Posts Tagged ‘Deleuze

28
Nov
08

Hansen’s Bodies in Code

Mark B.N. Hansen
Bodies in Code: Interfaces with Digital Media
Area: Digital Media
Preface

•    Bodies in code: a term designating embodiment as it is necessarily distributed beyond the skin in the context of contemporary technics
Ix: “My explicit aim is to show how Merleau-Ponty’s final ontology of the flesh, with its postulation of a fundamental indifference between body and world, requires a technics—a theory of the originary technicity of the human.  Because the human is essentially a being distributed into nonoverlapping sensory interfaces with the world, it is characterized by a certain ‘gap’ or ‘divide- by what Merleau-Ponty calls an ecart.  As I show, the most primordial form of this ecart is the transduction between embodiment and specularity, the transduction that informs the emergence of the visual from primordial tactility.  This transduction (a relations that is primary with respect to its terms) is an instance (indeed, it is the protoinstance) of the inherence of technics within embodied life.”
Intro
•    The virtual now denotes a space full of information that can be activated, revealed, reorganized, and recombined, added to and transformed as the user navigates ewal space
•    Motor activity—not representationalist verisimilitude—holds the key to flux and functional crossings between the virtual and physical realms
•    The first generational model of VR as a disembodied hyperspace free of all material constraints simply no longer has any purchase in our world
•    The priority (or the ‘superiority’) of the analog: always on arrival a transformative feeling of the outside, a feeling of thought (Massumi)
o    Outside coming in
o    The analog creates reality out of forms or mixing realms, out of transformations
•    All reality is mixed reality
•    Theory has become almost simply coextensive with the claim (Sedgwick and Frank)
•    What makes the passage from one realm to another so seamless, so unnoticeable, so believable?
•    Blindspot (the photo montage of the parts of the body the artist cannot see) recognizes the inescapability of a cofunctioning of ‘natural’ perception and technically extend perception
•    Across the virtual body our culture constructs its own body image
•    Rigid Waves: the ‘mirror’ art—movement creates distortion, proximity shatters the image
•    To think of the body as a body-in-code is to think of human existence as a prepersonal sensory being-with
3: “Natural three dimension” demotes a more immersive, data-rich visual simulation.  In contrast, for Krueger, ‘natural formation’ means information produced through an extension of our natural—that is, embodied, perceptuomotor—interface with the world.”
3: “The development of 3-D simulations puts us in touch with out most primative perceptual capacities: ‘the human interface is evolving toward more natural information.  3-D space is more, not less, intuitive then 2-D space…3-D space is what we evolved to understand.  It is more primitive, not more advanced 9than two-dimensional space].”
4: “First, the mixed reality paradigm radically reconfigures a trait that has characterized VR from its proto origin as the representationalist fantasy par excellence: namely, a desire for complete convergence with natural perception.  This trait serves to distinguish it from all discrete image media, including cinema, which as underscored by Gilles Deleuze’s correction of Bergson’s criticism of the ‘cinematic illusion,’ function by breaking with natural perception.”
4: “Atonion Damasio’s analogy for consciousness: if consciousness can be likened to a ‘movie-in-the-brain’ with no external spectator, then VR would comprise something like a move-outside-the-brain, again, importantly, with no external spectator.”
5:  “Rather than conceiving the virtual as a total technical simulacrum and as the opening of a fully immersive, self-contained fantasy world, the mixed reality paradigm treats it as simply one more realm among others that can be accessed through embodied perception or enaction (Varela).  In this way, emphasis falls less on the content of the virtual than on the means of access to it, less on what is perceived in the world than on how it comes to be perceived in the first place.”
8:  “Mixed reality specifies how ‘media determine our situation’ (following Kittler’s media-theoretical deepening of Foucault’s epistemo-transcendental historiography), it does so in a way that foregrounds, not, (as in Kittler) the autonomy of the technical, but precisely its opposite: the irreducible bodily or analog basis of experience which, we must add, has always been conditioned by a technical dimension and has always occurred as a cofunctioning of embodiment with technics.”
12:  “The social-technical-psychological condition of psychasthenia, meaning ‘a state in which the space defined by the coordinates of the organism’s body is confused with represented space’”
20:  “Such a technical mediation of the body schema (of the scope of body environment coupling) comprises what I propose to calls a body-in-code.  By this I do not mean a purely informational body or a digital disembodiment of the everyday body.  I mean a body submitted to and constituted by an unavoidable and empowering technical deterritorialization—a body whose embodiment is realized, and can only be realized in conjunction with technics.”

