The Artaud Effect

Theorizing 21c

The Artaud Effect

Antonin Artaud predicted within weeks of his death in March 1948 that his “present body” would

fly into pieces
and under ten thousand
notorious aspects
a new body
will be assembled
in which you will never again
be able
to forget me. [1]

Artaud has served as a flash point in the past coalescing in various avant-garde artistic and theoretical explorations–for American artists around David Tudor and John Cage at Black Mountain College in the 1950s, in the political and environmental poetics of a wing of the Beat Generation, the invention of Butoh in Japan in 1959, or for French thinkers reconsidering the relation of language and materiality after 1968–and Artaud has the possibility of offering such a substrate again. The exhibitions of Artaud’s drawings which opened in Paris in 1987 and New York in 1996 were landmark events, but the first decade-and-a-half of the 21st century has seen a remarkable series of museum retrospectives that show Artaud’s enormous output–drawings, writings, films (as actor and scenarist)–in their “surprising coherence” and “globality.” [2] Far from merely the tragic poète maudit who, in Michel Foucault’s estimation, represented a “madness [that] is precisely the absence of the work of art, the reiterated presence of that absence,” [3] Artaud is increasingly presented as a seminal artist in his own right. In contrast to all of the work from 1923-37 for which Artaud has until recently been best known for, in the far shorter period between 1945-48 Artaud produced the singular drawings, radio broadcasts, and thunderous writings that dwarf the earlier sequence in quantity and, some would argue, in consequence. [4] It is this “later” or “final” Artaud who, in the current circumstances of our mediatized society, proffers a relentless critique of representation that takes on new life and significance. As Stephen Barber has concluded, “in a contemporary moment in which representation assumes a vastly expanded and unprecedented power, in its obliterating contact with the human body as well as with urban environments and creative media, Artaud’s anatomization of the process of representation is no longer obtuse, but rather, exact and revelatory.” [5] Artaud’s assault on representation was first waged on behalf of the true “lines” that constitute reality, a powerful “occult geometry” [6] that representation can only occlude, and that even the militant avant-garde movement of Surrealism he judged unable to reach. That evolves into an attack even more violent in the last two-and-a-half years of his life, where any sacred hieroglyph–and the esoteric thought that husbands it–seems itself a false representational raiment, and is simply despised. “I hold it now in the real and in my body, like a toilet broom,” Artaud writes, [7] no longer searching for geomagnetic stress points or the “zig zags” of an ultimate reality. Rather, his “lines” in his drawings, in his notebooks, are artifacts of how what was once an element or moving sign of a cosmological hieroglyph has now disintegrated into unremitting conflict that revolves around the creation of Artaud’s “bodies without organs.” This body without organs enables Artaud to “abject all signs” [8] and is the function of his drawings (themselves animated protective bodies) or his screams that aim at unrepeatability of gesture in his last radio work To Have Done with the Judgment of god (1947-48).

Artaud discussed the “virtual” body as early as 1925, as a plane of reality or “inner experience.” In Nerve Scales, he writes of “an impossible space for that in me that was as yet only potential, for a whole virtual germination that must be sucked into life by the space that offered itself.” According to Artaud, this is in the context of attempting to create “spaces for life, spaces which did not exist and which did not seem to belong to actual space.” Artaud asks us to “imagine an arrested void, a mass of mind buried somewhere, become virtuality.” [9] Here, this new space that must be created is characterized as a virtual one, what is described in his 1924 text on André Masson’s painting Homme as an “ideal, absolute space, but a space that would have a form introducible into reality.” [10] In Artaud’s theater manifestoes written in the mid-30s, which were published in 1938, [11] and Mexican lectures from 1936, his call for a ritual theater gestures towards specific spatializations, a subordination of time to space typical of most tribal rituals. [12] For instance, he writes, “expression in space (the only real expression, in fact),” had “existence only in proportion to its degree of objectification on the stage.” [13] At the end of his life, this concern with new space is still present, but it is transformed, emphatically connected to and acting with the “new anatomies” of the “body without organs.” It is the creation of the “body without organs” that enables Artaud–in Paris after his return from Rodez in 1946–to insist he creates space: “I am not forced into a made space, I create it without cease, without possible halt, forever.” [14] Artaud’s “foundation” is a “perpetual variable,” [15] which is not ever a world of meter and measurement. [16] In case one is tempted to ascribe such views to Artaud’s pathology, one could compare these many statements to Henri Bergson’s assertion that “space is not the ground on which real motion is posited; rather it is real motion that deposits space beneath itself.” [17] Artaud rarely refers to Bergson, but several of his early texts already unravel the micro/macrocosm distinction, evincing a parallel dissection of representational thinking found in Bergson’s 1907 work Creative Evolution. [18]

This complex of flux accounts for why, with the “final” Artaud, any virtuality is itself too linked to the specters of representation to be acceptable. Artaud would later rail in 1947 that “there is nothing that I abominate and that I shit upon more than this idea of spectacle, of representation, / therefore of virtuality, of nonreality. / attached to all that is produced and shown.” [19] But this notion of the virtual does not completely disappear in Artaud, since his “new body” is to a large degree also a virtual one. It is a double body, predicated on the actual one but not touching it at any point. “I am not inside,” Artaud writes; this “body without organs” forms an “exterior body.” [20] Through it, Artaud intends to abolish interiority once and for all and forgo the limitations of the physical flesh. As he writes, “I have absolutely no internal function, no localization of internal conscience.” [21] Artaud has carried out a dédoublement of the body: the body with organs is the body captured and defined and in principle divided by the others, successfully subjected to hierarchal order, whereas the body of the void is the “true body” existing alongside–or outside, as it were–of the organed body. This is a process that one cannot ever be completely “done with,” and is part of Artaud’s wager with infinity. One of the early foreshadowings of this body without organs is Artaud’s letter in 1933 where he writes that it is a mistake to see the body as a fixed and impermeable organism; it is, rather, only “provisional stratifications of states of life.” [22] Early on, Artaud prefigures the body as an image of the inorganic vitality that traverses it, long before he feels called upon to double it. For Artaud, it is ever a matter of evoking the movements of the “life plane,” [23] yet his later body without organs is such an extreme autocreation, substituting autochthonous reality for God, partaking of what he characterizes in his essay on Van Gogh as “direct creation,” [24] that it arguably blasts beyond a Deleuzian philosophy of immanence as well. Paradoxically, it is Artaud’s very extremity that renders him useful today in what has been dubbed a “post-biological era” [25]–far from splintered ideas that had given rise to this or that experiment in performance and alternative theater, as important as many of those continue to be. What Artaud adamantly advocates as the “walking will” [26] is exercised at a stunning intersection of the virtual with space and time and what is so inadequately termed affect. Far from a submission of time to space, Artaud is battling to release the autonomy of the element of time. It is the process whereby Artaud breaks through to infinity:

There will always be in me

something

which will be in awakening

and stretched from the side

of infinity [27]

This idea of infinity looks backward, to the Baudelaire who wrote of “An infinite that I have loved in vain,” [28] and forward, to Félix Guattari’s characterization of an “event,” following Marcel Duchamp’s observation that “art is a road which leads towards regions that are no longer governed by time and space.” Guattari defines this “event” as that which “comes as a rupture with the coordinates of time and space . . . behind relations of temporal discursivity, there is always a possible index into the point of crystallization of the event outside time, which crosses time, transversal to all the measures of time.” [29] This is infinity as constant becoming.

If today’s digital media designs situations that produce various simultaneous planes of temporality not completely assimilable to their spatial base or entanglements, these enactments often partake of the same dynamics of Artaud’s notebooks that, for Artaud, is a release of the body into infinity composed of multiple planes of time. This process of becoming put into play by the body without organs transforms what Artaud deplores as the uniformity of human time, that “order which asphyxiates us.” [30] This deadly order of time is a primary cause of a humanity trapped in the oral-anal tract or canal, in the servitude of the physical body. His notebooks are the laboratory for its transformation. As Évelyne Grossman points out, in passages in his January 1948 notebooks, Artaud uses virtually all the conjugations and senses of the verb passer (or traverser, dépasser) [31] so that it is impossible to distinguish what is before or after, in front or behind, above or below, enacting the dance Artaud calls for in To Have Done with the Judgment of god, that “dance inside out / as in the delirium of the dance halls / and that inside out will be his true side out.” [32] This is not a question of opposing Chronos or human time to the eternal time of God or the gods, Aion–this would be the Christian duality Artaud explicitly denounces. Rather it is a matter of what Artaud calls “the endless duration of the body,

Of the same man

In the same body

Undergoing time

Without stop,

And space,

Eternally fathomed. [33]

This creation and enactment of a “sempiternal time” is part and parcel of the attempt to “reassemble a new human body,” [34] since Artaud claims in notebooks that “I have made / things one / after the others / and not at the same time” in a sense of time as a function or series of events “that are produced without filling it.” [35] The time of a bus conductor, Artaud writes, is not the same as a merchant or a writer at his desk, so his creations challenge this “uniformisation of bodies.” [36] Artaud describes this process as a “movement which rocks the breath,” as a “great reversal,” the revival of “Antonin Artaud . . . the non-coffin.” [37]

