Category Archives: phd


DeLanda – 2012 jun 18

Geology of Morals

A Neo-Materialist Interpretation


  • Macro = Molar
  • Micro = Molecular

Territorialization = select a few components (substance) give them a statistical order (form).  

  • filtered elements: CHNOPS – carbon, hydrogen, nigtrogen, oxygen, phosphorous, sulfur

Coding = consolidate previous arrangement with enduring links (form), generate a new whole with its own properties (substances)


Synthesis without negation – synthesis with positive difference 

Difference is not just the lack of similar – Guittari is trying to create a positive process of synthesis by territorialisation and coding.

Sedimentary Rocks 

Double articulation is so extremely variable that we cannot begin with a general model, only a relatively simple case. The first articulation chooses or deducts, from unstable particleflows, metastable molecular or quasi-molecular units (substances) upon which it imposes a statistical order of connections and successions (forms). The second articulation establishes functional, compact, stable structures (forms), and constructs the molar compounds in which these structures are simultaneously actualized (substances). In a geological stratum, for example, the first articulation is the process of “sedimentation,” which deposits units of cyclic sediment according to a statistical order: flysch, with its succession of sandstone and schist. The second articulation is the “folding” that sets up a stable functional structure and effects the passage from sediment to sedimentary rock. It is clear that the distinction between the two articulations is not between substances and forms. Substances are nothing other than formed matters. Forms imply a code, modes of coding and decoding. Substances as formed matters refer to territorialities and degrees of territorialization and deterritorialization. But each articulation has a code and a territorially; therefore each possesses both form and substance. For now, all we can say is that each articulation has a corresponding type of segmentarity or multiplicity: one type is supple, more molecular, and merely ordered; the other is more rigid, molar, and organized. Although the first articulation is not lacking in systematic interactions, it is in the second articulation in particular that phenomena constituting an overcoding are produced, phenomena of centering, unification, totalization, integration, hierarchization, and finalization. Both articulations establish binary relations between their respective segments. But between the segments of one articulation and the segments of the other there are biunivocal relationships obeying far more complex laws. The word “structure” may be used to designate the sum of these relations and relationships, but it is an illusion to believe that structure is the earth’s last word. Moreover, it cannot be taken for granted that the distinction between the two articulations is always that of the molecular and the molar.” 

Territorialisation is performed by rivers – the first articulation is coding, cementation. 

“All this activity involves hundreds of chemical activity involves hundreds of chemical reactions. But ultimately, it produces a limited number of small compounds, a few dozen at most.  But ultimately, it produces a limited number of small compounds, a few dozen at most. In the second stage of cellular biosynthesis; the second constructs stable products. The first operates by a series of different reactions; the second by repeating the same the second by repeating the same reaction. There is, moreover, a third level, upon which cellular chemistry itself depends. It is the genetic code, which is in turn inseparable from a double segmentarity or a double articulation, this time between two which is in turn inseparable from a double segmentarity or a double articulation, this time between two types of independent molecules pieces, if not stupid vulgarization”

Animal Species

Birth –> Speciation 

Death –> Extinction 

Territorialisation = slow accumulation of genetic materials, sorted out by natural selection (predators, climate, parasites) 

Coding = reproductive isolation 

Retro-virus, plasmids: Bacteria do not have a stratified gene pool – they have access to the entire gene pool of organisms 

Retro-viruses, jumping genes, spiders silk, goats milk


  •  Plane of immanence
    • special events – critial points 
    • a change in quantity becomes a change in quality 
  •  Critical thresholds 
    • in a linear space – critical thresholds are points
    • in a 2d space – critical thresholds are linear
    • in a 3d space – critical trhesholds are planar
  • N-1 is the dimension of the body that interacts with the 
  • Dimensionality – is a topological invariant  
  • Fractalisation – a way of ‘folding’ two dimensional structures such that they are almost three dimensional (e.g.: a cumpled up paper ball 
  • Leibniz and the folds of textiles – two dimensional objects in a three 
Removing transcendence in two ways
  • contingency
  • positive variation – 
  • what are the singularities, connectivities, dimensionalities

Plane of immanence is like a cross section of all dimensional spaces to bring them all N-1.  Dimensional Analysis

The plane of immanence if like a giant cross section of all the multiplicities.

Example: Evolution can act as much by adding new things – as well as by subtracting – sometimes by subtracting evolutionary processes are accelerated (e.g.: we may be juvenile chimpanzees).  Neoteny


  • Facticity
  • Technology can help us see the contingency of 
  • Technologies as inputs to the 
  • Crystallise amber 
  • Politics of an event – there are no things, just very slowly changing objects 
    • stop motion cameras are just telescopes in time (allows the perception of events unfolding in time) – time machines are time machines (allows the perception of evens from really long ago)

DeLanda – 2012 jun 17

Subjectivity – Everything is a becoming, but not at the same speed 

Kant (1724 – 1804)

  • Subject = seat of two faculties
  • Conceptual / linguistic structure
  • Intuition -> Faculty to perceive particulars
  • Understanding -> Faculty to classify those particulars under general categories
  • De-historicised origin story of language – what was Kant’s theory of language origination

Hume (1711 – 1776)

  • Subject  = Crystallisation in a fluid field of raw intensities and the low-intensity replicas of thos sensations
  • Habitual associations among ideas (by contiguity, succession, similarity) 
    • The physical world is remarkably consistent – so repetitive actions (habitual) 
    • Induction results – generalising from similar experiences 
    • The ego is a territorialisation brought about by habitual, re-enactment, consistency 
    • Delirium
      • acid – still conscious but your ego is not conscious, the colours are conscious of themselves
      • vomitin and vertigo 
      • entraining (trance, tribal dance) 
    • anthropomorphism can be avoided only at the cost of anthropocentricism 
    • deteritorialisation consciousness 
  • Stabilizes the subject 
  • Bergson on memory 
  • As a baby you have a tiny, developed subjectivity in a field of proto-subjectivities 
  • “The mind is not nature, nor does it have a nature. It is identical with the ideas in the mind. Ideas are given, as given; they are experience. The mind, on the other hand, is given as a collection of ideas and not as a system. It follows that our earlier question can be expressed as follows: how does a collection become a system? The collection of ideas is called ‘imagination,’ insofar as the collection designates not a faculty but rather an assemblage of things, in the most vague sense of the term: things are as they appear—a collection without an album, a play without a stage, a flux of perceptions. ‘The comparison of the theatre must not mislead us; nor have we the most distant notion of the place, where these scenes are represented, or of the materials, of which it is compos’d’ [Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature, 253]. The place is not different from what takes place in it; the representation does not take place in a subject.” – Gilles Deleuze, Empiricism And Subjectivity

  • Consistency and “violence to the mind” 
  • As Bergson states, achieving an absolute relationship to a thing can cause “violence” to the mind.


