Foaming Relations

Foaming Relations: The Ethico-Aesthetics of Relationality
Hélène Frichot, RMIT University, Australia

Abstract: The German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk uses the analogy of foam to describe the relations that cohere between one individual and the next, each co-isolated in the context of the modern city. Our habits, in co-production with the framing of our urban habitus, determine that we are arranged as networks of isolated, bubble-like, monadic cells. By effervescent means we nevertheless find ways of communicating across the cell walls that we share, and which divide us, or do we? I will enlist a series of concepts to consider the foaming relations that go toward forming the life of the urban habitus. These will include, relational aesthetics (Nicolas Bourriaud); ethico-aesthetics (Félix Guattari); human and nonhuman relations (Bruno Latour) all of which will help toward articulating a foaming, bubbling mass of relations that are external to their terms. The use of Sloterdijk’s concept of ‘foam city’ will be employed to consider contemporary modes of occupation of the city and how occupation is a processual activity that requires innovative responses to ever-transforming spatio-temporal networks. Following Guattari, this paper will venture an ethico-aesthetic approach to the way problems can be framed by architects and designers toward new modes of occupation of urban fields enlivened by the circulation of human and non-human actors. Practices of occupation accompanied by relations of affect and percept require an ethico-aesthetic rethinking of the design process and its modes of conceptualisation. This paper will address the manner in which the contemporary urban scene is inhabited as a live medium and ask to what extent the public sphere has been rendered redundant in exchange for a multiplicity of co-habiting as well as agonistic private spheres, or what Sloterdijk has called, ‘ego-spheres’.

Key Words: Foam City, Affect, Relational Aesthetics, Ethico-Aesthetics, Relationality, Generic City Our experience of the world is less that of a long life developing through time than of a network that connects points and intersects with its own skein. 1 Michel Foucault An Introduction to Foaming Relations Bubbles clustered in seething globules of foam are the inspiration for this essay, and not merely in terms of the formal qualities suggested in soapy mixtures, but in terms of the necessary and contingent relations formed between one fragile bubble and the next. It is through the precarious medium of foam that I want to address the idea of the urban habitus as a foaming mass of relations that is ever-transforming, that is composed of bubbles of affect and percept that spring up only to dissipate again, fleetingly. In this I am guided by a short essay called, “Foam City”, a translated excerpt from the German philosopher, Peter Sloterdijk’s great triptych, Sphären, which is composed of Spheres I: Bubble; Spheres II: Globes; Spheres III: Foam. I will also draw upon further essays from Sloterdijk, including “Cell 2 Blocks, Ego-Spheres, Self-Container.” Bruno Latour, well known for his involvement in the conceptual assemblage that is called Actor-Network Theory (ANT), which is also occasionally 3 referred to as actant-rhizome theory, especially in later instantiations, is a particular champion of Sloterdijk’s work for architecture. Latour insists that “Sloterdijk is the thinker of architecture,” by which we can take Latour to mean that Sloterdijk is the thinker of architecture
Proceedings of the Conference held at the nd th University of Brighton 2 to 4 July 2009 Occupation: Negotiations with Constructed Space


as I will suggest below.Foaming Relations today. I will propose that the urban habitus can be seen to be composed of so many clusters of human and non-human actors. and especially by Latour. or what has come to be 7 described as Actor-Network Theory and After.” This essay will also ask how these coagulated forms of a Generic City and a Capsular Civilisation can instead be reanimated through modes of occupation enlivened through the conceptual and affective medium of foam informed both by ANT and by the idea of a relational aesthetics suffused with affect and percept. Actor-Network Theory and After I will commence with a brief account of Actor-Network Theory.” Specifically. is “to create the 5 conditions of cohabitation. a figure provocatively forwarded by Rem Koolhaas. Fallan and others point out how it has become increasingly transdisciplinary in its applications. is that there pertains an equality between material artefacts or non-humans actors and human actors in any given network. Nicholas Bourriaud’s well-known curatorial work concerning relational aesthetics will be enlisted alongside Guattari’s ethicoaesthetics. human and non-human. This broadens our view of the range of social actors and relationships that 9 constitute any given collective. the concern is to study how society and technology are mutually constitutive and not independent of each other’s influence.” Latour’s work with ANT will also be of use here as it allows us to rethink the behaviour of the material stuff of architecture in relation to the mobility of human and non-human actors. Among the more challenging claims made by proponents of ANT. Networks are about nodes and trajectories between actors. The term network has itself fallen under critique. operating at larger and smaller scales. local and more global instantiations of the urban habitus. where “people seem to have given up on the street. “artefacts. There is nothing universal about the network. The extreme case of the Generic City accommodates what the Dutch architectural theorist. To help further in the consideration of the multi-scalar. of course. Likewise.” With respect to Actor-Network Theory. prove to be more durable than others. pictured through the medium of foam. they appear and then fade-away over time. As Robert McGrail explains “an actor (or rather any individual thing). together with Guattari and Gilles Deleuze’s concepts of affect and percept. the counter-image to an animated urban habitus is that of the Generic City. Lieven De