Sunday, July 08, 2007

Deleuze and Guattari, Anti-Oedipus

Deleuze's Difference and Repetition is the source for some concepts relating to mechnisation in the later, more famous "Anti-Oedipus". Here are my schematic notes pertaining to the development of my idea of poetry machines.

Deleuze, Phillipe and Félix Guattari. Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Trans. Robert Hurley, Mark Seem and Helen R. Lane. London: Athlone Press, 1990.

The Desiring Machines:
1: Desiring-Production

It is at work everywhere, functioning smoothly at times, at other times in fits and starts. It breathes, it heats, it eats. It shits and fucks. What a mistake to have ever said the id. Everywhere it is machines—real ones, not figurative ones: machines driving other machines, machines being driven by other machines, with all the necessary couplings and connections. An organ-machine is plugged into and energy-source-machine: the one produces a flow that the other interrupts. The breast is a machines that produces milk, and the mouth a machine coupled to it… we are all handymen: each with his little machines… (Deleuze & Guattari 1).

· a good opening quote

There is no such thing as either man or nature now, only a process that produces the one within the other and couples the machines together (Deleuze & Guattari 2).

· justification for my point that Deleuze fits in with a critique of the expressive subject.

production is immediately consumption and a recording process, without any sort of mediation, and the recording process and consumption directly determine production, though they do so within the production process itself. Hence everything is production: production of productions, of actions and of passions; productions of recording processes, of distributions and of co-ordinates that serves as points of reference; productions of consumptions, of sensual pleasures, of anxieties, and of pain… This is the first meaning of process as we use the term: incorporating recording and consumption within productions itself, thus making them the productions of one and the same process… the second meaning of process as we sue the term: man and nature are not like two opposite / terms confronting each other—not even in the sense of bipolar opposites within a relationship of causation, ideation, or expression…; rather they are one and the same essential reality, the producer-product… the third meaning of process as we use the term: it must not be viewed as a goal or end in itself, not must it be confused with an infinite perpetuation of itself (Deleuze & Guattari 4-5).

· his 3-part process: production, recording, consumption, matches exactly the 3 part process of repetition. Production is the original thing, recording the process of repetition and difference, and consumption the relation of this process to the phallus and the context of the pleasure-principle.
· the 3 processes are also of interest, the first is to make all things process like the end of R&D where the suggesting is that there has always been this cycle, the second eradicates the false differentiation between man the producer and nature the source of products which also undermines the traditional view of poetic agency as something willed, the final point deflects criticisms of set up a metaphysical system
· he calls this process schizophrenia or the inability to differentiate and link up, to be monadic and defined. He will later pose this as the body without organs that is a body without differential locales towards which energy can be directed or around which it can be cohered.

Desiring machines are binary machines, obeying a binary law or set of rules governing associations: one machine is always coupled with another. The productive synthesis, the production of production, is inherently connective in nature: “and…” “and then…” This is because there is always a flow-producing machine, and another machine connected to it that interrupts or draws off part of the flow… And because the first machines is in turn connected to another whose flow it interrupts or partially drains off, the binary series is linear in every direction. Desire constantly couples continuous flows and partial objects that are by nature fragmentary and fragmented. Desire causes the current to flow, itself flows in turn, and breaks the flows (Deleuze & Guattari 5).

· a fairly self-explanatory quote, useful for flagging binary and also tying in to parataxis. An article on parataxis using these ideas would be a great idea, bringing together my own theories, that of the L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E group, stylistics and poststructuralism. The overall system of systems attached to systems making seriality linear in all directions is in effect the complicated kind of machine of poetry which determines what is called poeticity. He goes on in this vein…

Producing is always something “grafted onto” the product; and for that reason desiring-production is production of production, just as every machine is a machine connected to another machine (Deleuze & Guattari 6).

Producing, a product: a producing/product identity. It is this identity that constitutes a third term in the linear series: an enormous, undifferentiated object. Everything stops dead for a moment, everything freezes in place—and then the whole process will begin all over again. From a certain point of view it would be much better if nothing worked, if nothing functioned. Never being born, escaping the wheel of continual birth and rebirth… / What would be required is a pure fluid in a free state, flowing without interruption, streaming over the surface of a full body. Desiring machines make us an organism; but at the very heart of this production… the body suffers from being organized in this way (Deleuze & Guattari 7-8).