Linguistic relativity – Sapir–Whorf hypothesis – Kantian 

James Gibson – An Ecological Theory of Perception

Foucault – military and torture practice as discursive 

Thomas Kuhn – paradigm 

Phlogiston theory / controversy – there was a lot of communication between the groups – Kuhn’s account was wrong 

Charles W. Morris – semiotician


  • Signification – semantic content
  • Significance – relevance, importance, making a difference
  • Clifford Geertz – Interpreting Culture.  Didn’t distinguish between signification and significance… and so confuses how culture develops

Hume – physical intensities – social intensities – 

Public “perception” 

Aristotle created a mechanical recipe for the mechanism of intuition – syllogism:  All humans are mortal.  Socrates is human.  Socrates is mortal.

AI:  Kant and Hume

Kant – Symbolic AI 

  • Deductive Logic – from general to particular
  • Inductive Logic – from particular to general
  • Minsky / Papert – The Perceptron

Hume – Connectionist AI 


  • What about the capacities of language?  Could we think of this as a technology
  • The links between phonemes and their referent – between Kant and Hume? Materialism of language 
    • Language relationships developed outside in the world
    • Baldwin effect
  • The physiological links between emotion and language – why “I love you” releases endorphins, etc. Materialism of language 
  • Hardware as the context for the code – the social structures and material structure of language 
  • DeLanda Destratified – Observing the Liquefaction of Manuel DeLanda
  • Training to feel veins and muscles with pieces of rice under a towel

Evolution of Expressivity 

  • Intensive Difference
    • Extensity 
    • Qualities
  • Signal –> Signs
    • Signal: information channel
    • Signs: information bits  

Signal Sign Systems

  • Atomic spectrography 
  • Finger prints – signs of identity
  • Atoms have their own finger print
  • Air might be a communication – certain atoms being a sign of prey or predator – non linguistic signs
  • Evolution of the eye
  • “Life” has evolved three main ways of extracting energy: Photosyntesis, Cellular Respiration, and Fermentation
  • Lock and key mechanism – as a very basic form of ‘recognition’ – bacteria swim towards the highest concentration
  • Organs begins to develop to take advantage of the environment  
  • Fingerprints –> Signatures 
    • Territorial animals – feces and urine
  • Bower Birds
    • blue birds – sought-after – build shitty nests
    • somewhat blue birds – build better nests
    • non-blue birds – build nests decorated with blue objects – art! 
  • “There is a territory precisely when milieu components cease to be directional, becoming dimensional instead, when they cease to be functional to become expressive. There is territory when the rhythm has expressiveness. What defines the territory is the emergence of matters of expression (qualities). Take the example of colour in birds or fish: colour is a membrane state associated with interior hormonal states, but it remains functional and transitory as long as it is tied to a type of action (sexuality, aggressiveness, flight). It becomes expressive, on the other hand, when it acquires a temporal constancy and a spatial range that makes it a territorial, or rather territorialising, mark: a signature. … The same species of birds may have coloured and uncoloured representatives; the coloured birds have a territory, whereas the all-white ones are gregarious.”
  •  Signature –> 
Intensive and expressive is married through the concept of negentropy.   Information and negentropy are opposed.
The “machinic opera” of birds, oceans, waves, water, leaves… we are a species that can create the most elaborate styles – singatures, placards, posters (KISS 
Humans may be the masters of expression, but we are not unique
Matters of expression self-oranize (auto-organise) into motifs and counterpoints.  Nightingales, dawn choruses. 
Everything is Expressive

For Guittari, all is expressive, so what is it expressing to?   The Plane of Immanence – the impersonal god.  
Linear – Non-linear – Near-equilibrium – Far-from-equilibrium
  • Linear systems are minimally expressive
  • Non-linear systems have feedback between systems  
  • Near Equilibrium
    • steady-state systems
    • expresses the virtual – but in an impoverished way
  • Far From Equilibrium 
    • introduction of novelty
    • deliberately change and switch – develop motifs and habits
  • Amsterdam – deteriolised
  • Morality vs. ethics 
  • Spinoza is excommunicated
  • Industrial systems – degrading costs of routinised labour – detrimental
  • Too big to fail – “Privatising profits and socialising loses”
  • Emilia-Romagna vs. Ford / GM 
    • 80s – 90s economic engine
    • small companies with a lot of variation… no potential to create government pressure (as they have distributed 
  • Route 128 – silicon valey
    • creative people join firms when there is a challenge
    • 3 years turnover 
  • In Spinoza’s sense of ethics – Deleuze says that we are expressions of the plane of eminence   

DeLanda – 2012 jun 16

Manuel de Landa – Difference and Repetition

Difference and Repetition

  • Difference as primary – homogenisation is a derivative force – e.g.: sorting operations 
  • Difference as ‘lack of similarity’ needs to be broken – Deleuze’s original concept of similarity
  • Difference is not phenomenon – but the nomenon closest to the phenonmenon (anti-Kantian)
    • phenomena 
    • noomena – the conditions of experience
  • “Every change refers to a difference that is it sufficient reason”
  • Differences of intensity
  • Carnot and Curie
    • Extensive Properties:  Length, area, volume, amount of energy
      • divisible, segmentable
      • striation, bordered 
      • territories, territorialisation
      • “vast, far-reaching;” c.1600 of immaterial, c.1700 of material things; from L.L. extensivus, from extens-, pp. stem of L. extendere (see extend). Earlier in a medical sense, “characterized by swelling” (early 15c.). Related: Extensively; extensiveness.
    • Intensive Properties: Temperature, pressure, concentration, speed, ph, redox
      • cannot be subdivided 
      • smooth
      • mid-15c., from Fr. intensif (14c.), from L. intens-, pp. stem of intendere (see intend). As a noun, 1813, from the adjective. Alternative intensitive is a malformation. Intensive care attested from 1958. Related: Intensively.
      • “Every intensity is differential, by itself a difference.”
    • Deleuze is very interested in the ways, histories and processes that make an intensive system into an extensive one
      • e.g.: plate tectonics discovering / showing that the processes of coastal formations are subject to temporal processes of sea-floor spreading, etc.
    • What comes after the movement between extensive to intensities 
      • the post-intensive system is the ‘body without organs’
      • BWO results from a third ‘differential’ movement outward from the 
  • Noucomb engine
  • Difference in intensity created the industrial revolution
  • Thermodynamics – 