Cauter has called the Capsular Civilisation. in the continuing fabrication of the social world. instead the term offers a structuring conceptual overlay to help us understand the stickiness or looseness of relations between people and things. nor dominant. and. in order to arrive at a tentative renovation of ANT through Sloterdijk’s notion of Foam City. and in response to such critique networks are now often referred to as 4 Proceedings of the Conference held at the nd th University of Brighton 2 to 4 July 2009 Occupation: Negotiations with Constructed Space 2 . animals and text are recognized as participants acting alongside persons. Some networks. on the world 6 outside. I will argue that an understanding of the circulation of affect and percept allows further insight into the formulation of Foam City that Sloterdijk forwards. and institutions. for ANT. I will employ Félix Guattari’s notion of an ethico-aesthetics.” Kjetil Fallan also suggests in his helpful account of ANT for architects “it is not the actors per se or the network as such that are to be studied – it is the 10 relations being built and the actions taking place that commands attention. and although they can be provisionally mapped they are ever mobile. technologies. Scott Waltz explains. is constituted by its 8 relations to every other relevant entity (its world). one over the other. Although Actor-Network Theory has predominantly occupied the field called science and technology studies. Finally. architectures. Latour suggests. following the behaviour of foam. groups. If we take foam as a medium that only fleetingly allows the identification of provisional identities (or bubbles) then the task for the designer. Where ethico-aesthetics promises to suggest a way forward for the designer.

as Hetherington and Law have suggested. The network supposedly supports the voices of not only marginalised humans. that is. Nevertheless. that is. effectively drawing on the collaborative work of Deleuze and Guattari in A 11 Thousand Plateaus. et al. after John Law. If we follow Latour’s logic through then these clusters 17 can be thought of as “expanded collectives. the Centre for Media and Art in Karlsruhe. but also the voice of things. like an elaborate Venn Diagram composed of many circles of interest. and allowing no space for otherness. some very material thing or other. The use of the term ‘network’ to frame these spaces of flows amongst human and non-human actors (a space that can admittedly also become a space of coagulations and blockages). a critique of this little experiment might be that the overlay of my habitual moral. and how these concerns overlap with other social and political actors. and how my trash is divided up according to varying categories of recycleability. and might be one way to “let go of the trope of the network”. he says. to begin to make accounts of relations that have failed. has offered a helpful triptych that focuses the concerns and approach 12 of ANT. Nigel Thrift. as well as Deleuze have discussed the constitutional effects of the outside. This is also a convenient way of approaching problems for architects and designers who are always involving themselves in questions of materials and (designed) things and how these things will behave in response to identified local problems. In the large catalogue that accompanied the exhibition Making Things Public at ZKM. At the risk of excluding more mundane relations. in the sense that Maurice Blanchot and Michel 15 Foucault. that is. just “go into your head” and think of any of those contemporary issues. Such critique has subsequently allowed Latour. in order to look for “more 18 fluid and rhizomatic ways of thinking about the spatiality of relations. suggests complex arrangements of space with no clear hierarchical ordering of the actors that operate and circulate within the space-time of the network. That is. He suggests “we might be connected to each other more by our worries. attitudes or principles. or are more or less fluid and viscous. has been criticized as attempting to account for everyone and everything. Now. objects and stuff. all these things too need to be considered as part of the precarious foamy collective I occupy. relationality.” It is a simple thought experiment one can make to prove this point. Latour in his introductory remarks suggests that it is a very simple. and process.” as Sloterdijk calls them. whether or not I know them. Relationality for Latour and others such as Laws. and even contradictory. from street furniture. multivalent. the assumption is that it is more likely than not that whatever concerns me also concerns a cluster of other actors. What I will argue in the following is that the operational analogy of foam offers an alternative model to help understand these networks of humans and things. our matters of concern. for instance. either close to home or further afield. opinions. the issues we care for. Latour has also described such matters of concern as 13 spaces of controversy. materiality. even trivial thing that they are attempting. Fallen. to how well my apartment is insulated. to the bottles out of which I drink my water. whether they are my neighbour or my enemy.Foaming Relations rhizomes. it is not just my set of concerns.’ This is surely a task that resonates with the many material products associated with architecture. but how material things. We could say that the affective and perceptive flows amidst networks of human and non-human actors ebb and flow. and to further consider how networks are non-homogenous. that are presently concerning you. Our task (or the task of the social sciences) as 14 delineated by Latour is to make an account of such material ‘missing masses. than any 16 set of values. Latour explains that the Body Politik gathers around a matter of concern. or no allowance for an ‘Outside’.” What becomes clear Proceedings of the Conference held at the nd th University of Brighton 2 to 4 July 2009 Occupation: Negotiations with Constructed Space 3 . creating a means of accounting for the secret life of things. sociocultural aptitudes makes it more likely than not that certain things will be of more concern to me than others.