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24
Nov
08

Stengers’ Power and Invention

Isabelle Stengers

Power and Invention: Situating Science

Area: Digital Media

Foreword ( by Bruno Latour)

·                    “Stengers looks for a touchstone distinguishing good science from bad not in epistemology, but in ontology.”

·                    The modern tradition in anthropology and science studies is to study “up” not “down”

·                    Modify our definition of science: not to look at the limits of human representation but the world’s ways of marking these limits

·                    What is a science? (Contra our class discussions on what is a rhetoric of science)

·                    CC: “cosmopolitically” correct

·                    The world is not outside, the mind is not inside

·                    Distinction: not between true and false statements, but between well-constructed and badly-constructed propositions

·                                Proposition: (opposite a statement) includes the world in a certain state                          and could be called an event (Deleuze)

·                                A  construction is not a representation form the mind or dorm the society                                   about a thing, an object, a matter of fact, but the engagement of a certain                                    type of collective

Xi: “First, a world outside untouched by human hands and impervious to human history; second, a mind isolated inside its own mind striving to gain an access to an absolute certainly about the laws of the world outside; third, a political world down there, clearly distinct from the world outside and the mind inside, which is agitated by fads and passions, flares of violence and eruptions of desires, collective phenomena that can be quieted down only by bringing in the universal laws of science, in the same way that a fire can be extinguished only by water, foam, and sand thrown form above; and fourth, a sort of position ‘up there’ that serves as a warrant for the clear separation of the three spheres above, a view from  nowhere that is occupied either by the God on ancient religions or in recent times by a more reliable an watchful figure, that of the physicist-God who took upon himself—it is definitely a he!—to make sure that there are always enough laws of physics to stop humans from behaving irrationally.”

Xiii: “The mind is not an isolated language-bearer place in the impossible double bind of having to find absolute truth while it has been cut off from all the connections that would have allowed it to be relatively sure—and not absolutely certain—of its many relations.  It is a body, an ethological body, or to use Deleuze’s expression, a ‘habit of thought.’”

Xiv: “Constructivism, for Stengers, is not a word that would have an antonym.  It is not, for instance, the opposite of realism.  Thus, constructivism is the opposite of a pair of positions: the twin ones obtained after the bifurcation, as Whitehead says, between world and word.  In this way, ‘social construction’ is not a branch of constructivism, but the denegation of any construction, a denegation as thorough as that of realist philosophers.”

Xv: “The same principle strikes twice with the opposite result: once should not eliminate from a discipline what constitutes its main source of uncertainties and risk, reversible time in the case of nonhuman phenomena, susceptibility to influence in the case of human phenomena.”

Chapter Nine: Who is the Author?

·                  “Any definition, we will say, is a fiction, tied to an author”

·                  Who is the author of the fiction concerning the movement of bodies that Galileo opposes to Aristotelian science?

·                  The “author” would then be an abstraction

·                  Authors, in the medieval sense, are those whose texts can act as an authority

·                              Scientists recognize nature as the only authority

·                  When an experimental fact is accepted, in the very process of its acceptance, a new question, a new history begins

155:  “An absurdity is not a contradiction.  Absurdity relates to the idea of rationality that would establish, in one way or another, a common meeting ground for human reason and the reasons nature obeys, in such a way that rational argumentation is able to claim the power of distinguishing between the possible and the impossible, the acceptable and the unacceptable, the thinkable and the unthinkable.”

160:  “Thus one can see in the modern sciences that the invention of an original practice of attributing the title of author, playing on two meanings that it opposes; the author, as an individual animated by intentions, projects, and ambitions, and the author acting as authority.”

160: “Every scientist knows that both he and his colleagues are ‘authors’ in the first sense of the term and that this does not matter.  What does matter is that his colleagues be constrained to recognize that they cannot turn this title of author into an argument against hum, that they cannot localize the flaw that would allow them to affirm that the one who ‘claims to have made nature speak’ has in fact spoken in its place.”

160-1:  “The question is to know if this title of author can be ‘forgotten,’ if the statement can be detached form the one who held it and be taken up by others from the moment that they welcome into their laboratory the experimental apparatus whose meaning is given by this detached statement.”

