Abstracts H

Eric Harper with Charity N. Mwaniki, The production of an anxiety dream space machine

The problem we wish to address is the ever increasing construction of docile bodies and chemical imprisonment of those categorised as mad, bad or sad. We outline the paradoxes of treatment for those labelled as having mental health and dual diagnostic challenges. Talk of supporting choice, reengagement with the community and building resilience occurs alongside the enforcement of treatment compliance, surveillance and recording of daily behaviour and the construction of barriers that prevent access service, especially for individuals from non-western backgrounds. The unofficial aim is to construct places that flatten out excessive and unwanted intensities and affects that make ‘us’ feel unsafe! How different this to dreaming and dream space laboratories where there is a metamorphosis of the persons relationship to their surroundings. What can an anxiety-dream machine do? It has the potential to create new assemblages that invites life as opposed to sleep walking. The anxiety-dream machine is a space where there is the potential breaking and unfolding of those habitual lines imprinted on the flesh thereby allowing for movement. This force field provides a potential de-territorialisation, a transversal that plays with many relational possibilities that always include an ‘AND’ - me and not me and mother and self and teddy and image and animal and thoughts and sensations and affects, AND... We consider the spontaneous construction of spaces that allow for anxiety dream time as they support people in their journey across unbearable intensities and compare this with the formal institutional settings.

Eric Harper is a psychotherapist, social worker and human rights activist currently working in London with homeless persons presenting with both mental health and addiction concerns. Prior to coming back to London he assisted with the founding of the African Sex Worker Health and Human Rights Alliance. His published work includes articles on therapy and human rights, for example The therapist’s relationship to the unknown. Harper, E. Mantis Publications. Jungian Journal. 2013 Torture ­ a presence without Absence. Harper, E. The Symptom ­ Online Journal for Lacan.com. Issue 4, 2003. Horror Unmasked: Truth or Fiction. Buur, L and Harper, E. Published by Human Rights and Human Welfare. Vol. 2, No.1 2002.


Keith Harris, A Thousand Models of Realization: Deleuzoguattarian Critical Urban Theory and the City to Come

Neil Brenner claims that Deleuzian approaches to urban studies cannot address the epistemological problems of “planetary urbanization” – a notion inspired by Lefebvre’s argument that globalizing capital and worldwide urbanization have blurred the lines between the city and country. His critique is defensible, but only because it is directed at a loose group of “assemblage urbanists,” primarily working from DeLanda’s notion of assemblage theory. Consequently, Brenner’s assertion that their approach precludes a serious engagement with “the broader geopolitical and geoeconomic dimensions of contemporary urbanization processes and associated forms of worldwide capitalist restructuring, dispossession, and uneven spatial development” is justified. I challenge Brenner’s position by bringing together Foucault’s archaeological method for excavating the forces fueling urbanization and Deleuze and Guattari’s discussion of models of realization and capitalist flows in A Thousand Plateaus. I highlight instances of progressive governance in Seattle, Washington, including housing debates, a new minimum wage, as well as municipal efforts to combat transit cuts. By focusing on the diverse commitments of the axiomatizing State – from attracting economic development to promoting environmental sustainability and equality – I argue that blanket diagnoses of neoliberalization underestimate the internal diversity of the State’s activity, and that politics for a more just city have a place and must constantly be affirmed.

Keith Harris is a Ph.D. candidate in the interdisciplinary Built Environment program at the University of Washington (Seattle), studying critical theory and urban geography. His research focuses on the dynamics of large-scale urban redevelopment projects, which he draws on to contribute to a broadly Deleuzoguattarian conception of critical urban theory. He has taught in the Architecture and Urban Planning departments, as well as the Community, Environment, and Planning program and the Comparative History of Ideas program.


Fredrik Hedelin, How does one make the music come alive?

What does it mean, in a strict sense, to create music? The starting point is that the two questions are very closely connected, that they actually respond to each other. To create is not to combine sounds in new ways; rather, creation is an act of bringing forth. To compose music that has an inherent vitality is to pursue an activity that attends to the self-forming force of music but at the same time stays creative, refusing to leave the responsibility to chance, to the musicians, or to the listener.
The refrain in Deleuze and Guattari -- together with related concepts such as territory, assemblages, terrestrial and cosmic forces, consistency -- allows us to come closer to the relationship between creation and life. The conclusion to be drawn from this is that the composer should safeguard the life-sustaining movement of the refrain, a movement that is continually at work in the music as it "takes control over the refrain, as content within a form of expression.”