1. Differences in intensity drive processes, but they cancel themselves 

    • Thermodynamics cannot be trusted – they only study the equilibrium states – not the differences as they develop or change
    • Far from equilibrium thermodynamics

2. Intensive difference have critical thresholds

    • Gas – liquid – solid
    • Critical concentration of seratonin sends us to sleep
    • horse breaking into a gallop
    • convection – fluid dyanmics – turbulence

Metric vs. Non-Metric

  • Cartesian spaces – Euclidian geometry 
  • GaussRieman – Differential geometry
    • A field of rapitities and slownesses
    • Multiplicities
  • Rate of change
  • Einstein ecclipse 1919 – allowed through the idea of dimensional changes that were outside 

Capacities, Tendencies, Affect, Assembages

  • Real but not necessarily actual = virtual
  • Always double – coupling a capacity to affect to a capacity to be affected 
  • Capacities can be infinite
  • Tendencies are less sensitive to the nature of the interactors 
  • Tendencies are simpler than capacitites (capacities have not been formalised) 
  • Leibniz and spinoza – also have theories of capacities
Idea & Singularity
  • First characteristic
  • Second characteristic
  • Third characteristic
    • There are many ways that a virtual structure can 



Any population of variable replicators coupled to any filter or sorting device.  

A Thousand Plateau

  • p. 248 – Evolution discussion in Difference and Repetition
  • Why are there attractors? The inverse catenarycalculus of variations
  • Replicators
    • Genes 
    • Memes – Dawkins – blackbird and the nightengale are artist birds – Oliver Messiaen.  Patterns of behaviour transmitted through imitation… Animal proto-cultures
    • Norms (enforced obligations – ridicule, exclusion, ostracism, punishment). Patterns of behaviour transmitted through obligation… 
  • Sociolinguistics – switching codes (changing your dialect based on the context in which you are speaking) 
  • Order-word – the elementary unit of language.. Commands / promises / warning / judge sentences – Speech Act – Performative utterance – “How to do things with words” (not How to represent things with words)
  • Hearsay – gossip 
Persons –> Communities & Organisations 
  • Territorialisation – congealing brought out by conflict 
  • Connectivity – an invisible property of the community – everyone knows everybody else.
  • Communities
    • Collective assemblages of enunciation
    • Generaly non-hierarchical: Created out of families – where there is a hierarchy 
  • Organisations:
    • Hospitals prisons / schools
    • Commands 
  • Organisations and communities should be treated as machines in which people are cogs and wheels – and speech-acts regulate the machine
Language Evolution
  • Spanish – catalan was made illegal by Franco – minor languages being made illegal in … dialects dominating one another
  • Royal academies of language – e.g.: Real Academia Espanola
  • The Roman Empire – proliferation of Roman soldiers in Europe – develops two kinds of latin:
    • Major, written latin
    • Minor, oral latin
  • Charlemagne – 809 A.D. – trying to put the Roman empire back together (it had been dead for 300 years) 
    • Written latin was only conserved in books
    • Charlemange commissioned a version of latin to figure 
    • Alcuin reports that he didn’t know what they were speaking “Rustica Romana” (we call it “Old French”) 
    • So after the Roman Empire crumbles – 
  • Plurality of hispano, italo, franco – romances 
    • Richness in variation creates the many variations of romanesque languages
  • Angles Saxons Jutes move to England – Old English (West Saxon – Beowolf)
  • Normans – William the Conquerer – conquer England – install Norman churches – 
  • Battle of Hastings – 1066
  • Evolution of language retains the most emphasized aspects of words (e.g.: “hood” from neighborhood, “math” from mathematics)
  • When the heavy clipping of language starts to occur the in 
  • When the authority fell – the enforcement of the standard fell also – and the many ways that language evolves and becomes more variable
The City – a Meso-level
  • Rates of urbanisation swings up between 1000 and 1300
  • Feudal lords rule the borders of the city – small domains and ruling kingdoms
  • The church/state 
  • 1300 Europe is fully urbanised
  • Christaller
  • Languages became overlapping structures across various Europe – developing variation – but then each area hired grammaticists to ‘solidify’ the language 
  • The sorting function was prestige:
    • E.g.: Castilian – soldiers who spoke Castilian won a number of battles… e.g.: The Moores
    • E.g.: The writing of great literature in that language
  • Antonio DeNebrejaha – 1492
    • Offers the Queen a project to standardise/extend Spanish  inside Spain
    • Tuscan Academy of Language – 1582
    • French Academy of Language – 1637 – want to preserve literature that was developing in different variations of French
  • Printing press… 
  • 1800’s – standardised education 
  • 1850’s – news agencies 
    • Reuters
    • Havas
    • Replicating the standard to promote the language
  • 1935 – French is the international standard
  • 1950 – English is the international standard 
Deleuze and Guitari: 
Must a distinction be made between two kinds of languages, “high” and “low”, major and minor? The first would be defined precisely by the power of constants, the second by the power of variation. We do not simply want to make an opposition between the unity of a major language and the multiplicity of dialects. Rather, each dialect has a zone of transition and variation… [It] is rare to find clear boundaries on dialect maps; instead there are transitional and limitrophe zones, zones of indiscernibility. … The very notion of dialect is quite questionable. Moreover, it is relative because one needs to know in relation to what major language it exercises its function: for example, the Québecois language must be evaluated in relation to standard French but also in relation to major English, from which it borrows all kinds of phonetic and syntactical elements, in order to set them in variation. … In short the notion of dialect does not elucidate that of a minor language, but the other way around; it is the minor language that defines dialects through its own possibilities of variation.  
William Labov – linguist takes variation seriously (unlike Saussure and Chomsky).  Shows that ‘black english’ is a language – but how did it evolve?  Where did the variation come from? The slave trade. Slaves developed a pidgin language – to communicate with each other (english, french, african)… 
Pidginisation – simplifying the language 
Creolisation – re-enrichment of the language by combining other language
Swahili evolved in Africa to provide a lingua franca… 
Machines / Technology:
  • Machine translators / inernationalisation of the internet 
    • English <-> Russian <-> English
    • The flesh is weak but the spirit strong – The steak is bad but the vodka is good
  • Code of language – 
    • software – recipes – genealogy
    • von neumann arc 
  • Automota in language
    • finite – regular language 
    • stack – context sensitive languages
    • turing machine – 
  • Meme / gene interface
    • rich sounds generated on the 
    • the larynx doesn’t leave fossils – soft tissue
    • the primacy of language – there was a human, material culture for 600,000 years without language 
  • The physical evolution of language – 
  • Patois
  • The account of evolution of language appears to have encompassed a set of Meso- (cities and regions) and Macro- (national, war-time, trade-based) forces and effects – but is there 
  • Nicaraguan Sign Language



