Interview: Felix Guattari Author(s): Mark D. Seem and Felix Guattari Source: Diacritics, Vol. 4, No. 3 (Autumn, 1974), pp.
38-41 Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/465111 Accessed: 23/06/2009 14:43
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in fact . constantly on a dualism: a dualism between production on the one hand." situated at the libidinally subversive level of what Deleuze and Guattari jointly term "desiring production": subversive collectivity. Guattari. This is in keeping with Michel Foucault's own concept of discourse and "discursivepractice. then. it seems to me. Deleuze. and did not realize that it is Guattari who. Yes. . 'For a discussion of Guattari's writing-practice. Guattari is considered a rebel from the ecole freudienne. a network. those which exist in subject-groups. The latter is linked to an intense dynamics in "molecular multiplicity. 1973. is when he talks of semiology. and global in ideology. it might be said that his mode of thought is compromised by his own position of Power within an institutional set-up. This affirmative tone comes from a position which states that there is no such thing as an "individual enunciation.If alienation could be seen as a coin. Negation is rarely present in their work. the party which would be susceptible of assuring this takeover. would be those which are regional. even though it is progressive.on the other hand. the problem of a takeover of State power. years earlier. Oury and Guattari are at opposite poles currently. a whole interplay of affirmation of libidinal forces. Guattari. what is really important is to break apart the Marxist pseudo-dialectic which depends. is precisely the strategical nature of the notion." "Humanity has been rejected by Nature. where negation is turned against a nihilistic enemy.Paris: Editions de Minuit." Guattari. and circulate at the very margins of the alienated and alienating Power of Capital." linked to a dynamics of "molar multiplicity" which always operates on the large scale: group activity and Power.and also setting up analytic agents within such groups capable of delineating the different spaces of desiring production. though.see Deleuze's preface "Trois problemes de groupe. Where Guattari is immediately radical. The former is "molar. but also. Subject-groups. such as the State: the State. an orthodox Lacanian. Capitalisme et schizophrenie: L'Anti-Oedipe. localized. at that time a militant very involved in the aftermath activity surrounding May '68. you have situated the problem very well. But there is another side to the process of alienation. when he wrote of the division between "subject-groups" and "subjugatedgroups. such that actions in complicity with Power could be seen as such and denounced. What I would be able to add is that. and representation on the other. and is intensely contained in one sentence from that
interview: Signs work as much as matter. but that the notion. aimed at generating other actions rather than totalizing. . for example. totalized in nature. things will be much easier . F. Deleuze and Guattari wager. in essence. or rather thought of "molecular multiplicity" liberates. Seem: The thing most striking to me about your notion of multiplicity." But many have seen in Guattari just a person who helped Deleuze with L'AntiOedipe. potential forces of dissension? Felix Guattari: If you give me the answers at the same time as asking the questions. The audacity of this statement and this strategical wager is akin to that of Nietzsche. italisme et schizophrenie might well be seen as a follow-
Mark D. the productive processes of signs. He defined subjugated groups as those which were subjugatedto Power at one level or another. decidedly and willfully anti-dialectic. and intensive. becomes one of affirming "mad" libidinal flows. Their basic tone and style. and a psychiatrist practicing at the unorthodox La Borde clinic. the negative side would be fragmentation. what would be a negative concept and praxis: "Man is alienated." as well as in L'Anti-Oedipe and articles by you and Deleuze following this book. more essentially and affirmatively. however." that is to say. . and their first tome of Capup "in intensity" to The AntiChrist. the party repre-
IG. 1972. that the concept of "molar multiplicity" takes its point of departure in alienation as Marx describes it.Paris: Maspero. in a materialist fashion.
. developed this group concept of multiplicity. that of seeing within the production of alienation itself not only a symptom of Capitalism. Guattari'stherapeutictactic in terms of the above.2 became very interested in the way in which groups manifested either subversive "desire. whereas actions in line with desires to counter Power would be affirmed. intensities or powers which are produced by. Would I be incorrect in seeing within the notion of multiplicity. in a more or less Nietzschean and decidedly affirmative style. a tactical reformulation of the concept of alienation as Marx develops it? More specifically. F. . in my opinion. and seen as a thing to be "forgotten." or a more authoritarian type of desire." "Man lacks. such as it is developed in Psychanalyse et transversalit--in terms of the distinction which you make between "subject-groups" and "subjugated groups." This seems to be accomplished by a game. as well as the direction of what you term schizoanalysis. is affirmative.1 and that side is multiplicity itself. erased from our Memories and our bodies." to Psychanalyse et transversalite. In terms of his own practice at La Borde. Psychanalyseet transversalit6. Is your strategy in such a thought of multiplicity." since all productions of enonces are collective: a group phenomenon. 'Founded by Jean Oury.3 This will become clear in the following interview. This is basically the concept of alienation as we see it expressed in Marx. The third element within all that remains an object of an Hegelian nature.