Artaud overthrows the corralling of time typical of most tribal rituals where time is suppressed in the interest of the spatialization of phenomena. These rites work hard to contain any spillage, to reform any leaks back into the unity of the world that also is the unity of the tribe. Artaud combats what José Gil has called this “recurrent flux” [38]–the cosmology where “time comes back because things come back, because power comes back” [39] shaped by the powers of space that are simultaneously the power of ancestors, of the earth. Artaud positions this in opposition to the potentially unlimited positivity of the body without organs. His sempiternal time is far from incompatible with the positions of contemporary complexity theory and sciences on the irreversibility of time, [40] but has more shamanistic overtones. He sees his activity as the opposition of sorcery (and its release of elements in conflicts of power) [41] to the religious rituals such as Gil describes (where time is stuffed and contained in the interest of tribal and cosmic harmony). In the context of new media analysis, positioning time and mutations of the body as a central concern by implication alters many accounts that have so frequently been framed around spatialization. As Timothy Baker has recently argued, this would include accounts by Lev Manovich and Shaun Moores, [42] as well as the well-known metaphors of William Gibson’s “cyberspace” or Marshall McLuhan’s “global village” (and the “early” Artaud of The Theater and Its Double manifestoes Baker enlists as well in his book Time and the Digital [43]). It opens out onto possibly transformational qualities, what Roy Ascott has called the metaphysical and various other “impasses” [44] inherent in new media. It does so since Artaud is posing the question of metamorphosis, very much in line with Jean Baudrillard’s notion that a “metamorphosis allows you to move from one form to another without bringing in value,” [45] such as ideological or aesthetic recuperation. Artaud attempts this with his skewering of the means of representation, each crackling and bending into insufficiency. In very different works, to be sure, Jim Campbell refers to these same dilemmas in his work The End (1996), an LCD with custom electronics that presents a counting algorithm that logically guarantees, even if the process takes billions of years, to generate all possible images within the grid presented–the image grid being composed of pixels that each address or “call” the computer memory for DC143C, the hexadecimal code for a certain discrete color. The Western (and Eastern) notions of the sublime imagined this feat; now, with digital technology, it only needs to be calculated. As Campbell has related, “This loss of infinity really upset me. Any image that I could see or even imagine was already part of the set of all images. My birth, my death, they were there.” He claims that exploring the difference between what can be represented and what can be seen “changed everything. It made me . . . look for infinity again . . . [what] some of my previous works knew, was that the way past the image was time.” [46] Artaud has contributed to if not revealed this situation not simply due to the evocation of what Alfred North Whitehead called “temporal thickness” [47] but through how his work relays catastrophe and the collapse of worlds, broaching an even more far-reaching irreversibility than simple multiple layers of time. So the release of time in Artaud is seismic and cosmic, social structures are only among all the other elements that are challenged out from their moorings.

There was a profound distress and dissonance in Artaud’s earlier enigmatic accounts of neurological loss and the calling upon of qualities of the hidden hieroglyphs and their whirring hallucinatory power for resolution (in his first published writings, those that so impressed the Paris Surrealists, and later in his theater manifestoes), but in the “final” Artaud the different sensory modalities or faculties are in a pitched war, sound/image/text and even their constituent bodily sources cancelling each other out in an apocalyptic engulfment. It is due to the activation of these warring faculties that he would regard To Have Done with the Judgment of god as a “miniature model” [48] of the Theater of Cruelty. To Have Done with the Judgment of god not only interrupted or “stopped” this world in calling for another one, as a spell of sorcery it actively sought to produce this collapse. It is in this way that Artaud’s catastrophe brings his relevance and urgency far beyond the fact that his own plummeting or plumbing beyond subjectivity has an analogy with digital processes that lead one into a processual paradigm beyond any sense of subjecthood, immersing one in “ongoing and prolific series of relations between the techniques of perception and mediation, animated and mutated matter, and our own ‘nervous elements’ which we often regard as closest to our sense of self.” [49] In what Guattari called the fuller “disequilibrium” of a virtual universe and Gilles Deleuze called the “spherical body,” [50] Artaud–with his absolute self-creation and self-foundation upon his return to Paris in 1946–insists that to define him in any particular state or condition is to destroy him. [51] At the end of his life, Artaud opposed two occults–the “true occult” that is “extension of the visible and the sensible into the world least penetrated,” [52] and the generalized “bewitchment” that submits the visible to the invisible. The former is the extension that will battle the demons and spirits and other conjurations; the latter is to be enthralled or beguiled by them. This corresponds for Artaud to two modes of hallucination, one of false vision susceptible to stigmatization by psychiatric incarceration, and the other the active operation of magical principles that Artaud enacts through his writing (in the widest sense), in his drawings, chanted syllable-language and spells. [53]

For all the closeness and radicality of Deleuze and Guattari’s reading of Artaud–inspired in part by Artaud, they call for a “pragmatics . . . by sorcery” [54] at the end of A Thousand Plateaus–Artaud’s catastrophe entails the ultimate ecstatic erasure of the line that would seem to challenge their philosophy as well. For Deleuze and Guattari, an absolute “line of flight” is not possible–vanishing lines for example, as in Western perspective painting that took hold in the Early Renaissance are not lines of flight at all but rather are fixed vectors, flows that have been reterritorialised.[55] The function of lines in Deleuze and Guattari’s work, both singly and together, is quite central, since, according to them, it is lines that compose any cartography, an alternative to methodologies that rely on the dominance of the signifier; as lines, they define any kind of positionality in relation to any type of body or system. Deleuze and Guattari distinguish three basic kinds of lines: molar lines (that cannot be challenged, for instance the path from life to death), molecular lines that resist molar coding or overcoding, and lines of flight that indicate a vector of escape. Artaud challenges or aims to cross precisely molar lines as in the line from life to death, lines that for Deleuze and Guattari are impregnable and absolute. What constitutes crossing the line for Michel Foucault is bound up with what is on the other side of knowledge and power; likewise for Deleuze it is this line that is no longer a power relation that Deleuze found “difficult to talk about.” Its location is “everywhere thought confronts some thing like madness, and life some thing like death” [56]–liminal locations, in other words, where Artaud spent an extraordinary amount of time. This is “the line Outside” that is “our double, with all our double’s otherness.” [57] It remained a moot question for Deleuze: “how far we can unfold the line without falling into a breathless void, into death, and how we can fold it, but without losing touch with it . . . ?” [58]

Artaud’s influence has been well-nigh incalculable, having so changed the conception of what was possible in theater, although more direct influence was often lacking–Jerzy Grotowski thought most of Artaud’s conceptions impossible for a “physical” theater; Eugène Ionesco detested Artaud’s morbidity; and, according to director Roger Blin, neither Beckett or Jean Genet were all that familiar with Artaud’s work. [59] Beyond performance art that reached a kind of apogee in the 1960s and early 70s, [60] Artaud’s disparate progeny could include what was called the “human electronic music” of the first Yoko Ono recordings; the sonic experiments of Diamanda Galás and Einstürzende Neubauten; the performance of punk chanteuse Patti Smith, as well as the paintings of Georg Baselitz, Julian Schnabel, and Nancy Spero (each of whom did series inspired by Artaud); the R.W. Fassbinder films Satan’s Brew (1976) and Despair (1978); the plays of Bernard-Marie Koltés; and a series of compositions by musician John Zorn. Installations, projects, and films by artists such as John Bock, Terry Allen, Heiner Goebbels, Vivienne Dick, Sylvère Lotringer, and the Operating Theater with Christopher Doyle all explore Artaud’s legacy, as does a wry 3-minute film Artaud Double Bill (2007) by Atom Egoyan. It is in the audio-visual media of film and video that Artaud’s ghost still seems to move the most–such as in Philippe Grandrieux films like La Vie nouvelle (2002)–that seem to test Artaud’s thesis that symbolic or suggested murder or crime could have far more impact “in the requisite theatrical conditions” than the “same crime, realized.” [61] There is plenty of visceral and sexual violence in Grandrieux’s films, to be sure, but it is the suggestion or menace of further violence not yet seen that is all the more frightening. Already exceptionally violent, La Vie nouvelle pulls one into the whirlpool or vortex from which even larger mass atrocities thrive, such as the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia that was one of its main motivations.

There is an entire panoply of Artaudian effects in Grandrieux’s four feature films. [62] They are accentuated, if anything, to an even purer aspect in the first two installments of his trilogy Unrest–the film/installation White Epilepsy (2012) and performance piece Meurtrière (2013). One of these aspects is certainly the restoring of the shock-value of the image, but this may not be the Artaudian effect as much as that the films must be negotiated through images, images that seem to have a life of their own. It is not only that the characters in the films are outside of or beside themselves (and cannot find themselves in speech–when Seymour in La Vie nouvelle asks aloud “where is the girl?” he definitively loses her)–but that the viewer is also taken outside of him/herself to participate in or navigate the film. This generates a true Theater of Cruelty in which one is lost in the vagaries and labyrinth of the desires of bodies. That sexual desire–whether in Sombre (1998) or La Vie nouvelle–is destined to fail to make contact, makes it all the more Artaudian since, for Artaud, sexuality is very much the original sin that has divided and split the cosmos. In Grandrieux’s films, the inaccessibility of the body causes a kind of “imponderable” to pass through it and between the other bodies and body images. [63] In dissolving the distance between the subjective and the objective points of view Grandrieux goes far towards the Artaudian solution of a new or double body, while utilizing so many of Artaud’s techniques–the scream, contortions of the face (for Artaud the human face was all that remained of “the revolutionary demand of a form that was never in keeping with this body, which left to be something other than the body”) [64], the dance, real and symbolic violence–through which all this “imponderable” moves. The trans-human in Artaud–however rationalized in a Deleuzian sense as becoming-animal, becoming-vegetable, becoming-mineral as a site of potential metamorphosis–in Grandrieux is a suspended nightmare of “new life.” Grandrieux seems to suggest the necessity of inventing another body in Hell–as Artaud did in the asylums. The territory he plots paradoxically appears imperceptible or incapable of mapping while at the same time comes off as a new or pure myth simultaneously partaking of the most archaic ones. The character of Mélania in La Vie nouvelle (played by Anna Mouglalis) is nothing so much as a new Eurydice. It is not the least of Artaudian influence in Grandrieux in that the wider frame of these films is humanity as collapse. This evoking the speech of the body through motion or gesture–all other avenues being closed–is one of the more complete achievements of the core Artaudian project in that it is not told via any metaphorical construction. The decimation of metaphor (and literature) is all the more salient in Grandrieux’s White Epilepsy, where plot is entirely dispensed and only the choreography is retained, reduced to two writhing bodies.

