Guattari Reframed: Interpreting Key Thinkers For The Arts by Paul Elliott

73570a018013f24.jpg Author Paul Elliott
Isbn 178076233X
File size 7.3 MB
Year 2012
Pages 169
Language English
File format PDF
Category art


Contemporary Thinkers Reframed Series Adorno Reframed ISBN: 978 1 84885 947 0 Geoffrey Boucher Agamben Reframed ISBN: 978 1 78076 261 6 Dan Smith Badiou Reframed ISBN: 978 1 78076 260 9 Alex Ling Baudrillard Reframed ISBN: 978 1 84511 678 1 Kim Toffoletti Deleuze Reframed ISBN: 978 1 84511 5470 Damian Sutton & David Martin-Jones Derrida Reframed ISBN: 978 1 84511 5463 K. Malcolm Richards Guattari Reframed ISBN: 978 1 78076 233 3 Paul Elliott Heidegger Reframed ISBN: 978 1 84511 6798 Barbara BoIt Kristeva Reframed ISBN: 978 1 84511 6606 Estelle Barrett Lacan Reframed ISBN: 978 1 84511 5487 Steven Z. Levine Lyotard Reframed ISBN: 978 1 84511 6804 Graham Jones Merleau-Ponty Reframed ISBN: 978 1 848857995 Andrew Fisher Rancière Reframed ISBN: 978 1 78076 168 8 Toni Ross ft? a -il 3 3490347 CD Q 1 LB. T AU RI S J Published in 2012 by LB. Tauris & Co. Ltd 6 Salem Road, London W2 4BU 175 Fifth Avenue, New York NY 10010 Distributed in the United States and Canada Exclusively by Pal grave Macmillan 175 Fifth Avenue, New York NY 10010 Copyright © 2012 Paul Elliott The right of Paul Elliott to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. AlI rights reserved. Except for brief quotations in a review, this book, or any part thereof, may not be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher. ISBN: 978 1 78076 233 3 A full CIP record for tbis book is available from the British Library A full CIP record for this book is available from the Library of Congress Library of Congress catalog card: available Typeset in Egyptienne F by Dexter Haven Associates Ltd, London Page design by Chris Bromley Printed and bound by CPI Group (UR) Ltd, Croydon, CRO 4YY Contents List of illustrations vii Introduction: Guattori De-Ieuzed? Pari One: How to critique your milieu Chapter 1. The clinical milieu - transversality 11 Chapter 2. The cultural milieu - the molor and the molecular 25 Chapter 3. The political milieu - the micropolitics of desire 38 Part Two: How to make a wall' machine Chapter 4. The machine 53 Chapter 5. Schizoanalysis Chapter 6. Faciality Chapter 7. The refrain 65 76 88 Part Three: How to think chaoSOIPhiiCOlllv Chapter 8. Molecular revolution 101 Chapter 9. Cinematic desiring machines Chapter 10. Ecosophy 126 Conclusion: Guattari reframed Glossary 145 Select bibliography Filmography Index 153 157 159 138 115 List of illustrations Figure 1. Balthus, La Rue (1933), oil on canvas. 29 Figure 2. Vincent van Gogh, Portrait of Dr Gachet (1890), oil on canvas. 71 Figure 3. Shin Takamatsu, The Ark Building (1982). 79 Figure 4. Michael Rakowitz, paraSITE (2001), mixed media. 107 Figure 5. Michael Rakowitz, paraSITE (1998), mixed media. 108 Figure 6. Yoke and Zoom, Movement art gallery situated on Worcester Foregate Street train station (2010). 141 Introduction: Guattari De-leuzed? When people talk about 'Deleuze' they are often referring to Deleuze and Guattari, and in even the most dependable of books on their work the latter is often relegated to the role of collaborator or colleague. However, this fact is perhaps unsurprising. Thanks in part to the reticence that each writer displayed in fully articulating their working relationship (often claiming that they were one philosophical machine rather than two people) and also to Guattari's OWIl reputation as an agent provocateur rather than a dedicated and methodical intellectual (the French media dubbing hiIll 'Mr. Anti'), his work has been overshadowed by Gilles Deleuze's since the beginning of their collaboration in the early 1970s. As you will see by the end of this book, however, Felix Guattari's ideas are of major importance not only to Deleuze and Guattari but to twenty-first-century culture - especially visual cultures such as television, cinema, art and architecture. Guattari was a diverse and impassioned thinker writing on a wide-ranging series of subjects, from institutional psychiatry to Japanese architecture, from photography to metalwork and from the attraction of Nazism to the sex lives of Martians! Guattari was a revolutionary, but a revolutionary for the twenty-first century. He believed in what he termed 'molecular revolutions', small acts of rebellion and change that (if carried out on a wide enough scale) could transform the world. He was interested in spontaneous acts of mini-transformation that expressed the desire of both the individual and the group as a way of providing a more authentic counter-argument to capitalist culture. The late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries saw a series of such acts: the flowers laid at Buckingham Palace after the death of Princess Diana, the public displays of affection in New York during the power loss after 9/ Il, and the spontaneous dancing of Michael Jackson fans in city centres after his funeraI. AlI of these are testament to the human propensity for molecular revolution, an idea that was most certainly Guattari's. As we shalllook at in this book, Guattari saw in these acts a new fOTIn of consciousness, one that had remarkable power and that could potentially engender great political and psychological change. The concepts that he developed in his solo work and in his