Cadava – 2012 jun 14 (evening)

Nadar’s Photografopolis

“It is therefore my hope that it will not be held against me that, in this general theatre of death, I have not forborne to set forth my own paper graveyard”

“For the world itself has taken on a ‘photographic face;’ it can be photographed because it strives to be absorbed into the spatial continuum which yields to snapshots…. That the world devours them is a sign of the fear of death. What the photographs by their sheer accumulation attempt to banish is the recollection of death, which is part and parcel of every memory image. In the illustrated magazines, the world has become a photographable present, and the photographed present has been entirely eternalized. Seemingly ripped from the clutch of death, in reality it has succumbed to it.” – Kracauer

Looking upon history as a text

  • History as text
  • History as a photographic plate
  • If history is comparable to a text, and a text is comparable to the photographic plate, then history is comparable to the same photographic plate

What for others are dviations are for me the data which determine my course…

“Let us compare time to a photographer–earthly time to a photographer who photographs the essence of things. But because of the nature of earthly time and its apparatus, the photographer manages only to register the negative of that essence on his photographic plates. No one can read these plates; no one can deduce from the negative, on which time records the objects, the true essence of things as they really are. Moreover, the elixir that might act as a developing agent is unknown. And there is Baudelaire: he doesn’t possess the vital fluid either–the fluid in which these plates would have to be immersed so as to obtain the true picture. But he, he alone, is able to read the plates, thanks to infinite mental efforts. He alone is able to extract from the negatives of essence a presentiment of its real picture. And from this presentiment speaks the negative of essence in all his poems.”

Against Tracing Nadar – Rosalind Krauss

Nadar’s Memoirs

  • Balzac and the Daguerreotype
  • Balzac thought that the layers of the person were removed
  • Man or a building is represented by an image in the atmosphere

“The newer devices no longer compose the faces—but must faces be composed [zusammengefaßt]? Perhaps for these new devices there is a photo- graphic method which would decompose faces [die Gesichter zerlegt]?” (Bertold Brecht, qtd. in Benjamin, Arcades Y8,1)

Psychological allegory – A pharmacist who murders his wife’s lover.


The paradoxical nature of simulacra

The Catacombs – a city of the dead – in this strange equality that is dead.  Paris names the intersection of life and death. 

Electric light – underground work – using manequins because they needed ‘inorganic immobility’ – Nadar’s paris is always double.  It is another name for repetition and citation. 

Memories of the Giant  

Aerial baloon flights – 1858 – “The body forgets itself – it exists no longer”.  The photographs of Paris from the sky are the double of the underground catacomb images. 

Parisian views by Shelley Rice

Platonic Inheritance


Aura names the coupling of repetition and production

Photography as a love of the world – subjects and objects 

The Telephone book – technical media are always linked to mourning 

History and politics are derivative effects of the technical media 

We didn’t have to wait for photography – Medusa, mirrors – but once it arrives the issues raised are in your face

The love that Nadar has for his subjects – the flattening of subject object relations by putting objects on an even footing with people? (mannequins, etc.)  

* the love that Nadar has for the world 
* equality of subjects and objects in the catacomb 
* les statue meure aussi 










Cadava – 2012 jun 14

Work of Art in the Age of Its Technical Reproducibility

Analysing the techniques of the technical media

Media brings us “closer” to history? What’s closer to us through microphones – actually gets further away… 

  • Ernst Junger – Uber den Schmerz (1934) 
    • The technological dimensions our ability to withstand pain – 
    • ‘Today wherever an event takes place it is surrounded by a circle of lenses and microphones and lit up by the flaming explosions of flashbulbs. In many cases the event itself is completely subordinated to its’ transmission; to a great degree, it has been turned into an object. Thus we have already experienced political trials, parliamentary meetings, and contests whose whole purpose is to be the object of a planetary broadcast. The event is neither bound to its particular space nor to its particular time, since it can be mirrored anywhere and repeated any number of times These are signs that point to a great distance.
  • Benjamin 
    • “Distance really depends on where you start from”
    • Presupposition of a fixed point of reference 
    • There is no space or moment that is free from the technical (language is also a technology)
    • Interiors, spaces – how does the interior get broken into by things that are not ‘inside the room’
      • “it is impossible to extricate oneself from the questions in which your age is involved. you can no more keep out of politics than you can keep out of the frost.” – Emerson 
    • Historical materialist – to analyse the stratefied network within which social production takes place

The meaning of technological here is understood as considering the historical relations between science and art.

Reproducibility as a mode of being – not as a mechanical possibility.  A structural possibility within the work of art – something that is there to be found in every work of art.

The G Group – journal – Bauhaus

There can be no history without the capacity to arrest historical movement – a mode of writing that is faithful to the suspension.  Form and content have to be thought together.   