· the first point is a reworking of the object = X, the context of the machine, the desire for a machine of no-differentiation, of no organisation, will become in the next section the body without organs. Without organs the flow is not interrupted and is a model of utopian, avant-garde freedom. The text without organs also must exist and in some of Koch’s work we find this. The pure surface text is the body without organs.

Desiring-machines work only when they break down, and by continually breaking down (Deleuze & Guattari 8).

· by breaking down they mean the interruption of the process by “death” by the “death instinct.” Pure flow is Eros, its interruption thanatos.

This imageless, organless body, the nonproductive, exists there where it is produced, in the third stage of the binary-linear series. It is perpetually reinserted into the process of production… The full body without organs belongs to the realm of antiproduction; but yet another characteristic of the connection or productive synthesis is the fact that it couples production with antiproduction, with an element of antiproduction (Deleuze & Guattari 5).

· reaffirming that is the object = x, the use of the antiproduction here is also useful for the avant-garde side of my argument. We also have a new coupling here, to go along with rdrdrd we have papapa.

2: The Body without Organs
In order to resist organ-machines, the body without organs presents its smooth, slippery, opaque, taut surface as a barrier. In order to resist linked, connected, and interrupted flows, it sets up a counterflow of amorphous, undifferentiated fluid. In order to resist using words composed of articulated phonetic units, it utters only gasps and cries that are sheer unarticulated blocks of sound. We are of the opinion that what is ordinarily referred to as “primary repression” means precisely that: it is not a 2countercathexis,” but rather this repulsion of desiring-machines by the body without organs (Deleuze & Guattari 9).

· which is another way of saying it is a part of the counter-culture of the avant-garde. It also ties in very much with certain elements of Koch’s poetry: surface, undifferentiated narrative, and lack or articulacy. These qualities are all associated still in poetics with bad poetry. A surface poem lacks the depth that most poets seem to strive for, lack of differentiation suggests lack of control of the art, and lack of articulacy perhaps seems like and understandably unforgivable crime in a poet.

The body without organs, the unproductive, the unconsumable, serves as a surface for the recording of the entire process of production of desire (Deleuze & Guattari 11).

· the surface then acts as the abject in art, it is unacceptable because it cannot be consumed, no one wants it, to buy or sell it.

Desiring-production forms a binary-linear system. The full body is introduced as a third term in the series, without destroying, however, the essential binary-linear nature of this series: 2,1,2,1 … (Deleuze & Guattari 15).

· Just reiterating all of the above, perhaps the clearest quote of the lot?
3: The Subject and Enjoyment
Conforming to the meaning of the word “process,” recording falls back on production, but he production of recording itself is produced by the production of production… something on the order of a subject can be discerned on the recording surface. It is a strange subject, however, with not fixed identity, wandering about over the body without organs, but always remaining peripheral to the desiring-machines, being defined by the share of product it takes for itself… (Deleuze & Guattari 16).

· quite fascinating this attenuation of the subject to a pleasure scavenger crawling over the surface of the act of recording. The subject is made up of what is left over after the process of desire-production.

4: A Materialist Psychiatry
· which he defines as a mode of bringing desire into the mechanism and production into desire. In this version of desire, desire-machines, desire does not come about due to lack…

If desire produces, its product is real. If desire is productive, it can be productive only in the real world and can produce only reality. Desire is a set of passive syntheses that engineer partial objects, flows, and bodies, and that function as units of production. The real is the end product, the result of the passive syntheses of desire as autoproduction of the unconscious. Desire does not lack anything; it does not lack its object. It is, rather, the subject, that is missing in desire, or desire that lacks a fixed subject; there is not fixed subject unless there is repression. Desire and its object are one and the same thing: the machine, as a machine of a machine. Desire is a machine, and the object of desire is another machine connected to it. Hence the product is something removed or deducted from the process of producing: between the act of producing and the product, something becomes detached, thus giving the vagabond, nomad subject a residuum… / Desire is not bolstered by needs, but rather the contrary; needs are derived from desire: they are counterproducts within the real that desire produces. Lack is a countereffect of desire (Deleuze & Guattari 16).

