2.3. Apparatus ⇔ assemblage

2.20. Making balls of yarn. counting live stock(s).

From the question of ‘who is in act?’, which turned into ‘how is it that agency emerges?’, the question must now be reformulated into ‘how is agency distributed’? If no thing acts alone, how do some possibilities of mattering and withdrawal prevail over others? I will explore these questions through two concepts: assemblage and apparatus. In this section i will entangle Deleuze and Guattari’s description of assemblage with Karen Barad’s elaboration of apparatus. Apparatus and assemblage are usually understood as referring to material arrangements, but i take them as specific material-discursive dynamics. They are different modalities of groupings of agencies, of composition of power, and they generate different histories, present and, possibilities for the future. Real formations of power mostly exhibit both dynamics. These two concepts are analytical frameworks for understanding how given agential phenomena do what they do, and they are also creative tools for intra-acting with these phenomena, and producing alternative ones.

2.21. Setting up counting office in field. counting live stock(s). October 2014, Zlatibor, Serbia.

2.3.1. Apparatus/dispositif

Foucault uses the word dispositif to indicate processual and physical nature of organisation of power. In French, the word means disposition both as a specific arrangement of elements, but also an inclination, tendency, propensity. A mechanism can thus be seen as a product, a material coagulation of an apparatus dynamics. To further this processual nature of apparatus, i will follow and rework Karen Barad’s performative conception of apparatus as practice.

I will begin with Foucault’s description of apparatus:

a thoroughly heterogeneous ensemble consisting of discourses, institutions, architectural forms, regulatory decisions, laws, administrative measures, scientific statements, philosophical, moral and philanthropic propositions—in short, the said as much as the unsaid. Such are the elements of the apparatus. The apparatus itself is the [network]1 of relations that can be established between these elements. (Foucault, 1980: 194)

On the one hand there is a heterogeneity of discursive and material elements/forms, but this is not what makes the apparatus. It is the network that connects and disconnects these elements, and determines the distribution of power and knowledge. Deleuze re-reads apparatuses as “multilinear ensembles” (1991: 159). With this networked dynamics in mind, i move now to consider apparatus in the posthumanist continuum.

In Barad’s agential realism, apparatuses are fundamentally the dynamics of meaning, but which is entangled with mattering. “[A]pparatuses are the material conditions of possibility and impossibility of mattering; they enact what matters and what is excluded from mattering.” (Barad, 2007: 148) Apparatus performs inclusions and exclusions:

Intra-actions include the larger material arrangement (i.e., set of material practices) that effects an agential cut between ‘subject’ and ‘object’ … (Barad, 2007: 139-140)

Apparatus is thus a specific mode of intra-action, a ‘set of material practices’, whose principal output are subjects and objects. Furthermore, it determines the im/possibilities of matter to come to matter. By intra-acting Barad’s reading with Foucault’s (and Deleuze’s), i will outline four material practices of apparatus: boundary-drawing, diagramming, territory and disposition.

In Barad, “apparatuses are not mere observing instruments but boundary-drawing practices—specific material (re)configurings of the world—which come to matter” [original emphasis] (ibid.: 140). Boundary-drawing is a performance of determination of what matters and what gets excluded from mattering. Key outputs of this performance are subject and object, intra-actively enacted, exterior to each other but interior to the phenomenon of intra-action. It is not subject that makes object, they are entangled with the other, asserted through agential cuts that “cut ‘things’ together and apart” (Barad, 2007: 179).