a school class. globes and foam. their influence on one another creates all manner of formal distortion. guests at a dinner. they seem to spring up everywhere. but in ever-present contact with a multitude of other monadic bubbles. a club. which restrict and deform one another according to fairly strict geometric laws. and in each instance they circulate in the midst of the material stuff of architectural surrounds. like seething foam. as Sloterdijk writes “whatever the degree of isolation established by respective individuals. Foam can be taken isomorphically such that its structural qualities or the way it works – as distinct from what it looks like – can be mapped onto the idea of a live urban habitus.” The multifarious chambers that compose foam are fragile and resilient. thought-figures. connected to a network of adjacent islands constituting midsized or larger structures – a national assembly. I will elaborate below why his work on relational aesthetics may offer a complementary conceptual framework that could be usefully placed alongside both Sloterdijk and Latour’s work. appearing in all variety of shapes and sizes and inaugurating all kinds of relations. but adjacent bubbles. in elaborating on his idea of relational aesthetics in a small publication called Postproduction. The beauty of bubbles is in their irregular. [foam] describes multichamber systems consisting of spaces formed by gas pressure and surface tensions. co-isolated bubbles networked in what Sloterdijk calls “episodic clusters 23 and enduring symbioses. a religious community. Likewise. composed of co-isolated. children at a school. a work force.” Although Bourriaud’s examples of networks might seem more anodyne. human and non-human. Foaming City One of the things Sloterdijk demonstrates is that once you begin a hunt for spheres in the form of bubbles. and transfer this medium isomorphically onto an understanding of the urban habitus. which should not be divided off. an ideal form artificially or hylomorphically imposed that denies the material behaviour. audience 20 members at a puppet show. words like sphere or globe are not 22 metaphors but rather thought-images or. not quite spherical instantiations: when bubbles. opaque and transparent. It is the medium of foam that I will focus on now in order to extend an understanding of the network as given to us by ANT. Nicolas Bourriaud suggests that social collectives or “temporary communities” include “musicians at a jam session. and so forth.” and he goes on to suggest that “it seemed to me that modern urban systems could be easily understood with analogy to these 21 exact. a suburban neighbourhood. amass and cohere. they are always co-isolated islands that are momentarily or chronically. a shareholder meeting. a ‘Love Parade’.Foaming Relations from Hetherington and Law in their essay “After Networks. a concert hall audience. or considered distinct from these networks. Like the philosopher Leibniz’s monads these chambers and Proceedings of the Conference held at the nd th University of Brighton 2 to 4 July 2009 Occupation: Negotiations with Constructed Space 4 . in my opinion. Foam allows us to picture the bubble or sphere not as a singular unit. The sphere can be considered a hypothetical limit. a convened federation of taxpayers”. or beings. appearing and disappearing over time. as Sloterdijk in an interview with Bettina Funcke suggests: “The term metaphor … makes me hesitate a bit because. a Freemason lodge. Sloterdijk argues that. customers at a café or restaurant. drivers stuck in 19 a traffic jam. These are all “confederations of life”.” Foam here should be considered as more than mere metaphor. then. If instead we consider the behaviour of foam as a medium.” is that there are many possible models by which an account of the behaviour of what has been otherwise described as the network can be made. even better. technical foam analyses. expression or matter-flow of any given system.” In an operative sense contemporary society in the habitat of the city can be really said to behave in this way. individuals. “from a physical perspective.