 

21
Nov
08

Massumi’s Parables of the Virtual

Brian Massumi
Parable for the Virtual: Movement, Affect, Sensation
Area: Digital Media
Intro: Concrete is as Concrete Doesn’t

•    Body: it moves, it feels
•    Body – (movement/sensation) – change
•    Body as sight of resistance—signifying gestures can also unmake sense by scrambling significations already in place
•    There is “displacement,” but no transformation.  The body simply leaps from one definition to the next
•    Abstract: never present in position, only ever in passing
•    Incorporeal dimension of the body
•    Positionality is an emergent quality of movement
o    “passing into” and “emerging” aren’t binarisms—they’re dynamic unites
•    Difference between social determinism and sociality
•    Habit is an acquired automatic self-regulation—it resides in the flesh
o    Cultural? Natural?
•    The feeling of having a feeling is the “perception of perception” (Liebniz)
o    Occurs without characters and therefore memory does also
o    Wait…memory, sensations, and perceptions occurring without ‘characters’? Without determinate form or content?—what is memory without content?
•    Just “pastness”? –but this would make the past contemporary to the present of sensation and perception
•    Spinoza: body as relations of movement and rest: the capacity to enter into relations of movement and rest—power to affect or be affected
•    Massumi takes seriously the idea that writing in the humanities can be affirmative or inventive (experimentation)
•    When you uproot a concept from its network of systematic connections with other concepts, you still have its connectibility
o    Connectiblity without the system
4: “Even though many of the approaches in question characterize themselves as materialisms, matter can only enter in indirectly: as mediated.  Matter, movement, body, sensation.  Multiple mediated miss.”
4: “When a body is in motion, in does not coincide with itself.  It coincides with its own transition: its own variation.  The range of variations it can be implicated in is not present in any given movement, much less in any position it passes through.  In motion, a body is in an immediate, unfolding relation to its own nonpresent potential to vary.  That relation, to borrow a phrase from Gilles Deleuze, is real but abstract.”
10: “The retrospective ordering enables precise operations to be inserted along the way, in anticipation of a repetition of the movement—the possibility that it will come again.  If the movement does reoccur, it can be captured.  It comes to a different end.  At that terminus, its momentum may be diverted into a new movement. The back-formation of a path is not only a ‘retrospection.’  It is a retroduction: a production, by feedback, of new movements.  A dynamic unity has been retrospectively captured and qualitatively converted.”
12: “Perhaps ‘productivism’ would be better than constructivism because it connotes emergence.  ‘Inventionism’ wouldn’t be going too far, for even if you take nature in the narrowest sense, it has to be admitted that its inventive in its own right.  There is a word for this: evolution.  There is no reason not to use the same word for the prolongation of ‘natural’ processes of change in the emergent domain of ‘culture.’ Is a constructivist evolutionism conceivable? An evolutionary constructivism?
21: “Aside from that, poaching a scientific concept in no way prevents it from continuing to function it its home environment.  It’s not a zero-sum game.  It’s additive.  The concept still belongs to the culture of science but has also been naturalized into the humanities.”
Chapter 1: Autonomy of Affect (pagination from Cultural Critique)
•    The affective is marked by the gap between content and effect
•    Depth reactions are associated with expectation, which depends on positioning oneself in a line of narrative continuity
o    How does this differ from Gadamer??
o    They are conscious-autonomic mix, a measure of their participation in one another.  Intensity is beside that loop, a non-conscious, never-to-conscious autonomic remainder
•    Intensity will be equated with affect
•    Emotion and affect—if affect is intensity
o    Follows different logics and pertain to different orders
•    Will and consciousness are subtractive. They are limitative, derived functions which reduce a complexity too rich to be functionally expressed (free will experiment)
•    The body is as immediately virtual as it is actual
•    Deleuze: question of emergence—two sided—actual and virtual
•    The entire field (the universe) is limited and infinite
•    The autonomy of affect is its participation in the virtual
o    Its autonomy is its openness
86: When on the other hand it doubles a sequence of movements in order to add something to it in the way of meaningful progression-in this case a sense of futurity, expectation, an intimation of what comes next in a conventional progression-then it runs counter to and dampens the intensity. Intensity would seem to be associated with nonlinear processes: resonation and feedback which momentarily suspend the linear progress of the narrative present from past to future.
91: Intensity is asocial, but not presocial-it includes social elements, but mixes them with elements belonging to other levels of functioning, and combines them according to different logic.
100: It is meaningless to interrogate the relation of the human to the nonhuman if the nonhuman is only a construct of human culture, or inertness. The concepts of nature and culture need serious reworking, in a way that expresses the irreducible alterity of the non- human in and through its active connection to the human, and vice versa.