2.22. Manual correlation plotting. Research for office of ecological labour.

The dynamics of together/apart is where onto-epistemology gets entangled with ethico-politics. Agential cuts perform exclusions from mattering, which are ‘co-constituted and entangled’ with inclusions. However i wish to stress that apparatus, through these operations, creates relations of power. Cuts are performed in one way or the another, but this hinges on the relations that exist between included and excluded agencies. Barad asserts that “possibilities aren’t narrowed in their realisation; new possibilities open up as others are now excluded: possibilities are reconfigured and reconfiguring” (2007: 177). As i pointed out above, if we are to avoid determinism, which Barad also refutes, some possibilities ‘reconfigure’ more than others and they may indeed ‘narrow’ other possibilities. In the latter case, for some agencies, cuts may be made “once and for all” (2007: 179), precluding them in a determinate manner from coming to matter within a given phenomenon. Apparatus can make cuts that support virtualisation, unrealised possibilities, or, on the contrary, it can make cuts that silence, background, or hyperseparate agencies (Plumwood, 1993).

How boundary-making is enacted is determined by the power―knowledge circuitry of the apparatus. To depict this, i will claim that apparatuses possess their possibility spacetime, a power diagram of possibilities of various implicated elements. A power diagram is the map of pathways through the possibilities of an apparatus: “a cartography that is coextensive with the whole social field” (Deleuze, 1988: 34), a performing map, a sort of algorithm, “a non-unifying immanent cause” (ibid.: 37) that determines the performativity of the apparatus. Deleuze calls the diagram an ‘abstract machine’ that is “like the cause” of the concrete machine (ibid.). Diagram is an intertwinement of two dimensions: power and knowledge. “Between power and knowledge there is a difference in nature or a heterogeneity; but there is also mutual presupposition and capture” (ibid.:73). Deleuze describes the knowledge function of apparatus as ‘archive’ or ‘stratum’ (ibid.: 120), whilst power functions according to the ‘diagram’ (ibid.: 73). Apparatus is an immanent inter-play between “techniques of knowledge [archive] and strategies of power [diagram]” (Foucault, in ibid.: 75). Knowledge is, for Deleuze, the ‘stratification’ of agential cuts and possibilities, “‘sedimentary beds’ … made from things and words, from seeing and speaking, from the visible and the sayable, from the bands of visibility and fields of readability, from contents and expressions” (Deleuze, 1988: 47). Following Barad’s reading of the co-constitution of being and meaning, i will add that power relations of the apparatus participate in stratification. Knowledge operates between the possible and the virtual (the outside of the apparatus), whilst power operates between the possible and the actual. Thus power and knowledge meet and co-determine the interior and also how apparatus negotiates its exterior. An entanglement of diagram and archive is the power-knowledge diagram, or the possibility timespace of apparatus, which determines what in the last instance can be ‘seen’ and what is ‘articulable’ (discourse) in a given apparatus (Deleuze, 1988). Cutting through the power-knowledge diagram, agential cuts enact ‘enunciations’ or ‘statements’, determining what matters (the actuality of the apparatus) and, at the same time, reworking the power-knowledge diagram. Agential cuts are enactments of possibilities and further possibilitisations.

2.23. Tracking exercise. office of ecological labour.

Disposition is the topography produced by power-knowledge techniques and translation mechanisms, the organisation of the apparatus, a territoriality that determines the conditions of (re)production of power-knowledge and vice versa. Disposition refers to the dynamics between the possible of the apparatus and its actual effects, and in this sense it can be said to be at least partially the visible part of the apparatus dynamics, its infrastructural spacetime (Easterling, 2014). Therefore, disposition is the territory of the apparatus, a dynamic form that in itself participates in the performativity of agential cuts.

Disposition proceeds through techniques of ‘translation’, a notion i borrow from Bruno Latour’s sociology of associations (1988). In Latour, ontological units are called ‘agents’ or ‘actors’ and they are characterised by the ‘principle of irreducibility’ (1988: 158). However, this principle of irreducibility is compounded with the ‘principle of relativity’: “[n]othing is, by itself, the same as or different from anything else. That is, there are no equivalents, only translations.” (Latour, 1988:162). The concept of translation should be understood outside of its purely linguistic meaning, it is a reduction of difference in order to create power relations. Through translation, ‘weaknesses’ become ‘potencies’ and bodies “gain strength” (ibid.:160). Translation is an arithmetic of power:

