A Thousand Plateaus – Becoming Animal

Reflections on the rhizome “the line of ‘nomad’ thought”, the abolishing of hierarchical structures in the process of writing (or making). In psychoanalytical terms, Massumi explains, “The central perspective is…to promote human relations that do not automatically fall into roles or stereotypes but open into fundamental relations of a metaphysical kind that bring out the most radical and basic alienations of madness or neurosis.” A dissipation of constructed dualism in the cauldron of multiplicity. For the conscious embodiment of becoming we must be the sorcerer, the magician who, for Crowley, “brings all set ideas and judgments into question, which often makes him appear in a questionable light himself. As a creative creature, he knows no conscience.” Paths open are taken without judgment and what was hidden is revealed. Hierarchical laws imposing order are broken when convenient anyway, and are therefore grounded in hypocrisy. A clearer analysis of this feature of human law is proposed by Bataille, “When a negative emotion has the upper hand we must obey the taboo. When a positive emotion is in the ascendent we violate it.” Therefore the taboo is irrelevant when we follow our instinct. Becoming being our true state of instinctual negotiation, to always freely form alliances where borders to the known are sensed without the restriction of an external law. “A Thousand Plateaus is an effort to construct a smooth space of thought…an open system.” The human who is becoming unfolds the magic of life, and just like fellow animals negotiating nature, is free. Creative practice is, in essence, the space of becoming allowed to a select few. The continual work to reach a plateau which, as Massumi explains, is “when circumstances combine to bring an activity to a pitch of intensity that is not automatically dissipated in a climax…A Thousand Plateaus tries to combine conceptual bricks in such a way as to construct this kind of intensive state in thought…The way the combination is made is an example of what Deleuze and Guattari call consistency…a dynamic holding together or mode of composition.” The relevance of this text to painting is invited, “lift a dynamism out of the book entirely, and incarnate it in a foreign medium, whether it be painting or politics…pry open the vacant spaces that would enable you to build your life and those of the people around you into a plateau of intensity.” That’s my kind of bible.

2 thoughts on “A Thousand Plateaus – Becoming Animal

  1. Hi, Nicky directed me to your blog via the ANU postgrad reading group blog. I am also hoping to find my way into 1000 Plateaus as part of a project exploring D&G’S concept of smoth space (they use patchwork as an example. This is my first visit to your blog but I shall certainly be returning, thank you!


  2. 1000 Plateau’s is brilliant. Chapter 14. “The Smooth and the Striated – nomad space and sedentary space…not of the same nature…in fact exist only in mixture:smooth space is constantly being translated, transversed into a striated space; striated space is constantly being reversed, returned to a smooth space.” A wonderful concept to apply when considering arts practice. “Is a smooth space captured, enveloped by a striated space, or does a striated space dissolve into a smooth space, allow a smooth space to develop?” Thanks so much for your response, it has alerted me to their description of the basic weave constructing fabric in these terms, “one is fixed and one is mobile, passing above and below the fixed.”


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