for instance). also conference rooms. and structures such as the Pantheon in Paris. and the festivals planned as part of the revolutionary fervour have also required the formulation of strategies for mass event management. Sloterdijk explains his version of Foam City like this: “The co-isolated foam of a society conditioned to individualism is not simply an agglomeration of neighbouring (partition-sharing) inert and massive bodies. S. How does this distinct individual form her inevitable and unavoidable relations with others? And what kinds of spaces facilitate such gatherings? In his essay. but which becomes clearer the more encounters occur in a system. and reconfigured for revolutionary gatherings. in this instance. formerly a church. a zone where our relation has been reduced to a regime of self-care isolation. XL. Importantly for this essay. but also sharing in the behaviour of this structural stuff that is foam. and move beyond analysis as designers in order to envision how to facilitate the occupation of space at an urban scale. Sloterdijk describes the affective qualities of these gatherings and mass rallies. including arenas. In “Cell Block. Admittedly. and dedicated only to empty consumption. few Proceedings of the Conference held at the nd th University of Brighton 2 to 4 July 2009 Occupation: Negotiations with Constructed Space 5 . tailored to our tastes and interests. and suggests that the occupation of these spaces frequently occurred irrespective of what their former. one of the challenges of modern collectives.M. even a fear. but not alone in our isolation. The Generic City is “a place of weak and distended sensations.Foaming Relations their relations to one another own both obscure and clear zones. The Generic City and Capsular Civilisation A conceptual image that supports the disappearance of public space into privatised zones is Rem Koolhaas’s Generic City. There is a strong temptation to believe that we now no longer occupy public space as we once did. fields (the Champs de Mars in Paris. that these masses could become unruly and violent. we are isolated. Egospheres. This calls for a new commitment on 25 the part of architecture. a behaviour or expression that might not at first be read in the local encounter. which is to be found on 26 every architect’s bookshelf. as though that were sufficient to facilitate the act of gathering. Self-Container” he treats the apartment as the minimum living cell of the contemporary city. Sloterdijk undertakes a brief study of French revolutionary forms of gathering and the types of architecture. reading no news media but the Daily Me.” On Sloterdijk’s account our fixation on the individual and her singular occupation of space is one that we appear to have to accept. consumption and the suspension of relations in an over-determined space that lacks a specific identity or history. pre-revolutionary use was for. The practice of fashioning space for political and mass occupation. Koolhaas takes the over-determined zones of the contemporary airport as an exemplary form that accommodates choreographed mobility. “Foam City”. Sloterdijk’s outlook is a little less positive about our communicative abilities between one bubble and the next. without merely viewing this as a problem directed at crowd management or how many people can fit into one given volume. political gathering. L. soon gave way to an anxiety. separated out. Still. 24 but rather multiplicities of loosely touching cells of life-worlds. is that of “creating spatial conditions that enable both the isolation of individuals. stadiums. He frequently refers to architecture as a container.” That is to say. according to Sloterdijk. commercialised. French revolutionary forms. and the concentration of isolated entities into collective ensembles of cooperation and contemplation. mirroring no one other than our self. we always share at least one partition with an adjacent world cell. he explains. Sloterdijk argues that the notion of the masses here suggests a malleable material that occupies space much as dough occupies any given container. as described in that fabulous tome. and that even what appears to resemble public space is in fact privatised. The difficulty is how we might undertake a similar analysis today.

and from a former fixation on the necessity of an identifiable centre. He qualifies what he means by reserving the term in particular for what is happening in the field of art production. Relational Aesthetics In the introductory essay to the catalogue that accompanies the 2009 Tate Britain Triennial exhibition the curator Nicolas Bourriaud cites the writings of Peter Sloterdijk in order to describe the modern way of living as a “fast-burn culture”. he is ambivalent and even ominously eager for its arrival in a city near you. they are being acted upon in much the same way as the material they gather is 31 being acted upon. Bourriaud here is setting up an argument that will allow him to introduce his own neologism to name the era we now inhabit: the ‘altermodern’. as Latour insists in relation to our occupation of public space. office. Cauter writes. Works emerge out of what could be described as a nomadic sensibility. Part of the challenge is exactly in the identification of problems that do not have ready-made answers. and adds that our “capsular routine” also includes our travels amidst the traffic of flows on the internet. it can be 28 abandoned when it falls out of use. accepting that this space is one of transforming and often transitory flows. This was subsequently countered with the onset of so-called postmodernism. which sounds very much like the way that Deleuze and Guattari argue that art is Proceedings of the Conference held at the nd th University of Brighton 2 to 4 July 2009 Occupation: Negotiations with Constructed Space 27 6 . It is of relevance to this essay that Bourriaud describes the work of the artists he has gathered together under the banner Altermodern. a conceptual assemblage coined by Bourriaud emphasises a situation in which relations are given primacy over the infrastructure that facilitates them. Koolhaas’s account assumes the inevitability of the infectious spread of the Generic City.” as such it would appear to suppress the circulation of affect and percept in the occupation of the urban habitus. was fuelled by