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Remotivating the Ecological Turn

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Title:
Remotivating the Ecological Turn Four Components of Felix Guattari's Ecosophical Perspective
Creator:
Tinnell, John
Place of Publication:
[Gainesville, Fla.]
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University of Florida
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english
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1 online resource (42 p.)

Thesis/Dissertation Information

Degree:
Master's ( M.A.)
Degree Grantor:
University of Florida
Degree Disciplines:
English
Committee Chair:
Ulmer, Gregory L.
Committee Members:
Dobrin, Sidney I.
Graduation Date:
8/7/2010

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Aesthetics ( jstor )
Alterity ( jstor )
Autopoiesis ( jstor )
Capitalism ( jstor )
Ecology ( jstor )
Ecophilosophy ( jstor )
Liberal arts education ( jstor )
Nature ( jstor )
Paradigms ( jstor )
Subjectivity ( jstor )
English -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
autopoiesis, ecology, ecosophy, electracy, guattari, media, poststructuralism, subjectivity, transversal
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Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent) ( marcgt )
English thesis, M.A.

Notes

Abstract:
Title: Remotivating the Ecological Turn: Four Components of Felix Guattari's Ecosophical Perspective Many humanities scholars are working to transform their disciplines in response to new conditions and problems emerging in the twenty-first century. Arguably, two of the most important forces affecting contemporary global culture are the growing awareness of the ecological crisis and the proliferation of digital media. This thesis endeavors to develop Felix Guattari?s ?unfinished? concept of ecosophy into a theoretical framework for constructing productive syntheses between the ecological and the digital. In general, the thesis first articulates ecosophical models of individual and collective subjectivity, and then argues that the best way to sustain this emergent identity experience is to invent ?post-media? practices, which harness the networked infrastructure of digital media such that specific pedagogical engagements with the technology effectively maximize the user?s capacity to affect and be affected by immanent forces in the world. In addition, this Guattarian rethinking of the ecological turn concurrently challenges the philosophical basis of the pedagogy of Nature appreciation that has characterized the eco-humanities landscape since the 1970s. ( en )
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In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
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Includes vita.
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Includes bibliographical references.
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Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
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This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Thesis:
Thesis (M.A.)--University of Florida, 2010.
Local:
Adviser: Ulmer, Gregory L.
Statement of Responsibility:
by John Tinnell.

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10/8/2010
Resource Identifier:
004979585 ( ALEPH )
769019261 ( OCLC )
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least in this sense, describes a condition in which poststructuralist theory and new

media processually inform one another.

Post-media is clearly not an allusion to an era devoid of media or its effects;

Guattari agrees with Paul Virilio when he claims, "the increased speed of transportation

and communications and the interdependence of urban centres are equally irreversible"

(Three Ecologies 29). While Guattari is very against mass-media, he is anything but a

technophobe. Verena Conley rightly points out that unlikeie many post-68 French

theorist, Guattari does not use a Heideggerian blue print... [h]e advocates the

construction of new subjectivities with technology" (120). In Guattari's work, mass-

media is conceived as a stance-an ideological use of media technology that is in no

way inherent to or determined by the medium. Guattari wants to problematize our

habitual attitude towards the technologies (e.g., radio, television, computers) that have

now become fixtures of everyday life in many parts of the world. From the stance of

mass-media, especially from the consumer's point of view, a television or a computer is

regarded as a technical machine-"the machine as a subset of technology"

(Chaosmosis 33). Guattari calls for a reversal of this relationship, such that his

expanded conception of the machine (see above) becomes a "prerequisite for

technology rather than its expression" (33). Thus, if we take this reversal to be a

founding gesture of the post-media stance, the user finds herself recast into an

altogether different set of relations with media. For example, rather than seeing the

computer as a device whose operations demands technical expertise above all else, the

post-media user would approach the computer as a technology in progress (i.e., always

"in the process of being reinvented"), whose operations affect and are affected by









between machines and structures: create an autopoietic network that learns like a

machine.

In fact, I would argue that by creating networks for the ecosophical circulation of

student writing, we may open up pedagogical interactions that otherwise get left to

chance when students merely post their work onto vast Web 2.0 platforms. If we can

publicize aspects of the learning process-thereby 'accommodating diverse mediums of

alterity'-our various academic communities (e.g., courses, collaborative scholarly

projects, etc.) will operate much closer to the disjunctive collectivity that Guattari's

machines diagram. By building into the work an autopoietic openness to extra-

academic perspectives, academic discourse will be inevitably challenged to become

different in response to different problems and different rhetorical situations. The motive

to create these opportunities goes hand in hand with the imperative to extend complex

humanities perspectives into the public sphere, particularly those domains where

competing discourses threaten to overwrite or displace the humanities. Deleuze and

Guattari assert that, over the course of the twentieth century, commerce has all but

replaced philosophy in the creation of concepts (What is Philosophy 16). Additionally,

the circulation of electorate projects will bring us much closer to the political conditions of

the post-media era, which, according to Guattari, will "require collective forms of

administration and control, rather than a blind faith in the technocrats of the State

apparatuses" (Three Ecologies 28). Ultimately, autopoietic networks do not promote

allegiance to a specific, existing political position; rather teaching autopoiesis constitutes

an ethical "refoundation of political praxis" (Chaosmosis 120).









BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

John Tinnell was born in Asheville, North Carolina. He studied American literature

and creative writing at Stetson University, earning his B.A. in 2007. Upon completing

his master's degree, John will continue his graduate education in English at the

University of Florida in the fall of 2010. The areas of specialization for his doctoral work

will likely include digital media and film studies, composition and rhetoric, and

poststructuralist theory.









LIST OF REFERENCES


Bourriaud, Nicolas. Relational Aesthetics. Trans. Simon Pleasance and Fronza Woods.
Dijon: Presses du Reel, 2002.

Conley, Verena Andermatt. "Artists or 'Little Soldiers?' Felix Guattari's Ecological
Paradigms." Deleuze/Guattari & Ecology. Ed. Bernd Herzogenrath. Basingstoke:
Palgrave Macmillan, 2009. pp. 116-28.

Cubitt, Sean. EcoMedia. New York: Rodopi, 2005.

Daily Green. "The Easiest Ways to Go Green for Earth Day." 27 April 2010. Web. 16
April 2009 < http://www.thedailygreen.com/going-green/latest/green-tips-10-
easiest?click=nav/>.

Deleuze, Gilles. Spinoza: Practical Philosophy. Trans. Robert Hurley. San Francisco:
City Lights, 1988.

Deleuze, Gilles and Felix Guattari. Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Trans.
Robert Hurley, Mark Seem, and Helen R. Lane. Minneapolis: Minn. UP, 1983.

Deleuze, Gilles and Felix Guattari. What is Philosophy? Trans. Hugh Tomlinson and
Graham Burchell. New York: Columbia, 1994.

Dobrin, Sidney and Christian Weisser. Natural Discourse: Toward Ecocomposition.
Albany: SUNY Press, 2002.

Earthsense. "About Earthsense". 27 April 2010. Web. 18 April 2009 <
http://www.earthsense.com/about-us>.

Genosko, Gary. "The Life and Work of Felix Guattari: From Transversality to Ecosophy."
The Three Ecologies. Trans. lan Pindar and Paul Sutton. London: Continuum, 2008.

Goddard, Michael. "Felix and Alice in Wonderland: The Encounter between Guattari and
Berardi and the Post-Media Era." Generation Online. 2006.

Great Green List. "Great Green List Homepage." 27 April 2010. Web. 18 April 2009 <
http://www.greatgreenlist.com/>.

Guattari, Felix. Chaosmosis. Trans. Paul Bains and Julian Pefanis. Bloomington:
Indiana UP, 1995.

Guattari, Felix. "Regimes, Pathways, Subjects." The Guattari Reader. Ed. Gary
Genosko. Cambridge: Blackwell, 1996. pp. 95-108.

Guattari, Felix. The Three Ecologies. Trans. lan Pindar and Paul Sutton. London:
Continuum, 2008.









The Three Ecologies, "their objective being to processually activate isolated and

repressed singularities that are just turning in circles" (34).

Moreover, as a consequence of these two prior distinctions, machines embody

an awareness of their own fluidly and finitude, whereas structures, like Guattari's

diagnosis of "capitalist subjectivity," are "intoxicated with and anaesthetized by a

collective feeling of pseudo-eternity" (The Three Ecologies 34). In addition to dividing

human experience of the socius into rigid categories (e.g., nature vs. culture), structures

naturalize the divisions they construct by "stabilizing the maximum number of existential

refrains" (The Three Ecologies 34). Given our knowledge of machines and structures in

Chaosmosis, we can look back over The Three Ecologies to gain an even greater

command of this crucial opposition:

The principal common to the three ecologies is this: each of the existential
Territories with which they confront us is not given as an in-itself [en-soi], closed
in on itself, but instead as a for-itself [pour-soi] that is precarious, finite, finitized,
singular, singularized, capable of bifurcating into stratified and deathly repetitions
or of opening up processually from a praxis that enables it to be made 'habitable'
by a human project. (35)

Passages such as this one show the rough beginnings of ideas that would later grow

into full chapters in Chaosmosis. Furthermore, this particular passage-its language of

'in-itself' (structure) and 'for-itself' (machine)-speaks to the important role that Jean-

Paul Sartre's theory of groups had in Guattari's thinking on disjunctive collectivity, which

the machine models.

