Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Three Novellas, or "What Happened?"



1874: Three Novellas, or “what happened?" Definitions: Gene Mastrangeli
The Novella: a literary genre where, in essence, everything is centered on the question, or evolves in the element of “what happened?” It has little to do with memory because it places us in relation with something unknowable and imperceptible . . . it has a fundamental relation to secrecy (not with the secret matter but with the expression which remains impenetrable) . . . to discovery (its form independent from its matter) . . . it also enacts postures of the body and mind that are like folds or envelopments (where a tale possesses attitudes and positions that unfold and develop)
What happened? (The expression or modality), Secrecy and Discovery (the form), Posture (the content)
First/ Second/ Third Novellas (three parallel concepts)

Couples/ Break Line/ Molar Perception = Line of Molar. . A rigid segmentation of the world . . . an overall survey with clear-cut elements . . . overcoded . . . populated by near-seers that use spyglasses and possess a terrible laser beam that reinforces a molar order . . . a psudobreak

Doubles/ Crack Line/ Molecular Perception = Line of Molecular . . . supple segmentation, fine and shifting compositions . . . vaguely coded . . . far-seers . . . a crack up

Lines of Flight/ Rupture Line/ Perception of Escape = Line of Drift . . . state of becoming . . . “This flight is not a running away from the world but rather the cause of a runoff in the world” . . . It does not tolerate segments . . . it is like an exploding of the two segmentary series . . . a clean break

“She has broken through a wall . . . obtained absolute deterritorialzation.”
“She ended up knowing so much that she could no longer interpret anything. “There were no longer shadows to help her see clearly, only glare.”
A “crack” has occurred at what D&G describe as the “angle of transparency” which gives way to this “line of flight”.
“There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”
– L. Cohen (The Future)

“But on this third line there is no longer any form”
“In rupture . . . the form of what happened is volatized. . . One has become imperceptible and clandestine in a motionless voyage . . . I have lost my form; I am now no more than a line.
Florence Julien (painter) . . . interest in “lines of flight” . . . “she extracts lines from photographs that are nearly abstract and formless “
“A dictionary begins when it no longer gives the meanings of words but their functions. Thus formless is not only an adjective having a given meaning, but a term that serves to bring things down in the world, generally requiring that each thing have its form. What it designates has no rights in any sense and gets itself squashed everywhere like a spider or an earthworm. In fact, for academic men to be happy, the universe would have to take shape. All of philosophy has no other goal. On the other hand, affirming that the universe resembles nothing and is only formless amounts to saying that the universe is something like a spider or spit.” - Georges Bataille (Visions of Excess)


1) On the matter of secrets in the context of “In the Cage” by Henry James (p.196), Deleuze and Guattari state that “what counts is the form of the secret; the matter no longer even has to be discovered”. They then distinguish the difference between couples and doubles, and that the telegraphist “was literally afraid of the alternate self who might be waiting outside. He might be waiting; it was he who was her alternate self”, regarding the telegrapher with the secret she had knowledge of.

Can the “double” be considered the secret itself, then, since its “form” would be the same for the telegraphist and telegrapher? Regarding the point at which “the molecular relation between the telegraphist and the telegraph sender dissolved in the form of the secret, because nothing happened”, would this still be the case if the matter of the secret was spoken aloud? Would a linguistic articulation even be possible considering the “simultaneously present and imperceptible nature” of the “micropolitics of conversation”? Could it be said that it was due to the “molecularized, imperceptible, and unassignable” nature of micropolitics or secrets, that a line of flight can exist?

2) Deleuze and Guattari say that the far-seers are “collaborators with the most rigid and cruelest project of control”, who do not “feel a vague sympathy for the subterranean activity revealed to them” (p. 202). They describe the far-seers as those who “feel as though they foresee things and are ahead of the others because they see the smallest thing as already having happened; but they know that their warnings are to no avail because the cutting telescope will set everything straight without being warned, without the need for or possibility of prediction”, and that sometimes they feel that “what they see differs only in degree and serves no purpose”.

Would D&G be saying, then, that the far-seers, although without the terrible Ray Telescope of the near-seers, are equal contributors to the cutting of “flesh and blood” and the “misshapen figures or shaky contours” which the telescope performs? They seem to attribute this to the sentiment of: “you should not insist, you should not argue; you should flee, flee, even saying as you go ‘Okay, okay, you win’” when one operates on a line which does not conjugate with another’s. How is this situation improved upon, however, when a far-seer abandons his or her segment and starts “walking across a narrow overpass above the dark abyss, breaks his or her telescope and departs on a line of flight”? If the circumstances of the departure are unknown (“what happened”?) and unimportant once it has taken place, how does this line of flight serve to dismantle the lines of rigid segmentarity that still occur with the near-seers, the Ray Telescope, and the State?

3) On page 206, following a quote from Fitzgerald describing the drunk and the madwoman, D&G associate the various aspects of their relationship to the three lines of rigid segmentarity, supple segmentation, and the line of flight. In the line of flight, each of the two people are now “the clandestine of the other, a double all the more successful now that nothing has importance any longer… nothing will enter memory, everything was on the lines, between the lines, in the AND that made one and the other imperceptible”. Supple segmentation is “the limit of what they can endure in their state with the tacit understandings serving them as internal messages”.

Do you think that in today’s society, relationships can often exist permanently in a state of supple segmentarity, for example where the male character in Fitzgerald’s novella says “she loves the alcohol on my lips and I cherish her most extravagant hallucinations”? What do you think D&G’s stance is on relationships between “drunks and madwomen”, since the stage of supple segmentarity must occur before the line of flight – and also, it is the stress during such a stage which eventually causes the line of flight?


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