Deleuze and New Technology

Deleuze and New Technology

Mark Poster
David Savat
Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 288
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  • Book Info
    Deleuze and New Technology
    Book Description:

    In a world where our lives are increasingly mediated by technologies it is surprising that more attention is not paid to the work of Gilles Deleuze. This is especially strange given Deleuze's often explicit focus and reliance on the machine and the technological. This volume offers readers a collective and determined effort to explore not only the usefulness of key ideas of Deleuze in thinking about our new digital and biotechnological future but, also aims to take seriously a style of thinking that negotiates between philosophy, science and art._x000B_This exciting collection of essays will be of relevance not only to scholars and students interested in the work of Deleuze but, also, to those interested in coming to terms with what might seem an increasing dominance of technology in day to day living._x000B_Contributors to this volume include: William Bogard, Abigail Bray, Ian Buchanan, Verena Conley, Ian Cook, Tauel Harper, Timothy Murray, Saul Newman, Luciana Parisi, Patricia Pisters, Mark Poster, Horst Ruthrof, David Savat, Bent Meier Sørensen and Eugene Thacker.

    eISBN: 978-0-7486-3337-1
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction: Deleuze and New Technology
    (pp. 1-12)
    David Savat

    Mark Poster closes this book with the observation that Deleuze never theorised new media, and, indeed, rarely made use of the term. As Poster points out, given France’s experiment with Minitel this may be an important point to make in the context of a book entitled Deleuze and New Technology. Opinion on the usefulness of Deleuze’s work with respect to theorising new technology diverges in this volume, ranging from scepticism about the use of Deleuze and Guattari’s concept of the rhizome in theorisations of the Internet, to critiques of Deleuze’s understanding of language as it concerns the idea of the...

    • Chapter 1 Deleuze and Machines: A Politics of Technology?
      (pp. 15-31)
      William Bogard

      Deleuze is not so much interested in questioning technology, like Heidegger, as in articulating, along with Guattari, a problem about machines (Guattari 1990). Heidegger’s questions lead him to an essence of technology, Enframing, or the potential to convert all of Dasein into ‘standing reserve’ (Heidegger 1977: 20). Deleuze and Guattari’s problematisations of machines lead them, by contrast, to a concept of a multiplicity without an essence – or better, with a ‘nomadic’ essence¹ – a complex configuration of machinic and enunciative elements called an ‘assemblage’ (Deleuze and Guattari 1987; Deleuze and Parnet 1987; DeLanda 2006).² The problem of machines is not Heidegger’s...

    • Chapter 2 Of Rhizomes, Smooth Space, War Machines and New Media
      (pp. 32-44)
      Verena Andermatt Conley

      Throughout their writings, Deleuze and Guattari seem obsessed with machines and technologies. Deleuze makes clear that machines are always a part of a collective assemblage and in that way can be understood to express the social forms that give birth to them. Historically, if the energetic machine expressed the disciplinary bourgeois society of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, computers, electronic and cybernetic machines express today what Deleuze calls the society of control. The latter cannot be separated from a shift in capitalism from speculation and accumulation towards circulation, the abstract and often dizzying process of the buying and selling of...

    • Chapter 3 Deleuze’s Objectile: From Discipline to Modulation
      (pp. 45-62)
      David Savat

      Deleuze’s short essay ‘Postscript on the Societies of Control’ (1992) has received much attention, in large part I think more for what it doesn’t state than for what it does. Here I want to explore further some of Deleuze’s suggestions in that essay. More specifically I’m interested in the product he suggests is produced by the new modulatory mode of power that replaces the disciplinary mode and its associated production of the individual. This product he refers to as the ‘dividual’. I’m also interested in delineating some of the possible mechanisms, instruments and techniques by which that production might occur,...

    • Chapter 4 How to Surf: Technologies at Work in the Societies of Control
      (pp. 63-81)
      Bent Meier Sorensen

      If Anti-Oedipus should have been called Introduction to a Non-Fascist Life, as Foucault suggested in his preface, then perhaps A Thousand Plateaus should have been called How to Surf. After all, as Deleuze puts it:

      we’ve gone from one animal to the other, from moles to snakes, not just in the system we live under but in the way we live and in our relations with other people too. Disciplinary man produced energy in discrete amounts, while control man undulates, moving among a continuous range of different orbits. Surfing has taken over from all the old sports. (Deleuze 1995: 180)...

    • Chapter 5 Chemical-Control™®: From the Cane to the Pill
      (pp. 82-103)
      Abigail Bray

      As is well known, the opening of Foucault’s Discipline and Punish (Foucault 1979) contrasts the public dismemberment of Damiens the regicide in 1757 with the docile and regimented bodies of children in Mettray some eighty years later as a stark illustration of the transition from the societies of sovereignty to the disciplinary societies. ‘In the normalization of the power of normalization, in the arrangement of a power-knowledge over individuals, Mettray and its school marked a new era’ (Foucault 1991: 237). Foucault reads this dramatic shift as central to the emergence of the disciplinary power of Western capitalism that requires docile...

    • Chapter 6 Politics in the Age of Control
      (pp. 104-122)
      Saul Newman

      In his ‘Postscript on the Societies of Control’, Gilles Deleuze diagnoses a new mode of control that pervades contemporary societies, surpassing the societies of enclosure and discipline so rigorously explored by Foucault. According to Deleuze, the old disciplinary paradigms are in the process of breaking down – or are at least undergoing a fundamental transformation. The control of individuals is no longer confined to the walls of the prison, school, factory or hospital, but rather spills out into other social spaces, functioning now as a free-floating, modulated form of surveillance made possible through the most sophisticated technologies. Little escapes its grasp,...

