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Please note that all times are shown in the time zone of the conference. The current conference time is: 2nd Oct 2022, 07:34:53am CEST
Technical Evolution and Machinic Enslavement: Two Histories of Technology in Deleuze and Guattari
Mary Elizabeth McLevey
University of Oregon, United States of America
There is growing scholarly attention to the question of technology in the work of Deleuze and Guattari. This paper contributes to this scholarship through an investigation of Deleuze and Guattari’s interest in the history of technology. Specifically, I aim to present two very different conceptualizations of technological change in their work. In part one of the paper, I consider Deleuze and Guattari’s elaboration in A Thousand Plateaus of the Simondonian concept of technical evolution. In part two of the paper, I consider Deleuze and Guattari’s discussion of technical machines in Anti-Oedipus: specifically, their theory of machinic enslavement (a term drawn from cybernetics) and their analysis of the historical specificity of human-machine relations under capitalism. In the first instance, regarding technical evolution, we find an emphasis on non-linear change and invention. In the second instance, regarding machinic enslavement, we find an emphasis on power and the history of capitalism. I reflect on the divergence between these two accounts of technological change, and I argue that Deleuze and Guattari do not present a singular theory or method pertaining to the history of technology. Rather, questioning where technical objects themselves begin and end, Deleuze and Guattari complicate the very project of a history of technology. Furthermore, they call for multiple historical approaches to the question of technology more broadly. My paper provides an overview of two such historical approaches demonstrated in their work.
11:30am - 12:00pm
This face does not exist: deepfakes and the concept of faciality
University of Nottingham, United Kingdom
The term ‘deepfakes’ refers to media (including still images, moving images, and audio) which simulate likeness to specific persons or objects, and which have been generated by deep learning technologies. Driven by Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs), invented by Ian Goodfellow in 2014, the proliferation of deepfakes led to widespread success of viral videos (such as the video of Mark Zuckerberg’s revealing the ‘truth’ about Facebook’s mission, created by Daniel Howe as part of his art project ‘Spectre') and websites (such as ThisPersonDoesNotExist.com, created by Nvidia with the use of StyleGAN) presenting images of human faces generated entirely by machine learning. Drawing predominantly on the concept of faciality theorised by Deleuze and Guattari in A Thousand Plateaus, as well as Deleuze’s Cinema 1, and Guattari’s The Machinic Unconscious, this paper will discuss how deepfakes complicate the notion of subjectivation operating within the black hole/white wall system that forms the face, and how the concepts of signifying and diagrammatic faciality resonate with facial images produced by data-driven generative models. The talk will particularly focus on Guattari’s conceptualisation of faciality as a binary signifying machine, and analyse it in relation to a GAN model, which, framed in the language of game theory, can be understood as a two-player game reaching the Nash equilibrium.
12:00pm - 12:30pm
On the BwO of the hikikomori
Teikyo University, Japan
This paper builds on my research on ecosophy, schizoanalysis and critical postmedia in Japan. I want to look at the intellectual context of this research and of Guattari’s interest in the Japanese archipelago. I want to look at an array of thinkers, chiefly Masaya Chiba, Asada Akira, Andrew Culp and Franco Berardi to try and make sense of some of the concepts used, namely nonrelation, separation, isolation. As my focus is on the hikikomori or social recluse, I want to offer some thoughts on what new forms of subjectivity might emerge after the pandemic. While I find no satisfactory models offered, I am keen to ask the question: What is schizoanalytic response to the hikikomori phenomenon? Who is the philosopher of the hikikomori?
In conclusion, I will consider whether the hikikomori (social recluse) syndrome can be considered a global phenomenon and, if so, how can we understand this in terms of Deleuze and Guattari’s philosophy? Also, I want to understand Guattari’s injunction to reinvent the body, the mind and language in cities like Tokyo, Delhi and Seoul where millions of inhabitants cluster together. I want to test whether telematic, informational, and audio-visual technologies have or can help in this reinvention. As part of this necessitates a critical update of Guattari’s postmedia thesis, we must ask how we can rethink information fatigue syndrome, global burnout, new anxiety disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), internet addiction and the hikikomori syndrome in terms of Guattari’s philosophy? Does the hikikomori syndrome of social withdrawal exist outside Japan in cities like Delhi, Seoul, Tokyo, Mexico, Bangladesh, Hong Kong and New York? As there is some evidence to suggest this we must inquire after the nature of the ‘indirect’ subjection of individuals in hyper-control societies?