Fernand Deligny

Hi everyone, we are excited about getting the conversation going from Sydney! This morning we will start by speed-dating around the concept of the outside (more romantic than it sounds!).

In the meantime, I am sending some images that I used in my talk last night.

These are diagrams created by autistics in conjunction with Fernand Deligny, who ran a series of encampments for autistics in Monoblet France from the mid-sixties to the late nineties. These were done over 20 years on tracing paper and were created out of a desire to diagram the experience of movement. The autistics were mute (as many are) and so the drawings became a kind of language in movement that served less to demonstrate their movements than to activate a thought in movement.

From my paper, The Shape of Enthusiasm:

Over the years, building on this explicit mandate to invent modes of relation that do not necessarily rely on words, a singular iteration of experience in the making begins to take the form of maps of movement, tracings, as Deligny calls them.[1] These tracings, a collaboration between the network and the autists, become incipient cartographies of an associated milieu of relation that builds on the way movement and life-living interrelate.[2] The challenge, as Deligny conceived it, was to learn “to see language from the point of view of a mute child,”[3] (Toledo 2007: 679). A choreographic proposition.

Together, farmer and child, intern and child, writer and child, filmmaker and child, militant and child, share a life that is parsed in hundreds of ways by the necessity of the everyday – the washing of clothing, the leading of goats, the building of encampments. From these daily tasks, tracings on paper emerge that outline the shiftings between sites and the reorientings of territories in the moving, tracings that magnify the moreness of habitual pathways. These tracings at once trace the regularity of habit and routine and the unrepresentable of its drifts. They do not reproduce movement, they activate it. Deleuze writes:

A cartography is suggested today by Deligny when he follows the course of autistic children […] All these lines are tangled. Deligny produces a geo-analysis, an analysis of lines which takes his path far from psychoanalysis, and which relates not only to autistic children, but to all children, to all adults (watch someone walking down the street and see what little inventions he introduces into it, if he is not too caught up in his rigid segmentarity, what little inventions he puts there), and not only their walk, but their gestures, their affects, their language, their style” (2007: 128 my emphasis).[4]

[1] Jean Oury remembers Deligny’s frustrations with the language of psychoanalysis while still at La Borde, particularly in any encounter where patients’ dossiers are foregrounded. For Deligny, what seems to be more important is the lived experience of co-existence, not how the patient has been evaluated in an institutional framework. “What matters, he would say, is the project. We could care less about thought” (Jean Oury, quoted in Toledo 2007: 638).

[2] Whether or not the tracings were actually drawn-into by the autistics is not clear. “About the tracings – which he calls act-signs – we do not always know whether they concern the adults or the children. The border is mobile” (Toledo 2007: 644).  And yet, the tracings are absolutely a collaborative enterprise, a drawing-with of emergent spacetimes of recomposition. The traces, and especially what Deligny calls the “lines of drift” (lignes d’erres) allow the territory to “become seen,” they map into it its resonance as more-than a pre-existent territorial enclosure.

[3] The tracings are a way of learning not to speak “about” autistics in their presence as though they had no language, or as though their experience didn’t count. This would only feed the already ingrained institutional habits Deligny wanted to usurp. But something had to be made of the experience – these were the tracings, the creation of a movement-with that could lead the group to see anew. Sandra Alvarez de Toledo speaks of “machines for seeing,” a modality of seeing that does not return to the eyes themselves [le regard] or language. The tracings “made seen the forms of the human absent from the image of man” (2007: 799). Isaac Joseph writes, “the maps were an attenuated and aestheticized echo of the work in the presence of the children,” a project to teach the adults how to see the autistics’ lines of drift, “how to see a common territory without subject or language, to see-with-it (s’Y voir), despite themselves” (in Toledo 2007: 684).

[4] In Deleuze and Guattari’s A Thousand Plateaus, Brian Massumi translates “lignes d’erre” as “lines of drift.” In Dialogues, translated the same year by Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam as “lines of wandering.” I’ve re-translated them here as “lines of drift” to keep the text consistent. Though “erre” does have the sense of wandering, I like the sense of drift as not being necessarily activated by the human, but also in the environment, in a movement-with of emergent spacetimes.


Tracings, layer upon layer, superimposed on tracing paper, harbingers, as Deligny refers to them, of “an immediate enthusiasm” that touches us without our knowing why, a touching that occurs not through the effects of language but beyond, where “something that cannot be seen” exists, something ineffable but nonetheless “immediately felt” (Deligny 1990).



thinking out loud: “the felt force of a temporal topos of looping”

To follow on from Anna’s post earlier, and my partial response to thoughts re her paper before leaving for the airport (I have now landed in Sydney) I wanted to pick up on the Bookchin YouTube pieces Anna discusses in her paper and how they can become great examples of a collectively generated diagrammatic texture … where, as she says in relation to James: “The shared mosaic of collective experience wanders and loops, creating something more nomadic and tangled” (p68).

