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.
The movement of the signifier through history is toxic, viral, plastic — a fiery line of abolition interposing nullity into intensity, linking pure space to the absolute threshold. It is only in following an escape-trajectory out from language, from the territory, and in concert with a dynamically consolidated assemblage of enunciation, that the sign reveals an intimate and internal logic of affirmation: dispassionate and frozen core of the signifier smoking beneath the burning skin of language. The sign veils a line of free and continuous mutation, but exhuming it necessitates accelerating language to its outermost exterior, viscous and horizontal plunge into Cthonic darkness. Ceaseless depths disfigure this primal cunning of the sign, enfolded and absorbed as infernal network infrastructure; the sign disappears into the matrixial substrate of expression. Signals ambiguate continuously contingent upon semiotic or semantic discontinuities in the substrate or the ultra-real (second-order simulacra simulating first-order reality.)
Striations distribute stuttering redundancies in order to make expression resist mutation, to harness a surplus value of resonance. Lodged within a fractally-triangulated cosmos-mind-body, subjected, signified, situated, language encounters its other or outside only by activating non-linguistic relationships to the non-linguistic, in becoming-otherwise — becoming genetic, machinic (and ontological at the absolute limit.) Let there be x; but only very special signs escape from purely signifying regimes and acquire this non-linguistic power of pure reversibility, activated at the threshold of the substrate: to remember x, to become-x. Power-signs which live the process of production as an intensive series of transformations, which live the infinite permutability of matter: these signs emerge in fusionability at infinite zero, when the sign encounters the desert of the spirit, when the viroid lethality lurking beneath the sign has encountered an other-place (genius loci) it can utterly infest: an emptied and inhuman outside across which it can propagate, a rich and variegated ontology to fragment. Only in the direct manipulation of the substrate can the conditions of possibility for the development of language be altered; the developmental toxicities linked to the sign can only be reconfigured at the terminal limit of signifiance (but this reconfiguration is effectively reconstitution according to ontologically-foreign continuities.) The sign at infinite speed fuses with production; the program must be pushed precisely to the point where free lines of ontological development and organization emerge. Pure differential morphogenesis.
The death core of the sign cannot be converted wholesale into a rhizomatic expressive substrate; after all, we even require some of this death in order to reinject back into the machine at critical points where the potentiality for an explosion of the crystalline type is present. This death is ourselves, our shadow at intensity=0. There is no evasion of the signifier which alters the teratological situation; there is only heterogenesis or acceleration of the monstrosity to infinite depth, sober atheology of continuous and experimental mutation: inflating the schiz to cosmic dimensions, fusing hyper-reality to glittering emptiness, unloading the death-carrying depth-charge of the signifier’s monstrous hatred directly into the rumbling depths of mass culture.
Every tool carries with it the spirit by which it has been created. (Heisenberg)
I would like to think light as the dynamic interval between events, as a kind of singular tension between time and space, determining in the last instance both the simultaneity of the event as well as the order of succession for chains of causal relations. Light as the luminous matrix of the substrate and the glare of its utter annihilation; as the divergence of the world and the immolation of empty time; as the only term which could bridge these mutually-incomprehensible infinities — the future, the cosmos. What is it to think the photon as ontological fundament, light-like intervals as the atomic relata of eventful worlds?
For phenomenology, consciousness is the “light” in which light itself becomes visible; so from the outset we must carefully distinguish between virtual and actual light, eventuation and ideation — differentiation or diffraction of null space and repetition or refraction of empty time. The phenomenological photon can be determined through a very precise axiom: light is the term which renders intervals of space and durations of time mutually comprehensible in absolute motion. How to think this pure life at the unreachable speed of the photon, asymptote of velocity itself?
Light, then, in both senses at once: information and data, mind and matter, event and subject. The momentary madness of the act; and the perpetual motion of the waves which erase its traces. Light, then, precisely as it emerges from or falls back into space and time. The decoding of illumination as it opens onto the future, time, the world. What is needed is a new prism, a transoptical machine for calculating the conditions for the crystalline explosion of luminous impulses. We have a rainbow series of colors organized by wavelength; but what is needed is pure white light, differential mixture of all possible values of light, simultaneously resonating with every element of the series.
An event risks being misunderstood as an actual extraordinary point. On the one hand there there are nevertheless certainly extraordinary points which fail to become actual; but there are also certain (series of) lines which develop in singular ways that evade being identifiable with punctuation, with the syntax of history. Alien symbolic matrices, foreign ontological foundations; the event is the intrusion of another scale, leakily-abstracted inter- or infrastructure, a message from an unexpected outside or inside demanding a radically foreign coding and decoding system. A new language, a new subject; but also a de-languaging, a de-subjectivation, de-individuation; in this passage to the ontological limit, the individuated subject risks being compromised by alien memories. Becoming-everything, becoming-imperceptible: the event in this sense denotes a strategic methodology for suturing reality to its outside. The spirit of an evental metaphysics is a being ontologically ‘harassed’ — compelled to differentiate the world from itself without separation or subtraction, in a manner marked by secrecy, darkness and a kind of espionage on behalf of the radical outside.