    • Chapter 7 Smash the Strata! A Programme for Techno-Political ®evolution
      (pp. 125-142)
      Tauel Harper

      Technology is latent with the possibility of developing a new mode of techno-politics capable of redressing the instrumental abuses of modern politics. No doubt such a possibility must contend with images of IBM punch cards ‘processing’ humanity for murder during the Holocaust, as well as deal with the one-dimensionality of the ubiquitous screens of the spectacle. Nevertheless, in the work of Deleuze and Guattari_there are suggestions that we need not fear the role of technology in the struggle against political oppression. Against a tradition of repression and discipline, they propose a programme of flight and flow. What I suggest here...

    • Chapter 8 Deleuze and the Internet
      (pp. 143-160)
      Ian Buchanan

      There can be no doubt that the Internet has transformed practically every aspect of contemporary life, especially the way we think about the body and its relation to identity and to place, once the twin cornerstones of social existence – in social life you are always someone from somewhere, the son or daughter of so-and-so from such-and-such town. These details of our existence, which are essentially historical, although they may sometimes take a form biologists think belongs to their domain (gender, race, body shape), segment us in different ways, slicing and dicing us this way and that so that we adhere...

    • Chapter 9 Swarming: Number versus Animal?
      (pp. 161-184)
      Eugene Thacker

      Returning home one evening, I entered the elevator and, unknowingly, entered into ‘the molecular’. I was not alone in the elevator; a small group of four or five other people were also inside. In the awkward silence that accompanies so many elevator rides – a silent stillness of ascending or descending movement – one of the others suddenly shouted ‘molecule!’ Before I was able to recall the children’s game that had just been announced, everyone had made their bodies compact and had begun bouncing about, bouncing off each other, bouncing off the walls. I had no choice but to become a molecule...

    • Chapter 10 The Body Without Organs and Internet Gaming Addiction
      (pp. 185-205)
      Ian Cook

      A variety of fears haunts the digitised imaginary: monstrous cyborgs, cyber-stalking paedophiles, digital pied pipers,¹ apocalyptic computer viruses, Y2Ks, panoptic surveillance devices that serve Big Brother or the Global Corporation. ‘Internet addict’ now belongs on this list. While some Internet addicts are addicted to webporn (Cook 2006), others are Internet gaming addicts. This chapter is an attempt to conceive the Internet gaming addict through Deleuze and Guattari’s concept of the body without organs. Conceiving the Internet gaming addict in this way enables an explanation of Internet gaming addiction as an expression of a pathological predisposition to reform the assemblage, or...

    • Chapter 11 Deleuze’s Concept in the Information-Control Continuum
      (pp. 206-223)
      Horst Ruthrof

      How can we best locate the Deleuzian notion of the concept in the larger field of conceptuality and its theorisation and how does such an orientation affect our understanding of Deleuze and Guattari’s contribution? Taking a broad view of Deleuze’s remarks on signification, meaning and the concept as they appear across his writings, we cannot but note a certain tension between an early formalism and a more ‘corporeal’ approach under the later influence of Guattari (Ruthrof 1997b: 563). It would be wrong, however, to suggest that the way the two thinkers present the notion of the concept in What Is...

    • Chapter 12 Illusionary Perception and Cinema: Experimental Thoughts on Film Theory and Neuroscience
      (pp. 224-240)
      Patricia Pisters

      At the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth, cinema was often connected to stage illusionism, to the mysteries of technological inventions and to intuitions about the working of the human mind. In 2006 two films set around the turn of the nineteenth to twentieth century – The Illusionist, directed by Neil Burger, and The Prestige, directed by Christopher Nolan – point towards a renewed interest in cinema’s relation to perceptual illusions through the stories of professional conjurers.¹ The simultaneous appearance of these films also points to a renewed theoretical interest in the luring powers of the screen...

    • Chapter 13 Surface Folds: The Archival Events of New Medialised Art
      (pp. 241-257)
      Timothy Murray

      How might a turn to philosophy enable the analysis of the impact of digital technologies on the parameters of the artistic archive and its transformations of the conventions of curatorial practice, art criticism and aesthetics? Over the past decade, I have combined academic research and writing on performance, cinema and video with curatorial projects in new media art. Deeply influencing my understanding of contemporary art and critical practice has been my work on a number of extensive projects.¹ These experiences in curating a wide range of new media art have prompted me to refine the sense of authorship, performance, subjectivity...

  7. Afterword
    (pp. 258-262)
    Mark Poster

    As William Bogard admits in his chapter in this volume, Deleuze did not theorise technology. Even worse from the standpoint of investigating new media, Deleuze not only does not theorise media, he rarely mentions the term. Nowhere in his considerable corpus does one find a sustained interrogation of the media, despite its increasing prominence in the social world. From radio, film and television to telephone, communications satellites and the Internet, media have become ubiquitous in daily life. In fact, France was the first nation to experiment on a broad scale with Internet communications in the form of the Minitel in...

  8. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 263-266)
  9. Index
    (pp. 267-277)
  10. Back Matter
    (pp. 278-280)