an assumption that energy was superabundant and readily available to be squandered by all. and the “street is dead” but for vehicular traffic. that is. rather a process. production and post-production of work that should not necessarily privilege an endpoint. new ways of considering the urban problems that confront us must be invented. as distinct from matters of fact. at approximately the same moment that the developed world suffered its first oil crisis. significantly. art is created out of enduring encounters. for example) to another (campus. according to the way Latour uses the term. the networks they are producing. shopping mall. as sociologists would. According to Bourriaud. To counter such stultifying and coagulated relations that close down on the possibilities of new forms of sociality. and a capsular civilisation. The artists are not studying. He argues that it promises a liberation from identity and history. as Deleuze and Guattari put it. which occurred. explosive in its manifestation and 30 expression. airport. “our daily lives can be perfectly described as movement via transport capsules from one enclave or capsule (home. and so on)” he goes on to characterise this as the process of capsularization. Relational Aesthetics. The works he insists operate as networks of signs of pre-production. or else the recognition of matters of concern. and modernism more generally. as heterochronic as well as heterogeneous topographic networks. what’s more. and we could even call them rhizomatic.Foaming Relations and far between emotions. The fast-burn that can be associated with processes of modernisation. all-in hotel. Lieven De Cauter takes Koolhaas’s Generic City and suggests that it both risks becoming something like a refugee camp (and here Cauter is referring to the philosophical work of Giorgio Agamben). The Dutch theorist. The so-called reified objects of art are treated with some suspicion and a return to something like the happening or event is encouraged. 29 where we are as likely as not to follow the familiar paths of cyburbia. but appear instead to involve themselves willingly as actors and actants.

for instance by Claire Bishop. how clusters of subjects form provisional relations between each other. Mental Ecology. abrasive relations. 2. on a daily basis while going about my daily business. or in a random groping fashion. Relational Aesthetics has been questioned. These life worlds bump up against each other. As an actor. Social ecology considers subjectivities at a larger scale in the form of collectives. While each bubble-cell. their daily activities. both Bishop and Martin appear to want to salvage something of Relational Aesthetics. What is necessary is that some relation or other will be formed. Guattari’s ethico35 aesthetics. he dedicates a good part of his final chapter to a treatment of Félix Guattari’s identification of a new paradigm. but transforming in the midst of and in response to new encounters. human and non-human.” Nevertheless. I encounter other actants. Social ecology: which aims to rebuild social relations at every level of the socius. The refrain given to us by Deleuze. composed of three ecologies orientated toward: 1. and for the Proceedings of the Conference held at the nd th University of Brighton 2 to 4 July 2009 Occupation: Negotiations with Constructed Space 32 7 . as well as agonistic. processes of subjectification or how the protean subject comes to be formed and transformed such that it is less a fixed 36 identity than what Thrift has called a “provisional personhood” . which attends to all these multi-scalar relations across the medium of foam. even if Bourriaud does in the first instance only offer a fairly cursory sketch. There is nothing essential or predetermined about the singular unit that makes it apt to form one relation over another. nevertheless. that is. or make renovations on the manifesto forwarded by Bourriaud. is that relations are external to their terms. or individual unit may operate in insularity. they do not operate in isolation. Then it becomes a question of what is made of the encounter and which relations we decide to foster. or rather contingent. Certainly the power of the thought-image or the naming of the operational concept that is now recognised as ‘Relational Aesthetics’ should not be dismissed too easily.Foaming Relations about sensation made durable. suggests that its attempt to account for art as engaging in and creating social relations outside the capitalist machine is a reversible relation that can easily succumb to the “aesthetisization of capitalist 34 exchange. as Sloterdijk has described. A further critique of Relational Aesthetics. Bourriaud explains that a work [of art] “may operate like a relational device containing a certain degree of randomness. and has been countered with Chantal Mouffe’s notion of an agonistic politics where adversaries find a way to accept the legitimacy of opposing points of view in order to discover a way out of the dead end street of the brute antagonisms of enemies.” The promise of such schemes is that they create relational micro-territories. Ethico-Aesthetics In Bourriaud’s book. Relational Aesthetics. 3. even if blindly. which must be liberated from niche and special interest groups and conceived instead in profound conjunction with both mental and social ecologies. Relationality is arbitrary. Deleuze and Guattari use the concepts of affect and percept. relations of agreement. all of which extend across the open spectrum between natural and artifactual 37 environment-worlds. the Actor-Network or rhizome. that the nodes in the mobile network are not fixed. Guattari frames an ecosophy or a new ethico-aesthetic paradigm. or actant (if I agree that I both act and am acted upon). which often reads as a very loosely connected series of remarks toward user friendly and interactive art. for its apparent emphasis on conviviality. This is also what ANT teaches us. self-reflecting. that is. or a machine provoking and 33 managing individual and group encounters. consuming. which presumably can begin to have an impact at larger scales. producing. which vary in intensity according to our contingent encounters and the relations that are born from these encounters. by Stewart Martin. focussed in upon their practice of self-care. Environmental ecology.