Gary Genosko has already demonstrated the degree to which Guattari's early

distinction between subjugated groups and subject groups is an appropriation of

Sartre's writings on seriality and fusion. For our purposes, it is also useful to consider

machines and structures in this context. Guattari inherits Sartre's passion for thinking









CHAPTER 2
NASCENT SUBJECTIVITY

At the end of The Three Ecologies, Guattari claims that we must, in responding

to the "major crises of our era," invent new practices conducive to an identity experience

he calls "nascent subjectivity" (45). Of course, the project to resingularize subjectivity

does not end with the individual-Guattari prefers to speak of components of

subjectification rather than posit a "subject"-but it makes sense to start a discussion at

this local level and then move into broader, collective dimensions. We need to first of all

to be concerned with the following questions: What exactly is nascent subjectivity? Why

does Guattari place such a high premium on it? How would this nascent subjectivity put

us in a better position to address contemporary ecological realities?

Like many of the concepts Deleuze and Guattari have developed, nascent

subjectivity in The Three Ecologies is at once a rephrasing and a reworking of terms

that appear earlier in the two philosopher's oeuvre. In fact, one of the best ways to

comprehend Guattari's difficult terminology is to trace the evolution of the names he

ascribes to particular conceptual territories, always paying attention to how each change

in wording advances his overall line of thought. In this case, it will help to read The

Three Ecologies in parallel with Guattari's first collaboration with Deleuze, Anti-Oedipus,

specifically the early passages in which they introduce "the residuum subject." The

notion of the residuum subject presents a useful starting point for grasping the

significance of Guattari's theoretical move from the subject to components of

subjectification, which is so vital to his later writings on ecosophy. Considered as an

isolated phrase, "the residuum subject" implies that the subject, or one's subjectivity, is









Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts

REMOTIVATING THE ECOLOGICAL TURN: FOUR COMPONENTS OF FELIX
GUATTARI'S ECOSOPHICAL PERSPECTIVE

By

John Tinnell

August 2010

Chair: Gregory Ulmer
Major: English

Many humanities scholars are working to transform their disciplines in response to

new conditions and problems emerging in the twenty-first century. Arguably, two of the

most important forces affecting contemporary global culture are the growing awareness

of the ecological crisis and the proliferation of digital media. This thesis endeavors to

develop Felix Guattari's "unfinished" concept of ecosophy into a theoretical framework

for constructing productive syntheses between the ecological and the digital. In

general, the thesis first articulates ecosophical models of individual and collective

subjectivity, and then argues that the best way to sustain this emergent identity

experience is to invent "post-media" practices, which harness the networked

infrastructure of digital media such that specific pedagogical engagements with the

technology effectively maximize the user's capacity to affect and be affected by

immanent forces in the world. In addition, this Guattarian rethinking of the ecological

turn concurrently challenges the philosophical basis of the pedagogy of Nature

appreciation that has characterized the eco-humanities landscape since the 1970s.









intellectual developments of the last thirty years... ecocriticism promises to return to an

academy of the past" (20). And yet, none of the leading books associated with

ecocriticism (not even the famous "ecocritiques" by Dana Phillip or Timothy Morton)

display even the slightest awareness of the work of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari.

That the eco-humanities generally shares this gap in knowledge seems very bizarre,

especially given the explicit ecological focus in Guattari's later writings and given

Deleuze's claim in the late 1980s that he and Guattari wanted to write a (last) book on

their philosophy of Nature. We should wonder now, with great pertinence, where

Deleuze and Guattari's philosophy would lead the ecological turn, which, along with the

digital turn, promises to be a formative influence for humanities disciplines in the twenty-

first century.

If there is a unifying theory that connects most ecological approaches across the

humanities disciplines, certainly that theory is Arne Naess's widespread notion of deep

ecology or "ecosophy." At a fundamental level, the mission of Naess's ecosophy is to

expand the sphere of objects with which people identity. He believes that "identification

elicits intense empathy" and that humans remain indifferent to that which they take to be

utterly different than themselves (Deep Ecology 16). To support this position, Naess

shares a personal anecdote about a flea that suddenly landed in a sample of acid

chemicals, which Naess was studying under a microscope. He claims, "If I was

alienated from the flea, not seeing intuitively anything even resembling myself, the

[flea's] death struggle would have left me indifferent" (Deep Ecology 15). This

anecdote, a vital illustration of Naess's thought, brings us to the most important

difference between his ecosophy and the ecosophy of Felix Guattari. Naess calls for an









and they are much improved from the printed pamphlets of early capitalism, which

merely spelled out the what, where, and why of commodity expenditure.

Assuming the 'collective assembledges of enunciation' of post-media should

contrast from the commercial logic evident in green list hubs, we need to return to the

question of post-media in search of a more analogous and desirable comparison.

Without going into much detail here, I want to suggest a space of potential synthesis

between post-media pedagogies and the contemporary art practices theorized as

"relational aesthetics" by curator and critic Nicolas Bourriaud, himself an expert on

Guattari's work. Speaking from his encounters with contemporary art, Bourriaud

asserts that an artwork's primary value is its status as a "social interstice" (16).

Appropriating the term from Marx, Bourriaud explains, "The interstice is a space in

human relations which fits more or less harmoniously and openly into the overall

system, but suggests other trading possibilities than those in effect within the system"

(16). For Bourriaud, art acts as a social interstice to the degree that it "creates free

areas, and time spans whose rhythm contrast with those structuring everyday life" or

"encourages an inter-human commerce that differs from the 'communication zones' that

are imposed upon us" (16). Translating the concept of social interstice into humanities

education, one can imagine how academic projects could be designed, with the

resources of digital media, to act as an interstice for proposing ideas on the basis of a

"social and aesthetic 'profitability'" and for exploring ways of relating to new media that

deal with non-commercial forms of exchange (Three Ecologies 42).

Notes


1 Michael Goddard, working primarily in film studies, is one of the only scholars to deal
directly, at some length, with the post-media question in Guattari. Goddard's approach










differs from mine as his article investigates Guattari's participation with Italian free radio;
Goddard does not directly address 'post-media' as appears in Guattari's books. At the
end of his article, though, Goddard formulates a question that I will address later in the
context of humanities education, "The [post-media] question is one of how to compose
networks of subjective auto-organization that are able to assume an autonomy from
neo-liberal economic and military networks and their associated deadening of
relationality, affect and desire in the direction of pure functionality and aggressivity."
2 Earthsense is a for-profit company that specializes in marketing research and
branding with the mission of "making sense of our world to provide 'must-have'
consumer knowledge that would make cause-related product, marketing and strategy
efforts more effective...we focus on marketing that directly affects the bottom line"
(Earthsense).









Manovich identify a similar historical cause (i.e., the proliferation of new media and its

accessibility to non-corporate entities), Guattari's conception of post-media is true to his

idea of the "new aesthetic paradigm," which, at a basic level, involves the explosion of

artistic techniques and mentalities into arenas of social practice and institutional politics.

Innovative, aesthetic uses of media technology become a way to generate nascent

subjectivity and machinic collectivity: "One creates new modalities of subjectivity in the

same way that an artist creates new forms from the palette" (Chaosmosis 7). Guattari

points to several examples in the field of psychoanalysis that demonstrate how new

media may be used in parallel with his theory of the new aesthetic paradigm. For

instance, he refers to a practice in which the therapist acts out or improvises

"psychodramatic scenes" with the patient while a video camera records both of them.

Therapist and patient then watch and discuss the video playback of the scene. This

practice often furthers the treatment program by emphasizing the artificial, creative

dimensions of the production of subjectivity (Chaosmosis 8). Guattari argues that, in

cases like these, "the inventiveness of the treatment distances us from the scientific

paradigms and brings us closer to an ethico-aesthetic paradigm" (Chaosmosis 8). Post-

media, then, continues a pre-digital mission to transform subjectivity; here, media

technologies are employed (and considered vital) because they generally provide the

most accurate means to diagram the alternative models of subjectivity vital to ecosophy

in particular and poststructuralism in general. In essence, the desire to use the

technology is motivated by the theory, and the development of the theory is itself

influenced by developments in technology. (Would it be possible to sustain the

experience of nascent subjectivity in a society without new media?) Post-media, at









post-media, and autopoiesis) become seen as the vital constituents of ecosophy's

conceptual consistency. Only then can we mobilize ecosophy toward the invention of

the event yet to come, the people yet to come, or at least, the eco-humanities yet to

come.

Notes


1 In 2002, Sidney Dobrin and Christian Weisser examined this tendency among
compositionalists and identified several key differences that distinguish
"ecocomposition" from ecocriticism, green cultural studies, ecofeminism, etc. In
contrast to writing about nature (nature writing) or teaching environmentally themed
texts (ecocriticism), ecocomposition strives to rethink discourse (particularly the activity
of its production) as an ecological process and points to the myriad ways in which
writing affects and is affected by surrounding environments. Aware of ecocomposition's
academic infancy, Dobrin and Weisser were quick to stipulate a pioneering quality about
their work, "This book only begins to scratch the surface of a body of research that
needs to be further explored" (15). The first consistent use of the term "ecomedia
studies" emerged during the 2009 ASLE conference, specifically in panel discussions
categorized under the section heading "Ecological Media." Though a small group of film
and media specialists have begun to promote themselves as ecomedia scholars, they
have yet to produce a book-length work which would, in effect, do what Dobrin and
Weisser did for ecocomposition. EcoMedia, Sean Cubitt's 2005 book, perhaps bears a
misleading title since Cubitt's primary objective is to extract environmental themes from
popular film and television. Cubitt's book (and many other books like it) does not
attempt to define "ecomedia" as a new field of study; he basically applies literary
ecocriticism to the study of film and media.
2 Dana Phillips and Tim Morton argue that ecocritism's ideological attachments to the
pastoral worldview and false beliefs about literary representation render the movement
too nostalgic and too naive to sustain the most urgent dialogues to be had between
English studies and ecological research.