Cinematic montage 

The Small History of Photography – Benjamin takes passages out of the books and 

Paul Celan – the danger of the rhetoric of awakening – Germany awakening.  His anxiety is that the German language has poisoned the words – awakening / growth.  Wax in your ears… Being conscious of the fact that the language 

Vegetarianism and anti-semitism (Derrida class) – “on a formal level, in that Judaism requires sacrifice, vegetarians are anti-semetic” 

Lee Miller – Leni Riefenstahl

Reebok / Emerson / Massachusetts

Work of Art in the Age of Its Technical Reproducibility

Thesis I
  • Beginning with citation – showing that reproducibility is not just about the mechanical. 
  • Entirely useless to fascism – an anxiety about the use of language and the instrumentalisation of the texts.  No reform without taking up the risk of appropriating the languages 
  • Learning to read historically is our only escape – without this we are ‘unprovided for’ – and we live “in the darkness of the lived moment”
  • The German nation is producing itself as a total work of art
  • The traditional conception of the work of art as creative, original, etc.
  • Under the sign of the name Marx – he compares his task to Marx
  • “processing of data in the fascist sense” – “completely useless for the purposes of facism”
  • The politics of an art that would re-conceive the way in which we understand art.  The way we’ve thought about art before is getting us in trouble… it is easier to mobilise a individualised, singularised conception of art
  • Proto-post-structuralism
  • Aura – associated with the furer – auratic – is here recontextualised 
Thesis II
  • Works of art could always be copied 
  • Auratic character – the general understanding of the essay:  The reproducibility of the work makes its aura wither
    • But: “The whole sphere of authenticity is outside technical – and, of course, not only technical – reproducibility.”
    • From the beginning of time, authenticity has not existed
    • Footnote: “Precisely because authenticity is not reproducible … “
  • Emerson – “Fate” – ’tis fine to say we elect our course – as long as we acknolwedge an irresistable dictation
  • The forces that create the masses (politically) and mass media (representationally) are both produced through the structure and operation of technical reproduction.  And one allows the other to see itself…
  • Footnote: “This is to say that mass movements, including war, are a form of human behavior especially suited to the camera”

Thesis III

  • Opens with a pointer to the perceptual changes that relate 
  • Quoting himself in order to perform the mass of relations 
    • From Small History of Photography “What is aura actually…?” is the same passage
    • This quote is itself a distortion of a passage from Proust’s Researche du temps perdu
      • “Yes, if the remembered image, thanks to forgetting, has been unable to contract any link, to forge any connection between itself and the present moment, if it has remained in its place, in its time, if it has kept its distance, its isolation in the hollow of a valley or at the summit of a mountain, it suddenly makes us breathe a fresh air, precisely because it is an air which we have breathed before – that purer air which the poets have vainly tried to establish in Paradise, and which could not convey that profound sense of renewal if it had not already been breathed, for the true paradises are the paradises that we have lost.”
    • The sense of renewal we have when breathing anew, emerges from what is already breathed
  • Staging the movements of auratic experience: The appearance of distance no matter how close you are
  • Simulacrum? Political project is failing… There is no ‘real life’ that we’re being pulled away from
Why not just come out and say “Germans are overly romantic, etc.?” 

Marx – Political project 

Nietsche – On the uses and dissadvantages of History for life

  • Germany does not exist
  • Germany does not exist because it does not ahve its own proper being
Athens, Still Remains – Derrida & BonHomme 


Photography and the history of philosophy 
Kafka’s Letters to Felice – mediated by photographs – sending photographs to one another 
“We owe ourselves to death” – repeated throughout the text, accumulates meanings, comes from and creates an archive (which cannot be yours or mine)
  • owing, exchange, indebtedness
  • gratitude 
  • what if death is already our own?
At the moment the photo is taken – the thing being photographed is alread becoming a ruin.  Every person is already a ruin – mortal. 
“The distance myself from it, to set out from it without ever leaving it.” (Derrida) – leaving is both a departure and the ‘leaving of a trace’
“Reading a sentence properly, it can become as broad as the world.” (Emerson)
Aphoristic but serial – meaning depending on relation – so there is a task of interpreting, categorising, but this is impossible as the boundaries between the frames become permeable
Still 15 – The photographer wants to archive everything, archive time, archive the world…
Photographer on the Acropolis  Bonhomme
8+n things:
  • The mineral and earthen thing
  • The vegetal, growing thing
  • The divine thing 
  • The animal thing – is this an art of production or reproduction?
  • The human thing 
  • The technical thing – tool / machine – everything is shot through with law, conventionality, technology.  For photography has a sense of history.  The tool and the machine are stripped down to being mere “things” – all the instruments and statues that are no longer “of use.”  Photographs tell you that history is a history of ruins – you have all these technical apparatus in the images that try and capture something 
  • Reflection (the reflected thing) – light and bulbs and 
  • Reflections on reflection – phatasms of simulacra – photographs being photographed.  The painting of ruin – musical metaphor (as with music you’re always listening to a moment just passed… Aretha’s voice cracking inducing tears)
Why return to Persephone – 
Socrates’ trial – awaiting death
  • These Derrida descriptions bring up the idea of these photons throwing themselves through time, delayed but not interrupted by their ‘imaging’ in photographs.  I.e. as in the above… or… 







Cadava – 2012 jun 13

Matter and Memory 

Using photography as a means of explaining how neither photography or perception provide us with a full picture of what we see… 

Benjamin on Bergson in his essay on Baudellaire

  • Bergson’s effort to define life in terms of memory 
  • Benjamin reads Bergson in a photographic way – which he then uses to discuss Baudellaire’s poetry
  • [Matter and Memory] is oriented toward biology. As the title suggests, it regards the structure of memory as decisive for the philosophical structure of experience. Experience is indeed a matter of tradition, in collective existence as well as private life. It is the product less of facts firmly anchored in memory than of accumulated and frequently unconscious data that flow together in memory. Of course, the historical determination of memory is not at all Bergson’s intention. On the contrary, he rejects any historical determination of memory. He thus manages to stay clear of that experience from which his own philosophy evolved, or, rather, in reaction to which it arose. It was the alienating, blinding experience of the age of large-scale industrialism. In shutting out this experience, the eye perceives a complementary experience—in the form of its spontaneous afterimage, as it were. Bergson’s philosophy represents an attempt to specify this afterimage and fix it as a permanent record. 
    -Walter Benjamin, “On Some Motifs in Baudelaire”
  • Likening Bergson’s philosophy to the work of a camera (as in Chris Markers La Jetee – the only movement being the eye blinking) 
  • Even though Bergson is trying to theorise memory outside of his own time – but situating it in photography, and so dating it in terms of the invention (date) of photography.
  • Emerson’s essay “Experience” – developing a general 
    • “Grief too will make us idealists. In the death of my son, now more than two years ago, I seem to have lost a beautiful estate,—no more. I cannot get it nearer to me…”
    • Developing a ‘mediated’ theory of mourning in general – 
  • Modernity – experience is mediated 
  • What photography is can tell us about memory 

