Volume 1 No 1
How is Research-Creation?



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Thinking-Spaces for Research-Creation

Derek P. McCormack, School of Geography, Oxford University
Centre for the Environment
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In this unruly geography there is always time: time to take a detour and leave the shortcut behind.

            Bernard Cache, Earth Moves: The Furnishing of Territories


Introduction

Research-creation is, of necessity, more-than-disciplinary. Yet it is often inflected by experience of the loosely concatenated set of associations between habits of thinking, research techniques, and ethico-political orientations that we call ‘discipline’. This essay explores the relation between research-creation and one such set of associations: geography. In some sense it rehearses an answer to a kind of question often asked at research-creation events such as Dancing the Virtual and Housing the Body. The question can be stated very simply – Geography? And a provisional answer is relatively easy to begin formulating: one only need to point to various matters of concern (Latour 2004) – in which geography has investment without exercising anything like a monopoly – that throw into sharp relief some of the challenges and opportunities of research-creation.


Four such matters of concern are especially important. The first is a concern with thinking about space – with how it is conceptualized, produced, inhabited, contested, constructed, made and remade (Massey 2005). The second is an ongoing debate about making more of the practice and craft of thinking through foregrounding the corporeal, affective, and perceptual – all the “forces that act under the representation of the identical” (Deleuze 1994: xix; Thrift 2004 and 2007). The third is a commitment, emerging from an ongoing tradition of fieldwork, to exploring how different techniques of experience and experiment work to animate and inflect thinking with the force of the nonrepresentational (Naylor and Dewsbury 2003; Lorimer 2003; see also Pearson and Shanks, 2001). A fourth and final matter of concern revolves around the question of how techniques of experience and experiment complicate the critical tendency to oppose the lived and the abstract as conceptual, ethical, and political spaces.


Stating upfront such matters of concern can sound like turf-protection or claim-staking – mere disciplinary positioning in relation to certain aspects of the practice and craft of research-creation. Conversely, avoiding the question completely ignores the possibility that disciplinary associations can sometimes work as generative constraints, providing affective orientations and opportunities for cultivating dispositions to think in certain ways. How then to understand disciplinary participation in the more-than-disciplinary practice of research-creation? One way might be to conceive of this participation not so much as an effort to bring certain interests to the table, but of becoming affected and inflected by encounters with and within distinctive kinds of thinking spaces – where thinking-space is both a processual movement of thought and a privileged site at which this movement is amplified and inflected by novel configurations of ideas, things and bodies. What follows therefore is a discussion of how events like Dancing the Virtual and Housing the Body can be understood in terms of this kind of thinking-space: as facilitating environment and generative activity. Along the way I draw particular support from two figures – Henri Lefebvre and Félix Guattari – each of whom highlights the importance of such a conception of thinking-space to the cultivation of ecologies of research-creation.


Making more of thinking-space

Geographers spend lots of time thinking about space – it is what fascinates and frustrates them, what fires them up. The grammar of this declaration of interest, the thinking about, only makes sense however if two related claims remain relatively uncontroversial: first, that space is a kind of three-dimensional container within which a thinker thinks; and second, that thinking is understood as a cognitive activity involving the internal manipulation and processing of representations of other things in this spatial container. As long as these claims remain uncontroversial, it is very difficult to affirm geography as research-creation: it remains a business of distanced extraction rather than a process in which world participates in the movement of its own becoming. Hence the vehement critique by thinkers including Henri Bergson (2007) and Alfred North Whitehead (1978) of spatialisation as immobilising concretisation. It is certainly fair to say that much spatial thinking – within and beyond geography – has tended to be remarkably un-processual in nature, conceiving of space as a container for action (Thrift 2006). Yet this admission notwithstanding, the critique of spatialisation as perceptual habit does not lead inevitably to a dismissal of talk of space as obscuring apprehension of the real duration of lived time. Too often, the invocation of space is read as a reaching for a kind of familiar comfort blanket disguising an unwillingness to think becoming. But the real force of a certain critique of spatialisation should be to encourage a shift in attention and emphasis to the ontogenetic processuality of space-time (see, for instance, Massey 2005; Thrift 2006). This is a vision of worlds in composition through a multiplicity of processually resonant space-times. Furthermore, this is a vision in which temporality no longer has a monopoly on questions of the creative. Rather than space as a passive background for the dynamism of time, space-time becomes an ongoing process of heterogeneous, generative creativity without a transcendent creator. And in this vision, the world participates creatively in the folds of which thinking-space consists before individual agency or intentionality gets to work.


It is useful then to distinguish between two kinds of disciplinary grammar. The first, thinking about space designates an epistemological after-awareness of processuality, a second-order derivative activity, always kicking in just a little too late to capture the ontogenetic movement of thought. In this grammar, the logics of creation are often subservient to those of critique. In contrast, thinking-space might be better understood as the co-intensive sensing, in affective-dynamic terms, of the creative processuality of something in the world forcing us to think: that which, as Deleuze puts it, “is fundamentally an object of encounter rather than recognition” (1994: 139). Thinking-space in these terms is not opposed to critique, but affirms the possibility that critique often depends on techniques of sensing-space-time that move at different speeds than allowed for by the habits of contemplation. Or put otherwise, thinking-space in process begins with an acknowledgement that “cognitive experience must originate within that of a non-cognitive sort” (Dewey 1958: 23).


It is one thing to affirm a movement from the grammar of disciplinary extraction to that of participation in a world that already participates in us before we think about it. It is another to work this affirmation into the practice and craft of research. Thankfully, there is a long, if minor philosophical tradition in which experience and experiment are valorised as necessary elements of thinking (see Connolly 2006). Somatic practices have often figured in this tradition, as the writings of philosophers as diverse as Rousseau (1979) and Irigaray (2002) reveal. The pragmatist philosopher John Dewey is particularly interesting in this respect. Specifically, Dewey’s (1989) participation in the Alexander Technique can be understood in terms of a concern with resituating thought within an expanded sensing-space of philosophical and aesthetic experience. For Dewey, participation in such techniques shifts the emphasis from explaining the nature – or the ‘what’ – of experience through application, to the process of “experiencing, the method of its course, the how of its changes” (1958: 235). Admittedly, Dewey’s affirmation of experience can all too easily be read as advocating a kind of somatic self-care as a vehicle for social renewal. But if leavened by the radical empiricism of William James it points to the importance of experimenting with techniques of thinking that move through “fields of experience [that] have no more definite boundaries than have our fields of view. Both are fringed forever by a more that continuously develops, and that continuously supersedes them as life proceeds” (1996: 71).
In a similar vein, William Connolly (2002) has more recently pointed to the importance of techniques of experience and experiment through which thinking can be ‘layered’ with the more than cognitive processes of memory, perception, and affectivity. While he pays particular attention to the value of cinema, Connolly also points – with refreshing honesty and humour – to a range of techniques, including running, walking, music, drinking, and severe whipping. For many, experiment with such techniques merely serves to undermine the serious business of thought: fortunately perhaps, the prospect of such experience is not particularly discomfiting to geography. Admittedly, as a set of disciplinary associations straddling the natural and social sciences, much of geography has striven to conduct research according to a set of protocols – objectivity, detachment, disembodied distance – designed to reduce as much as possible the influence of body, affect, emotion, and feeling on the clarity and acuity of thought. Yet as has been extensively demonstrated, the practice and craft of geographical thinking is sustained by a range of corporeal, perceptual, and affective processes, including walking, seeing, and touching (Dewsbury and Naylor 2003; Lorimer 2003). In the process, the ‘field’ has come to be understood less as a site ‘out there’ at which research takes place, but a space of distributed agency, action, and encounter within which research materials are not so much discovered as co-generated.


The rhythms and refrains of thinking-spaces

All this suggests that thinking-space is processual. Yet at the same time, prehending this processuality depends on certain kinds of facilitating environments. Such environments are more than containers for thinking. Rather, the relation between thinking-space as process and thinking-space as site is a recursive one, with the processuality of one folding into the architecture of the other.
The French social-spatial theorist Henri Lefebvre provides some useful orientation here, particularly his interest in reworking the terms in which the relation between bodies and spaces are conceived within western thinking and philosophy. For Lefebvre the former have tended to be rendered as objects moving in and through a kind of three-dimensional geometrical space. Yet the body remains an “enigma” whose secret

at once banal and profound – is its ability, beyond ‘subject’ and ‘object’ (and beyond the philosophical distinction between them) to produce differences ‘unconsciously’ out of repetitions – out of gestures (linear) or out of rhythms (cyclical). In the misapprehended space of the body, a space that is both close by and distant, this paradoxical junction of repetitive and differential – this most basic from of ‘production’ – is forever occurring (1991: 395).

This ongoing generative production is the basis for Lefebvre’s affirmation of the participation of moving bodies in the processuality of thinking-space. And this participation can be prehended through the architectonics of particular practices and sites. For instance, Lefebvre points to the cloister and to “the solemn pace of the monks who walk there” (ibid: 216) as one such site. In the cloister, thinking and moving become articulated through one another in the generation of a distinctive kind of thinking-space, in which the gestural and the symbolic, the localised and the infinite, are co-emergent. Clearly, the thinking-space of the cloister is defined by a certain speed and arrangement of bodies and things. But it is possible to imagine configurations of moving bodies and architecture that move at different speeds. Indeed, Lefebvre’s writing points to the possibility of diagramming thinking-spaces through architectures of anticipation and potential that might facilitate affective relations between and within bodies of various kinds (see also McCormack  2005).
 Even if he foregrounds questions of space, Lefebvre was all too aware of the need to think the generativity of space and time together: they are, in his words, “distinguishable but not separable” (ibid: 175). The conceptual-pragmatic vehicle through which Lefebvre seeks to grasp this generativity is ‘rhythm analysis’. While it emerges from his longstanding concern with temporality, the importance of rhythm analysis is first outlined in The Production of Space (1991) and developed further, albeit still suggestively, in his last book, parts of which were co-written with Catherine Régulier (Lefebvre 2004). Lefebvre’s writings on rhythm analysis have most often been used to engage critically with the space-times of the urban. But just as interesting is his suggestion, upon which he elaborates little, that the “field of application par excellence [of rhythm analysis], its preferred sphere of experiment, would be the sphere of music and dance, the sphere of ‘rhythmic cells’ and their effects” (1991: 205).


The work of Félix Guattari – and his enthusiasm for the creative processuality of a renewed ontological pragmatics – points to various pathways along which Lefebvre’s invitation might be taken further. Guattari’s writing shares a number of important concerns with Lefebvre’s work. Not least of this these is the former’s affirmation of aesthetic practices as part of a necessary renewal of everyday life. Where Lefebvre writes of the ‘sense’ of an orientation through which to transform “the space of the human species – the collective (generic) work of the species – on the model of what used to be called ‘art’” (1991; 442), in Chaosmosis (1995) Guattari enthuses about the possibilities of an “ethico-aesthetic paradigm”. Echoing Lefebvre’s optimism about a range of artistic practices, Guattari also points to the value of “poetry, music, the plastic arts, the cinema – particularly in their performance and performative modalities”(ibid: 91).


Furthermore, in affirming aesthetic practices, Guattari articulates a rhythmic conception of space-time as the basis for the ongoing production of what he calls existential territories. Where rhythm provides Lefebvre with the conceptual-pragmatic vehicle through which the inventive analysis of these territories takes place, Guattari’s rhythmic sensibility is part of his ideas about the refrain, or ritornello of subjectivization (1996). Thus for Guattari, the production of subjectivities as existential territories can be understood as a polyrhythmic assemblage of multiple ritornellos – of gesture, voice, image, etc – that cross a threshold of consistency, where consistency does not so much refer to predictable repeatability, but to a certain intensity of extension generative of difference in repetition. At the same time, Guattari points to the importance of responding to the potential of what he calls “event-centred singularities” as catalytic of new ritornellos, new universes of reference.


Guattari’s ideas about the ritornello as a way of prehending the generative processuality of thinking-space clearly owe much to his thinking-with Deleuze. But they are also informed by his experience of particular environments of facilitation. Most obvious in this regard is La Borde, a therapeutic clinic established by Jean Oury to offer an alternative to the dominant model of psychiatric treatment, by drawing upon, amongst others, the transformational potentials of social, political and aesthetic practices. There is much to Guattari’s relation to La Borde, certainly too much to discuss here. What is important in the context of this essay however, is Guattari’s depiction of the ethos of La Borde in terms of the establishment of an environment in which to revalorise the relational affectivity of very ordinary contexts, thereby facilitating transformations in what he calls “processual subjectivities.”  What exactly does this mean? Guattari provides hints in his depiction of the kitchen at La Borde. While it is the site of all sort of repetitive behaviours, the kitchen can also “come to life”, becoming “a little opera scene: in it people talk, dance and play with all kinds of instruments, with water and fire, dough and dustbins, relations of prestige and submission” (1995: 69). In turn, such activities have the potential to “trigger an existential agglomeration, a drive machine”, which “will have an influence on the people who participate in its activities or are just passing through” (ibid).
Again, like Lefebvre’s discussion of the cloister, Guattari’s kitchen vignette points to the generative capacities of rather mundane spaces: no more than rhythm analysis, the aesthetic paradigm outlined in Guattari’s final work is open to the inventive potential of a range of sites and environments. The key point is that despite some differences in their theoretical orientation, both Lefebvre and Guattari point to the importance of the refrain of thinking-space as both process and noun: with respect to process it is about inflecting thinking through affective encounters of different degrees of intensity; and with respect to the latter it is about producing facilitating contexts – sites of experience and experiment for thinking relations between bodies, concepts, and materials of various kinds.


Responding, tentatively, to the event to come

The works of both Lefebvre and Guattari provide a way of understanding the processual logic of thinking-spaces for research-creation. Certainly, for this author, both figures provided some orientation for responding to a call for participation framed in terms of ‘technologies of lived abstraction’, ‘dancing the virtual’, ‘platforms of relation’, ‘relational movement’, ‘movements of thought’. Such vocabulary might appear vague, but it hints at a thinking-space composed of “strange contraptions, machines of virtuality, blocks of mutant percepts and affects, half-object half-subject, already there in sensation and outside themselves in fields of the possible” (Guattari 1995: 92).


The key thing is that this is a call for participation rather than paper presentation. Blessed relief. But how might you respond to such a call? You might respond tentatively, outlining not so much a plan of action, but a sense of an ethos of openness: one guided by a notion of presumptive generosity to a world at which there are myriad sites through which to cultivate affectively imbued ethico-political dispositions (Bennett 2001; Connolly 2005b). Tentatively: because it is not at all clear what might or what can or what could happen during such an event; because it is not quite clear how such happening might take place, how it might be facilitated; and because even if it is creative, it is not clear in what sense this really is ‘research’. Tentatively: because “tentativeness, which produces out of its own generative chaos the possibility of a firm or definite sense of things, needs to receive directions” (Arakawa and Gins 2002: 45) or, at the very least, a degree of constraint. And as things turn out, constraint is provided in different ways: by close readings opening onto dancing with José Gil (1988); by string, fabric, baubles becoming material catalysing relational movement; by concepts becoming strange affective attractors; by relational movement exercises becoming movements of thought (Manning 2006).


After the event, things settle down, intensities dissipate. The memory of the event remains: not as image or recollection, but as kind of field of virtual potential that never quite exhausts itself in the process of becoming more than it never (actually) was. Over time, this field might precipitate vague but tangible senses of resonating augmentation and orientation, subtle shifts, twists, and turns in the multi-layered sensibility from which thinking takes-place. And in retrospect, these after-affects might sustain a series of affirmations, presented here in no particular order:

  • That the critic is the one who assembles, the one who provides arenas within which to gather (Latour 2004).
  • That the paradoxical movement of dancing bodies (Gil 2006; Manning 2006) is generative – in potential – of multiple thinking-spaces.
  • That concepts are mobile attractors, things to be played with and not necessarily policed or applied.
  • That what Whitehead (1978) calls “conceptual feeling” is not a contradiction in terms.
  • That as far as research methods are concerned, much more can be made of techniques that in embracing their own inventiveness “are not afraid to own up to the fact that they add (if ever so meagrely) to reality” (Massumi 2002: 13).
  • That research-creation would benefit through learning ‘ritournello games’ which “fix the existential ordering of the sensory environment and which prop up the meta-modelizing scenes of the most abstract problematic affects” (Guattari 1995: 128)..
  • That research-creation involves an ethical commitment to learning to become affected (in a Spinozist sense) by the relational movement of bodies, and a political one borne of the claim that we can never determine in advance the kinds of relational matrices of which bodies are capable of becoming involved (McCormack 2003; Manning 2006).
  • That the world needs more conceptually rich environments within which to experiment thus ethically and politically.

And because “radical empiricism insists on understanding forwards also, and refuses to substitute static concepts of the understanding for transitions in our moving life” (James 1996: 238), then the after-affects of one such event fold into the anticipation of another: Housing the Body. And in preparation for the second event, you might read some more: Deleuze, Whitehead, Cache, Lynn, Arakawa and Gins. And such reading becomes an affective process of anticipatory participation. Reading geography with Bernard Cache. Geography not as a bounded territory, “not [as] the field next door, nor even the neighbouring district, but a line that passes through our objects, along which there exists an absolute outside” (Cache 1995: 70). Rethinking site with Arakawa and Gins (2002): site not as fixed location in three-dimensional Euclidean space, but as a differential process through which architectural bodies “field” an environment. Fielding through moving bodies in these terms is not an activity taking-place at a site, but an ongoing multiplicity of positionings in movement. And rethinking the relation between geography and landing sites through the possibility of furnishing, where furniture is, as Cache suggests,

That object that is directly connected to our bodies. For our most intimate or most abstract endeavors, whether they occur in bed or on a chair, furniture supplies the immediate physical environment in which our bodies act and react; for us, urban animals, furniture is thus our primary territory. Architecture, object, geography – furniture is that image where forms are fused together (1995: 30).



How, then to furnish a thinking-space for Housing the Body such that it facilitates a “procedural architecture?” (Arakawa and Gins 2002: 45). Acquire various props, some of which might catalyse relations between bodies through a series of inflationary prehending-landing-sites: balloons, balls, and beds. Such bodies of inflation might provide a way of engineering an affective atmosphere. For good measure, throw into the mix some portable storm shelters just in case the work takes you outside. And just because they seem like fun, bring some portable pop-up tents. Who knows what might happen. And, as the event turns out, some props work better than others. Aerostatic things become temporary platforms for becoming responsive. Mattresses mattress. The portable pop-up tents work particularly well, not as temporary shelters, but by becoming what Sher Doruff, after Brian Massumi (2002) calls ‘Ganzfeld Tents’: mobile architectural platforms within which to experiment with thinking moving bodies in movement.


For the love of abstraction

But what would such activities, and the thinking-spaces of which they are participants, have to do with understanding and reworking the relation between the abstract and the lived? More specifically, how might they complicate the tendency to oppose the abstract to the lived? You might be reminded of the importance of these questions, if, on the day after Housing the Body, you take the opportunity to visit the Montreal Museum of Modern Art. What catches the eye is an exhibition of work by Bruce Nauman, perhaps most famous for his use of neon lighting to create politically charged sculptures and installations. Yet while such work is interesting, it is not the neon, clown-like figures that grab your attention most. More of a lure is a short video piece called Dance or Exercise on the Perimeter of the Square (1967-8), in which Nauman sidesteps repetitively around a small square in a metronomic fashion. You might sit and watch Nauman doing this for a number of cycles. Marking time, thinking space.


While watching and thinking you might be reminded of a more general critique of the space of abstraction, articulated by figures including Lefebvre, for whom abstract spatiality functions “objectally”, as a set of things/signs and their formal relationships: glass and stone, concrete and steel, angles and curves, full and empty. Formal and quantitative, it erases distinctions “within and between bodies” (1991: 49). Understood in this way, it is easy to see how abstraction has such a bad name, tarnished as it by a litany of problematic associations: epistemological withdrawal from the world; philosophical dualism; objectification of the body; idealism; commodification; alienation; aesthetic avant-gardism. Conversely, Lefebvre’s writing seems to work against abstraction by affirming the cultivation of techniques of thinking space that valorise the lived experience of the phenomenological body, foregrounding more corporeal ways of knowing and feeling. Read through this critique, it would become all too easy therefore to think of Nauman’s choreographic work as rehearsing the problematic associations of abstraction, depending as it does upon the diagramming of a space within which the body moves. And in the process, Nauman’s choreographic abstractions could also be aligned unfortunately with various geographic and choreographic abstractions – maps, diagrams, lines – techniques of thinking often understood as opposed diametrically to the processual performance of thinking-space (although see Latham 2003).


But as you sit and watch it, Nauman’s video might work to agitate this critique and to problematise the opposition between the abstract and the lived. Certainly, if Lefebvre can speak of the cloister as a space in which moving bodies become generative of a contemplative thinking-space, then Nauman’s walk around the perimeter of the lines of a square might also be understood as a thinking-space. As André Lepecki writes, “this is the thought-space Nauman builds when he starts not only to ‘pace in his studio’, but to carefully execute extremely precise walks: around perimeters of squares, revolving on one foot, square-dancing in patterns” (2006: 30). Curiously, these exercises around the perimeter of a square might remind you of other diagrams: those produced by Guattari, and particularly one contained in an essay called “Ritornellos and existential affects” (1996: 163). While not obviously choreographic, the lines of Guattari’s diagram constitute a thought-, or thinking-space, and you might imagine thinking wandering around its semiotic vectors in ways that are always more than representational.


So, the after-affects of Housing the Body, coupled with an encounter with Nauman’s “space of thought moving” (Lepecki 1991: 30) and Guattari’s diagrammatics might encourage you to make more of abstraction in relation to thinking-space as process and noun. Indeed it might affirm that any attempt to cultivate such thinking-spaces is doomed to failure if it continues to oppose lived immediacy with abstraction. If abstraction is always conceived as a way of extracting thought from the experiential immediacy of the actuality of things in the world then it will always be in deficit to the surplus of a world of lived experience. Yet as Brian Massumi has argued, perhaps the problem with attempts to produce thinking-spaces that take seriously the onto-generativity of moving bodies is not that they are too abstract to grasp the lived, concrete, immediate, fleshy actuality of these bodies, but that they are not abstract enough (Massumi, 2002: 5). In turn, this would depend upon a differentiation of abstraction – or at upon least the recognition that more than one kind of abstraction might participate in the facilitation of thinking-space. The first kind of abstraction can be seen in the lines of a square on the floor, the lines of a diagram in a book. The other is the kind of abstraction pertaining to the movement of thought – a non-localisable assemblage of affects, percepts, and concepts. While the first can sometimes inhibit the second, it does not have to: indeed the first kind of abstraction might well facilitate the sensing of the second, and in thinking-spaces that are never less and always more than lived.


Thinking-spaces for ecologies of the virtual

In Chaosmosis Felix Guattari argues that an ecology of the virtual is as necessary as an ecology of the actual. Guattari’s claim seems particularly important in the context of a world where the question of potential futures has become excessively policed through the pre-emptive precipitation of the virtual as an object of fear (see Massumi 2007). In one sense, the political import of Guattari’s ecology of the virtual is quite straightforward, and amplifies Spinoza’s claim that we do not know what bodies can do – it consists primarily in the necessity of holding open potential futures. This seems easy. Anything might happen – the processuality of the world seems to guarantee that. But in actuality things are rather different – the point is not that anything might happen. Rather, within a given set of constraints one never knows what might happen. The trick is to get the constraints right. Affirming an ecology of the virtual is not therefore a matter of wait and see: this ecology “has to work in order to live, to processualise itself with the singularities which strike it. All this implies the idea of a necessary creative practice and even an ontological pragmatics” (1995: 4). This can sound a little too heroic, as Guattari sometimes does: at the same time, Guattari’s emphasis on activity is never solely a matter of an individual intentional agency. Rather, the kind of creativity about which he writes also operates upon a “ trans-monadic axis, one of transversality” (1996: 167): hence the importance of events such as Dancing the Virtual and Housing the Body.
How might geography participate in the creative processuality of such an ecology? The insistent return of this question as this essay concludes might appear to foreclose more-than-disciplinary transversal trajectories. Yet rather than closing down such trajectories, it might be better to think of this question as a refrain that actually – and virtually – holds open, without holding together a thinking-space that takes-place in more ways than one: through writing, drawing, diagramming, taking lines for a walk. This geography – as a more or less than disciplinary involvement in research-creation – is a relational technique of thinking-space. Its inclination is to become affirmative in and of transition; affirmative of inventiveness in relation to whatever more might become, and affirmative of sites of experimental empiricism from which new refrains of spacing-timing might emerge in a “tentative constructing toward a holding in place” (Arakawa and Gins 2002: 47). One never knows in what ways it is possible to make more of this geography, what kinds of lines might be generative of what kinds of virtualities, and, what relations of becoming ethico-political might emerge as part of the inventive production of what Whitehead calls “novel togetherness” (Whitehead 1978: 21).


Certainly, the lines of this geography might trouble any phenomenology of lived space defined against abstraction. And they would do so as part of what Gunnar Olsson calls “a cartography of thought” (1991: 181) that draws out the lines of which things and events are composed: “the lines that make them up, or they make up, or take, or create” (Deleuze 1995: 33; see McCormack 2005). Whether in cartography, geography, philosophy, or choreography, the drawing of a line is a transformational process, a process whose outcome is never given in advance. The crucial thing is that drawing out such lines “must face the challenge of being abstract enough” (1991: 181; see also Olsson 2007): abstract enough for participation in thinking-spaces for lived abstraction.


Notes

Their respective visions of rhythm do however diverge with respect to their relation to Bergson’s thought. Where Lefebvre finds Bergson’s vision of temporality deeply problematic, Guattari’s ideas about the refrain draw directly upon Bergson’s notion of duration.

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