[when] one actant manages to persuade others to fall into line, it thereby increases its strength and becomes stronger than those it aligned and convinced …. It can be said that A is connected to others. […] A can also be said to command others. A can also be said to translate the wishes of others. (ibid.: 172)

Through translation, power is transferred or relayed between bodies, some bodies are made to do things for others (“action upon action” for Foucault). It is a way of creating chains of action or diagrams of an apparatus. Translation is the mechanism of representation that apparatuses develop and through this mode of aligning, they ossify their power-knowledge diagrams to become mechanisms of control. Disposition is the congealing of the agential cuts, their formalisation and normalisation, a history that impacts but does not fully determine the future.

2.24. On-site monitoring. Preparations for office of ecological labour. Herbert Read Gallery, UCA Canterbury.

I will distinguish two critical dispositions of apparatuses: majoritarian and minoritarian. Dispositions can thus also be imagined as ethico-political expressions of an apparatus. Majoritarian apparatuses tend to concentrate power in determinate areas of the diagram, they re-iterate cuts in a similar fashion, creating lineages (lines of discent), eventually narrowing the band of possibilities of some of their members. In extreme cases, majoritarian apparatuses may become hierarchical or sovereign ‘apparatuses of capture’ (Chap. 13, in DG, 1987). Apparatuses of capture are biopolitical machines. Some examples might be the State, prison or certain urban organisations (e.g., gated communities). Minoritarian apparatuses are different inasmuch as they have more dispersed power-knowledge diagrams, their agential cuts are more flexible, more indeterminate. It can be said that majoritarian apparatuses privilege inner consistency or stability, while minoritarian ones favour openness. The difference between the two can be explained in terms of the relations of accountability and responsibility they generate and perpetuate.

Returning to agential cuts (boundary-making), i will focus on another aspect of it: territorialisation. Agential cuts simultaneously determine what DG call ‘content and expression’ (reterritorialisation) and(re)work the constitutive outside of the apparatus. This other side of the agential cut “is constituted by lines of deterritorialization that cut across it and carry it away” (DG, 1987: 504). These other lines are basically other agential cuts that slice through the apparatus: “some open the territorial assemblage onto other assemblages” (ibid.). Apparatuses are never alone, others press upon them and intervene in their agential cuts. Also, bearing in mind the dynamics of mattering―withdrawal, there is always more to agencies within the range of an agential cut than those captured within its territory. The non-correspondence between the territory and matter (or life) is ‘a crack’, “a gap or disjunction” (Deleuze, 1988: 38). The crack is the inter-territory of friction between power and resistance that creates “two different directions that are necessarily divergent and irreducible” (ibid.). Territorialising function “either stabilise[s] the identity of an [apparatus], by increasing its degree of internal homogeneity or the degree of sharpness of its boundaries, or destabilise it” (De Landa, 2006: 12). (Here i substitute ‘assemblage’ for ‘apparatus’.) Through the cracks, some possibilities tend to run ‘away’ from the capture of the apparatus, these are deteritorrialising/destabilising tendencies. However, at the same time, the cracks also indicate the permeability of the apparatus, deteritorrialising vectors that come from the ‘outside’. In light of the above, it can be said that majoritarian apparatuses prefer reterritorialisation, whilst minoritarian tend towards deterritorialisation. Both tendencies are, however, compresent in any apparatus and each has cracks within.

2.25. Performance score. office of ecological labour.

The above described performances of apparatus are analytical tools for localising the operations of apparatuses. By studying their power-knowledges, translations, boundary-making procedures, and dispositions, it is possible to grasp what they bring to matter, what they ‘say’ or ‘express’, but also to understand what they invisibilise, background, capture or dominate. Inherently, apparatuses are lieus where relations of power are determined, producing material effects upon bodies. Posthuman eco-aesthetics has to find ways to account for apparatus dynamics, because these are nodes where im/possibilities of life are strongly impacted. Even human bodies are finely tuned apparatuses that produce territories, inclusions and exclusions. In the social field, we are participants in what Donna Haraway calls ‘apparatuses of bodily production’ (1991: 200), co-constituted in intra-active dynamics with numerous technological, economic, scientific apparatuses. From a modern human standpoint, i believe one always begins from the apparatus dynamics.