Intro to the Bergson text:

  • In Bergson – everything is always leaving us…  and there is also a critique of photographic perception
  • The photographic image is the representation of an absent object 
  • The image is what brings together matter and memory as well as
  • There is no cognition – only re-cognition

Proust (who is related to Bergson) waking up in a room he does not recognise – a ‘dark room’ – Proust deathbed photograph (by Man Ray)

  • It always happened, when I would awaken like this, my mind struggling unsuccessfully to discover where I was, that everything would turn around me in the darkness: things, countries, years. My body, too heavy to move, would try, according to the form of its tiredness, to restore the position of its members in order to induce from that the direction of the wall, the place of the furniture, in order to restore and give a name to the house in which it lay. Its memory, the memory of its ribs, knees, shoulders, offered it in succession several of the rooms in which it had slept, while around it the invisible walls, changing positions according to the form of the imagined room, would whirl in the darkness. And even before my thought, which hesitated at the threshold of times and forms, had identified the house by bringing together the details, it—my body—would recall for each the type of the bed, the position of the doors, how the windows caught the light, the existence of a corridor, along with the thought that I had when I would fall asleep, and that I would find again when I would awaken.
    -Proust, Swann’s Way
  • The effort is organised around his body – working to discover where he is.  It’s the body that registers memories and impressions
  • Memory is written into his body – so it is the darkened tomb of his memory – 
  • He is a cemetery – an interiority that is devoted to the production of images 
  • This bodily ‘intuition’ is outside of ‘knowledge’
  • Benjamin calls this memory – a memory of the limbs

Matter and Media – Introduction

  • The body as an aggregate of images 
  • That you are in infinite collection of images – that every image is infinitely 
  • The Delimiting and Fixing of Images 

Matter and Media – Chapter 3 – Of the Survival of Images

  • Refraction to total reflection – two different ways of mediating light – each involve a deflection.  Light can only be light when its interrupted.  Perception can only be perception when its interrupted – by memory for Bergson.  Perception – recognition
  • These two acts – perception and recollection – always interpenetrate each other.  Perception and memory are not seperate – “There is nothing that is instantaneous” 
  • Memory contracts many moments of duration 
  • There is no perception that is not trained into movement
  • ‘On truth and lie in an extra-moral sense’ – 
    • What then is truth? A mobile army of metaphors, metonyms, and anthropomorphisms — in short, a sum of human relations, which have been enhanced, transposed, and embellished poetically and rhetorically, and which after long use seem firm, canonical, and obligatory to a people: truths are illusions about which one has forgotten that is what they are; metaphors which are worn out and without sensuous power; coins which have lost their pictures and now matter only as metal, no longer as coins. We still do not know where the urge for truth comes from; for as yet we have heard only of the obligation imposed by society that it should exist: to be truthful means using the customary metaphors – in moral terms, the obligation to lie according to fixed convention, to lie herd-like in a style obligatory for all…
  • Abertine – drug that allows you to relive someone else’s memories.  Emet Gowin – If I had been unable to make photographs, kissing would have been the means of my 
  • How is it that a body that is constantly changing can retain anything 
  • “A sharp shock, a violent emotion…” 
  • Perception is only a true hallucination – because it doesn’t belong to the domain of knowledge 

The Perception of Change

Blade Runner – replicants using photographs to reconstitute their memories 


Photography – Siegfried Kracauer

  • “In the days of cock-a-doodle I went and saw Rome and the Lateran hanging from a silk thread. I saw a man without feet outrunning a swift horse and a sharp, sharp sword cutting a bridge in two.” – Brothers’ Grimm
    • re-presentation as a fairytale
    • things you cannot see with your eyes
    • proto-cinematic elements
    • the Muybridge horse 
    • cutting – editing – bridgeNewImage
  • “If one were to look through a magnifying glass one could make out the grain, the millions of little dots that constitute the diva”
  • You immediately go to the subject – there is no awareness of the image 
  • “Everyone recognizes her with delight since everyone has already seen the original on the screen.” – Nadar’s “reproduce here in the original”
    • A history of loss – when did the idea of reproduction become linked with loss and why?
    • Role of humour – why is it that the reproduction of the reproduction is funny?  Because we can’t imagine this reality to be the representation of a representation 
  • The title: “Photography” – an example of photography “on…” or “of…” photography
  • 1839 was the invention of photograph – the grandmother shares this birthdate
  • Holis Frampton – burning of a photograph 
  • Marx in Krakauer and Benjamin – trying to convince you that you never only just human (resonance between object and human)
  • “There is no equipment free aspect of reality” 
  • “They laugh and at the same time they feel a shudder” – laughter is the uncomfortable relation or juxtaposition
  • When you’re taking a picture you’re taking a picture of much more than what you’re taking a picture of
  • Time makes images of itself out of the photographic 
  • The representation teaches us the impossibility of presentation – the illusions we create show us the illusions we have been absorbed within
    • the broken (spinning wheel of death) 
    • the functioning (photography, film) 
  • It is through photography – media – that we become aware of the limitations of memory – ourselves
    • it is through the digitised friendship (facebook) that we become aware of the friendship 
    • this is ‘epistemic’ technology?  Reflexive? Disoucrse? Dialectic?
    • are the particular technologies that we ‘happen upon’ which teach us these sorts of things the ‘resonant technologies’?  e.g.: photography, text, film versus others…
  • The photograph (the attempt to freeze time) is what gives us the experience of this impossibility 
  • “Historicist thinking believe that they can explain any phenomenon purely in terms of its genesis”
  • “Photography presents a spatial continuum; historicism seeks to pro- vide the temporal continuum.”
    • Followed by “Photography grasps what is given as a spatial (or temporal) continuum;”
    • Nature is always changing – Emerson 
  • illustration – photographic 
  • diva – is a word that gets reused and reused in order to have it gather archival machinery 
  • corpse speeches – paper graveyards
  • the snow that covers the readability of the photograph – snow – readability 



Cadava – 2012 jun 12

Genealogies of Memory and Perception – 

  • Proust – sees his grandmother – registers he’s aging – “what happens in my head is like a photograph”
    • Alas, it was this phantom that I saw when, entering the drawing room before my grandmother had been told of my return, I found her there reading. I was in the room, or rather I was not yet in the room since she was not aware of my presence, and like a woman whom one surprises at a piece of needlework which she will hurriedly put aside if anyone comes [End Page 88] in, she was absorbed in thoughts which she had never allowed to be seen by me. Of myself—thanks to that privilege which does not last but which gives one, during the brief moment of one’s return, the faculty of being suddenly the spectator of one’s own absence—there was present only the witness, the observer, in traveling coat and hat, the stranger who does not belong to the house, the photographer who has called to take a photograph of places which one will never see again. The process that automatically occurred in my eyes when I caught sight of my grandmother was indeed a photograph.