some in relation to the others. or the representativity of the Party which represents the masses. a whole series of dualisms which are only mediated within the realm of representation. . ultimate Totality. of primitive societies. Take this simple example: in a primitive society. or revolutionary collective set-ups might in appearance have a meaning. It is for that reason that. produce another organization of reality. is not the meaning to be found at a given link in the chain. The mode of thought of multiplicity. and in particular. There is therefore not a cut between subject/object. which seems at several points to join together the target to be attacked which Foucault terms the "monarchy of the signifier. arrangements which themselves produce their own systems of semiotic or linguistic reference. is the legalized signature. is something else altogether. But what counts. everything which enters into the order of Economy and the Law. Matter expresses as much as Signs. a binary opposition of classes. itself representative of the popular masses . but also material and social flows. There would no longer be a discursivity of expression. a collective set-up of enunciation. There is no avantgarde. flows of all kinds. but nevertheless the move was only from a mental representation to a social representativity. then. it is maintained that in multiplicity there is no break between production and representation. Signs work as much as matter. we do not oppose the One and the Multiple. Let's first of all distinguish what are the a-semiotic encodages . There. I would propose the following classification. in L'Anti-Oedipe. and material chains. but we can't even say of production or representation. of semiotic flows. a break between use-values and exchangevalue. There is a certain surusage of writing/scripture-ecriture-which codes all the strata of signifying semiological expression: that. There is polyvocity of expression. sign machines which operate independently of any and all production of meaning. nor is the signifier. certainly. within the signifying semiologies. is a type of thought unattributable to a given individual or cast which must assure the representation of the interests of the masses. . Next. One is not engaged when one has given his or her word. as well as all sorts into of other things-of different natures-enter This image is used to criticize the limiting noplay. the system which leads to all the stratas of expression being surcoded by a particular system. . It follows immediately. There is a collective set-up of a chain. what I would call a-signifying semiotics. and the different machines of Power? FG: First of all." For here. which is the prop for the expression of the interests of the masses. The machines of mathematical signs. in the theory of physics for example. but rather. of dance." What would be the relationships between a semiological machine. is the dictatorship of the signifier. no social assembly. This dominant "scriptive" system inscribes itself at the level of written language too. but transcursion. There is a collective arrangement or set-up (agencement). of posture systems. To give a better idea of this. "desiring production"-from representation. but we must cease speaking of a or the system of signs! The different systems exist and intermingle in a transversal fashion. the incidence of written language in economic and legal systems. Then. and to show that signifying elements. to give your word has meaning. Secondly. but transduction: transduction is the idea that. Within the domain of multiplicity. therefore. inside the signifying semiologies. of childhood. the ecriture of the Law. these being all the "natural" codings which are not set up according to the semiotic stratifications as Hjelmslev means it. gets played at the level of ecriture. there would be the semiology of language. a body. let's delineate the semiological encodages. MDS: It is precisely the implicit combat within such a thought of multiplicity-a liberation of difference. I would propose distinguishing a third order. Here. cities versus the country . a chain of transduction. there is not a machine of representation or expression opposed to a machine of production. What counts is the arrangement or set-up of systems of signs which. a couple signified/signifier might exist. tion of a signifying chain. but rather the fact that there is what Charles Sanders Peirce calls an effect of diagrammatization. of madness etc. one is engaged when one has signed. a substance of (gestual) expression. which are those which function at the level. . in essence. In the same fashion. that the thought of multiplicity. in turn. we use the image of a chain into which signifiers. there is not a Subject before an object. to give your word in a Capitalist society has no meaning. and representation/production. and which you. of inscriptions on the body." without there ever being one original. in a sense. Here. There is therefore not a particular semiotic link. which is that of the dominant ecriture (Writing/Scripture) system. but the signified is not retained as such. For example. In the latter. musical machines. and this is the term we are trying to develop.. This of course is a move from classical thought.sentative of the working class. when one has written something. for example. That is to say. something conducts itself. which constitute autonomous levels of expression and introduce systems of translatability. Next. and which put different substances of expression into play which are not centered. No longer production. take the example of a genetic coding arrangement. etc. Either the representation of different modes of knowledge and learning. semiotic elements. elements. There can be equivalent systems of signs. which would be the prop for a content. as well as Daddy's mustache or a camel passing through the desert. There are so many (productive) set-ups. it makes no sense-there what counts." which Deleuze calls the "Regime of Signs" in his current courses at Vincennes. as does Judeo-Christian thought. I think we have to get out of a catastrophic confusion between the different modes of what I call encodage. as different relative "totalities. I think we could distinguish presignifying semiologies. nor the representation of the One and the Multiple to the "thing-in-itself. something happens between chains of semiotic expression. I believe that Marxist dialectics procedes from a similar Manichean break. of verbal expression. then. in a sense. there is always a cut separating production-the production of desire. Signs work and produce within
. . only exist along with other. . material. call the "dictator-
ship of the Signifier.