3 Of this process of "becoming-animal," Leonard Lawlor writes, "Instead of a
resemblance relation, the relation that defines becoming is pre-positional. I find myself
positioned before the animal, but 'before' in fact means I am in proximity with the
animal. I am among the others and they are in me. But just as imitation does not define
becoming, neither does representation define the preposition of one for another.
Instead, becoming consists in a zigzag structure: we become animal so that the animal
becomes, not human, but something else. The zigzag is set in motion by emission and
extraction of a function (deterritorialization). And finally, beyond the destruction of the
molar form, deterritorialization, in order to be successful, must use the animal function
to produce something. It must take the micrological function of the rat, for example, and
write 'like' a rat" (178-9).









question of the individual is inextricably linked with broader, apparatus-level events.

Planes of individual identity experiences are laid out by collective machines, which are

themselves dialogically related to the available modes and technologies of production.









Guattari's preference for immanent thought can be traced back to Deleuze's 1970

critique of consciousness as it has been represented by the transcendence-oriented

history of western philosophy. Deleuze writes, "the conditions under which we know

things and are conscious of ourselves condemn us to have only inadequate ideas, ideas

that are confused and mutilated, effects separated from their real causes" (Practical

Philosophy 19). Deleuze constantly reminds us that our thought always occurs in the

middle of things; that is to say, the outside to which thought connects has already began

and exists prior to our consciousness of it. Guattari's writing in the early 1990s

addresses these illusions of consciousness in an era in which, despite growing

awareness of environmental problems, "we fail to grasp the contradiction in the fact that

the factories producing our soaps are polluting our habitat" (Ulmer xxvi). Given the

absolute immanence of nascent subjectivity, humanities scholars today should redirect

the tradition of thinking the subject toward new projects that create concepts and design

methods, in conjunction with new technologies, which expand the scope of subjectivity,

or, in other words, increase our capacity to affect and be affected by immanent forces in

the world. The subject-as-cogito (i.e., the isolated individual personified by Descartes'

"idiot") has become an inadequate foundation for thinking and acting in the context of

twenty-first century developments, such as globalization, environmental disasters, and

the proliferation of the digital apparatus. In order to comprehend global multitudes-and

participate effectively in emergent rhetorical situations-future generations will need to

be capable of experiencing themselves disjunctively, in the sense of an emergent and

processual assemblage. Though we begin at the level of individual subjectivity, this is

only the beginning of the issue because, in Deleuze and Guattari's scheme, the

































2010 John Tinnell









ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would like thank all of the amazing people in the English Department at the

University of Florida, especially Gregory Ulmer and Sidney Dobrin, for introducing me to

an ecology of ideas that I hope to inhabit for the rest of my life. I thank my parents, for

their support and for doing what they are passionate about and always encouraging me

to do the same. Last but certainly not least, I thank Kim, for her resilience, as a

sounding board; her patience, when I am in the zone; and her readiness to believe in

me.









crucial skill for the development of both ecological literacy and media literacy. We must

learn to teach autopoetic creativity and, in doing so, autopoietize the academic

machinery of the humanities tradition.

Transversal connections among recent scholarship suggest a promising starting

point. For example, Guattari's ecosophical imperative to intervene at a micro-social

level finds pedagogical expression in the tenets of ecocomposition set forth by Sidney

Dobrin and Christian Weisser, namely that "student writing should be directed beyond

the limited scope of classroom assignments to address larger, public audiences" and

that writing should be taught as a vehicle "to affect change, to bring about awareness" in

the mental, social, and environmental ecologies of which students are a part (58). In

addition, Ulmer has already theorized some ways in which the digital humanities class

can become a kind of online consultancy.1 Under this approach, students work

heuretically through an intensive web-based project, experimenting with digital

authoring software in order to inject humanities (often poststructuralist) perspectives into

the discourse surrounding public policy issues. As the pedagogical genres of electracy

continue to develop,2 teachers should begin to build networks between their classes

and 'larger, public audiences,' with the goal of circulating academic work among

relevant social organizations or political bodies. Of course, the primary value of any

student project should lie in its capacity to facilitate learning experiences specific to a

given discipline; one risk of doing service-learning projects (via partnerships with non-

academic organizations) is that the service can undermine the learning. Thus, in

designing collaborative projects for post-media, one should mind Guattari's distinction









machinic assemblages of a "constantly mutating socius" (Three Ecologies 45). That is

to say, under the logic of post-media all users maintain a potential to invent the

practices by which people relate to new media, while, at the same time, there is a basic

awareness that the hardware and software of new media wield a powerful stake in the

production of human subjectivity.

Of course, the post-media stance owes its viability to the decentralization of the

means of media production and dissemination brought about by the commoditization of

personal computing; however, it would be a dangerous reduction to mistake the mere

technocratic fact of decentralized media production for the cultural achievement of a

post-media sensibility. Indeed, theorizing post-media enables us to see just how well

mass-media has already adapted to the emancipatoryy" conditions of Web 2.0. Some of

the most striking examples of "mass-media 2.0" can be found on popular websites

dealing with ecological crises and the green movement. Guattari's ecosophical

perspective on media and globalization offers a framework with which to analyze some

recent surges of this emergent online genre, which we may call the "green list." To

begin with a basic definition, the green list is a form of Web 2.0 writing whereby internet

users enumerate a clear and simple list of steps or tips intended to promote an eco-

friendly lifestyle. In its most common manifestation, however, the green list-whether

authored by individuals or corporations-becomes a testament to IWC, mass-media,

and consumerism. As the brief discussion of green lists below will suggest, the Web 2.0

environment is entirely susceptible to mass-media colonization, and we therefore must

develop oppositional, post-media pedagogies in order to realize any of the revolutionary

potential that scholars typically attribute to digital authorship.









CHAPTER 5
CONCLUSION: AUTOPOIETIC CREATIVITY

Claiming that tertiary descriptions usually revert back into dualisms, Guattari

prefers four-term frameworks, "The fourth term stands for an nth term: it is the opening

onto multiplicity" (Chaosmosis 31). Autopoiesis is the nth component of ecosophy.

Autopoiesis, often summarized by Guattari as a dance between chaos and complexity,

characterizes the passage back and forth between nascent subjectivity, machinic

collectivity, and post-media. Near the end of Chaosmosis, Guattari evokes a condition

omnipresent in his worldview of self-organizing, partial objects: "Something is detached

and starts to work for itself, just as it can work for you if you can 'agglomerate' yourself

to such a process" (132-3). One can think of autopoietic creativity as the capacity to

yield one's self to chaos and, in doing so, undergo the event such as to channel the

advent of nascent subjectivity. (Guattari calls this process an "event-advent.") The task

here is to "grasp alterity at the point of its emergence," creating in concert with sources

of alterity (i.e. the machine, post-media), rather than overwriting alterity in favor of

default, apriori, or transcendent representations (i.e., the ego, mass media)

(Chaosmosis 117). This autopoietic mode is of course absent from the so-called

"ecological subject" of deep ecology, which retains an ever-expansive Self at the front

and center of its ontology. An eco-humanities adapted to Guattari's ecosophy would

thus replace Naess's 'Self-Realization' with autopoietic creativity, making autopoiesis a

new core value at the heart of the humanities. Furthermore, the virtual ecology of the

digital apparatus makes the internet, for instance, an ideal pedagogical scene for

humanities courses to introduce autopoiesis, which, as Guattari suggests, is a far cry

from our oedipal habits. In this sense, autopoietic creativity should be regarded as a









invention become as important, if not more important, than pseudoscientific methods of

literary hermeneutics. Though Naess coined the term "ecosophy," he does not think

through the semiotic implications of the word as fully as Guattari does. Ecosophy is not

the same thing as eco-philosophy; it is not simply the redirection of the philosophical

tradition towards ecological concerns. To think ecosophically is to rethink philosophy in

our contemporary moment defined by the convergence of nature and culture, ecological

crises, globalization, and the internet. One must create concepts adequate to these

emergent situations rather than apply old ideas in the spirit of environmentalism. By

analogy, then, the proper aim of ecosophy is not to produce a more energy-efficient light

bulb or a hybrid car, but to reconfigure subjectivity and to invent new social practices

altogether. While scientist and social scientists rightfully pursue advancements in green

technology and debate environmental policy issues, humanities scholars should aim to

further our understanding of ecological problems in ways that are unavailable to the

technocratic perspective. Guattari's ecosophy suggests that humanities scholars

should concern themselves first with ontological advancements. Thus, in addition to

green buildings, hybrid vehicles, environmental legislation, etc., we need to rethink

traditional notions of selfhood and, at the same time, invent practices designed to

facilitate an identity experience consummate to contemporary ecological concerns, as

well as the emergent relational modes proliferating with the expansion of global

capitalism and digital media.

