New Translation of Guattari’s Seminar “Drive, Black Hole”

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Drive, Black Hole 2/10/1980

 Original Source:

Translated by Taylor Adkins 7/22/20

 F : Freud’s first topographical theories were quite science-based, neurophysiological; then, along the way, these models become quasi-anthropomorphic; the second topographical theory—the ego that struggles with the id and the grimacing personage of the superego—is presented somewhat as a description that a madman might come up with. As for the Kleinian (and other) extensions concerning the bad mother, that kind of unconscious is populated by a whole Manichean theatre, and it didn’t work any worse; I believe it worked quite better…

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New Translation of F. Laruelle’s “Program” (A science for philosophy)

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F. Laruelle. “Programme.” La Décision philosophique 1 (1987): 5-43.


translated by Taylor Adkins 7/2/20


  1. A science for philosophy


Let’s suppose that we will formulate a project and that it will be necessary to exposit a program, this would be the manifesto: don’t do like philosophers, invent philosophy! Radically change its practice! Multiply its potentialities! Treat it experimentally as a whatever material! Is this possible? We are posing the problem otherwise: this is real.

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New Translation of F. Laruelle’s “Prolegomanas to Any Future Science That Would Present Itself as Human”

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Prolegomenas to Any Future Science That Would Present Itself as Human

Laruelle. “Prolégomènes à toute science future qui se présenterait comme humaine.” La Décision philosophique 7 (1989: 7-37).

Translated by Taylor Adkins


An alternative to the conflict between philosophy and the human sciences


For those who endeavor to lay the foundations for a science of man, two already explored paths immediately come to mind. A new metaphysical and political version of man, a version of dogmatic humanisms (Hobbes, Locke) or critical humanisms (Rousseau, Kant, Fichte); a doctrine of synthesis that is empiricist and tainted by philosophy, leading the existing “human Sciences” back to a new deal, give or take a supplement of “reflection” and “culture,” of “dialectics,” “hermeneutics,” and now “communication theory,” etc. Here, we are avoiding these two paths—sometimes alternative, sometimes mixed and complementary—in view of founding a human science of man.

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New Translation of Laruelle’s “Toward a Science of Philosophical Decision”

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Toward a Science of Philosophical Decision


F. Laruelle. “Pour une science de la décision philosophique.” Editions Osiris (1987 : 25-40).


Translated by Taylor Adkins (6/16/20)


1. On Philosophy as Science’s Other


To introduce philosophy to science rather than science into philosophy: this task is already found to be posited with philosophy, which is its realization. It is therefore useless to posit it once again. To be a science by becoming one is already the immanent telos of philosophical Decision. There is no metaphysics that does not wish to be the science of Being or even the science of the Logos and thereby the excellent form of every knowledge that it achieves and makes adequate to its essence. There can no longer be a question of any of this once philosophy is supposed given. On the one hand, the scientific auto-realization of philosophy supposes that philosophy by itself produces and manifests the concept of science, that it consequently modifies the empirical concept of the sciences, imposes on them a certain ideal of validation and foundation, and that, in a certain way, it devalorizes and critiques the sense and truth of the real sciences. This endeavor of philosophical appropriation and critique of the sciences calls itself their ontological interpretation or their ontological foundation (the sciences would be a defective or deficient mode of the ontological project of objectivity or of the Idea of science), or their epistemological interpretation (there would be a fact of the sciences that philosophy would reappropriate). Conversely, science remains in the state of an infinite dream, of an impossible dream deferred played out over and over again. Philosophy is not a science because it wants—this will is essential—to be one: in philosophy the will penetrates more deeply than science. It will therefore remain content with scientific “form,” with “becoming”-science, with its infinite telos, etc. Well before Husserl, this is called philosophy-as-(rigorous)-science.

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New Translation of F. Laruelle’s “The Science of Phenomena and the Critique of Phenomenological Decision”

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The Science of Phenomena and the Critique of Phenomenological Decision


F. Laruelle. “La Science des phénomenes et la critique de la décision phénoménologique.” Analecta Husserliana 34 (1991: 115-127).