And finally. which has a tendency of mixing up all these modes of encodage. a semiology of speech. groups. characterize the paranoiac economy. The two extreme cases. a treatment of signs in the experimental complex. or a-signifying semiotics. there is an overlapping of the semiotic of the image. semiotics which participate in both systems-a-signifying semiotics. It makes use of the semiotics such as science. which put into play machines of a-semiotic expression. the essential plan for that person which I will term the politicized intellectual for want of a better term. on one hand Power has a public image for its expression. for alienation. basically. a distinction cannot be drawn between what would be a machine of signs at the heart of a physico-chemical theory of a treatment of signs in the computer. as you show. a reality which would be. once and for all. precisely. That is to say that Power. independently of a production of meaning. as well as to chains of "figures. of Subjects. as we have never stopped saying. it appears as an obvious sort of despotic imposition in school. it is clear. What. itself part of a molar organization. Which all shows that these machines which I term mixed are much more important for Authority than the machine of ecriture. on another side. a revolutionary micro-politics of the libido might exist. something which would be the Signifier. as semiotics of desire. is not situated in a privileged way at one particular level." and chains of all that which organizes the world within directions of desire and desiring production." "icons. it utilizes. of Becoming or Change-becoming Wolf. as well as different semiotics: but there can also always be a recovery. in order to liberate bodies. what. For in that case. or openingup. independently of the dominant semantic redundancies. There. theoretical as well as practical activity etc. whereas machines of mixed semiotics.. such as television.what is Real. for example. Here. monetary economy. pull all these towards the side of a semiology of the dominant values. the meanings which organize redundancy. semiotics of corporal expression and then. finally. a totalitarian politics of the libido which can. and those of a militant nature? Is there a form of madness at work in dissension. what is real and what is sign shortcircuit systems of representation. audio-visual systems . in effect. as well as on the level of what goes on constantly in school. into Mass Media. in contemporary physics. play on. These alone are capable of putting to the use of the system of Power.
. into Nature. into all social set-ups. to the schizo-revolutionary economy of the libido on the other hand. cinema etc. with the same justification as the Real." "signified" or "mental representations. within the economy of material flows. But if Power uses signifying semiologies for the masses. into meaning and its production. for an activity directed against all forms of Power . Authority utilizes signifying semiologies in order to capture the desires of the masses. a struggle which would gain strength from "mad" flows of desire. and between. And what Meaning at that. in which semiotic and material flows intermingle. as you point out. in psychiatric hospitals or even at the level of the family. For it can be seen. but from the viewpoint of its real productive forces. would be the schizophrenic and inactivity on the one hand. The revolutionary struggle exists both on a large scale. that machines of a-signifying semiotics. production. . capture the desires of the masses and put these to the uses of the signifying machines of Authority. and of subjugated bodies. that there is a certain relationship. so that we don't mix up the different planes. I would propose a distinction of mixed semiotics. there must also be real risks involved in such a struggle of liberation." there's little difference. of limits. which also put all sorts of materials of expression into play. the distinctions would need to be made to
show the relationship which exists between a-semiotic encodages and what I term post-signifying semiotics. at the same levels as the Real. and signifying semiologies. desiring. a-signifying semiotics are such that what is the real object cannot be distinguished from what is the machine of signs. which is an image of a signifying economy. intensive productions capable of breaking through the wall of Signs. into autism and inactivity? How do we turn passivity into action? FG: My first comment would be that we must not. in my view. these mixed semiotics are also signifying semiologies. the Ego . I introduce it nevertheless. a type of system of escape or evasion which places different orders in connection. . in fact penetrate. is an operation of mystification! In the case of mixed semiotics. For example. or introduce under the illusion of a universal category. the break between Nature and semiotics is totally relative.. what would be the strategy. etc. intervene into. let's call them systems of referential thought. in prisons. These would seem to me to be the risks of any experience of escape. oppose on the one hand the paranoiac economy of the libido. In the physico-theoretical experimental complex. would be the relationships between "mad" productions. and the militant and the intensity of action on the other. whereas they tend to function. basically. Therefore. a semiology of sounds. the many different power systems. Habit and the repetitions of Representation of the dominant "reality"? MDS: Underneath all my questions. In other words. . the metabolism of signs. on the large or the small scales. since writing bores students.. itself. For example. If there are indeed. Therefore. precisely because these are the only ones which are effective. whether they be called "images. from the point of view of their own constitution. it works in terms of a-signifying semiotics. or which would correspond to the referent of the signs under consideration. And. and which would impregnate. machinismwith meaning. there are audio-visual systems. is linked to a mechanism of a-signifying semiotics. becoming inhuman as Deleuze says: the risks of all experiences of Becoming Marginal. and transform the a-semiotic encodages of the "natural" order. a-signifying semiotics in order to function. this one was central. we see that the operation of structuralism. of noises. as well as a force of contestation in the production of madness? Lastly. we would be in the process of contaminating all the different registers-nature. at the same time as never falling. For desire. systems of mediation. In other words the struggle. if not the dominant meanings. At any and every level. for you. then. such as cinema or television. and specifically strategical in nature. libidinal. with these categories..
