Saturday, 29 December 2012

Schizoanalytic Cartographies Part 1: Guattari on Psychoanalysis and Religion

Félix Guattari's Schizoanalytic Cartographies has finally been translated into English. I've been waiting for it for a year since I heard it was going to be published. This series of blogs will include some short discussions - or 'tasters' if you will - of Guattari's that are included in the book and you might find interesting. I've deliberately sought out the more jargon-free passages, so as to make them accessible to those of you who may be interested in the title of the blog, but not familiar with Guattari's own work:

Psychoanalysis is not a science; it is not an art, it is not for all that a religion - although it does mobilize powerful phenomena of belief, Freud is venerated like a Father of the Church, his first patients are celebrated like holy martyrs, his writings treated like the Gospel and the congregations that invoke him practise the excommunication of schismatics just like in the good old days of the Inquisition...I have already mentioned the difference in position of religious and psychoanalytic subjectivity with regard to scientific rationality, the first ostensibly separating itself from it, the second endeavouring to absorb it in various ways. Two other different equally deserve to be noted: 1) psychoanalysis requires a more active participation of its users in its rituals; 2) its myths are more deterritorialized that those of religion.
Psychoanalysis and the monotheistic religions have in common that they seek to grip subjectivity in ethical axes in conformity with the requirements of what I will call capitalistic logics, that is to say, systems of judgement proceeding by generalized equivalence, the conjuring and repression of animist intensities, the conversion of singular trajectories, the system of reiteration and circulation of formal entities on deterritorialized 'markets' (those of the economy, of morality, of art...) . Whilst, to achieve their ends, religions act by direct suggestion, by the imprint of standardized representations and statements, at least to begin with psychoanalysis gives free reign to a certain individual expression, the better subsequently to take it over and to submit of its own accord to other, perhaps even more tyrannical, kinds of stereotypes. Whilst religion, dare I say it, straitjackets subjectivity in the open air, psychoanalysis gets rid of some of the ballast of statements in order to concentrate its efforts on remodelling enunciation. (Guattari, page 43)

Part two of this series of blogs is here: Guattari on Enunciation
Part three of this series of blogs is here: Guattari on Postmodernity
If you would like to see a 'methodology' for using schizoanalysis in conjunction with psychogeography, please visit my website: Schizocartography

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Postwar University Campus Expansion: Part 3 - The New Monumentality

Please click here for part 1 and part 2

In the summer of 2009 the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds organised an event called The New Monumentality. It comprised of a half day seminar supporting the current exhibition which showed artists responses to campus spaces exploring the architectural modernity of the 1950s and 60s of which they inherited. Two out of the three artists included work that had been influenced by the University of Leeds campus. The seminar was called Building the Future and examined modernist campus architecture in the context of cultural theory and architectural aesthetics. A campus walk followed the seminar at the end of the day.

During the seminar human the field of capital theory was discussed in regards to education. It has been used as an "economic device" since the 1960s as a way of measuring performance. (Fitzsimmons 1999: 1) It became popular at this time due to education being included as a key part of the global economy, and sees "human activity" as " the exchange of commodities and the notion of capital employed is purely a quantitative one." ( Fitzsimmons 1999: 3) This means that individuals sell their education (themselves) on the market, and their degree becomes part of the exchange value for their employment. What this capitalistic approach ignores, amongst other factors, is the value of knowledge as it is for the individual, because it only concentrates on the performative aspect of education, the input/output regimen. What we see as the corporatised university of today, has its origins in the 1960s where something that could be considered a Fordist or Taylorist approach began to be applied to education, as can be seen in the University of Leeds development plan in terms of moving bodies around the campus, and the economic and efficient use of space (as discussed on previous blogs).

It is the supporting structures in the form of the educational apparatus, the discourse of the university and the abstract and concrete space of higher education that helps form the subjectivity and identities of university students (today, even more than in the 1960s, at a time where course fees are now around £9,000 per year, students see their own degree in terms of an economic investment). In their article entitled 'Academic Architecture and the Constitution of the New Model Worker' Philp Hancock and André Spicer consider how campus spaces orient the subjectivity of students "towards the production of economically viable modes of identity conducive to the demands of a post-industrial economy." (2011: 91) While their article is a recent one, looking at a contemporary situation at Glasgow Caledonian University - their new library called the Saltire Centre - it nevertheless provides a spatial and ideological analysis which would be relevant in applying to any period of campus architecture.

(images courtesy of the University of Leeds)

Related Links:
The New Monumentality
The University of Leeds: A Very Short History

Fitzsimmons, Patrick. Encyclopedia of Philosophy of Education, 'Human Capital Theory and Education', (1999), [accessed 25 September 2012]
Hanccock, Philip and André Spicer. 'Academic Architecture and the Constitution of the New Model Worker', Culture and Organization, 17, 2 (2011), 91-105.