Another signal example of a continuing pursuit of Artaudian concerns has been the catastrophe theory and body and language-testing of Gary Hill’s video installations. In Impressions d’Afrique (2003), for example, he attempts to represent his drug experience with the shamanic elders of the Yanomani tribe, located in the northern Amazon, and crosses over into what Artaud characterized as the discovery that “the world in effect is double and triple.” [65] There is a strong Artaudian resonance fully explicit in many of Hill’s works in the mid and late 90s. [66] From their earliest inception, Hill’s works explored the limits and gaps, the stuttering, of subjectivity, cataloging various aporias of comprehension and experience through experimentation with sound and video technologies. Hill often used texts from Wittgenstein, Heidegger, or Blanchot, but in these works of the 90s, the text and the voice is Hill’s own, a series that his sometime collaborators George Quasha and Charles Stein characterized as an “Artaud-compatible electronic ‘theatre of cruelty.'” [67] For instance, Reflex Chamber (1996) takes place in a darkened, fifteen square-foot room, paradoxically a kind of virtual space even though, given the time frequencies and intensity of the sound and light, it can only be apprehended physically. Various quotidian scenes are projected onto a small ceiling mirror and reflected onto a table, images which are only partially illuminated in the darkness and then completely whited-out by strobe lights blasting during an eleven-minute loop. Hill’s voice is low and subdued, although the tape is played at very high volume. The experience of Reflex Chamber has been likened to that of an epileptic seizure. [68] Just as the room alternates between pitch darkness and a blinding strobe, the words in Hill’s text are likewise aposiopetic–stretched, distended, broken, and spasmodic, there are gaps not only between words but within words themselves as Hill’s digitally reprocessed voice is broken down into fragments, producing an “electronic stutter.” As if the authority of the spoken language was not shattered enough, Hill’s voice intones “I have no mouth, no scream, no voice within. . . I didn’t think this. This is not me. I’m not accountable.” And again: “This point wants to show me something inhuman. It wants to bring me to my knees. It wants me to pray, it wants me to see through seeing, it wants me to act like knowledge. It wants acknowledgment. It wants me completely at the edge.” Reflex Chamber may abolish or at least hold in abeyance the process of making sense of experience as one focuses on the cycles of light and noise, sound and image in the absence of any other solid perceptual ground, temporarily freezing one’s senses and deflecting any conscious intentionality; unlike VR which often artificially creates reassuring “real” forms from the ordinary phenomenal world, Reflex Chamber carries out an opposite operation–it virtualizes the “self” and its perception. As Hill has stated, “To be transfixed is no longer an option. I am in a way blind. I live time through a succession of pictures I’ve known since when.” [69]

This Theater of Cruelty, in an environment of cameras, monitors, and “signal flow” of cybernetic feedback, was also startlingly realized, for instance, in Dervish (1993-95). In Dervish, Hill sought to replicate some of his experiences as a veteran surfer–such as the so-called “Green Room” inside a roiling wave in which the surfer is held as if suspended beyond time and space. Stepping into a large, darkened chamber, the viewer has trouble at first making out the fleeting, ephemeral images emitted from a black, wooden, tower-like structure in the center of the room–rows of books, a plane in flight, hands covering a face, a man lying on the ground. The staccato, lightning-like repetition of the visuals distributed across the curved surface of the room in a sort of stroboscopic sweep is matched by the intensely loud droning of a turbine motor. Slowly, one notices the tiny lights emitted from the tower structure, which is equipped with rotating mirrors that speeds up while the sound only grows in volume. Dervish can be experienced as this powerful evocation of technology or the machine in its autonomous, godlike power. From the initial dissonance and disorientation, the viewer who sticks with the experience has to discover a “virtual center” or “eye-in-the-storm” within his or herself to maintain a different level of perception amid the whirring, randomized, fragmented visual and auditory relays. As Quasha and Stein have remarked, this “forbidding circle” of the “Panning god-machine” implodes one’s experience in a manner like that of a “virtual Kleinian form that would fold what only happens in a fourth dimension back into the other three.” [70] Paradoxically this enclosed panorama has the potential to bring the outside, “real” world back into the circle as a communicating and communicable ecosystem; this action, Quasha and Stein remark, is not so dissimilar from the “circle” which becomes the mandala of Tibetan art, that is, a flattened, symbolic map of a multidimensional reality. In a work like Dervish, the artist’s intentionality is obliterated, and forces and elements are loosed and allowed to roam and circulate in an autonomous manner, yet this breakdown of the nervous system’s limits and the rational, calculating mind opens up the frame of perception beyond the often self-fulfilling solipsism that the world can be reduced to a media-based representation of it. The apparent pattern in this, such as what Quasha and Stein locate when they suggest that Hill’s installation provides a sort of Tibetan mandala, resonates with the Artaud of the 1920s and 30s who became immersed in mystical systems and mythologies to heal his anguish and drug addiction. A contrary reaction would be to attempt to stick with the disorientation and grappling of the mind which is often forming chains of images or afterimages that do not in fact exist. This would evoke the virtual rhythmic spanning of the “final” Artaud 1945-48 for whom any fixed notion or representation in the void is a snare and a delusion, and even peyote priests and Tibetan Buddhists (the only recipients of a positive broadside when Artaud was running the series of poison pen letters from the Bureau of Surrealist Research in 1925) are con men. This is not so much to suggest that Artaud can inspire a contemporary art or media criticism of individual works; rather, it is that the dilemmas posited in them that have already envisaged or lived in Artaud’s passages have far broader implications. This is true even when Hill interrogates the human figure in cross-cultural migrations, like in his Accordions, the Belsunce Recordings (2001-02). Hill draws us toward a prior a- or pre-linguistic state, or, more dramatically, forward to extinguishment.

Both Grandrieux and Hill’s work contain different modes of what film scholar Jacques Aumont has described as how “to montage is to manipulate the images . . . in such a way as to draw out the virtual in them” [71] or what Artaud refers to as the power of film to produce a “kind of physical exhilaration that communicates directly to the brain the rotation of images,” where “the spirit riots and revels in itself outside of all representation. This sort of virtual power of the images probes at the foundation of spirit for possibilities unutilized today.” [72] So, what Artaud calls “research of a subtle order,” of presenting not so much a dream as the “mechanics of a dream” still holds immense promise. [73] Here, Artaud, with his insistence that cinema wrestle with the sinews and still-births and conditions of possibility of the image, anticipates and inspires Deleuze’s notion that “the life or afterlife of cinema depends on its internal struggle with informatics.” [74] It can be tempting to confine Artaud to an earlier era, one associated with metamorphosis as opposed to modulation in Steven Shaviro’s terms; that is, montage of classical cinema–however inventive or inaugurative to Deleuze’s “time-image”–in contrast to the smoothed, already-constructed space typical of the programming of video games, music videos, and increasingly mainstream cinema so that qualities of traditional montage are emptied out, missing, contributing to a frenetic “stylistics of post-continuity.”[75] Though film historians have pointed out that the qualities of film “shock” once so adeptly described by Walter Benjamin are now employed throughout the ordinary moments of any given film–not just utilized for a major moment of suspense or catharsis–Artaud is not arguing for anything so easily assimilated, even in an era when the manipulations of neurocinema are becoming so instrumentalized and efficient. Artaud’s protest anticipates the digital and digitality, especially in its generalized form–defined by Alexander R. Galloway as an attempt to “encode and simulate anything whatsoever in the universe” [76]–a febrile universalism Artaud already sees in the transnational capitalism, simulation society and A-bombs of the Cold War. What Galloway describes as the digital’s “capacity to divide things and make distinctions between them,” indeed, as the distinction that “makes it possible to make any distinction at all,” [77] implies that “digitality is much more capacious than the computer, both historically because there simply is no history without digitality, but also conceptually, because the digital is a basic ingredient within ontology, politics, and most everything in between.” [78] Given this definition, Artaud’s hieroglyphic may appear in contrast an analogical function, uniting heterogeneous entities, integrating proportions. Yet Artaud comes to denounce it as the false religious patterning and making of the world, opposed to his “direct creation”–in other words, in Galloway’s terms, it is all too digital. Artaud’s erasure of the hieroglyphic and assault upon it as yet another mode of representation poses the challenge of “pure chaos” to a digital philosophy that maintains “the binary principle is not merely a prerogative of digital computing, but of all forms of process.” [79] Artaud opposes the hieroglyphic (and the digital), to establish another relation to the outside.

In 1946, Artaud wrote of his previously dear hieroglyphs that “all the keys of their so-called occultism die out in the finally useless and ominous convolutions of brain matter.” [80] Artaud’s reference to “brain matter” is far from accidental or fortuitous–his body without organs is not merely some assertion of the body against the mind–though an abolition of consciousness is surely Artaud’s end goal. In his emphasis on the virtual body as a membrane or site of contestation, Artaud has again anticipated Deleuze’s theory of cinema where it is the brain itself that becomes the surface for struggle. By following Artaud in the idea that culture is a function of the nerves, the dilemmas of current cinema for Deleuze were based in the circuitry of the brain–“The circuits and linkages of the brain don’t preexist the stimuli, corpuscles, and particles [grains] that trace them. . . . The linkages are paradoxical and on all sides overflow simple association of images,” Deleuze explains. This was key to the power and efficacy of cinema, since “cinema, precisely because it puts the image in motion, or rather endows the image with self-motion, never stops tracing the circuits of the brain.” [81] Artaud is already a language and exploration of intervals and circuits, cries and pleas concerning the malleability and hierarchalization of the human organism. For him this discourse consists of “affirmative matter.” [82] However paradoxical on the face of it, this was the theme of the conference Tel Quel devoted to Artaud in 1972–that Artaud could contribute to a more adequate and radicalized philosophy of materialism. [83]

