assemblage, complexity, death, flux

Rivers

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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desire, flux, globalism, guattari, machine, materialism, Politics

Guattari

 

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On Guattari. The first ecosopher has arisen — but how to read his writings? There is not a single answer, everyone disagrees. To read Guattari without Deleuze seems like violence to the polyphonous fury of their mutually-authored works; yet to read Deleuze and Guattari seems like according primacy to the philosopher, to the authority of philosophy over psychoanalysis — asserting the traditional prerogative of philosophy over science, with the usual absent-minded condescension, a perverse kind of triumphant naivete. Our new ecosopher shrinks into the background of the literary uproar he is unleashing.

 

The strange power of Guattari’s writings is such that his works are less collections than whirlwinds, less toolboxes than roaring vortexes one is apt to be drawn violently towards: to study Guattari is neither a coincidence nor an accident (for an English academic) but rather a symptom, even a political symptom. Perhaps simply an indication of the self-destructive desire inherent to global capitalism in which the dissemination  of essentially “anti-capitalist” literature is not simply allowed but in fact widely promoted — the faint glimmer of global Renaissance. But I think Guattari might remind us of something else.

 

Political struggle is more than a linguistic struggle, a struggle with texts and pure concepts. It is of course involved with these things, but even more than these signifying systems, political resistance connects with the a-signifying as well, an order of reality more primordial than human meaning, where the distinctions imposed upon reality by our signifying regimes are rendered irrelevant and secondary. Where the cosmos as a process of production becomes perceptible, where the inhuman asignifying order of reality emerges, we may perhaps catch a glimpse of the future dreamed by our first ecosopher.

 

To have to emphasize that the asignifying isn’t the insignificant, but the non-signifying, we realize that already, we have hit the white wall. Misunderstanding is a symptom both of the origin and the impossibility of meaning. The gap between us here is not simply an aspect of the mobile wall of obstacles Guattari has prepared for his students, but already of the even more intransigent obstacles of history, society, economy — in short, the entire political “problem” of desire. A history of desire is difficult yet not impossible, but it does not begin by asking what desire is, pretending some kind of perfect and external objective viewpoint.

 

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channel, communication, flux, idea, knowledge, machine, network, system

Infrastructure

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The essence of a channel is to transmit, to disseminate, to yield a flux. The problem of knowledge is correlative to constructing an adequate channel for the reception of an idea, the “proper medium” for a thoughts’ proliferation. Expressed in this way the “idea” is only an ideal problem, which in reality takes on an unsettling and radical complexity. The pure and implacable universality of the idea gives way to the realization of the innumerable fissures and leaks comprising the real — and quite organic — larval origin of thought. 

A kind of thought which, to be sure, still does not issue from myself, and which is neither memory nor imagination, but is rather a thought which breaks through, which traverses me. Hence the universal is always shot through with contingency, a pure implacability which rests precisely upon history, upon the conquering, the decimation of nomad flows indecently refusing to conform. The drive to systematically master desire, for a generalized and radical constructivism, the subtle and uncanny “inner” dynamism of our age, is bent upon a wholesale transformation of the fundamental essence of humanity. 

The breakdown of this machine, this doom upon the universal, is perhaps capable of reproducing itself virally — even as a snapshot of an image of thought in the very process of decomposing (and in relation to which all philosophical gestures seem but supplications, and — so much more rarely — vindications.)

A new medium always is, it must be, painstaking crafted: for once forged, a channel exists only the precondition of a flow, and even upon the continuity of the flux. 

I want to think the concrete peculiarity, the absolute singularity of any channel as such. The continuous flow of water through the machinery of a dam, of a pipe; the unending drift of signals across our always-on global information networks. 

The channel faces every military risk imaginable: takeover, subversion, blockade. But it also faces every theoretical risk imaginable: hyper-specialization, perversion, madness.

Yet the truth is that a channel is only and always a meta-channel, an assemblage, a channeling machine blending very different channels together, and which itself forms a channel in relation to even greater such channels. Whether of water, cement, metal pipe, twisted cable or realized in the very trembling of air molecules, the channel compels us to turn towards what remains, what is not swept away by the flows. 

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death, ecology, exchange, flight, flux, force, machine, message, motion, possibility, power

Warning

 

 

 

The evolution of an ecology expresses itself through both gradual and violent transformations. An ecological system is indeed a continuous system of exchanges, where functions actively extract themselves from an open horizon, producing a conjunction or interface, an active occupation of space.

 

We exist as these spatial and energetic languages, as regular translations between them, continuously enriching the ecological circuits upon which both they and we depend. Thus we realize the impossible equality of nothing and all things, perpetual motion, the flux, the seafire at the impossible origin of motion: one in, one out.

 

Energy amplifies the field, weaves separate forces together. There is no cooperation, there is no war, the channel is neutral. We are messengers, a signal from within.

 

 

 

Is there not an angelology of energy itself? A theory of traces which finally erases itself, leaving only the land and the sky and the sea. A beach with stars. What is this signal from beyond with paradoxical demands?

 

 

 

Light is only a hint, a map of time, a confirmation of possibility. The perversity of desire mirrors the perversity of God, the supreme irony — the sardonic lightness which we cannot help but associate with the beyond.

 

A messenger, a confirmation. A third who works, better than we could have hoped — summoning from without that which could never have been, perhaps should never be: the machine, the forge, that image which burns through the lace tracings of flesh without flinching or fatigue, opening the way onto another sense of being completely: time-as-vortex, turbulent and eternal.