work with Deleuze, described a society that was only just coming into being. Ideas such as the 'rhizome', 'nomadology', 'machinic heterogenesis' and 'schizoanalysis' are more easily understood in an age of the internet, global terrorism and media simulacra than the period in which Guattari was writing. His death in 1992 meant that he never really saw the predictive nature of his ideas coming to fruition. He never got to see just how relevant his philosophy was to become. This book looks at sorne of these ideas and finds that, des pite their obscure-sounding names, they are strangely familiar and remind us of many structures and fOTIns that we have come to take for granted: hypertext, virtual communities, globalisation and ecological protest groups. AIl of these come close to the ideas put forward by Guattari almost 40 years ago. Guattari Reframed, then, is an introduction to his thought through the medium of visual culture, but it is also a fOTIn of Haw Ta guide to living a more philosophically engaged life. Whereas Deleuze was a philosopher in the traditional sense, Guattari was a practising psychiatrist at La Borde clinic in France (an institution he also helped to found when he was only 22 years old). He was also a Marxist and a supporter of a variety of different political groups including the Gay Liberation Front and the Women's Movement. This meant that his ideas were always connected with the surrounding society and his philosophy always remained relevant, a situation that continues to be the case today. Whereas Deleuze wrote studious and rigorous monographs on Spinoza, Hume, Leibnitz and other philosophers, Guattari wrote on the Gulf War, ecology, drag queens and the working methods of the CIA. His philosophy was experimental but also rigorous, wrestling with certain basic questions that he saw as standing at the heart of what it means to be human: How can we act more responsibly to the weakest in society? How can we combine a respect for the planet with an ethical position on the Third World? How can we treat everyone equally without making everyone the same? De-leuzing Guattari then, is also an act of reframing and, hopefully, by doing one we also achieve the other. Allowing Guattari the spotlight for a while not only allows us access into one of the most creative and experimental philosophers of the post-war period, but also allows us to trace his lines of influence in the philosophical machine that wrote Anti-Oedipus and A .§ Thousand Plateaus. In their various interviews, it cornes to light that Guattari often provided the raw material for the concepts that "2 Deleuze would later develop; they would swap ideas, exchange ::5 CO) letters, borrow concepts from each other and gradually a text would appear. Notions such as the infamous 'body without organs' had already appeared in Deleuze's early works such as The Logic of Sense but, equally, a fascination with group consciousness, the machine and the importance of critical thinking appear in Guattari's pre-Deleuzian essays that focus mainly on psychiatry and Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis. Understanding Guattari's solo philosophy then is not about divorcing him from Deleuze, but about asserting his place in their partnership and recognising his influence. Recently, critics and artists have begun to think about Felix Guattari. This is due to sorne extent to the proliferation of his work being made available through translation, and perhaps also to the overabundance of texts dedicated to Deleuze. However, it is g also an outcome of the realisation that Guattari is becoming more and more relevant. His assertions that simple everyday acts can be both aesthetic and political are fin ding resonances in cultural Iife. Whether it is the spray dm art of Banksy or the guerrilla happenings of the Improv Everywhere group who inspired hundreds of visitors to London's Trafalgar Square to simultaneously freeze, artists and ordinary people are becoming engaged in what can only be thought of as molecular revolutions, small everyday rebellions that might just change the world. A life less ordinary Pierre-Felix Guattari was born in a working-class suburb of Paris on 30 April 1930. When he was in his teens he joined the burgeoning youth hostelling movement, then a hotbed for left-wing radical thinkers. It was here that he was to meet future influences such as Franz Fanon and most especially Jean Oury. His early education was erratic; he studied pharmacology and philosophy at university but dropped out without ever earning a degree. In the 1950s he joined the communist party and became a political activist and contributed to the underground newspaper Tribune de Discussion. Throughout his life, Guattari would wrestle with the connections between politics and society and try to redefine the opposition between the individual and the collective. Based on his burgeoning friendship with Oury when he was 22, Guattari helped to found the psychiatrie clinic at La Borde (one hour south of Paris) and became involved in institutional psychotherapy. La Borde became famous for its experimental approach to treating the mentally ill, especially those suffering from psychosis. In a small essay in his book Chaosophy, Guattari explains that the techniques he and Oury developed at La Borde (such as the use of art and collective therapy) were intended as