The Struggle Hears and Plays All That We Forget Is Still Happening

Deeply moved by the recent social movements of strikes against austerity that have troubled the quietude of Quebec’s society, we desire to explore the affective territories opened by these recent struggles.

If art is a “capture of forces” (Deleuze 2002), music can be understood as a way to make heard the sound of events, their vibrational materiality. Music: a mode of thought in its own right that allows reflections of the sonic dimension of actuality but that also creates new virtual, incorporeal universes (Guattari 2013). Our proposition asks, How can music express the sound of politics, the ambiance of the different manifestations of power, and the sonic dimensions of particular political struggles? Such refraction of loss and endless potential is, as Guattari insists, art in its instinctual procession—a procession that invites a variety of subjectivities, including those closely located in human, musical, and environmental spatialities. Sound can in some ways be thought of as a dark precursor of political dynamics—harmonic nodes vibrating from the rebirth already present in the birth of the common. The countless subjectivities in social movements express themselves sonically, with music tracing feeling’s material repetitions, dramatising its arc, playing on and between its overt over-concreteness, thereby displaying the potentialities of an unclear, subconscious process against the authority of “a clear subject” (Guattari 2000). The sound of politics is in the echo of its undeniable materiality, in the decay where its materiality is modulated: not in the front-page headline but in the ink that bleeds through from an edition that was never printed.

We propose a collective experimentation that aims to hear, think, and create around the sound of the strike movements, their refrains, their rhythms, their resonances, in an attempt to share the intensity of the evanescent common that occurred. Our performance will consist of improvisatory co-compositions utilising guitars, a cello, amplifiers, a projector, voice, and sound alteration technologies. The focus on the sonic texture being composed will be maintained by slowly increasing the presence of darkness in the room as well as designing visual projections that function more as negative space than as visual objects. Paying attention to these tools, to their non-beginning, prehuman locations, we are interested in improvising with movement, repetition, language (French and English, performatively) and sonic reformulations of the immanent physical space of the conference. We seek modes of research-creation that stretch sound and sound-capture between a political event’s many non-happenings and its leftover insistent scar of “one thing having happened.”


Deleuze, Gilles. 2002. Francis Bacon: Logique de la sensation. 2nd ed. Paris: Editions du Seuil.

Guattari, Félix. 2000. Three Ecologies. Translated by Ian Pindar and Paul Sutton. London: Athlone Press.

—. 2013. Schizoanalytic Cartographies. Translated by Andrew Goffey. London: Bloomsbury.

For a Nanomusic: “Sound Desiring Machines” and Multiple Time

Deleuze and Guattari’s concepts had an important impact on my musical thinking. When I started reading both philosophers, I had been working for several years at the intersection of musical writing and psychoanalysis. In Order of Release, Border of Relish (2002–4), I developed a transversal between musical time and the time of the unconscious. Echoes, resonances, and rebounds between sound fragments build a complex and non-linear temporal form. Processes of condensation or dissolution induce a mutative and elastic musical matter with heterochronic textures, a multiplicity of strata, and transitory sound objects.

When I read Deleuze and Guattari, it occurred to me that the minimal units I was combining in ever changing sound constellations—their capacity for connection and propagation through the sound field—could be referred to the “asignifying” particles of the “machinic unconscious (Guattari 1979; Deleuze and Guattari 1980). In my music, small modular three-pitch pendular figures are the elementary constituents of a sound “abstract machine,” and are pushed by antagonistic forces: stratification or “destratification,” “territorialisation” or “deterritorialisation” (Deleuze and Guattari 1980), repetition or mutation.

These pendulums, with their modular quality and their constant pivoting movement, keep forming evolving “assemblages” (Deleuze 1964; Deleuze and Guattari 1980) whose ramifications (chains of interconnected pendulums) can either converge towards one centre, such as Guattari’s “black hole” [Guattari 1979], with the condensation on one object or figure, or create independent lines and migrate toward other zones. Since they keep circulating and building ever renewing fleeting configurations, they can be considered as sound “desiring machines” (Deleuze and Guattari 1972). In these sound rhizomes (Deleuze and Guattari 1980), repetition has an important function. It is a step-by-step process. Each repetition of a pendulum alters its envelope, generates a small gap, a small differance (Derrida 1967). It is a “differentiating repetition” (Deleuze 1968). Being caught in a permanent flow, these elementary figures both repeat and mute, simultaneously form and dissolve. This formal paradox characterises all my pieces. Abstract figures are elaborated only in order to show that they can be undone, that they are plays of forces. They are perceptible only because they insist. Their appearance/disappearance reveals not only a “capture of forces” (Deleuze 1981) but also the paradoxical “becoming” of a present that suggests before and after, past and future, “Aion” (Deleuze 1969) or the “empty form of time” (Deleuze 1968)—time as a pure process.

The musical form is not preformed; it is the result of the sound trajectories, of different “becomings” according to the different pieces.

Psyché-Cité/Transversales (2005–7) is a psychogeography. The sound topology is both a becoming-machine and a becoming-scream, a “zone of indiscernibility” (Deleuze 1981) between the brain and the metro, the psyche and the city, scream and noise. It is a hybrid sound territory. Mutatis mutandis (2008) is a whole set of vibrations. Fluxes of particles coagulate or trace more or less dense migratory paths. It is “musical genetics,” with repetitions and errors (such as DNA). It is a becoming-filament and a becoming-molecule. Shel(l)ter (2009–10) refers to an atomic bunker in Berlin and to nuclear physics. It is a becoming-atom, a “nanomusic.”

From the Body Without Organs (Deleuze 1981; Deleuze and Guattari 1972, 1980), a kind of “organum-body” underlies my music topographies—that is, a never definite and never stabilised sound body since the invested vibratory fields are never frozen.


Deleuze, Gilles. 1964. Proust et les signes. Paris: Presses universitaires de France.

—. 1968. Différence et répétition. Paris: Presses universitaires de France.

—. 1969. Logique du sens. Paris: Editions de Minuit.

—. 1981. Francis Bacon: Logique de la sensation. Paris: Editions de la Différence.

Deleuze, Gilles, and Félix Guattari. 1972. L’anti-Œdipe. Paris: Editions de Minuit.

—. 1980. Mille plateaux. Paris: Editions de Minuit.

Derrida, Jacques. 1967. L’écriture et la différence. Paris: Editions du Seuil.

Guattari, Félix. 1979. L’inconscient machinique: Essais de schizo-analyse. Paris: Recherches.