Such investigations continue today in exploratory cognitive science. Matteo Pasquinelli, for instance, has written that “it is in order to understand the body that we start from the mind, it is at the very core of the bios that we find the noos: the cognitive will be considered as something that doesn’t come after but innervates the very flesh in its constitution.” In this view, it is the brain that will be “illustrated as the first model and terrain of biopower.” [84] Such discussions can rely on Terrence Deacon’s work on the “co-evolution” of language and the brain; as Deacon argues, “the most extensive modification to take place in human brain evolution, the expansion of the cerebral cortex, specifically the prefrontal cortex, reflects the evolutionary adaptation to this intensive working memory processing demand imposed by symbol learning.” [85] This emphasis goes beyond the sculpting or conditioning of the brain by its environment–or the historical patterning to perception–to the brain’s extraordinary neural plasticity. Again, Deleuze has a central place of recognition here, as can be seen in his conversation with Antonio Negri, where he remarks, “I think subjectification, events, and brains, are more or less the same thing.” [86] As Charles T. Wolfe points out, these concerns go well beyond finding neural correlates of aesthetic experience–as explored in the research of Jean-Pierre Changeux or Semir Zeki–to the “double-barreled idea” one finds in Deleuze “that a new kind of brain is required to grasp new spatiotemporal, perceptual, chromatic, affective arrangements, such as the modern city, the neorealist city, et cetera, and conversely, these arrangements give rise to a new kind of brain. It is a very unique understanding of neural plasticity.” It is an added advantage to Deleuze’s approach, Wolfe continues, that he bypasses linguistic theories of mind “or of getting one stuck in debates over the status of representations.” [87] In this view, to which Deleuze–inspired by Artaud–has so dramatically contributed, it is the brain itself, “less in its ‘static,’ anatomical being,” Wolfe writes,

than in its “dynamic,” physiological being–in actu, then–displays features that reflect its embeddedness in or belonging to the social world. The externalist-Spinozist point to be derived here is that we can only have knowledge about the inner states of others, and indeed, of our own, thanks to the overall structure of symbolic activity (à la Deacon) which externally exhibits the existence of such states, and further, creates the structure in which such states emerge. [88]

Wolfe hails this step from the social mind to the social brain, even if it is not quite yet an adequate theory of the transformative potential or dimension of the “plastic, socially plastic brain.” [89]

This Spinozist analysis of the “social brain” that cannot be subtracted, extracted, or abstracted from its surrounding and constituting web of relations, that is “irreducibly social,” [90] may seem to take us far from Artaud. Yet when we recall that Spinoza’s Ethics, at least for Deleuze and Guattari, was another elaborate complement, armature, and explanation of the body without organs–the body without organs from the point of view of health, so to speak, rather than the body without organs from Artaud’s standpoint of illness–and Artaud never fails to insist on his sickness, as much as the greater insight (as in his peer group of Baudelaire, Poe, de Nerval, or Van Gogh) that can be gleaned from it. And Artaud’s “late” proclamations, whether in the February 1947 essay called “Van Gogh, the Man Suicided by Society,” or To Have Done with the Judgment of god, were shot through and irradiated with the social, and were immediately read as such, hence the banning of the latter. Artaud proclaims a total invasion or obliteration of the brain or “interiority” of self while also pronouncing a possible response to this in the metamorphosis into the unorganed body that often seems a perpetual or infinite project, or an impossible one, yet, in passages in his last notebooks, Artaud confirms he has, at least at moments, accomplished this. In December 1947, for instance, Artaud writes that he has indeed “made / a body.” [91] In To Have Done with the Judgment of god Artaud describes an army descending from the rites that abolish the Christian cross to enforce this body without organs. This power of transformation of the body without organs replaces for Artaud the place previously held by the mysterious movement of the hieroglyphic–a universe of lines the body without organs erases. Whereas Cubism in Artaud’s view in the 1920s demonstrated this occult reality of constituent lines or “zig zags” (Picasso, Artaud wrote, portrayed a “living geometry” [92]), for the later Artaud Cubism poses a challenge to any such patterned reality–writing Georges Braque January 16, 1947, Artaud claims that “cubism is a putting into question of the linear occult world, and is even more a matter of the tear of internal tissue,” since the task of painting is to confound and confuse the internal mechanics of an already made cosmos. [93] The early Artaud saw a successful Theater of Cruelty in Lucas van Leyden’s painting where “knowledge of certain secrets concerning linear harmony, and of means of making it act directly on the brain, like a physical reaction.” [94] The later Artaud seeks a similar combustion, but in order to uproot and destroy this hieroglyphic patterning or “linear harmony” that is itself part of the social delusion enforced by the “Holy Family” of the state, religion, and the family.

What for Artaud is an all-consuming, devouring reality has its complement in David Rodowick’s version of the “social hieroglyph” operating in digital or postmodern electronic society. [95] Rodowick argues that Jean-François Lyotard’s notion of the “figural” [96] is the overwhelming form of our epoch, where the visible and the expressible are hopelessly intertwined and interdependent. [97] This idea was inspired in part by what Rodowick calls his “Music Television Epiphany”–he explains how he became

astonished by how fluidly text was spatialized, thus losing its uniform contours, fixed spacing, and linear sense, and how precisely space was “textualised;” that is, how the Euclidian solidity of the image was fragmented, rendered discontinuous, divisible, and liable to recombination in the most precise ways. Suddenly the image was becoming articulable, indeed discursive, like never before. [98]

This world of new media, Rodowick continues, can “help us challenge in new ways the ontological gesture that separates the arts of time from the arts of space. In so doing, the visible is no longer banished from the realm of discourse, which is reserved for linguistic sense as the site of rational communication, and the articulable, or énonçable, can regain its powers of plastic transformation.” [99] Rodowick generalizes the age of new media as one of figural discourse and hieroglyphic form, trying to get at and define media that is “ever permutable–a fractured, fracturing, or fractal space, ruled by time and difference–it knows nothing of the concept of identity.” Having nothing to do with the categories of either “high” or “low” culture, a notion like the figural rather becomes “the logic of mass culture itself.” [100] Rodowick’s generalization about the movement from code to image and back in such a fluid manner is certainly open to question–using Lyotard’s highly mobile and inescapable force-field “figural” may be an overreach in describing media that are also in many respects highly conventional and so strongly discursive. And in the uniformity of its description it misses what is already a pervasive “mixing of the media,” in the sense of Peter Weibel’s “all art is post-media art” [102]–practices characterized by equalization and hybridization of different media, whether digitally based or not, even a “rematerialization” of the art object based on these novel combinations made possible of the actual and the virtual. [103] What is useful about Rodowick’s analysis in this context is how it limns what was once an avant-gardist, disruptive force–the resort to hieroglyphs as a powerful otherness that granted quicker access to the “unconscious,” among other virtues–as now quite run of the mill, in fact omnipresent and far from liberating, the preferred form of new communication media in the stage of post-Fordist, cognitive capitalism. [104] It appears more as the strange world of The Otolith Group’s 2011 film Anathema: seamless, all encompassing, as completely technological as it is cosmological, unthinkably ordinary and utterly foreign, free floating in a space of signs.

Up to a certain point, Artaud’s search for hieroglyphic keys to another, underlying reality links him to many other seminal 20th-century artistic projects, ranging from the numerous artists of Cubism and Surrealism, Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky, to Aby Warburg’s foundations for a new art history (one not based on texts) to Sergei Eisenstein’s cinema, Ernest Fenollosa and Ezra Pound’s research into Chinese ideograms as a basis for poetry, and later Charles Olson, who advocated learning from Sumerian and Mayan glyphs, extending Pound’s modernist revolution into a what he dubbed a “postmodern” poetics. [105] Even in this context, Artaud stands out, since with the possible exception of Warburg, [106] these projects are often limited to aesthetics, and to a single art-form, whereas Artaud’s proposals cannot be reduced even to the single cause of a revivified theater. Artaud used an eminently hieroglyphic means, an extreme and severe introjection of the cross (Artaud writes at one point at Rodez “I am the vertebral cross” [107]), as a key transformative process to survive nine years of horrific psychiatric confinement and emerge onto another plane of ferocity and creativity. Artaud’s transformation, what one psychoanalyst judged “absolutely unique” [108], would already make his manipulation of the hieroglyph one of the most original and singular among artists in the 20th century. But an “Artaud effect” and legacy operates today–not due to this use of the hieroglyphic, but because in a series of extremely willful, violent operations 1945-48 he definitively annihilates any hieroglyph or hieroglyphic understanding. His scores of drawings, his sound performances, his surging, increasingly unique language from 1943 onward are identical with his self re-construction that refuses any hieroglyphic patterning. Artaud himself recognizes that any hieroglyph also goes up into the flames of the combustion of his “direct creation.” He has thus eluded the eclipse of much of the historical avant-garde or modernist relevance, though Stéphane Mallarmé and James Joyce, among others, also return in intriguing manners. [109] Artaud has been a direct progenitor of both avant-garde (Lettrism in France, Butoh in Japan) and post-avant-garde movements, so the significance of his body without organs is not well encapsulated by such discussions. Rather, the challenge is whether the body without organs truly continues to serve as adequate biopolitical substrate of resistance in a “control society.” As Guattari poses, “With the figureless and foundationless Body without Organs of self-reference we see spreading before us an entirely different horizon, that of a new machinic processuality considered as the continual point of emergence of all forms of creativity” [110]–the body without organs as harbinger of the “post-media” society. Whereas art historical periodizations of this process are going to be confusing, delineations of stages of corporate capitalism or globalization that limn these new frontiers of governmentality are more heuristic. In what Marx describes in his Grundrisse as capital’s successful subsumption of labor, the increasing concentration of general knowledge and science in the fixed capital of machinery looms over the individual worker, producing new heights and extremities in exploitation while maximizing the socialization of production to the extent that labor-value as a quantitative means of measurement becomes hopelessly obsolete. Marx foresaw the situation where “the value objectified in machinery appears as a presupposition against which the value-creating power of the individual labor capacity is an infinitesimal, vanishing magnitude.” [111] Thus, contrary to much that Marx wrote elsewhere, the course of capitalist development tends in itself to do away with the workings of the law of value [112] by making scientific knowledge and its applied organization in production the principal productive force. This has the effect of reproducing the factory model across society so that, as Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri have written, “in the same moment when theory no longer sees labor, labor has everywhere become the common substance.” [113] In this transition from formal to real subsumption of labor, capital appears omnipotent and all-pervasive, provoking a crisis of extraordinary “separation” [114] felt in every aspect of social, economic, and political life. In this situation of extreme schizophrenia writ large, to return to Artaud’s locus of the body, Patricia Clough has argued it is in this period of real subsumption that “the tendencies of capitalism are moved toward the techno-ontological post-biological threshold.” [115] The mutations of the body and its biological existence, and not only or merely vagaries of its desire, form this agenda. Correspondingly, critiques of the notion of the body without organs that reduce it to a question of desire will miss its continuing importance. This seems the case with Galloway when, in his Laruelle, he postulates a difference between the analysis of the Deleuze of 1972 (the problematic of desire and body without organs in Anti-Oedipus [116]) and of 1990 (author of “Postscript on the Societies of Control” [117]), arguing the later writing supplants the politics of the earlier one. When the later Deleuze asks “is not life this capacity to resist force?” [118] he is speaking of the resistance that relies on the virtual substratum of the body without organs.