· quite a radical reappraisal of the location of the subject, its nature, and how it relates to desire. Instead of placing the subject at the centre and objects on the outside, potentially lacked, or placing the subject as lack centre stage, instead there is an objective, real process in the centre, production, which produces subjects as a waste product. The subject comes about by repression, blocking, the flow of the machine and in saying lack is a countereffect of the machine he is really saying the subject is a countereffect of the machine. Vital for placing Koch’s machine in a central position in the undermining of subjective agency in poetry.

Lack is created, planned, and organized in and through social production. It is counterproduced as a result of the pressure of antiproduction; the latter falls back on the forces of production and appropriates them. It is never primary; production is never organised on the basis of a pre-existing need or lack. It is lack that infiltrates itself, creates empty spaces or vacuoles… The deliberate creation of lack as a function of market economy is the art of the dominant class (Deleuze & Guattari 28).

· not really relevant to the Koch piece, it does relate very interestingly and critically to The Smear I think with its emphasis on lack as a creation of capital. As he goes on to note…

The truth of the matter is that social production is purely and simply desiring-production itself under determinate conditions… There is only desire and the social, and nothing else (Deleuze & Guattari 29).

· going on to talk about machines he notes Marx’s formula that machines break down in direct relation to the amount of energy they give to production…

Desiring-machines, on the contrary, continually break down as they run, and in fact run only when they are not functioning properly: the product is always an offshoot of production, implanting itself upon it like a graft, and at the same time the parts of the machine are the fuel that makes it run. Art often takes advantage of this property of desiring-machines by creating veritable group fantasies in which desiring-production is used to short-circuit social production, and to interfere with the reproductive function of technical machine by introducing an element of dysfunction… / The artist is the master of objects; he puts before us shattered, burned, broken-down objects, converting them to the régime of desiring-machines, breaking down is the very functioning of desiring-machines; the artist presents paranoiac machines, miraculating-machines, and celibate machines as so many technical machines, so as to cause desiring-machines to undermine technical machines. Even more important, the work of art is itself a desiring-machine (Deleuze & Guattari 31-2).

· quite critical here of the avant-garde maybe this is useful for the final critique section?

The schizophrenic deliberately seeks out the very limit of capitalism: he is its inherent tendency brought to fulfilment, its surplus product, its proletariat, and its exterminating angel… Schizophrenia is desiring-production as the limit of social production (Deleuze & Guattari 35).

· just a clarification of the role of Schizo…

5: The Machines
In what respect are desiring-machines really machines, in anything more than a metaphorical sense? A machine may be defined as a system of interruption or breaks. These breaks should in no way be considered as a separation from reality; rather, they operate along lines that vary according to whatever aspect of them we are considering. Every machine, in the first place, is related to a continual material flow (hylè) that it cuts into… The term hylè in fact designates the pure continuity that any sort of matter ideally possesses… (Deleuze & Guattari 36).

· okay, a mechanics consists of kinetics and dynamism. Kinetics is the movement, dynamics the force which causes the movement. Here the definition of a machine is somewhat different, it is closer to a computer than a machine although a computer is a kind of machine. The flow in a computer is the electrons, the interruption the break in the flow. In binary the break should be 0 representing negative flow, however it is only a rough estimation. The flow need not be totally cut off and it does not happen totally instantaneously either. Binary is a symbolic code to allow us to interact with what is happening in a computer. Further, computers need not be powered by the flow of electrons, experiments have been made with gas and with plant matter. Any switch can be used as the basis for a computer. Thus in speaking of desiring machines, these days it is perhaps more accurate to speak of desiring computers.
· in poetry machines we need to determine the flow, the act of interruption, and the context. What is the poetry product?

every machine is a machine of a machine. The machine produces an interruption of the flow only insofar as it is connected to another machine that supposedly produces this flow. And doubtless this second machine in turn is really an interruption or break too. But it is such only in relationship to a third machines that ideally—that is to say, relatively—produces a continuous, infinite flux… / (“and then…and then…and then…”). In a word, every machine functions as a break in the flow in relation to the machine to which it is connected, but at the same time it also a flow itself, or the production of a flow, in relation to the machine connected to it. This is the law of the production of production (Deleuze & Guattari 36).

