point to point

Goodbye, Peter

                 My own songs awaked from that hour

 our families were very close

                 You know his voice

 but you think of him saying other people’s words

                  and you think of pronunciation

 when words are words. I have kept embers of that time

                  Have asked the wind to blow on them.

 Not in Wellington. Surprise, his eyebrows almost shot out of his head

                  to find me with my own beard.

                              I was a child who said surprising things

 which he saw through. Perhaps the wind will not come,

                   the voice is gone. I was not so golden

 in his regard. He laughed. Had a pipe. The time, the Whole

                   Earth Catalogue and Little Red Schoolbook,

 of cultural answers to political questions, was rather beginning

                   than drawing to a close. And the pipe had to go.

 Not the pipes. But certain words. Socialism. Egalitarian society.

                   Socialist utopia. I heard him say too soon to say

 in the brief gold sunrise before, presage to the coming age, when

                   If we speak kiwi, if we do, then, she’ll be right.

                               But I would stay up precociously late

 to hear, bear out the heaviness, of any argument again, about

                  the human element, its burden to government,

                               when we cast our vote by machine,

 when we do. Again have my first glass of cherry brandy, hear

                  on your headphones Switched-On Bach and

                              and hear, His mind is blowing!

 Who is here to see through me if I should presume to say he was

                   an actor unlike any other I knew and how he

                              was, he was my father’s friend, how

 like no other, again, you hear the voice and not the words,

                    what are words? not the song, and if I

                              pronounce he spoke with his fragility

 and his intelligence, how should I presume? without gesture, without

                     face, with the presence of his body.

                              Seat, self-

 aware, and self directed, as my father knew,

                      knew him, vulnerable seat, of his working mind.

                              His angles graceful

 elegant songs. A photo of him like this, in State of the Play

                      resting his elbows, on the side of the stage,

                              the classroom. So the older writer I knew him as,

 awaked my own songs at that hour. With an irony

                      hurt by its own distance

                              by laughter overcoming it. And I have at home

 A Choice of Whitman’s Verse, ten years after their wedding, I

                       remember. That day, Farm Road.

                              And in it, written in the front cover, is

 Simon. and a choice for a young poet, with

                       regards from Peter & Sue V.J,

                              christmas 1980. I don’t know how they

 thought of me. Did they consider the first line for Peter

                        of this song would be from there?

                              Consider at that time I was reading

 Jean-Paul Sartre, I awaked precociously late

                        with only embers, hoping for the wind

                              which changes direction frequently

 on these islands, to the hour of the gifts they gave,

                        in that generous brief and golden sunrise.

 That I was not golden in his regard. You see how he saw

                         through me? to my youth, a child of Whitman’s

                              who stayed young for you and sings

 and shares, with that poet forever youthful, his birthday.

                         At Rotoiti, we liked to pronounce it, aping the

                              accent of the well-to-dos, as leak,

 Another photo. This time, taken by Peter. I am on the jetty.

                        My younger brother is there beside me.

                              News of his birth came

 when I was in the bath at Peter and Sue’s. My parents’

                        game, If you had other parents who

                              would they be? So there I was.

 In Peter’s black-and-white photo I had freckles, a soft brim

                         hat, old clothes, a trenchcoat and belt,

                              gumboots. With perhaps no intelligence

 at all, but thoughtful, and no intelligence of what,

                         I am looking into the grain of the photo,

 the water and the mist, it is agreed that

                         it is of Christopher Robin, so it is.

 So it is Christopher Robin

                         who says,

                              Goodbye, Peter.

 [for Peter Vere-Jones,

  21 October 1939 – 26 January 2021,

  by Simon Taylor, 14 February 2021]

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piece for Dave

he knew this air,

          knew this monumental procession of cloud

 rain hangs in the air

           without pressure or promise
 but I don’t know how he knew the rain

           or this ragged coastline

 in a way that was his alone,

           or knew the tangle of lives
 on most mornings for a dozen years

           I saw him sit on the barstool

 at Brazil and Rex would say, the wit

           and wisdom of David Peterson:
 Never eat anything bigger than your head

           and Never put anything  

 smaller than your

           elbow in your ear
 while Dave read the paper, measured the bites

           of his breakfast,

 drank his coffee, and he and Rex

           grumped about the world and state of business
 Dave turning his face sideways to comment,

           bringing his voice up to air

 from a certain depth, a depth of certainty.

           The absence of him is hard and present.
 After Brazil, for a baker’s dozen years

           he was my most regular coffee client,

 I measured my consistency by his. Always

           knowing I could rely on him
 to let me know if the quality of service suffered

           from changes in circumstance—tangle.

 The lives he kept me updated with. The years passed.

           He never asked to be celebrated,
 Never asked for the praise he was due

           as solo dad to his two children

 for the way they prospered—he told me

           how they were doing, how they did.

 Had my admiration always, and I imagine
           many were and are impressed because

 he was an impressive man, whose

           good works were never good works and

 he kept out of the light they reflected
           on him. He never commanded the respect

 shown him. A look was enough, as
          others are better placed to say, in his profession

 also outside of the light
           his fingers moving over the controls in the

 little light on the desk, wearing black,

           tweaking the sound to the precise spec

 of the gear so it got the praise not him.
           He would not ask to be celebrated like this

 but I ask myself what it is to do right

           by him and this writing is my work, Dave.

 The rain that was pendant
           fell for a while and has passed, clouds have

 dispersed. I have asked about the air:

           what does it mean to have breathed a while

 in it and then not to be?
           not to be present in it and sharing in it, the

 tangle of lives—Never leave a lead

           tangled. A cable has a memory of being twisted

 it needs time in the heat of the sun to lose
           for it to be coiled. It means a

 certain amount of work needs to be done,

           then a little sleep,

 before it is, for it to be, perfect. 
 — for David Peterson (d. 30 December 2020)
 [Simon Taylor,
 2 January 2021] 

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what does Rona (thanks M.) tell us about mor(t)ality? days 14, 15, 16

I just read that Hal Willner–genius of collaboration–died of symptoms consistent with C-19 (as M. relates, Rona, in Oz). See this, since we are in one:

And this:


It is also shocking to read that named celebrities are being COVID-ed, coveted, and their deaths converted to the virus’s … dominion. For Rona will have dominion: and this is easy, in the isolation of lockdown, to neglect.

That there are deaths unobserved. Funerals unattended. Obsequies undelivered; or given by digital token attendance; by priests and others holding holy office in bulk to caskets waiting to be interred.

That the dying are dying without human touch. (Alphonso Lingis writes so well on this.) They are dying without contact; that those dear to them cannot come near. They are dying uninstructed in the patter of commonplaces attendant on those dying delivered by the ones who don’t know what to say. Say anything! the parents say. Say anything, we tell ourselves–the contact, the touch of a hand is enough, the brush of a hand against a cheek, or a cheek caressed.

That some of us are living as the others are dying, without a body other than our own to keep us company.

But is it worse for those who cannot be at the bedside? And for the medical staff who stop them, for the nurse who bars the way; and for the doctor who knows his gloved hand, or her medical patter not to be enough. To be in fact insulting, an insult to the life; whose interest now is in passing through this latest trial and not in why or how it is occurring.

It must be worse for the mothers and fathers, for the children, for the brother, sister and the lover of those who are now sequestered awaiting the final prognosis.

And this must be the worst.

And then it is not so bad many are revelling in self-congratulation that their institutions recently made the switch to digital. That books are available through the token of a digital presence.

Courses are provided online. The outsourcing to digital providers is vindicated! The outlay on IT and digital infrastructure is justified!

Just wait for augmented reality and haptic feedback! It will all be suited so well to the next pandemic! think of the apps!

And then, think of the numbers.

But I had had no intention of making these token comments.

My mind had still been on the political where there is no pulse.

I had had an enlightening conversation with my family–but tonight my family have been using the outdoor bath I had been building as I had had in mind the politics–and in that enlightening conversation I had entirely failed to enlighten them and they had had to be dragged kicking and screaming all the way there … and all the way back … for my trouble: well if it was my trouble let me bathe in my own trouble! marinate in that polluted water!

But now… we are neglectful. Even though I had been wanting, waiting and wanting, to say how governments have not wrested powers away from those to whom they gave them–for whatever good reason, because I’m sure the reasons for government must be good.

Governments have not wrested powers, even as these powers are their own, of legislature, back: there is only talk of rules; laws are much harder to come by, especially those limiting the powers of economic and market players.

Disaster economics. The point is not that there will be profiteers in this situation. The point is it will neither be to the political profit of government nor to good reason. And it is not the point that economics can claim the prerogative of running most of the business of being human. The point is governments have not taken back what they gave away and that they will not, even as extreme as, in some cases, even as authoritarian, in some, it has been.

luz es tiempo
National Scandal
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for Raymond Boyce, 19 May 1928 – 1 August 2019, presented at the tribute held 10 August 2019, Hannah Playhouse, Wellington, NZ


some links:

“this building”

“is a masterpiece”

“of theatre” “design”

see also,

under the lefthand margin heading


which is of course


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National Scandal
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25 June 2019: Seseragi – Gora – air

We will return to Seseragi. Ha, next to the babbling

The egg for breakfast is coddled in the geothermal spring.

The dining room, Kamiyama, is on the fourth floor of the ryokhan, Ichinoyu Honkan, est. 1630. Yakuta are worn. The maître d’ steps aside for a clear shot. But none do it justice. Next to the babbling…

And note the bark, bamboo, the fishtail window latches, the gilded cupboard doors–and the porch separated from the square main room with its square light fitting by sliding screens, next to the babbling, and the ubiquitous vibrant green of the maples.

After breakfast we take the Tonzan, the Hydrangea Train, to at least see Gora, even if we cannot ascend the ropeway and catch a glimpse of Fuji, over lake Ashi.

Gora is an alpine transit lounge. A brief walk, snapping the pompom pines, and an old house, with a mini pine growing in the gutter.

And then descending the mount, with the sleeping lady, after her friends had swapped a multitude of sweets, and not snapped the teeth of the sleeping lady snapping in and out.

The shrine with the snakes and frogs promised great prosperity from its waters. Next to the Tonosawa stop, we stop briefly, tempt the spirits of wealth, and, having time to take the walk once more down to Hakone-Yumoto, trundle our wheely bags through the town, back on the Romance Car to Shinjuku, where the tapered tower is, and the Skyliner.

It’s sad to be leaving again, but it is again. One hopes it hopes, despite the coming events, it will be possible to return. And connections have been made. And that means so little these days of connectivity but … time passes, on the wing, and on Sunday 14 July I receive an email from Alphonso Lingis.

He is in Auckland. We meet up at 8.15am on 18 July and start talking … next to the babbling … and at 6.15pm we stop. I put him in the cab to take him to the airport for his flight at 9pm.

The kereru greets Al, and the tui swoop in the backyard, even the rosellas show up, when we are in the backyard, talking, and the piwakawaka …

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24 June 2019: Akasaka – Hakone-Yumoto – Tonosawa – Kowakidani – Hakone Open Air Museum

We leave Akasaka, and Hotel Felice–and it has been–for the Romance Car–it, in fact, is–booked to take us to Hakone.

Reaching Hakone-Yumoto, we have climbed off the flatlands of rice production, and ascended into the cloud and into the hills; the temperature has dropped outside; the time has passed in the concentrated suspension of Japanese rail. Even as it is this time not high speed shinkansen but Romance, it is quiet and the consideration of others on the train is quite tangible, not formal or abstract: and it is not granting to one space to do one’s own thing; it is not the privacy, a vacuole or foyer of private liberty, enjoyed when others condescend to leave us alone; it is not that one perceives of as a conscious choice in the respectful distance some cultures observe, say, for example, in view of, and around the romantic couple–or those who are in the throes of an emotional event. It is like snow, general, this discretion, and in extension. So the time seems to pass quickly, until we are swept up into the foothills not so far from Fuji.

Also the timbre of the train changes–almost as if the Romance Car can change gauges, to climb; and the next rail service we come to, on the platform opposite where we disembark, is the Hakone Tozan Railway, which runs on a single track on the second steepest line in the world, from Odawara, which we have passed through, up to Gora, from which the Hakone Ropeway extends, to Lake Ashi–where there are ridiculous Disney tallships–at the foot of Fuji; or it would extend, were it not closed because of increased volcanic activity around the crater of Mount Hakone.

Snapped above is the black garlic seller, the chestnut guy, at Hakone-Yumoto station. We get some (umi as those we ate on the Spanish Steps some years ago), and negotiate the main road, to catch a bus on the far side–not so easy, but the traffic stops to let us trundle over. The bus is free to Ichinoyu Honkan. Chosen for its onsen, it sits directly on the river, in fact a station up, on Tonzan line, from Hakone-Yumoto, at Tonosawa. Here we leave our bags, impressed by the age and beauty of our ryokhan. The oldest parts of the building are four hundred years’ old. It was established in 1630, has, like most old wooden structures in Japan, either been burnt–more common–or been shaken down–far less common, given Japanese craftsmanship–and rebuilt and added on to: from the snap above of the exterior it seems to jut out of the landscape. It is not only that in fact it belongs. It is that the atmosphere gives a subtle acknowledgement that in fact it does.

Our check-in time is at 3. We descend the hill to Hakone-Yumoto once more, having arrived before midday.

From the map it looks like the post office is beside the railway station. We walk down beside the river, past the weir, the arcades across the river for some reason reminding me of Lake Garda. We are directed back across the river from Hakone-Yumoto, up through its other half. A snap of the interior of the post office appears above. It’s raining heavily. We have our 950yen clear plastic umbrella. We stop in at a marquetry store–seems to be a local speciality in the craft line: different woods cut into prisms, the cross sections showing hexagonal and other tesselating patterns, shaved to micromilimetres, laminated and laquered into trays, coasters, serving dishes, display boxes. The high sheen is almost kitsch but the larger items, beyond our price range, are quite beautiful.

What we are not told is Hakone-Yumoto straddles a fork in the river. We mistake one fork for the other, where our ryokhan is, and get lost in the rain.

When we find our way back downriver to Hakone-Yumoto, our plan is to take the Tonzan line perhaps up as far as Gora. But we change our minds.