of my power of acting or force of existing. Foam city offers us the expression of the bubble amassing in a foam of encounters whereby a sliding scale between co-isolation and a more thoroughgoing co-habitation is achieved through the augmentation and diminution of affect and percept. it is within our power to invent new forms of sociability and even collective modes of expression in the context of the urban habitus. Affect. an ethical practice of sorts can be invented that is conjoined with an engaged aesthetics. As an affective correlate my power of acting comes to be inhibited or augmented depending on whether I am assailed by affects of joy or the passions of sadness. 41 Bourriaud calls the labour of our act of selection “critical materialism.” What is assumed is that we are capable of making a curatorial act of selection. for affects and percepts continue their circulation. 22. and percepts from perceptions. that increase our power.Foaming Relations purposes of this essay. and even if there remains the matter of what we do with our sad passions. Even if such striving only results in provisional results. circulating amidst human and nonhuman actors there is a continuous variation. Proceedings of the Conference held at the nd th University of Brighton 2 to 4 July 2009 Occupation: Negotiations with Constructed Space 8 . “Of Other Spaces. as both Deleuze and Spinoza agree. on a city street. yet further encounters can be added. including encounters with things. which cannot always be entirely overcome. Affect. suggest Deleuze and Guattari. an increase-diminutionincrease-diminution. foaming. we can activate what Bourriaud has identified. is a being in its own right that belongs neither to the sentient subject who is affected nor to the thing that stirs an affection: affect is not to do with a 39 common understanding of feeling or the emotions. despite the innumerable and ever changing constraints of circumstance and setting. as Deleuze puts it. as a Relational Aesthetics. The question of the myriad ways we go about this practice as designers is an open one. if somewhat weakly. that 40 is. There is always a composition of relations and as Deleuze reminds us. still. ‘Percept. Concept’. To these encounters. and do not entirely evaporate into thin air. Endnotes 1 Michel Foucault. and preserving those encounters that increase our joy.” Agreeing that the world is made up of random encounters. Through acts of joyful creation we can invent non pre-existing relations 42 between terms. An Affective Conclusion I am affected by both passions of sadness and affections of joy depending on whether my encounters agree with me or disagree with me. new collective modes of expression and challenging forms of sociability are still possible. we can select the idea of those bodies that agree with our own and give us joy. The emphasis shifts then to the relations between one actor and the next and how affections and perceptions are transported between the bubbles in our foamy mixtures. Deleuze calls this a melodic line of continuous variation and recommends that “from a random encounter of bodies. p. we can imagine these encounters occurring in the urban habitus. Although it would generally appear that our daily habits determine that we live out increasingly capsular existences.” in Diacritics 16:1 (Spring). In fact.” That is. and so on. To borrow from ANT terminology. it is a matter of wresting affects from affections. increase and diminution. or what Martin has called a “realised utopianism” and an “art of the 43 multitude. the 38 encounters that go toward forming relations are quite local things. as it is defined by Deleuze and Guattari in what is sometimes called the ‘aesthetic chapter’ of What is Philosophy?. as long as those bubbles keep seething.