It is one of the more remarkable aspects of Artaud’s afterlife in the early 21st century that some of his most extreme formulations have the most play. Having declared, “I was there before God,” [119] Artaud has been characterized as having written the most complete and comprehensive self-recording of Gnostic beliefs in history, [120] yet this also seems to miss the all-encompassing rage against any purported sacred in the “final” Artaud. His ferocious disintegration of the hieroglyph and representation goes hand-in-hand with his shredding of any mystical or religious belief. Artaud is dedicated to acts of power–making a strange figure on the Paris metro, constantly making signs warding off demonic entities, wheezing, and chanting. Yet another difference with the historic avant-garde is that with the late Artaud categories of sacred/profane are of little utility. [121] With his visit to the Tarahumara Indians in September 1936, Artaud became inducted into a universe of sorcery and counter-sorcery he never left. This taking seriously of Artaud’s sorcery world constitutes a return to Artaud in the most dramatic and challenging of ways. The power of capture inherent in new media, for instance, has been dramatized recently in analyses of “cognitive capitalism” that characterize it, without irony or metaphoric intent, as a form of sorcery. For Philippe Pignarre and Isabelle Stengers, capitalism is a “system of sorcery without sorcerers (thinking of themselves as such)” and to describe it in this way is “not to take an ethnological risk but a pragmatic one.” [122] It is part of Pignarre and Stengers’s wager (a profoundly Artaudian one without ever citing Artaud) to portray the situation in such drastic, stark, and non-modern terms–precisely to underline our vulnerability. To assume protection against sorcery already exists is simply part of the hubris and false inheritance of modernity. For this analysis Pignarre and Stengers feel they are indebted to Marx, whose categories of exploitation “got the measure of the power of capitalist capture.” [123] After all, in the first volume of Capital, Marx had described commodity fetishism as a kind of magic and capitalism as a system where social relations between people took the form of a “fantastic form of a relation between things.” [124] What Pignarre and Stengers propose is an alliance between the practices of experimental science, of the “political creation” of affinity groups, and the techniques of counter-sorcery, claiming that “what makes people uncomfortable, what is difficult to accept is that witches are pragmatic, radically pragmatic: truly experimental technicians, experimenting with effects and consequences.” [125] To invoke the goddesses, for example, they write, is to tap into the powers of immanent change, as in Starhawk’s claim that the goddess “changes everything she touches, and everything she touches changes.” [126] Hailing the efficacy of the witches’ gesture has no truck with faith or belief but rather is based on their experimental procedure, the “fabricated” nature of their rituals “and the undecidability that they confront us with.” [127] Problematically, the authors recommend the witches’ circle without stepping into it themselves–another Artaudian dilemma in that Artaud is forever calling one to enter his delirium and pain while simultaneously insisting this would be impossible. In contrast, anthropologist Jeanne Favret-Saada, in her research into witchcraft in the French Bocage countryside, becomes a part of the symbolic and performative networks she was studying–fully participating in its spells and rituals. [128] This analysis by Pignarre and Stengers complements that of the collective Tiqqun, who take Marx’s warning of commodity fetishism as “fantastic form” quite literally as a case of “possession” of one’s body, mind, actions, and soul. This is “possession by a psychic economy” that for Tiqqun is the only level on which the “economy is real and concrete.” [129] The operations of the corporate capitalist economy therefore conjure realms of imagination and desire, the shaping of “Man” into an “economic creature,” that without exaggeration function as a kind of “black magic.” [130]

To speak of sorcery in this manner–as Pignarre and Stengers write, “naming it in such a way that allows its type of power to be encountered” [131]–implies a very different politics and relation than the “coming to consciousness” required by older analyses of “alienation,” or the coming-together of the “commons” as in the Empire trilogy of Hardt and Negri. [132] Their analyses may also rely on concepts of the “social brain” and its malignant “capture” but appear to broach no solution of “neuropower,” or what Wolfe has called the transformative powers of “the socialist cortex”–unless we think of this as an extraordinary malleability that coincides with Artaud’s evocation of the virtual body, in his version an “outside” that approaches the infinite. In his little essay on “The Human Face” (1947), Artaud writes, “I’m still not sure of the limits at which the body of the human self can stop.” [133] Of her work Lucid Possession (2013), an interactive cinema and performance based on motion-sensing technologies and live VJing and featuring a “schizoid chorus from the real and virtual worlds,” Toni Dove also asks Artaud’s question “where does the body end?” [134] Lucid Possession follows in the footsteps of her Spectropia (2007-08) that similarly used multiple technologies to “perform” on-screen avatars in the interests of pursing a different kind of open-ended narrative cinema. Lucid Possession is a ghost story where the principal character is invaded by presences; in Spectropia the noir/scifi themes include time-travel and telepathy. So it is not only the embrace of robotic screens (moved by an iPAD in Lucid Possession) or motion-sensing and laser technologies to create spectral confusion and sensory interchange a la a new Theater of Cruelty that recalls Artaud, but is in the themes pursued as well. It is not that Artaud can be wielded as such a sure model of media criticism for such works so much as that he already limned what Maurizio Lazzarato dubbed this “elastic milieu” [135] of brains and bodies and technologies as fields of virtual domination. Since he identifies the field of combat as this incorporeal dimension of bodies, a battle over memory and attention (or Spinoza’s conatus), Lazzarato is among those who proposes this is “noo-politics.” [136] Artaud has already achieved an immense cartography, from Nerve Scales (1925) to his last writings of body-brain-culture connections of molecularity, as in Brian Massumi’s formula “Neither object nor subject: event.” [137] So what, when taken up as a tool of social praxis and analysis may seem a vast divergence between the Artaudian and Spinozist approaches derived from their respective bodies without organs may yet merge in a fuller development of this version of noo-politics. [138]

That Artaud’s worldview is so impacted and tied up in his war against various demonic entities (one could read several of the most celebrated expositions about Artaud and have no idea this was the case) is also no barrier given the revival of discussion around various notions of sorcery’s cousin animism, [139] prominent in the later work of Guattari, for one. As anthropologist Eduardo Viveiros de Castro points out in regard to Guattari, “the core of the real is the soul, but is not an immaterial soul in opposition to or in contradiction with matter. On the contrary, it is matter itself that is infused with soul.” [140] Guattari uses concepts of animism to indicate a greater dimensionality–avoiding pitfalls of both reductionist modernity and the structuralist flattening out of profoundly rich alterity and communicative practices into solely symbolic or mythic interpretations. [141] This is in league with his insistence on bracketing belief and short-circuiting the formation of “universals” in the sense of any “universal truth”–what are in effect preconditions for looking at Artaud anew. And Artaud’s own “mythic reference,” in Guattari’s terms, the body without organs, as discussed, becomes the primary form of meta-model for the contemporary stage of global corporate capitalism. Using Artaud’s notion as a figure or strange attractor for the social in the conditions of global capitalism, the body without organs as body=degree zero intensity in Deleuze and Guattari’s Anti-Oedipus, as a kind of groundless ground for any desire, also makes it the movement of capital itself, of “capitalist being.” [142] It is in this situation that Tiqqun, Pignarre and Stengers, and others attempt to update the current analysis that Guattari had called “integrated world capitalism” [143] as a condition of full sorcery. The fullest, and most Artaudian analysis, of these dilemmas as sorcery may be that of Frédéric Neyrat, who, in his 2005 Surexposés and 2009 book on Artaud, [144] describes current globalization as the fullest revelation of the necessary ontological links between capital, surplus value, being, and God in the West’s perpetual war economy. Neyrat has the virtue of taking Artaud’s diagnosis of the West as “bewitched” in all its seriousness. Upon Artaud’s return to Paris from the Rodez asylum in 1946, he often proclaimed a global delirium or bewitchment–“One bewitches, the mass bewitches, individuals bewitch. All the world knows it. Nobody says a word.” [145] In Artaud’s sorcery against sorcery what is outside and what is inside is a border that never ceases to be challenged. When Artaud rages that “one has reinvented microbes finally to impose a new idea of god,” [146] Neyrat comments that Artaud’s Cold War rant is also aimed against nuclear proliferation, “The avatar of God, this is the Bomb.” [147] The vampirism and parasitism of being that Artaud continually denounces identifies the ontology of transnational capitalist expansion in its myriad levels and incarnations. Neyrat’s view of Artaud, however, carries its own reductions. His stressing of how Artaud at the end of his life is “assassinating magic” and fighting sorcery underestimates how caught up he continued to be in such. Neyrat writes that the only time Artaud believes in God was the brief period at Rodez when he later admitted himself that he was mentally ill. [148] Yet Artaud’s actual record, as evidenced in his voluminous notebooks, is far messier and profoundly conflicted to say the least, and it is difficult to demonstrate such a clean break as much as it sometimes seems Artaud’s goal. Neyrat does gives some hint of the confusion of this when writing about this war of clashing magic(k)s or sorceries–“How to know from the outside which one to stop?” [149]