Translated by Taylor Adkins (6/15/20)


 1. The Scientific Rectification of Phenomenology


Every science is “science of phenomena.” Yet how do we give a founded and rigorous content to the connection of science and phenomena as such, how do we articulate the one and the other in a science, and how do we pass in this way from the generic and positivist formula to the scientifically elaborated concept of phenomenon? No doubt, this program belongs to any phenomenology whatsoever, provided that it always be somewhat a metaphysics and therefore a science of being. And yet this program surpasses the phenomenological horizon. What can surpass the phenomenological and ultimately metaphysical horizon? Maybe a deconstruction, but also perhaps a science, insofar as, by definition, it would have never been a science of being. Here, in the realization of this program, we will allow ourselves to be guided by the idea of the radical autonomy of science-qua-thought with respect to thought in a metaphysical and therefore also phenomenological mode. We will put this idea to the test later on. What does such an idea initially entail?

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Translation of F. Laruelle’s “The Concept of an Ordinary Ethics or of an Ethics Founded in Man”

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ethics / Laruelle / non-philosophy / ordinary ethics / philosophy / philosophy of ethics / Uncategorized

The Concept of an Ordinary Ethics or of an Ethics Founded in Man

F. Laruelle. “Le concept d’une éthique ordinaire ou fondée dans l’homme.” Rue Descartes 7 (1993: 70-82).

Translated by Taylor Adkins (6/13/20)

            Ordinary ethics: the formula is ambiguous and perhaps must be abandoned. It does not designate the morality inscribed in everydayness, supposedly that of man in opposition to a philosophical ethics. On the contrary, it is opposed to these two ethics taken together in their disjunction and commonality. Philosophical ethics has always already decided what an ethics of everyday, common, vulgar, or gregarious man would be: an ethics of mores; the philosophical is the disjunction of the common and the philosophical. The ordinary is something different, another thought which is not directly philosophical without thereby denying philosophy: here it designates the point of identity and reality that makes the articulation of the philosophical and the common possible, a de jure identity prior to their disjunction and also to their synthesis, an identity that they both presuppose. We are not attempting a reconciliation of mores and philosophical ethics here because such an ethics is always already this reconciliation, whether it be achieved or thought in its de jure possibility. The identity of the ordinary—this must be said of everything that follows—neither is acquired philosophically (i.e. by a decision or scission) nor founds a philosophy, i.e. a becoming and a reconciliation. If the ordinary is not a simple philosophically masterable predicate, it is an absolute experience of thought which arises only from itself, from its internal, immanent, or transcendental nature, and for which an identifiable name is still lacking if not those of thought of the One or vision-in-One in opposition to philosophy qua thought of Being or of the One in the protraction of Being—i.e. qua thought of scission and difference. Vision-in-One is more primitive or primordial than ethics, and the ordinary is what founds ethics here, not the other way around.        Read More

New Translation of Félix Guattari’s Seminar “Les Quatres Inconscients 13/01/1981”

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Original Source:

Translated by Taylor Adkins, 4/12/2020

Félix Guattari: I am always under a little pressure from M., who asks as frequently as possible for some examples. On the other hand, my concern would be to try to delve deeper into a certain number of theoretical themes. I will try to combine things: I will start with a whole gamut of categorization that I am proposing for assemblages; then I will read a previously written text, which will be a small introduction; then I will provide some comments on it, and, finally, perhaps come up with other examples.

Based on the four dimensions of assemblages (which we merely evoked last time), we could arrive at the perspective of a delimitation of four types of unconscious:

–the subjective unconscious

–the material unconscious

–the territorial unconscious

–the machinic unconscious

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Translation of the Introduction to Véronique Bergen’s L’Ontologie de Gilles Deleuze

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Bergen, Véronique.  L’Ontologie de Gilles Deleuze. L’Harmattan: Paris, 2001, 7-14.

translated by Taylor Adkins and Lindsay Lerman



In the declination of “what is called thinking?” and “what does it mean to orient oneself in thinking?[i]”, the reflexive return to the operation of thinking is straightaway to establish–among other things–sometimes the image of a tribunal whose conditioning method confines the regulated exercise of thought to the harmonious circle of subject and object (Kant), sometimes the image of the infinite effectivity of an auto-genesis designating the identity of world and consciousness (Hegel), sometimes the plane of immanence of a “forced” heterogenesis undergone by thought whose image of the dice throw conjugates creation and powerlessness in the new (Deleuze). Never subsumed in its solution, the question of the upheaval of thought out of chaos calls for the binding of all conceptual play, the whole ideative system, to the politics of thinking that subtends it and mobilises it. Since thought is never neutral but always extremely interested, it transports ahead of itself a politics of thinking; we will examine this engaged deployment of Deleuzian thought in light of his ontology explicitly opening onto a perspectivist reprise of the theoretical arrangements [dispositifs][ii] that have accentuated the history of philosophy under the theme of immanence.