· which is their version of vertige, the ascending spiral of representative logic. Again with Koch’s machine we need to identity with each interruption which machine interrupts the machine.
· then goes on to talk about Lacanian “signifying chains” made up of the bits, the data of information…

All sorts of functional questions thus arise: What flow to break? Where to interrupt it? How and by what means?… The data, the bits of information recorded, and their transmission form a grid of disjunctions of a type that differ from the previous connections. The chains are called “signifying chains” because they are made up of signs, but these signs themselves are not signifying. [a kind of gestalt?] The code resembles not so much a language as a jargon, an open-ended, polyvocal formation. The nature of signs within it is insignificant, as these signs have little or nothing to do with what supports them. Or rather, isn’t the support completely immaterial to these signs? The support is the body without organs. These indifferent signs follow no plan, they function at all levels and enter into any and every sort of connection; each one speaks its own language, and establishes syntheses with others… (Deleuze & Guattari 38).

· fascinating, it is best to deal with each point systematically:
1. the questions of flow interruption must be asked by every poet, what differentiates Koch from others is that his work is the most self-consciously machine like. His poetry ideas are really ways of asking these questions, what word should go here, how does this interrupt the flow of sense etc.
2. the grid of disjunctions effectively is a map of the poem’s structural features, Koch’s poetry then forms a real map of the poetry machine and invites us to see this, while traditional poetic critique has tended towards a fake map of unities
3. the chains formed here are made of nonsignificant signs, signs which are the result of signals, indications of flow change, interruption, diversion, grafting, splitting and so on. In poetry the words or sounds can be divested if signification in this way and their mechanistic function revealed. This means the poem is a gestalt pattern, the whole worth infinitely more than the parts.
4. the signs are in free-flow but are held in check within the taught skin of the body without organs, the poetic form

No chain is homogenous; all of them resemble, rather, a succession of characters from different alphabets in which an ideogram, a pictogram… suddenly makes its appearance… Each chain captures fragments of other chains from which it “extracts” a surplus value… It is an entire system of shuntings along certain tracks, and of selections by lot, that bring about partially dependent, aleatory phenomena bearing a close resemblance to a Markov chain. The recordings and transmissions that have comes from the internal codes, from the outside world, from one region to another of the organism, all intersect, following the endlessly ramified paths of the great disjunctive synthesis (Deleuze & Guattari 39).

· first of all a Markov chain is a doubly limited serial system. A system or chain which has a finite set of outcomes, and within which each “trial” each sign in this case, depends only on the outcome of the trial which precedes it.
· these chains of signification make up the body of the poem. He notes how a morpheme can mix with papa’s moustache all bound together to form the desire machine. Similarly the poem as desire machine is constructed of all sorts of material which is motivated into a “poem” by the Markov chain principle. Poetry is a machine and the poetic subject is the result of it, whereas we normally assume this to be the other way around.
· the important thing to note is that the synthesis is one of disjunction, if this were true then avant-garde poetics would not be a form of poetics, it would be rather poetry’s machinery laid bare and in many ways this is what it resembles!

If this constitutes a system of writing, it is a writing inscribed on the very surface of the real: a strangely polyvocal kind of writing… where we would search in vain for something that might be labelled the Signifier—writing that ceaselessly composes and decomposes the chains into signs that have nothing that impels them to become signifying. The one vocation of the sign is to produce desire, engineering it in every direction (Deleuze & Guattari 39).

· this is not the free play of the signifier but something even more radical, the free play of the presignificant matter which we take to make up the signifier but is in actual fact made up of desire. Signs are a by product of signifying chains, language the excrement of the machine.

These chains are the locus of continual detachments—schizzes… [which] have to do with heterogeneous chains, and as their basic unit use detachable segments or mobile stocks resembling building / blocks… Cutting into the flows involves detachment of something from a chain; and the partial objects of production presupposed stocks of material or recording bricks within the coexistence and the interaction of all syntheses (Deleuze & Guattari 39-40).

