All 107 entries tagged Transversality
September 13, 2006
It was accompanied with the following text:
Ontology: concerns that which has no further potential for difference, that which is finalised, i.e. Being.
Epistemology: concerns acts of connecting and exploiting latent potentials, surplus values of code, for novel and non-final effects, i.e. Becoming.
How then can these be reconciled?
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July 10, 2006
Into the sources of my energy of will I dared not probe. The conception of antithetical mind and matter, which was basic in the Arab self-surrender, helped me not at all. I achieved surrender (so far as I did achieve it) by the very opposite road, through my notion that mental and physical were inseparably one: that our bodies, the universe, our thoughts and tactilities were conceived in and of the molecular sludge of matter, the universal element through which form drifted as clots and patterns of varying density. It seemed to me unthinkable that assemblages of atoms should cogitate except in atomic terms. My perverse sense of values constrained me to assume that abstract and concrete, as badges, did not denote oppositions more serious than Liberal and Conservative. The practice of our revolt fortified the nihilist attitude in me. During it, we often saw men push themselves or be driven to a cruel extreme of endurance: yet never was there an intimation of physical break. Collapse rose always from a moral weakness eating into the body, which of itself, without traitors from within, had no power over the will. While we rode we were disbodied, unconscious of flesh or feeling: and when at an interval this excitement faded and we did see our bodies, it was with some hostility, with a contemptuous sense that they reached their highest purpose, not as vehicles of the spirit, but when, dissolved, their elements served to manure a field. p.468
May 31, 2006
1) Pierre Boulez defined three forms of electronic music:
- sounds that mimic non-electronic sounds;
- sounds that are pure invention, with no relation to pre-existing sounds;
- sounds that take non-electronic sounds and extend, distort, deterritorialize – these are the most interesting.
2) Synthetic versus analytic cubism – what is the concept of synthesis?
3) Rauschenberg’s artwork as a mirror (relation to D&G’s monumental art), minimalism, the “gap between art and life”. Escape from shame into zero intensity. Re-emergence from minima – Lawrence and the clock in the rape scene.
4) A geophilosophy of shame should be written, demonstrating that the shame/glory mechanism (of rising and falling intensities) is not a product of some foundational ontological truth, but rather a product of space, history and theatre (the theatre of battle, the theatre of the Idea, the theatre of cruelty). In my entry on Lawrence and Abu Ghraib I ask whether there is a moral distinction between the nomadic war machine and the state war machine. Lawrence seems to claim that the former exists without shame, the latter sadistic system imposes a moral of shame/glory. And what of Lawrence’s theatricality and masochism? How is that an attempt to escape the state war machine? And the there is the conflict between the writer and the war, the eloquent creator and the illiterate destroyer. WWI as the most brutal and direct manifestation of the states glory/shame machine.
5) Concepts – historical events, conceptual components are historical (can disconnect and reconnect with each other).
May 28, 2006
Theatre is a repetition without finality, a repetition/rehearsal (same word in French). The most effective theatre approaches the limit and retreats, taking the audience on that journey to the edge.
Centuries later, when theatre has lost its ability to go to the edge and back, Artaud sought to recover this power (in his essay on theatre and the plague):
Above all we must agree that stage acting is a delirium like the plague, and is communicable. p.18
...conditions must be found to give birth to a spectacle that can fascinate the mind. It is not just art. p.18
The plague takes dormant images, latent disorder and suddenly carries them to the point of the most extereme gestures. Theatre also takes gestures and develops them to the limit. Just like the plague, it reforges the links between what does and does not exist in material nature. p.18
For theatre can only happen the moment the inconcievable really begins, where poetry taking place on stage, nourishes and superheats created symbols. p.18
Like the plague, theatre is a crisis resolved either by death or cure. The plague is a superior disease because it is an absolute crisis after which there is nothing left except death or drastic putrification. In the same way, theatre is a disease because it is the final balance that cannot be obtained without destruction. It urges the mind to delirium which intensifies its energy. p.22
Most importantly, this theatre is a mobile plague, sweeping across the country. The movement of the travelling company from one city to another is not incidental. The programme of repetitions/rehearsal is repeated in a new setting each time, a new audience, a new set of reactions and interactions. As the reputation of the players builds and preceeds them, the audience becomes even more receptive and superheated, in expectation of becoming infected. Imagine what it must be like for the players, repeating their words and moves, and each time anticipating the differences both subtle and extreme.
Now consider street theatre, even more an addiction played out in varying circumstances. And the theatre of cruelty – the programme of repetitions melds with the stage and its agents, a single exposed body stripped bare and made mobile.