p. 2005.” in Latour and Weibel. vol 12 (Winter 2008). p. L. After Method: Mess in Social Science Research. “The Generic City”. 13 See Latour. 214.” pp. “The Generic City”. p. 18. vol. “The Space of Controversies”. 25 Sloterdijk. 2008. 944. “Against Gravity: Bettina Funcke talks with Peter Sloterdijk”. 19 Peter 2006). ‘Afterwords’. p. 2 of 21. Actor-Network Theory and After. 5 Bruno Latour.” p. 65. 2000. 18 Hetherington and Law. 3 Nigel Thrift. p. Rotterdam: NAi Publishers. “After Networks. Peter Sloterdijk. http://www. 65. 83.Foaming Relations Both of the above essays have been translated in the New York based architecture journal. 1250. 6 Lieven De Cauter. “Architecture in Action: Traveling with Actor-Network Theory in the Land of Architectural Research” in Architecture Theory Review. pp. XL. http://scholar. 18. 127-132. 14 Hetherington and Law. The Capsular Civilization: On the City in the Age of Fear. 81. 93. Massachusetts. “After Networks. Egospheres. The MIT Press. 20 Nicolas Bourriaud. 2002. p. Winter/Spring 2007. “From Realpolitik to Dingpolitik or How to Make Things Public”.edu/ejournals/SPT/v12n1/mcgrail.. Karlsruhe.M. 8 Robert McGrail. 2004. 63-76. Davidson. 27 Koolhaas. 129. 18. February/March 2005. 2000. “The Generic City”. “Cell Block. See also John Law. vol. 20. p. and Bruce Mau. “Foam City”. in O.vt. Postproduction. 4 Bruno Latour.” 16 Bruno Latour. 26 Rem Koolhaas. p. 213-255.lib. 1252. 3-4 (Summer Fall. in Environment and Planning D: Society and Space. 2008. “After Networks”. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers. Sloterdijk. p. pp. vol. 2000. Log 10. 63. 12 Fallan. 13. New York: Lukas and Sternberg. 64. 2004. pp. 1253. “Afterwords” in in Environment and Planning D: Society and Space. in Bruno Latour and Peter Weibel eds. Proceedings of the Conference held at the nd th University of Brighton 2 to 4 July 2009 Occupation: Negotiations with Constructed Space 2 9 . pp. 122-135. “Foam City”. Log. in Educational Foundations. edited by Cynthia C. eds. “Against Gravity”. p.html 22 Sloterdijk and Funcke. London: Routledge. “After Networks”. 213-255. “Architecture in Action. Davidson ed. ZKM Centre for Art and Media Karlsrue and Cambridge.bookforum.html 9 Scott Waltz. Davidson ed. pp. “Foam City. Rem Koolaas.” p.” in New Geographies 0. 1999. 23 Sloterdijk.1. 49 21 Sloterdijk and Bettina Funcke. in Environment and Planning D: Society and Space. pp. Log 9. “Nonhumans Unbound: Actor-Network Theory and the Reconsideration of "Things" in Educational Foundations”. “Atmospheric Politics. 89 -109. Summer/Fall 2007. 28 Koolhaas. “The Space of Controversies: Interview with Bruno Latour.. 7 See John Law. New York: The Monacelli Press. Making Things Public: Atmospheres of Democracy. “Foam City”. 16. in Bookforum. 14. 129. P. p.. 24 Sloterdijk. See also Kevin Hetherington and John Law. S. n.A. 1997 (1995). 10 Kjetil Fallan. pp. p. Self-Container” in Cynthia C. Making Things Public. “The Space of Controversies. 63. 17 Sloterdijk. vol. 15 See Hetherington and Law. “Working with Substance: Actor-Network Theory and the Modal Weight of the Material” in Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology. 11 See Nigel Thrift.” p. M. “Foam City” in Cynthia C. 124.

9. (2002) Postproduction. 16. “Afterwords”.Foaming Relations Lieven De Cauter. (1998) Essays Critical and Clinical. Cours Vincennes of 24/01/78: 3. 2000. 43 Martin. London: Verso. http://www. 36 Thrift. France: Les Presses du Réel. p.” See Deleuze. but we can at least invent non preexisting relations between them. New York: Lukas and Sternberg. vol. 167. Relational Aesthetics. Rotterdam: NAi Publishers. 2004.webdeleuze. Sensation is not realized in the material without the material passing completely into the sensation.webdeleuze. “Critique of Relational Aesthetics. 213. 371. London: Athlone Press. 39 Deleuze and Guattari. Relational Aesthetics. What is Philosophy?. See also Bruno Latour. p. 40 See Deleuze’s Spinoza Seminars. 2005. 1998. 2009. 41 Bourriaud. Claire. trans. “Whitman. Greco. p. Parts are fragments that cannot be totalised. pp. 1995. (2009) Altermodern: Tate Triennial. Cours Vincennes of 24/01/78. 21. the sensation enjoys an eternity in those very moments. “Architecture in Action”. Oxford: Oxford University Guattari. p. 82. pp. (2004) The Capsular Civilization: On the City in the Age of Fear. Cauter. 369-386. “Altermodern” in Nicolas Bourriaud. 32 “So long as the material lasts. Sydney: Power Publications. Nicolas ed. Greco. p. Rotterdam: NAi Publishers. trans. issue 4 (2007). Nicolas Bourriaud. Daniel W. Daniel W. London: Tate Publishing. The Three Ecologies. 