At this time of year, the Tonzan line becomes the Hydrangea Train, the flowers in bloom on either side of the track, stalked by photographers, locals making the journey simply to experience the profusion of the hydrangea and celebrate its ephemerality.

Second steepest railway–different from cable, rope or ratchet–in the world, Tonzan, to deal with the canting, has a number of switchbacks, and changes direction. It’s fun to see the whitegloved guard and driver running down the platform to swap ends, their high seriousness, their high polish and human haste.

In recognition of the Swiss source of the new cars using the line, the ads inside, in the curved spaces above the windows, and billboards in the stations, depict not Japan, but Switzerland–a similar train passing over stone bridges, up mountains, in the snow. Perhaps it is the steepest?

I snap where we get off, before Gora, because we spot on the route plan, that this is the stop for Hakone Open-Air Museum. J. has read about it. But nothing prepares us for it.

Look, the people inside the work are cleaning it; and the bronzes are restrained from developing a patina–by a similar cleaning regimen?

The face in the hole in the solid sheet is called Surprise with the Glare by Takao Tsuchida. The monumental bronze figures above are by Emile Antoine Bourdelle.

I have noted before the extreme reverence with which modern art is treated–on Naoshima–in its display, and in its careful preservation. But there is a strange contrast here: is it Donald Keane who writes that the Japanese is one of the few if not the only culture to place such high value on ephemeral and passing things–in the tea ceremony, Sakura, the Hydrangea Train, in ikebana, and as a general attitude to the life of both human subjects and objects? But here timeless art is not allowed to age–no patinas allowed! Would the perspex bubbles of the work snapped above have such care lavished on them anywhere else?

This care is nothing new. At Chiyoda Art Centre a team of grasscutters descended on the small patch of grass, and with handheld shears, like scissors, snipped it quietly down. There were seven of them. Of course we see the same in gardens everywhere–the round topiaries of pines, pom-poming in silhouette, the meticulous care taken with packaging, with presenting food, the growing of melons in cube-frames to give square fruit, the technologies of personal bodily care in onsen culture… But the preservation of artworks in a state of newness, when done in materials which do age, to which age adds depth, gravity… Then is this idea of aging inherited from the Romantic ruin cult? Should we be painting back the colours on classical Greek and Roman statuary? Putting the wigs and merkins back on?

The patching and mending of materials, in boro and sashiko–so the fabric tells its story, patched indigo, in white threads–or kinsugi–joining broken ceramics with gold–or even the elaboration of supports for plants and trees, often with support structures, for prized ones, more extensive than the tree or plant itself, these are not the same as the poetry of aging, fragmenting and deterioration prized from the Romantics on? …Although we would place special conditions on the sorts of aging, fragmenting and deterioration that is prized: let there not be rot, or agents active, like bacteria and fungi, in the materials; but let it show the worming in the wood once the worms are gone; let the bronze brought up out of the sea show the barnacles and patinas–but let their work have finished and not be ongoing and live; which reminds us of the icon fabricators, aging back woods, paints and surfaces, as artfully adding patinas and coatings as Hirst’s fantasia… Although we also have the example of Duchamp’s Unhappy ReadymadeReadymade Malheureux of 1919: the geometry textbook despoiled by weather… , well, done by Duchamp’s sister, Suzanne, on his instruction… The trade in instant antiques–chairs whipped with chains and scorched and splattered with grease–reproduces the effects of aging: but death is kept at bay. The Nihonese attitude seems different.

It has been said that the quality wavers of the works exhibited at Hakone Open-Air Museum but it may be just this aspect of taste.

It ought also be considered that the sculpture park is the first of its type in Japan; the collection was started in 1969. By any standards, it is exceptional.

The snap above shows the hot-spring footbath–an onsen for feet.

The Picasso pavilion was closed for renovation. I snapped it because of its big Hollywood letters. The figure in front, called the flower who walks, La Fleur qui Marche, is by Fernand Léger. Like the Miró, also above, its colours have been kept as bright and clean as if it was just done.

This tower is Gabriel Loire’s Symphonic Sculpture, from which the views of cloud sweeping the hills around above are snapped too.

And the first of the Henry Moores, to be continued… by the biggest collection I have seen anywhere.

Antony Gormley lies prostrate in there too.

The Hand of God — Carl Miles, raising the question, and figuring the raising of the question, of taste.

These are Barry Flanagan’s The Boxing Ones–with a vista behind giving a sense of the scale of the place.

Giuliano Vangi’s Grande Racconto recalls us to the hilltop behind Kosan-ji in Ikuchijima, on the Seto Sea, where the whole hill is Carrara marble, 5,000 square metres of it. It is dazzling white enough to give sunstroke–I had to buy a hat after that–perhaps dazzled with the glare of its title, as it is called Maraishin no Oka, Englished as Heights of Eternal Hope for the Future by the sculptor from Hiroshima, Kazuto Kuetani. Here: at squarewhiteworld

Ryoji Goto’s Intersecting Space Construction recalls us to the imbrication of human subjects–like interlocking rooftiles.

We leave Hakone Open-Air Museum having not seen the Picassos, hoping to return perhaps tomorrow… as this substantial collection is being temporarily housed in the gallery where we enter… the one with the big name being closed… and I do not show here the indoor exhibitions, featuring a Giorgio de Chirico sculpture, an Yves Klein blue relief work, with gold figures, Giacometti’s thin woman without arms, Femme Mince sans Bras, captivating, some of which can be seen here: https://www.hakone-oam.or.jp/en/exhibitions/article_reg.cgi?id=829688

The Tonzan back as far as our stop, Tonosawa–the path along the hillside, descending to Ichinoyu Honkan–we check in at last to the most beautiful room we have stayed in, of beautiful humanscale proportions, on the corner of the 400 year-old building, overlooking the river, itself curving around our room, with a private onsen in our room. And we go out searching for dinner. We find a place with the TV on, playing the incomprehensible–to us–reality shows we have seen before–still incomprehensible–and the bowed-over ancient proprietor welcomes us, instructs us on dining etiquette at one point, while his equally ancient, but less bowed-over wife cooks for us. There is for a time nobody else there, but two guys drinking beer and chuhai from enormous glasses, who soon leave. Then a traveler enters in a summer suit with a straw hat and engages the proprietor in a discussion which could as easily have been about the races or rice crops as about the new Emperor.

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23 June 2019: Akasaka – University of Tokyo, Komaba Campus, 21KOMCEE WEST – Akasaka – Ramen Street, Tokyo Station

Out the back gate, past the ventilation chimneys, crossing, the beware of ghost sign, up over the hill, down residential oneway, police manning the inroads to embassyland, under the pedestrian bridge, left at the south-easterly corner of Yoyogi, in through exit 2, minutes before Chiyoda line sped away, under the city, to Akasaka, debriefing with J., dinner at the first place I’d eaten two doors down from Hotel Felice: clams, grilled fish—Norwegian or Nihonese was available—the local, chuhi and birru. Now I know the way, this morning, the last day of the conference—it is almost sad, to have resolved the problem of finding one’s way, soon to be leaving one’s way behind. Like a secret one carries.

For Kenneth Surin, I decide on Session 28—four other sessions are running at the same time, 9.20-10.50. Morning snacks are served on floor 3: coffee, marmalade bun.

Felicity Coleman, Rebecca Hill and Catherine Dale—the last convening, the former presenting at this session, with Kenneth—talk about being here. Felicity Coleman has in the past hired a car, made her way through the small towns, stopping at onsen. Today, in the rain, she says, an onsen in the woods would be perfect. She is, tomorrow, presenting in London—but will gain a day inflight. In fact, many of the conferees are going straight to London.

I wonder at this moving group of people conducting their business all over the world—taking this world with them, insulated by it; as one is, traveling by car, J. and I later decide, insulated, not reliant on the confusion of finding one’s way along with locals and other visitors, in the confusion, for example of rail, and how it opens one up to by forcing types of exchange which would be missing in the car-bubble. Then there is traveling as a couple also—and this trip we have both traveled alone and together: how couples become a world, infacing.

I introduce myself to Ken, who has come in early, is consulting his laptop. He seems to recall our meeting in Stockholm, but is probably being polite.

Al, preferring the front, we move ringside. He does his round of the table, finding out who is there, what they do, with his great receptive smile.

“Becoming Gender” the session is called. Dale calls it something of a misnomer.

Ken’s preamble is to say that he has to wait until his retirement from Duke University—where he is professor emeritus—and after decades of teaching, to finally present on becoming gender. He has a Union Jack T-shirt, distinctive whiskers, an orotund delivery. …becoming is intrinsically tied to the category of the minor. To which Coleman’s the minor failed, the minor is no longer a possibility… has no salience.

Becoming-animal … part of a constellation, being analytically rather than arithmetically in the minor.

Everyone has to become woman, even women.

Everyone has to become animal, even animals.

Deleuze and Guattari—what is new, remarkable, interesting—“the actual is not what we are but what we become.”

“we become animal so that the animal also becomes something else.”

a zone of interchange

of passage between human an nonhuman

Gregor Samsa fails (to escape Oedipal coding in authoritarian family). Already I want to ask if every such becoming is a failure.

The Wolf Man – Freud’s – his position is in a territoire sauvage, the steppes, between forest and farmland—he is a pack animal.

Eugene Thacker—there are prejudices we have to overcome.

The life of the group forms a plane of consistency. The aggregate comes to have a life

– of packs herds swarms.

Donna Haraway loves dogs.

…it becomes a political question, to set up a steppe, a plane, a pathology … a plan/e of escape.

Wolf Man’s depression: bourgeois interiority.

Schizoid element: outside.

There can be molar collectivities, e.g. kolkhozi, collective farms, set up under a regime of collectivisation—and one might say the open office as well.

In molar collectivities there is also group belonging.

I think about this question:

Is Deleuze-Guattari studies a molar collectivity or does it set up a molecular plane of consistency?

In the molar, negation is used to determine difference in contrast to same. A question of either internal determinations of a concept or external determinations of molar or static nomination, accusation.

What marks one as part of a molar aggregate?

One is only ever sufficiently English Brazilian… but this sufficiency is still not affirmative. It conceals “desire, convention, contrivance.”

Deleuze and Guattari’s first move requires us to work on what I and you do or do not have in common. They do not require an identification, one drawn from abjection. There is a tautology in the racist: the one who claims to be the only one who is French or American; the one who claims to be the only one who has this essence and can have it. This one is inevitably the one who is. (But is it still drawing on abjection, on what we may call ontological abjection, to talk about being sufficiently British? British enough to wear the T-shirt? Deleuzian enough and Guattarian enough to wear the T-shirt?)

Rather than the ontological abjection of identification, we might enter a becoming, as a passage through a zone of indiscernability.

(I am put in mind of the letter in which Kafka writes, I’m going home to China.)

Rebecca Hill speaks next, she is “conceiving immanent desire with Irigaray and Deleuze and Guattari.”

Irigigaray offers a diagnosis of phallocentrism. Rather than her criticism of Deleuze and Guattari’s becoming-woman Hill traces the “generative commonalities and divergences” amongst these thinkers.

In a 1973 seminar, “Dualism, monism and multiplicities,” Taoist immanent desire is contrasted to Cartesian dualism. From the latter, every statement splits, cuts the subject—dividing thinking from desiring. From the former, there is no need for a split in the subject: thinking and desiring “is a pure process.”

Thought is monist multiplicity outside the status of number.

To become is to escape capital and man. (In a “pure process”?)

Immanent thinking is not feminist and is not colonialist.

The 1973 seminar acknowledges a “phallocratic imperial” background to all thought.

Hill offers that she gives a “highly motivated reading” of Irigaray.

The transcendence of Irigaray’s view of sexual difference—

“Volume without Contour,” “When our lips speak together,” in Speculum of the Other Woman: these concern immanent thought.

Western metaphysics uses woman as its “ground and resource” (all through this I am thinking of the Derridean chora).

Woman overflows and unravels the systematisation of reason and order.

What is stated is an “immanent feminist topology” of thought.

The feminine is the locus of chaos and terror.

The Oresteia trilogy is cited: Clytemnestra kills Agamemnon for killing her daughter Iphigenia.

Orestes—the titular—kills Clytemnestra and is put on trial.

Mother and daughter, Clytemnestra and Iphigenia, become unspeakable.

A feminine topology of immanence, from “Volume without Content,” sets up an impersonal and unlimited field of immanence.

In “When our lips speak together,” lips are a figure of multiplicity: against the representative interpretation.

A w/hole that is never totalised—lips are a multiplicity.

The place of woman is mentioned in relation to Taoism.

The phrase is used “absolute self-survey,” but not in reference to Ruyer.

It comes to questions: That was, I say, between “sufficiency” and “purity.” This is a question for both—but perhaps Rebecca will be able to correct the statement—Irigaray writes somewhere, Perhaps (it is only) a (true) (understanding) (of) sexual difference that will save us?

I don’t think it was “true,” says Rebecca Hill. It was of course taken from Heidegger’s phrase.

Of course, I say. (Only a god can save us now, I think.)

And, Hill continues, it is in her later work. I have not dealt with her later work here…

…there seems to be some kind of zone of indiscernability in Kenneth’s phrase, an immanent feminist topology invoked…except polarised…

What do you mean by polarised?

Well, more rigidly constructed.

I would not use the word rigid. I mean, in her later work, Irigaray talks about a zone of something like indiscernability, where a becoming that is dual is possible, of both man and woman, of man with woman… But, I don’t work with her later writing, where she says sexual difference is real. … And she actually says, for which she has been heavily criticised by the trans community, There are only men and women. …

I see I backed away from a proposition rather than having to state it: I might have said polarised over gender—on the basis Irigaray, that it is in her later work notwithstanding, says very much this. But what I was asking had nothing to do with inclusion or exclusion in becoming gender, or becoming animal. It had to do with what the human might be; however, we can never excuse or avoid or refuse addressing sexual politics.

This question of what the human might be, I raised it because Coleman was in the room: in an algorithmic becoming there is no possibility of being saved—or saving us—let alone by understanding sexual difference.