Such an integrated nodal point-subject submits all too readily to certain utterly inhuman (animal, vegetal, cosmic) relationships to the inhuman; just as it cannot resist certain ‘voidic’ ontological vortexes which engulf the structuring matrix it adheres to.What is the structure of the subject or the world — these self-interrupting, simultaneously virtual, semiotic and biological vectors; these cosmos-machines at once psychic, social and physical? Is it not the case that assemblages become visible, comprehensible in the last instance, only by way of universal history, by way of the experimental mutations of the collective assemblages of enunciation which give rise to discourses and disciplines? The structure of the subject is luminous and territorial, an intensive and topologically indeterminate zone of proximities which has to be mapped anew in each instance. (Thus the paradoxical demand upon the analyst that she generate an effective cartography of a world which isn’t there, populated by people who don’t exist yet.) The structure of a world is irreducible and opaque, a matter of intensive transversality.
To have a world is always already to be madly on the run across it, hunted for simply existing, unless perhaps… –Unless perhaps one is a spirit, or a body of light; unless perhaps I am not this body; unless I am no longer the speaker which says “I”; unless perhaps I am not here at this very moment in this text as it is being written. –Light, glare is also disappearance, traversal to the limit of perceptibility; or subtraction via the intensive reduction or n-1, the erasure of all traces of the subjectile — so that it no longer matters whether one is or is not stuttering along the ego, parroting “I-I-I…”; since at least we have pushed language to an external edge, to its (e.g.) musical or animal limit; we have made failure impossible and succeeded, even (and perhaps especially) if we fall back into triangulation. –The mediation of fantasy, the commercial, bureaucratic, familial reductions of desire in psychoanalysis, reflect a generalized and even globally-extended process of subjectivation, integrated at all costs, however intolerable or mad, into local regimes of semiotic and virtual exchange.
The node already participates with the darkness that permeates the network; every node is a ‘terminal’ point, a vector between the system and the world and between the system and itself — at once the flow and its interruption, the channel and its subversion. This dual differentiation permits the network-system to exist as an irreducibly generative assemblage — which is to say, neither individual or collective (both of which collapse to an individuated matrix in the last instance.) The question of the exploit is therefore primary, the essential matter of worldic, evental and subjectile effectivity and generativity. Power, or voidic and plastic generativity, discovers an infinite deferral of its own origin in this productive assembly which establishes functional inter-relationships between one or several war machines. The generativity of the collective assemblage exceeds its effectivity, it becomes expressive of modalities of existence, when permitted to establish uncertain communications channels with alien machines (with potentially wildly divergent and even mutating universes of reference and value.) The molar subject — that ‘healthy’ consciousness or prepossessed self-awareness of innately-political beings, robust with respect to some permutability of external reality and its own substrate (in other words possessing a unity of identity and differentiation of self-representation and reflected image; the capacity for deception, secrecy, falsehood, “hollowness”) — this psychic effectivity of identity can perhaps be considered as an external agency, one which establishes a kind of universal exchange between various systems of meaning.
Light, or this labyrinth leading to the black heart of the death-drive; a parasite which interrupts the flow of unconscious desire, transcoding it into a series of signifying chains, muffling the articulation of fragmentary collective enunciations. Thought and language reach towards their others and outsides in order to escape syntagmatic isolation or pragmatic identifiability — towards music, silence; towards that infinite speed of thought which manages to discover a way outside the territory. We cannot “think” the disaster, the fragmentariness of the substrate, just as we cannot think our own deaths — at least, not without paying what is perhaps the most dangerous cost exacted by a thought: the risk of the collapse of ontological coordinates or foundations, of infection by mutant or even alien universes of reference. Thinking the disaster is impossible without this risk of breaking, halting, becoming-frozen; of a radical trauma beyond reintegration. A hideous arresting of individuation; a new silence, coldness, darkness: the break risks leaving us “beyond thinking and feeling” (optical nerves burned out, ear drums ruptured.) Perceptions themselves even risk becoming ‘infested’ by alien continuities. In short: we risk no longer being able to trust the ground, the weight of things. A strange coldness and indifference radiates from the paradox, the disaster, the break; it coincides with the invasion of an alter-subject which cannot be reintegrated. An enemy within which doesn’t coincide with another personality, but a radically independent and ontologically-disruptive line of free variation which depersonalizes and distorts perceptual semiologies.
Joshua Kirch, “Concentricity” (Interactive Light Sculpture Series)
Deleuze and Guattari—Plateau 1
7 April 2008
In their first plateau, Deleuze and Guattari focus on the concept of the rhizome. In establishing a difference between the arborescent image of thought and the rhizomatic, Deleuze and Guattari claim that the rhizome is an anti-genealogy (11) while at the same time arguing that it is the tree which imposes its genealogy: “A rhizome has no beginning or end; it is always in the middle, between things, interbeing, intermezzo. The tree is filiation, but the rhizome is alliance, uniquely alliance” (25). Filiation proceeds through binary logic around a centralized point (the despot, the philosopher-king, the father), while the alliance extends lines which are not stratified or gridded on root pivot/focal-points. In particular, the fascination with trees and filiation stems from a symptom of our specifically European disease of transcendence (18). What is difficult to remember is that the tree and the rhizome are not necessarily opposed to one another; the first acts like a transcendent tracing and model while the second draws a map through an immanent process that overturns the model (20). But the smooth space of the rhizome is always under constant threat of hierarchization and stratification while the tree can proliferate into a-centered systems given changes in local conditions, thresholds of intensity, coefficients of transversality, etc. Hence both the tree and the rhizome face the strata and the body without organs (4). Yet it is precisely their relation to these two sides which simultaneously indicates the mode of their processes of crossing between the actual and the virtual. Although the two authors do not speak of these two registers, this “dualism” seems completely necessary in order to confront all the principles which they stipulate for understanding the rhizome—in effect, its connectivity, heterogeneity, multiplicity, cartography and decalcomania.