Diagramming Invention: a selective ‘heatmap’

Below is an attempt to diagram my experiences of the passive and active affects of invention. I’ve focused on my experiences of working on ‘cars’ and working on ‘texts’. I repeat practices born of experiences that others have shared with me and through which I’ve acquired a singular comportment (in the sense of everyone having a singular appreciation of their worlds).

Imagine the colour-coded sections as secord-order diagrams that indicate a kind of time-lapse contraction of habit, like photoshopping multiple layers of time-lapse photography, that overlap the durations of experience; a selective ‘heatmap’ of a lifetime of activity. The large shape is the carport of my familial home. The rectangle top-left is every car I’ve ever worked on whilst on the side of the road. The smaller rectangles are my childhood bedroom, the lounge of my flat when I was doing my PhD, the loungeroom of my flat when I worked in the magazine industry, and lastly my office at university.

To put it rather crudely, as there is not a direct correlation between the two orders of experience, this diagram does not differentiate between passive affects of imitation and the active affects invention. If Tarde is accurate in his description of invention being the innovative combination of imitations, then my capacity to invent is assembled as much from the quiet periods of helping my father or older brother work on their cars as much as it is in my capacity to (endure/enjoy) philosophy texts and similar. There is not a dialectical relationship between the experience-based practical knowledge acquired and embodied through many years of ‘using my hands’ and the experience-based practical knowledge acquired and embodied through many years of developing my ‘conceptual toolbox’. A book, albeit a big book, is a hammer if you use it right.

The arrows capture the virtual movement across the multiple openings between various dimensions of my personal biography. They collapse multiple temporalities, just as my experience of the present collapses a multiplicity of events contracted in every (mostly bad!) habit. Memory is potent here. I work to recollect and smile as I luxuriate in the memory of the ‘simplicity’ of my child-like wonder. Of course, there was nothing simple about my strenuous attempts to learn about cars or to learn about maddening philosophies. The ‘simplicity’ is an active product: my memory is producing differentials of experience assembled from my biography, like the interference effect of the passive dampening of refracting soundwaves (echo).

Absent from this projection into the past are the no-less virtual arrows connecting openings into the future. How to take care of invention so it is not (merely?) co-opted into the machinations of capital or neoliberal management regimes of ‘affective labour’? How to produce opportunities — as a kind of virtual architecture (or dancefloor!) catering to invention — that are not territorialised by capital and overcoded by profit (‘ROI’)? In short, can ‘invention’ be ‘resistance’?

Diagramming Guattari/Deleuze

You can say what you like about D and G (and these days people do), they certainly inspire diagramming. I thought it might be useful to bunch some of these together here. Not only are they often interesting diagrams, they often diagram diagramming. Of course, other workshoppers might consider the diagramming of other thinkers.

Here’s a diagram of Guattarian semiotics, from Gary Genosko’s Guattari Reader, via Janell Watson’s ‘Schizoanalysis as Metamodeling‘ in the exceedingly excellent Fibreculture Journal. It’s Guattari’s ‘Place of the signifier in the institution’ (from Félix Guattari, The Guattari Reader, edited by Gary Genosko: Oxford, UK: Blackwell, 1996, p. 149). Those who know me know I’m not an OOO’er but that doesn’t mean I don’t think this Larval Subject post on ‘Double Articulation: Notes Towards a Theory of the Genesis of Objects‘, which also includes the diagram below, isn’t interesting. It is!

Here’s a Brian Holmes’ diagram of Guattari’s thinking, also found in his ‘ESCAPE THE OVERCODE:  Guattari’s Schizoanalytic Cartographies, or the Pathic Core at the Heart of Cybernetics‘. This version is taken from a great post elsewhere by Anna Munster on ‘The image in the network’, ‘that attempts to work with the processual relations involved in the shaping of new subjectivities of collective enunciation’

Here is a discussion of the rhizome and architecture. It contains this rather nice rhizome illustration—a complex diagram from many perspectives.

Here’s a diagram from Laura U. Marks site, which ‘synthesizes a monist aesthetics from Henri Bergson, Deleuze’s work on the fold, the philosophy of Deleuze and Guattari, the triadic logic of C.S. Peirce, medieval Isma‘ili thought on latency and manifestation, and Ibn Sînâ and Deleuze on the univocity of being’. More information here!