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New Translation of François Laruelle’s Nietzsche contre Heidegger, Chapter 1

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fascism / French Translation / French Translations / heidegger / Laruelle / Nietzsche / Politics / Rebellion / revolution / translation / Uncategorized

Laruelle, François. Nietzsche contre Heidegger. Payot: Paris, 1977, p. 9-20.

Translated by Taylor Adkins

(For a paragraph-by-paragraph translator’s introduction and exegesis of the following text, go to this threadreaderapp readout)



1. Thesis 1: Nietzsche is the revolutionary thinker who corresponds to the era of Imperialism in Capitalism, and more specifically to the era of Fascism in Imperialism.

Thesis 2: Nietzsche is, in a double sense, the thinker of fascism; he is, in a certain way, a thinker of fascism, but he is, above all, the thinker of the subversion of fascism. Nietzsche-thought is a complex political process with two contradictory poles (but without mediation), the relation of subordination of a secondary fascist pole (Mastery) to a principal revolutionary pole. Nietzsche makes himself fascist the better to overcome fascism. He has taken on the worst forms of Mastery to become its Rebel.

Thesis 3: We are all fascist readers of Nietzsche, we are all revolutionary readers of Nietzsche. Our unity is a contradictory relation (hierarchy without mediation), just as the unity of Nietzsche is a contradictory and “auto”-critical unity. Nietzsche puts the Master and the Rebel in a relation of duplicity rather than duality. He liquidates the opposition of monism (philosophy of the Master or of the Rebel) and dualism (mediated contradiction of the Master and the Rebel).

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A New Manuscript by Katerina Kolozova on Non-Philosophical Metaphysics

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gender / Katerina Kolozova / Laruelle / Marx / metaphysics / non-philosophy / science / Uncategorized / wittgenstein

I am happy to announce that my friend Katerina Kolozova has kindly shared with me a chapter from a new book she is working on. Kolozova’s original and groundbreaking work transversalizes (among other things) the concerns of a (Laruellian) non-philosophical nature with those of a Marxian engagement along with an emphasis on subjectivity and gender studies. She is quite a prolific author, and some of her most recent works include Cut of the Real: Subjectivity in Poststructuralist Philosophy (written with Laruelle) and also Toward a Radical Metaphysics of Socialism: Marx and Laruelle, a work that will resonate strongly with the chapter she has provided below. Katerina Kolozova is Professor of philosophy and gender studies in the faculty of political sciences at University American College-Skopje. Please enjoy!

Katerina Kolozova

Non-Philosophical Metaphysics: Critique of the Bourgeois Ideologies of the Ontologisation of Capitalism, Gender and Culture

(an excerpt from a manuscript draft)

Materiality of formalism

Marx’s study of the species-being of humanity institutes itself as a science that deals with value production and the relation of value to material reality. This is obviously a metaphysical question, but the suggested approach is scientific. Therefore, the science to be established in line with Marx’s precept ought to operate with “philosophical material” but in a non-philosophical way. Laruelle has furnished a rich conceptual apparatus (at once lexicological and methodological) to make this type  of science possible. The post-philosophical or non-philosophical Marxian approach I suggest here consists in the complete formalization of the question and the language to pursue this science. This kind of approach should treat the material at hand – the conceptual material originating in philosophy – as material and as matter, if you will, along the vector “from the concrete to the abstract” (de Saussure).1 A similar trajectory is undertaken in Marx’s Capital in which an exact understanding of “the concrete,” the description of empirical data and the explication of its patterns, leads to discoveries about the laws that govern the exchange of goods or the market more generally and, ultimately, to the abstractions of “commodity” and “value.” The examination and problematisation of the relation between the material and the abstract, between use value and exchange value, nonetheless requires the mobilization of “philosophical material.”