  • Photography <> Death 
  • Citation confirming that something has been torn from context 
  • A photographic image is like a name – it functions in your absence
  • The photograph tells you that one day you will die

“I am moved and touched”

  • Photography is not only a visual practice… 
  • Plato’s cave
  • Democritus
  • Medusa as a photographic effect – resources for 
  • Echo and Narcissus
  • “When our eyes touch, is it day or is it night?” –  Derrida on Touching Jean Luc Nancy
    • Memoirs of the Blind – the point of contact belongs to the night 
    • The point of contact 
  • Once an image has been capture – the image is repreducible beyond you – “that doesn’t look like me”
  • Benjamin – theory of smile – when you smile at someone you enter into a secret contract saying that “you want to become that other”

Nadar situates photography as a set of layers …

  • “According to Balzac’s theory, all physical bodies are made up entirely of layers of ghostlike images, an infinite number of leaflike skins laid one on top of the other. Since Balzac believed man was incapable of making something material from an apparition, from something impalpable-thatis, creating something from nothing-heconcluded that every time someone had his photograph taken, one of the spectral layers was removed from the body and transferred to the photograph. Repeated exposures entailed the unavoidable loss of subsequent ghostly layers, that is, the very essence of life.”
  • The death of the death of photography – digitization doesn’t kill photography – as photography is already death.  
  • Were students in the Zizek class just to be in the photograph?
  • Layers / pixels / proximity 


  • “In these deplorable times…


  • The whole difficulty of the problem… 
  • Everything is already a photograph
  • Your perception is full of memory – your registration of images 
  • To perceive is not to perceive (the way  
  • There’s no psychological / perceptual 
  • Proust / Benjamin / Husserl
  • Against indexicality
  • We create the ‘natural’ along with creating ourselves 
  • The training all of the senses 
  • In order to form a picture of this vicissitude, let us assume that every mental process… exists to begin with in an unconscious stage… 
  • Photographic metaphor 
  • The negative is denial 
  • True life, life finally laid bare and illuminated, the only life consequently really lived, is literature; that life… 
  • Optical instrumentation in Proust
Mad Love – L’Amour Fou
  • Political dimension of photography 
  • The work of art can no longer be thought as originality… because he’s witnessing a nation thinking of itself as a total work of art
  • Trying to re-conceive the work of art as something that cannot be mobilised in the service of nationalism


  • The Guermantes Way 
  • “Every glance is an act of necromancy…” 
  • The photograph is the site of ghosts, of death
  • Within a Budding Grove
  • “What best reminds us of a person is precisely what we had forgotten… “
  • “A photograph acquires something of the dignity that it ordinarily lacks when it ceases to be a reproduction of reality and shows us things that no longer exist.”
  • “We photograph things in order to drive them out of our minds.  My stories are a way of shutting my eyes.” – Letter to Janouch
  • The politics of tears – assuming that you’re crying when you see things, to give yourselves doubt of what you see
  • Don’t be seduced by the image – the way that it purports to give you the truth
  • You act without ever seeing anything clearly 


  • “The image wanders ghost-like through the present…”


  • Greece is another name for mourning, what Greece mourns is Greece
  • “I sit here, at the window, I watch the passers-by / and see myself through their eyes…”
  • Projection of the reality of the photograph – ‘sitting by the window, framed as if a photograph…’

Kracauer, “Photography” 

  • “Never before has an age been so informed about itself…” – but we’re not really informed.  We’re not properly reading this information
  • The wish to abolish distance just makes it more distant – e.g.: the image on the front of the scud missile that as it gets closer and closer you think you’ll be able to see more but then it destroys itself
  • Media events as the only events – e.g.: 9/11 the two towers hit in succession in order to make sure 
  • It is the image that is the event – it can’t be an event unless it can be reproduced technologically
  • Reveals a blinding / amnesia at the heart of photography

Junger, “On Pain”

  • “Today any event worthy of notice is surrounded by a circle of lenses…”
  • The event as event is inscribed within the language of communication 
  • “These are signs that point to a great detachment”
  • What makes an event an event, is 
  • Politics and history are the effects of technology
  • A small History of Photography
  • “All the possibilities of this portrait art arise because the contact between actuality and phtogoraphy has not yet occured…”
  • Benjamin, Speech on Proust 
  • “Concerning the memoire involontaire: its images do not only come without being called up;..”
Don Delillo white noise – after an accident, the daughter says “where are the cameras” – 

screens – windows – windowpanes – frames – plates


Name came from a name game that he played with his friends – word games 

  • 1820 
  • 1836 – published his first short story 
  • Inventor of hot-airbaloon and artificial (underground) lighting 
  • When I was a Photographer – writing the memoirs while he was still a photographer 
Books about photography written in sections – staging the interruption of writing in writing –

Nadar’s friendship with Baudelaire- Dream of a Curious man: 

  • The Dream of a Curious Man

    To F.N. (felix nadar)

    Do you know as I do, delectable suffering?
    And do you have them say of you: “O! the strange man!”
    — I was going to die. In my soul, full of love,
    A peculiar illness; desire mixed with horror,
    Anguish and bright hopes; without internal strife.
    The more the fatal hour-glass continued to flow,
    The fiercer and more delightful grew my torture;
    My heart was being torn from this familiar world.
    I was like a child eager for the play,
    Hating the curtain as one hates an obstacle…
    Finally the cold truth revealed itself:
    I had died and was not surprised; the awful dawn
    Enveloped me. — What! is that all there is to it?
    The curtain had risen and I was still waiting.

