From Apparatus to Assemblage


Jordan Crandall

In emerging digital cultures, one wonders: is the drive to be “in” something more constitutive than the drive for separation? The drive for immersion and exposure more constitutive than that of voyeuristic detachment? If so, how does this challenge the dominance of a foundational condition of spectatorship, or the understanding of media in terms of its capacity to produce a spectatorial relation? To approach the matter, one must undo the customary binary divisions we make of the world, and lessen one’s constitution of a world built on difference.

A strategy of approach can be found in the concept of the “assemblage.” I will present a new line of development of assemblage theory, using Manuel DeLanda’s formulation (of Deleuze’s original concept) as a basis of departure, while incorporating the work of other theorists including Bruno Latour, Vilem Flusser, Brian Massumi, Leo Bersani, Georges Bataille, and Jacques Lacan/Slavoj Zizek. My research broadens assemblage theory in two directions: on the one hand, it draws on work in architecture, sociology, and science and technology studies to emphasize the role of network architectures and ecologies; on the other hand, it draws on work in philosophy, anthropology, psychoanalysis, and sexuality studies to emphasize the role of embodiment and desire.
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