Yet even Neyrat’s sketch of a tentative future seems to explicitly reject Artaud’s “direct” or autocreation–what is needed, he writes, is not a new territory or a new body, but a “reterritorialisation” that admits the impossibility of substantialising the world (that cannot be a subject or body) while also taking as its task “to allow the earth to be in the milieu of the world.” [150] Neyrat’s sometimes blunt advocacy of Artaud as the voice of so much unvoiced in Western culture follows the guise of Artaud’s “shit to the spirit,” [151] Artaud’s notion that “the self is not the body, the body is the self” [152]–a line from Artaud that Godard used to instruct his cinematographers. Neyrat takes as an ally the Artaud of To Have Done with the Judgment of god who praises the Tarahumara Indians–“I prefer the people who eat right out of the earth the delirium that gave birth to them” [153]–yet Artaud is not hailing the earth so much here as heralding a perpetual apocalypse. Artaud’s body without organs is knowledge as a necessary fold of the “outside” or double that Artaud invokes as catastrophe–the void where we do not see what we speak about or speak about what we see, but where one may walk through with extraordinary effort of will into a new creation. This negotiation of incommensurable forms or sensory modalities that cannot be defined in terms of the other can only be subject to what Deleuze calls in eminently Artaudian terms an “audiovisual battle,” a matter of “a pure relation between forces that emerges in the irreducible separation of forms.” [154] The later Artaud affirms these chiasms as irreparable and irredeemable. So far from merely confirming a profound processuality in the “new world order” and digital convergences of space and time–and even bodily mutation, at least in Gregory Little’s sense in his “Avatar Manifesto” of “unconsumable self-images” [155]–Artaud opens to an inexorable conflict of orientation in the ongoing virtualisation of the world. That he brooked no compromise with any edge of representation and in fact already proposed in the mid-20th century a metamorphosis for the incipient eclipse of the body–blasting beyond psychology, any organic philosophy of the body, arguably even beyond a Deleuzian theory of immanence that would seem sympathetic to his own formulations–Artaud in our own time turns what was most “mad” in his into a challenge to the digital and the occlusion of struggle in the ongoing virtualization. Paradoxical in nearly every respect, Artaud’s contribution still retains a possibility of insight not only due to its bending, working with, holding, or staying on the “line” as Deleuze counseled. It is because in an extraordinary, ungraspable movement of extremity and ekstasis, Artaud poses the conundrum of the power of an unrepeatable gesture, an erasing of it.

 

Notes
—————-

[1] Antonin Artaud, Oeuvres complètes vol. XIII (Paris: Gallimard, 1974), 118. All translations from authors in French, unless otherwise indicated, are my own.

[2] Jean-Noël Jeanneney, “Preface,” Antonin Artaud, (Paris: Bibliothèque nationale de France/Gallimard, 2006). The exhibition “Antonin Artaud” at the Bibliothèque nationale de France, which included the breadth of Artaud’s work as poet, art critic, theater theorist and scenarist, actor, cinema theorist and screenwriter, as well as his sorts or spells, his initatory journeys, work in sound, and drawings, was held November 7, 2006-February 4, 2007. ARTAUD, A Staged Life, curated by Jean-Jacques Lebel and Dominique Païni, at Museum Kunst Palast in Düsseldorf was held July 16-October 10, 2005. Other major 21st-century reevaluations of Artaud have included the first retrospective of Artaud’s work in Spain (curated by Marta Gonzålez Orbegozo at La Casa Encendida, Madrid, April 3-June 7, 2009); Artaud’s influence on artists and writers of the 1950’s, “Specters of Artaud: Language and Art in the 1950s” (curated by Kaira Cabañas and Frédéric Acquaviva at Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid, September 19-December 17, 2012); “Antonin Artaud” (curated by Jean-Jacques Lebel, Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea, Milan December 6, 2005-February 12, 2006); and, most recently, a juxtaposition of Artaud drawings and texts with Van Gogh paintings titled “Van Gogh/Artaud: The Man Suicided by Society” (curated by Isabelle Cahn, Musée d’Orsay, Paris, March 11-July 6, 2014).

[3] Michel Foucault, Madness and Civilization, trans. Richard Howard (London/New York: Routledge, [1961] 2001), 272. Italics in original.

[4] Stephen Barber’s biographies–Antonin Artaud: Blows and Bombs (1993), Artaud: The Screaming Body (2004), and Artaud: Terminal Curses, (2008)– have been crucial to this revision of Artaud, as has poet Clayton Eshleman’s translations of texts from this “final” period in Watchfiends & Rack Screams (1995). Both authors restore the utter blackness and apocalyptic fervor of Artaud’s last works. The appearance of Ros Murray’s study Antonin Artaud: The Scum of the Soul (2014), which examines Artaud’s relation to the dynamics of materiality and medium in his different artistic or anti-artistic works (in cinema, in his notebooks, and in his sound works for example), also signals another phase of expansion in the ongoing appreciation of Artaud. Similarly, Jacob Rogozinski, in Guérir la vie (2011), has provided an excellent account of the special role of rhythm in all of Artaud’s activity, how he utilizes it to leap over the stuttering and stopping movements of death. Florence de Mèredieu, in C’etait Antonin Artaud (2006), has contributed the most complete biography of Artaud to date. While each of these books show in different ways the huge limitations of restricting Artaud’s influence to theater and performance (however important), and that there remains so much to be explored in his contribution as a crucial modern artist in his own right, Kimberly Jannorone, in Artaud and His Doubles (2010), resurrects one of the oldest charges against Artaud: that the ideas of his Theater of Cruelty were simply fascist. One has to ask why if Artaud, who traveled often to Germany in the 1930s for film work (and claimed to have met Hitler at the Romanisches café in Berlin in May 1932, a meeting that was possible), felt Nazi rallies were a fulfillment of his ideas, he never said so. To the contrary, Artaud’s theater remains evanescent or impossible to many, given he could so rarely point to embodiments of it. Fascist trajectories indeed run through Artaud, as through us all if Deleuze and Guattari are to be believed; adequately understanding and coping with them calls for something other than Jannorone’s extremely reductive reading. In contrast, treatments like the anthology 100 Years of Cruelty: Essays on Artaud (2002) edited by Edward Scheer, and Sylvère Lotringer’s Mad Like Artaud (2015), translated from the original French published in 2003, continue to widen the already multivalent and unpredictable discussion.

There are additional works that there is little space to discuss here, despite the significance of their contribution, by Natacha Allet (2005), Adrian Morfee (2005), and by Artaud’s close confidant and editor Paule Thévenin (2006) and more than a half-dozen others, but the real milestone lies in the appearance of previously poorly accessible primary works–Artaud’s 406 school exercise notebooks, Cahiers d’Ivry: Février 1947-Mars 1948 were published by Gallimard in two volumes in October 2011, giving the general public the ability to peruse Artaud’s late journals for the first time (this was preceded by excerpts from them, Cahier d’Ivry: Janvier 1948, published in 2006, and 50 drawings to murder magic, published in 2008). Not to enter into the controversies and Parisian score-settling that has surrounded the editing and publication of his work, or the lacunae of the Oeuvres complètes Paule Thévenin worked so tirelessly on, one can argue that it is only now, with the appearance of this material, that his full legacy can be debated.

[5] Stephen Barber, Terminal Curses (London: Creation Books, 2008), 115.

[6] Artaud, Oeuvres, ed. Évelyne Grossman (Paris: Gallimard/Quarto, 2004), 703.

[7] Artaud, Oeuvres complètes vol. XIV:2 (Paris: Galliamard, 1978), 68. This follows the translation in Artaud, Watchfiends and Rack Screams, edited and translated by Clayton Eshleman with Bernard Bador (Boston: Exact Change, 1995).

[8] Artaud, Oeuvres complètes vol. XIII, 273.

[9] Artaud, Oeuvres complètes vol. I:1 (Paris: Gallimard,1956), 85-86.

[10] Ibid., 64. Gilles Deleuze would later come to define the virtual as “real without being actual, ideal without being abstract,” taking this shorthand explanation from Proust while being heavily influenced by Artaud and his first explorations of this idea. See Deleuze, Difference and Repetition, trans. Paul Patton (London/New York: Continuum, [1968] 2002), 208.

[11] Artaud, The Theater and Its Double, trans. M.C. Richard (New York: Grove Press, [1938] 1958).

[12] A contemporary example is Australian aboriginal art, or “Western desert art,” where the becomings of space overwhelm those of time, where “all living creatures, including human beings, are depicted as predominantly spatial rather than psychological beings, interacting in natural and cultural landscapes that occupy space over time.” Christine Nicholls and Ian North, eds. Kathleen Petyarre: Genius of Place (Adelaide: Wakefield, 2001), 10. See Elizabeth Grosz’s arguments concerning this art in her Chaos, Territory, Art: Deleuze and the Framing of the Earth (New York: Columbia University Press, 2008), 89-101.

[13] Artaud, Oeuvres complètes vol. IV (Paris: Gallimard,1964), 106, 65. Emphasis in original.

[14] Artaud, Oeuvres complètes vol. XXII (Paris: Gallimard, 1986), 436.

[15] Artaud, Oeuvres complètes vol. XX (Paris: Gallimard 1984), 66.

[16] Artaud, Oeuvres complètes vol. XXII, 436.

[17] Henri Bergson, Matter and Memory, trans. Nancy M. Paul and W. Scott Palmer (New York: Zone Books, [1896] 1991), 217.

[18] Artaud does refer to Bergson in one of his Mexican addresses, precisely in the context of Bergson’s “pure duration” that Artaud cites as evidence that thought does not ever stop. See “L’Homme Contre le Destin” in Oeuvres, 693.

[19] Artaud, Oeuvres complètes vol. XIII, 258.

[20] Artaud, Oeuvres complètes vol. XXIII (Paris: Gallimard, 1987), 202-03; Oeuvres complètes vol. XIII, 63.

[21] Artaud, Oeuvres complètes vol. XXIII, 202-03.

[22] Artaud, Oeuvres complètes vol. V (Paris: Gallimard, 1964), 148.

[23] Artaud, Oeuvres, 212.

[24] Artaud, Oeuvres complètes vol. XIII, 35.