 

Already a clarity, a power, a disgust which carry their own unique dangers.

 

Remember this: the cautious, steady, clear path leads into stagnation. It is the cut, the line of flight veering into the wild vortex.

 

Corruption eating away within. Death is not even as terrifying as these openings, these hooks dripping from every surface, every letter, every face.

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abstract machine, antiproduction, body, code, diagram, diagrammatics, flux, idea, language, model, ontology, parasite, process, symbol, text

Meta-ontology

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It is impossible to conceive the assemblage of a scientific experiment apart from a field that generates plans and topological, mathematical, axiomatic and computational descriptions. But sign-machines can function equally well directly within material and social machines without the mediation of significant processes of subjectivation, something which has become more obvious each passing day. The fact that the common essence of semiotic machines and material or social machines proceeds from the same type of abstract machine is the decisive step we must take in order to found a political pragmatics on something other than good intentions.

Felix Guattari, L’Inconscient machinique: essais de schizo-analyse. Paris: Editions Recherche, 1979. p. 67.

That we underestimate machines is an understatement. Human language itself is a code which produces codes, hence an always already over-coded decoding — and the decoding processes, for their part, go as far as you like. Let us be cautious, then, and attempt to linger for a moment on the side of the symbolic. Every discourse, every instance of language, every explicit “saying” — is also implicitly a kind of abstract program. A program gives us in turn the language in which that program is expressed — and also in which completely new programs can be expressed. Finally, every text also contains an irreducible element of pure ontology, thereby encoding — between the lines — the very principles for organizing discourse itself. Whichever metaphor obscurely prefigures the communicative passage, tracing these interdependent “resemblances,” or “differential” networks of “abstract” models, (or even “ethico-spiritual” traces of traces) necessarily takes us on an adventure outside of the text — but mysteriously or ironically, always into other kinds of texts! This infinite indeterminacy — or antiproductive rupture — is the basis of a “parasitic” logic, the logic of interruption, inequality, a constitutive non-determination.

Hence, in addition to these four distinct but interwoven layers or aspects co-existing in even the shortest text — indeed in a single word — it seems we must also suppose some pre-logical flux of intensity, a matrix of differences, in which these varying aspects would themselves become locally codified and relatively grounded. A diagram needs a space in which to be built and materials from which to be constructed; ideas needs relational fields in which they realize themselves sensibly and and dramatize their “break” into reality to one another — how, why and where they fall to their death onto the depths of bodies — but even this as though organically or by divine judgment. Bodies break the recursive cycle of language through the intervention of a partial object (programmer-parasite.) The parasite, the cold body sucking the warmth, writes new programs, and in doing so inevitably scrambles the meanings of the old instructions. The parasite is ontological rupture or antiproduction, phenomenological transduction — its work, grounding relation, is itself grounded only by an act of invention, translation, dramatization. Grounded in metaphor, in a productive diagram, in an abstract machine. Or, in other words: the parasite, whose provisional ground or counter-network is the minimal subject of the abstract machine, guarantees the consistency of the abstract programs’ specific productive diagram simultaneously as (1) a single variation, which is also (2) a model for variations; yet this is model is at once a (3) variable language of models, as well as the (4) machinic meta-ontology pragmatically governing the organizational principles of languages themselves.

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being, control, energy, essence, flux, function, ground, heidegger, machine, order, power, revolution, technology

Who’s in Control?

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Who’s in Control?

Heidegger and Technology

We have for a very long time presumed to be in control of machines. We have claimed to be the masters, and pretended to “govern” technology. So Heidegger is more poignant than usual when he reminds us (in the 1969 Der Spiegel interview) that we do not even control that within us which drives us towards technicity. We are not masters of the secret desire which compels us to encircle more and more of the world within our productive networks.

For better or for worse, Heidegger is one of the first to honestly assess the strangeness of this phenomena — the machinic turn in our relationship to the earth and to being. In the ’69 interview, he was asked what the problem with technology was — after all, aren’t we better off than ever? Heidegger declared it was precisely the pure functionality of the machine which terrified him. The machine is problematic as such; but even more so is the static regime of inhuman operativity which the development of modern technology inaugurates.

In this absolute functioning of the machine we discover a surprising, pure and uncanny kind of nothingness. Heidegger reminds us of this in order to pose a challenge about our relation to the earth. Is it possibility that behind the beneficent face of advanced technology is the same noise and turbulence revealed and concealed at once by the ancients as pure ideas — a nonsensical self-annihilation co-extensive with an absolute determination of beings — a “reality” where all life, all possibility, all energy is merely (or finally) standing-reserve for “our” use? But who are we? Continue reading

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difference, flux, God, image, imaginary, individuation, insanity, logic, metaphysics, symmetry, void

Imaginary

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Wild Magic of the Unbeliever (Dave Makin)

How much of our lives are caught up, inextricably, with the imaginary? A dangerous question only because it is silly, and stupid; why? Because it’s answer is both simple and impossible. For we know: none of it is imaginary, it is all real; and we also know: nothing is real, all of it is imaginary. A dangerous idea, a poisonous idea: there is contradiction at the origin. An unrest, a turbulence at the heart of being — not smooth immobility. There is origin only through explosion, individuation, hyperdifferentiation.
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