But is this really the case? Isn’t algorithmic becoming something for which men and women can or should take responsibility? Even as it is nonhuman becoming, belonging to a technosemiosis which is not human or gendered. Still, isn’t this letting it go, this question? And I am reminded of Coleman’s As a feminist, I can’t possibly answer that question. Perhaps the algorithmic becoming—well we know that in its use, like reason, it is—uses women and men unequally, makes use of them, where it encounters them differently?

This would not be a question of what the human (contested in its internal differences) can do, it would not be a question of what whatever we is ought to do—therefore it would not be a question of morality—but it would be a question of what the human, we, can be, of what we is, exactly contested in sexual difference. Isn’t this the ethical question of only (an understanding of) sexual difference can save us (now)?

Another question: Ken answers with the long list of becomings which Deleuze and Guattari give. Getting to becoming mineral, he says, this is one I have never really understood. I suppose you could speak of the mineral as that which is used for jewelery, or in computers… is in watches, gemstones and precious metals…

Strangely there is some sage nodding of heads. It doesn’t seem to occur to anyone that minerals are mobile elements. They pass through sedimentary layers of strata. What might be at stake in a mineralisation, or becoming mineral, is gaining this fine grain level of mobility—and a granular point of view or perspective. (That of the mineral subject, I might now say.)

Ken pronounces haeccitas “hex-itas.”

The next keynote is again presented in the wooden hall underground with the hinged chairs and the technical difficulties. It is Alex Taek-Gwang Lee: “Deleuze/Guattari and the Third World: Rethinking Political Philosophy After May 68.” He is perhaps the third speaker Koichiro-san has introduced as his best friend.

Foucault said political philosophy is a theory of government. Yet Deleuze and Guattari call their own work political philosophy. It does not so much address governmentality as a people who are missing. This is what makes it political philosophy.

The Third World constitutes the historicisation and the politicisation of a people who are missing. (Note: it is not the singular people of a Volk, not a People who is missing.)

In Cinema 2 political cinema is to think about people who are missing—the Third World.

This consideration comes in light of the cinema being an art of the masses. Stalinism. Nazism. Americanism. It is an art of the the mass subject.

Once America was the land of deterritorialised peoples. Now its concerns are its its own ends and interests.

The aim of political cinema is to invent and not to represent people who are missing. “The missing people are a becoming.”

This future politics in my terms is planetary communism.

Why do the people of liberty not accede to a liberation of others? So that A Thousand Plateaus speaks of “exploitation of the Third World; the arming of dictatorships, and the pollution of the atmosphere.”

Imperialism provides a counter-history of liberalism.

Ultimate aim of Deleuzian politics, according to Mbembe, is

  1. a founding violence
  2. imposition of law
  3. a system designed to sustain colonialism and to replicate it.

But there is then a boomerang effect, from the colonised peoples: Auschwitz has its origins in colonialism—implanted back in the imperium. This is Mbembe’s necro-politics.

Commodification of labour—subjugation of labour force—in colonial countries, flows back—an authoritarian politics—flowing back to Europe and to the West in general.

The fascism and biopolitics in nation-building in the Third World rebound on the West.

Manjiko—as it is called here—Manchuria, shows how fascism grows up in the mechanism of capitalism. Capitalism incubates and bears forth fascism—leading to the mobilisation of the newly imperialised Third World in Total War.

Fascism is the counter-current in imperialism.

Nationalism in the 1930s in Japan became Empire—and failed.

The Japanese designed Manjiko as a nation-state in answer to this failure.

Emancipation and development are the goals of the game: an anti-imperialist nationalism.

The Third World movement shows colonialism does not work out unilaterally. Colonial territory is established on the exclusion of native peoples.

The colonial regime in Manjiko failed because of the division of the colonists and the colonised.

In a Land War, the colonised is a “wild beast” to hunt down.

Foucault writes that in the 17th century the form of power changed from disciplinary power to biopower: people became population.

From Malthus, for whom it is population that matters, while liberalism relies on people and on a cancellation of the population, to Hobbes’s liberal Leviathan, it is an easy step to biopower—to people as data.

Liberalism in Malthus concerns population. The people who are missing concerns a geophilosophy: taking up the conflict for settlement, colonialism, and therefore also imperialism, between land and sea, that between the Behemoth and the Leviathan.

In Schmidt, sea threatens earth-born nature. The Leviathan has no hierarchy. It threatens the Ship of State.

For Deleuze, humans cannot live in security unless they assume the struggle of and land and sea is over.

The Third World is an “island,” the missing people a “desert.”

Inhabitation does not end a desert island.

The island as a field of struggle of ocean and land precedes Robinson Crusoe.

It is prior to the opposition of Crusoe the coloniser and Friday the colonised. In Tournier, the island changes Crusoe.

Crusoe cannot perpetuate our world because he cannot reproduce: he is asexual.

He is a pervert.

There occurs the internal subjectivation of the island as such.

Planetary communism goes from the island as subject. Becoming-island is a politic of the desert island.

The Third World means this kind of island.

Danilo asks about the link between fascism and imperialism.

The French and English empires survived because they underwent development and modernisation.

Nationalism in Japan occurred for the purposes of the modernisation of Japan, resulting in imperialism.

Adam Smith is anti-imperialist. Imperialism in the UK is a product of the nation-state. There is a time lag between empire and nation-state: an attempt to return to empire.

Christoph asks why we should leave our food and our shelter, those of the developed world, and become Third World.

The Third World is an abstract world: it is not a question of refusal but of working against exclusion.

Greg asks after the coherence of a homogeneous concept of the nation-state when the state as we know it is heterogeneous, made of many peoples.

To become Third World you must invent the Third World. A territory.

Leviathan reminds us and recalls us to the nation-state we must be part of.

Greg: First Worlds coexist with Third World, in Mexico, the US, in China.

Craig Lundy: Is Third World a new earth?

In Third World, we are inventing an earth in common: that means communism.

(There are the now commonplace technical difficulties with the mics.)

I read in the programme that Philip Martin, from Macquarie University, Sydney, is presenting on the Kyoto School: something I have been missing is the connection between Deleuze and Guattari and Japanese philosophy.

The Kyoto School’s most well-known representative is Kitaro Nishida.

Working in the tradition today are Shizateru Ueda and Ryosuke Ohashi.

Jun Tohsaka (1900-1945) coined the name Kyoto School.

Martin goes about formulating a connection: the suprasensible in the sensible is how Deleuze frames Kant’s project.

Deleuze’s criticism—of having done with judgement—comes from a criticism of a total form of history—in real historical institutions.

There is another model of the sensible and the suprasensible in Deleuze: this is art.

From Law and Judgement, to, in Deleuze, Art.

Kitaro Nishida’s logic of basho—which a simplified translation might give as place—entails an expressive and transformative relation to the world and to history.

Logic and Life (1936) proposes the reciprocal determination of individuals and their actions and the world as a whole. It is a monadology.

The continuous history of change and transformation between consciousness and the world means we are caught in continuous transformations with the world (as a whole).

Art, ethics and religious experience is a knowing of itself to be transformative.

Miki—is another figure, Martin has not the time to present.

Nishida: the world of historical reality … is the subject of his 1936 work.

Jun Tohsaka: What is the Technological Spirit (1937/2018). This work informed by scientific Marxism links art to life to science. The technological spirit is social production in and of history, working on the level of a technology of self as a creative procedure, and creating thereby, rather than taking it as a given, a common sense—in the production of a society or social and cultural sense.

Antonio Catalano: his theme Deleuze as political thinker, through the work of Italian political philosopher, Toni Negri.

Deleuze does not isolate politics as a way of thinking. The real issue is the relation between ontology and politics.

Marxism follows two lines of descent: a theological-political direction which is that of Benjamin, Schmidt; a biopolitical direction, that of Foucault, Deleuze, Guattari.

Negri: At the Origins of Biopolitics (1997).

Negri with Guattari: Communists Like Us.

Our time is one of the saturation of discussion between society and economics.

Capitalism builds a real plane of immanence.

Every singularity is pure energy.

Hegel—dialectics, negativity, history

Deleuze—philosophy of nature, affirmation, becoming-woman

Negri needed from Deleuze and Guattari an ontology of the spontaneous production of beings to transform Marxism.

Living singularities will always exceed the structures of domination.

From Deleuze issues a biopolitics creative of subjectivities, biopolitics as a constituting power and one not simply constitutive or given power in a given set of power relations.

Spinoza engages first philosophy of ontology, materialist immanence: “matter that produces is expression.”

From an ontology of absolute immanence is it possible to derive a politics?

There is no purely theoretical level which must be translated into action—theory and action enter a zone of indistinction where politics equals ontology.

It is in the ideal hegemony of the “inside,” of ontological interiority, that the political is determined.”

Absolute ontological: the ontological inside—the plane of immanence equals an ontological inside.

What relation to singularities does the plane of immanence have? What relation to subjectivities?

Communism is to subjectivities what the plane of immanence is to singularities.

Communism—space for free and autonomous development of singularities: the part is not subordinated to the whole, but a plane of immanence and singularities; work becomes creative process.

Jean-Sébastien Laberge states his theme as a dissensual meta-modelling of ecosophical democracy.

The metamodel is an external apparatus of synthesis.

A few months after joining the Greens, in 1985, Guattari first uses the term dissensus.

Guattari took the Greens in the direction of Rainbow Network, which was an experiment in creative dissensus, agreement in respect of difference—in which dissent is not denied.

With a network of 5,000 each individual or collective cannot claim to the exclusive representation of its membership.

This way of working reverses theme and variations. It starts from variations.

It works in parallel with the priority of the social over the political. It is a movement in social world (not necessarily first a political movement, and not one imposed on or to be imposed on a social world).

Ecosophical democracy is fabulating, not the acceptance of difference but fully assuming it.

Guattari died in August 1992.

Before questions commence, Antonio Catalano leaps to his feet to profess to his shame at speaking before the great Anne Sauvagnargues–in French–had he known, he would not have dared, which Jean-Sébastien Laberge responds to in an equal torrent of French, while Anne makes a little joke, almost concurring with the first speaker, then explaining she is only joking.

In the questions, which again followed after all three presentations, Anne criticised Martin for the use of suprasensible, which, it seems, she heard as super-sensible, therefore in ethical breach of her polemical insistence on immanence without transcendence.

Martin replied that the suprasensible maintains contact with immanence.

Laberge remarks on dissensus that it is used by Guattari and then becomes common in Negri (and also in other Italian political philosophers, like Esposito).

The issue is: new ways to put different points of view together in the social.

It must have been yesterday, in the coffeebreak, that Wren Nishina, or Nishina Wren-san, who was the interpreter for the artists exhibiting at Chiyoda Arts Centre as well as for Uno Kuniichi-sensei, was wearing his dovegrey pleated shirt, and I said to him, Ah, Issey Miyake’s Pleats Please.

Yes, it was the Saturday, because Wren said to me, I thought, since I was presenting, I ought to make an effort. His paper had been “Spatiality according to Deleuze and Shinobu Orikuchi”—taking up on the idea they share of the frontier or boundary not being a ‘geometric fiction sandwiched between two blocs of land’ but a ‘world,’ or—if one were to co-opt computer speak—a partition, that is an horizon on which a world dataset takes place.

It really was a beautiful shirt. Wren is an MA student at Tohuku University. His English-speaking voice is Oxonian. He said, You are a Japanese expert.

No, an amateur.

You seem to know more about Japanese culture than anyone else here.

This impression must have come from simply knowing a little of Uno Kuniichi’s background with Butoh, and Hijikata.

…and then he said something even more flattering, after I’d said I was a late doctorate currently looking for a position—and that if he knew of where I might be welcomed, I would willingly go there. He said, You have such amazing curiosity. If only we all had such curiosity.

What the cure is for that, as Dorothy Parker wrote, noone knows.

Joff Bradley presents the final keynote, in the woody hall, with the technical problems, and the little chairs, that, when Kenneth arrived, he called built for midgets. He had a chair brought into the hall from the foyer, and positioned himself in the aisle.

Joff Bradley’s presentation is called “On deadly spirals of ipseity.” I had gained no real insight into Joff’s area of interest, despite his having convened the session at which I presented, despite having had, albeit cursory, encounters with him, through R.’s intercession, her introduction.

If Chiba Masaya-san had been, as I wrote, the first revelation of the Deleuze|Guattari Camp, with his disconnective Deleuze, Joff was a, if not the, revelation of the conference, his contribution entirely unexpected—in its suggestiveness.

Wilhelm Reich is the figure who presides over the presentation: Nick Land’s dark Deleuze is invoked, as is Masaya Chiba’s disconnective Deleuze. A negative Deleuze, an affirmative Deleuze, but what about a joyful Deleuze? A Reichian orgasmic Deleuze—and Guattari.

He cites a discussion between Žižek and Schutzer—Deleuze and pleasure.

He is dealing with the avoidance of stating the real importance of that crackpot Reich to both Deleuze and Guattari—all through Anti-Oedipus, which even quotes some of his fruitier, whackier theories, commentaries. … “the embarrassment with Deleuze and Guattari for celebrating the anti-fascism of Reich.”

But Reich was Freud’s favourite disciple.

What Joff’s real theme is is the hikikomori—the locked-in-the-parental-home of those too, in fact, embarrassed by themselves. The socially withdrawn.

Of the hikikomori Reich would say it is the worm in man.

But Joff makes the alignment of hikikomori with autism—withdrawn-ness, isolation—not depression, which to me is in this relation to autism.

The (biological) tapeworm spreads cancer—is active in spreading cancer around the body.

Rudolf Steiner might be a blue (as opposed to a red) kind of fascism. (This is a reference to a session in the conference called “Red and Black Deleuze: Planetary Communism and Open Marxism,” which was a panel discussion, taking place at the same time as the session I was attending on Bergson, Space-Time, Deleuze, with Craig Lundy, yesterday.)

With the worm in man the organism can be dammed up petrified and cannot pulse. Reich says fascism of the worm in the life force that does not wiggle but goosestep.

There is a double capture of worm and hikikomori.

Reich holds that orgone energy kills cancer. Resignation shrinks.

Joff speaks to the death in life of the hikikomori: the orgasm frees energy, for Reich.

Reich’s guide to a joyful life is to have as many orgasms as possible.