While most work in the ecohumanities tends to avoid poststructuralist theory in

favor of deep ecology, leading Guattari scholars have begun to survey the ecological

implications of the philosopher's notoriously complicated writings. Readers new to









Guattari should be cognizant of three basic ways in which the tenets of his ecosophy

conflicts with more popular appropriations of ecology. First, affirming his belief in the

inseparability of nature and culture, Guattari contents throughout his later writings that

what we call the ecological crisis is not simply an environmental disaster, and that

ecology is not limited to the natural environment. For Guattari, "The ecological crisis

can be traced to a more general crisis of the social, political and existential," which

involves[] changes in production, ways of living and axes of value" (Chaosmosis

119/134). Furthermore, Guattari differs from many eco-humanists who work from the

popular belief that ecological thought is simply an idealistic, utopian project committed

to preserving Nature's pure, harmonious, and delicate balance. In Guattari's radical

ecology, the ecological point of view beholds the world as a dance between chaos and

complexity-a multitude of productive syntheses between nomadic parts that exist

independent of any fixed structure or transcendental whole. There is no larger "natural"

order, no transcendent grand scheme according to which beings manifest. Ecosystems

are infinitely complex and self-organizing entities. Hence, the challenge of ecosophy is

not to regulate the forces of the world into some idealized, harmonious balance, but

rather to engender institutional and ontological conditions that encourage people to

encounter the world as a series of open and ongoing syntheses between partial objects

(as opposed to regarding phenomena as objects-in-themselves, complete and

isolatable). This challenge informs and is informed by passages in The Three Ecologies

and Chaosmosis where Guattari discusses nascent subjectivity and machines (see

below). Finally, Guattari's approach to ecology is unique in that he claims to be working

from a "new aesthetic paradigm" rather than from scientific or pseudo-scientific









expansion of the self via identification ("Self-realization"), whereas Guattari (and

Deleuze) valorize autopoietic processes that perform a dissolution of the self via

disjunction ("becoming-other"). In other words-in a Guattarian reworking of the flea

anecdote-I would not look for elements of the flea that remind me of myself; rather, I

would receive the flea in its alterity and encounter aspects of the flea that are

completely different from myself, so as to "become-flea": to introduce the flea's manner

of existence into the way I think and live.3 Initially, the difference between Naess's

identification and Guattari's autopoiesis may seem trivial. This minor difference,

however, actually lays out two divergent, even conflicting, paths for identity experience

and subjectivity. Consequently, an eco-humanities inspired by Guattari's theory of

ecology would look very different than the familiar Naessian project of Nature

appreciation. A living monument to Naess, ecocriticism, for example, typically invokes

ecology as a strictly environmentalist discourse, and this position tends to prioritize the

thematic study of literary representations of Nature, often espousing, at the very least, a

desire to distance one's self from technological advancements and other complexities of

modern urban life.

By contrast, Guattari's ecosophical perspective promises to remotivate the

ecological turn in the humanities toward radical transformations in the production of

subjectivity and concepts that carry with them the potential to sustain a more ecological

identity experience. With Guattari, we are not expanding selfhood; we are developing

the models and practices of an emergent subjectivity. Therefore, we would be less

interested in the representational paradigms of nineteenth century realism and more

interested in modernist and contemporary poetics/aesthetics; rhetorical acts of aesthetic









amassing bills, but pay them online now. By taking, as a given, activities associated

with working and spending in the name of the commodity, green lists protect institutions

like malls and transnational corporations by maintaining them innocently in the

background. Figuratively speaking, corporate institutions are the pervasive white space

in between each eco-friendly tip; they issue the invisible motives that prompt each tip

and they linger as the implicit destinations for which green lists prepare their readers.

Rather than question the mall or the corporation, green lists insist that consumers must

become more efficient in their consumption of the capitalist commodity. As such, green

lists function as training manuals meant to help consumers help corporations survive

the growing awareness of humanity's contributions to the ecological crisis, particularly

the ramped spread of American consumer culture during the last fifty years, which is

now being exported more than ever throughout the world.

While plenty of green lists are published in isolation from one another on the

web, there are a number of major Web 2.0 style hubs for this genre that act as

databases, organizing lists according to topics such as "green cuisine" or "green

cleaning." First of all, just as there is a studio executive behind each Hollywood feature

film, many green list databases are subtly sponsored by corporate entities. A true

manifestation of Guattari's nightmare of IWC, the database "The Great Green List" is

sponsored, albeit discretely, by a company called Earthsense.2 Though the site's

amateur appearance is meant to resemble the template-format of a grassroots, public

wiki, all submissions to "The Great Green List" must pass review by an editorial staff

hired by Earthsense. Moreover, many green list hubs, including "The Great Green List,"

feature product promotion hyperlinks that send users directly to online shopping areas.









simply what remains or gets left over, in the sense of a residue. Thus begging the

question: Of what substances or processes is the subject a residue?

By Deleuze and Guattari's configuration, in contrast to the Cartesian cogito, an

individual's thoughts do not constitute the full measure of his being. The subject is less

the product of his own thought and more the residue of the social machinery in which he

directly and indirectly participates, for the boundaries of "private" thought are drawn

through the sociohistorical apparatus (an emergent assemblage of desiring-machines):

This subject itself is not at the center, which is occupied by the machine, but on
the periphery, with no fixed identity, forever discentered, defined by the states
through which it passes... the subject is born of each state in the series, is
continually reborn of the following state that determines him at a given moment,
consuming-consummating all these states that cause him to be born and reborn
(the lived state emerges first in relation to the subject who lives it).
(Anti-Oedipus 20)

By means of this passage, we understand why Guattari devotes much of The Three

Ecologies to locating what he calls "existential refrains," a term that denotes the crucial

and contended sites through which subjectivity is produced and learned. (Existential

refrains can emerge anywhere, but some common areas that Guattari emphasizes

include education, mass-media, the arts, sports, architecture, and the organization of

labor.) Guattari's argument in this book does not give rise at all to the idea of an

"ecological subject." In fact, he wants to "ward off, by every means possible, the

entropic rise of a dominant subjectivity" (Three Ecologies 45). In this later stage of his

career, Guattari is no longer concerned with "creating an unequivocal ideology," which

would outline a set criteria for being-ecological and position himself as leader or guru

(Three Ecologies 23).









about group behavior precisely because he shares Sartre's hatred of seriality, which

Fredric Jameson defines as "the mode of human interaction which corresponds to the

domination of the practico-inert"1 (Marxism and Form 147). In other words, a population

is subjugated by seriality whenever they relate to one another automatically via behavior

that is mass-proscribed by an elite, seemingly invisible authority. According to

Genosko, a subject group "has liquidated its seriality and come together in 'the flash of

a common praxis'" ("Transversality" 60). Subject groups connect in response to an

event rather than the mandates of a leader or doctrine. Subject groups illustrate a

disjunctive mode of collectivity in their priority for a processual engagement in dynamic

encounters with sources of alterity, rather than the stability and dominion of a self-

asserted structure. For Guattari, this mode of group subjectivity, like the machine,

signifies a solidarity that occurs without the dogmatic influence of any learder(s).

Furthermore, the subject group measures its collectivity not by the amount of people

participating in the group, but rather on the quality of difference articulated among group

members, as well as the group's capacity to register the enunciations of (non)human

assemblages outside of the group.2 Consequently, a subject group attentive to its own

ecology (i.e., the diversity of its (ephemeral) constituency and the broader institutions

and environment with which it interacts) is quick to (re)shape itself in response to a wide

spectrum of social forces, including but not limited to environmental disasters. When

"isolated" structures are brought into working proximity, structure breaks apart, and this

disjunction is necessary for true collectivity. Again, this is a monumental insight of

Guattari's ecosophy: relationships of mutual constructivism and acts of co-creation are









CHAPTER 3
MACHINES, NOT STRUCTURES

Guattari stipulates that his ecosophical perspective is "at once applied and

theoretical, ethicopolitical and aesthetic" (Three Ecologies 44). Nowhere is this blend

more evident than in his discussions of machines, which are informed by numerous

disciplines from second-order cybernetics to modernist art. Guattari uses the term

"machine" to refer at once to actual and virtual properties. (He is not simply pointing to

the technical appliances that the term often refers to in everyday conversation.)

Machines are actual in that the word denotes existing institutions, groups, and practices,

but machines also address the virtual possibilities of collectivity and thus function as a

theoretical model. In his assessment of the contemporary psychological landscape,

Guattari claims that "individual and collective subjectivity lack modelisation" and, further,

that this lack of theoretical models explains the stasis of many social movements,

including environmentalism (Chaosmosis 58). For this reason, Guattari insists that the

development of alternative models for subjectivity (in contrast to Oedipus, for example)

must become "an immense site" of theoretical work and lead to "the invention of new

practices" (Chaosmosis 58).

Without the existential recomposition (e.g., the subject to components of

subjectification) that theoretical models engender, the ecosophical project of nascent

subjectivity becomes lost to itself. Nascent subjectivity is entirely dependent on the

capacity to install one's thinking into "a constantly mutating socius" (Three Ecologies

45). In this sense, the machinic turn in Guattari's final book, Chaosmosis, should be

read as a direct follow up to the challenges and tasks he proposes at the conclusion of

The Three Ecologies. Ultimately, Guattari's machines (be they desiring, celibate,









REMOTIVATING THE ECOLOGICAL TURN: FOUR COMPONENTS OF FELIX
GUATTARI'S ECOSOPHICAL PERSPECTIVE

















By

JOHN TINNELL


A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF ARTS

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

2010










Guattari calls for a "value-systems revolution," which would "reevaluate the purpose of

work and of human activities according to different criteria than profit and yield," he is at

once announcing the need for a revolutionary way of using media technologies (Three

Ecologies 38). Media, then, is the first target of ecosophy.

Notes


Sartre's 'practico-inert' refers to conditions in which institutions structure social relations in a way that
delimits human action, rendering freedom into a mere exercise of "dead possibilities." For an authoritative
commentary, see Jameson's chapter "Sartre and History" in Marxism and Form.

2 Guattari's theory of group subjectivity via machines could be applied to present efforts to alleviate the
disciplinary isolation that continues to cripple research universities. Scholars who aspire to collaborate
across multiple fields should aim to create transdisciplinary machines rather than interdisciplinary
structures. With transdisciplinary machines, the objective is not to incorporate the study of science (its
objects and methods) into the study of, for instance, cultural or aesthetic texts. Such "inclusive"
maneuvers result, more often than not, in a homogenization on both fronts. In the case of ecocriticism, as
Dana Phillips points out, both ecological science and literary analysis often become reduced to
ideological critique. Therefore, rather than encouraging humanities scholars to somehow acquire an
additional expertise in scientific inquiry, interdisciplinary efforts would do well to recast some of their
energy to the co-creation of transdisciplinary machines (i.e., evolving set of processes committed to
institutionalizing the production of a group subjectivity). This transversalist mode of working valorizes an
ensemble of heterogeneous scholars, each sounding their mastery of instruments unique to their
respective disciplines, playing in concert with one another at the same venue (collaborating on the same
problems and projects). If we apply this analogy to much of the work that currently parades under the
banner of interdisciplinary, then we find the projection of an impossible ambition: to command expertise in
every academic field-to become, in short, a one-man band.