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New Translation of François Laruelle’s “Homo ex Machina” (1980)

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Laruelle, François. “Homo ex Machina”, Revue Philosophique de la France et de l’Étranger, vol. 170, no. 3, 1980, pp. 325-342.

Translated by Taylor Adkins

Homo ex Machina

How One Becomes Machine-Man

We ordinarily recognize a single machine-Man1 tradition. But there are two, perhaps three; they appear the moment when the grouping of the objects of knowledge and history of ideas to which philosophy is accustomed is substituted for another grouping, that of the eras of power or techno-political modes of production of man. These notions embody a “change of terrain2” or at least a change of “problematic” in the philosophy and theory of history. Here, we are supposing them as acquired without showing either their necessity or importance.

The most well known of these traditions, though not the oldest, comes together and begins with Descartes. It combines the anatomical and physico-medical description of man with his metaphysical foundation and a physical and technical model of the body with a technicist and voluntarist model of creation: the reconciliation of man as creature of the technician and man as the automaton of God. The second tradition is only discerned and named with Nietzsche, who makes us aware of it by overcoming it. This is a more expressly techno-political tradition of the human body, a lineage perhaps even older than the first because it finds in the polis, in its morals and its justice, the horizon of power relations (and sometimes of “hegemony”) between the soul and the body, between gods and men. We must begin thinking this techné proper to the polis in its specificity and its continuity starting with the “domestication” that Nietzsche sees at work everywhere in the modern world. In a sense, the properly “Nietzschean” perspective of “active” breeding and discipline, including this “reactive” and “gregarious” domestication, extends this lineage of machine-Man without really being inscribed in it, because it must instead explain how “domestication” is a mimetics and a side-effect of “breeding”.

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critique / kant / reason

Isocritique: Minor Diagrams Towards a Critique of Speculative Reason 

Joseph Weissman

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alt text

Max Ernst, Birth of a Galaxy (1969)




How to become a transcendental detective

Yet by this I do not understand a critique of books and systems, but a critique of the faculty of reason in general, in respect of all the cognitions after which reason might strive independently of all experience, and hence the decision about the possibility or impossibility of a metaphysics in general, and the determination of its sources, as well as its extent and boundaries, all, however, from principles. (Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, Preface (A), A xii)

This is the problematic which frames the first critique: How is synthetic knowledge a priori possible? Are there metaphysical propositions reason can know without the aid of experience (“independently of all experience”)? Is there a metaphysical correlate of geometric figures and physical bodies, which can be known with the same universality and necessity that we find in the mathematical and physical sciences?

In the first critique, Kant shares case notes from his investigations into the borderlines of pure reason. A philosopher-detective has been tasked, by a tribunal of reason, with the investigation of a metaphysical crime. The case will be that of the illegal placement of synthetic a priori knowledge within the minds of thinking beings. Let’s follow his hunt for transcendental clues.

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Interactive Bibliography for the Theorytalk Podcast Series

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theory talk

About a month ago, around the time that we celebrated the 35th episode of our philosophy jam-session podcast (Theorytalk), my co-host Joe decided to undertake a rigorous study of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. In response, I have—seemingly at random—threaded together a series of texts that reverberate with and spiral outward from this seminal work. Nevertheless, after the fact I realized that the texts that perhaps seem uncoordinated with this critique in fact tie it together obliquely with a text that I have been diligently working on: the translation of Gilbert Simondon’s L’individuation à la lumière des notions de forme et d’information. In the following weeks, I hope to expound upon these texts in a way that analyzes them, crystallizes them, and threads the needle connecting the concerns of Kant’s first critique with those of Simondon’s critique of hylomorphic reason. The majority of these reflections will be made available to our exclusive patrons over at our Patreon page, and these themes and refrains will be taken up, unraveled and rewoven in the conversations that Joe and I will continue to have on our weekly Theorytalk podcasts. To better orient ourselves and to highlight the texts that will be discussed, I have included here a sort of interactive bibliography along with links to these texts.