  • Baudelaire – A Une-passante – a poem that wants to be a  
  • Nadar took many portraits of Baudelaire
  • Emerson – We will part as if we never parted – it is better to be a thorn in one’s side than to be a mush of concession:  “Friendship requires that rare mean betwixt likeness and unlikeness that piques each with the presence of power and of consent in the other party. Let me be alone to the end of the world, rather than that my friend should overstep, by a word or a look, his real sympathy. I am equally baulked by antagonism and by compliance. Let him not cease an instant to be himself. The only joy I have in his being mine, is that the not mine is mine. It turns the stomach, it blots the daylight, where I looked for a manly furtherance or at least a manly resistance, to find a mush of concession. Better be a nettle in the side of your friend than his echo. The condition which high friendship demands is ability to do without it. To be capable that high office requires great and sublime parts. There must be very two, before there can be very one. Let it be an alliance of two large, formidable natures, mutually beheld, mutually feared, before yet they recognise the deep identity which, beneath these disparities, unites them.”
  • Image of Nadar’s mother – a portrait that would match her was his obsession – used in Barthes’ Camera Lucida, with the caption “Nadar’s mother or wife”

Nadars Mother or Wife

Nadar – My Life as a Photographer – reprinted in 1978 in October

  • Stunned – stopped – fixing – photography arrives in a way that unsettles / undoes
  • Photography is much more than what we think it is 
  • Slapped in the face… 
  • Photography as the most brilliant star in the constellation of inventions
    • Photographic texts about stars – Sontag, Martin Jay – 
  • Salvatori Puglia – Cinema (2004) – Cadava
  • Photography as natural – the invention of photography as not a moment but a development (e.g.: is the mirror no the first un-fixable photograph?)
  • Nadar and Epicurous – Benjamin uses these in The Arcades Project 
  • Quotation from the letter “which I reproduce here in the original
  • Herald de Pages (literature?  Nadar’s double?) 
    • Photographing the town of Deuil – meaning mourning
    • “Suddenly, as often occurs with optical illusions and certain cases of double vision, the noble features of Herald’s face seemed to merge with those of the honest young worker, becoming a kind of diabolical mask which slowly took on the form of a face I had never seen before but that I recognized immediately: Mauclerc, Machiavellian Mauclerc, “in transit in our city”; the electric image mockingly reared its head at me from the far distant past.” – in the photograph, one becomes everyone 
  • Telling the story of hiroshima – 
  • We are most ourselves when we are not ourselves, beside ourselves
  • Nadar is never simply just himself
  • Telling the story of his life as a photographer, beginning with the beginning of photography (like Bill Murray’s My Life in Golf? A Liar’s Autobiography – Graham Chapman
  • The possibility of veracity in image / in text – The Journal of Irreducible Results

Benjamin / Krakauer – the language you use is never just yours… You don’t have full control over its consequences – there are things sealed within language – “this aggression will not stand

Visual Correspondences – an image correspondence project by Marcelo Brodsky

Adorno – sound and music  
Benjamin – text and image – why photography  (it’s the enlightenment not the ensoundment)


The Bonhomme Photograph – Derrida 

  • We owe ourselves to death – but we also owe ourselves to this opposite 





Singer – 2012 jun 11 (evening)

Animal Ethics

Ethics of compassion – schopenhauerian ethics – anencephalic infants – climate

“The Minimum Concept of Morality” – the work of listening for reasons does not stop at the self

Classical / Hedonistic Utilitarianism 

  • Bentham, Mill, Sidgwick
  • The Good is states of mind

Preference Utilitarianism – Consequentialism

“Imagine that you are creating a fabric of human destiny with the object of making men happy in the end… but that it was essential and inevitable to torture to death only one tiny creature … And to found that edifice on its unavenged tears: would you consent to be the architect on those conditions? Tell me, and tell me the truth!”  – Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov


  • “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” 


  • Its a sad day when I have to write an ethics – an ethics which has to be expressed does not work

Thomas Acquinas

Emmanuel Kant

  • So far as animals are concerned, we have no direct moral duties; animals are not self-conscious and are there merely as a means to an end. That end is man.” For these thinkers, therefore, only human beings have moral standing, so the welfare of other creatures matters only if they are useful to humans.


“But equal consideration of interests does not assume that different beings have similar interests”   

Roger Scruton 

Hedonometer – Edgeworth

This is nothing new; Bataille started with the sun (moving to algae, to plants, to us) nearly a century ago, writing eloquently of the problem of our overall calorie-base in The Accursed Share and other books. 

Martha Nussbaum 


Diawara – 2012 jun 10 (evening)

Conference des écrivants et artistes noirs – Manthia Diawara

  • Controversial meeting where only black people spoke
  • Tu cours – french 
  • Ampitheatre decartes 
  • Claims of ‘arogance’: The very people 
  • Societe des Cultures Africains
  • Richard Wright – Jacques Alexis – Fanon – influenced cultural studies, post colonialism 
  • Differences between Anglophone and Francophone cultures 
    • The intention of the french was to make Africans into black frenchmen 
    • The British did not touch the culture – they were only exploiting resources (the chiefs were not abolished)
  • Negritude – Senghor
    • Objective – expresses itself in the customs, the arts, the songs, and the dances of the African populations.
    • Subjective – guided by rhythm – rhythm as the first sign of art in an object (Father Diving)
  • Pierre Soulage
  • Christ Marker and Alain Renee – Les Statue Meures Aussi

Singer – 2012 Jun 10

The Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty

The importance of aesthetics – mediation – in moral problems:

  • Empathy – psychology of philanthropy
  • Styles of engagement
  • One Laptop per Child
  • Politics / versus charity 
  • Death of Wang Yue – Foshan
  • 1981 – Katarzyna’s story about polish military rule and charitable donations – not a bad time
  • Untouchables – representation and structural charity – union of garbage collectors in India

“Moral Distance” and the distance / effectiveness of charity

The effectiveness of goodgiving

Coltan – resource curse 

Consumption lifestyle – the effect of purchases we’re making (e.g.: laptops, coltan, etc.) 

Moral Obligations 

Sharlotte Gilman Perkins – short story – feminist – The Unnatural Mother 

FMRI and charitable activity – excited the pleasure areas of the 

The Life You Can Save – scale of giving

Josh Greene – FMRI levers and technological 

  • Possibility of a technologically determined / fmri 

Animal Ethics