Ethology: Spinoza and Us

Gilles Deleuze, ‘Ethology: Spinoza and Us’, translated by Robert Hurley, pp. 625-633, in: Crary, J., Kwinter, S. (Eds.), 1992. Incorporations, Zone. Zone, New York, NY.

p.25
Everyone knows the first principle of Spinoza: one substance for all the attributes. But we also know the third, fourth or fifth principle: one Nature for all bodies, one Nature for all individuals, a nature that is itself an individual varying in an infinite number of ways.
What is involved is no longer the affirmation of a single substance, but rather the laying out of a common plane of immanence on which all bodies, all minds and all individuals are situated.
The plane of immanence or consistency is a plan, but not in the sense of a mental design, a project, a program; it is a plan in the geometric sense: a section, an intersection, a diagram.
Thus to be in the middle of Spinoza is to be on this model plane, or rather to install oneself on this plane – which implies a mode of living, a way of life.

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The Image as a Networked Interface

Yael Eylat Van-Essen, ‘The Image as a Networked Interface: The Textualization of the Photographic Image’, pp.259, in:

Rubenstein, D., Golding, J., Fisher, A., 2013. On the verge of photography: imaging beyond representation. Article Press, Birmingham, UK.
p.259

Mitchell proposes relating to pictures as to living entities with needs, which we should try to relate to on their own terms.

p.260

The suggestion that we attribute a subjectivity of their own to living images, as opposed to examining them according to the meanings they create, can be seen as sequential to thought rooted in the theories of Nietzsche and Heidegger, and later, in the works of other theoreticians such as Gilles Deleuze and Jean-Luc Nancy, who sought to relate to a work of art using the question of its “being”.The image, according to them, has its own being that is not derived from the object it represents. It is not a copy or an imitation of something external to it; it is an autonomous entity in its own right.

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Modulation after Control

Yuk Hui, Modulation after Control, New Formations 84-85, On Societies of Control, ed. J. Gilbert and A. Goffey, 2015, 74-91.

p.75

In control societies, Deleuze proposes, we can observe a new form of operation that is no longer about the enclosure of space. To be more precise, it is no longer a control that explicitly and directly imposes its violence or force on individuals; and nor does it archive their obedience according to its institutional and social code, as we can see in the example of prisons.

Rather, this new type of control is characterised by creating a space for the individual, as if he or she has the freedom to tangle and to create, while their production as well their ends follow the logic of intangible forces. If we understand the first form of control – direct intervention – as moulding [moulage], then this second form of control can be understood in terms of modulation.

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Making Room for the Body

Bernadette Wegenstein. 2006. Getting under the skin: the body and media theory. MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass.
p.1
[describes a ‘new historical approach’ argued for in the mid-twentieth century]
p.2
As British sociologist Bryan S. Turner states, the usefulness of the body to critical analysis lies in the fact that we both are and have bodies. Or, to put in the terms of Le Goff, we experience our own body as well as the bodies of others: “The body is a material organism, but also a metaphor; it is the trunk apart from head and limbs, but also the person [as in ‘anybody’ and ‘somebody’]. . . . The body is at once the most solid, the most elusive, illusory, concrete, metaphorical, ever present and ever distant thing—a site, an instrument, an environment, a singularity and a multiplicity.”
Today we know the histories of a sexual body, a female body, a pregnant body, a Greek body—to list but a few of innumerable examples—as well as the histories of a body-in-pieces; in other words, of certain organs and body parts in their specific cultural, historical, and geographical configurations.

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Bodies of Water, Human Rights and the Hydrocommons

Astrida Neimanis, 2009. Bodies of Water, Human Rights and the Hydrocommons. TOPIA: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies 21, 161–182. https://doi.org/10.3138/topia.21.161%5D

p.162

Our bodies thus reveal to us the problem with any  reductive dichotomization of water as natural or cultural. While the 60-90 per cent of ourselves that is comprised of water is undoubtedly biological, we nonetheless live our bodies of water as brimming with economic, cultural and otherwise semiotic potentiality.

The “nature” of our bodily water is meaningful and meaning-making, just as the porosity, fluidity and leakiness of our selves are no mere metaphors.

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Sense and the Limits of Knowledge

Tucker, I., 2011. Sense and the Limits of Knowledge: Bodily Connections in the Work of Serres. Theory, Culture & Society 28, 149–160. https://doi.org/10.1177/0263276410372240

p.150

Theories across social and cultural theory have for some time now thought about the construction of knowledge, and considered the option that knowledge may actually mediate and consequently partially obscure the world, rather than provide transparent access to it.

Notions of change, movement and fluidity stand in place of stability, identity and fixity. The human condition is seen as acting as a grounding presence, with questions raised about how bodies are experienced, and how forms of bodily activity cannot be captured through words but have a material existence on and beyond the boundaries with language and knowledge.

Pivotal to Serres’ interest are bodies, the primary materiality of the human condition, through which we feel, touch, taste and see the world. Serres seeks to explore whether knowledge produced through traditional empiricism can beneficially inform as to sensory experience, or whether it acts to shade and mask the senses, rather than enlighten them.

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The Affective Turn

Patricia T Clough, 2008. The Affective Turn: Political Economy, Biomedia and Bodies. Theory, Culture & Society 25, 1–22.

p.1

The turn to affect points instead to a dynamism immanent to bodily matter and matter generally – matter’s capacity for self-organization in being in-formational – which, I want to argue, may be the most provocative and enduring contribution of the affective turn.

pp.1-2

Yet, many of the critics and theorists who turned to affect often focused on the circuit from affect to emotion, ending up with subjectively felt states of emotion – a return to the subject as the subject of emotion. I want to turn attention instead to those critics and theorists who, indebted to Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Baruch Spinoza and Henri Bergson, conceptualize affect as pre-individual bodily forces augmenting or diminishing a body’s capacity to act and who critically engage those technologies that are // making it possible to grasp and to manipulate the imperceptible dynamism of affect.

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After Life

Patricia MacCormack, ‘After Life’, pp.177-187, in:

MacCormack, P. (Ed.), 2014. The animal catalyst: towards ahuman theory. Bloomsbury Academic, London; New York.

p.177

For oppressive machines, the ahuman aberrant is required to isomorphically raise the status of the majoritarian, and the future hurtling posthuman’s future is only as a cog in that operation of ascension. Ecosophical and ecominoritarian elements of ahuman theories seek to alter this monodirectional system.

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The Animal Catalyst

Patricia MacCormack, ‘Introduction’, pp.1-12, in:

MacCormack, P. (Ed.), 2014. The animal catalyst: towards ahuman theory. Bloomsbury Academic, London; New York.

p.1

The animal conundrum begins with the ‘we’ that we are as human animals – so like nonhuman animals but so unlike, depending on which rhetoric benefits humans at any given time.

No longer seeking inclusion, no longer validating the phantasized attractiveness of majoritarian concerns, emphasizing interconnected affectivity, The Animal Catalyst understands the word ‘animal’ as nothing more than organic life, which is shared between myriad organisms, their expressions and affects, and nothing less than an absolute refusal of the word in all its incarnations (too often incantations): ‘human’.

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