So as not to be Nietzsche’s lonesomest one.

The lonely withdrawing ones, says Nietzsche—from this comes the possibility of the Overman.

(Once again, it is worthwhile comparing this with Simondon holding up Zarathustra as epitome of transindividual—withdrawing from the crowd, being left to bury the friend, the dwarf, the highwire artist, returning to the cave, and transindividuation.)

The serpent hanging out of the mouth of Zarathustra is none other than the Reichian worm in man.

Armoury is, for Reich, in this contactlessness and affective blockage; an autophagy—in connection with the little machines supposed to provide contact in the hikikomori’s room, or those Reich is left with, in the end, his orgone machines, autophagy belongs to the body without organs: it turns cancerous.

The Id in Reich communicates cosmic orgone energy.

But then in armoured seclusion, waves of desire—undulations of the worm—freeze into segments.

Ipseity is the singularity of the self.

The hikikomori nestles down deeper into the self—in deadly spirals of ipseity.

The face does not open the self to the other, opening to the self—as in Levinas. (Joff states his singular move, not just in this presentation, but in a pragmatics, is not to make recourse to Levinas.) Ipseity is hostage to itself.

Spirals of ipseity occur in detached auto-immunity of the self.

The sovereignty of the self turns to itself—possibly through micromachines—or—spirals into itself.

It concerns the centrifugal rings as the worm recedes into itself. It becomes a malignant subjectivity.

Lingis is the source for the title of the presentation, his phrase “engendering spirals of ipseity,” which describes orgasm. So, here, for Joff, these become deadly.

It concerns, says Joff, not the fascism of the rhizomatic potato but that of the couch potato.

Ryu Murakami, a very different writer from Haruki, (one I have been reading as soon as English translations become available) writes after Fukushima—which Joff states as decisive, a threshold for the increase in the numbers of hikikomori—of the “movement of sorrow of the past to the loneliness of the present.”

– Murakami Ryu’s The Symbiotic Worm

For Stiegler, there has to be a pharmacological coexistence with the worm in man. (Joff does not reject the use of pharmaceuticals—neither, in fact, did Guattari.)

No one can withdraw from withdrawal – spit out the black serpent – the worm in man – “we are all hikikomori.”

As I write this out, back in New Zealand, it resonates with me more; at the time I took as a gesture. I took it to be gestural, and to theatricalise the moment Joff was intending to mark. But now it has something of Coleman’s hopelessness of humanity’s current algorithmic becoming—and of course it has to do with isolation, which is that of the individual who, forced to watch, withdraws, who cannot withdraw from her withdrawal, or who deadens himself.

This enervation is not the same as the numbing to mediated atrocity we are said to suffer as a result of our saturation with images of violence and abjection. No, it is much more personal and has to do with personal shame, libidinal or perhaps orgasmic shame—with which, in adolescents, Joff will identify it.

So perhaps it were better said than forced to watch, watched—forced to be watched—even to the self-consciousness of knowing she is and the autoveillance as an amplification—in a deadly spiral of ipseity—of his being watched: the little machines, who, in that lyric of Mercury Rev, have telephones for eyes.

Ryu Murakami says that Japanese youth may be a new possibility of the human.

I think, Why the interest in the strange pleasures of failure? Is it that fascination Izidor Barši spoke about in his presentation of the intellectual—and by extension the intellect—with violence?

Why the stupid embrace of “vacuoles of noncommunication” (Deleuze’s phrase for what we need in societies of control—in the “postscript” with that title)?

Joff’s big Reichian joke came after his rhetorical gesture: “we are all hikikomori.” He was finished, made a movement to leave the lectern (behind him some of the slides I snapped above), and applause burst out.

But then he returned—held his arms up to quell the applause, saying, “Sorry! Sorry! I finished too soon!”

And he went on:

Where there is processual schizophrenia in schizoanalysis, in hikikomori the question is one of disarming the rings enveloping the body of the hikikomori—getting the worms to stream (in Reich’s term—here problematic considering the streaming media that is a relentless fact of life for hikikomori, as Joff acknowledges).

Narcissism, self-hatred, orgasm-anxiety, forms the basis of the general hatred of life.

Nonfascism, there produced in Anti-Oedipus by processual schizophrenia of schizoanalysis, here is in Nick Land’s cry:



Anne asks about the social production of autism. Are they (hikikomori) too connected? Or too unconnected?

I am thinking about Josh Cohen’s book Not Working: Why We Have to Stop. His word for the propensity that is innate in humans to stop, to give up, withdraw, lie down, is ataraxia. Cohen gives four case studies for the four types of the ataraxic: for the burnout, Andy Warhol; for the slob, Orson Welles; for the recluse, Emily Dickinson; for the slacker, David Foster Wallace. Note that all four suffer from hyperproductivity at the same time—effecting a remarkable dynamic between creativity and enervation, or the sort of exhaustion which precedes and doesn’t follow from productivity, between work and stopping.

Danilo asks: how does gender apply?

Joff answers there are more male hikikomori.

Danilo asks around the notion of armoury, coined in the sense it is used by Joff, by Theweleit in writing about character-armour against the flood of women and Jews.

There is a question also about the outbursts of deadly violence from otherwise reclusive and alienated hikikomori types: Joff makes the brilliant point that this a question of the drives and not of desire—it is not because, as Stiegler puts it, of a crisis in desire, but is a deadly expression of the drives, the Triebe—sometimes translated as instincts. Desire does not find its destination and the drives now burst out.

Joff gives the numbers of hikikomori as around 1.2 million in Japan. Asked how these figures can be stated, he answers that they come from diagnosed cases, since, often, concerned parents will take their hikikomori children to doctors—for advice and for treatment.

Hikikomori is not limited to Japan: in the US and the UK numbers of such cases appear to be on the rise.

Perhaps it is when answering Danilo’s question, Joff becomes overcome with emotion and says, I am just sick of losing students. One month they are in your class. Then they just disappear.

He also talks about using Pokemon Go in a research project to get hikikomori outside, about which he wrote a very long paper. His conclusion, he says, was not very hopeful: he doesn’t hold out a lot of hope for this type of approach.

Koichiro makes the final address. He says that he has been restrained by his official role from making any kind personal statement, but that now he would like to take this opportunity to make a personal statement: a slide comes up—my book is coming out soon, published by Edinburgh Press, and I would like you all to buy a copy. Buy one for friends too.

He invites a representative from the next Deleuze/Studies Asia Conference to come forward: it will be held in Nanjing. She begins, as Koichiro did, days ago, that Ian Buchanan approached her and said that there should be a Deleuze/Guattari Conference Asia, this time, in China.

I try to find Dan W. Smith to say buy and share my contact details. He must have left. I find Greg Flaxman. He says it’s been great meeting and that all my questions were right on point. I invite him to come to New Zealand. He says he has no doubt our paths will cross some time in the future.

I say goodbye to Al Lingis. It’s been great meeting—I am hopeful of seeing him again—perhaps next month, when he is visiting Christchurch for a conference?

This didn’t happen sadly, the event in Christchurch having already taken place at the time of writing.

My final notes, before leaving on the direct return route to Akasaka and Hotel Felice, concern my own project:

…the joints of opponents as Ronaldo dodges or tackles them… …the letters and articulations of the words and sentences I now write… are so many subjective events, determining the field of a subtractive sensible interest.

In other words, the system of objects on the outside becomes determinate only in actual (becoming) the spontaneous perception of consciousness.

Neither is it determinate in the pattern lying in wait to be found, nor is it animated—in the strongest sense of inspirited, of the simulacrum brought to life, to lifelikeness, by the sculptor: it is rather the thought in action, that is consciousness.

That night, J. and I go out to Tokyo Station to find Ramen Street. It turns out this is underground. We join the queue, and when we reach the machine, we punch in our choices, going by the photos, for our ramen and our drinks, pay entering the coins and notes, and receive tickets which we take to our table, in the middle of a crowded ramen bar.

on tour
point to point

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22 June 2019: Akasaka – Komaba Campus Tokyo University #tokyodeleuze day 2 Deleuze|Guattari Studies Conference

I had come the wrong way in the morning so I had no choice but to go the wrong way at night.

I left Komaba Campus by the main gate, the one close to the local line, if I had been, as if I had been, intending to catch it—to Shibuya, transferring there … But I wasn’t and didn’t. I followed its route, however, towards the southerly end of Yoyogi Park. Once again, like the time I left National Noh Theatre, I was caught in the spatiotemporal vortex that surrounds Harujuku. Because I could not cross back over the line, I was channeled into central Shibuya, to the very same streets I had traversed on my first day of taking the route, having all day to do so, from the little ryokhan where I’d spent my first night, to Yoyogi Memorial Youth Olympic Hostel. I descended the same hill. It was dark this time but lit up for the thousands thronging the streets. A black guy leading an American tour party shouted at me as he passed in the opposite direction, Hey! Watch where you’re going! I came to the crossroads, famous, at Shibuya Station. It was more crowded at night than during the day—the crowds out looking for nightlife, and so becoming it. This time I took a left up a more northerly directed avenue and soon the crowds thinned out, whether a good or bad sign, I had no idea. There were only busstops, no metro lines—a bad sign.

I persevered. I came to a Yoyogi Sports Arena. Now there was noone on the streets. I found I had, since leaving Shibuya Station Square, climbed a hill. I took a left at the arena. A few commuters passed, some visitors—ones who knew where they were going. I knew the right to take me back to Harujuku, at least, not more.

I went down the hill, the hill I had no memory of either climbing or descending. I reached a crossroads by what appeared to be parklands, with pruned pines, a stone retaining wall. This was finally the vicinity. Perhaps 15 minutes later I reached Yoyogi-Koen Station. I took the Chiyoda line to Akasaka, Hotel Felice, J., happy home.

That night, last night, we made a new plan: take the No.2 exit from Yoyogi-Koen. Start on Enokachira-dori Av. Turn right out of the station. It’s a big street. Turn right again. This is Inokashira-dori Av. Be prepared for the absence of streetsigns and signposts. Turn left onto Yamate-dori—you achieve this feat by taking the first on left under a pedestrian overbridge, it veers away from the big street at an acute angle—not a right angle!

As it happens, and it was so far clear, this route took me back over another hill, one I had climbed the night before last, and recognised. An embassy area on the left of this narrow residential road was guarded at every egress by police. I reach Yamate-dori. The chimneys appear, for the underground. Here it is, right, into the back entrance of Komaba Campus, past the familiar vege plot, under the trees with crow warning signs. The weedfilled plots on closer inspection are planted with a variety of grasses—an ecosystem of grasses. Today, all day, we are in Komcee West.

Morning snacks are laid out on the third floor—the numbering starts with 1 at groundlevel. I am early. It has taken me barely 20 minutes, including the metro. I take a marmalade bun, square, like a brioche, but chewy, and a coffee.

I find my spot for Session 13, chosen because Izidor Bařsi, who had whiskey our first night at Yoyogi Hostel, is presenting. He has been writing this paper while here, beginning at the Camp, finding it gave him no time, having to skip some events—that and the night drinking and the jetlag…

Violence is the title for the session.

William Hebblewhite begins in rhythmic prose. He speaks on the unpresentability of violence—on that curious phenomenon in which, when shown the before shot, in sequence with the after, an audience will attest to having seen the gruesome act of a nail being driven through someone’s ankle and recall the blood, the blunt impact, the piercing of the skin, and so on, which they did not see and were not shown.

Violence occurs in the cut: an example Deleuze uses—the face of horror in Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin produces a world in which the unseen violence has occurred, is, in fact, occurring, is always with us.

Rancière’s framework of representation enters the paper being delivered. This, I feel, is a backwards move.

Violence is an impropriety. But then what is the relation between horror and the violence of the state?

State violence is a violence that seeks to mediate what is presentable and what is therefore conceivable. (Does this entail that it may exclude and occlude its own violence?) “The ends melt away and the means become substance.” The state determines the thinkable. The power of representation is taken on as the right to represent. This appropriation of violence—aesthetic violence—constitutes, for Deleuze and Guattari the state’s violence.

The war machine is outside—outsides—as the violence there where the state does not allow its perceivability or thinkability. It is a contrary, “what else could be possible,” and competes with an interior logic of the state.

The state here is constrained to, limited, constraining and limiting an interior against the horrific outside of frame of the war machine, having been deemed by the state unrepresentable. The state is not here productive—as it is in Foucault and in Deleuze and Guattari.

Anubha Sinha’s presentation emphasises the singularisation of fear—gives that it is studied and represented through the individual, through the individual’s fear. It is in the anticipation of being subjected to violence, either physical or verbal.

What about the group? What about collective anticipation of either verbal or physical violence? What about the fear of the group?

“Fear is anticipatory … in view of a threatening future.” It is fear of humiliation, of being cornered—is it then there affect? free-floating and impersonal? Doesn’t this disembody it?

Sinha has been working with a central Indian village, where she is ’embedded,’ that is, living, working, practicing theory. Her engagement is with domestic violence. She asks how alcohol can be causative with regard to violence.

Her subject is a low-income agricultural village where the inhabitants must work long hours. They drink for recreation, the local brew, mahoua (?).

Bulima (?) is vulnerable for not having given the family where she is living—her husband’s family, of which he is the eldest son—children.

… the body was resisting the environment of the terrified woman undergoing abuse and anticipating violence in the present … she makes her way along the wall staring at her feet, but she cannot walk.

Women’s small talk, gossip and bitching are “horizons of becoming” for Deleuze and Guattari, taking molar events down to the micro level, sharing them over a multiplicity, involving a group subject in a becoming-woman, deterritorialising it from molar gender.

Friendship—telling stories as skin, in kin, kinship—a contact with blood and tradition—to heal a wound.

Izidor Barši, presenting next, cites Balibar’s view of intellectuals’ fascination with violence.

Stupidity – communication – goodwill – agreement: enemies of violence. The thought of violence is related to the violence of thought.

Gewalt—a word encompassing power and force and violence.

Cruelty is a residuum of violence, its “inconvertible remainder,” in the dialectic of power Balibar calls “cruelty.” It is pre-Oedipal.

Benjamin’s “Zur Kritik der Gewalt” makes “violence crowned by fate” the “origin of law.”