3 Guattari's critique of "Integrated World Capitalism" foreshadows some of Fredric Jameson's recent
arguments against globalization in Valences of the Dialectic.









Jameson, Fredric. Marxism and Form: Twentieth-Century Dialectical Theories of
Literature. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1974.

Jameson, Fredric. Valences of the Dialectic. New York: Verso, 2009.

Lawlor, Leonard. "Following the Rats: Becoming-Animal in Deleuze and Guattari."
SubStance. 2008. Vol. 37, No. 3, pp. 169-87.

Manovich, Lev. "Post-Media Aesthetics." ARTMargins. 2001. Vol. Oct.

McNamee, Gregory. "Wild Things." Utne Reader. 1997. Vol. Nov-Dec, pp. 14-15.

Morton, Timothy. Ecology without Nature: Rethinking Environmental Aesthetics.
Cambridge: Harvard UP, 2007.

Naess, Arne. "Self-Realization: An Ecological Approach to Being in the World." The
Deep Ecology Movement. Ed. Alan Drengson and Yuichi Inoue. North Atlantic:
Berkeley, 1995.

PC Informant. "Trade in old electronics at RadioShack". 27 April 2010. Web. 16 April
2009. < http://tips.vlaurie.com/2009/04/17/trade-in-old-electronics-at-radioshack/>.

Phillips, Dana. The Truth of Ecology: Nature, Culture, Literature in America, Oxford/New
York: Oxford UP, 2003.

Rubin, Libby. "The Eco-humanities as Literature: A New Genre?" Australian Literary
Studies. 2008. Vol. 23 No. 3, pp.290-304.

Ulmer, Gregory L. Electronic Monuments. Minneapolis: Minn. UP, 2005.









predicated upon commitments to disjunction-the processual breakdown of structures

into machines.

Genosko reminds us, very importantly, that Guattari's distinctions between

machine and structure, subject group and subjugated group, are "non-absolute"

("Transversality" 60). For instance, an institution or group that operates akin to the

machine model is not necessarily machinic by nature-it could devolve at any moment

into the seriality of a structure. But the same holds true of the inverse (i.e., structure to

machine), and this conviction is the cause of Guattari's optimism regarding the potential

impacts of inventing new practices. In critiquing what he calls "Integrated World

Capitalism" (IWC),3 Guattari simultaneously sets up a contrast against which to invent

"ecological praxes" and he specifies a target discourse at which to direct ecosophical

interventions. Throughout The Three Ecologies, Guattari suggests a productive

opposition between the ecosophical goal of nascent subjectivity and the limits of IWC's

"capitalist subjectivity":

A capitalist subjectivity is engendered through operators of all types and sizes,
and is manufactured to protect existence from any intrusion of events that might
disturb or disrupt public opinion. It demands that all singularity must be either
evaded or crushed in specialist apparatuses and frames of reference. Therefore,
it endeavors to manage the worlds of childhood, love, art, as well as everything
associated with anxiety, madness, pain, death, or a feeling of being lost in the
Cosmos... IWC forms massive subjective aggregates. (33)

On none of these 'subjective aggregates' is IWC more dependant than mass-

media. In fact, Guattari likens mass media to poison and mutant algae as he illustrates

its tendency to pollute mental ecology and erode social ecology. Doubtlessly alluding to

mass medial conditions, he claims, "It is not only species that are becoming extinct but

also the words, phrases, and gestures of human solidarity" (Three Ecologies 29). When









abstract, aesthetic, etc.) have two crucial, praxis-oriented objectives: (1) to help "the

individual" install himself into collective dimensions (becoming-machine); (2) to help

institutions and groups evolve autopoietically through processual encounters with-and

complex articulations of-disparate sources of alterity (nascent subjectivity at the

collective level).

In many ways, Guattari's version of the machine could be regarded as an

appropriate figure or emblem for poststructuralism. Breaking with the (dogmatic) sign

systems of structuralism, Guattari's focus on machines also performs an important

inversion of phenomenology's tendency to "reduce the objects under consideration to a

pure intentional transparency" (Three Ecologies 25). And yet, though he explicitly

distances his thought from structuralism and phenomenology, Guattari does retain

important traces of each these intellectual movements. His modelization of the machine

incorporates a preference for studying contextualized structural objects, but the

methods he advocates (schizoanalysis, institutional analysis, transversality, etc.) clearly

emphasize the need for "spontaneous receptivity," a quality esteemed by many

phenomenologists, which encourages us to encounter each phenomenon in its

heterogeneity rather than overwrite its expression according to the structure of our own

interpretative frameworks.

For Guattari, machines pose at least three qualitative differences to "structures"

(the obvious emblem of structuralism). First of all, machines express a logic of

intensities (or "pathic logic"), while structures operate according to the logic of discursive

sets. Discursive sets presuppose a separation between subject and object, and for this

reason, "The truth of a proposition answers to the law of the excluded middle: each









CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

Over the past decade, the humanities disciplines have played host to an

explosion of ecologically themed transformations, which continue to open up new

(sub)fields of research and teaching. The development of the ecological turn in English

resonates with the general evolution of the eco-humanities; indeed, English

departments have led this movement in many respects. A survey of English's recent

appropriations of ecological ideas (and their failings) establishes a point of departure for

rethinking the eco-humanities. Ecocriticism, with its reputable journals and popular

conferences, has no doubt become the most institutionalized of English's eco-fields,

while more pointed approaches continue to gather loosely around terms such as green

cultural studies, ecofeminism, ecocomposition, and ecomedia studies.1 At the turn of

this century, much of the early work in ecocriticism was devoted to "naming the most

important works in the field and elaborating the reasons why they matter more than

others" (McNamee 14). Contemporary leaders in ecocriticism continue this "green"

canon-building project, issuing pronouncements similar to Libby Robin's 2008

declaration, "We need a literature that enhances understanding of relations between

people and nature, of how we notice change personally, and how such global changes

affect places we know intimately" (292). The growth of ecocriticism, however, has

attracted an increasing number of critical attacks, the most significant of which have

been waged by literary theorists who, despite their objections, share the ecocritical

desire to respond to ongoing ecological crises. In particular, these theorists assail

ecocriticism for its reluctance to engage with issues raised by contemporary theory.2

Timothy Morton goes as far as saying that ecocriticism "consciously blocks its ears to all









Only if the third path/voice takes consistency in the direction of self-reference-
carrying us form the consensual media era to the dissensual post-media era-
will each be able to assume his or her processual potential and, perhaps,
transform this planet-a living hell for over three quarters of its population-into a
universe of creative enchantments. ("Regimes, Pathways, Subjects" 104,
emphasis added)

An essential programmatic point for social ecology will be to encourage capitalist
societies to make the transition from the mass-media era to the post-media age,
in which the media will be reappropriated by a multitude of subject groups
capable of directing its resingularization. (Three Ecologies 40)

Technological developments together with social experimentation in these new
domains are perhaps capable of leading us out of the current period of
oppression and into a post-media era characterized by the reappropriation and
resingularization of the use of media. (Chaosmosis 5, emphasis added)

We can already notice that Guattari's 'post-media' carries connotations that evade Lev

Manovich's 2001 definition of the term. For Manovich, post-media signifies a change

surrounding artworks and the nature of mediums in contemporary, digital milieus. On

one hand, the internet makes multimodal communication the norm; hence, it becomes

difficult to categorize net art (which often combines photography, video, text, images,

and sound) using the traditional logic of genre typology (i.e., identification via medium:

sculpture, drawing, painting, etc.). According to Manovich, "if one can make radically

different versions of the same art work... then the traditional strong link between the

identity of an art object and its medium becomes broken" ("Post-media Aesthetics"). In

other worlds, as more artworks commonly exist across different mediums, the idea of

the medium-though still important in the formation of meaning-can no longer be

appealed to in sorting out various artworks from each other. In Manovich's terms, post-

media is synonymous with post-medium.

Guattari appears to be less focused on the typology of art proper, as his use of

post-media evokes a broader sense of social transformation. Although Guattari and









In April of 2009, "The Daily Green" hosted a link (atop every single page of their

website) that sent users to a Radio Shack promotion. (Hence, this "neutral" green list

hub frames and feeds straight into a corporate buying site.) Clicking on the Radio

Shack link, users learn that the promotion offers a Radio Shack gift card to anyone

willing to exchange used electronics for store credit (PC Informant). Perhaps such

deals do lead to some reduction of the 20 to 50 million tons of electronics waste that

accumulates around the world each year, though non-profit organizations already offer

free and convenient services for recycling electronics.