[25] See Engineering Nature: Art and Consciousness in the Post-Biological Era, ed. Roy Ascott (Bristol: Intellect, 2006).

[26] Artaud, Oeuvres complètes vol. XXIV (Paris: Gallimard, 1988), 213.

[27] Artaud, Cahiers d’Ivry, Janvier 1948, ed. Évelyne Grossman (Paris: Gallimard, 2006), 28.

[28] Charles Baudelaire, “Hymn to Beauty,” Flowers of Evil, ed. by Marthiel and Jackson Matthews (New York: New Directions, 1955), 51.

[29] Duchamp quoted in Félix Guattari, Chaosmosis, trans. Paul Bains and Julian Pefanis (Bloomington/London: Indiana University Press, 1995), 101; “On Contemporary Art,” The Guattari Effect, ed. by Éric Alliez and Andrew Goffey (London/New York: Continuum, 2011), 52.

[30] Artaud, Oeuvres complètes vol. XXIV, 27.

[31] Évelyne Grossman in Cahiers d’Ivry, Janvier 1948, 17.

[32] Artaud, Oeuvres complètes vol. XIII, 104.

[33] Artaud, Oeuvres, 1702.

[34] Artaud, Oeuvres complètes vol. XVIII (Paris: Gallimard, 1983), 73.

[35] Artaud, Cahiers, d’Ivry, Janvier 1948, 36.

[36] Ibid., 36-37.

[37] Artaud, Oeuvres complètes vol. XXI (Paris: Gallimard 1985), 267; Artaud, Cahier #287/April 1947 from Artaud Archives. Courtesy: Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris; Artaud, Oeuvres complètes vol. XX (Paris: Gallimard,1984), 261. I cite passages from Artaud’s journals by number and month. I remain grateful to the director of the Bibliothèque nationale de France, Guillaume Fau and to Artaud’s executor and nephew Serge Malausséna, for permission to visit the Artaud archives in June 2010.

[38] José Gil, Metamorphoses of the Body, trans. Stephen Muecke (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1998), 53.

[39] Ibid., 61.

[40] See, for instance, Ilya Prigogine and Isabelle Stengers, Order out of Chaos (New York: Bantam Books, 1984).

[41] Artaud asks himself several times in his notebooks if he is not a sorcerer and magician rather than a poet. For instance, he writes, “I am a magician, / nothing makes itself through nature, entirely through the will.” Artaud, Oeuvres complètes vol. XXIV, 213.

[42] See Lev Manovich, The Language of New Media (Cambridge/London: MIT Press, 2001); Shaun Moores, “The Doubling of Space,” in Mediaspace: Place, Scale and Culture in a Media Age, ed. Nick Couldry and Anna McCarthy (New York/London: Routledge, 2004), 21-36.

[43] Timothy Baker, Time and the Digital (Hanover: Dartmouth College Press, 2012), 18-19. As Baker points out, analyses of convergence have received much attention in new media literature, but these tend to be oriented solely around space and spatialization. Even accounts of Mixed Reality (MR) are explained in terms of the spectator entering the space of illusion, so the experience and phenomenon are presented as overlays of space. Ibid., 18.

[44] See, for example, Ascott’s “The Ambiguity of Self” (2009), at https://www.facebook.com/notes/roy-ascott/the-ambiguity-of-self-living-in-a-variable-reality/10151431983236073 (accessed September 20, 2014).

[45] Baudrillard in Catherine Francblin, “Jean Baudrillard, la commedia dell’arte,” art press 216 (September 1996): 43-48.

[46] Jim Campbell in Program for “Jim Campbell: Rhythms of Perception,” March 21-June 15, 2014, Museum of the Moving Image, Astoria, New York.

[47] Alfred North Whitehead, The Concept of Nature (New York: Cosimo, [1920] 2007), 56.

[48] Artaud, Oeuvres complètes vol. XIII, 127.

[49] Andrew Murphie, “Differential Life, Perception and the Nervous Elements,” Culture Machine 7 (2004) http://www.culturemachine.net/index.php/cm/article/viewArticle/32/39 (accessed September 17, 2014).

[50] Guattari, Chaosmosis, 37; Deleuze, Two Regimes of Madness, ed. David Lapoujade, trans. Ames Hodges and Mike Taormina (New York/Los Angeles: Semiotext(e), 2006), 66.

[51] Artaud, Oeuvres complètes vol. XXII, 436.

[52] Artaud, Oeuvres complètes, vol. XXVI (Paris: Gallimard, 1994), 173.

[53] See Jean-François Chevrier, “La verité de l’hallucination contre ‘le mensonge de l’Etre,'” in Antonin Artaud, ed. Guillaume Fau, (Paris: Bibliothèque nationale de France/Gallimard, 2006), 206.

[54] Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus, trans. Brian Massumi (Minneapolis; University of Minnesota Press, [1980] 1987), 506.

[55] Mark Bonta and John Protevi, Deleuze and Geophilosophy (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2004), 107.

[56] Deleuze, Negotiations: Interviews 1972-1990, trans. Martin Joughlin (New York: Columbia Press, 1995), 110.

[57] Ibid., 110-11.

[58] Ibid., 113.

[59] See Eric Sellin, The Dramatic Concepts of Antonin Artaud (Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press, 1968).

[60] This activity could have a most paradoxical if not contradictory relation to Artaud, even when directly inspired by him. For one exploration of this, see Jay Murphy, “Assimilating the Unassimilable: Carolee Schneemann in Relation to Antonin Artaud,” Parkett 50/51 (1997): 224-39.

[61] Artaud, Oeuvres complètes vol. IV, 103.

[62] At the time of this writing, Malgré la nuit is currently in production, already referred to as “cinévoodoo”; see http://www.lesinrocks.com/2014/11/20/cinema/tournage-malgre-nuit-philippe-grandrieux-11536654 (accessed December 27, 2014).

[63] Gabriela Trujillo, “Délits de corps” in La Vie nouvelle/Nouvelle vision, ed. Nicole Brenez (Paris: Léo Scheer, 2005), 101.

[64] Artaud, Oeuvres, 1534.

[65] Artaud, Oeuvres complètes vol. IV, 278.

[66] See George Quasha and Charles Stein, “Two Ways at Once (performative reading–the inside out story),” Gary Hill (Montréal: Musée d’art contemporain Montréal, 1998).

[67] Ibid., 49.

[68] Steven Shaviro, “Fringe Research: Gary Hill,” ArtByte 1.4 (October/November 1998): 14.

[69] Quoted in Louis-José Lestocart, “Gary Hill, surfing the medium,” artpress 210 (February 1996): 20-27, 23.

[70] Quasha and Stein, 49. Quasha and Stein’s writings on Hill have been collected, along with others by the artist, in An Art of Limina, ed. Paul Emmanuel Odin (Barcelona: Ediciones Poligrafa, 2007).

[71] Jacques Aumont, Amnésies: Fictions du cinema d’apres Jean-Luc Godard (Paris: P.O.L., 1999), 18.

[72] Artaud, Oeuvres complètes vol. III (Paris: Gallimard, 1961), 80.

[73] Ibid., 88, 72.

[74] Deleuze, Cinema 2: The Time-Image, trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Robert Galeta (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1989), 270.

[75] Shaviro, Post-Cinematic Affect (Winchester, UK/Washington, US: 0-Books, 2010), 13-14, 103-04, 123. Italics in original.

[76] Alexander R. Galloway, Laruelle: Against the Digital (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2014), xxxiv.

[77] Ibid., xxix.

[78] Ibid., xxxiv.

[79] Stamatia Portanova, Moving without a Body (Cambridge/London: MIT Press, 2013), 136, 130.

[80] Artaud, Watchfiends and Rack Screams, 54.

[81] Deleuze, “The Brain Is the Screen: An Interview with Gilles Deleuze,” in The Brain Is the Screen: Deleuze and the Philosophy of Cinema, ed. Gregory Flaxman (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2000), 366.

[82] Artaud, Oeuvres complètes vol. XVIII, 286.

[83] To this end, they organized the 1972 conference “Artaud/Bataille: vers une revolution culturelle.” For the collection of papers devoted to Artaud in this colloquium, see Philippe Sollers, ed. Artaud (Paris: Union générale d’éditions, 1973).

[84] Matteo Pasquinelli, “The Power of Abstraction and Its Antagonism. On Some Problems Common to Contemporary Neurosciences and the Theory of Cognitive Capitalism,” The Psychopathologies of Cognitive Capitalism: Part Two, ed. Warren Neidich (Berlin: Archive Books, 2014), 276-77.

[85] Terrence Deacon, cited in Charles T. Wolfe, “From Spinoza to the Socialist Cortex,” in Cognitive Architecture, ed. Deborah Hauptmann and Warren Neidich (Rotterdam: Delft School of Design Series on Architecture and Urbanism, 2010), 198.

[86] Deleuze, Negotiations, 176.

[87] Wolfe, Cognitive Architecture, 198.

[88] Ibid., 199.

[89] Ibid.

[90] Ibid., 201.

[91] Artaud, Cahier #389/December 1947.

[92] Artaud, Oeuvres complètes, vol. III, 218.

[93] Artaud, Oeuvres complètes vol. XIV:1 (Paris: Gallimard, 1978), 157.

[94] Artaud, Oeuvres complètes vol. IV, 43.

[95] David Rodowick, Reading the Figural (Durham/London: Duke University Press, 2001), x, xiv.

[96] See Jean-François Lyotard, Discours, figure (Paris: Klinsieck, 1974).

[97] For Lyotard, the “figural” is strictly unrepresentable, introducing just one of the many difficulties in using this concept the way Rodowick attempts. The “unconscious,” for Lyotard, is not a structure and certainly not a language, “the dream-work is not a language . . . [it is] discourse and figure at the same time, the work lost in hallucinatory scenography, originary violence.” Lyotard, Discours, figure, 270. Based on Freud’s death-drive, the figural emerges from primal fantasy and desire, and can only deform or violently distort what it comes in contact with. In this respect, it has profound parallels with the similarly threatening and disfiguring dream and “hieroglyph” in the early Artaud, with the equally relevant difference that in Artaud it is stripped of any psychoanalytic context.