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chance / cosmos / flight / Hermes / Serres / virilio

cloudy natural scene

Critique of pure laughter. Laughter plays madly through the body, as though suddenly accessing another layer of reality. The shock of the abstract. A pure line is embodied in the spatiotemporal dynamisms of the laugher — which are in the same ‘order’ as that of the joke… –Laughter shakes loose the world, discovering something which doesn’t belong; that which the world hides from itself. Things hidden since the foundation of the world (Girard has a book of this title.) —The laugh opens onto virtual events: pure space and time; modalities in the flesh. Laughter perhaps even regenerates the world, in a cosmic convalescence: the strangely familiar thing-beneath-things is shaken loose. —At the feast of the gods, laughter is inextinguishable (Serres’ Hermes).

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Philo-fictions and Experimental Texts: Philosophy as Artistic “Whatever” Material

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art / experiment / Laruelle / non-philosophy / philosophy / text / textuality / Uncategorized

photo (2)

A few years ago, I took a graduate seminar on experimental texts at Emory University. Some of the work I have done during my studies I have put up on Fractal Ontology, but I never included this one. I will run you through the basics of the project.

First, I wanted to showcase the “consumption” of philosophical texts that I have participated in over the course of my reading. This usually entails me, pen in hand, marking and re-marking texts with underlines, brackets and marginalia. At the end of the course, alongside my own reflection in text-form, I produced an artistic artifact. Basically, I ripped out the pages from 25 of my favorite–and most marked–texts, juxtaposed them as partial objects, and grafted and glued them onto a desk chair. So, the seat and center of the chair looks something like this:

IMG_0299Below, I will include my experimental essay reflecting on this project and the questionnaire I had to fill out for the project. Here is the questionnaire:

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Celebrating Our 25th Podcast on theorytalk

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Katerina Kolozova / philosophy / podcast / Theory / Philosophy / theorytalk / Uncategorized

Hello everyone! I would like to extend an invitation to check out what Joe and I are doing over at our new theorytalk podcast. We just released our 25th podcast and show no signs at all of slowing down any time soon. For a more complete description, you can find Joe’s earlier post on theorytalk here at Fractal Ontology, and be sure to check out our Patreon page for even more information on what we’re doing and how you can contribute financially (with your money) and creatively (with your feedback).

As an example of some of the pathbreaking avenues we are trying to breach in our attempts to vary our podcast content, check out Joe’s interview with Katerina Kolozova (episode 20). I give full credit to Joe for this episode, and I had nothing to do with it (or, if I am feeling charitable to myself, perhaps only indirectly due to my translations of Laruelle).

In the spirit of following Joe’s initiative to do something different for episode 20, we have begun discussing ways of changing up some of the formatting and thematic content in the podcasts. Since this is still something quite new for me and Joe, we are trying to diversify some of the content while continuing also to do our traditional jam-thinking sessions. This is something like taking the next step of balancing the old with the new.

Now, Joe and I have brainstormed a few different ideas for new formats for our podcasts that go beyond mere topics of episodes, and I will create a new post this weekend detailing some of these ideas to give everyone a taste of what we had in mind. We would also like to hear back from our dear readers and your ideas, comments or questions, so if you have anything in mind that you’d like to share, please feel free to comment on this post, and we can start the discussion.

Look for our next episode in the next few days, most likely Friday or Saturday!


Notes on Derrida’s “Structure, Sign and Play in the Human Sciences”

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deconstruction / derrida / Levi-Strauss / Nietzsche / structuralism / Uncategorized

Derrida: “Structure, Sign and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences”

From Writing and Difference, trans. Alan Bass (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978): 278-93.

“We need to interpret interpretations more than to interpret things” (Montaigne).

Derrida refers to the history of the concept of structure and an “event” in that history (it should be noted that in this opening paragraph, Derrida himself highlights the bracketing of the term event in quotation marks to serve as a precaution). Even here, the choice of the word “event” is “loaded” with a “meaning” that structural or structuralist thought seems to preclude. Thus we would have to say this word “event” as though it were crossed out or sous rature (under erasure). And so, with these precautions and noting structuralism’s potential objections, Derrida chooses to speak of an event whose “exterior form would be that of a rupture and a redoubling” (278).