Desiring formations are social formations, that are based in production.

Voice-sign-eye: theatre of cruelty and Nietzsche’s genealogy are “blows” that “ward off the state … which relies on an accumulation of blows which it can turn into capital.”

In the primitive economy blow is exchanged for blow—the final blow begins a new series, a new exchange, putting off indefinitely the absolutely final blow.

The Urstaat begins with the final blow.

What is produced in modern man at this stage is latency.

“Where has the violence gone?”

Anti-Oedipus, written in the context of the Vietnam War, describes the orgasms from having tortured so well of the “bloody good boys” and “bloody good killers.”

The well-behaved good boy who kills and rapes is the working of cynicism as a desiring formation of violence. The good boy’s killing is under sanction of the state.

“Society becomes a battlefield but a battlefield in which one has to smile.”

Foucault therefore in his foreword calls Anti-Oedipus a book in which we can confront the fascism in all of us.

Izidor: I would say it is a book in which we can confront the violence in all of us.

A question—now that the three presentations are complete—concerns the role of the death drive in violence.

The problem is that it seems too easy to let Deleuze and Guattari get away with a violence that is not one.

Anne Sauvagnargues delivers her keynote in the hall underground, a beautiful woody space: Semiotechnics: On Political Ecology. Deleuze and Guattari’s Theory of Encounter.

In view of encounter, it is worth noting that in these posts I limit myself to the use of the last name to refer to those whom I did not individually encounter. (Hence: Anne—although I merely got to say to her that I loved her book Art Machines, encountering her on her way to deliver this keynote, I think, which she said was like a shot of coffee or as good as one. But, also, hence: Buchanan, Coleman, Sinha—whom I didn’t individually encounter.)

Anne: My main point will be to move from a symbolic reading of culture, to a metabolic one.

The sign is always given in relationship with the body.

Sign and sense poses the question of the body and intelligibility, related with the problem of immanence.

It is hard to overestimate Spinoza as a conceptual persona in Deleuze’s work.

On what level is immanence achieved?

Spinoza objects to meaning in transcendence, where signs are severed from what they expose, which is affect-body relations.

To change the economy of signs we’re caught in—this defines a politics, of going beyond affectology.

How is it possible to say as Deleuze claims in Expressionism and Spinoza—his 1967 complementary thesis—there are no signs only expressions?

Cut: two positions—signs / expression; interpretation / experimentation.

Deleuze in Expressionism struggles with equivocity. The book takes a precise problem as its field.

This is a political project.

It engages a theory of meaning, ideational meaning and body of signs, without it being a co-production of spiritual substance. (That is how to think signs and bodies non-equivocally.)

Spinoza does not have a correspondence between noetic content and the body of the sign.

Eminence, equivocity, analogy are objects of struggle for Spinoza. In order to maintain God in his eminent position you require equivocity, and analogy.

You need a separate and dominant interior—a place of eminent origin, obscure, requiring help in its understanding, in understanding God’s meaning, from priests, experts, interpreters, exegetes.

The primacy of God’s sense requires the incapacity to reduce meaning to literalness. (If its sense were given there in the saying, not only would the whole interpretative power apparatus not be necessary, but this sense would not be over and above; it would not be transcendent.)

Eminence and equivocity are entailed in a system of analogy.

The system of analogy implies eminence and equivocity.

God does not reveal himself equivocally in the Bible. But that the Bible is a social and political understanding of God, this is Spinoza’s treatise, The Political-Theological Treatise.

The social-political understanding is one of transcendence sustaining the sociology of experts, priests.

Spinoza confronts the domain of the sign—always ambiguous—from the domain of expression—which is always univocal. This is his struggle with equivocity.

We have to choose between immanence as a political front that is pragmatically consistent (that is, consistent with a pragmatic context to which it is not transcendent, about which it is neither in a relation of equivocity or analogy) in which victory is not so important as the struggle.

Or—immanence (remains) an abstraction for metaphysicians. (Here there can perhaps be victory, and consensus.)

There are two figures of immanence: transcendent abstraction and practical social-political struggle.

Spinoza’s expressionist semiotics produce a rupture with regard to allegorical substitution.

Spinoza cannot conduct this struggle without

natural signs—indices, indexes

moral instituted signs—those of society

– the revelation of supernatural signs.

These three types of signs are taken up in Spinoza’s struggle.

The natural sign is of perception: a horseshoe in the mind of a soldier, is in the mud, in the mind of a blacksmith, is in the fire, on the anvil, under the hammer.

The institutional sign is of language or discourse: homo is the Latin word for man.

In the sign of revelation, however: God is a fire. Spinoza says, no, but for Moses he is a fire. There is no transcendent relationship: “Neither memory nor imagination have resemblance to their object.”

A horseshoe for a soldier in the mud equates with war; for a peasant it equates with work in the fields. The relationship is bodily and affective.

This 1967 book of Deleuze maekes it almost impossible to make sense of God’s movement from expression to signification. While A Thousand Plateaus is a sociopolitical treatise.

The status of law in the 1967 book: “It is when we believe when understanding is to stand under the Word of God.” It is a figure of social domination.

There is a critique of social domination through signs, in a dispositif where the Sign requires interpreters to relay true meaning.

But for Spinoza, signs shall be taken as exposing a real relationship. Not: What they claim they mean. But: What they do.

The split is political—signs and expressions. Sense is produced and not given. The morality of duty (to authority) is distinguished from the ethics of relationship, practice, in an ethology.

God expresses himself directly, says Spinoza.

Ontology means you can judge. So it remains tied to dualism:

– active / passive

– transformation / obedience

– relationship / transcendence

We have therefore to move from a symbolic to a metabolic understanding of signs.

Signs are indicators of our real relationships.

Signs have to be taken at the level of their real domination—at the affective level—to be metabolic, affecting bodies, and the affects of bodies.

Signs—as affective encounters and not as given signification.

There is a question to Anne from Koichiro-san—where perhaps I have been hearing all along “signs” he has been hearing “science.” But who is mishearing?

Soul is the situation of the body. Anne cites Experience and Eternity, written in the 1990s on Spinoza.

There are three genres de connaissance …

I lose the thread. Common notion is entailed, which has a body-like relationship in community of real shared experience.

Extension and thought—the substantial and semiotic—are univocal.

For Spinoza, the more relationship, the more joy; the less relationship—all the way to immanence—the more sadness.

It is lunch, chicken katsu bentos. I sit with Al and Izidor and a young Chinese American. We talk about how the planes were already in the air when Trump called them back.

The next session calls itself a panel: “The Perception of Space-Time in Deleuze and Bergson.”

It starts with Craig Lundy speaking on Deleuze’s Bergsonism and leads on to his essay dealing with the Other-structure (in French Other is here Autrui and not to be confused with other, as in big or little other—for example, woman as other.)

A world with others produces a “complete margin” or field of potentialities and virtualities; or, a virtual image, in Bergsonism.

Matter and Memory: through the projection of the image around the bend we are given sufficient reason of the thing. (That is, although we might not see around the curve of the bend, others, we assume, can, so we are given—under the assumption of others—the thing in dimensions we may not see.) The curve extends beyond the “meat” of the thing.

The other is a structure without which the field could not function.

The Other-structure stands in contrast with the concrete-other.

The Other-structure conditions the whole field rendering perception possible.

The virtual whole provides the transcendental conditions for real experience.

The structure of the ‘possible’ is not the possible of what exists: “The time without the other is only in the past.” The category of the possible is the past. It provides me with the face of the fear I do not yet feel: it is in the past, the past of my future.

The past is ontological, not psychological.

The second effect of the other concerns time.

Without others we are without past to our futures. We come to lose the very structure of reality.

In Tournier’s novel, Robinson and the island become one. “Everywhere I am not, total darkness reigns.”

An eternal present and total surface—the former belongs to time, the latter to space: necessity replaces possibility in a world without others.

For Bergson,humans are unique for being able to follow the curve around the bend.

“In humanity, the actual becomes adequate to the virtual.” – Deleuze

Indetermination: a world without others takes away the possibilities and virtualities of the Other-structure—the a priori structuring of the perceptual field. (I ask a question regarding this point at the end, because it seems to reduce the Other-structure to organising the perceptual field along instrumental lines, that is, along the lines of Heidegger’s instrumental field. Lundy responds that the perceptual field of the Other-structure and the Heideggerian instrumental field are one and the same.)

Bergson: Humanity has a superior zone of indetermination. (That is the virtual image, or complete margin.)

There is no perception not full of memories. (Others’ memories as well as one’s own—the past that is yet to come is my future; in this proposition can also be felt the meaning of matter being memory in its most contracted state—the matter that extends around the curve of the bend.)

There is a strange Spinozism in Robinson, Deleuze writes, because there is a complete zone of determinism, and a complete necessity, which is that of a world without others. Robinson is the island, Esperanza.

Is Mr Kurtz also a Robinson?

Kokubun Koichiro-san presents the following:

Depth – the part of the world I don’t see I posit as visible to others.

What is the relation between the Other-structure and Transindividual? Is there one? (I ask this question, I put it to Anne at the last, knowing her to be a Simondon scholar. She acknowledges I have asked it, but does not answer it.)

Those with autism lose the margins of the world, see without depth.

The world looks to them like a two-dimensional theatre set, having no depth. (Is this really an image either for a world without others? Or for autism? Or is either adequate to the other?)

People with autism have great difficulty finding others. (Because a degree of similarity has to exist for you to be my other as well as a degree of difference.)

For one with autism, each flower is perceived in the singular: she could not perceive the flowergarden.

These singularities invaded her. Maybe generality is something with which we defend ourselves. (I take up this formulation in my questioning at the end. It seems to belong to Hemingway’s iceberg theory: it leaves most of what it says unsaid.)

In a technical book, all of the terms are rigidly defined. But autistic people have difficulty with the vagueness of everyday language.

Autistic ones are said to lack imagination.

(Koichiro-san’s pronunciation makes perceptive field sound like prosthetic field.)

Mlle X cannot recognise her own face. She recalls her face as a faceless monster. This case is presented by Mitue Shimizu in negative terms—she cannot … she does not … But it is not that she cannot recognise a face but that she recognises singularities, uniquely posited at the level of the individual: this angle between nose and eye, this haecceity … Singularities are the only events (that are perceptible to her).

“She does not recognise singularities that precede individuality.” (Cf. Preindividual—potentialities and virtualities—of Simondon.)

What about the practice and process of autism mapped onto Simondon?

(…as one would talk of the practice and process of schizophrenia mapped out by Deleuze and Guattari in terms of a schizoanalytics…)

What I am interested in is rapprochement with Simondon.

Jae-Yin Kim returns to speak of Baumgarten, of a return to Baumgarten’s view of aesthetics.

Violence is distinguished between representational violence of war and violent encounters of thought. (This is useful in parsing the sense of Deleuze’s notion of there being an intrinsic link between thought and violence and trespass. Cf. Izidor Barša earlier in this post.)

Question time comes on.

For Leibniz, the subject is secondary to POV. (Is this so? … it would concern the monad, and be of interest to my work on the subjective encounter.)

Anne makes the terminological point parenthesised above: autrui is used in the human sphere, so Other-structure Englishes “structure pour autrui”—this is an enormously important point. Not only is this phrase not hyphenated, autrui is explicitly distinct from l’autre or autres.

De Ligny asked by his frustrated staff what they ought to do when the autistic children in their care ‘left the script’ of care, of what care ought to be about, which is a kind of control, informed them they could not intervene or constrain, but should draw maps of the behaviours and the movements, singularising them in diagrammes, choreographies, and so dealing with their frustration.

An equation is made between the likeness of the other and the changeability of the other.

The perceptual case of Ronaldo is adduced whereby sensors were attached to map what in the soccer field he was looking at when he was tackling or evading being tackled by another player. These found that he ‘saw’ joints, elbows, knees, ankles, hips, that is the points of articulation for their movements but not the other players themselves. This case deals nicely with idea of singularities of perception in the perceptual field.

I ask this question: What if we turn this image inside out?

Ronaldo is not making decisions based on his various singular loci of attention within the perceptual field. Rather these constitute subjective singularities, points of view, deciding for him: making sense for him. There are no general subjects, but such subjective events.

I also make the point about the perceptual field noted above, that it does not precede the points of view, whether of others, autrui, or of elbows or knees. It is not a field until intention is granted its place, as if that ought to be the case, in which instance it becomes an instrumental field.

It is better thought of, perhaps, as a multiplicity in movement, by its relationships making the maximum joy, and so constituting what is wrongly called a field in its singularity—that may rightly be called a soccer field, or a field of flowers.

The occupation with the single flower—this then is the relationship with which the moving multiplicity is engaged. And more than this, the single flower, in its singularity, that is in its internal difference, becomes the subject of that movement.

I refer to the writer who is autistic who has been translated into English—at least two of his books, whose name I do not recall (it is Naoki Higashida, translated by the novelist David Mitchell and his wife, K.A. Yoshida), the two books being The Reason I Jump and Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8. Koichiro-san seems to know who I mean. For this writer autism comes with a great deal of self-consciousness about the neuro-atypical nature of autistic perception—such that the field is experienced as a world with neuro-typical others but not a neuro-atypical world.

For Higashida Naoki, autism resembles more a locked-in scenario, where the subject’s apperception precedes its perception and the constitution of a perceptual field and does not because it is instrumentally incapable of constituting it—or of organising it. Rather there is a lucidity and highly developed subjective voice that suffers from no cognitive disorder, disability or impairment but a communicative one. A distance that is itself communicable, given the language tools, and itself constitutive of self-awareness, even without them, imposes itself between perception, the perceptual field, and the subject’s experience. The mismatch, the dissensus, is between inner experience and outer, regardless of self-experience. But what is important in light of Bergson and phenomenological as well as cognitive and neurocognitive theories of mind and memory is that this writer with autism can say that he not only cannot control his own body and bodily relations with the world, he can neither control his own mind, nor what it tells him to do or gives him to understand to do, as necessary to do, from a datum given in perception or without that stimulus of a distinct, singular perception—beyond the distinction between singular datum and complete margin of the world with others, that has here, erroneously, I believe, been identified with the perceptual field: he cannot lay claim to his mind as his own, know it as his own, neither can he, voluntarily, make associations based on memory. My feeling is that this complicates greatly the picture of autism we are being shown here. (Perhaps we are closer to Koichiro-san’s prosthetic field here, with a prosthetic subjectivity, and language and the tools of communication as features of an unreachable outside.)