. to "organization" and Order. . but essential. where must we situate ourselves. the desires of the masses. of failing to recognize the fear one might have. precisely. Madness is all sorts of things." "disorganization. in the Ligue communiste. nurses. is precisely to liberate the mad flows of desire. in that case madness is everywhere. or a politics which." "anarchy. . let's analyze that institution of Power which divides people into madmen. the fact of forcing oneself to do something. the rest of the time. to place themselves within range of a whole series of levels of the Young seeking to change themselves. and that that is what is the most rational right now! What is totally irrational. . . in a given undertaking. despite the efforts that are put into it. doctors. of the attempts to form a People's Daily that the Liberation newspaper people are doing. and should be put everywhere. even in the Communist Party. after the publication of the first tome of Capitalisme et schizophrenie . which exists before and outside of the events. would be the place for a revolutionary politics of desire on a small. we can't oppose "madness. what must be done. and strongly object to the opposition which consists in keeping "madness" for the weekend. with militants. revolutionizing them. If it is a question of asylums. ." and then political activity in the largest social groupings. well then." "confusion. for the days of festivity as it is often termed-the then to "revolutionary festival"-and behave. even in the "best" revolutionary movements. faced by the cops. or even a more simple fear. it follows naturally that there is no way we can make a cut between a space which would be the madness of the "individual. Therefore. thereby putting a halt to any possible struggle. Madness and rationality must not be opposed either. well that. For in any of these instances. . What seems to me most important is that we can no longer say: here is where you should be.. whether in communes or political actions on a large scale. if not. this type of thing is too often neglected. But if the madness we are referring to is "mad desire. is itself implied by all militant struggles on a large scale. All of these powerful signs which massacre desire . the power of the technocrat. the two politics are both possible.
. absolutely. . . . now I would answer: be where you want to be! In a Hippie Commune. even if well intentioned. which means that in terms of their own
enterprise. with the Maoists. where there is a very sad conformism. no break between madness and revolutionary action . At the level of a national mot d'ordre. . this is the right movement. What I mean is that molecular analysis. are the most rational order of the revolution. at the level of the behavior of a bureaucrat. any and all links in a revolutionary action at whatever level. scale. . I therefore refuse. this eventuality of a fascist politics within the individual libidinal economy? Once that is clarified. making them enter into connections. ." the very flows of desiring production. etc. . psychiatric hospitals. We must instead realize that what is the most "profitable" in terms of struggle. MDS: Are you implying that there is one type of "libidinal" analysis. and morbid at that! Whereas the madness of desire. they are not doing this revolutionary job of liberation of desire-of what we term collective set-ups (agencements collectifs) of analysis or of enunciation relative to desire and its production. would lead to a sort of disgusting conformism. and the flows of desire. To the extent that there is treatment of madness.in fact. the correct Party! We were often told. is the Freudian Superego. Both are possible: a politics of liberation of revolutionary flows which are going to change these large scale organizations. after all. Desire concerns any sequence. with himself . then let's speak of this. for the right days. it is starting from desire at the level of molecular units that we might be in a position to analyze the politics of desire in large scale organizations. with his allies. Therefore." etc. I am thinking. is to want to conserve models of morbid rationalism which massacre the desire of the masses. the analysis of the smallest elements which exist as subversive potential. . as a bureaucrat. and the advent of "desiring production"? FG: Not at all. is a type of delirium. how must we act? As for myself. redoing them. for example. what do you propose. the fear of simply speaking in front of a group of people . The rationality of Authority. . But we can feel that they are trying to place themselves within range of that struggle. or of bureaucratic organizers.