May 26, 2006
Yesterday I attended yet another excellent seminar as part of the What is Philosophy? graduate research project. Professor Rosi Braidotti set out to defend Deleuzian research from charges of ethical relativism and providing more efficient control mechanisms for the use of gobal capitalism. This was done with remarkable energy and wit. The result, I believe, was to establish convincingly that Deleuzianism can have a consistent and pragmatic ethical approach to a wide range of situations. However, this requires a rethinking of the role of addiction, [inter]dependency, risk and identities, with an emphasis on positive modes of growth and intensity – an emphasis quite contrary to the prevailing culture of compensation and the valorization of suffering.
That is very much a partial and inadequate summary. If you want to know more, I would suggest joining the What Is Philosophy? project, so that you can listen to the full podcast audio recordings of the lecture and following discussion.
As a taster, and as a record of my own contribution to the discussion, I have clipped a short section in which I respond to the claim that addictive behaviour is necessarily narcissistic. Rosi had presented the concept of addiction on two slightly contradictory ways. On the one hand, there was a discussion of Deleuze’s alcoholism (dealt with in the Logic of Sense). This behaviour was a distinctly self-absorbed testing of ‘what a body is capable of’ (Deleuze’s favourite Spinozism). Deleuze was concerned with how the alooholic repeatedly approached the limit of their addiction, the point at which it approaches incapacity or even death, and then swiftly pulls back from the edge. Such a rehearsal/repetition is only ever a reinforcement of limits. Going beyond the limit passes across a threshold (Deleuze differentiates thresholds and limits) such that the addiction is no longer possible. Such a model is, as you can imagine, not what our critics may happily accept as the basis of an ethical system!
We could, as I think Rosi attempted, redress this by arguing that life itself is about addictions, and that there are some addictions that are positive and sustainable, and others that are destructive and lead into ‘black holes’ (Deleuze and Guattari’s term). The obvious problem with this argument is that an economic system like capitalism is quite capable of creating addictions that are both locally safe in this way (for the individual) and at the same time globally destructive, or oppresive to other classes, races, nations or species. Individuals can quite obviously be manipulated, sustained or destroyed where necessary, through the production and manipulation of their addictions. Even when such behaviours seem to introduce constant novelty (fashion), that novelty is carefully controlled and limited. Consequently, the notion of safe and sustainable personal addiction fails to save us from the charge that Deleuze and Guattari simply provide more efficient mechanisms to the hands of global capitalism.
At this point I got quite excited. I have been looking at a range of addictive behaviours that are neither narcissistic nor exclusive of significant and uncontrolled creativity. These patterns of behaviour are entirely dependent upon an engagement with contsantly differing contexts (people and places). I offered the following example:
May 18, 2006
It could be argued that sadism and masochism, the formal relations instantiated by each of these conditions, present two different kinds of journey or travel. Sadism as described by Deleuze assimilates every difference to its brutal logic, consuming time, events, into its minimal singularity with an entirely instrumental attitude. The sadist wants to get from A to B without deviation (!), but at the same time must feel some kind of intensity giving matter to the journey. The masochist journey has a plan and material, rehearsed continually. Contrary to Freud’s analysis, the rehearsal is undertaken in the hope of some unanticipated modulation in the script.
The clock plays an absolutely key role in the rape scene. To cope with the viscious attack, Lawrence focusses on its sound in order to filter out other intensities. Similarly, in the desert, he focusses on the rhythmic movement of the camel to filter out the pain and the horrors of the conflict. Is this a third mode of travel? How does it relate to Deleuze and Guattari’s theory of the refrain? Minimalism? Rauschenberg?
Bogue identifies that Deleuze's sigificant claim is that sadism and masochism are formally different conditions, not poles of a single disorder. Sadomasochism is then a 'syndrome' not a disease, a badly analyzed composite of symptoms.
Whereas in Sade erotic scenes are repeated with violent and mechanical reiteration, in Masoch phantasy figures are identified with motionless art objects – statues, portraits, photographs – components of scenes that are repeated in a stuttering sequence of frozen images. Sade seeks the violence of continuous movement and hence abjures the stasis of the art object, whereas Masoch aspires to a world of suspense and waiting, and thus aestheticizes the real as a series of tableaux vivants. p.20
Each is then a solution to the problem of repetition and difference. But they capture and recirculate matter in different ways. Is Sadism closer to mathematics in its relentless application of an algorithm that reduces difference? And Masochism, obviously a theatre focussed on an artistic monument, slowing down differentiation through repetition/rehearsal.
Sade's immediacy – the nomadic war machine? – the desert?
Masoch's theatre – the socius? – the city?
These are conunterposed in Seven Pillars of Wisdom – see my entry on Lawrence and Abu Ghraib
But this is not the phantasm of psychoanalysis. The programme is itself real and complex, with a history of its own. Bogue seems not to see this.