A long break intervenes. Of course, I got only to dot in the points above and not to connect them in anything like a meaningful or even comprehensible pattern. But over coffee I meet James Dutton, from University of New South Wales, working out of the English department, and we are suprisingly in agreement about many of these points, as well as one developing in my head, from which my paper took its impetus, about the affirmation of the problem in Deleuze, and internal contradiction, in his works, or between them, as a secondary consideration, not even so important, paltry. What an unsuccessful encounter, I say to him, Not the slightest bit of dissensus!

He is presenting in the next series of sessions, unfortunately not in the one I am heading for, to support Ruth Irwin, one called “EcoEnviroPolitics.” James’s one’s called “Psychoanalysis, the Clinic, and Overwriting the Subject”—and I wish I’d gone.

Several things may be added out of order to the foregoing.

Firstly, the singularity must be defended from the singular just as much as the multiplicity must be defended from the multiple. The single flower in its singularity, in view of the multiple flowers in the field or flowergarden in their multiplicity, is not recognisable as a singularity, just as the field or garden full flowers does not form a multiplicity.

The flower or singular or unique feature of the face, of the autistic subject, is not a singularity, even one in regard to the generality of the concept we use, as Koichiro-san put it, to defend ourselves. However, if generality is the ground, then the singular detaches itself from that ground, overcoming the defenses of good proportion.

This is the second point. A single drop of water can seem to Higashida Naoki to be a tsunami, and is as threatening as one, as frightening. The difficulty this writer with autism has in making associations with memories is in finding good and not terrifying memories. It would seem this too is a question of proportion. Distortions in the perceived sense—of scale or importance, of what is remarkable, or what is terrifying—are played out in Alice in Wonderland. Tears form a lake. Alice grows to big for the house. The sense of the cards in Through the Looking-Glass has something of this in it as well: it has always worried me as too literal a fantasy, the cards animation, or the chessboard world; but this is clearly the point—it is literal.

The third thing to add would have to do with the tools of language referred to earlier, in relation to autism being less a cognitive than a communicative disability. Tools are meant in the pragmatic sense of the letter-board Higashida Naoki learnt to use to communicate and to write. By no means is a word, a grammar, a linguistic construction a tool. Proportion might be thought of in relation to autism in terms of the figurative and figuration. The figure bears a relation to other figures as well as to the background, from which it jumps forward, or is set off, or invades—overcoming the defenses of generality. This is the sense Kuniichi-sensei gave it in his presentation which I recorded several days ago when he said, The figure causes damage.

Autistic people we might assume have language but it is not necessarily any more in their grasp than their own memorial associations, their bodies, or their mental impulses. Language tools do not include those of language but are those enabling the communication of linguistic signs. Is there a technosemiotic element here?

The idea of schizophrenia being a practice or method, or both, concerns the rupture in the thinkable, a violence in encounter and trespass. But the idea of autism being a practice or method, and, as Koichiro-san has said, a particularly 21st century one, concerns an entirely different problematic, as different as Habermas—and the ideal transparent sphere of communication—and Sloterdijk—and the incontinent froth of cognitive bubbles, or as Habermas and Deleuze. Deleuze clearly has a part to play for his claims on disabling communication to allow a little fresh air to come in, into the vacuoles and foyers, but this air, this window opening a fraction, is in aid of the possibility of thinking, of making thought again possible, as Foucault puts it. Deleuze has clearly a part to play in affirming autistic practices but he does so also in affirming depressive practices—in exhaustion: and as I would contrive to relate the two, in the case of the latter, you cannot escape the self; in the case of the latter, you cannot return to the self—but then one would have to add: as to the self is conventionally ascribed a kind of expressive faculty in being able to communicate and represent itself. If representation and self-representation are attributes of the self, then the autistic one does not lack but finds this faculty impaired and has no facility with it. Again, the notion of representation goes to the givenness of the perceptual field, since it operates within representation and in so far as it is represented. So, might we say that autism is representationally impaired? And neither exhaust the subject nor defend ourselves through generalities.

There is some doubt, but David Toohey is present. He begins his presentation. He teaches in Japan, but the area he chooses to exemplify an eco-enviro-politic is in northern Mexico. (I have in these journal posts before now referred to the concept of indigenism from the first philosopher of Mexicanness, Emilio Uranga. I will have cause to revisit this concept of a kind of Rousseauean regard and nostalgia for an indigenous thought that did not exist many times throughout this session.)

Guattari says, What to do with “the archaic”? The radically new does not exclude it. And it survives in the traditional colonial—as, what shall we say?—a perceptual prosthetic.

The question worth asking is, What does the land want?

on those countries that no longer exist… like the old East Germany of Ostalgie or the whole so-called Eastern Bloc … or the precolonial lands of Indians, although they are not Indian, or of Maori, although they were not Maori…

Ruth Irwin begins her presentation with the gentle provocation that she perhaps unfashionably still works with Heidegger—but along with others, other thinkers and philosophers. In fact, she says, the other day, Simon said to me, Why are you wasting your time reading Heidegger?

I could either disappear through the floor or nod in stupid agreement. I nodded and grinned like an idiot.

Slides came up. Hone Tuwhare, the poet, as Hölderlin for Heidegger. What does this mean? Dame Whina Cooper’s picture came up, and then the lines Tuwhare wrote for her “move over, your tipuna walk beside you”—leading the hikoi—Bastion Point. Ruth remarks that she is an important activist.

Perhaps it was before this the slide for Heidegger came up, showing Heidegger, and Ruth said, This is Heidegger, and the room erupted in laughter.

Did I ever say to her she was wasting her time reading Heidegger? I think I said that her project, as she had outlined it, was deeply Deleuzian. But one should be cautious around the representation and its … dark precursor… which it seldom resembles, let alone represents.

Ruth repeated the diagramme on the whiteboard Anne had used at the Camp to show the cut between signified and signifier—the famous Saussurean diagramme. It had been used to show that below or inside the cut there is nothing, no interiority. However here it was to show the earth, the Heideggerian earth, as Ruth put it, thrusting up, and thrusting up, an upswelling she depicted on the whiteboard with a phallic shape that I show in the snaps above—perhaps it is unclear. But it was no less grotesque in its real depiction than it is in its, here, written one: Heidegger, thrusting up.

Elin Kanhov followed this display with a presentation on John Luther Adams’s—not to be confused with the minimalist, then neoromantic composer, John Adams—work “Inuskuit.”

These lines came to me from Rilke, in reaction, it seemed to the previous presentation: O sage Dichter was Du tuest,… Ich rühme Ich rühme Ich rühme.

Elin is from Stockholm. I’d talked with her about the Baltic, the slow movement of the earth rising, the solidity, and the documentary Into Eternity.

She played excerpts from John Luther Adams, saying, “It’s the only recording we’ve got so we’ve got to go with it.”

Hierarchical structure of the composition, resembling a cairn. “In nature as in music we find totally heterogeneous durations.” She referred to the essay Deleuze wrote from Boulez’s notion of pulsed and nonpulsed time. I realised I’d got it wrong in my paper, in a note to my paper, that talked of counted time, when of course it is pulsed and nonpulsed time. It is a distinction which recalls Stravinsky’s ideas, about rhythmic invention.

Alphonso Lingis delivered the final keynote presentation of the day on “The Work of Reconciliation.” I have included snaps of his slides.

Since World War II 103 countries have experienced civil war.

Nomadic war machines outside the state, coexistent with the state, transnational mining and industrial corporations, religions, Christianity, Islam, prophetic movements, there are still many collectives outside the state firing and re-firing civil wars.

Speaking organises, orders, directs and commands.

Deleuze and Guattari emphasise that the mounting emotions should be studied leading to war. So should those emotions leading to peace, in the undoing of civil wars.

After the Cold War stability was chosen over uncertainty.

For Deleuze and Guattari social change is driven by the production of desire.

Deleuze and Guattari would have reservations about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report being about truth. Rather, they would say, there are different ways of mapping, allowing lines of flight.

Throughout Al’s presentation there is the embarrassment of the tech: the soundtrack he has requested be kept at levels under his voice on mic keeps overtaking it; in front of me, there was a young woman who had been put in charge of jockeying the levels. For some reason, she simply left, then Koichiro-san took over—and some parlaying back and forth from the wings took place. The levels are displayed on an ipad app, like a graphic equaliser. From where I sat, I could see it was a matter of guesswork as to where the levels sat. At times, the flute and or voices overtakes Al’s voice entirely, at others it is inaudible. Noone gets it right.

Al mentions the retraumatisation caused by truth and reconciliation processes.

After WWII, there were war crimes tribunals in both Nuremberg and Tokyo.

In 1998 a permanent international court was set up. It tries perpetrators from small and weak countries. Individual perpetrators are tried, creating a distorted perception. It is artificial to try only top commanders. Only the top 24 Nazis were tried, the 5 top, in Cambodia. Nothing is done to restore the legal and civic dignity of the victims. Respect for judicial process is impugned by its unequal application—torturers go free and thieves are charged. Fundamental inequalities are not addressed in processes of restorative justice.

133000 Rwandans were imprisoned for genocide.

Reconciliation that prevents return to civil war is the most important political task of our time.

Anne comments in the time allocated for questions that while it may be fine in the US to say civil war in Europe it’s much harder to say.

The question comes: is reconciliation possible?

Al: with structural imbalances and injustices in economic and political terms, individuals are tried, not systems or structures.

Does reconciliation open up the opportunity for investment and capture by economic and political interests?

Those who engage in civil war, those nations that return to civil war, could be hurting themselves in the economic world order: this is the primary incentive at present for surcease.

Al cites the 52 year-old civil war in Colombia, the FARC.


luz es tiempo
on tour
point to point

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21 June 2019: Akasaka – Komaba Campus Tokyo University – first day of Deleuze/Guattari Studies in Asia 7th International Conference

Today is the first day of the conference. The camp ended. J. arrived. I moved from staying at Yoyogi Memorial Olympic Youth Hostel to Akasaka, land of many reasonably priced eatingplaces and the old red light district, and Hotel Felice.

I reckoned on taking the Chiyoda line, since it seemed the more direct route than changing the local line at Shibuya, and arriving, albeit directly, at Komaba Campus Tokyo University. Together we planned my walking route from Yoyogi-Koen to Komaba. On the right would be a Doutor coffeeshop. I would walk 50 metres. At the end of the road, I would turn left, and, after 145 metres, I would turn right. At the twolane expressway, after 85 metres, turn left, for 25 metres, then right. Another 145 metress—left onto Yamate-Dori Ave. 515 metres down the avenue. Right at Tokyo University. 20 metres, then left, back onto Yamate-Dori—are you kidding? After 70 metres, right: there it is, see? University of Tokyo, Komaba Campus.

I saw no Doutor coffeeshop. Leaving the station, I headed into Shibuya, grazing the side of the area I’d been in when first I arrived. This meant I knew to turn right. Straight, let’s say is South. Komaba, is West. Is it?

I asked at a Family Mart. There is always a Family Mart. The people who work there are very helpful and friendly. They never know where you are going or how to get there.

I headed west. Young people, couples, I asked one. They looked studenty. He knew the way. And gestured vaguely nor-west. I entered an interior of two-bedroom dwellings, a residential zone. These always have curving narrow streets. They rarely have streetsigns. One remembers Barthes’s Empire of Signs.

I reach a park. There is a well-dressed young businessman—in a thin dark suit—with a tablet, not even smoking, which would have been more usual. He is standing under a tree. Is he watching TV?

He has little English, but understands my pronunciation of Komaba and Tokyo University. He searches in the browser of the tablet, without any luck. He opens a new window. Perhaps it is Google Earth, because on the screen I see, thanks to him allowing me to, the earth. With two fingers splaying on the screen he zooms in: there is Japan. Zooming in closer, we both see Tokyo. We share the joke that we can’t find out where we are without visiting the planet as extraterrestrials might, from space—to Shoto Park, Shibuya. You might even expect to see us both under this tree, if we zoom in close enough. But of course, there are many steps to go.

There is Shibuya. Far to the left of the screen is greenery, the New Zealand embassy, strangely, and appearing now, below it, to the south, one might say, is Komaba Campus. It looks to be several hours walk away. I have half an hour. As for the route, it is perfectly incomprehensible. At most I can see to reach the tip of Shoto Park and to head off in this orientation. (What is orientation if its westward? Occidentation?)

I thank him doomo arigato! Soon I reach a wide expressway with tall chimneys from the median strip, providing ventilation for the underground. A fence along the road seems to be a construction site but behind it there are trees, and where it ends a lane leads to a metal gate held ajar like a turnstile to stop vehicular access and warning signs, from which I infer only those on legitimate business should enter. Behind the gate there are areas going to weed and wide concrete paths. A young woman approaches and I ask her if this is Komaba. She extracts her cordless earphones and looks surprised I know where I am.

I have a campus map and it shows the building I should find, Bldg 18. This back entrance leads past an athletic field and a baseball park. The grounds in general, around the modernist blocks, look like they are left to grow wants to grow; and there is a central pedestrian avenue lined with northern-hemisphere trees. They could be plane trees, and must turn in the autumn. There are cyclists but no throng of students.

Finding myself in the back in an unkempt area of wild grasses and weeds a block behind the avenue, I hear in the distance a HEY! And Over here! I can’t see anyone and turn completely around. In the distance a small figure in the shadow of an entrance waves its hands. I look around to see whether I am the intended recipient of this signaling. HEY! Rings out again. Seems like it.

The figure disappears indoors. I reach the entrance to building 18, so it must be. The distances collapse—like that I saw on the map in Shoto Park intervening between there and here—and soon I am in crowded foyer. Alphonso Lingis is standing in the middle of it talking to a dancer and theorist I recognise from the camp. I hang around, but am rather swept up in the registration process, receiving a bag branded with Deleuze and Guattari’s names in Japanese, and in it a reprint of the programme, another journal, white with silver graphics, matching a T-shirt, also white and silver.