19
Nov
08

Doyle’s On Beyond Living

Richard Doyle
On Beyond Living: Rhetorical Transformation of the Life Sciences
Area: Digital Media
Chapter 1: The Sublime Object of Biology

•    Not the economy of differences between signs and things, but the force field that organizes the relations between them
•    The ‘freezing’ of scientific discourse suspends its relation to history as well as its relations to language.  For what does not appear in the freeze-frame of science is the technology of framing itself, what I call rhetorical software
o    Rhetorical software foregrounds the relational and material interactions that make possible the emergence of scientific statement
•    Foucault: pre-19th century, “life” didn’t exist because biology as a science hadn’t yet been articulated (Order of Things)
•    Life becomes the unseen guarantor of biology, knowable only at a distance
•    Living species are classified alive because of what they conceal
•    Ontological economy = spent life
•    Reproduction maintains life, it doesn’t create it
•    Any given cell can be seen as nothing but the instantiation of a memory of past “choices”—directed by the genetic program
•    Postvital organism is nothing but coding
•    What are we studying when we study life?
•    Two meanings of resolution: precision and closure
•    Transparent body, unseen, resolved into nothing: memory of a body, body of a memory—past choices of ancestry
•    Two deaths: symbolic and biological (Lacan)
•    Rotman: meta-sign—inscription marks absence
3: “We usually think of an experimental report as a narration of some prior visual experience: it points to sensory experiences that lie behind the text. This is correct.  However, we should also appreciate that the text itself constitutes a visual source.  That is, narrative functions as a kind of supplement to the material technology of the air pump, framing it in a coherent and persuasive fashion so that others might be convinced of Robert Boyle’s finding at a distance in the absence of the pump or of Boyle.”
4: “For Derrida, writing about the writing of philosophy, this impossibility of arriving at the final or complete metaphor of metaphor exhibits philosophy’s dependence on the passed over, the preterit, something ‘outside the system.’  That is, the very working of metaphor, the fact of metaphor, testifies to the fact that language works through a forgetting, at the very least a forgetting of what we mean by metaphor.  Our mania for accounts of language that stress the possibility of univocality and overlook the force and rhetoricity of language occludes the ways in which language matters.”
9: “The virtual is the unsaid of the statement, the unthought of thought.  It is real and subsists in them, but must be forgotten at least momentarily for a clear a statement to be produced….The task of philosophy is to explore that inevitable forgetting, to reattach statements to the conditions of their emergence.” (Deleuze)
15: “For cells, as for computers, memory makes complex programs possible; and many cells together, each one stepping through its complex developmental control program, generate a complex adult body…Thus the cells of the embryo can be likened to an array of computers operating in parallel and exchanging information with one another. Each cell contains the same genome and therefore the same built-in program, but it can exist in a variety of states; the program directs development along various alternative paths according to a combination of the past information the cell has remembered and the present environmental signals it receives.”
16: “These choices lead to the eradication of the centrality and sovereignty of the cell as agent, much as in the rhizomatic example drawn from Deleuze and Guattari’s ATP: ‘Puppet strings, as a rhizomatic or a multiplicity of nerve fibers, which form another puppet in other dimensions to the first.”
17: “For the postvital body, the overlooking or disappearance of the body displaces this ‘beyond’ onto an ever denser and ever more complex genetic apparatus.  That is, it is not simply that the accelerating pursuit of knowledge of molecular genetics leads to a greater appreciation of the richness of genetic expression. Rather, the intensity of the pursuit of a ‘complete understanding’ of C. elegans increases the resolutions of analysis and plunges research ever deeper into the genome to a place beyond the molecule, the postvital.”
Chapter 2: Mr. Schrodinger Inside Himself: The Rhetorical Origins of the Genetic Code
•    Pattern = cradle-to-grave biography
•    “Smart” DNA = DNA as an AI
30: “Derrida has argued that philosophy cannot be extricated from its rhetoricity, most notably due to philosophy’s reliance upon metaphor.  But the other side of this analysis also shows the extent to which rhetoric is indebted to philosophy: ‘metaphor remains, in all its essential characteristics, a classical philosopheme.’ Philosophy nad rhetoric thus mark not oppositions, but lines of difference, what Gilles Deleuze might call a ‘fold,’ or what Derrida explicates as ‘the contamination of logic, the logic of contamination.’  These cross-pollinating models all point to the ways in which discourses, like the chromosomes in Schrodinger’s text, cross over and ‘contain’ each other.  As a play of differences rather than a tool for meaning and communication, scientific discourse can be seen to be both productively and hopelessly embedded in the discourses of technology, philosophy, and as we shall see, cartoons.”
36:  “The cyborg now constructs and orders the slave ‘body’ in smart but lifeless immanence, fulfilling the function of the ‘director to the board of an industrial corporation,’ while the proteins work ‘by processes essentially resembling those of assembly plant robots.’ In short, Adam’s text announces that the cyborg no longer needs the organism to ‘implement’ its program.  In a reversal of McLuhan, ‘man’ becomes the extension of the nanotechnological, a mean puppet run by molecular machines.”
Chapter 6: Emergent Power: Vitality and Theology in Artificial Life
•    The rhetoric of molecular biology implies (literally) that there is no outside of the genetic text
•    Vitality, too, in the age of simulation, that which can be ‘xeroxed’
•    Dawkins: “raining DNA”—everything can be replicated; it is real/can live
110: “Rhetorical softwares play a crucial tactical role in this regime of power, as it is through rhetorics that he uncanny connection between the machine and the organism is installed and managed.  Dispersed from the unity of the organism, life gets networked, located, and articulated through a computer screen.”
113:  “Life is no longer that which can be distinguished in a more or less certain fashion from the mechanical; it is that in which all the possible distinctions between living beings have their basis” (Foucault)
123:  “The age of simulation thus begins with a liquidation of all referentials—worse: by their artificial resurrection in systems of signs….It is no longer a question of imitation, not of reduplication, not even of parody.  It is rather a question imitation, nor of reduplication, nor even of parody.  It is rather of question of substituting signs of the real for the real itself.” (Baudrillard)