2.3.2. Assemblage / agencement

In this section, i advance an understanding of assemblage as a generative dynamics through which bodies learn to do things together, developing common capacities to affect and be affected. Assemblage in my reading is a material-affective dynamics in which bodies become other to themselves. I will highlight the politico-epistemic dimensions of assemblage, but the concept has been read and applied in fields such as ecology, political economy, sociology and art history2. My reading stems from DG’s notion of assemblage in A Thousand Plateaus, but moves in the direction of posthumanist feminist epistemology and quantum physics, as outlined in the works of Donna Haraway and Karen Barad.

2.26. Co-performers. office of ecological labour.

Assemblage as a shared heterogeneity is encapsulated in DG’s original formulation of the term, which in French is agencement3. John Phillips clarifies that agencement means ‘arrangement’, ‘fitting’ or ‘fixing’ in both active and substantive mode: “one might use the term for both the act of fixing and the arrangement itself” (2006: 108). Assemblage is an act of fitting, a material performance of composing agencies together. Similarly to apparatus, i insist on assemblage as a performative dynamic, not an arrangement. Anna Tsing provides a performative understanding of assemblage as an inter-species gathering that creates novel lifeways:

Assemblages are open-ended gatherings. They allow us to ask about communal effects without assuming them. They show us potential histories in the making. [my emphasis] (Tsing, 2015: 22)

Assemblages are ‘open-ended gatherings’ that shape “ways of being” (ibid.). The key point is not the topographical relation of bodies in spacetime (‘grouping’), but what they can do together. Contrary to apparatus, assemblages are ‘open-ended’. Open-ended here stands for the malleability of assemblage boundaries, but also their multiple orientation. Assemblages do not have a common expression, they are ‘polyphonic’ (ibid.:23) and enact multiple possibilities at once. Assemblage is thus a machine for the “meshing of differences”, which “endow[s] the process with capacity for divergent evolution, that is, the capacity to further differentiate differences” (De Landa, 2002: 64). DG’s example of ‘horse-stirrup-man’ is not to be viewed as simply three bodies stacked on top of each other. What could make them an assemblage are the differences they are able to generate, the body movements they can enact that were previously impossible for them individually. In this sense, assemblages can be understood as ‘events’, or ‘happenings’ (Tsing, 2015:23). The polyvocal quality of assemblage is conveyed well in Hardt and Negri’s reworking of Spinoza’s multitudo:

The multitude is a multiplicity, a plane of singularities, an open set of relations, which is not homogeneous or identical with itself and bears an indistinct, inclusive relation to those outside of it. (2000: 103)

Multitude in Hardt and Negri’s political ontology embodies the constituent political subject. It can be said that assemblage is a process of constituting multitude.

2.27. Timeline score. office of ecological labour.

Assemblage dynamics are not about fusing elements into full alignment, creating a diagram. In assemblage, each element “maintains an energetic pulse slightly ‘off’ from that of the assemblage” (Bennett, 2010: 24). De Landa explains that assemblage should be analysed in terms of ‘external relations’, different from ‘internal relations’ as in an organism paradigm (De Landa, 2006: 11). On the one hand, this implies that “the properties of a whole cannot be reduced to those of its parts” (ibid.). Assemblage is a “non-totalizable sum” (Hayden, in Bennett, 2010: 24). On the other hand, but of equal importance, it demonstrates that “parts are always greater than the whole” (Bryant, 2011: 272). Assemblage elements generate something ‘other’ than themselves, and each element is also something ‘other’ from the assemblage. Contrary to apparatus, which displays a tendency towards capture, functional alignment and formalised disposition, agencies in assemblage are in continuous experimentation. Assembling agencies ‘teeter’ between singularisation and collectivisation of autonomy, thus developing “patterns of unintentional coordination” (Tsing, 2015: 23). We can never fully know what an assemblage or a multiplicity can do. The constituent parts of assemblage do not know either. Assemblages are intra-actions of a multiplicity that moves without an end, their possibilities are open-ended.