Fredrik Hedelin (born 1965) is a composer, organist, music software programmer and teacher of musical composition, computer music and music theory. After studying composition at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, philosophy at Stockholm University, and aestehtics at Uppsala University, Hedelin pursued further studies in computer music and composition at IRCAM in Paris and later returned there to work with music combining instruments and real-time electronics. His music has been performed by, among others, the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Norrbotten NEO, Ensemble Nieuw and TM+ . He is currently working on a thesis about composition and musical form in relation to the concept of "refrain" in the writings of Deleuze and Guattari.


Yulia Hoffmann

My paper will explore the conditions and the meaning of the emergence of “a little new music,” as understood (and encouraged) by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari. The focus will be on the music in its literal or narrow sense, i.e. as a sonorous art. This “new music” does not necessarily presuppose a totally new language or a new form that sooner or later inevitably become clichés, the “same old tune.” Necessarily this creates some difficulties for a composer: how is it possible that music, while not being shaped into any pre-given fixed form or forms, can keep its consistency and continuity without falling apart into formless disarray? Furthermore, how can music that is always a product of its time contain something timeless in it? I propose to look at two general non-exclusive approaches, suggested by Deleuze and Guattari. One way is to make a compositional plane by means of the consolidation of sound material; the other, which should be accompanied with sobriety and simplicity, implies a rupture in the strata of an organised plan(e) and an application of the so-called forces of deterritorialization, the goal of deterritorialization being to free music from all the psychology and let it be a “pure presence” which “calls for an extension of perception to the limits of the universe.”

Yulia Hoffmann, graduate student in philosophy at the University of Vienna, Austria. Yulhoff@gmail.com 

David Holdsworth, The Concrete (Political) Universal in Deleuze and Badiou

Alain Badiou has famously criticized Gilles Deleuze. According to Badiou, Deleuze is a classical philosopher of the one – a Platonist of the virtual, who has failed to adequately theorize multiplicity as an account of the pure multiple. In this project I undertake to critique Badiou, starting from his provocative affirmation that mathematics, not philosophy, is the site of ontology. While there is a certain plausibility to this claim, given that axiomatic set theory does intuitively address notions of the multiple, I shall argue that there are more compelling philosophies of mathematics which do at least two critical things, moving us beyond set-theoretic “foundations” and in the directions of a political account of freedom: (1) they cast axiomatic set theory as a theory of abstract universals and the theory of categories as a theory of concrete universals; (2) they recast the very notion of an axiomatic strategy in ways that remove us from the multiple as a central theme of set theory. The basis of the first claim, as shown by David Ellerman, can be established using the resources of set-theoretic approaches to category theory and is based on the Hegelian notion that a concrete universal is something that participates in itself. The basis of the second claim is the alternate approach to category theory, and later topos theory, created by William Lawvere. Lawvere’s work showed, not only in what sense topos theory is a more adequate “foundation,” but introduces a notion of an axiomatic system that goes critically beyond that of David Hilbert. I shall argue that this new conception of axiomatic mathematics takes us away from Badiou, in the direction of Deleuze. From a Deleuzian perspective Lawvere’s understanding of mathematics helps us to formalize mathematics as a theory of the externality of relations. Moreover, it articulates clearly what it might mean to theorize the unity of opposites. Indeed, Lawvere himself claims that his theory of the topos constitutes a mathematical representation of Hegel. But insofar as it is still a strictly formal theory, it still retains the sequence of approaches, discussed by Zizek, that lead to the formulation of the concrete universal in Hegel as something that participates in itself. I shall argue that the conflict between Deleuze and Badiou ultimately hinges on how they each theorize participation. Moreover, a focus on this point of contention helps us to understand clearly how Deleuze departs from both Plato and Hegel and introduces a notion of participation that is more adequate to regimes of political practice and personal freedom.

