Tuesday, February 5, 2008

587 B.C. - A.D. 70: On Several Regimes of Signs



SIGNIFYING REGIME OF THE SIGN: “every sign refers to another sign, and only to another sign, ad infinitum…When denotation (here designation and signification taken together) is assumed to be part of connotation, one is wholly within this signifying regime of the sign.” (112) Radiating circularity.

PRESIGNIFYING SEMIOTIC: There is no reduction to faciality as the sole substance of of expression: there is no eliminations of forms of content through abstraction of the signified. …It is a segmentary but plurilinear, multidimensional semiotic that wards off any kind of signifying circularity. (117) Hunter-nomads.

COUNTERSIGNIFYING SEMIOTIC: Proceeds less by segmentarity than by arithmetic and numeration… a numerical sign that is not produced by something outside the system of marking it institutes, which marks a mobile and plural distribution, which itself determines functions and relations, which arrives at arrangements rather than totals, distributions rather than collections…would appear to belong to the semiotic of a nomad war machine directed against the state apparatus.” (118) Animal raising nomads, early Christianity (Biblical numerology)

POSTSIGNIFYING SEMIOTIC: Bifurcating madness without intellectual diminishment: paranoid interpretive vs. active ideational delusion. Seeming mad without being it, then being it without seeming it? A sign or packet of signs detaches from the irradiating circular network and sets to work on its own account, starts running a straight line, as though swept into a narrow, open passage.”


SYMBOLIC: taking a given semiotic into the presignifying regime.

POLEMICAL OR STRATEGIC: taking a semiotic into the signifying regime


DIAGRAMMATIC: transformations that blow apart semiotics systems or regimes of signs on the plane of consistency


puissance Noun, feminine (a) power, strength of an army, muscle, brightness of light, force of wind; power, output of hifi; social, economic, electrical power

pouvoir Verb, transitive (a) to be able to; je peux, je puis (frm) I can; I may (frm), I can, I am allowed to; je pourrais I could, I might, I may; je pouvais I was able to, I could

Etymology: New Latin cogito, ergo sum, literally, I think, therefore I am, principle stated by René Descartes

1 : the philosophic principle that one's existence is demonstrated by the fact that one thinks

2 : the intellectual processes of the self or ego

DESPOT 1562, "absolute ruler," from M.L. despota, from Gk. despotes "master of a household, lord, absolute ruler." Faintly pejorative in Gk., progressively moreso as used in various languages for Roman emperors, Christian rulers of Ottoman provinces, and Louis XVI during the French Revolution. Despotism (1727) is from Fr. despotisme.

Online Etymology Dictionary


1a) Deleuze and Guattari introduce early in this chapter the simple conceptual formula stating that for the "signifying regime of the sign (the signifying sign): every sign refers to another sign, and only to another sign, ad infinitum. That is why, at the limit, one can forgo the notion of the sign, for what is retained is not principally the sign's relation to a state of things it designates...The question is not yet what a given sign signifies but to which other signs it refers..." (p.112) Do we agree, and if we do, why the importance of signs is in the sign to sign relationship insofar that it defines a signifying chain? And if this is the case, what importance, if any, is left of the actual thing that is signified?

1b) Further to their explanation of a regime of signs, Deleuze and Guattari state that "A sign refers to another sign, into which it passes and which carries it into still other signs. To the point that it returns in a circular fashion...the network of signs is infinitely circular." (p.113) This implies that the network of signs ultimately refers back onto itself and its origin of signification. To better understand what this describes, can we come up with an example of such a signifying network that might demonstrate this sort of folding in on itself?
2) Deleuze and Guattari introduce after their discussion of delusion, an interesting sub-concept of mental and dominant reality under the larger idea of subjectification and the postsignifying regime. Subjectification is the point of departure, followed by a subject of enunciation that formulates the mental reality. Through a sort of normalization process causing a series of changes in points of subjectification, one tends to move from the mental reality to conforming to the dominant reality. (p.129) If we take that the mental reality exists in one's mind and the dominant reality approaches some sort of physical realisation, at what point of the "reality spectrum" does design become real?

3) Faciality. "It is a whole body unto itself: it is like the body of the center of signifiance to which all of the deterritorialized signs affix themselves, and it marks the limit of their deterritorialization....The face is the Icon..." (p.115) In their discussion of faciality, Deleuze and Guattari describe faciality as containing traits of expression and is the culmination of a signifying regime. In the context of capitalism and to be more specific, to the idea of branding, the "face" of companies are often in the form of simplistic logos - the swoosh from Nike, the apple from Macintosh to name a couple. Can it be argued then that these simplistic logos are in and of themselves as expressive as a signifier as any face? At the same time is their simplistic abstract nature the very mechanism that allows for interpretation and therefore a kind of deception?

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