Nevertheless, applying Guattari's writings on capitalist subjectivity, I would argue

that these promotions shorten the experienced life cycle of the company's products by

furnishing consumers with incentives to part with electronics before they reach the end

of their technical-functional life cycle (or as soon as impulse decides it is a nice day to

upgrade to the latest model). Implicitly, these promotions grease the skids for more

efficient patterns of consumption, encouraging an even quicker rate of product turnover

and fueling the capitalist mode of production's expansion into new global markets. We

should also note the acceleration that accrues to the shopping experience, which is now

more aptly a buying experience. Shopping time is eclipsed as less profitable waste, for

here the path is laid out for consumers around the world-without waiting in line-to use

their "old" computer ('if you already own it, then it must be old) to purchase the newest

computer, all the while feeling like a good, socially responsible capitalist: they "made"

money and "saved" the environment. If left to the green list conventions, this is what the

concept of sustainability becomes for citizens whose native tongue is the language of

consumption. Indeed, IWC's hypertextual green lists are literal relays to the commodity,









Scholars and teachers working in the humanities occupy a unique position from

which to invent the public spheres (autopoietic networks) of post-media and to inspire

students to proliferate disciplinary knowledge beyond academic conventions through

electorate encounters with ecosophical problems. Collectively, our research will lead to

the discovery of new paradigmatic problems that will reaffirm the vitality of our fields for

thinking the digital apparatus in an age of general ecological crisis. Our pedagogical

experiments with emergent technologies will push students toward new ways of

understanding and experiencing media, but also toward new ways of putting academic

research (even poststructrualism) to use in unconventional rhetorical situations. As

Guattari suggests-and this may seem counterintuitive-theory across the humanities

disciplines can become more experimental and more creative if we cultivate methods

for appropriating computers as equipment to think with:

Computers, expert systems and artificial intelligence add as much to thought as
they subtract from thinking. They relieve thought of inert schemas. The forms of
thought assisted by computer are mutant, relating to other music, other
Universes of reference. (Chaosmosis 36)

In taking a post-media stance towards emergent media, we can think the new and think

it collectively, but only to the extent that we develop digital practices capable of

producing a new (ecosophical) relation between individual subjectivity and the collective

thought. From this perspective, anticipated in Guattari's writing, the eco-humanities and

the digital humanities become rhizomatically bound towards one another through the

concept/project of ecosophy.

Notes


1 For more on Ulmer's vision of this electorate consultancy, see the introduction ("The
EmerAgency") of Electronic Monuments. Here, Ulmer initially defines the EmerAgency
as "a deconstructed consultancy, meaning that it is simultaneously an immanent critique









paradigms. The new aesthetic paradigm deals not with art as we traditional conceive it,

but more radically with an ecosophical vision of collectivity predicated upon perpetual,

autopoietic creativity.

Though the scholarship on Guattari is quick to mention his notion of ecosophy,

none of these books or essays contains an elaboration of Guattari's ecosophy that is

specific to the larger ensemble of concepts quintessential to his philosophical outlook.

Typically, scholars commenting on The Three Ecologies will mention that Guattari's

ecosophy expands the study of ecology, multiplying it into three interrelated ecologies:

mental, social, and environmental. This summary, accurate as it is, does not convey

the full potential of Guattari's ecosophical perspective, which he seems to regard as the

crowning accomplishment of his philosophical career. To appreciate the theoretical

weight (and unrealized potential) of The Three Ecologies, one must explore the ways in

which this short book synthesizes with Guattari's larger body of work. Of course, the

whole of such a task could not be fully executed within a single essay. In what follows, I

will begin to map this promising territory by advancing four components specific to the

network of ecosophical insights apparent in an intertextual reading of The Three

Ecologies, Anti-Oedipus, Chaosmosis, and What is Philosophy?. Indeed, Guattari's

ecosophy is a concept that, like all concepts, configures the "constellation of an event

yet to come" and "renders components inseparable within itself' (What is Philosophy?

19/33). But given its (unfinished) state at the time of Guattari's sudden death, ecosophy

remains a concept whose components need to be rendered further. The four sections

below strive to construct a "zone of neighborhood" or "threshold of indiscernability"

wherein these otherwise disparate components (i.e., nascent subjectivity, machines,









Guattari provides the perfect preface for my mini-critique of the green list when

he speculates on the prospects of "computer-aided design":

The machinic production of subjectivity can work for better or for worse... It's
impossible to judge such a machinic evolution either positively or negatively;
everything depends on its articulation within collective assemblages of
enunciation. At best there is the creation, or invention, of new Universes of
reference; at worst there is the deadening influence of the mass media to which
millions of individuals are currently condemned. (Chaosmosis 5)

On one hand, green lists apparently pop up as so many signposts directing consumers

to the market's "socially responsible" transitions, marking the promise of "conscious

consumerism" under a new kind of capitalism. Launched by a few environmental

journalists in 2007, "The Daily Green" has quickly become "one of the most trusted

sources on the Web for news and information about going green" with the mission to

"broaden the audience for earth-friendly living by showing how going green is relevant

to everyone" (Daily Green). A section of their website called "top going green tips"

offers ten "idiot-proof" steps every user can implement immediately to "get started on a

green path." These steps, many of which are common to most green lists, include: stop

idling in your car, turning off computers when not using them, switching to green energy

for your home, doing laundry with cold water, carpooling, and paying bills online (Daily

Green). Each of these tips constitute a gesture towards sustainability in that they

effectively control the damage of cultural habits that waste natural resources on account

of laziness or inefficiency.

On the other hand, all of the tips assume, no doubt encourage, a basic continuity:

people will continue to define themselves (and their relation to environmental concerns)

through consumerism. The explicit message is to commute to the corporate office with

a coworker, or to share one car for a trip to the mall with a group of friends-keep









CHAPTER 4
TOWARD POST-MEDIA

Digital theorist Gregory Ulmer has recently claimed that electracy is the principal

site of the emergence of group subjectivity-an identity experience that interfaces

"between individual and collective" (115). As a pedagogy of new media, electracy

purports "to do for the community as a whole what literacy did for the individuals within

the community" (Ulmer xxvi). Unprecedented both in degree and kind, the new

collaboration called for by electracy will require, throughout its development, the testing

of numerous concepts derived and appropriated from poststructuralist theory. With

Guattari's work in mind, we can formulate some urgent questions for electracy, and

these questions also posit urgent connections between ecological and digital

approaches to the humanities. For instance, what happens to our understanding and

experience of the digital apparatus when we adopt the theoretical models of ecosophy

(e.g. nascent subjectivity and the machine)? Guattari does not answer this question in

his own work; however, he does leave a number of provocative signposts-particularly

in his select use of the term "post-media." Post-media, as I will suggest, names an

emergent mode of cultural production that makes ecosophical use of digital media

technologies.

Scholars of poststructuralism and new media alike have written next to nothing1

about Guattari's notion of post-media, probably because Guattari develops the concept

only in passing, elusive and intermittingly, throughout his later works. Unlike

schizoanalysis or geophilosophy, post-media is never the subject of entire chapters.

Still, post-media stands out in Guattari's writing as an optimistic horizon to which his

other key concepts repeatedly refer:









object appears in a relationship of binary opposition with a 'foundation'" (Chaosmosis

28). With the logic of intensities, the relationship between subject and object remains

open or in question; therefore, the machine "extracts complex forms from chaotic

materials" because "there is no extrinsic global reference" (Chaosmosis 28). Indeed, the

logic of intensities is the flow quintessential to aesthetic paradigms. Structures,

however, smack of scientific paradigms in that they slow down or bracket chaos and

alterity in order to erect a referent (What is Philosophy 118). To combine the terms of

What is Philosophy? with Chaosmosis (published in consecutive years), machines-as-

philosophy seek to articulate a "consistency specific to" chaos or alterity, whereas

structures-as-science use the referent to "actualize the virtual," and, by extension, to

define sources of alterity through reference to known or self-asserted variables (What is

Philosophy 118).

From the polarity above, we can clearly distinguish machines and structures in

terms of their opposing attitudes towards alterity or difference. A structure defines

difference only in relation to itself, while machines "direct us towards a more collective

machinism without delimited unity, whose autonomy accommodates diverse mediums

of alterity" (Chaosmosis 42). The machinic drive for autopoiesis necessitates a process

of undergoing all the heterogeneous elements operative in the event, which

"heterogenises" the machine clean of any dominant, unifying, or universal trait

(Chaosmosis 39). Machines initiate processes of resingularization precisely by

allowing themselves to breakdown as they disjoin and rejoin to form new configurations

immanent to the singularity of the event. As such, machines offer a strong model for

inventing "the new ecological practices," which Guattari only imagines in passing during









TABLE OF CONTENTS

page

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ........................ .......... ..... ............... 3

A B S T R A C T .............................................. .. ..... ... ............................................ 5

CHAPTER

1 INTRODUCTION .............. .... ..... ..... ................................. ......... 6

2 NASCENT SUBJECTIVITY .................... ............................... 13

3 MACHINES, NOT STRUCTURES........... .. ................................................ 18

4 TOWARD POST-MEDIA.............................. .......................... 25

5 CONCLUSION: AUTOPOIETIC CREATIVITY................................................. 35

LIST O F REFERENCES ................................................................... .............. 40

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ....... ............................... ......................... 42









Instead, he is much more interested in conveying the importance of generating a

multitude of methods designed to inspire an ecosophical perspective on the production

of subjectivity. From an ecosophical perspective, intensities precede both ideology and

identity; one's work becomes more productive when attention is paid to molecular,

intensive qualities (e.g., the universes of concepts, functions, precepts and affects

elaborated in What is Philosophy?). The Three Ecologies, in this sense, clearly builds

from the same image of thought sketched by the residuum subject:

Vectors of subjectification do not necessarily pass through the individual, which
in reality appears to be something like a 'terminal' for processes that involve
human groups, socio-economic ensembles, data-processing machines, etc.
Therefore, interiority establishes itself at the crossroads of multiple components,
each relatively autonomous in relation to the other, and, if need be, in open
conflict. (Three Ecologies 25)

Here, Guattari specifies some of the obscurities of Anti-Oedipus; in particular, the earlier

image of the individual-as-residue is redrawn: the individual becomes a 'terminal.'

Hence, one's subjectivity is not only a by-product of forces operative in the three

ecologies (mental, social, environmental); subjectivity is always already immersed in the

flow of existential refrains or vectors. The individual can no longer be seen separately.

To speak of an individual subject, natural as it seems, is to reinforce a reductive

vocabulary of existence, which inhibits any actualization of "[a] collective and individual

subjectivity that completely exceeds the limits of individualization, stagnation,

identificatory closure, and will instead open itself up on all sides" (Three Ecologies 44).

