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.

Continue reading “Sense and the Limits of Knowledge”

Advertisements

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.

Continue reading “The Affective Turn”

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.

Continue reading “After Life”

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’.

Continue reading “The Animal Catalyst”

Deleuze and Machines: A Politics of Technology?

William Bogard, ‘Deleuze and Machines: A Politics of Technology?’, pp.15-31, in:

Poster, M., Savat, D. (Eds.), 2009. Deleuze and new technology, Deleuze connections. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh.

p.15

Deleuze is not so much interested in questioning technology, like Heidegger, as in articulating, along with Guattari, a problem about machines.

Deleuze and Guattari’s problematisations of machines lead them, by contrast, to a concept of a multiplicity without an essence – or better, with a ‘nomadic’ essence1 – a complex configuration of machinic and enunciative elements called an ‘assemblage’.

The problem of machines is not Heidegger’s question of technology: Is there a possible escape from Enframing? Can technology save the world before it annihilates it? For Deleuze, there is neither an essential ‘saving power’ nor a nihilism of machines. Safety and danger are matters of experimenting with assemblages, with their compositional forms.

It is not a question of an essence of technology, but of what Deleuze and Guattari call an abstract machine, a machine immanent in assemblages that both integrates them and opens them to an outside, to counterforces that break them down.

According to Deleuze and Guattari, assemblages have a dual form: a ‘form of content’, that is, a machinic form composed of variably fixed matters and energetic components; and a ‘form of expression’ or ‘enunciation’ consisting of statements and articulated functions.

Continue reading “Deleuze and Machines: A Politics of Technology?”

The real terror of Instagram

Crano, R., 2018. ‘The real terror of Instagram: Death and disindividuation in the social media scopic field’. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies 135485651775036. https://doi.org/10.1177/1354856517750364

p.2

Well beyond photography’s mere digitization, we now have recourse to nuanced notions of the live, networked, and algorithmic image. Such concepts, and the methodological ambits that emerge alongside them, situate contemporary photography, appropriately, within broader trends of and discourses on participatory culture, user-generated content, and ‘prosumption’.

What I would like to do here, in part, is to further contextualize this participatory turn – in culture generally and in photography specifically – alongside broader socioeconomic transformations and emergent techniques of capitalist subject-formation and exploitation.

Continue reading “The real terror of Instagram”

The Machines

Deleuze and Guattari, “The Machines”, pp.36-41, in:

Deleuze, G., Guattari, F., 1983. Anti-Oedipus: capitalism and schizophrenia. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis.

p.36

A machine may be defined as a system of interruptions or breaks (coupures).

Every machine, in the first place, is related to a continual material flow (hyle) that it cuts into.

Each associative flow must be seen as an ideal thing, an endless flux, flowing from something not unlike the immense thigh of a pig.

In a word, every machine functions as a break in the flow in relation to the machine to which it is connected, but at the same time is also a flow itself, or the production of a flow, in relation to the machine connected to it.

p.38

In the second place, every machine has a sort of code built into it, stored up inside it. This code is inseparable not only from the way in which it is recorded and transmitted to each of the different regions of the body, but also from the way in which the relations of each of the regions with all the others are recorded . An organ may have connections that associate it with several different flows; it may waver between several functions, and even take on the regime of another organ – the anorectic mouth, for instance.

p.40

The third type of interruption or break characteristic of the desiring-machine is the residual break (coupure-reste) or residuum, which produces a subject alongside the machine, functioning as a part adjacent to the machine.

Balance Sheet for Desiring Machines

Deleuze and Guattari, “Balance Sheet for Desiring Machines”, pp.90-115, in:

Guattari, F., Lotringer, S., 2009. Chaosophy: texts and interviews 1972-1977. Semiotext(e), Los Angeles, CA.

p.91

The object is no longer to compare humans and the machine in order to evaluate the correspondences, the extensions, the possible or impossible substitutions of the ones for the other, but bring them into communication in order to show how humans are a component part of the machine, or combined with something else to constitute a machine.  The other thing can be a tool, or even an animal, or other humans. We are not using a metaphor, however, when we speak of machines: humans constitute a machine as soon as this nature is communicated by recurrence to the ensemble of which they form a part under specific conditions.

Continue reading “Balance Sheet for Desiring Machines”

Not Symbiosis, Not Now

Colebrook, C., 2012. Not Symbiosis, Not Now: Why Anthropogenic Change Is Not Really Human. Oxford Literary Review 34, 185–209. https://doi.org/10.3366/olr.2012.0041
p.187

[…] theory and the humanities in general (along with humanity ‘itself’) have not been eager to consider this rather awkward problem, especially given that unlike questions of social justice, personal ethics and political freedom, climate change does not seem to offer solutions in which anyone might win or even improve their current lot.

Continue reading “Not Symbiosis, Not Now”