David Holdsworth is Associate Professor of Environmental Studies, and Director of the Graduate Program in Theory, Culture, and Politics, Trent University, Canada. He is a theoretical physicist and philosopher of science whose work within the political and cultural context of scientific practice has been strongly influenced by French theory. He is currently focused on the relationship of mathematics to philosophy, category/topos theory as an expression of the “new axiomatics,” and the contrasting philosophies of Badiou and Deleuze. Earlier preferences for axiomatic approaches to algebraic quantum logic (the quantum topos) have been disrupted by an emerging sympathy for Deleuzian problematics. Tracing this trajectory are A Functorial Semantics for Quantum Logic (PhD, 1979), “Category Theory and Quantum Mechanics (Journal of Philosophical Logic, 1977), “Becoming Interdisciplinary: Making Sense of Delanda’s Reading of Deleuze” (Paragraph, 2006), and “Philosophical Problematization and Mathematical Solution: Learning Science with Gilles Deleuze” (in Deleuze and Education, University of Edinburgh Press, 2013).


Eugene Holland, From Schizoanalysis to Nomadology: Toward a Political Theory of the Institution.

Despite fundamental agreement with Althusser on some issues, Deleuze & Guattari vehemently rejected the notion of ideology – even the improved version Althusser developed in his famous essay on Ideological State Apparatuses. For Deleuze & Guattari such "apparatuses" or institutions belong to neither ideologyl nor the state, and the aim of this paper is to show why Deleuze & Guattari reject ideology in favor of institutions, and how a political theory of the institution emerges from the two volumes of Capitalism and Schizophrenia that stimulates creativity rather than disobedience and promotes productive action rather than mere resistance.
The first step will be to show how the early Althusser's locating ideology in the construction of the subject oedipalizes the latter through obedience to the law (thematized but not critiqued by Butler), whereas the pre-oedipal fractured self gets constituted in relation to the part-object Real and the post-oedipal subject gets constituted in relation to a fractured Symbolic order, whose supposed authority the schizophrenic subject denies. (The fractured Symbolic order is akin to Derrida's non-centered structure.)
Against the kind of personification involved in subject-construction according to Sartre, Lacan, and Levinas, the schizophrenic subject is thus not constituted in relation to a person or even the figure of a person (police officer, sujet-supposé-savoir), but in relation to an assemblage or situation, which includes people but also includes things, material processes, and institutional arrangements. The authority denied to the Symbolic Other gets displaced onto situations or institutions, which (as political theorist Mary Parker Follett has argued) contain authority immanently as formations of "related difference" (nomadic multiplicities). This is akin to Badiou's construction of the subject in fidelity to an Event – except that for Deleuze & Guattari such events are not rare, they are ubiquitous: they are called becomings. Productive schizophrenic subjectivity is constituted in relation to (some of) the becomings inherent in any situation.
The second step will be to show (in line with Gibson-Graham's work) that fracturing the Symbolic order explodes the mode of production (featured in the first volume of Capitalism and Schizophrenia) into machinic processes: in the second volume, the mode of production is determined by machinic processes rather than the other way around. In line with late Althusser, the question for a mode of production is always whether a given set of machinic processes, institutional arrangements and corresponding subjective roles maintains sufficient consistency for the mode to reproduce itself. Lyotard's postmodern condition entails a similarly fractured Symbolic order, in which machinic processes and institutions are construed in terms of "language-games".
The final step will be to show that institutions as social machines are susceptible to change not by moves that merely repeat norms differently (Butler's transgression, parody – mere disobedience) but by moves that change the rules of the language-game itself and thereby actually break institutional bad habits and create new ones, as Roberto Unger recommends in order to "realize democracy". Most institutions tend to secrete a transcendent model of organization (or self-preservation) which “fixes” the organization and reduces experimentation to almost zero, making the practices serve the organization rather than the other way around ("alienation"). Nomadic groups keep organization subordinate to process, by diminishing the ordinary moves by which we reproduce institutions in favor of extraordinary moves by which we can continually change them, or "put them to flight" in a productive sense.

Eugene W. Holland is a Professor of Comparative Studies at Ohio State University, U.S.A. and a member of the Editorial Board of Deleuze Studies. He is the author of Readers Guide to A Thousand Plateaus [Bloomsbury/Continuum 2013], Nomad Citizenship: Free-Market Communism and the Slow-Motion General Strike [University of Minnesota Press 2011], Deleuze and Guattari’s Anti-Oedipus: Introduction to Schizoanalysis [Routledge 1999], and Baudelaire and Schizoanalysis: The Sociopoetics of Modernism [Cambridge UP 1993], along with essays in journals including Culture, Theory and Critique, Symposium, Cultural Logic, Strategies, Angelaki, and SubStance. 