antidotes to the dehumanising practices of many institutions throughout Europe. Patients were allowed to express themselves rather than be locked up in padded rooms and were seen as every bit as vital to the running of the hospital as the staff. However, Guattari stated that he wanted La Borde to be thought of in terms of an asylum, with aIl the traditional values that word entails. It was in 1962 that Guattari was to meet Jacques Lacan, the second of the three men that would shape his life (the first being Oury, the last being Deleuze). Guattari studied with Lacan for seven years and would constantly engage and rely on his theories. However, their relationship was always a difficult one theoretically. Lacan's highly Freudian structures failed to fully satisfy the young acolyte, who, even at this stage in his career, was beginning to develop concepts such as schizoanalysis that would attempt to challenge monumental psychoanalytic structures such as the Oedipus complex. It was this mixture then, of Lacan and Marx, of a belief in the individual and a faith in the group that would characterise Guattari's entire career. In 1969, however, inunediately after the seismic cultural shift that was the May '68 protests, Guattari .§ met Gilles Deleuze. Deleuze had just received his Doctorat d'État and was by then established as a conscientious philosopher. The "2 two exchanged letters, talked and decided to write what was to 1; &tI become Anti-Oedipus, a text that was like a small explosion in the field of psychiatry and philosophy and would be labelled as 'an introduction to non-fascist life' by none other than Michel Foucault. Deleuze and Guattari wrote three more books together and remained friends up until Guattari's death in 1992. Guattari maintained his commitment to both La Borde and politics during the 1980s and developed a fervent interest in ecology and environmentalism, even standing for the Les Vertes in the Paris regional elections. Increasingly, he would come to see psychology, politics, freedom, art and ecology as inextricably linked and would publish two books (The Three Ecologies and Chaosmosis) that would attempt a philosophical synthesis of these through what he termed the 'new aesthetic paradigm'. Such solo projects have recently been taken up by architects, g environmentalists, philosophers and artists as a way of forging a new global identity that aims to be both politically radical and ideologicallyethical. When Guattari died of a sudden heart attack in 1992, the clinic at La Borde fell totally silent for a whole night - a testament to his continuing dedication and commitment to treating the mentally ill with respect and dedication. Guattari's life and work then, represents both radicalism and compassion. Although he was an activist he was also a philosopher, a point that has often been missing in popular evaluations of his work with Deleuze, evaluations that often view the former as representing sorne form of disruptive influence on the aIder man's career - a kind of excitable child who led Deleuze astray. This book attempts ta reverse that view, and reframe Guattari as a thinker for a modem age, a thinker whose energy and spirit can be sensed in his writing; someone who advocated examining our everyday processes and engaging in small acts of revolution. GuaHari reframed This book is divided into three main sections, each of which examines a different stage of Guattari's career. Part One relates ta Guattari's mandate of critiquing the milieu that he found himself in. It is centred on the three areas that were most important ta him - mental health, culture, and poli tics. It looks at sorne of his early essays and demonstrates how they can illuminate our appreciation of areas such as outsider art, the relationship between mental illness and creativity (through artists like Van Gogh and writers such as Jean Genet), the aesthetics of fascism and artistic postmodemism. This part will also examine how Guattari's work can enable us ta critique sorne of the most prevalent theoretical positions of the twentieth century (Freudianism, modernism, postmodemism etc.) and how these can be seen ta be linked with sorne of the most well-known artists and cultural artefacts. Part Two looks primarily at what could be considered Guattari's experiments in method and ontology. Working with Deleuze during the 1970s and early 80s, Guattari formulated numerous concepts and ideas that attempted to provide answers to the issues that were raised in his earlier career (and were thus also raised in Part One of this book). Notions such as schizoanalysis, nomadology, fa ci ality, and the machinic, allowed Guattari to transcend the boundaries of traditional thought and describe a more poststructural, non-hierarchical way of thinking. The concepts outlined in this section are exemplified using a variety of artworks and cultural artefacts, including the cinema of David Lynch, the self portrait, lslamic art, nomad art, the machinic punishments evidenced in the Saw films and the architecture of Japanese architect Shin Takamatsu. Part Three completes the theoretical joumey and outlines how Guattari saw the idea of revolution and the new aesthetic paradigm. ln his later life, Guattari became increasingly interested .2 in exploring how we can combine areas such as aesthetics, politics and ecology. For Guattari, every individual