Friday, November 09, 2007

Write, form a rhizome...

Differences and Repetitions began in many respects as a blog about the individual and collaborative writings of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. It's always been about more than that, of course, but many of my earliest readers/interlocutors were fellow admirers of their work. I'm writing now to propose an experiment involving those of you with an interest in Deleuze and Guattari, and those of you who might be intrigued to participate for other reasons.

I've just completed a draft of a short paper on Deleuze and Guattari, which I'm scheduled to present at the US National Communication Association convention next week in Chicago, Illinois. It's part of a panel organized by my friend and colleague, Mehdi Semati, on the theme, "Against Communication: On the Deleuzoguattarian Ethics of Refusal (to Communicate)." Here's the deal: each of the panelists has chosen a short passage from the duo's work that says something about communication. My selection, which comes from What Is Philosophy? is this: “We do not lack communication. On the contrary, we have too much of it. We lack creation. We lack resistance to the present” (108; emphasis in original). Our task is to explicate and complicate our respective passages, in the strong sense in which Deleuze uses those terms. "To seek the truth is to interpret, decipher, explicate," he writes in Proust and Signs. "But this 'explication' is identified with the development of the sign itself" (2000: 17).

This is where you come in. I've set up a page on, which, like Wikipedia, allows users to view, comment on, and edit the document I've drafted. You can access the paper by clicking here. You don't need to do anything special to edit it; no registration or login is required. All you need to do is click the "edit" box near the bottom of the page, and the rest is more or less self-explanatory. If you'd rather not actively edit, you're always welcome to read the paper and email comments/ responses to me: Alternatively, you can leave your comments here on D&R.

I'm interested in soliciting your input and collaboration for several reasons. For starters, I'd love some advance feedback on the piece before presenting it. But beyond that, having read Yochai Benkler's The Wealth of Networks, Henry Jenkins' Convergence Culture, and related materials, I find myself becoming increasingly interested in the creative possibilities of distributed peer production. Wikis and other such technologies seem to me commensurate, at least in principle, with Deleuze and Guattari's injunction from A Thousand Plateaus: "Write, form a rhizome..." (1987: 10). I thought it might be intriguing to try something like dissolving the speaking (or writing) subject in a piece ostensibly about "communication."

Anyone who contributes will, of course, get appropriately credited on the piece. I thank you in advance for your input and look forward to seeing how the essay shapes up.


Jason Baird Jackson said...

Hi Ted. You experiment interested me so much that I read the paper and left behind a footnote just to show that it could be done (and to test (for my part) the technology that you are using for the project). I strongly encourage you to delete my note.

It is different than using, for instance, CommentPress, which would allow readers to add parenthetical comments and discussion rather than, primarily, become co-authors.

I found the paper and the project very interesting. Good luck the paper. I look forward to seeing how the experiment turns out.

Jason Jackson

Ted Striphas said...

Hi Jason,

First off, thanks very much for leaving for adding to the paper and for leaving a comment here. Both are very much appreciated. For whatever it's worth, you've prompted me to check out the Galloway/Thacker book you referenced.

The decision to host the site on Wikidot instead of, say, CommentPress (is that related to WordPress?) was a pragmatic one made largely out of my own ignorance in terms of what collaborative tools are out there. All that to say, I'm planning on checking out CommentPress by your recommendation. And in that respect, thanks for suggesting alternative "infrastructure" for the experiment.

One last thing: you've encouraged me strongly to delete the note you left. Really? I will if you'd like to see it go.....

Mehdi said...

Hi Ted,
I added a paragraph, hinting at a section to come, hopefully, expounding on the pure event/events distinction as a route to expand on the central ideas in the paper (resistance to the present and communication on the one hand, and repetition in that distinction on the other)... It was lovely to see you in Chicago. Happy Thanksgiving!

Ted Striphas said...

Hi Mehdi,

Many thanks for the contribution! Yes, indeed, your thoughts on the event open up an important new direction for paper. Please do add to it--and others should feel welcome to do so, too. For my part, I should have some time to begin expanding on your (our...?) thoughts sometime in the coming week.

So glad to see the paper evolving in provocative directions!