Nascent subjectivity, then, is not an entity one can postulate once and for all; indeed, it

is best described as a process whereby thinking emerges immanently in relation with

the event, which it perpetually strives to encounter-or receive-in the manner of a

rhizome.










of conventional consulting and an experiment in an alternative mode that adapts arts
and letters knowledge to a practice supportive of a virtual civic sphere" (xxxi).
2 Following Ulmer's logic of invention, the humanities can become more autopoietic by
appropriating the creative arts project as a process-based affective learning
experience. These 'new aesthetic' projects would depart from the role that art projects
typically occupy in courses such as creative writing, studio art, and film or video
production. Traditional arts courses tend to structure all lecture and discussion around
improving students' artwork, attempting to polish the pieces according to the criteria of
prospective artistic venues. The student is positioned as an artist-in-training. New
aesthetic projects in general humanities education, however, would incorporate aspects
of the art project as an experiential vehicle to enhance students' engagement with
disciplinary questions. As rhetorically situated acts of aesthetic invention, new aesthetic
projects promise to cultivate the affective dimensions so crucial to digital rhetoric, and
they also promote a relational aesthetics that is not isolated from social or political
contexts. As such, new aesthetic projects offer a unique approach for teaching and
learning autopoiesis in relation to the digital apparatus.




Full Text

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1 REMOTIVATING THE ECOLOGICAL TURN: FOUR COMPONENTS OF FELIX GUATTARIS ECOSOPHICAL PERSPECTIVE By JOHN TINNELL A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREME NTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2010

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2 2010 John Tinnell

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3 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like thank all of the amazing people in the English Department at the University of Florida, especially Gregory Ulmer and Sidney Dobrin, for introducing me to an ecology of ideas that I hope to inhabit for the rest of my life. I thank my parents, for their support and for doing what they are passionate about and always encouraging me to do the same. Last but certainly not least, I thank Kim, for her resilience, as a sounding board; her patience, when I am in the zone; and her readiness to believe in me.

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4 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS .................................................................................................. 3 ABSTRACT ..................................................................................................................... 5 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ...................................................................................................... 6 2 NASCENT SUBJECTIVITY .................................................................................... 13 3 MACHINES, NOT STRUCTURES .......................................................................... 18 4 TOWARD POST MEDIA ......................................................................................... 25 5 CONCLUSION: AUTOPOIETIC CREATIVITY ........................................................ 35 LIST OF REFERENCES ............................................................................................... 40 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ............................................................................................ 42

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5 Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Require ments for the Degree of Master of Arts REMOTIVATING THE ECOLOGICAL TURN: FOUR COMPONENTS OF FELIX GUATTARIS ECOSOPHICAL PERSPECTIVE By John Tinnell August 2010 Chair: Gregory Ulmer Major: English Many humanities scholars are working to transform their disciplines in response to new conditions and problems emerging in the twenty first century. Arguably, two of the most important forces affecting contemporary global culture are the growing awareness of the ecological crisis and the proliferation of digi tal media. This thesis endeavors to develop Felix Guattaris unfinished concept of ecosophy into a theoretical framework for constructing productive syntheses between the ecological and the digital. In general, the thesis first articulates ecosophical models of individual and collective subjectivity, and then argues that the best way to sustain this emergent identity experience is to invent post media practices, which harness the networked infrastructure of digital media such that specific pedagogical engagements with the technology effectively maximize the users capacity to affect and be affected by immanent forces in the world. In addition, this Guattarian rethinking of the ecological turn concurrently challenges the philosophical basis of the pedagogy of Nature appreciation that has characterized the ecohumanities landscape since the 1970s.

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6 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Over the past decade, the humanities disciplines have played host to an explosion of ecologically themed transformations, which continue to open up new (sub)fields of research and teaching. The development of the ecological turn in English resonates with the general evolution of the ecohumanities; indeed, English departments have led this movement in many respects. A survey of English s recent appropriations of ecological ideas (and their failings) establishes a point of departure for rethinking the ecohumanities. Ecocriticism, with its reputable journals and popular conferences, has no doubt become the most institutionalized of Engl ishs eco fields, while more pointed approaches continue to gather loosely around terms such as green cultural studies, ecofeminism, ecocomposition, and ecomedia studies.1 At the turn of this century, much of the early work in ecocriticism was devoted to naming the most important works in the field and elaborating the reasons why they matter more than others (McNamee 14). Contemporary leaders in ecocriticism continue this green canonbuilding project, issuing pronouncements similar to Libby Robins 2008 declaration, We need a literature that enhances understanding of relations between people and nature, of how we notice change personally, and how such global changes affect places we know intimately (292). The growth of ecocriticism, however, has attr acted an increasing number of critical attacks, the most significant of which have been waged by literary theorists who, despite their objections, share the ecocritical desire to respond to ongoing ecological crises. In particular, these theorists assail ecocriticism for its reluctance to engage with issues raised by contemporary theory.2 Timothy Morton goes as far as saying that ecocriticism consciously blocks its ears to all

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7 intellectual developments of the last thirty yearsecocriticism promises to return to an academy of the past (20). And yet, none of the leading books associated with ecocriticism ( not even the famous ecocritiques by Dana Phillip or Timothy Morton) display even the slightest awareness of the work of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guatt ari. That the eco humanities generally shares this gap in knowledge seems very bizarre, especially given the explicit ecological focus in Guattaris later writings and given Deleuzes claim in the late 1980s that he and Guattari wanted to write a (last) book on their philosophy of Nature. We should wonder now, with great pertinence, where Deleuze and Guattaris philosophy would lead the ecological turn, which, along with the digital turn, promises to be a formative influence for humanities disciplines in the twenty first century. If there is a unifying theory that connects most ecological approaches across the humanities disciplines, certainly that theory is Arne Naesss widespread notion of deep ecology or ecosophy. At a fundamental level, the mission of Naesss ecosophy is to expand the sphere of objects with which people identity. He believes that identification elicits intense empathy and that humans remain indifferent to that which they take to be utterly different than themselves ( Deep Ecology 16) To support this position, Naess shares a personal anecdote about a flea that suddenly landed in a sample of acid chemicals, which Naess was studying under a microscope. He claims, If I was alienated from the flea, not seeing intuitively anything even resembling mysel f, the [fleas] death struggle would have left me indifferent ( Deep Ecology 15). This anecdote, a vital illustration of Naesss thought, brings us to the most important difference between his ecosophy and the ecosophy of Felix Guattari. Naess calls for a n

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8 expansion of the self via identification (Self realization), whereas Guattari (and Deleuze) valorize autopoietic processes that perform a dissolution of the self via disjunction (becoming other). In other words in a Guattarian reworking of the flea anecdote I would not look for elements of the flea that remind me of myself; rather, I would receive the flea in its alterity and encounter aspects of the flea that are completely different from myself, so as to becomeflea: to introduce the fleas mann er of existence into the way I think and live.3 Initially, the difference between Naesss identification and Guattaris autopoiesis may seem trivial. This minor difference, however, actually lays out two divergent, even conflicting, paths for identity ex perience and subjectivity. Consequently, an eco humanities inspired by Guattaris theory of ecology would look very different than the familiar Naessian project of Nature appreciation. A living monument to Naess, ecocriticism, for example, typically invokes ecology as a strictly environmentalist discourse, and this position tends to prioritize the thematic study of literary representations of Nature, often espousing, at the very least, a desire to distance ones self from technological advancements and ot her complexities of modern urban life. By contrast, Guattaris ecosophical perspective promises to remotivate the ecologica l turn in the humanities toward radical transformations in the production of subjectivity and concepts that carry with them the potential to sustain a more ecological identity experience. With Guattari, we are not expanding selfhood; we are developing the models and practices of an emergent subjectivity. Therefore, we would be less interested in the representational paradigms of nineteenth century realism and more interested in modernist and contemporary poetics/aesthetics; rhetorical acts of aesthetic

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9 invention become as important, if not more important, than pseudoscientific methods of literary hermeneutics. Though Naess coined the term ecosophy, he does not think through the semiotic implications of the word as fully as Guattari does. Ecosophy is not the same thing as ecophilosophy; it is not simply the redirection of the philosophical tradition towards ecological concerns. T o think ecosophically is to rethink philosophy in our contemporary moment defined by the convergence of nature and culture, ecological crises, globalization, and the internet. One must create concepts adequate to these emergent situations rather than appl y old ideas in the spirit of environmentalism. By analogy, then, the proper aim of ecosophy is not to produce a more energy efficient light bulb or a hybrid car, but to reconfigure subjectivity and to invent new social practices altogether. While scienti st and social scientists rightfully pursue advancements in green technology and debate environmental policy issues, humanities scholars should aim to further our understanding of ecological problems in ways that are unavailable to the technocratic perspect ive. Guattaris ecosophy suggests that humanities scholars should concern themselves first with ontological advancements Thus, in addition to green buildings, hybrid vehicles, environmental legislation, etc., we need to rethink traditional notions of selfhood and, at the same time, invent practices designed to facilitate an identity experience consummate to contemporary ecological concerns, as well as the emergent relational modes proliferating with the expansion of global capitalism and digital media. W hile most work in the ecohumanities tends to avoid poststructuralist theory in favor of deep ecology, leading Guattari scholars have begun to survey the ecological implications of the philosophers notoriously complicated writings. Readers new to