Not only are each of the TouTube videos made to be shared by many, but pulled together they show us how many share similar movements/events/gestures. What I love about how Anna discusses the two examples Mass Ornament and Laid Off is the way that I could feel how, in collecting together, these works enable us to feel the diagrammatic texture: the throughline of difference and repetition connecting all the individual ‘components’ that constitute them. Or, in other words, how the tangled looping they weave makes a kind of texture, perhaps something like a Casey Reas process image such as this:
Process 11 (B), 2010

As Anna discusses at the end of the paper, networking generates “the felt force of a temporal topos of looping” (72) – but, if the network is instead reduced to model and map: “The loop closes around the pool, flattening potential into a resource that seems to precede the actual duration of networked events. Potential then becomes some possible set of ‘things’ that might eventuate, there for the taking. In ‘the network’ as model and map, potential has been tamed, translated into possibility, predictably
lying in wait for the future.” (73)

This ‘warning’ becomes a happy reminder of the potential this workshop might aim for – of persistently ‘untaming’ the tendency to map and model the network – of producing something a little less predictable, less knowable, more palpably but ineffably felt. Happily, this resonates very nicely with and helps clarify what I was trying to say in my paper about moving from drawings to buildings through the texture of diagrams.

Looking forward to a drink, and Brian+Erin’s lectures in 1 hour …. 🙂

textures of (computationally aided) diagrams

Just reading Pia’s great article on Textures of Diagrams where she fruitfully, daringly and differentially compares diagrammatic texturing in Francis Bacon and Greg Lynn. What I really love about this article is the way she gets in with the diagrammatic….I think Grant wrote in his post something about what the diagram might ‘look’ like from within. And  I think Pia gets at this via texture rather than vision. The diagram’s ‘from within’ is  granular (non) synthesis, a crunchy stretching, a silky knotting across…except that there is no across, as given ground, to traverse. Only the production of texture through generating, spatializing. The architectural processes of Lynn are interesting because one can see a kind of constant struggle in his spatializing, to be taken up by, to smooth and surrender to nonhuman elements of computational code and to the life and death of information. This then really resonated for me with Deleuze’s primacy of affectivity in power:

‘We can therefore conceive of a necessarily open list of variables expressing a relation between forces or power relation, constituting actions upon actions: to incite, to induce, to seduce, to make easy or diiftcult, to enlarge or limit, to make more or less probable, and so on.’ ( from Foucault, 70)

I thought I’d just throw these images of Lynn’s up here as we might want to reference them when working ‘in accompaniment’ with Pia’s text on Thursday during the Sydney workshop. The first are Lynn’s ‘blob’ animations for ideas for the Korean Church; the second an image of the built church from 1999:

Grant Corbishley

Greetings everyone. I look forward to meeting you all next week. I Am currently in the middle of a PhD. I have been exploring systems of ‘durational’ stewardship as an ethical aesthetic response to an uncertain and unsustainable future in Houghton Bay, Wellington, NZ, where I live. I do this by deploying a dialogical approach when engaging with neighbours which has generated several projects. A large event (an archaeological dig) is planned for this summer. It will be carried out by an Archaeologist on the rubbish tip of the first diary farm. The site is beside a park, that was built on a city rubbish tip (landfill). As artefacts are uncovered, traces leading to angles, cross-overs and overlays will emerge using lime wash in the park, and artefacts discovered in the farm tip will be laid over the city tip.
When creating diagrams I always want to put myself in, not at the edge or outside the zone, but somewhere near the middle. However they never seem to work. So a question that i often ask is, what does a diagram look like from within?

Below is a ‘diagram of a life’

spacetime – a life. Quantum diagrams and singularity

So this is another diagram of a life…


in this case it is a life’s trajectory through spacetime toward a blackhole. AS you will see from the wikipedia text I have pilfered below, what happens to ‘a life’ as it approaches the black hole depends on whether the black hole is not moving ( a single point) or rotating (and generating a smear). In the first scenarion ‘a life’ becomes zero voulme but infinitely dense ( I love this – it resonates with the idea of pure immanence for me). In the second scenario, ‘a life’ might travel through/traverse across the smear and in so doing fold back into meeting up with  its own past.

This seems to me to resonate with ideas of the outside folding back into meet the actual ( taken up in both Deleuze’s readings on Foucault’s diagrams and in Sher Doruff’s Diagrammatics). At any rate, if the readings seem difficult, console yourselves with quantum physics, which is soooo conceptually accessible!!

From wikipedia:

At the center of a black hole as described by general relativity lies a gravitational singularity, a region where the spacetime curvature becomes infinite.[52] For a non-rotating black hole this region takes the shape of a single point and for a rotating black hole it is smeared out to form a ring singularity lying in the plane of rotation.[53] In both cases the singular region has zero volume. It can also be shown that the singular region contains all the mass of the black hole solution.[54] The singular region can thus be thought of as having infinite density.

Observers falling into a Schwarzschild black hole (i.e. non-rotating and no charges) cannot avoid being carried into the singularity, once they cross the event horizon. They can prolong the experience by accelerating away to slow their descent, but only up to a point; after attaining a certain ideal velocity, it is best to free fall the rest of the way.[55] When they reach the singularity, they are crushed to infinite density and their mass is added to the total of the black hole. Before that happens, they will have been torn apart by the growing tidal forces in a process sometimes referred to as spaghettification or the noodle effect.[56]

In the case of a charged (Reissner–Nordström) or rotating (Kerr) black hole it is possible to avoid the singularity. Extending these solutions as far as possible reveals the hypothetical possibility of exiting the black hole into a different spacetime with the black hole acting as a wormhole.[57] The possibility of traveling to another universe is however only theoretical, since any perturbation will destroy this possibility.[58] It also appears to be possible to follow closed timelike curves (going back to one’s own past) around the Kerr singularity, which lead to problems with causality like the grandfather paradox.[59] It is expected that none of these peculiar effects would survive in a proper quantum mechanical treatment of rotating and charged black holes