This rupture perhaps brings to mind what Althusser normally calls an “epistemic break”, insofar as Derrida notes how the concept and word “structure” are as old as the episteme of Western philosophy and intertwines deeply with the “soil of ordinary language”. In fact the word and concept of structure are metaphorically displaced by the “deepest recesses” of the episteme. Of course, Althusser attributes epistemological breaks specifically to Marx and the way in which ideological conceptions are replaced by scientific ones. Here, what concerns the notion of an “event” in the history of the “structurality of structure” is the way in which it has always already been at work and “neutralized or reduced” due to its spontaneous attribution of a center or point of presence, “a fixed origin”. The goal of attributing a fixed center to structure is in order to “limit what we might call the play of structure”. It is not to eliminate play but to limit it according to the “total form” of structure that the episteme has succeeded in warding off “the notion of a structure lacking any center”, which would represent “the unthinkable itself”. (279).

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catastrophe / creation / escape / literature / micropolitics

Some inchoate thoughts on curvilinear transition and navigation between radically alien milieus.

Schoenberg : Xenakis :: Joyce : Negarestani

Cyclonopedia comprises a downward spiral into hyperstitional collapse or crack-up, alongside an outward spiral towards another universe. It may seem to perversely unfold a nightmare crypt of the death-drive, but this monstrous theoretical depersonalization is operating through the harshest singularities of space and time; it resounds in the howling of the magnetosphere, and echoes the cries of rebellion from the Core to the imperial Sun outside. Negarestani’s harrowing leper-creative legerdemain covertly unfolds gateways and meta-fictional portals; analyzed in the work in terms of worm-holes or vermiculations, gnawing consumption of solidus by void incursions that can only invade from without because they have also corrupted from within; the void’s infernal and instinctive will to devour solidity revealing the underlying softness of the solid, the internal decay and hollowness already growing and slicing matter-energy from within solidity itself.

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affect / capitalism / creativity / machine

Catherine Malabou has created a meticulous and profound new concept of the brain. Malabou analyses the functions which neuroscience has discovered, conducting a contemporary synthesis of neuroplasticity, crystallizing a new concept which acts as a curious new abstract machine with many parts. She names this concept plasticity after the plastic multiplicity of the brain; and one component of this concept expresses the brain’s power to learn and to heal, and even to reconfigure itself. Another component is transdifferentiation, or the power of life to remake and refold itself: the capability of certain (pluripotent, totipotent) cellular organisms to unfold into some or many other kinds of cells.

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aesthetics / communication / mathematics / technology
Nils Guadagnin, Hanging stone, 2014 Mousse polyuréthane, bois, électroaimant, 28 x 28 x 125 cm

Nils Guadagnin, Hanging stone, 2014
Mousse polyuréthane, bois, électroaimant, 28 x 28 x 125 cm

Demodulation. There is always a monadic resonance to which a repetition is coupled in order to form a motor or compose an operational line, assembling at the limit a free phylum of machine interconnectivity. Every machine an operator or operand of another functional aggregate, assigned to an eternal repetition of variability, sweeping out a transversal trajectory through a self-constructing milieu of heterogeneous forces. The abstract machine injects new consistencies into turbulence, extruding flowing lines of fusion and mixture or extracting curved planes of development and organization; filtering out novel functions, concepts or compositions, refactoring or creating in contact with an outside. But does the abstract machine not express mutability in another way — by extending and exponentiating the variadic series of genetic practices (art, science, philosophy…)? Decrypting the image of thought again, in a virtual torsion of equal depth and power — art, science, philosophy, x…? Yet again is it not also the shadow falling upon the modulation of knowledges, eclipsing every enclosed topology determining discursive territories or structuring disciplinary forms? An abstract machine is indeed the shadow of a people to come, of a cosmic science-art-philosophy; unleashing at least in its virtual potentiality a deimaged and meteoric creativity, with a future beyond the terrestrial continuum of variadic practices and discourses.

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assemblage / complexity / death / flux
Jan Maarten Voskuil. "broken light blue", 2013, acrylics on linen, 120x90x10cm

Jan Maarten Voskuil. “broken light blue”, 2013, acrylics on linen, 120x90x10cm

The line of the river is a line of terraqueous flight; a flow flush with the substrate, conditioning and mutating its own channel, both wandering over the territory and slowly reconfiguring it, in a gradual mutation or decryption…

A river system is composed of intensive aqueous lines diffracted from a fusional substrate — a vorticial assembly of multiple planes of consistency in chaotic metastability.

