Gilles Deleuze from A to Z
Gilles Deleuze, Claire Parnet and Pierre-Andre Boutang
Translated by Charles J. Stivale
Although Gilles Deleuze never wanted a film to be made about him, he agreed to Claire Parnet’s proposal to film a series of conversations in which each letter of the alphabet would evoke a word: From A (as in Animal) to Z (as in Zigzag). These DVDs, elegantly transtlated and subtitled in English, make these conversations available for English-speaking audiences? for the first time.
In dialogue with Parnet (a journalist and former student of Deleuze), the philosopher exhibited the modest and thrilling transparency that his seminal works (such as Anti-Oedipus and A Thousand Plateaus) reveal. The sessions were taped when Deleuze was already terminally ill; he and Parnet agreed that the film would not be shown publicly until after his death. The awareness of mortalityfloats through the dialogues, making them not just intellectually stimulating but also emotionally engaging. Because Parnet knew Deleuze so well, she was able to draw him out–as no one else had–to what might be the 1001st plateau: a place of brilliance, rigor, and charm.
Capital and Affects
The Politics of the Language Economy
Translated by Giuseppina Mecchia
We do little more than state the obvious when, trying to come to terms with the politico-institutional earthquakes traversing our times, we say that language is the key to politics.
–from Capital and Affects
Communication as work: we have recently experienced a profound transformation in the processes of production. While the assembly line (invented by Henry Ford at the beginning of the last century) excluded any form of linguistic productivity, today, there is no production without communication. The new technologies are linguistic machines. This revolution has produced a new kind of worker who is not a specialist but is versatile and infinitely adaptable. If standardized mass production was dominant in the past, today we produce an array of different goods corresponding to specific consumer niches. This is the post-Fordist model described by Christian Marazzi in Capital and Affects (first published in 1994 as Il posto dei calzini [The place for the socks]). Tracing the development of this new model of labor from Toyota plants in Japan to the most recent innovations, Marazzi’s critique goes beyond political economy to encompass issues related to social life, political engagement, democratic institutions, interpersonal relations, and the role of language in liberal democracies.
Spheres Volume I: Microspherology
Translated by Wieland Hoban
If I had to place a sign of my own at the entrance to this trilogy, it would be this: let no one enter who is unwilling to praise transference and to refute loneliness.
An epic project in both size and purview, Peter Sloterdijk’s three-volume, 2,500-page Spheres is the late-twentieth-century bookend to Heidegger’s Being and Time. Rejecting the century’s predominant philosophical focus on temporality, Sloterdijk, a self-described “student of the air,” reinterprets the history of Western metaphysics as an inherently spatial and immunological project, from the discovery of self (bubble) to the exploration of world (globe) to the poetics of plurality (foam). Exploring macro- and micro-space from the Greek agora to the contemporary urban apartment, Sloterdijk is able to synthesize, with immense erudition, the spatial theories of Aristotle, René Descartes, Gaston Bachelard, Walter Benjamin, and Georges Bataille into a morphology of shared, or multipolar, dwelling–identifying the question of being as one bound up with the aerial technology of architectonics and anthropogenesis.
Ours is a century of fear. Governments and mass media bombard us with words and images: desert radicals, “rogue states,” jihadists, WMDs, existential enemies of freedom. We labor beneath myths that neither address nor describe the present situation, monstrous deceptions produced by a sound bite society. There is no reckoning of actuality, no understanding of the individual lives that inaugurated this echo chamber.
In the summer of 1999, Mohamed Atta defended a master’s thesis that critiqued the introduction of Western-style skyscrapers in the Middle East and called for the return of the “Islamic-Oriental city.” Using this as a departure point, Jarett Kobek’s novel ATTA offers a fictionalized psychedelic biography of Mohamed Atta that circles around a simple question: what if 9/11 was as much a matter of architectural criticism as religious terrorism? Following the development of a socially awkward boy into one of history’s great villains, Kobek demonstrates the need for a new understanding of global terrorism. Joined in this volume by a second work, “The Whitman of Tikrit”–a radical reimagining of Saddam Hussein’s last day before capture–ATTA is a brutal, relentless, and ultimately fearless corrective to ten years of propaganda and pandering.
Halstead Plays Himself
William E. Jones
Fred Halsted’s L.A. Plays Itself (1972) was gay porn’s first masterpiece: a sexually explicit, autobiographical, experimental film whose New York screening left even Salvador Dalí repeatedly muttering “new information for me.” Halsted, a self-taught filmmaker, shot the film over a period of three years in a now-vanished Los Angeles, a city at once rural and sleazy.
In Halsted Plays Himself, acclaimed artist and filmmaker William E. Jones documents his quest to capture the elusive public and private personas of Halsted–to zero in on an identity riddled with contradictions. Jones assembles a narrative of a long-gone gay lifestyle and an extinct Hollywood underground, when independent films were still possible, and the boundary between experimental and pornographic was not yet established. The book also depicts what sexual liberation looked like at a volatile point in time–and what it looked like when it collapsed.