2.28. Monitoring internet volume. Preparations for office of ecological labour. Herbert Read Gallery, UCA Canterbury.

Material practices of assemblage include: field, possibility cloud, quantisation/desire, becoming, situated-dispersal. To evoke the difference in consistency between apparatus and assemblage relationality, departing from DG terminology, i call the territory of assemblage a field, after the quantum field. A simple definition of quantum field is that it “is a [many-body] system with an infinite number of degrees of freedom, which may be restrained by some field equations [‘renormalisations’]” (Kuhlmann, 2015). A quantum field is obtained by ‘quantising’ the particle field of quantum mechanics (ibid.). Quantisation implies a transformation in the understanding of the particle and the field (its territory). Quantum theory has been described as “the land of anonymity” (Dalla Chiara & Tonaldo, in French, 2015), in which the principle of identity wavers or ‘non-individuality’ becomes a possibility (ibid.)4. Quantisation implies a leap in the dynamics of an entity, which is now a particle—field entanglement. Barad invites us to imagine the quantum field as an ‘infinite drumhead’ (2010: 10) without the drummer. It has its own intense ‘fluctuations’ filled by ‘virtual particles’, “ghostly non/existences that teeter on the edge of the infinitely thin blade between being and nonbeing. They speak of indeterminacy.” (Barad, 2012b: 12) Barad describes quantum field as “a lively tension, a desiring orientation toward being/becoming” (ibid.: 13). This teetering or fluctuation is what i will call ‘possibility cloud’, a quantised version of the power-knowledge diagram with the difference that it is “flush with yearning” (ibid.), animated by intensities of desire.

Assemblages emerge through intra-active iterative dynamics, but their expressions are not subjects and objects, as in apparatuses. Assemblage touches and is touched by the virtual and desires difference – to become. Becoming is a condensation that connects the possibility cloud with the field, a difference that self-differs/self-others. In the language of Deleuze and Guattari, this is becoming. In their example of wasp-orchid assemblage there is “a becoming-wasp of the orchid and a becoming-orchid of the wasp” (DG, 1987: 10). Assemblage that becomes extracts a portion of the virtual, it quantises it, translates it into discrete parts of the possibility cloud. A new possibility is born, joining various agencies in a shared yet differential cause. Through becoming, wasp and orchid become entangled in the possibility cloud, always in tension that can land on each other. The becoming-wasp of the orchid and the becoming-orchid of the wasp are not individual events, they are a wasp-orchid as a ‘polyvocal’ ‘happening’.

2.29. Composing #copper #love #machine. we ♥ copper & copper ♥ us vol. 1.

Assemblages have their own discourses, but they are different from those of apparatuses which consist of a plane of what is sayable and articulable. Assemblage is a process of learning among heterogeneous entities that Gregory Bateson calls “an evolution of fitting together” (1979: 152). In Deleuze’s words, assemblage is “a symbiosis, a ‘sympathy’” (in De Landa, 2006: 121). It is primarily a dispersion of agencies, agentements, a transformation of the virtual into the possible. Becoming breaks away from power as “action upon action” and turns it into “action with action”, an empowering agentialisation. Assemblage intra-actions can be called infra-action, which operates beneath the “grid of intelligibility” (Drefyus & Rabinow, 1983: 121)5. It is an unintelligible ‘natural convers(at)ion’ with the earth, the virtual exteriority-within.

