “I thought I was seeing convicts.”
Foucault has brilliantly analyzed the ideal project of these environments of enclosure, particularly visible within the factory: to concentrate; to distribute in space; to order in time; to compose a productive force within the dimension of space-time whose effect will be greater than the sum of its component forces. But what Foucault recognized as well was the transience of this model: it succeeded that of the societies of sovereignty, the goal and functions of which were something quite different (to tax rather than to organize production, to rule on death rather than to administer life); the transition took place over time, and Napoleon seemed to effect the large-scale conversion from one society to the other. But in their turn the disciplines underwent a crisis to the benefit of new forces that were gradually instituted and which accelerated after World War II: a disciplinary society was what we already no longer were, what we had ceased to be.
We are in a generalized crisis in relation to all the environments of enclosure—prison, hospital, factory, school, family. The family is an “interior,” in crisis like all other interiors—scholarly, professional, etc. The administrations in charge never cease announcing supposedly necessary reforms: to reform schools, to reform industries, hospitals, the armed forces, prisons. But everyone knows that these institutions are finished, whatever the length of their expiration periods. It’s only a matter of administering their last rites and of keeping people employed until the installation of the new forces knocking at the door. These are the societies of control, which are in the process of replacing disciplinary societies. “Control” is the name Burroughs proposes as a term for the new monster, one that Foucault recognizes as our immediate future. Paul Virilio also is continually analyzing the ultrarapid forms of free-floating control that replaced the old disciplines operating in the time frame of a closed system. There is no need to invoke the extraordinary pharmaceutical productions, the molecular engineering, the genetic manipulations, although these are slated to enter the new process. There is no need to ask which is the toughest regime, for it’s within each of them that liberating and enslaving forces confront one another. For example, in the crisis of the hospital as environment of enclosure, neighborhood clinics, hospices, and day care could at first express new freedom, but they could participate as well in mechanisms of control that are equal to the harshest of confinements. There is no need to fear or hope, but only to look for new weapons.
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Gilles Deleuze, “Postscript on the Societies of Control,” October, Vol. 59. (Winter, 1992), pp. 3-7.