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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Seeing Subjectivity: Erotic Photography and the Optics of Desire

Evans, J.V., 2013. Seeing Subjectivity: Erotic Photography and the Optics of Desire. The American Historical Review 118, 430–462. https://doi.org/10.1093/ahr/118.2.430

p.432

Although intimacy, pleasure, and desire are fundamental elements of experience and personhood, they remain overlooked in most historical analyses. This is particularly true when it comes to erotic images.

Of course, getting at an embodied history of desire is no simple task, especially since the function and resonance of photographic sources is hardly self-evident.

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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.

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Animal interface: the generosity of domestication

Nigel Clark, ‘Animal interface: the generosity of domestication’, pp.49-70 [not this version], in:

Cassidy, R., Mullin, M.H., Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research (Eds.), 2007. Where the wild things are now: domestication reconsidered, Wenner-Gren international symposium series. Berg, Oxford; New York.

p.1

Market-driven pressures to minimize inputs and maximize outputs of animal bodies have led to increasingly industrialized agricultural practices in which technologies of control and modification are applied to ever more intimate aspects of biological being.

One way of looking at domestication is to see it as a shortening and tightening of nutrient cycles: an imposition of `efficiency’ that seeks to exclude links in the food chain that come between human consumers and those living things they wish to consume (De Landa, 1997: 08). Viewed in this way, domestication appears as an anticipation or prototype of the kind of `economic’ logic that is a definitive feature of the era we call `modernity’.

There are many ways of defining what it is to be `modern’, but to put it simply we might say that it is a way of thinking and doing that likes to know its goals, and sets out to attain them in the most efficient and speedy manner.

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On Aesthetic Plasticity

Tom Sparrow, ‘On Aesthetic Plasticity’, pp. 177-218, in:

Sparrow, T., Malabou, C., 2015. Plastic bodies: rebuilding sensation after phenomenology. Open Humanities Press, London.

p.177

The argument so far has followed two general, intertwined trajectories: one critical, the other constructive. The critical thread has argued that the two visions of embodiment offered by Merleau-Ponty and Levinas are inadequate for thinking how our bodies actually interact with the material world. The constructive thread has assembled evidence which suggests that both phenomenologists were cognizant of the function that sensation plays in the constitution of experience and identity.

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Media Archaeography

Wolfgang Ernst, ‘Media Archaeography: Method and Machine Versus History and Narrative Of Media’, pp.239-255, in:

Huhtamo, E., Parikka, J. (Eds.), 2011. Media archaeology: approaches, applications, and implications. University of California Press, Berkeley, Calif.

p.239

The media-archaeological method as proposed here is meant as an epistemological alternative approach to the supremacy of media-historical narratives. Equally close to disciplines that analyse material (hardware) culture and to the Foucauldian notion of the “archive” as the set of rules governing the range of what can be verbally, audiovisually, or alphanumerically expressed at all, media archaeology is both a method and an aesthetics of practising media criticism, a kind of epistemological reverse engineering, and an awareness of moments when media themselves, not explicitly humans any more, come active “archaeologists” of knowledge.

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The Body and the Archive

Allan Sekula, ‘The Body and the Archive’, pp.3-64, in:
October, Vol. 39 (Winter, 1986). MIT Press.

p.3

The sheer range and volume of photographic practice offers ample evidence of the paradoxical status of photography within bourgeois culture. The simultaneous threat and promise of the new medium was recognized at a very early date, even before the daguerreotype process had proliferated.

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What is an apparatus?

Georgio Agamben, ‘What is an apparatus?’, pp.1-24, in:
Agamben, G., 2009. “What is an apparatus?” and other essays. Stanford University Press, Stanford, Calif.

p.13

I wish to propose to you nothing less than a general and massive partitioning of being into two large groups or classes: on the one hand, living beings (or substances), and on the other, apparatuses in which living beings are incessantly captured. On one side, then, to return to the terminology of the theologians, lighting ontology of creatures, and on the other side, the oikonomia of apparatuses that seek to govern and guide them towards the good.

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The One-Eyed Man and the One-Armed Man: Camera, Culture, and the State

John Tagg, ‘The One-Eyed Man and the One-Armed Man: Camera, Culture, and the State’, pp.1-49, in:
Tagg, J., 2009. The disciplinary frame: photographic truths and the capture of meaning. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis.

p.1

This carefully constructed room has an old name. It is a camera. A room, but a room with a purpose: the training of light, graphing it—quite literally, photo-graphing, subjecting light to the punctual rule of the room’s inbuilt geometrical law.

The camera is, then, a place to isolate and discipline light, like a room in Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon. And, like that room in the Panopticon, the cell of the camera has its utility both as a training machine and as a device for producing and preserving text.

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