31 Actant. Graham Burchell and Hugh Tomlinson . in Essays Critical and Clinical. 144. trans. What is Philosophy?.com.” p. 83. Kallan. 371. p. p. Simon Pleasance and Fronza Woods. (2002) Relational Aesthetics. p. Smith and Michael A. 30 rd The Altermodern Triennial exhibition is being shown at the Tate Britain from 3 February to th 26 April. with Mathieu Copeland. 29 References Bishop. 11. 33 Bourriaud. 35 Bourriaud. Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network Theory. Proceedings of the Conference held at the nd th University of Brighton 2 to 4 July 2009 Occupation: Negotiations with Constructed Space 10 . trans. 166. 1994. 38 See Deleuze’s Spinoza Seminars. 37 Félix Guattari. London: Verso. 110. Deleuze. 30. ed. which testify to a process in history as much as to an evolution in nature. Bourriaud.” in Essays Critical and Clinical. London: Verso. 86-104. “Critique of Relational Aesthetics. The Capsular Civilization: On the City in the Age of Fear. 34 Stewart Martin. Bourriaud. Relations will consequently be posited a something that can and must be instituted or invented. 42 “…relations are external to their terms [Deleuze’s italics]. 2009. p. Relational Aesthetics. 164. 58. Gilles. Nicolas. Chaosmosis: An Ethico-Aesthetic Paradigm. Altermodern: Tate Triennial. Paul Bains and Julian Pefanis. Nicolas. Kallan explains is the term Latour uses to describe how actors are something that is “made to act”. pp. p. into the percept or affect.” in Third Text. Bourriaud. (2004) ‘Antagonism and Relational Aesthetics’ in October 110 (Fall). http://www. London: Tate Publishing. Lieven De. trans.” See Deleuze and Guattari. Smith and Michael A. See “Spinoza and the Three ‘Ethics’”. p.

Félix.Foaming Relations Deleuze. (2000) “Afterwords” in in Environment and Planning D: Society and Space. Summer/Fall 2007. Graham Burchell and Hugh Tomlinson. vol. Foucault. (1997) ‘The Generic City’ in O.html Thrift. (1994) What is Philosophy?. pp. Gilles. trans. Kjetil (2008) ‘Architecture in Action: Traveling with Actor-Network Theory in the Land of Architectural Research’ in Architecture Theory Review. Bruno. Sydney: Power Publications. John. (February/March). (2007) ‘Cell Block. issue 4. Cours Vincennes. 80-96. pp. Massachusetts. vol. 3-4 (Summer Fall). Bruno. M. 20. Bettina. Waltz. 18. Karlsruhe. Guattari.bookforum.M. pp. Nigel. Fallan. Kevin and Law. (2005) Making Things Public: Atmospheres of Democracy.vt. vol.A. (2007) ‘Critique of Relational Aesthetics’ in Third Text. (2004) After Method: Mess in Social Science Research. John Actor-Network Theory and After. ZKM Centre for Art and Media Karlsruhe and Cambridge.webdeleuze. New York: The Monacelli Press. pp. Stewart. pp.html. Winter/Spring 2007. London: Athlone Press. (2007) ‘Foam City’ in Cynthia C. Michel. 63-76. (2005) Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network Theory. Rem. Peter. Félix. Peter eds. (1995) Chaosmosis: An Ethico-Aesthetic Paradigm. (2000) The Three Ecologies. Robert. trans. vol. pp. S. Guattari. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Self-Container’ in Cynthia C. pp. http://www. Egospheres. Davidson ed. 1999. Hetherington. Law. (1978) Spinoza Seminars. Latour. n.1. Rem Koolaas.lib. 21. Koolhaas. (2006) ‘Nonhumans Unbound: Actor-Network Theory and the Reconsideration of "Things" in Educational Foundations’ in Educational Foundations. Sloterdijk. Sloterdijk.. Log 9. Proceedings of the Conference held at the nd th University of Brighton 2 to 4 July 2009 Occupation: Negotiations with Constructed Space 11 . 13. 122-135. The MIT Press. 1239-1264 Latour. (1986) ‘Of Other Spaces’ in Diacritics 16:1 (Spring). (2008) ‘The Space of Controversies: Interview with Bruno Latour’ in New Geographies 0. 127-132. pp. Gilles and Guattari. Log 10. 89 -109. 369-386. Bruno and and Bruce Mau. 213-255. Sloterdijk and Funcke. McGrail. XL.. London: Routledge. 2008. http://scholar. (2005) ‘Against Gravity: Bettina Funcke talks with Peter Sloterdijk’ in Bookforum. (2000) ‘After Networks’ in Environment and Planning D: Society and Space. Davidson ed. Martin. L. 18. vol 12 (Winter). Félix.. Law. http://www. Deleuze. Paul Bains and Julian Pefanis. London: Verso. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers. pp. John. (2008) ‘Working with Substance: Actor-Network Theory and the Modal Weight of the Material’ in Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology. Latour.

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