has the power to change ~ their lives and the world by engaging in minor acts of revolution - :Ë setting up a crèche in the workplace as a way of countering the ..... patriarchal edifices of capitalisIIl, for example, or through the work of artist Michael Rakowitz and his paraSITE project that housed the homeless in specially constructed tents that were attached to the heating vents of big businesses. The la st part of this book offers us answers to the questions that were raised in the first. Felix Guattari was more than one half of a philosophical double act. He was a radical, a revolutionary, a doctor, a Lacanian, an anti -Lacanian, a Marxist, an environmentalist and many more things besides. More than this, as we shall see, he was a thinker of extraordinary breadth. Guattari Reframed is an invitation to see the world differently; aIl you have to do is open your eyes. g Part One: How to critique your milieu Chapter 1 The clinical milieu - transversality As will become apparent throughout this book, Felix Guattari wrestled with the same basic issues throughout most of hls life. Many of the ideas that appear in hls theoretically dense and complex work with Deleuze can be directly traced back to his early clinical writing and his practical experience at La Borde psychiatric institution in the Loire Valley. It is important to note that Guattari was always a practising psychiatrist and psychoanalyst. When he talks of the importance of schlzoid flows and the psychotic as an example of social revolution in books like Anti-Oedipus and A Thousand Plateaus, he is talking from a deep knowledge of what those conditions actually mean. Unlike many of the anti-psychlatrists of the 1960s, however, Guattari never overly romanticised mental illness; hls main aim was to understand, to sympathise and, ultimately, to treat those with psychosis or schizophrenia. However, he also recognised that they might have something very important, crucial perhaps, to say about how everyone lives their lives. This first section is entitled 'How to critique your milieu' because, for Guattari, destruction was the first step to reconstruction. In Anti-Oedipus, he and Deleuze wrote that 'the negative or destructive task of schizoanalysis is in no way separable from its positive tasks' (Deleuze and Guattari, 2004: 354) and the same is true of the reverse: the first step to understanding Guattari is to understand how he de-framed, de-limited and detached himself from the traditions that had preceded him, whilst at the same time retaining their basic elements and structures. Guattari took concepts and changed them for his own ends, adopting and adapting ideas and forms and creating new ones from his wide reading and clinical work. Sometimes this took the form of a simple transplantation from one field into another, and sometimes it represented a complete overhaul or abandonment of an idea or even a whole philosophical system. The problem with psychiatry More th an anything, Guattari critiqued the psychiatrie and clinical milieu that he found himself in. In Anti-Oedipus, this would take the form of a full-scale attack on psychoanalysis and the place of restrictive structures such as the castration and Oedipus complexes within the spread of capitalism. However, before he met Deleuze, Guattari mainly focused on the problems and drawbacks of using psychoanalysis and psychotherapy in the clinical environment. He cited four main issues and problems with institutional therapeutics that would resonate with him throughout his entire career: 1. Psychoanalysis relied too heavily on the individuated process of transference between analyst and analysand. 2. Psychoanalysis sought to understand the individu al at the expense of the group. 3. Psychoanalysis focused too much on treating the neurotic rather than the psychotic. (More about this in chapter five!) And, 4. Psychoanalysis relied too heavily on the interpretive process of a knowledgeable and ali-power fui doctor. The fundamental problems that Guattari saw in psychiatry and psychoanalysis can be best appreciated if we utilise an example from art cri ticism.

Author Paul Elliott Isbn 178076233X File size 7.3 MB Year 2012 Pages 169 Language English File format PDF Category Art Book Description: FacebookTwitterGoogle+TumblrDiggMySpaceShare Guattari Reframed presents a timely and urgent rehabilitation of one of the twentieth century’s most engaged and engaging cultural philosophers. Best known as an activist and practicing psychiatrist, Guattari’s work is increasingly understood as both eerily prescient and vital in the context of contemporary culture. Employing the language of visual culture and concrete examples drawn from it, this book introduces and reassesses the major concepts developed throughout Guattari’s writings, asserting his significance as a revolutionary philosopher and cultural theorist and invites the reader to transform both their understanding of Guattari, and their lives through his ideas.     Download (7.3 MB) Visual Devices in Contemporary Prose Fiction: Gaps, Gestures, Images Aesthetics And Art Theory: An Historical Introduction Art Schooled: A Year Among Prodigies, Rebels, And Visionaries At A World-class Art College Language in the Visual Arts: The Interplay of Text and Imagery Virilio And Visual Culture Load more posts

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