13
Nov
08

Nealon’s Alterity Politics

Jeffrey Nealon
Alterity Politics: Ethics and Performative Subjectivity
Area: Rhetorical and Critical Theory

•    Leans towards more ethically unfamiliar notions: responses to the inhuman, the chiasmus, exemplarity, anger, and becoming other
•    Ethical response is the production of social relations, rather than the tracing of preexisting ethical templates
•    Butler: theories of otherness/alterity close with an embarrassing “etc.”
•    Identity politics: thematize according to sameness
•    Alterity politics: considers identity responsive first to the other
•    Ethics concerns itself with general theoretical structures and specific concrete responses
o    Reemergence based on the combo of political and theoretical
•    Performative responsibility
•    Refusal of lack
•    The specific “I” that lacks wholeness is symptomatic of the generalized “we” lacking wholeness
•    Linguistic turn—any state of sameness requires difference to restructure
•    Hegel: every individual is dependent on the possibility of constant reassurance by the other
•    Subjective differences through postmodern excess ≠ modernist lack
•    Every group must share the lack—mourn collectively
•    Discourse of identity’s lack (failure to attain the idea) tends to level all identity ‘failures’ on the same plane
•    A notion of difference-as-lack underestimates the productive qualities of alterity
•    Identity and difference: not an effect of loss, but instead produce effects
•    The excess-that-is-lack
2: “Why is it so difficult to ‘situate’ and respond to a set of specific others—ethically, politically, or theoretically—and what does the difficult of doing so teach us about identity politics and the possibility of what I call an alterity politics? Can this ‘failure’ of sameness be rethematized as an affirmation of difference? What possibilities are there for concrete responses that do not merely or finally reduce otherness to a subset of the same, to a subset of an inquiring subject’s identity?”
10: “Thus the homogeneity—or, in Laclau and Mouffe’s parlance, the hegemony—of ‘the people’ must be thought in the double time: the time of the nation, the people, and the same becomes the time of difference’s exclusion, a presence constantly interrupted by the alterity of an impossibility or void at the origin.”
12: “As Deleuze polemically maintains, ‘Those who bear the negative know not what they do.’ In other words, whereas its proponents take the process of loss and mourning to be an ethical expropriation of the subject, for Deleuze this process is actually the assured movement of a resentful subjectivity.  Those who tarry with the negative, he suggests, know all too well what they do: they know that totalization will fail, the subject will be frustrated, promises will inexorable be broken.”
14: “A response, Derrida argues, is always a ‘response in deed, at work rather in the series of strategic negotiations…response does not respond to a problem or a question, it responds to the other—for the other.”