The concept of assemblage has affinity with assembly, meeting, gathering of affects and bodies. Assemblies, in their Germanic tradition, were called ‘ding’ (thing), and often it was indeed a thing, e.g. a mound or another geographical formation, at or around which free-speaking men gathered. However, the ‘thing’ in question was a ‘matter of concern’ (Latour, 2004), an issue to be collectively discussed and hopefully resolved. Following Tsing, assemblages are not gathered around a pre-determined matter in mind. The attractors of assembly are not things, but immanent processes of desire for anotherness.

2.30. Retracing exploration data of Geological Survey of Finland. Fieldwork of we ♥ copper & copper ♥ us vol. 1.

In Spinoza, “desire is each man’s nature or essence”, it is the expression of conatus, “the endeavour to persist in its being” (in Negri, 2012: 85). Desire is different in nature from one essence to another, including animals, and i would add, other earth others (ibid.: 86). “There is only desire and the social, and nothing else” (DG, 1983: 29). Assemblages are social expressions of the desiring of matter, mattering as desiring. Joyful meetings among bodies form what Spinoza called ‘common notions’:

…common notion is the representation of a composition betwen two or more bodies, and a unity of this composition. ….it expresses the relations of agreement and composition between existing bodies. [my emphasis] (1988: 54)

Representation and materiality (unity) are joined in “something common” (Deleuze, 1990: 280). In Spinoza’s monism, the mind is the idea of the body and the body is the idea of the mind (Dolphijn & Tuin, 2012: 96), therefore ‘forming common notions’ is the moment of unity of matter and meaning, of forming a “relations of agreement”. Common notions move the body from passive into active modes through ‘joy-passions’. “There is a whole learning process involved in common notions, in our becoming active” (Deleuze, 1990: 288). Commoning with other bodies is thus a “learning process”. Assembling the social is an intra-active dynamics of learning and composing. Assemblage as agencement, agentialisation, are intra-actions of ‘forming common notions’ with other agencies through which new shared possibilities come into being. Thus, assemblage has an intimate relation to knowing, it is a relation of knowing (see 2.4).

2.31. Phone dissasembly. Fairphone workshop at Open Source Circular Economy Days.
13 June 2015, Helsinki.

2.3.3. Spacetimematterings of apparatus/assemblage

In this section, i detail what kind of space and time (territory or field) are created through the dynamics of apparatus and assemblage. Apparatuses and assemblages are not bodies hanging in space and time, they are different modes of intra-action of matter entangled with space and time. “Space, time, and matter are mutually constituted through the dynamics of iterative intra-activity” (Barad, 2007: 181).

In Newtonian mechanics, bodies are inside a topographical metric space and time. In agential realism, matter is of space and time. Contrary to topographical space that separates bodies on a map, topologies are of a connective nature, and dis/continuity is part of them (e.g., quantum leap). The “topological manifold of spacetimematter relations” is iteratively reconfigured through intra-active entanglements. Bodies do not ‘touch’ in space and time, they are of the space and time of connective intra-activity. “All real living is meeting. And each meeting matters.” (Barad, 2007: 353) Intra-action does not begin when the bodies are close in a pre-existing space and time, but closeness is the intra-action of the spacetimematter manifold. Correspondingly, time is not a container either, but a connective folding of pasts and presents6:

As a result of the iterative nature of intra-active practices that constitute phenomena, the ‘past’ and the ‘future’ are iteratively reconfigured and enfolded through one another: phenomena cannot be located in space and time, phenomena are material entanglements that ‘extend’ across different spaces and times. (ibid.: 383)

Apparatuses produce differential times that partake in wider spacetimematter manifolds involving other apparatuses. Spacetime is entangled with how matter meets, folds and sediments.

2.32. Developing #copper #love #machine. we ♥ copper & copper ♥ us vol. 1.

Apparatuses and assemblages enact different spacetimematterings or territorialisations, affording different types of meetings to happen. Apparatus privilege a topographical territorialisation, a formation of a disposition that can be cut through techniques and strategies. Assemblages intensify the topological inter-connectivity of spacetimemattering through their formation of fields of desire. It can thus be said that apparatuses ‘arrange’ meetings among friends by stabilising a territory, whereas assemblages are more like ‘blind dates’ in which connectivity is always reconfigured. Apparatuses have a tendency towards locality, compared to assemblages that are more oriented towards trans-locality. Horse and omnibus are a localised and interlocked apparatus performing a certain operation. Bumblebee and orchid are a tenuous assemblage that rarely comes to meet. Apparatuses are more nests, while assemblages are more springboards. Assemblages and apparatuses are coagulations of agencies that produce different patterns of spacetimemattering.

