Rhizome #rhizo14 pre-ORIENT phase

rhizome20th century French Philosophers are so out (in Europe). Even if one reads their books in French, much of it is incomprehensible for most people. Did they write unreadable books on purpose? Deleuze “invented” the rhizome in about 1976. (In an article, now Introduction in Deleuze and Guattari Mille plateaux). In 2005 Patrick Odiard wrote a piece of music “Rhizome”

This is a blogpost on the new MOOC on Rhizomatic learning started by Dave Cormier, start January 14.

As a model for culture, the rhizome resists the organizational structure of the root-tree system which charts causality along chronological lines and looks for the originary source of “things” and looks towards the pinnacle or conclusion of those “things.” “A rhizome, on the other hand, “ceaselessly established connections between semiotic chains, organizations of power, and circumstances relative to the arts, sciences, and social struggles” (Deleuze and Guattari, 7). Rather than narrativize history and culture, the rhizome presents history and culture as a map or wide array of attractions and influences with no specific origin or genesis, for a “rhizome has no beginning or end; it is always in the middle, between things, interbeing, intermezzo” (D&G 25). The planar movement of the rhizome resists chronology and organization, instead favoring a nomadic system of growth and propagation.

In this model, culture spreads like the surface of a body of water, spreading towards available spaces or trickling downwards towards new spaces through fissures and gaps, eroding what is in its way. The surface can be interrupted and moved, but these disturbances leave no trace, as the water is charged with pressure and potential to always seek its equilibrium, and thereby establish smooth space. [rhizomes.net]
[D&G: Deleuze, Gilles, and Felix Guattari. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia . trans. Brian Massumi. Minneapolis : University of Minnesota Press, 1987.]

Did you know rhizome.org? the Rhizome ArtBase is an online archive of new media art containing some 2174 art works, and growing.


3 thoughts on “Rhizome #rhizo14 pre-ORIENT phase

  1. Maybe Deleuze and Guattari were using an intellectual form of thick, and slow-moving language that was intended to make sense after our time? I’ve tried to read them too but, like many pieces of art or poetry, I’m not sure what they are getting at.

    The image of a rhizome reminds me of a wiring diagram of the brain with many inputs except there is no apparent destination where they all come together to output something. All things we can perceive as individuals such as people, knobs on teaching machines or a MOOC are the output objects of a multi-sourced network but what do rhizomes do beyond collecting information on themselves?

    It could be that Deleuze and Guattari are such way-out hipsters that their coolness is beyond our understanding?

  2. Thanks for the questions.
    The image does not capture all of the thing.
    A Rhizome (as a vegetable or plant) has an entrance for food and water, and energy, and it does produce gazes and seeds or something like that.
    I now do look at a rhizome as a city, the city has no real borders, anything goes on inside, things and people are connected in multiple ways, and stuff goes in en stuff goes out. Even little villages are complex in connections.
    In my view Dave Cormier uses the rhizome-image for describing learning in connectivism. And he only uses the connections the rhizome-image represents. I think a rhizome as a process with IN and OUTput is rather new.
    Interesting this rhizome as a processing plant.

  3. I need to hit some re-reading as I haven’t read Deleuze grad since grad school, CompLit, UC Davis, at the turn of the millennium. I digested some of it then but can’t remember which or what anymore. Then there is always the Princeton Encylopedia of Lit Crit/Theory quick fix

    I really like the rhizome as image/metaphor for a city (interest area) — and adding input/output to the connections representation. Since I vacuum up links and information (input) to process, save, share, post, us in assorted projects, fold into a rather eclectic distributed network (output), this helps fill gaps, patch potholes — weave connections more coherently

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