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Technoscience and Expressionism

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acceleration / becoming / control / Deleuze / machine / Nietzsche / subjectivity / virtual
Alfred Muller -- Plaza Juarez, Mexico City 2006

Alfred Muller — Plaza Juarez, Mexico City 2006

Technology and Control

The technocrat is the natural friend of the dictator—computers and dictatorship; but the revolutionary lives in the gap which separates technical progress from social totality, and inscribed there his dream of permanent revolution. This dream, therefore, is itself action, reality, and an effective menace to all established order; it renders possible what it dreams about (Gilles Deleuze, Logic of Sense)

Gilles Deleuze’s indication of a certain affinity between technocrats and dictators seems prescient. By Postscript on Control Societies the new realities resonating between society and its machines, in the middle of technological acceleration and social upheaval, have become so intense that every interior is in crisis, and the entirety of society has to be organized to resist the eruption of these dreams into reality.

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Abstract for DeleuzeConf

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becoming / Deleuze / guattari / horizon / machine

Alexi K, Cognitive Polygraph (Woman Disrobing), 2013 (Pen & Ink)

This is the abstract for the paper I will be presenting at DeleuzeConf 2014, “Technoscience and Expressionism: On Deleuze and Computability”.

Deleuze, in his 1992 essay Postscript on Control Societies, describes technology as concretely expressing forms of social consistency. Technoscientific machines are collective assemblages “easily matched” with modes of consciousness and styles of composing realities.

A technological stratum relates to conceptual, referential or compositional capacities and tendencies. Yet technologies are neither causes nor effects of social transformations. Technologies do not engender new folds; rather societies continuously discover capabilities for specific machine components to be made use of or constructed, or to be related in new ways. Technologies at all scales, degrees of materiality and visibility are swept up and reshaped by abstract machines which dynamize new styles of thinking, feeling, living.

In Chaosmosis Guattari outlines the operation of the abstract machine which extracts singular possibilities from the components of technical and social machines. An abstract machine is installed transversally to every other machine component and stratum, capable of relating the heterogeneous levels of materiality, cognition, affection and sociality. The abstract machine effectuates, donates existence to components or withdraws it, assembling functional ensembles of virtual and constituted elements.

In contrast with structuralist theories which indicate signification and hence semiological microtechnologies as the vectors unifying expressive economies, Guattari differentiates protomachines (simple instruments or ‘least-structured pieces’) from the ensembles out of which effects and sense actually emerge. Even sophisticated machines such as robots (“which will soon be engendered by other robots”) are nothing without these complexes, machinic assemblages to which they belong.

Artificial intelligences and expert systems, despite all the negativity, totalization and servitude to which they are inevitably linked, do not simply subtract from human thinking: they also “relieve thought of inert schema”. Computer-aided forms of thinking are mutant, capable of relating to “other musics, other Universes of reference.”

Has an outdated mode of science-fiction overtaken speculation about the future? Opposite metaphysical and religious objections to increasingly-extreme technoscience, singularitarianism indicates the dramatic extent to which it is possible to internalize an indifferent love for oppressive machines, while accelerationists frame their centrist interventions under the curious aegis of remembering the future.

I would argue that beyond these intense positions the emergence of artificial general intelligence (machines decoding expression) is in turn expressive in Deleuze’s sense. Which consistencies do they effract, what new folds do they effectuate? Planetary culture is in the throes of becoming-computable, marked in part by an extremization of technoscience — on the one hand stripped of purity and degraded to mere invention; on the other newly devoted to reverse-engineering noetics and genetics (at the limit, to a bifurcated ‘transcendence’ of the biosphere and noosphere.) D+G’s machinic philosophy offers a critical alternative to singularitarian and accelerationist images of the future. Their emphasis on abstract machines illuminates the expressive potential of the virtual assemblages actualized in general purpose computing.

Nietzsche once asked after the meaning of science. Today this question points beyond the involution of the technical within globally-integrated capitalism. I will indicate in what way software may be considered a humanity or people-to-come.