We filter through into the hall where Koichiro-san will deliver Opening Remarks. Al Lingis has come into the hall. I approach and introduce myself and we end up sitting together, the Australian dancer theorist on his left. I say, You are surrounded by antipodeans.

Koichiro-san talks on the theme of the conference: war machine conflict coexistence.

In the name of the field in which we gather the most famous conflict is that over the Continental Analytic divide. But then there is also that of Deleuze and Guattari studies with the Derrideans: “I do not like to avert my eyes from these conflicts,” says Koichiro-san. (I almost wrote ‘bravely.’)

He notes during the recent Deleuze|Guattari Studies conference in Brazil the protests against Deleuzian studies.

Here we are, speaking in English about a very French philosopher, in Japan.

This itself speaks to the third theme coexistence—over representation exists a complete injunction.

Ian Buchanan’s opening address is entitled “Society of Control (Revisited)” and of course he trespasses on that injunction I have just name making representative application of the philosophy we are set here to discuss. Perhaps we were better to conclude this no conference but an inference?

Deleuze/Guattari Studies Asia began 7 years ago in Taiwan. I forget the context, but Buchanan quotes Twain—perhaps it is an orthographical association with Taiwan?—“I didn’t have time to write you a short letter so I wrote a long letter instead.”

“Many young people,” he says, “have a strange craving to be motivated.”

(In light of the storming of Hong Kong’s Legislative Chambers today, this is more or less ironic?)

Buchanan cites the book, The Tyranny of Metrics, then Deleuze: “We are in the middle of a general breakdown of sites of confinement.” That is the prisons, schools, houses of legislation and government, places—this is really an architectural theme—where disciplinarity is demonstrated and its authority is now being contested, or, rather deposed.

The theme of the talk is open capture—in the global algorithmic field of data. So Surveillance Capitalism is also cited—one of my ‘lolly-scramble’ of capitalisms in the appendix to the presentation I will give later today.

David Harvey: “The best way to get rich is to sell something you didn’t pay for.”

Frederic Jameson: culture can be sold like nature—to exploit culture in the way we exploited nature.

(This too may be more or less ironic given the deforestation of the Amazon, that proceeds today at the rate of one ‘football field’—the source is BBC—a minute, under Bolsanaro.)

Compared to Google the surveillance of the Stasi in now nonexistent East Germany, where one in five were reputed to be informers, is “child’s play.”

On average, every time you agree, ticking the ‘agree to terms and conditions’ box to gain access to some digital and online service, you are agreeing on average to 1000 contracts: you data is being shared with, on average, 1000 services-businesses, other than the one for which you are signing up.

I successfully recall the term agnotology: the willful, not to say strategic, production of ignorance—in the consumer population.

A change is noted from central out circulation of ‘news’ to point to point distribution.

“In the open air, fake news can be debated and exposed,” but not on Facebook, where you are the product.

What Deleuze is doing in talking about score-cards in the “Postscript on Control Society” is evoking the situation we have today, for example, in education, with outcomes and metrics designed to represent them, and autoveillance designed to self-assess one’s efficacy in securing, or producing, them: score-cards are the best way of turning education into a business.

Services are sold now; and the general field of activities bought.

Deleuze says, machines don’t explain anything by themselves.

Cybernetics connects, as Adam Curtis maintains, to Control Society.

In Anti-Oedipus, Deleuze and Guattari write that the flow of capital is always accompanied by an equal flow of stupidity.

In knowledge workers and service-information, or informatics, labour stupidity is axiomatised, meaning the self-authorising, the law-making, of axiomatics. (If the law don’t fit the rule, change it to make it, or make a new law.)

The media machine no longer needs us for it to function. (But doesn’t this already hold and isn’t this already entailed in cinema? And there theorised? Not to speak of the machines of the unconscious: they don’t need us, or what we call ‘us,’ to function.)

Facebook—here the new form of capitalism is being adduced—has approximately 4000 workers. But it makes USD500 billion.

This is because 2 billion people work for Facebook for free.

Our response? We should be looking for new weapons.

Question: how do we respond to the speed of modulation?

Buchanan: “We have lost the aesthetic capacity to respond to our times.”

This last well-rehearsed phrase warrants discussion. It does so not over the question Have we? Have we lost blahblahblah… There have been, and there will be more, too many grandstanding WE HAVE’s and WE ARE’s. As Greg and Anne pointed out earlier: this is exactly the eternal return of ontology, of the ontological: this is how we are now; I am justified in my observation for its timeliness—it is after all, after all, NOW we are talking about and now we are talking. Or, as I supposed, now about which we confer at this conference.

Does ‘conference’ always presuppose the inference of the now of the timeliness of our participation in discussion? … From which various diverse positions can be elaborated, before, in fact, they elaborate themselves in whatever consensus or dissensus is at stake.

The young man from the Philippines with the elaborate name, Elijah Joshua Benjamin D.F. Aban, was the most politically radical speaker—for which I admired him. We shared the next session, because the third presenter, Mikkel Astrup, didn’t show.

He read at breakneck speed volumethreeofCapitalisusedbyDeleuze&Guattari lack&desireaddressedinthatbook CapitaltheonlybookpublishedduringMarx’slifetime …

Revolution is still being conducted in the Philippines in the form of a protracted people’s war. It is mentioned in The Communist Necessity. Negri also cites Philippino radical movements.

I deliver my paper. (This is the link to the paper I presented.)

More—I deliver my presentation; and, strangely, although it is written, lineated, to fit as a reading within the 25 minute limit we would have if there were three presenters, it sits nicely in the allocated 35 or so.

Joff P.N. Bradley, one of the convener’s and running this session, asks the first question: Why this form? (You will see, if you follow the link, what he means.) Is it a collage?

It is written as a presentation, to be presented—and the time for these presentations is short. It is not a representation. It is not written to represent themes, ideas, concepts or illustrate them, with examples, but to present them.

Deleuze—and I have in mind his lack of good will, his being, as Joe Hughes has it, a surly interlocutor, a phrase I already used in my question to Jae a few days ago—is nonpropositional. He does not represent, or, in philosophical exposition, offer a one to one correspondence between terms and concepts: he is nonrepresentational. Multiplying voices presents another way in which his books do not represent, say, the views of their author—or of an author.

This idea is in Deleuze as indirect discourse. It takes the place here of any kind of literary criticism or interpretative approach or hermeneutics.

Rather than a collage, there were three themes I wanted to present. So there are three bins. I was tempted, upon hearing Kuniichi Uno’s presentation at the Camp, where he spoke about the figure, to rename them figures for the damage they do—a damage Deleuze ascribes to the movement of thought: fig. 1, fig. 2, and so on. But… As the writing progressed, relations among the themes developed in a reciprocal contagion, forging connections in mutual imbrication.

Why Cixin Liu’s Three-Body Problem? I am asked.

Because I like it, I say. …and because of its insolubility. The three-body problem is not, cannot be, solved in the novel. It is insoluble. The movement of three celestial bodies, three suns in this case, cannot be predicted.

In the novel the attempt is made in a virtual reality game, played by characters on earth. So it sets up a plane of the problematic—where the three themes can each consist in a nonpredetermined way.

There is a special poignancy about this, since, given the insolubility of the problem, earth is subsequently threatened by invasion, an invasion which it is unlikely humanity will survive. There is this movement from virtual reality to reality—from a game to the reality of the end of humans.

Also, I found echoes for neoliberal tactics—of autoveillance, of constant controls, reductive metrics, outcome-based, where price is the only organ of sense the thought collective offers to perceive the problem and in its determinations of the individual, social, the political, as well as the economic—in the depiction, at the beginning of the novel, of conditions at the height of the Cultural Revolution in China, 50 years ago. These echoes amount to a technology of the self—of selves—governed by technocracy and presided over, in China by the Party, and, for us today, by corpocracy. (I recalled that Elijah Joshua Benjamin D.F. Aban in his presentation used the name Mark Fisher, saying Rest in peace, Brother.)

Before I began I saw a figure I recognised from Stockholm, the Deleuze|Guattari Conference there: Dan W. Smith, the superb commentator and translator of Deleuze, currently working on his lectures. He approaches and says, That was really great.

If anyone was going to pull me up on points of contention, I thought it’s going to be you, I say.

Why would I? He says. It all worked together and was great.

Al Lingis attended this session, sitting next to Ruth Irwin, who liked it. Al is also all smiles. We have lunch together.

Al maintains a curiosity about people, asking each one he meets their name and what they do.

At lunch, he speaks of his birds, his aviaries, the two acres he has at home—and how Muhammad Ali used to look after rooftop pigeonhouses for dimes when a kid.

A boy he knew once went up there and killed the pigeons. Ali confronted him and, although he was bigger, took him on, and severely beat him. After this is when Ali began to train as a boxer: he knew he could not control his anger; and this was the only time, he said, he ever lost control.

Muhammad Ali kept and cared for pigeons all his life. He had several thousand pigeons.

Felicity Coleman is the next keynote speaker: “Becoming Algorithmic: Modalities of “collective interactivity” in the post-media era.”

Coleman maps the modal onto the physical where it engages an ethics. From the modal and modality I hear something of Spinoza, the mode being individual, or individuating—an individual, sufficiently individuated to interact in the post-media era.

Guattari’s notion of ‘post-media’ points forward to an algorithmic becoming of the world.

The relation of code to what it encrypts is entirely arbitrary. Guattari’s molecular revolution indicates a modal ethics, as both a future condition and a hope—for post-media.

Guattari starts to worry about International World Capitalism on the threshold of its integration through algorithms. He asks, How can the singularity of mediatic expression be recovered? When there is a paradox: it is mediatic, not singular. Yet it is necessary that it is at once mediatic and singular.

Modal logics belong to philosophical logics. Karen Barad is cited for the materialism that distinguishes matter from materialisation—that is how it comes to be and is used. Here are apparent epistemological and discursive interests: an interest in the users.

70.8 million people today are displaced—the highest number of displaced since WWII.

Coleman shows a slide of the refugee boat installed at this year’s Venice Biennale. 1000 people lost their lives on it. It had sunk and the artist salvaged it to be a monument to refugees.

Helen Storey’s work at the camp Za’atari is representative of algorithmic becoming.

Camp registration shows the number of people in the camp and their status. These are “Human Capital Data.”

Za’atari is about to achieve city status. Humans here are the assets.

The UN funds (what I note at the time under the acronyms GIS and ICT) the self-mapping of refugees for the sake of camp administrators and ‘stake-holders.’ This is a measurement of “axes of value” (Guattari).

In how the suffering mode (of “human data points”) is lived and played out, one must guard against all mechanistic automatic thought.

Coleman asks, What is the point of the human species?

What is the point of the human species—as it undergoes an algorithmic revolution that is equal to the industrial revolution.

This question consists in asking after the modes of life—of an algorithmic humanity.

“Becoming algorithmic” is “to be completely subsumed in the dataset.”

For Coleman, Guattari’s notion of minor is over. The minor is over.

The molecular revolution didn’t happen.

“I think desire has been completely obliterated in this global moment.”

Asked about AI, she respond, “I don’t think AI is what the media would have us believe it is.”

code is neutral (should this have a question mark?) – algorithm is not.

The minor is over, therefore a new scale of organisation of subjectivities is called for (Coleman makes clear she does not see this happening at the scale it would need to—to produce results).

Elijah Joshua Benjamin D.F. Aban asks, What can be done to recapture the potentialities for revolution, given that algorithm is in utero? (That is, the totalisation of the field of humanity as data assets or data points is not yet fully effected.) He invokes a “capitalist mindset” and it is unclear whether Coleman’s presentation is part of it.

“I can’t possibly answer that question because it’s 2019 and I’m a feminist,” she says.

She namechecks at the end Barad, Claire Colebrook, and another whose name I don’t get, whom she calls—although I might have misheard—an abolitionist. This is a thinker, or these are thinkers, whose belief is that the earth should be and presumably will be better off without humans. It’s not a nihilism. Then again presumably it is a feminism adequate to 2019.

I am reminded of The Three-Body Problem. Once it is established the Trisolarans are on their way to earth, there are those who work with the master species to hasten the demise of humanity.

Is a feminist thought adequate to 2019 one that works with the earth to abolish humanity? Of necessity?

I also think about Deleuze’s “open a window, to let in a little air.”

As I’m leaving the hall, I say to Elijah Joshua Benjamin D.F. Aban that I liked his presentation and that I thought he should be asking about possibility in the light of algorithmic becoming.

Torsten Jenkel is presenting in the next session—three are running concurrently.

Torsten’s work is on Macunaíma, a novel written in 1938 by Mario de Andrade. He is writing his PhD on it. On the way to the National Noh Theatre we talked about it. He is unnecessarily self-deprecating.

Mario de Andrade is also the author of the Anthropophagic Manifesto, in which we read: “Only cannibalism unites us! Socially Economically Philosophically.”

The specific cannibalism in question is that of the Tupi tribes, in Brazil. “Tupi or not tupi, that is the question,” he also writes.

Torsten’s presentation is a philological excavation of bibliographical sources.

He speaks of the St. Thomas legend—which is how the Portuguese on their arrival interpreted the legend of the indigenes about a white man who preached peace many years before their arrival. He left footprints in the rock and had a cross as his emblem.

Theodor Koch-Grünberg illustrates the telling of this tale by an indigene. In it the white man is well-dressed and placed above the indigenous informant, who is silent, semi-nude, and listens to the white man rather than telling his story. Koch-Grünberg’s written description completely belies this pictorial depiction. The indigenous informant is well-dressed, the white man listens.

I think of Cabeza de Vaca, his journey, how it mirrors that of this St. Thomas.

Torsten talks of the whitening policy—through intermarriage, an active policy to whiten the indigenous population through miscegenation.

In Macunaíma the capitalist is a mythological cannibal giant.

Torsten talks of Macunaíma as a schizo movement, a picaresque, its logic “not being logical” as Mario de Andrade says.

James Martell’s presentation deals with Beckett as diagnostician of these Trumpian clown-times.

Trump: “I know words. I have the best words.”