May 17, 2006
I recently wrote that repetition and difference are governed by "filters", and that:
some of these filters privelige speed and scope of judgement over care and novelty. These filters render the fine detail of events redundant (in the cybernetic sense), so as to cover more ground more quickly. Concepts are such filters.
Actually I think that D&G, in What Is Philsoophy?, try to rescue philosophy and its concepts from this, aligning philosophical concepts more closely with artistic monuments in the way in which they capture, decelerate and recirculate matter through a network of actual conceptual components. The philosopher (or conceptual personae), following Nietzsche, is then a kind of artist.
At some point in WiP, they attack marketing, the communications business, opinions, etc – all the traditional enemies of philosophy, and all responsible for the priveliging of speed and scope of judgement over care.
The nomads were thus capable of becoming an abstract machine, self–motivated, self–positing, independent but at the same time forming a genuinely connected response to every and any possible experience. The nomad, for example, finds the continuation of the journey as a way of life itself. The journey is the purpose of the journey. The narrower objective being to merely keep circulating within a space that encourages the continuation of the journey, making sedimentation impossible.
This was then a new movement, breaking out of the timeless circulation of peoples and their livestock into and across the desert – a sudden and unprecedented mass carrying with it bodies from the diverse geophysical and social distributions of people into places.
Genetic – quality – affirmative/negative – feedback loops – continuous multiplicity – virtuality
Art is missing, but why do we need it? My conjecture is this (following, I think, Deleuze and Guattari): 1. That events are organized; this is to say, their repetition and differentiation is controlled by filters of selection. 2. That some of these filters privelige speed and scope of judgement over care and novelty. These filters render the fine detail of events redundant (in the cybernetic sense), so as to cover more ground more quickly. Concepts are such filters. 3. However there is always a side–effect of speed: a loss of feeling (subtle detail). 4. On the contrary, there are filters that amplify detail by taking a set of events and promoting their re–occurrence, emphasing different aspects of the events with each repetition. Artists create such filters. The effect of art is deceleration, or perhaps carefully controlled speed. Art may then prevent the dissociation from the world that is inherent in conceptual activity.
reduce the world and its vast circuits to a small repetitive loop. In the case of Cezanne, the loop circulates and re–circulates between Mont Saint Victoire, the palette and its oils (themselves reduced to a few greens and blues), the hand, the brush or knife, and the canvas. In this way the artwork is built up over time through a kind of mangrove effect not disimilar to that described by Andy Clark.
Everything is invested – "the artist is already in the canvas" (Deleuze, Logic of Sensation). Then make each run of the circuit entirely dependent upon the last, each time applying a filter modulated by the results of the previous passage (Cezanne, Van Gogh, Bacon and others replace an optical filter with a haptic filter). The circuit carves out an escape route within the imprisonment of actuality. The loops are repetitions, movements between points, but across different virtualities or the infinite and irreducible but necessary slices of reality. This opening up of new degrees of movement is the experiment of the diagram.
The suggestion is that the monument encapsulates a rhythm of deterritorialization and reterritorialization, of pleats of matter rising and falling relative to each other, forming tonalities, a whole music of matter that penetrates substance and carries it away into the plane. The monument is then not a static edifice, it is a continual circulation of matter, captured at some point in history, relative to a virtuality which otherwise disappears. It captures a slice of reality, holds it, and then releases it again in the future, in our aesthetic encounter.
Deleuze and Guattari go further: artworks are monuments. All artworks? What does, for example, Cezanne's painting of Mont Saint Victoire commemorate? In paint it captures a circulation of matter ever connected with the mountain. The rhythm of brush strokes is, as Cezanne claimed, the rhythm of the mountain, of nature as he lived it. His method always struggled to capture the tension, the pattern of connections of those rhythms, to make them permanent in a monument.
Next I must relate this to 'the refrain'; the 'journey' of the nomad and its singular rhythm; dematerialization and virtualization; the clock and the rape scene in Seven Pillars; the movement of the camel; and the clockwork running of the engine in Jupiter's Travels.
May 16, 2006
But forces would never enter into relation with each other if there were no dynamic element within forces that engendered relations. That element Nietzsche calls "will to power". The will to power "thus is added to force, but as the differential and genetic element, as the internal element of its production. Bogue, Deleuze on Literature, p.11
In the first instance, a force is a naked event, experienced as an absolute loss. But a force has two aspects:
- Differential – quantity – dominant/dominated – discontinuous multiplicity – nothing shared – can be divided without changing.
- Genetic – quality – affirmative/negative – feedback loops – continuous multiplicity – virtuality – that which changes in being divided or in adding novelty, must have been there, shared from the start – memory – hence genetic.
Bogue – interpretation concerns the differential, evaluation concerns the genetic.