luz es tiempo

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.

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end of dreaming

I don’t want to be the one who lives here
     but the alien
I want to visit your beautiful country

I don’t want to speak this tongue
     but the alien
I want to hear your beautiful language

I don’t want to share the words used
     to be the one who understands
     but the alien

I don’t want to be able to explain
     who we are
     what is said
     how we do things here

I don’t want to be the one who asks what you think
     of our beautiful country
     but the alien
I want to understand nothing but your laughter

I don’t want to be the one who knows
     who we are
     and who they are
     but the alien

I don’t want to be the one who knows
     what we are
     and what they are

I don’t want to give them the words
     to take out the words they use
     to share the words in their mouths

I want to share in your beautiful laughter
     and to understand in your smiles
     your good will to strangers

I don’t want to be the one with dreams of leaving
     but the alien

I don’t want to be the one who hears
     from your beautiful mouth
     you are leaving
     but the alien
who leaves who just leaves who lies down
     and leaves

I don’t want to feel this grief on anyone’s behalf
I don’t want to feel this shame on anyone’s behalf

but I want this grief
but I want this shame

     and the shame of grief
     and the shame of shame



[written on the occasion of the shooting

Christchurch 15 March 2019]

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Valeria Luiselli writes in La Calle, Alex Webb’s book of photos of Mexico

Walking down the rumbling hot concrete of that fucked-up and noisy and utterly dirty triangular block in Tacubaya, it was sometimes comforting to think that the silent witch doctors’ cave was oblivious to the future respectful whispers inside the seventeenth-century shrine, and that the shrine knew nothing of the intrigues that must have developed behind the doors of that early Porfirian mansion, and that the mansion ignored the cum-cries and sobs of the Cine Hipodromo’s first sound films and the foreign words simultaneously spoken or written down by the residents of the Ermita, who in turn never even suspected my weary, pregnant footsteps trudging along the sidewalk, eager to arrive back home.

— copyright Alex Webb

…I am currently writing about writing–and theatre, always theatre–as belonging to the problematic field of the object, and outside, while theatre belongs to that of of the subject, and inside. The paragraph above appealed to me by being not only a writing on the outside but also one that addresses writing’s exteriority.

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dear reader, I am writing a book. Below a tiny excerpt. If you would like to support this work, please contact me by way of the contact form, top, left hand margin.

The brain remains a symbol, with all that is entailed under this symbolic existence, nailed at some extremity—perhaps the highest plank—of the vast carpentry we have been calling the symbolic framework of reference, so long as its cognitive functions are identified with representation and so long as these higher functions are so called. Except that it express itself symbolically we should therefore show no small amazement that we cannot trust it.

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field recordings 2017:06:16 18:06:43 – 2017:08:03 12:37:29 including Minus Theatre rehearsing VMG at the Baptist Church and setup at LOT23

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untitled 1: including an in memoriam for Douglas Wright, 14 October 1956 – 14 November 2018

The great Spanish writer—not an opinion, a fact, my friend

He would or he might begin with something suitably self-deprecating—

a reference to another writer, an artist who, perhaps, was more far-sighted,

in not worrying so much about his place in things, worrying at her hems,

edges and scabs, at the places where the body—of work, obviously—comes

undone, as it inevitably does, Douglas Wright died this week, I say this

not to be topical, but in respect of an image and its necessary resonance, or,

let us say, vibration with another—necessary, because the only reason ever

for an image, to initiate one, is to set it up in such a way that it ping

off another, calling everyone, at this overflowing table, to attention with the edge

of a knife, how sharp we will never know, tap against an empty glass—a

game of golf, Douglas in a liminal state induced by drugs of a medical nature,

purportedly, hearing the news, on the radio, a voice: it says, this

this will really really put New Zealand at last put New Zealand New Zealand

on the world the world on the world stage; and voices from a stand of

macrocarpa, adjacent to the golf course, echoing up over the balcony, in

through an open window, to where Douglas lies, on a couch, in a state

between waking and dreaming, hearing the voices commingle, those

from the stand of macrocarpa, adjacent to the golf course, where golf

balls often end up being hit by accident, voices of the searchers for the lost

golf balls, calling out, WHERE IS IT? HERE and IT’S OVER HERE,

WHERE? I FOUND IT! and that voice

on the radio, so that … but here I become confused, because the next

image enters, not prematurely, I hope, but soon enough that it sets off

the former image, so that we almost trip over it—HERE

New Zealand on the world stage IT’S OVER HERE

at last—and I would like to champion, at this point, Ghost Dance, the source

of this former image, having its source in its author, Douglas Wright, who

is also, sadly, former, as the greatest artistic autobiography ever written by

a by by a by a New Zealander by a New Zealander … OVER HERE … Lost …

from the world stage, forever. Vila-Matas was the famous Spanish author.

The next image is—can it in all truth be called an image? when it is

a matter of voices?—and Douglas’s voice, I hear his cadences, pronouncing

on the, what was it we had lost? the sense of the strength of movement

coming from the pelvis, that we had lost, in our young dancers—the next

a voice says please

return to your seat

it sweeps the aisle

clear at the same

time David Byrne

is singing another

voice and another

close, Stay in your


You are being

You are out

of control, Sonny

or is it Girlie?

I have the strange

unwonted accompanying sensations,

not entirely unpleasant, of arms, not entirely unpleasant, only

unwonted, of arms holding me and the hands attempting

to take hold

of the left arm in the classic armlock we know from films, and twist it

behind my back, movies about forced removal

of potentially disruptive and violent—and again

the fit of the words is false, without falsifying, since this is

indeed what we do with miscreants: the bodyguard, no, he is

a security guard, with a beautiful word emblazoned—the most

exaggerated form of embroidery or printing—emblazoned on his back, VENUE

SECURITY all one word, like a gang patch.

Douglas Wright and David Byrne. Douglas was just 62. What is

an age, when you do not grow old?


David Byrne David David Byrne amazing fantastic and beautifully

deconstructed in the concert version of American Utopia two


venuesecurity at the Spark telco arena, although this makes it sound like

they built it, they did not—do brands maintain their psychosexual overtone?

of having been inflicted in a hot moment of contact—let us say, “the lie

of the land

she meant yes

she meant yes”


It was a white and middleclass and quite fat night on the metaphorical bleachers

at the David Byrne concert tonight,

the second encore ended with a rollcall of names of murdered

African-Americans (two words?)

whose killings in racially charged circumstances have elevated them into the hall of martyrs” says Variety

There is an insupportable irony in the fact that my assailants were all brown

because I wanted to dance



is it a health and safety issue that so few serious modern composers who

are accepted as such

commit themselves to music to dance to?



I cannot imagine Douglas Wright dying

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now i’m listening to kip hanrahan’s beautiful scars and i realise there is no other music for grownups so full of joy sex & politics 3 of my fav things but art too art music art life art rotting with life decomposing on the street sweating in the room shroom is how i am

thanks gareth

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“I wanted to do something worthy of the place” – theatre of writing

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you know when you can’t find that quote you’re looking for so you have to make up your own: on NOTHING

In some cultures–not ours, not yet–nothing and space are so closely related, rather than as a negative instance, rather than as void or absence, nothing comes as welcome relief (from the relentless compulsion to something), where it is like a window on the inside, or a door, opening onto nothing, welcoming you in, to rest there, or bidding you to go on, for nothing.

— see also here

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