20th 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.