Wednesday, July 25, 2007

an insight into (neo) conservative thought

Thanks to Larval Subjects to bringing attention to this interesting and insightful article. Just makes you want to bang your head against the wall ( or should we just laugh at them?)...

I am standing waist-deep in the Pacific Ocean, both chilling and burning, indulging in the polite chit-chat beloved by vacationing Americans. A sweet elderly lady from Los Angeles is sitting on the rocks nearby, telling me dreamily about her son. “Is he your only child?” I ask. “Yes,” she says. “Do you have a child back in England?” she asks. No, I say. Her face darkens. “You’d better start,” she says. “The Muslims are breeding. Soon, they’ll have the whole of Europe.”
I am getting used to these moments – when gentle holiday geniality bleeds into… what? I lie on the beach with Hillary-Ann, a chatty, scatty 35-year-old Californian designer. As she explains the perils of Republican dating, my mind drifts, watching the gentle tide. When I hear her say, ” Of course, we need to execute some of these people,” I wake up. Who do we need to execute? She runs her fingers through the sand lazily. “A few of these prominent liberals who are trying to demoralise the country,” she says. “Just take a couple of these anti-war people off to the gas chamber for treason to show, if you try to bring down America at a time of war, that’s what you’ll get.” She squints at the sun and smiles. ” Then things’ll change.”....

You can read the rest here

Monday, July 23, 2007

A bold move by Michael Hardt

I've been watching the new online lecture from Michael Hardt presented at the European Graduate School, and I have to admirer the man's guts. His recent move is to (re)conceptualise the concept of love for political purposes. The main reason for this manoeuvre is he feels love gets 'us' out of the impasse between arguing for archaism or dictatorship of the prole (Zizek's Leninism), which, for Hardt, are both unacceptable. Yet Hardt's concept of love is interesting, one that challenges people to conceptualise love away from conventional/everyday uses. In sum Hardt believes love can provide the new 'political training' to produce another world. At present i'm a bit skeptical but I agree with Hardt that love requires a political relevance outside the couple, or love based on sameness (identity), and instead an attempt to love difference, or what Deleuze calls singularities.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

ask for help - Deleuze article

I'm away to start co-authoring an article reviewing the recent trend in Deleuzian politics, which will analyse not Gilles Deleuze but scholars that have been influenced by him (and Guattari). This will not look to access who has read Deleuze correctly, but rather how they have 'used' Deleuze for the purpose of politics.

At present we are going to analyse:
Manuel DeLanda; Paul Patton; Michael Hardt & Antonio Negri; & Nicholas Thoburn (and maybe Claire Colebrook)

The aim would be to consider their convergences and divergences.

Is there any main player we are missing out? We know we can't be too extensive, but any suggestions would be appreciated.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Parts and Whole - something to think about

In Anti-Oedipus Deleuze and Guattari write one of the most important sections in the book under the title of 'The whole and the parts'. In this section they lay the grounds for the concept of assemblage, so predominant in A Thousand Plateaus, and also allows DeLanda to construct an assemblage theory in his 2006 book. Deleuze and Guattari write;

'we live today in the age of partial objects, bricks that have been shattered to
bits, and leftover. We no longer believe in the myth of the existence of
fragments that, like the pieces of an antique statue, are waiting for the last
one to be turned up, so that they may all be glued back together to create a
unity that is precisely the same as the original unity. We no longer believe in
a primordial totality that once existed, or in a final totality that awaits us
at some future date'(p45-46)

Their point is clear, if we are to think of a whole and parts, we cannot think in terms of a closed whole or totalising whole, and instead the whole should be considered as an open whole, a produced whole; 'the whole itself is a product, produced as nothing more than a part alongside other parts'(p46).The whole is therefore nothing other than an assemblage, and this assemblage has component parts that can be removed and plugged in elsewhere.
In a online lecture to the tate Delanda gives a nice example of this. In New York there is a factory that produces spider silk for its strength. However, the problem is you cannot domestic spiders for factory life. To solve this problem the factory took the genetic code from the spider that allowed is to produce the silk and literally plugged this into goats, and hey presto spider goats! Well not quite. The goat produces this silk in their milk, and then the workers separate the milk from the silk. The point of this example is that the whole of the goat, or its identity, is contingent upon component parts, and these component parts are not essential to some ‘goatness’. This is how we should think of all wholes, as assemblages that are historically contingent, with no essential features. Yet there is something more important about thinking about wholes as assemblages, which have component parts. This turns the focus to relations of exteriority, coexistence, and alliance. The famous example of the wasp and the orchid from Deleuze and Guattari demonstrates this focus on relations of exteriority between component parts of an assemblage, where the assemblage in this example could be an ecosystem. Assemblages studies can therefore understand territory/coded rhythms (refrains) without essentialising or totalising these. Assemblages can be understood for features of attractors, which could be seasonal, strange, multiple, and so forth. Yet, as Deleuze and Guattari write in A Thousand Plateaus a machine can plug into an assemblage and alter the territory/rhythm.
The last point, and something DeLanda mentions a lot, is can there be a shift towards an ethics of assemblage, which would considered things in terms of good and bad, and not good and evil (moral essentialism)? This notion of course comes from Spinoza. An example would be adding fertiliser in a soil, where adding too much would kill the crops (bad) and adding a certain amount would help the crops to grow (good). this would led thought to consider critical thersholds within assemblages, and not in a linear causality, but a non-linear causality, accounting for complex feedbacks.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

More DeLanda lectures

Sorry about the lack of posts recently, all my writing time has been taken up elsewhere, so the blog has had to suffer. working on two posts at the minute 1) Defending a whole and a parts approach 2) Discussing Affective labour and Caribbean Tourism

Until then I have found more Delanda lectures on youtube:
You can find the first one here. enjoy.