Karen Houle, Symmetries in Conceptual and Morphological Formation: The Difference Plant Body Growth Can Make to Thought

My working hypothesis is that the concepts we have inherited, and with which we think, are strongly marked by an animal form. Put otherwise, our concepts exhibit animal bodiliness both in their form (thoughts) and in the typical functions (thinking) to which such mental forms give rise. Our concepts are dominated by four formal characteristics: radial concentricity, up-down hierarchization, right-left binarization (bilateral symmetry), and dorsal-ventrality (or back-to-frontness). As operations of thought, those same concepts exhibit a pronounced dualistic-dualizing tendency, and hence install the same in us, as thinking, as thinkers. While this operation of thought is often effective, appropriate, even elegant; it is just as frequently an obstacle to ethicality or politicality. In this paper, following my previous work (on plant communication) I take up a second avenue for understanding Deleuze and Guattari’s notion of becoming-plant: presenting how the development of symmetry in plant cells and bodies do not run through the same morphological steps as the development of symmetries in animal cells and bodies. Hence, a characterization of the form and function of becoming-plant offers us an important difference; important not just in the sense that plant life is empirically distinct from animal life, but philosophically important in that attending closely to the mechanics of that difference is a practice of affirmative posthuman ethics. That is, intellectual labour at the interstices of biology, botany and philosophy can open us to seeing from a new angle just how habitually we operate, at the level of the forms of thought, in radial, binary and vertical ways. This exercise itself can contribute to making (and even more, undergoing) a vital sketch of resistance to the production and reproduction, in us, of conceptual animality. Listening to the science story of plant symmetry can also performatively pull us, & forcibly so, into a new (thinking) space.

Karen Houle is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Guelph, and adjunct graduate faculty in the Schools of Fine Art and Music & the Guelph-Humber School of Creative Writing. Her areas of specialization are political theory, ethics, environmental philosophy and feminist thought. She co-edited (with Jim Vernon) Hegel and Deleuze: Together Again for the First Time (Northwestern, 2013). Her monograph, Responsibility, Complexity and Abortion: Toward a New Image of Ethical Thought (Lexington Books) came out at the end of 2013. She recently translated a book on improvisation (PS Guelph, September 2014) called Improvising Freely: The ABCs of An Experience. She has published numerous academic and non-academic articles on topics ranging from plant communication to Levinas, animal tracking to Foucault, from watershed ecology to Derrida, from canoe flotillas to Irigaray, from rape to Steve Reich. She is also the author of two books of poetry: Ballast (House of Anansi, 2001) and During (Gaspereau, 2008). In the Fall of 2014 she was the inaugural Eastern Comma Writer-in-Residence at North House, on the rare Charitable Research Reserve in Blair, Ontario.


Maria Hynes, The Gift and the Intensity of Difference: Marina Abramovic’s The Artist is Present

Pluralist empiricism is nothing if not a reconceptualization of the economy of identity and difference. Yet, many descriptions of Deleuzian empiricism continue to operate within the very language of exchange that has governed the representational tradition. This paper argues that keeping in play the differential ontology that Deleuze’s thought works so hard to open requires an appreciation of the non-exchangeability of difference. It does so through a consideration of the significance of Marina Abramovic’s gift of time in her 2011 performance, The Artist is Present. Beyond the economy of the signification of force, Marina Abramovic’s performance, The Artist is Present, opens a space of encounter with the becoming-expressive of matter. Through the use of repetition and the ‘weight of time’, the performance rescues experience from the interiority of a self-constituting subjectivity and the clichés of intersubjectivity. Its gift, then, is an encounter with the dynamic intensity of difference, a staging of the production of new values and sensibilities according to immanent and transformable conditions.

Maria Hynes researches and teaches at the School of Sociology, The Australian National University. Her research interests include the relationship between aesthetics, science and ethics; art and the production of subjectivity in the work of Guattari; the creative capacities of humour; and the contribution of Deleuze to Sociological and social theory more broadly.

School of Sociology, The Australian National University.