Machine Fusion

comments 3
difference / information / language / sign
Simona Pries, "black heart" (2011)

Simona Pries, “black heart” (2011)

You can simulate transparency, but behind your back an overheated network will condition your component lines. It is remarkable indeed the degree of encryption, not to mention extreme speeds and slowness, which a signal may be made to endure. Gentle decelerations, frenzied accelerations, stationary null journeys: real movements which the machine or a part undergoes — or else sudden breaks, unforeseen shutdowns, severed lines. The differential logic of the signal system mutates continuously according to the functioning of a semiological machine which does not resemble what it creates, crystallizes, shatters or sets into flight. Expression, insofar as it frames or signs itself, is always-already conditioned and operated by a grammatical field of semiological dynamisms redoubling encounters-affects into visions and auditions, possible worlds. The receiver is symmetrically encrypted, a recursive and resonating labyrinth: translating wild variations of rhythms, interpolating approximately-decrypted sub-signals, differentiating referential opacity where it is not constitutive. A signal is always-already composed of instructions, an actively-encrypted network of orders: a volumetric control field radiating from multiple command cores, enmeshed with the transmissive and receptive apparatus. The virtual line is incorporated into the machine; actual resonating devices become attuned to the most subtle or rarefied waves. Desire, dreams, delirium are signals as real production: a construction of new senses or problems, new distributions of the interesting and uninteresting, the surprising and unsurprising, the tolerable and the intolerable. Reattributing the cosmos, dreams create problems… What nourishes the bad dream, that the void should dominate? What distributes scarcities, interpolates lack, interposes this alien and monstrous ontology of interrogation-judgment-punishment? Who wishes this interrogation of delirium, this interpretation of desire and dreams according to need, wish-fulfillment? It is astonishing that reactionary madness should have had such wild success; that low truths, base dreams, sick desires should be able to appear high, noble, affirming; that entire discourses of these broken and enslaved truths should attain cultural hegemony. How is it that it could occur, what happened? How can it be that this slow suicide, this disinterested love for whatever is fucking you, can masquerade as life? Capital Tyrannus, or Oedipus Rex: the self-immolation of desire, the diminution of dreams, the toxification of the sky. The signal communicates with a virtual substrate organizing deeply-nested or encrypted signs, conditions expressive lines which are also lived forces or affects: sadnesses or joys. The dream is open to becoming a nightmare as a condition of its possibility; desire goes all the way. The delirious and wandering line of decoding, of the adventure of decryption, does not only face certain disaster or death; but also sings seductively, in minor keys; it is melancholy, and itself a risk. But while it is easy to botch their construction, only cartographies of the virtual, planes of consistency at the limit of consciousness or the common, can emancipate new images of the collective, mobilize and restructure conditions of possibility…


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acceleration / becoming / inhumanity / language / machine / ontology / radiation

Richard Long, “Walking a circle in mist” (Scotland, 1986)

Beyond telepathy. At long last, after centuries if not millennia, and perhaps only if conditions will have it such that the voice may reach its fullest expression and height, we may foresee it finally passing; into the imperceptible. In this future beyond the future, the noontide of vocal expressivity; the death, or at least becoming invisible, through an unrecognizable transformation, of speech. At the outer limit of writing, beyond telepathy, an opening onto new luminous substrates of expressivity.

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becoming / metaphysics / ontology
Metropolis Series | Aluminium Wall Tiles by David Umemoto

Metropolis Series | Aluminium Wall Tiles by David Umemoto

Negativity. I want to think the movement of thought, movement within stillness; the movement of nothing within the negative. To think the immediacy of this active movement or flow; to think in the very middle of what is unthought within thinking. An impossible or recursive landscape. The psychic architecture underlying cognition is not contingently but necessarily in blindness and without-vision; alien, obscure and encrypted. This labor, of thinking itself; the first work of thought which is necessarily in darkness but radically pluripotent expresses an encrypted germinal flux of perceptions, affects, intellections. Thought begins in decrypting the architecture of the image on behalf of a concept-to-come. What is unleashed in the confluence of simple, dark and contingent affects at the birth of thinking (feelings, notions, and ephemeral images) are forces, powers, lives, blisses — that after long gestation may give birth to new ways of thinking and feeling, new creative disciplines or discourses. These contingent noogenetic involutions precede all that has come to be known as thought.

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