30
Jul 04

Riffing on a theme borrowed from sinkah’s

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Riffing on a theme borrowed from sinkah’s rise and sprawl (the noise piece), k-punk on glampirism. Without wanting to re-open the engagements of the last couple of weeks, it does strike me a) that “Low” is very much the rockist’s choice of 70s Bowie (cards on table, I’m for Aladdin Sane) and b) that the trouble with this Deleuze stuff is in the way you tell it. If Bowie functioned as “a force of reterritorializion” by “fixating upon the most deterrorialized, most intense elements, and ushering them back into the fold of r and r and melody” this also means, as k-punk acknowledges that there must also be deterritorialization (although he doesn’t use the word): “a movement in the opposite direction : listeners sent off on voyages of discovery, flights from the self, invention of artificial identities”. Now I can’t claim to be an expert on this here D&G stuff, but it says here (Mille Plateaux, Introduction, page 10 in English translation):

How could movements of deterritorialization and processes of reterritorialization not be relative, always connected, caught up in one another? The orchid deterritorializes by forming an image, a tracing of a wasp; but the wasp reterritorializes on that image. The wasp is nevertheless deterritorialized, becoming a piece of the orchid’s reproductive apparatus. But it reterritorializes the orchid by transporting its pollen. Wasp and orchid, as heterogeneous elements, form a rhizome. It could be said that the orchid imitates the wasp, reproducing its image in a signifying fashion (mimesis, mimicry, lure, etc.). But this is true only on the level of the strata – a parallelism between two strata such that a plant organization on one imitates an animal organization on the other. At the same time, something else entirely is going on: not imitation at all but a capture of code, surplus value of code, an increase in valence, a veritable becoming, a becoming-wasp of the orchid and a becoming-orchid of the wasp. Each of these becomings brings about the deterritorialization of one term and the reterritorialization of the other; the two becomings interlink and form relays in a circulation of intensities pushing the deterritorialization ever further.

So my questions are, and perhaps someone who knows about these things could explain to me:

1) [Theoretical question] If the deterritorialization is pushed ever further, doesn’t that mean that the reterritorialization is also pushed ever further? But if so why privilege the first? Doesn’t this confirm that what makes this different from dialectics is the positive value attached to (‘life’) to ‘intensity’, and ultimately to positivity rather than negativity. Is intensity just ‘good’ (surely not, since as D&G say on p. 9: ‘one can never posit a dualism or a dichotomy, even in the rudimentary form of the good and the bad’.

2) [Bowie question] How does the model work for Bowie? Why isn’t the use of the experimental elements in pop the deterritorialization of the avant-garde rather than its re-territorialization? Surely on the D&G account given above, it must be both deterritorialization of one on the other, and vice versa? The avant-garde is deterritorialized, becoming part of the pop market’s commercial reproductive apparatus; and pop reterritorializes on it; but pop is deterritorializing too, and the avant-garde reterritorializing. I can’t find the analogies to explain this since I don’t know the D&G system well enough, but it does seem to me axiomatic that the process goes both ways at once, and that this defines what they’re trying to describe: the becoming pop of the avant-garde, and the becoming avant-garde of pop. a) now if this isn’t dialectics, what is it? and b) why isn’t this what mark s has been arguing?

Help!

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