[98] Rodowick, Reading the Figural, 3.

[99] Ibid., 4.

[100] Ibid., 46.

[101] See, for instance, Laura Marks’s criticism that often the sole difference in image and information is quantitative in Enfoldment and Infinity: An Islamic Genealogy of New Media Art (Cambridge/London: MIT Press, 2010), 251.

[102] Quoted in Provocative Alloys: A Post-Media Anthology, ed. Clemens Apprich, Josephine Berry Slater, Anthony Iles, and Oliver Lerone Schultz (London: Mute Books/Post-Media Lab Books, 2013), 148.

[103] The subject of a symposium at the Kennedy Center in Florence, Italy, on June 21, 2014, titled “Rematerialization of the Art Object: Art, Robotics, and Post-Convergent Labor,” for example, featured artists working in computer-assisted painting, CAD architectural design, sculpture and 3D printing. For a discussion of the problems the contemporary art world especially has had with the notions of digital art as medium, see Domenico Quaranta, Beyond New Media Art (Brescia: Link Editions, 2013).

[104] For expositions of “cognitive capitalism” as a definitive stage of political economy past industrial capitalism, see Yann Moulier-Boutang, Cognitive Capitalism, trans. Ed Emery (Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 2012); and Capitalismo cognitivo, ed. C. Vercellone (Rome: Manifestolibri, 2006).

[105] Olson uses the term “postmodern” in letters to Robert Creeley from 1949 onward; his first published reference to it was in the 1952 essay “The Materials and Weights of Herman Melville” in reference to the crucial importance of certain authors (here Melville, Dostoevsky, Rimbaud, Lawrence) for “any of us who want to take on the post-modern.” See Olson, Collected Prose, ed. Donald Allen and Benjamin Friedlander (Berkeley/Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1997), 116.

[106] See Philippe Alain-Michaud, Aby Warburg and the Image in Motion, trans. Sophie Hawkins (New York: Zone Books, 2004).

[107] Artaud, Oeuvres complètes vol. XV (Paris: Gallimard, 1981), 326.

[108] Serge André, L’Épreuve d’Antonin Artaud et l’expérience de la psychanalyse, (Brussells: Èditions Luc Pire, 2007), 112.

[109] See, for instance, Joyce’s links to creative cyberculture in Donald F. Theall, James Joyce’s Techno-Poetics (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997). For his part, Mallarmé, a poet of virtuality avant la lettre, makes key appearances in Guattari’s Chaosmosis (1992) and Quentin Meillassoux’s After Finitude (2010).

[110] Guattari, “Regimes, Pathways, Subjects,” The Guattari Reader, ed. Gary Genosko (New York/London: Routledge, 1996), 98.

[111] Karl Marx, Grundrisse, ed. and trans. Martin Nicolaus (New York: Vintage Books, 1973), 694.

[112] As Marx writes elsewhere in the same section, “Capital thus works towards its own dissolution as the form dominating production.” Ibid., 700.

[113] Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Labor of Dionysus, A Critique of the State-Form (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1994), 11.

[114] Karl Marx, Capital vol. 2, ed. Friedrich Engels (New York: International Publishers, 1967), 33.

[115] Patricia T. Clough, “The Affective Turn,” The Affect Theory Reader, eds. Melissa Gregg and Gregory J. Seigworth (Durham/Duke: Duke University Press, 2010), 221

[116] Deleuze and Guattari, Anti-Oedipus, trans. Mark Seem, Helen R. Lane, and Robert Hurley (New York: Viking Penguin, [1972] 1977).

[117] Deleuze,”Postscript on the Societies of Control,” October 59 (Winter 1992): 3-7.

[118] Deleuze, Foucault, trans. Seán Hand (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1988), 93.

[119] Artaud, Oeuvres complètes, vol. XIX (Paris: Gallimard 1984), 189.

[120] Susan Sontag in “Artaud,” Antonin Artaud: Selected Writings, ed. and trans. Helen Weaver (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1976), xlv-liii. For Artaud’s relation with Gnosticism see also Jane Goodall, Artaud and the Gnostic Drama (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994). Gnosticism is eminently applicable to many of Artaud’s various convolutions in the asylums; there comes a point, however, with Artaud’s declaration against God, Easter 1945, where it loses much of its relevance in Artaud’s final fulminations.

[121] Artaud, for example, never seemed seduced by the phenomenon of sacrifice that obsessed Georges Bataille. Artaud’s comments on sacrifice in his 1947 essay on Van Gogh are the exception.

[122] Philippe Pignarre and Isabelle Stengers, Capitalist Sorcery, ed. and trans. Andrew Goffey (Basingstoke/New York: Palgrave Macmillan, [2005] 2011), 40.

[123] Ibid., 53.

[124] Marx, Capital, in Marx and Engels, Collected Works vol. 35 (New York: International Publishers, 1975), 83.

[125] Pignarre and Stengers, 138.

[126] Starhawk, Dreaming the Dark: Magic, Sex, and Politics (Boston: Beacon Press, 1982), 81.

[127] Pignarre and Stengers, 137.

[128] See Jeanne Favret-Saada, Deadly Words, trans. Catherine Cullen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1980); Désorceler (Paris: Editions de l’oliver, 2009); Les Mots, la mort, les sorts (Paris: Gallimard, 1985).

[129] For an exhibition that presented a complex reevaluation of the notion of capitalist fetishism, owing more frankly to Georges Bataille and Documents-style Surrealism than to Artaud, see “Critical Fetishes: Residues of General Economy,” curated by the Mexico City-based collective El Espectro Rojo, May 26-August 29, 2010, CA2M, Madrid, Spain. Yet, in common with the approaches described above, the exhibition was not based on any notion of “de-mystification” or “critical consciousness” concerning fetishes and such icons, but of a re-activation of their subversive imaginative power, exploiting the ambivalence of their effect in capitalist societies.

[130] See Tiqqun, Introduction to Civil War, trans. Alexander R. Galloway and Jason E. Smith (Los Angeles: Semiotext(e), 2010), 83; and “On the Economy as Black Magic,” http://blackmagic.jottit.com (accessed August 9, 2011).

[131] Pignarre and Stengers, 30.

[132] Hardt and Negri: Empire (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2001); Multitude (New York/London: Penguin Books, 2005); Commonwealth (Cambridge: Belknap Press, 2011).

[133] Artaud, Watchfiends and Rack Screams, 278.

[134] Toni Dove, http://www.lucidpossession.com/text/project-description; http://www.lucidpossession.com/text/artist-statement (accessed November 11, 2013).

[135] Maurizio Lazzarato, “The Concepts of Life and the Living in the Societies of Control,” in Deleuze and the Social, ed. Martin Fuglsang and Bent Meyer Sørenson (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2006), 181.

[136] Ibid.,186.

[137] Brian Massumi, Semblance and Event: Activist Philosophy and the Occurrent Arts (Cambridge/London: MIT Press, 2011), 6.

[138] For an acute critique of Bernard Stiegler’s version of ‘noo-politics,’ see Anna Munster, An Aesthesia of Networks (Cambridge/London: MIT Press, 2013), 131-33, 139, 141-43.

[139] For instance, the exhibition “Animism,” curated by Anselm Franke, presented a survey around animation/mummification, life/nonlife, challenging the splitting of the subjective and objective worlds through resuscitating as “counter-image” this “self-concept” of animism. “Animism,” Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, 2012; Generali Foundation, Vienna, 2011; Extra City and MuHKA, Antwerp, 2010.

[140] Quoted in Angela Melitopoulos and Maurizio Lazzarato, “Machinic Animism,” Animism vol. I, ed. by Anselm Franke (Berlin: Sternberg Press, 2010), 98.

[141] See, for example, Guattari’s commentary on African Fon fetish objects in Chaosmosis, 46-48.

[142] Deleuze and Guattari, Anti-Oedipus, 8.

[143] Guattari authored some of the earliest trenchant analyses of globalization; see “Plan for the Planet” (1979) and, with Éric Alliez, “Capitalistic Systems, Structures, and Processes” (1983) in Guattari, Molecular Revolution, trans. Rosemary Sheed, (New York/London: Penguin, 1984).

[144] Frédéric Neyrat, Surexposés (Paris: Léo Scheer, 2005); Instructions pour une prise d’âmes (Strasbourg: La Phocide, 2009).

[145] Artaud, Oeuvres complètes vol. XXVI, 9.

[146] Artaud , Oeuvres complètes vol. XIII, 103.

[147] Neyrat, Instructions pour une prise d’âmes, 25.

[148] Ibid., 20.

[149] Ibid., 48.

[150] Neyrat, Surexposés, 65, 20.

[151] Artaud, “Chiote à l’esprit,”
Oeuvres, 1502-07.

[152] Artaud, Oeuvres complètes vol. XIV:2, 53.

[153] Artaud, Watchfiends and Rack Screams, 286.

[154] Deleuze, Foucault, 112.

[155] See http://www.gregorylittle.org/avatars/text.html (accessed November 11, 2014).

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Jay Murphy is a writer and independent curator currently in New Orleans. He has contributed to Parallax, Culture Machine, Frieze, MAP, Afterimage, Parkett, Art in America, Metropolis, and Third Text, among other publications. He edited the alternative journal Red Bass and the book anthology For Palestine (1993). He was thrice a finalist for Sundance Screenwriting Labs and his collaborative Internet projects have been shown at the Sundance Film Festival. In 2009, 2011, and 2014, he organised exhibitions and programmes of film and moving image work from the Middle East and North Africa for venues in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, and Glasgow, in 2011-12 the film series “First Person” for Inverleith House/Filmhouse Cinema in Edinburgh, and in 2008 gallery exhibitions in New York and Edinburgh. He is currently working on a study of Antonin Artaud (having completed his doctorate on “Artaud’s Metamorphosis” in 2011) and a creative nonfiction web project on the Middle East called Baraya.