· Each flow, to produce desire, must be interrupted. When the chain is interrupted and detached, then it is reattached to another loose end which itself has been detached from another chain. Because of this each new attachment links heterogeneous material belonging to another chain, and so the signifying chains are built up in a manner not at all dissimilar to that of the gestalt. It is a psyche of gestalts if you will. These breaks are cohered by the 3rd term, they occurred originally due to the first term, and operate in chains through the second term.
· In the end he comes to view 3 types of break, the slice which ends a chain, the detachment which interrupts a chain and attaches chains to chains, and the residual break where a new subject is produced alongside the chain functioning as an adjacent part.
· In the poetry machine the slice is the end, the end of the poem, the gap between title and body, between stanza and stanza. The detachment are the internal interruptions of sense typical of poetic language. While the residual subject is the life beyond the poem that allows it to live thematically. He considers this in terms of a baby throwing up milk but it applies just as well to a poet throwing up a poem:

Let us consider, for example, the milk the baby throws up when it burps; it is at one and the same time the restitution of something that has been levied from the associative flux; the reproduction of the process of detachment from the signifying chain; and a residuum that constitutes the subject’s share of the whole (Deleuze & Guattari 41).

· the poem is also something “levied” from the flux, the reproduction of the act of detachment and the placing of the poem within the whole.

It is these three aspects that make the process of desiring-production at once the production of production, the production of recording, and the production of consumption. To withdraw a part from the whole, to detach, to “have something left over,” is to produce, and to carry out real operations of desire in the material world (Deleuze & Guattari 41).

· I must return to this whole section at later date to deal with decapitation and metonymy! Basically this ties the desiring machines idea into D&R.

6: The Whole and the Parts
In desiring machines everything functions at the same time, but amid hiatuses and ruptures, breakdowns and failures, stalling and short circuits, distances and fragmentations, within a sum that never succeeds in bringing its various parts together so as to form a whole. That is because the breaks in the process are productive, and are reassemblies in and of themselves (Deleuze & Guattari 42).

· a central feature of nonrational poetry missed by most readers is that each disjunction is part of another chain of signifiers disallowing closure. In describing Proust he comes up with the following list of strategies:

we are struck by the fact that all the parts are produced as asymmetrical sections, paths that suddenly come to an end, hermetically sealed boxes, noncommunicating vessels, watertight com- / partments, in which there are gaps between things that are contiguous, gaps that are affirmations, pieces of a puzzle belonging not to any one puzzle but to many, pieces assembled by forcing them into a certain place where they may or may not belong, their unmatched edges violently bent out of shape, forcibly made to fit together, to interlock, with a number of pieces always left over (Deleuze & Guattari 42-3).

· this list could form the basis of my own list of postmodern poetic features:
· asymmetrical parts
· interruption of an idea
· self-enclosed sections which may no communicate with any other sections
· self-enclosed units that do not communicate even across contiguity
· breaks with are affirmative not negative
· the puzzle metaphor
· pieces in the wrong place or that could be in a number of places
· excess
· one might not here the emphasis on enclosure or closed off units of sense, the postmodern poem is not open-ended but closed in such a limited fashion that it seems that way.

Proust maintained that the Whole itself is a product, producing nothing more than a part alongside other parts, which it neither unifies nor totalizes, though it has the effect on these other parts simply because it establishes aberrant paths of communication between noncommunicating vessels, transverse unities between elements that retain all their differences within their own particular boundaries… The whole not only / coexists with the parts; it is contiguous to them, it exists as a product that is produced apart from them and yet at the same time is related to them (Deleuze & Guattari 43-4).

· the whole here is repetition 1, placed alongside other parts on repetition 2, but organising this arrangement because as it is the Whole it is repetition 3.
· this undermines the traditional view of the whole as derived from the parts and is a key reappraisal of metonymy which relates also to my work on cognitive linguistics. Possibly return to this section at a later date.
· He then goes on to use the partial objects of the signifying chain to criticise the limited associative patterns of the oedipal triangle and the fort/da which always sees the partial object as part of one of 3 figures in the triangle.

4460 words
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