08
Nov
08

Ansell Pearson’s Viroid Life

Keith Ansell Pearson
Viroid Life: Perspectives on Nietzsche and the Transhuman Condition
Area: Digital Media
Intro

• Neo-Lamarckism: (demands giving ourselves ‘over’ to the future) in blind faith as a quasi-Heidegerrian destiny (only a machine can save us)
• Non-affective machines: thought exists without a body
o No future of/for invention: no future at all
• Nietzschean conception of the transhuman condition
• Thought needs to embark on a new negotiation with technology
• Technics is both the sign/mark of human distinctive futurity and the source of the artificial character of human inventions and evolutions
• D&G: rhizomatic/machinic becomings don’t so much place ‘in’ evolution as create or invent it, so marking ‘of’ evolution as an event of genuine becoming
o Bergson’s creative evolution
• Guattari: within the machinic universe beings have only the status of virtual entities; that is they are sites of becoming in which what becomes is always something alien
• The task of working through the transhuman condition thus involves the task of thinking beyond the ‘beyond’
1: “In this volume of essays I question, problematize, overturn, revalue, announce, renounce, advocate, interrogate, affirm, deny, celebrate, critique, the ‘transhuman condition,’ exploring the human as a site of contamination and abduction by alien forces and rendering, in the process, the phenomenon polyvalent and polysemous.”
3: “In 1979 Lyotard defined the ‘postmodern condition’ as ‘incredulity’ in the face of those grand or meta-narratives which have served to provide human existence with teleological meaning and significance, so that the lament of the loss of meaning in postmodernity boils down to mourning the fact that knowledge is now no longer principally narrative.”
4: “However, these new realities demand not an impetuous abandonment of a thinking and valuing of the ‘human’ condition, but rather a radical re-examination and revaluation, in which one would show the extent to which this condition has always been a matter of invention and reinvention, that is, always a matter of the transhuman. The grand narrative today is likely to take the form of a facile quasi-Hegelianism in which the rise of the machine is construed in linear and perfectionist terms: the ever-growing inhuman character of ‘technology’ resides in the ‘simple’ fact that it is machines that are proving to be more successful in creating an adequate response to the tasks laid down by evolution that the creatures whose existence first gave rise to it.”
5: “To declare that technology amounts to ‘the pursuit of life by means other than life’ is not to provide insight into the past and future condition of evolution but to encourage blindness regarding matters of life and death within late-capital. Such a claim deprives us of any genuinely interesting and critical in-humanity.”
Chapter 1: Loving the Poison: The Memory of the Human and the Promise of the Overhuman
• Deleuze uses Freud’s notion of mnemonic trace: consciousness born at the site of a memory trace
• Deleuze: in Nietzsche and Freud we find two themes of memory:
o Traces of memory become so indelibly stamped on his conscious that he is no longer capable of action (which requires forgetting). Not that his only action is reaction; rather, he’s unable to act out reaction since he feels his reaction, making it endless
o Active memory that no longer rests on traces; no longer simply a function of the past, but has become transformed into an activity of the future
• Interpreting and deciphering are the process of production itself
o We repeat the past to discharge and create beyond/beyond ourselves
• Deleuze: time as subject, or subjectification, is called memory
o Absolute memory endlessly forgotten and reconstituted
23: “Memory is viewed as functioning in terms of a punctual organization in which the present refers simultaneously to a horizontal line that captures the flow of time, moving from an old present to an actual present, and to a vertical line that captures the order of time, going from the present to the past, or to the representation of the old present.”
24: “The opposition drawn between ‘memory’ and ‘becoming’ not only rests on an unmediated privileging of becoming, but also ignores the illumination that Deleuze’s earlier work brings to bear on the source of the tremendous power of memory. Becoming is inconceivable without memory, including a technics of memory, in which the ‘product’ always exceeds the law of production.”
26: “As Deleuze maintains in his study of Proust, memory works as a ‘tool’ – one not simply subject to a willful manipulation and exploitation of the human, all to human kind that can be placed in the service of an overcoming. The subject ‘of’ memory is nothing other than this self-overcoming. Thus, he can contend that the orientation of Proust’s work is not the past and the discoveries of memory, but rather the future and the progress of learning.”

