The French terms of both agencement and dispositif used by Deleuze and Guattari are usually translated as assemblage. An assemblage is a "site at which a discursive formation intersects with material practices" (Jonathan Crary, Techniques of the Observor, p. 31) It is "simultaneously a machinic assemblage and an assemblage of enunciation" (D+G, Thousand Plateaus, p. 504)Read More
The term "bachelor machine" was first used by Marcel Duchamp around 1913 in connection with pieces of work that would later be assembled in the Large Glass of 1915-1923. (Also known as the bride stripped bare by her bachelors, even) For Duchamp, the term refers specifically to the lower portion of the glass, the realm of the bachelors, which contains, among other things, the chocolate grinder, the cemetary for uniforms and liveries -- Priest, Delivery Man, Gendarme, Cuirassier, Policeman, Pallbearer, Footman, Stationmaster and Page Boy -- and the témoins oculistes. The Large glass consists of two distinct realms, the realm of the bride above, and the realm of the bachelors below, both desiring and imagining one another without any possibility of mutual comprehension. (one is here reminded of the real / imaginary distinction and the discussion of cyberspace)Read More
The "body without organs" and the "organs-partial objects" are concepts that Deleuze and Guattari mobilize in opposition to the organism and its organization, in opposition to the functional specificity of organs, so as to release the decoded and deterritorialized flows of desire. The BwO is the "anorganism of the body" a bundle of virtual affects in a non-organic and non-organized multiplicity, "molecular" rather than "molar."Read More
For Georges Bataille, (sexual)"Reproduction implies the existence of discontinuous beings." (Erotism, p.12) Each being is distinct from all others, including its parents, who are distinct from each other. For Bataille death means the continuity of being and is brought into play by reproduction. Death is the end of discontinuous being, of the being formed at the moment when the discontinuous entities of sperm and egg unite to form a new continuity, when two become one, and a new entity is formed from the fatal fusion. The fascination with both reproduction and death is the dominant element in Eroticism.Read More
"When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping."
Consumerism is an acceptance of consumption as a way to self-development, self-realization, and self-fulfillment. It makes a clear separation between producers and consumers. In a consumer society an individual's identity is tied to what s/he consumes. People living in consumer cultures have a tendency to satisfy social, emotional, and spiritual needs with material things.
For critics of consumerism, such as Zygmunt Bauman (Consuming Life), “the consumerist society has to rely on excess and waste” (p.38) The advent of consumerism augurs the era of ‘inbuilt obsolescence” and the insatiability of needs. New needs need new commodities; new commodities need new needs and desires, and this dynamic makes individuals wish to do what is needed for the to enable the system to reproduce itself. Thus consumption is a “hedonic treadmill” (p.45). Its promises of satisfaction remain seductive only as long as the desire stays ungratified.Read More
This project dates from 1984, and its caption, "This may seem an inordinately abstract and circuitous entry into our subject." may now not seem so provocative or even accurate. (The caption, incidentally is a quote from an essay by Hayden White in his study of historical writing as narrative form.)Read More
Freud's use of the word Wunsch, which corresponds to 'wish' does not have the same connotations as the English word 'desire" or the French désir . His clearest elucidation of the concept is in the theory of dreams. Freud does not identify need with desire. Need can be satisfied through the action which procures the adequate object. (eg. food) Wishes, on the other hand, are governed by a relationship with signs, with memory-traces of excitation, and the desire to re-cathect mnemic images. The Freudian conception of desire refers above all to unconscious wishes, bound to indestructible infantile signs, organized as phantasy.Read More
In the Anti-Oedipus, subtitled Capitalism and Schizophrenia, volume 1, and first published in 1972, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari engaged in a radical critique of Freudianism. Like their contemporary, R.D. Laing, and like Wilhelm Reich before them, they linked psychic repression with social repression, and sought to recover the revolutionnary quality of desire.Read More
In the tenth book of the Republic, Socrates differentiates the maker of an object, such as a bed, made in accordance with the Idea of the thing (this is its eidos or form) , from the artist, proceeding in a quick and easy fashion, as if using a mirror. But "What should a painting be called," asked Alberti, "except the holding of a mirror up to the original as in art?"Read More
In Civilization and its Discontents, Freud describes primary narcissism as that primal state where id, ego and external world are not differentiated. As he develops the concept of primary narcissism, libido theory and ego theory become inseparable. In his essay "On Narcissism," of 1914, Freud describes the origin of the ego in terms of the subject's ability to take itself or part of its own body as a love object.Read More
How long can we sustain the unsustainable?
The rapid increase in the world's population as a whole, the presence of many people that live below the level of any equitable living standards, the emergence of large and rapidly developing economies such as India's and China's, and the profligate model of the American lifestyle (and to a slightly lesser extent, the Western European) have all contributed to concern over the "carrying capacity" of the planet. How many people can obtain adequate amounts of clean water, food, and shelter, let alone automobiles, computers, and a constant supply of consumer goods? The environmental group Bioregional.com calculates that if everyone on earth adopted the British lifestyle, it would require three planets to support. The American lifestyle would require seven planets, but we still only have one. Will wars and catastrophes be the only way to know when those limits have been reached?
The growing awareness of environmental consequence, and the sense that "we can't go on this way" without serious adverse consequences for future generations underlies the development of the term sustainability. The expression was first put into widespread political use by the United Nation's World Commission on the Environment and Development, which issued a report in 1987 known as the Brundtland Report, named after its chairperson, Gro Harlem Brundtand, the former prime minister of Norway.
Although it draws on scientific study and environmental forecasts, the concept of sustainability is a political and moral term, like justice or freedom, and the history of sustainability as as much social, political, and economic as it is environmental.Read More