In apparatus dynamics, territory is stabilised and pathways are relatively (never fully) pre-determined. “Let’s meet at eight o’clock at Louvre”, is a relatively stable thing to say within a certain apparatus. There are a number of apparatuses that have organised and disposed spacetime as if there was a grid of pathways, and a linear time. It does not take much to see that even inside this type of apparatus, thanks to other topologies (e.g., mental ecologies), it might not be as straightforward to arrange crossings of agencies. Even topographical space, understood as a linear, homogeneous, contiguous space of modernity is a topological spacetimematter, only its possibilities have been significantly narrowed down through techniques of power-knowledge and strategies of power. Yet, even inside this spacetimematter manifold, unexpected meetings may happen.

2.33. Sketches for #weheartcopper web deposit. In collaboration with Romulus Studio. we ♥ copper & copper ♥ us vol. 1.

Assemblages are fields that are brimming with fluctuating intensities, with very fuzzy borders, just like clouds. Inconsistency and in/determinacy are being experimented with through freedom, but since they are so open it is quite hard to notice them, and to maintain them without turning them into something else. How to meet and intra-act in assemblage mode is what Spinoza depicts in his idea of forming common notions. Therefore, to engage with other bodies in freedom is to assemble. In posthuman ecology, the question is how to assemble with earth others, to create possibilities of co-constitutive in/determinacy, in which becomings or symbioses may happen. Spinoza opens up a trajectory that needs to be moved beyond human freedom and sociality. By envisaging assemblage as a field of posthuman freedom, i will try to analyse what kind of knowings and politics they demand. This will be a step towards understanding how they could be composed through eco-aesthetic or other practices in which humans participate.

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Notes:

  1. In Rabinow’s collection in which this interview first appeared the word used was “system”. Agamben’s text brought to my attention that the word in case is “network [le réseau]” (2009: 7).
  2. In ecology, assemblage is a concept very close to community. Anna Tsing works with the concept of assemblage to analyse matsutake mushroom supply chains. “Assemblages drag political economy inside them, and not just for humans.” (Tsing, 2015: 23) Further, following Manuel De Landa’s groundbreaking ‘neo-assemblage theory’ of society (2006), assemblage has become a critical term in a number of fields in social theory. Furthermore, the concept has gained hold in international relations studies (Michele & Curtis, 2013), and geography (e.g., Anderson & McFarlane, 2011). Last but not least, assemblage has a distinguished history in the visual arts, where it was introduced by Jean Dubuffet in the 1950’s. It is a successor and close kin to collage, often referring to three-dimensional compositions. What is of interest to me, however, is a posthumanist re-definition of assemblage, direction in which especially De Landa and Tsing point.
  3. Assemblage as translation of agencement has gained foot in English since the first translation of Rhizome in 1981, and was formalised by Brian Massumi’s translation of A Thousand Plateaus (Phillips, 2006: 108).
  4. There is a variety of interpretations of the problem of individuality in quantum theory.
  5. “Grid of intelligibility” is Dreyfus and Rabinow’s alternative to the more standard translation of Foucault’s dispositif as ‘apparatus’ (1983: 121).
  6. This is one of the key findings and ontological revolutions of quantum physics, that past can be ‘changed’. Karen Barad re-interprets the result of a double-slit diffraction experiment to support her claims (2007: 247-352). Beyond scientific significance of Barad’s explanation of the experiment, it supplies powerful conceptual tools for an analytical-critical engagement with a humanist reality that produced the idea of the linear time.