08
Nov
08

DeLanda’s Intensive Science and Virtual Philosophy

Manuel DeLanda
Intensive Science and Virtual Philosophy
Area: Rhetorical and Critical Theory

•    Not a direct interpretation of Deleuze’s work, but a reconstruction
o    Robust to changes in theoretical assumptions and strategies
•    Three types of ontological commitments:
o    “For some philosophers reality has no existence independently from the human mind that perceives it, so their ontology consists mostly of mental entities, whether these are thought as transcendent objects or, on the contrary, as linguistic representations or social conventions.  Other philosophers grant to the objects of everyday experience a mind-independent existence, but remaining unconvinced that theoretical entities, whether unobservable relations such as physical causes, or unobservable entities such as electrons, possess such an ontological autonomy.  Finally, there are philosophers who grant reality full autonomy from the human mind, disregarding the difference between the observable and the unobservable, and the anthropocentrism this distinction implies.  These philosophers are said to have a realist ontology.”
•    Essence: a core set of properties that defines what these objects are
•    Importance and relevance – not truth – are the key concepts in Deleuze’s epistemology
From the Wiki:
•    Process-based realist philosophy
•    Deleuze’s realist philosophies don’t rely on essences
o    In the virtual, essences are replaced with multiplicities
•    Multiplicities: concrete sets of singularities or attractions
•    Deleuze’s time – heterochronous
o    “series of nested presents” (coupling of multiplicities)
•    Minor v. Royal science
o    M: pragmatic, laboratory science (more importance on well-formed problems then generalized solutions)
o    R: prestigious, proscriptive science
•    Seven core ontological components
* The (abstract) depth or spatium in which intensities are organised. Deleuzian synonyms: ‘machinic phylum’, ‘plane of consistency’, ‘Body without Organs’.
* The disparate series (multiplicities) these form and the fields of individuation they outline. Deleuzian synonyms: ‘vague essences’, ‘becomings’, ‘partial objects’, ‘concepts’.
* The ‘dark precursor’ (line of flight) which causes them to communicate. Deleuzian synonyms: ‘aleatory or paradoxical point’, ‘desiring machine’, ‘nonsense’, ‘object=x’, ‘quasi-cause’, ‘conceptual personae’.
* The linkages, resonances and movements which result (the dynamism of this system). Deleuzian synonyms: ‘convergence and divergence’, ‘forced movement’.
* The constitution of ‘passive selves’ in the system, and the formation of pure spatio-temporal dynamisms (the intensive). Deleuzian synonyms: ‘intensive individuals’, ‘larval subjects’, ‘monads (from Leibniz).
* The qualities and extensions differentiated into (the actual/extensive). Deleuzian synonyms: ‘forms and substances’
* The centres of envelopment. Deleuzian synonyms: ‘codes’.
From Bogard’s Review:
•    DeLanda defies the actual as metric space and linear time
o    How the actual emerges from the virtual as an immanent casual
•    “Whereas the actual is extended and differentiated in space and time, the virtual is intensive and formless.”
o    Science of the virtual must be one of the intensities, not extensities
•    Detailed descriptions of becoming-actual, but less time on the problem of becoming-virtual, or how the actual becomes virtual
2: “His depiction of the virtual is approached via several interrelated problems:  in terms of how multiplicities arise and differentiate themselves within virtual space, in terms of how phenomena that comprise the virtual must be characterized as “pre-individualized,” non-personal, impassive and abstract, how the virtual is a formless plane (of consistency, immanence, etc.) upon which singularities are distributed, extended and serialized into ordinary points, and so on.  The virtual, De Landa notes, has corporeal causes, i.e., it is produced by actual material processes, but is itself incorporeal and autonomous from those causes (in De Landa’s words, its dynamics are abstract and “mechanism independent”), and the relations that form between virtual multiplicities are “quasi-causal” or, as Foucault would characterize it, relations among effects of effects.”




November 2017
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