Beckett’s diagnosis gives us a war machine—“absolute mindlessness” as the ground of thinking or where thinking cannot quite be, yet be or any longer be—this definition of the virtual—distinguished from the ground, Schelling’s Ungrund. … “bottom of thought rises to the surface where an individuation cannot give it form.”

“Wreck it, like Beckett”—sing Scottish band Therapy.

… “the sound of the surface being broken”—Beckett.

Deleuze: Beckett’s l’épuissé—being the emblem of the exhaustion of possibilities. (But this is quite unlike Coleman’s absence of possibilities and foreclosure. Again the problem and therefore the distinction devolves on this (or that) being the case, on a grounding, as is the focus of Christian Kerslake’s book, Immanence and the Vertigo of Philosophy, taken from the title of an early series of lectures (1956?) delivered by Deleuze, “What is Grounding,” itself recalling of course Heidegger. That is this distinction between knowledge and being, or the problem of sense, as Deleuze puts it, after Hyppolite.)

Tingting Hui speaks on Lewis Carroll’s Alice. (What is it about Logic of Sense that has so captured attention at this time?)

Or, as Tingting puts it, “what is more serious, to eat or to speak a word?”

All three presentations deal with different kinds of mirrors:

– Torsten: the mirror of history or mythology that is literalised in history.

– James: mirror of Fallon and Trump; again something literal here in the repetitions of Trump, in portraits on the walls, and the interview of Trump in a dressing-room mirror by Fallon as Trump.

– Tingting: mirror of the looking-glass.

Logic of Sense comprises 34 series of paradoxes.

Question of oral regress, regression intrinsic to the mouth where what is said and the edible switch places, ingestion and expression.

Agamben et al. pair language and silence, and depth.

Louis Wolfson called himself a schizophrenic working in language—he feels as guilty after eating as after hearing his mother’s voice. He is unprepared for the division of interiority and exteriority.

Again, it is interesting to note that Wolfson, Carroll and Artaud all appear together in Logic of Sense, where literal language is that of surface and schizophrenic language is that of depth, speaking food, devouring words, by Artaud, leaving only skeletons.

The questions for this session, for each of the presenters, are taken together.

I am interested in the idea that it is the indigenous and mythological component of Macunaíma for Torsten that perverts its logic. There seems to be here an impulse that wants to ground the transgression of logic, the trans-sense, of indigenous mythology, as it is taken up in Macunaíma,in a kind of ‘indigenism’ diagnosed by Mexican philosopher Emilio Uranga as being a cultural nostalgia for an historically ‘more native’ understanding that never was, was never absolute, but could only appear relative to a later cultural formation.

Tropicalísmo by contrast works by way of the smallest difference, by calculating a cultural differential, a shift in rhythm, that is all the more disruptive (although this word has been cheapened).

Esposito might also read cannibalism into immunity? A morsel of the other is taken into oneself.

Macunaíma‘s transgressive force is the rupture of laughter? That is to say, its immanence?

Coffee. Then it’s all happening again: I choose the session with Dan Smith, not just because he said nice things about my presentation.

Janell Watson is with Kenneth Surin. Were they both then in Stockholm?

Michel Serres, reports Watson, attributes his work to the problem of violence: all his writing is about Hiroshima.

Were Deleuze and Guattari, as Badiou says, just a couple of desiring anarchists?

Is axiomatic commodification more cruel, as they say, in Anti-Oedipus, than acts of barbarism and savagery? Really? (I hear Watson’s singular intonation on that emphasis.)

There is a fathomless abyss between the flow of capital and wages and purchasing power. Capital increases exponentially, while money in the pocket is a trickle.

Capitalism is “no longer the age of cruelty or the age of terror but of cynicism, accompanied by a strange piety.” Piety spiritualises capital extraction of surplus value.

The state is always barbarism … capitalism requires reterritorialisation.

Jason Read—must be the same as the would-be translator of Simondon—writes on the capitalist split subject—split over: a cynical capitalist intention; with a pious state requiring the subject’s belief.

There are two pieties:

1) Obama—metropolitan globalist piety

2) Trump—ethno-majoritarian piety

Despotic residues haunt the capitalist state.

Deleuze and Guattari: “the state desire, the most fantastic machine for repressing is still desire.”

This fantastic desiring machine is Lacan’s objet petit a—a little machine driving all desire.

Tauel Harper works his Habermas virtuous communication bubble sociological positivist nice guy schtick. (All the good will Deleuze’s surly interlocution abjures, for all its affirmation.)

He sounds like High Performance through High Engagement—the course the PSA has foisted on council employees… that nods to Interest-based Problem-solving, only because it is a repackaged course bought some five years ago: all that Habermas virtuous communication bubble sociologically positivistic view of society schtick, that ended when Thatcher said “There is no such thing as society.”

Tauel Harper says, “Brexit is the biggest thumbing of the nose to international capitalism I have seen in my lifetime.” Trump with Brexit he coins as Truxit, not Trumpit or Brexump.

In his presentation I hear this word repeated “represent” again and again.

Dan Smith takes the desk, presenting.

Deleuze says explicitly, “powers of the false—come from time”…

  1. form of the true contrasts with the power of the false—the universal and necessary universality of right
  2. form of time—what could possibly undermine the form of the true? Deleuze’s answer is time. Truth changes in time, but – this is just a change in contention – it doesn’t change the form of the truth Error is only an effect of the true. The form of time is independent of its contents, puts the form of truth in question. The form of time is nonchronological.
  3. What is it that the primary form of time is is coexistence – if it is true that a naval battle may take place tomorrow: then, two paradoxes. The paradox of possible propositions, each become necessary. 2nd logically impossible cannot be derived from the possible. This is the paradox of contingent futures.
  4. The falsifier—his master argument allows Deleuze to paint a picture of the falsifier, as he who “imposes a power of the false adequate to time.” (Deleuze) – allows falsifier to give direct appearance of time: incompossible present. – Borges’s “Garden of Forking Paths” in which all possibilities occur at once. Pure form of time frees form of false from subordination to time: False is no longer not true – but raises the false to the power of metamorphosis – stands opposed to the eternal and the true.

Philosophy – creates concepts in time

– concepts don’t have an identity but a becoming in time;

put time into concept—intensity changes AND so the form of time is introduced into Deleuze’s concepts.

False no longer means not true because form of the false has been freed by the form



One still requires immanence.

The truthful person is the first falsifier.

The concept is an invention.

Art: 3 great texts

– Melville’s The Confidence Man

– Fourth Book of Zarathustra

F for Fake, Welles

… “The forger does know how to change. The forger relies on the expert who recognises the true Vermeer.” All the forger has to do is to study the criteria of the expert. The expert always has a forger in him. Both forger and expert engage judgement.”

Science: is not dogmatic, willfully fallible—a theological notion

– asymptotic progress towards the form of the true.

Kant – God expresses the ideal of absolute knowledge that is the goal of science.

Mononaturalism: precisely because of its fallibility most of the propositions of science will be shown in the future to be false

– progress of science equals that of falsity to falsity

– the movement of science embodies the power of the false as a power of metamorphosis—and of the multiple.

Through Popper’s falsifiability science becomes a patchwork of ceteras parabas—all things being equal

from Deleuze we have an autonomous power of the false freed as the not untrue

Nietzsche’s critique must be borne in mind: “What if we want untruth?”

– Deleuze shows true is in fact secondary to the truth subject to the pure form of time.


Anne: where time is no longer eternity, the form of time is also metamorphic. The form of time is itself not ontological.

Dan: Deleuze says reality, time—it’s all a problem. That problem is a pure variability. It is continuous variation.

Greg: You are looking for a true form of the false.

Greg (to Janell Watson): the reference to piety is also a reference to Nietzsche.

Dan: belief is the relationship to a proposition. This is most readily seen in the question, Do you believe in God? – as where we are asked about a relation, our relation, to the proposition.

3 modes of time—




—get rid of a developmental idea of evolution

coexistence in Anti-Oedipus of capitalist state form with barbarism and savage states (or nonstates): between them there is neither evolution nor progress; not a succession but they are coexistent.

– static genesis

– dynamic genesis

pure form of what is not eternal (a Platonic and non-Platonic form): the pure form of things that change.

Language of dynamic genesis is within the static genesis. It is dynamic because of a mobility of language. (And appears, again, in The Logic of Sense.)

Kenneth Surin: Does the power of the false operate on the conditions of the proposition?

– the proposition requires representation.

Deleuze means to have done with judgement—of Kant: so Deleuze will have done with propositions. Because of the truth and the false. Heidegger says we need to take questions as the model for propositions. We should have done with propositions as the model for thinking.

Dan: We need to get to a nonpropositional level of sense. Carroll on surface. Artaud’s screams and breaths can’t even … too hard … to get to sense.

Underneath sense lie the depths of bodies.

Logic of sense comes from the depths of bodies.

The question is How do you get sense out of that?

Gregory Flaxman’s keynote: “The Screen is a Brain: On the Techno-Genetic Evolution of Images”

This rests on the problem of the monolith in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.

3 million years in the past a clan of hominids scavenge at the tail end of a drought that has been going on for tens of thousands of years.

An alignment of the planets always accompanies the appearance of the monolith.

Organisms constantly instrumentalise their bodies but nothing prepares the relationship of the hand with the hammer. A secondary technicity is required.

3 million years of technogenesis in a single cut: the bone-hammer leaves the hand of the human ancestor. A space station floats in orbit around the earth.

Artificial life was always going to be the most likely way extraterrestrial makes contact with terrestrial life—given cosmogeological timeframes.

1. obelisk manifests intelligence and intention

2. radio signal suggests the monolith was hidden to be found. Its planned discovery indicates the triggering is by evolution

3. sign of evolution—Kubrick precedes the triggering, from the moonbased monolith, its second appearance, of the radio signal, with the appearance of a camera. This triggers the sign.

There is no more profound sign of the evolution of our development than the capability of envisioning technosemiotic awakening in moving images.

The point is made that in 2001 there is reflexivity and a self-consciousness—of a film positing the development of this capability of the technosemiotic. The film-making knows itself to be about and stages itself upon and as this technical, genetic—because evolutionary, although not necessarily human, because technical—and semiotic threshold.

If you look at the scene in 2001set in the excavation in which the monolith stands centrally, you witness what seems to be an insignificant moment in which the scientists are lined up, are making smalltalk, that the camera is there to record: the camera operator turning it, as if resetting it—is it clear that it is a moving-image in question? It is at least clear that this specifically unmomentous moment triggers the monolith to emit a highpitched signal, which the headsets in the suits worn by the scientists pick up—initiating the chain of events that the rest of the film will follow: the long journey of the long ship with HAL, the AI, onboard to the next giant monolith, the one to which that on the moon was sending its signal—in a chain of technosemiotic events.

Of this threshold being reached, the idea of conspiracy, of faking in film, attests to the same one.

What does it mean to have conceived a film as history of the universe? To have reimagined the cosmos as a moving image?

Greg mentions once again Matter and Memory.

Cinema creates a cosmology with which we go can go beyond nature and the human—the immanent plane extending to unfolding of the cosmos itself.

Deleuze understands cinema as cosmogenetic or cosmocinematographic.

As in 2001 so too in Terence Malick’s Tree of Life.

The power of cinema is to provide an automatic movement and nonhuman perception.

Husserl: all consciousness is consciousness of something.

Bergson want to (condemns) cinema to mimicking (mimicry). Deleuze celebrates it because it does. (Cinema gains a power of the false as well as that of a spiritual automaticity.) (This is also the reason Deleuze takes Bergson to the movies—in Cinema 1 and 2.)

Cinema is capable of “going up the paths that natural perception goes down.”

There is the absence of anchorage and postural level.

Bergson: the image is a road by which we pass in every direction … modification … and uncover the universal undulation of matter: the movement image dwells on chaos.

– through to axes

– subjective centres

to—in Cinema 2—the body without organs.

Matter coagulates into molar aggregates, refers to a living being.

Each image is afforded a double image by its registration.

…another system, in which all the images vary. Plane of immanence. Plane of light. From a system of anchorage and relative deterritorialisation—the passage of the evolution of cinema becomes the instrument of envisioning evolution itself—autonomous, automated evolution—and a new kind of brain.

Here, once more, as in Greg and Anne’s keynote at Chiyoda, Spinoza’s spiritual automaton enters. And Leroi-Gourhan’s Speech and Gesture: “the symbol and its contents are merged into one.”

That the spectator cannot intervene entails a new stage of human development—of reflective thought, before which the human is powerless, in which “individual interpretation is drastically reduced.”

“Cinema puts movement inside of thinking.”

Each stage of evolution, for Leroi-Gourhan, “creates a brain on top of the brain.”

– the potentially revelatory nature of a brain on the brain.

Questioned as to what the monolith means, Greg: we need to resist, he thinks, allegorising it. Far from being answered within the film, this is answered by the film itself. (The film is this thought.) It creates its own conditions of possibility.

Leroi-Gourhan: the body can be instrumentalised but it is not (yet) a tool (note the echo of Heidegger’s not yet thinking). Asked what is a tool? Leroi-Gourhan hesistates.

Question: Does agency in VR take away from the spiritual automaton?

The face of a frame and thereby an off-frame, this is what interests me about cinema.

I think about the regression of the brainscreen that Damasio repeats as the image of what is called thinking, and the essence of human cognition, of the neuroscientific understanding of cognition—this regression states the impossibility of an interior spectator on thought looking at the screen—the perceptual field—while this spectator is in turn observed by another… so there is a succession of little subjects, each one looking on what the brainscreen shows of the one before. But it states the view as necessary of a series of two—which is all the sense regression needs to gain its impetus, its direction—it is still going inside… This off-frame Greg Flaxman mentions as being what interests him about cinema, it seems to be is the possible direction, sense and movement of thought: to an outside.

Let me give you an example of this outside—off-frame, I am sitting at a table in a house on Waiheke Island, writing this. Another example is presented in the snaps above: the students with plywood flats belong to a music department; the sounds of applause, and stabs of music from a jazz orchestra, as well as the unison chanting of an audience, reach us through the windows over the three days of the conference. These sounds and the cawing of crows—are neither in the text or the snaps. The windows are open.

luz es tiempo
on tour
point to point
theatrum philosophicum
thigein & conatus

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