Diagramming—some ideas and openings to other ideas/practices

“We need benches not benchmarks”. (Sydney Molecule, 2009, The Society of Molecules)

Just wanted to update everyone on where things are with the Into the Diagram workshop. I thought I might post some thoughts on the kinds of things one could do generally (without saying that this is what we will do, necessarily). I also thought this might be useful for those not in Sydney or Aarhus. [there are some quick, “sketchy” suggestions down the page]

The Sydney and Aarhus workshops are pretty much organized (as much as they will be at this point in any case!). That is (and this is very likely to be varied) there will be morning conceptual speed dating around core readings, then discussion, lunch, then some more open generative work/fun in the afternoon.

Diagram Exchange

We’re also thinking about an international (or for that matter, with the person next to you) “diagram exchange”. What is this? Well of course we don’t exactly know yet, but I think it will involve a call to exchange diagrams that have been generated, and that are generative, so that they can be activated around the world.

It may indeed be that the diagram exchanges will occur at least twice formally (I suspect it’s already occurring informally, via the web site). So you might, say, send a diagram out into the world and have it returned transformed to be re-activated. In all cases, when you receive diagrams they should be activated if possible.

I think the periods for diagram exchange are likely to be the most obvious: December 13 to December 14 … and of course whenever online..

Other Activities/Blog

So that would mean that possible activities are the like of conceptual speed dating, open discussion, diagramming as technique of relation, diagram exchange, diagram activation.

The blog is a happening process, so thanks so much to everyone for that! I’ve really enjoyed it very much so far, and have had the same feedback from a lot of people. There are a lot of interesting posts and some discussion is beginning in the comments.

Suggestions for Exploring Diagramming as Technique of Relation

In terms of the exploring diagramming as technique of relation, I’m thinking of the following (notes follow that are certainly not compulsory reading! But you might find some of it stimulating):

General Propositions:

1. a diagram is at once a concept, a technique, a relation of forces between many things and across time
2. we can open up the sharing of techniques as kinds of diagrams for existence or events (and for the exploration of the “limited infinity” of diagrammatic events within any local or situation).
3. there are infinite diagrams and diagrammings possible. They mutate, and although they might take the form of paper and pencil (and there’s nothing wrong with that) they could be, for example, sounds, invisible, a matter of intuition, a collection of gestures, a reworking of relations, made from wool, a collection of points of inflection, contrasts, be only seen, heard or felt across time etc etc

Possible Tasks:

I’m thinking of two kinds of tasks (to use diagram terms): sketches and full diagrams (“sketch” here does not at all automatically mean pen and paper .. although it might), although in a sense these two kinds of tasks are interchangeable.

All these could be done anywhere (a room, a city, across the globe); or for that matter found anywhere.

These could be done with all kinds of materials (or even non-materially) that is, as above: they might take the form of paper and pencil (and there’s nothing wrong with that) they could be, for example, sounds, invisible, a matter of intuition, a collection of gestures, a reworking of relations, made from wool, a collection of points of inflection, contrasts, be only seen, heard or felt across time, in 2d, 3d or larger multi-dimensions,  etc etc


(these are “emergent diagrams” .. although all diagrams are I guess emergent until they find their “satisfaction” and die .. sketches are exo-skeletal relational emergences, or landing sites, point of inflection creators/linkers … elements in on ongoing durational diagrammings. In short, sketches are little diagrams that are also diagrammatic fragments.)

  • Diagram something impossible to map
  • Gather diagrammatic materials
  • Gather diagrammatic immaterials
  • Conceptual Diagrammatics
  • Engage in “automatic diagramming” (as per “automatic writing” but here the aim is not statements but an impossible yet unavoidable automaticity of ongoing [re]construction)
  • Create diagrammatic fragments to work with and re-assemble (like a dynamic diagrammatic Lego)
  • Produce a new thought, or, “make thought happen”
  • Counter-instructions and micro-disruptions/counter-diagrammatics … seize the/a (and all diagrams are made from other diagrams) diagram and turn it (“The absolute necessity of preventing the diagram from proliferating” (Deleuze, Francis Bacon:109)
  • The diagram as proposition
  • Diagram contrasts, points of inflection, transductions, translations, relay, affect (powers to affect and be affected), emergence
  • Diagram objects (or, turn “objects” into “objectiles”
  • Diagram relations
  • Diagram the relations between relations
  • Diagram concepts (in general do some kind of conceptual diagrammatics) … diagram the real operation/process of concepts .. and interlinking (machinic assemblage) of concepts ..
  • Or, better, don’t just diagram concepts, diagram-with concepts …
  • Diagram things/processes/events that don’t fit ..
  • Diagram data gaps and points of lapse etc .. (I’m thinking urban environment but could easily by in conceptual diagrammatics .. that is, diagram where things are falling apart or shifting out of phase)
  • Diagram something not usually diagrammed with something that is not usually a
    diagram …
  • Create a diagram you can feel but not see
  • Re-assemble your “diagrammatic easel” …

Full Diagrammatics

  • Produces a diagram that generates diagrams
  • Breakup and re-assemble diagrammatic fragments
  • Caffeinated Diagrammatics … diagram relations via caffeination (or other key urban events/processes)
  • Diagram a machine that generates thought
  • Diagram collectively, relationing, a “diagramming-with” .. both form/force of expression and form/force of content show be diagrammed relationally …
  • Diagram the limited infinities of the city; between cities, of the planet as it moves through a city, between cities
  • Diagram the universal diagram (as this constantly falls apart at the seams, its fractures, its potentials)
  • Diagram interlinked propositions
  • Diagram the secret pickup (or zapping) of affective powers
  • Diagram by subtraction … subtract the given, rework.
  • Or, subtract the given via addition (see Deleuze’s ‘Diagram’ chapter of Francis Bacon)
  • Diagram duration (eg from the eighteenth century to now … diagram history in process)
  • Diagram intensities, relations of intensification and the opposite
  • Diagram the difference between these
  • Diagram synchronicity … coincidence, quasi-cause
  • Diagram everyone/everything’s own diagramming ..
  • Diagram the subtraction of diagrams …
  • Diagram the emergence/activity of the asignifying semiotic (‘forms of operation that manipulate elements in ways that do not involve signification or meaning’ Larval Subjects)
  • ‘Give the eye another power’. Diagram (that is, enact via a diagram, the  destruction of ‘optical organization’, so that ‘an object will no longer be figurative’ (Deleuze, Francis Bacon: 102)
  • Build a diagram that continues into a process, that is, one that begins and follows through with the act or event, and doesn’t just come before the act/event.
  • “Unlock areas of sensation” (Francis Bacon: 102), Bring forth synesthetic “jitter and “flicker” (Massumi, Semblance and Event, chapter 3)
  • Diagram the layering of the diagrams/power/forces/differential relations (eg from the eighteenth century disciplinary diagram(s) to the more recent biopolitical/control diagram(s))
  • Cued Dérive. Base your dérive on cue and primes (see Manning, ‘Choreography as Mobile Architecture’). Two phases—diagrammatic assembly of cues and receptivity to primes, diagrammatic events of cueing and priming/being primed … these two should fold into each other. [higher degree of difficulty!]
  • “Invoke the virtual” (Massumi, Semblance and Event:98)

Do all of this in your local environs, across Sydney-Aarhus-Montreal-Turku

very open to more/different ideas, either in comments or separate posts/links to elsewhere (but about to head off the internet for a couple of days myself! Have fun)
all the best, Andrew