Here’s Sean Smith’s diagram of the molar and the molecular from his fabulous SportsBabel blog. It’s actually a diagram ‘theorizing basketball, written after reading Deleuze and Guattari’s A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia.’

Meanwhile there’s a rather blurry version of the score with which the ‘Rhizome’ chapter of A Thousand Plateaus begins here. The rest of this post looks kind of interesting (although I haven’t read it really) … there are quite a few more diagrams. In fact, they seem to be everywhere.

The next link is to the famous Deleuze “Diagramme de Foucault”, with the fold and all. There’s the more famous panopticon diagram down the page. This is from one of my favourite blogs, Pirates and Revolutionaries, a post on ‘Foucault and Deleuze in Nikolas Rose’s “Authority and the Genealogy of Subjectivity’.

Here’s a machinic assemblages from another of my favourite blogs, Fractal Ontology. It’s a post on spectral realism, titled simply ‘Spectral.’ Among other things, this post discusses ‘pure diagrammatic force.’

From the Anarchist without Content blog we get Foucault’s 17th and 18th century version of the ‘Order of Things’.

If you go to this page, Beth Metcalf’s ‘Hjelmslev’s Univocity’, she diagrams de Saussure’s semiology versus Hjelmslev’s ‘semiotic net’.

And it’s really worth going to Mark Ngui’s drawings of the first two chapters of A Thousand Plateaus. That’s from the fabuously excellent Inflexions journal. There’s more here.

Here’s a 2007 post by Brian Holmes, ‘The Potential Personality: Trans-Subjectivity in the Society of Control‘. This has a great diagram of ‘initial characteristics of an artistic resistance to the control society’. And it also discusses the diagram of the swarm.

Finally here’s a great diagram on a blog post by DAYglo Writing. It’s really quite beautiful and I encourage you to go to the large version here. It’s diagramming an ‘energy island’ in relation to Guattari’s Three Ecologies. The project proposes ‘a new layer of decentralized systems that attempt to instigate new subjectivities through open source interaction. It starts with an independent, yet non-linear energy network. This network converges at separate hubs that then will contain new typologies for open source living’

That seems a nice way to finish this post.

Composing Forces, Not Composed Forms

via Symb(i/o)tika


“This is what we are told by the forces of the outside: the transformation occurs not to the historical, stratified and archaeological composition but to the composing forces, when the latter eneter into a relation with other forces which can have come from outside (strategies). Emergence, change and mutation affect composing forces, not composed forms.”

Deleuze, G. (1988) Foucault. The Athlone Press. London. p.87

Sonic Electricity and the Diagram

Intensive Thinking has a very nice post on Sonic Electricity … which begins with this quote from Deleuze and Guattari (A Thousand Plateaus):

[A technological] plane is not made up simply of formed substances (aluminium, plastic, electric wire, etc.) or organizing forms (program, prototypes, etc.), but of a composite of unformed matters exhibiting only degrees of intensity (resistance, conductivity, heating, stretching, speed or delay, induction, transduction …) and diagrammatic functions exhibiting only differential equations or, more generally, “tensors”.

A series of great videos follow (Alva Noto, Ryoji Ikeda etc), so it’s worth following the link above. Here’s one of those videos here, from Ryoji Ikeda’s work (I really love this work, though I’ve never seen it in a gallery).

Deleuze on Foucault


“What can we call such a new informal dimension? On one occasion Foucault gives it its most precise name: it is a ‘diagram’, that is to say a ‘functioning, abstracted from any obstacle […] or friction [and which] must be detached from  any specific use. The diagram is no longer an auditory or visual archive but a map, a cartography that is coextensive with the whole social field. It is an abstract machine. It is defined by its informal functions and matter and in terms of form makes no distinction between content and expression, a discursive formation and a non-discursive formation. It is a machine that is almost blind and mute, even though it makes others see and speak.

If there are many diagrammatic functions and even matters, it is because every diagram is a spatio-temporal multiplicity. Bu it is also because there are as many diagrams as there are social fields in history.” (Deleuze, Foucault: 34)