The Process of Singularization

In the process of singularization “human territoriality” loses its character for “becoming animal, vegetable, cosmos, becoming immature, multivalent sex, becoming incorporeal… Without entirely ceasing to be thinking reeds.” (Guattari 2013, 20) Singularization takes place “at the junction of the facts of sense, of material and social facts,” adjacent with an abstract machine, which will destabilize the ground of the subjectivity. (Ibid.) Therefore these processes of singularizations are not conceived through signified language, but through material flux. 

These assemblages thus “call into question many other things than linguistic performances: ethological and ecological dimension, economic, aesthetic, corporeal, phantasmatic semiotic components that are irreducible to the semiology of language.” (Ibid., 39) Schizoanalysis will refuse all neutral positions of a therapist, teacher, specialist or any authority, since they are part of the assemblage – of the dual process of deterritorialization/reterritorialization. Instead of a formal principle of the ‘thermodynamics’ of libidinal energy – the ‘pleasure principle’ – Guattari’s schizoanalysis presupposes a cycle between: 1) Flows (F) of signals, matter and energy (intensities of play, joy, sadness and semiotics); 2) the abstract machinic Phyla (Φ) that preside over objective laws and changes (blueprints, plans, rules, and regulations7, which do not only regulate and organize the flows, but are in essence creative. (Watson 2009, 126) 3) existential Territories (T), considered from the angle of their self-enjoyment 4) incorporeal Universal reference (U), which escape from the energetic, legal, evolutionary and existential coordinates of the three preceding domains (a non-signified and non-discursive domain of virtual content, unformed matter and the realm of potentiality). (Guattari 2013, 56)

The Flows are arranged in “Complexions”; machinic Phyla as “Rhizomes”; Territories as “Cutouts” and Universes as “Constellations” in each, particular Plane of Consistency. (Ibid.) These relations between the four domains are in some sense economic, but do not follow the dualistic logic of Freudian thermodynamics of the libido. Here, Guattari and Deleuze propose an altogether different concept of economy, and not the one of expenditure or balance or gift, but rather similar to the speculative economy practiced today: a rhizomatic model and a rhizomatic, abstract machine of economy.

The question of non-discursive matter is essential, aside from the discursive signification. In addition to the horizontal division between real and potential, Guattari’s map is divided vertically, where it responds to the division between objective and subjective; the left side deals with the ‘given’ while the right side is the domain of the ‘logic of body without organs’. (Watson 2009, 125) Artistic processes dealing only with semiotic significations, deal with power and language and consequently produce more signification. In turn, artistic practice cannot reside only in the domain of potential Territories and Universes, since it requires machines, in other words significations of the material flows in the real. In order to produce changes and transformations both in the singular, existential territory or ‘how life seems’ and between the organizing power of machines and material fluxes practice should consider both signification and a-signified potentials – the consistency of the singularization processes. 

7   “The Phyla [of machines] supply the plans and diagrams, which must be realized in the matter and energy of the Flows [...] The full cycle of assemblages is not complete until the Universes and Territories also become involved, incorporating both machinic proto-subjectivity and human experience.” (Watson 2009, 131)