18 March 2006

orchestra without a conductor

"It is a regrettable characteristic of the Western mind to relate expressions and actions to exterior or transcendent ends, instead of evaluating them on a plane of consistency on the basis of their intrinsic value" (22).


three botanical models: roots, radicles, and rhizomes.

a root primarily anchors a tree in the ground, and comprises well developed, centralized networks for transporting fluids (vascular). a radicle is an embryonic root, emerging from the seed, rapping up the potential of new trees in its bundle (fascicular). a rhizome is a horizontal underground stem that produces mutliple nodes (from which leaves can grow) and buds (from which new rhizomes grow). so the root-tree model is classical, dialectical, imitative of nature - the one becomes two (binary and biunivocal). the radicle-fascicular model is modern, cyclical, yet still imitative of nature, even if it's choatic or orbital - the multiple returns to a unity (as in joyce and nietzsche). the rhizome-weed model is postmodern, nonexclusive, and beyond the nature/man or real/artificial dualities - the multiple is made and shoots off in a thousand plateaus.


cross-reference: hardt & negri's three-part distinction between military, guerrilla, and distributed forces.

multitude, pages 56-7 : "The traditional military structure can be described as a hub, or star, network in which all lines of communication and command radiate from a central point along fixed lines [see kesey footnote]. The guerrilla structure suggests a polycentric network, with numerous, relatively autonomous centered clusters, like solar systems, in which each hub commands its peripheral nodes and communicates with other hubs. The final model in the series is the distributed, or full-matrix, network in which there is no center and all nodes can communicate directly with all others. If the traditional army is like a single armed body, with organic and centralized relations among its units, and the guerilla army is like a pack of wolves, with relatively autonomous clusters that can act independently or in coordination, then the distributed network might be imagined like a swarm of ants or bees - a seemingly amorphous multiplicity that can strike at a single point from all sides or disperse in the environment so as to become almost invisible. It is very difficult to hunt down a swarm"... or "you can never get rid of ants" (9).


cross-reference: computer science

d&g define arborescent systems as "hierarchical systems with centers of significance and subjectification, central autonmata like organized memories. In the corresponding models, an element only receives information from a higher unit, and only receives a subjective affection along preestablished paths" (16). they then cite the work of pierre rosenstiehl and jean petitot, which criticizes 'command trees' as an organizational model in information science. even though r&p were writing in 1974, their ideas correspond with the internet as it has developed - internet as rhizome (see page 299 of h&n's empire, or pages 83, 91-3, 217, 338-40 of multitude).


six principles for rhizome-making:

1 & 2. connection and heterogenity.

any point can plug into any other, and is constantly decentering onto new registers. "a rhizome ceaselessly establishes connections between semiotic chains, organizations of power, and circumstances relative to the arts, sciences, and social struggles" (7).

3. multitiplicity.

there's no unified center that overcodes. points become lines with a diversity of short-term directions, which "expose arborescent pseudomultiplicities for what they are" (8).

4. asignifying rupture.

recognize there's micofascisms waiting to crystallize. imitation is death - the pink panther isn't a chameleon, but paints the world its color. "Always follow the rhizome by rupture; lengthen, prolong, and relay the line of flight; make it vary, until you have produced the most abstract and tortuous of lines of n dimersions and broken directions. Conjugate deterritorialized flows. Follow the plants: you start by delimiting a first line consisting of circles of convergence around successive singularities; then you see whether inside that line new circles of convergence establish themselves, with new points located outside the limits and in other directions. Write, form a rhizome, increase your territory by deterritorialization, extend the line of flight to the point where it becomes an abstract machine covering the entire plane of consistency" (11).

5 & 6. cartography and decalcomania (or transferring pictures onto glass).

don't submit to the ready-made and reproducible; don't propagate redundancies. "What distinguishes the map from the tracing is that it is entirely oriented toward an experimentation in contact with the real. ... The map is open and connectable in all its dimensions; it is detachable, reversible, susceptible to constant modification. It can be torn, reversed, adapted to any kind of mounting, reworked by any individual, group, or social formation [or any thread on cross-x.com]. It can be drawn on a wall, conceived of as a work of art, constructed as a political action or as a meditation. Perhaps one of the most important characteristics of the rhizome is that it always has multiple entryways" (12).

{there's a good summary in the big paragraph on page 21.}


equation: rhizomatics = schizoanalysis = pragmatics = micropolitics = pop


rule-of-thumb: make use of everything that comes within range.

an author, speaker, writer, performer, creator, artist, revolutionary, debater, person, whatever, can refrain from identifying themselves and still remain unconsciously trapped in their own identity; or one can make an egoless collective under one's own signature. "For example, it is relatively easy to stop saying "I," but that does not mean that you have gotten away from the regime of subjectification; conversely, you can keep on saying "I," just for kicks, and already be in another regime in which personal pronouns function only as fictions" (138). collective assemblages of enunciation run deeper than 'politically correct' terminology - e.g.: one can refrain from saying 'nigger' and still propagate white supremacist attitudes; or one can make use of 'nigger' in an anti-racist way (as many blacks do). don't interpret or express; experience and experiment. analyze things in their functional contexts, and rob restrictive models of their dominance by over-populating them with the disjunctions they intend to eliminate. a schizo-bricolage (AO 7), lodging themself on a strata and tinkering with whatever lines of flight become available...


ken kesey - one flew over the cuckoo's nest : centered wires of power: the nurse "wields a sure power that extends in all directions on hair-like wires too small for anybody's eye but mine; I see her sit in the center of this web of wires like a watchful robot, tend her network with mechanical insect skill, know every second which wire runs where and just what current to send up to get the results she wants. ... What she dreams of there in the center of those wires is a world of precision efficiency and tidiness, like a pocket watch with a glass back, a place where the schedule is unbreakable and all the patients who aren't Outside, obedience under her beam, are wheelchair Chronics with catheter tubes run direct from every pantleg to the sewer under the floor."

robert wright - nonzero : As the zoologist Matt Ridley has put it, "What is the organism? There is no such thing." Each so-called organism, he notes, "is a collective." And not a wholly harmonious collective - at least, not by definition.

If the line between organism and society isn't the distinction between complete and incomplete unity of purpose, then what is the line? That's the problem: lacking a clear boundary, biologists are free to differ. In 1911 the great entomologist William Morton Wheeler published a paper called "The ant colony as an organism" - a title that he stressed, was not meant as mere analogy; an ant colony, in his view, was a type of organism, a "superorganism". This view gained much favor for a time and then fell out of fashion, but lately it has made something of a comeback. One reason may be the growing awareness of conflict within organisms - the growing sense that all organism are in some sense societies. ---- p 304-5.

david sloan wilson. altruism and organism: disentangling the themes of multilevel selection theory. the american naturalist. 150:122-34.


what is an organism? and what is individual consciousness? ... look for rhizomes.

No comments: