Chaos Sive Natura. Electric Tree and Electronic Rhizome

The experiment Chaos Sive Natura is an interval, an in-between, an “&,” a critical space between Schönberg’s “to make music with ideas” (Schönberg and Kandinsky, Musica e pittura: Lettere testi documenti), the impartial acknowledgment that sound is the physical effect of vibrations travelling through air, the effect of these vibrations on the human cognitive function, its displacement in a “chaotic” spatial dimension, the Electric Tree (2016) of Franco D’Andrea’s electronic jazz, and the “molecularisation of sound” that puts to the test Deleuze and Guattari’s notion of rhythm in A Thousand Plateaus. Chaos Sive Natura attempts to trace a new path among the many that are possible towards new forms and contents, offering a reading of the Refrain plateau from the perspective of the new musical and philosophical culture theorised by Kodwo Eshun (More Brilliant Than the Sun: Adventures in Sonic Fiction, 1998), Erik Davis (“Roots and Wires,” 2008), Louis Chude-Sokai (The Sound of Culture: Diaspora and Black Technopoetics, 2016), Achim Szepanski (“Technodeleuze and Mille Plateaux: Achim Szepanski’s Interview (1994-1996),” 2017), Edmund Berger (“Killing Art,” 2017), among others. Departing from Nietzsche and Spinoza, and arriving at Deleuze and Guattari, OCSS claims that even a small difference in the milieu can cause a radical change from the initial sonic material. At the horizon of Nature as rhythm, OCSS catches sight of how a “non-orientable accelerationism” may look like.


Chaos Sive Natura

Deleuzian Expressionism as an Ontology for Theatre

This paper addresses the problematic ontology of postdramatic theatre. In particular, it looks at examples of “in-yer-face” productions, such as Sarah Kane’s 4.48 Psychosis and Cleansed, as well as Caryl Churchill’s The Skriker and Far Away. In doing so, it aims to uncover a novel way of positioning the notion of mimesis within the ontological texture of these non-Aristotelian works for the theatre. Herein mimesis becomes a constitutive principle and a generative procedure that guarantees continuity between disparate entities, such as words and worlds, pre-representational regions and representation, infinite indetermination and finitude. It is similar in form and function to Deleuze’s notions of “expression” and “re-expression” within Spinoza’s substance–essence–attribute and attribute–mode–modification triads as described in Expressionism in Philosophy.

Just as expression carries forward a progression from the infinite to the finite whereby the expressible (substance) becomes expressed sense, so does mimesis assume the role of a generative intermediary in the composition of literary worlds in postdramatic theatre. As a relational and transmissive component, Deleuze’s “expression” does not agree with Romanticist treatments of the term as “the internal made external” but captures the very motion of the expression of substance within what Thacker defines as a regime of “a radical Neoplatonism without a centre.” Thus described, expression becomes a topological progression. It precipitates the emergence of literary worlds from a vantage point of univocity, acting as a fluxional immanent substratum that is fundamentally generous, affluent, and flowing forth.

Assuming this vantage point, one begins to notice that postdramatic works for the theatre—albeit nonsensical to the habitual gaze—exhibit a quasi-causal logic governed by the continual interaction of Deleuzian “expression” and “sense.” This becomes especially visible in “in-yer-face” plays with their violence and excesses—almost campy and grotesque in their insistence on the aberrant. Rather than explaining such plays in experiential terms, the present paper assumes the stance that their “nonsensical” infusions expose the work of an event of sense within a play’s ontological texture. Confronted with the consolidation of an event of sense within the motion of expression, plays are at pains to readjust, recompose, and thus incorporate the supernumerary within their textual fabric. In the listed cases, the result is an inimical, injurious immanence.


[terror]tory is an assemblage of processes that develops portraits of fluid identity; identities that are unravelling and becoming. In his lecture “Subjectivity and Thought in Gilles Deleuze,” Manuel De Landa (2009) describes identity through an analogy: as the matter brought down by a river, layered over time on the ocean floor. This layering refers to habitual routines and repetitive narratives, which become identified with the subject, I am. He points out that the identified—myself or the mountain—also has historical evidence and therefore cannot be reduced to a mere social/linguistic construct. Following De Landa, [terror]tory explores identification as a territorialisation of consciousness, which occurs primarily in an inherited/taught/socialised/genetic way, becoming the bedrock of what identity is based on. In a Spinozan sense, all things are unavoidably the way they are and that which emerges is necessary. However, it seems that the matter that makes the bedrock can prove problematic if, for example, the matter layers on beliefs such as “I’m not good enough.” Apparently this matter cannot be removed physically or psychologically, we are stuck with it, it is “the matter” (as in “what’s the matter?”).

Deleuze points out that beneath these layers of habitual routines and narratives that harden and densify, we find a domain of intensive and volatile magma (desires/will to power), which cause a folding, fracturing, stretching, moving of the matter above it. Psychically he refers to these ruptures/disruptions as states of “delirium” (vertigo, meditation, shock, yoga, breath work, psychedelics) that afford the consciousness glimpses of experiences that support its non-dependence on identity—that consciousness is not what it identifies with. De Landa adds that psychological wellbeing is dependent on a certain amount of stable identity; however, identification becomes arthritic and Spinoza points out that human perception is primarily lodged in an erroneous perception structure mechanism, identifying with what isn’t rather than with what is (I continue to watch sunrises and sunsets, even though I know the earth revolves around the sun!). [terror]try researches methods that can tap into the psychic magma—practices that loosen identity, opening up to new possibilities and creativity.

[terror]tory engages with the following practices as a methodology to catalyse and maintain fluid identity: This methodology is performed by using clothing as the matter of identity. This clothing is personal and owned by the performers. Deterritorialisation occurs by “filleting” a garment, removing the fabric from its seams. This process is a shifting of paradigm from a transcendent, linguistic ontology; it liberates the fabric of being from categories/territories from the map, making the material of identity virtual. Reterritorialisation begins with the fashioning of yarn from the liberated fabric—relating to the matter, eliciting the narrative. These yarns are bound into balls—an introspective cocooning procedure. The balls are gifted to and swapped with others—the exchanging of stories, listening and relating to others. Knitting begins. Sitting with the narratives creatively developing new fabrics of identity that relate to the materiality of being, witnessing and assisting in the emergence of new forms of becoming: sitting with, witnessing, and co-operating with emergent forms in an embodied way. The new material can be unravelled, be gathered, be stretched, and have spaces. All the fabric from the original territory has been used; however, it has changed state.

These processes embody sustainable “delirious” practices: mediation (sitting with), yoga (embodied practice), relating to stories of another. The performance itself becomes a “delirious practice.” As a craftivist work it deliberately uses the politics of gendered spaces and practices as a means of disruption within places and practices—specifically, knitting (female, domestic, personal, unseen, craft, private) in a public/academic (male, intellectual, public, valuable, important, visible) context. Knitting in an academic/public context creates a disorienting juxtaposition, a disruption serving as a delirium to shift consciousness.



Manuel De Landa. 2009. “Subjectivity and Thought in Gilles Deleuze.” European Graduate School Video Lectures. 11 videos. Accessed 15 July 2015.

Corpus Delicti #2 // Untimely Precursors

On 30 July 1881 Nietzsche sent a postcard to his friend Franz Overbeck, enthusiastically expressing his surprise at having discovered he had a famous precursor in the history of philosophy:

I am utterly amazed, utterly enchanted! I have a precursor, and what a precursor! I hardly knew Spinoza: that I should have turned to him just now, was inspired by “instinct.” Not only is his overtendency like mine—namely to make all knowledge the most powerful affect—but in five main points of his doctrine I recognise myself; this most unusual and loneliest thinker is closest to me precisely in these matters: he denies the freedom of the will, teleology, the moral world-order, the unegoistic, and evil. (Postcard to Franz Overbeck, Sils-Maria, 30 July 1881)

In our fictional lecture-performance, Franz Overbeck (Arno Böhler) responds to Nietzsche’s postcard by recommending that he read two young French philosophers: Gilles Deleuze and Michel Foucault. Overbeck is particularly enthusiastic about Deleuze’s book Nietzsche and Philosophy and Foucault’s Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. He claims that both authors have finally understood that his friend Nietzsche’s work, due to its untimeliness, is a foreign body to what has been called philosophy so far. Having started the “Prelude of a Philosophy of the Future,” Nietzsche’s thought is now at last recognised as being a precursor of thought events, still waiting to be discovered and called into being posthumously.

Such a futuristic mode of thinking and doing philosophy, says Deleuze, “has an essential relation to time.” It is fundamentally untimely, that is to say:

… essentially against its time, a critique of the present world. The philosopher creates concepts that are neither eternal nor historical but untimely and not of the present. The opposition in terms of which philosophy is realized is that of present and non-present, of our time and the untimely (UM II Use and Abuse of History, Preface). And in the untimely there are truths that are more durable than all historical and eternal truths put together: truths of times to come.
(Gilles Deleuze, Nietzsche and Philosophy. London and New York: Continuum 2006, 100.)

Franz Overbeck’s reflections in response to Nietzsche’s postcard are interrupted by Susanne Valerie Granzer, who presents a selection of texts by philosophers whose philosophy has been interpreted as a disruption, or sometimes even as a crime against the classical canon of philosophy they inherited: Spinoza, who was cursed for his thoughts, the man in Kafka’s The Trial who was executed without reason, and the poets in Plato’s Republic who were expelled from the state.

The lecture-performance stages philosophy, rendering the words uttered in the performance as a sensual, bodily experience, to be shared with the audience.