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10 Guattari should be cognizant of three basic ways in which the tenets of his ecosophy conflicts with more popular appropriations of ecology. First, affirming his belief in the inseparability of nature and culture, Guattari contents throughout his later writings that what we call the ecological crisis is not simply an environmental disaster, and that ecology is not limited to the natural environment. For Guattari, The ecological crisis can be traced to a more general crisis of the social, political and existential which involve[s] changes in production, ways of living and axes of value ( Chaosmosis 119/134). Furthermore, Guattari differs from many eco humanists who work from the popular belief that ecological thought is simply an idealistic, utopian project com mitted to preserving Natures pure, harmonious, and delicate balance. In Guattaris radical ecology, the ecological point of view beholds the world as a dance between chaos and complexity a multitude of productive syntheses between nomadic parts that exis t independent of any fixed structure or transcendental whole. There is no larger natural order, no transcendent grand scheme according to which beings manifest. Ecosystems are infinitely complex and self organizing entities. Hence, the challenge of ec osophy is not to regulate the forces of the world into some idealized, harmonious balance, but rather to engender institutional and ontological conditions that encourage people to encounter the world as a series of open and ongoing syntheses between partial objects (as opposed to regarding phenomena as objects in themselves, complete and isolatable). This challenge informs and is informed by passages in The Three Ecologies and Chaosmosis where Guattari discusses nascent subjectivity and machines (see below ). Finally, Guattaris approach to ecology is unique in that he claims to be working from a new aesthetic paradigm rather than from scientific or pseudoscientific

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11 paradigms. The new aesthetic paradigm deals not with art as we traditional conceive it, but more radically with an ecosophical vision of collectivity predicated upon perpetual, autopoietic creativity. Though the scholarship on Guattari is quick to mention his notion of ecosophy, none of these books or essays contains an elaboration of Guattar is ecosophy that is specific to the larger ensemble of concepts quintessential to his philosophical outlook. Typically, scholars commenting on The Three Ecologies will mention that Guattaris ecosophy expands the study of ecology, multiplying it into thr ee interrelated ecologies: mental, social, and environmental. This summary, accurate as it is, does not convey the full potential of Guattaris ecosophical perspective, which he seems to regard as the crowning accomplishment of his philosophical career. To appreciate the theoretical weight (and unrealized potential) of The Three Ecologies one must explore the ways in which this short book synthesizes with Guattaris larger body of work. Of course, the whole of such a task could not be fully executed wit hin a single essay. In what follows, I will begin to map this promising territory by advancing four components specific to the network of ecosophical insights apparent in an intertextual reading of The Three Ecologies Anti Oedipus Chaosmosis and What i s Philosophy? Indeed, Guattaris ecosophy is a concept that, like all concepts, configures the constellation of an event yet to come and renders components inseparable within itself ( What is Philosophy? 19/33). But given its (unfinished) state at the time of Guattaris sudden death, ecosophy remains a concept whose components need to be rendered further. The four sections below strive to construct a zone of neighborhood or threshold of indiscernability wherein these otherwise disparate component s (i.e., nascent subjectivity, machines,

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12 post media, and autopoiesis) become seen as the vital constituents of ecosophys conceptual consistency. Only then can we mobilize ecosophy toward the invention of the event yet to come, the people yet to come, or at least, the ecohumanities yet to come. Notes 1 In 2002, Sidney Dobrin and Christian Weisser examined this tendency among compositionalists and identified several key differences that distinguish ecocomposition from ecocriticism, green cultural studies, ecofeminism, etc. In contrast to writ ing about nature (nature writing) or teaching environmentally themed texts (ecocriticism), ecocomposition strives to rethink discourse (particularly the activity of its production) as an ecological process and points to the myriad ways in which writing aff ects and is affected by surrounding environments. Aware of ecocompositions academic infancy, Dobrin and Weisser were quick to stipulate a pioneering quality about their work, This book only begins to scratch the surface of a body of research that needs to be further explored (15). The first consistent use of the term ecomedia studies emerged during the 2009 ASLE conference, specifically in panel discussions categorized under the section heading Ecological Media. Though a small group of film and me dia specialists have begun to promote themselves as ecomedia scholars, they have yet to produce a book length work which would, in effect, do what Dobrin and Weisser did for ecocomposition. EcoMedia, Sean Cubitts 2005 book, perhaps bears a misleading titl e since Cubitts primary objective is to extract environmental themes from popular film and television. Cubitts book (and many other books like it) does not attempt to define ecomedia as a new field of study; he basically applies literary ecocriticism to the study of film and media. 2 Dana Phillips and Tim Morton argue that ecocritisms ideological attachments to the pastoral worldview and false beliefs about literary representation render the movement too nostalgic and too nave to sustain the most ur gent dialogues to be had between English studies and ecological research. 3 Of this process of becoming animal, Leonard Lawlor writes, Instead of a resemblance relation, the relation that defines becoming is prepositional. I find myself positioned be fore the animal, but before in fact means I am in proximity with the animal. I am among the others and they are in me. But just as imitation does not define becoming, neither does representation define the preposition of one for another. Instead, becoming consists in a zigzag structure: we become animal so that the animal becomes, not human, but something else. The zigzag is set in motion by emission and extraction of a function (deterritorialization). And finally, beyond the destruction of the molar form, deterritorialization, in order to be successful, must use the animal function to produce something. It must take the micrological function of the rat, for example, and write like a rat (178 9).

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13 CHAPTER 2 NASCENT SUBJECTIVITY At the end of The Three Ecologies Guattari claims that we must, in responding to the major crises of our era, invent new practices conducive to an identity experience he cal ls nascent subjectivity (45). Of course, the project to resingularize subjectivity does not end with the individual Guattari prefers to speak of components of subjectification rather than posit a subject but it makes sense to start a discussion at thi s local level and then move into broader, collective dimensions. We need to first of all to be concerned with the following questions: What exactly is nascent subjectivity? Why does Guattari place such a high premium on it? How would this nascent subjecti vity put us in a better position to address contemporary ecological realities? Like many of the concepts Deleuze and Guattari have developed, nascent subjectivity in The Three Ecologies is at once a rephrasing and a reworking of terms that appear earlier in the two philosophers oeuvre. In fact, one of the best ways to comprehend Guattaris difficult terminology is to trace the evolution of the names he ascribes to particular conceptual territories, always paying attention to how each change in wording advances his overall line of thought. In this case, it will help to read The Three Ecologies in parallel with Guattaris first collaboration with Deleuze, Anti Oedipus specifically the early passages in which they introduce the residuum subject. The n otion of the residuum subject presents a useful starting point for grasping the significance of Guattaris theoretical move from the subject to components of subjectification, which is so vital to his later writings on ecosophy. Considered as an isolated phrase, the residuum subject implies that the subject, or ones subjectivity, is

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14 simply what remains or gets left over, in the sense of a residu e. Thus begging the question: O f what substances or processes is the subject a residue? By Deleuze and Guat taris configuration, in contrast to the Cartesian cogito, an individuals thoughts do not constitute the full measure of his being. The subject is less the product of his own thought and more the residue of the social machinery in which he directly and i ndirectly participates, for the boundaries of private thought are drawn through the sociohistorical apparatus (an emergent assemblage of desiring machines): This subject itself is not at the center, which is occupied by the machine, but on the periphery, with no fixed identity, forever discentered, defined by the states through which it passesthe subject is born of each state in the series, is continually reborn of the following state that determines him at a given moment, consuming consummating all thes e states that cause him to be born and reborn (the lived state emerges first in relation to the subject who lives it). ( Anti Oedipus 20) By means of this passage, we understand why Guattari devotes much of The Three Ecologies to locating what he calls existential refrains, a term that denotes the crucial and contended sites through which subjectivity is produced and learned. (Existential refrains can emerge anywhere, but some common areas that Guattari emphasizes include education, mass media, the arts, sports, architecture, and the organization of labor.) Guattaris argument in this book does not give rise at all to the idea of an ecological subject. In fact, he wants to ward off, by every means possible, the entropic rise of a dominant subjectivity ( Three Ecologies 45). In this later stage of his career, Guattari is no longer concerned with creating an unequivocal ideology, which would outline a set criteria for being ecological and position himself as leader or guru ( Three Ec ologies 23).

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15 Instead, he is much more interested in conveying the importance of generating a multitude of methods designed to inspire an ecosophical perspective on the production of subjectivity. From an ecosophical perspective, intensities precede both ideology and identity; ones work becomes more productive when attention is paid to molecular, intensive qualities (e.g., the universes of concepts, functions, precepts and affects elaborated in What is Philosophy? ). The Three Ecologies in this sense, clearly builds from the same image of thought sketched by the residuum subject: Vectors of subjectification do not necessarily pass through the individual, which in reality appears to be something like a terminal for processes that involve human groups, s ocio economic ensembles, dataprocessing machines, etc. Therefore, interiority establishes itself at the crossroads of multiple components, each relatively autonomous in relation to the other, and, if need be, in open conflict. ( Three Ecologies 25) Here Guattari specifies some of the obscurities of Anti Oedipus ; in particular, the earlier image of the individual as residue is redrawn: the individual becomes a terminal. Hence, ones subjectivity is not only a by product of forces operative in the thre e ecologies (mental, social, environmental); subjectivity is always already immersed in the flow of existential refrains or vectors. The individual can no longer be seen separately. To speak of an individual subject natural as it seems, is to reinforce a reductive vocabulary of existence, which inhibits any actualization of [a] collective and individual subjectivity that completely exceeds the limits of individualization, stagnation, identificatory closure, and will instead open itself up on all sides ( Three Ecologies 44). Nascent subjectivity, then, is not an entity one can postulate once and for all; indeed, it is best described as a process whereby thinking emerges immanently in relation with the event, which it perpetually strives to encounter or receive in the manner of a rhizome.

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1 6 Guattaris preference for immanent thought can be traced back to Deleuzes 1970 critique of consciousness as it has been represented by the transcendenceoriented history of western philosophy. Deleuze writes, the condi tions under which we know things and are conscious of ourselves condemn us to have only inadequate ideas, ideas that are confused and mutilated, effects separated from their real causes ( Practical Philosophy 19). Deleuze constantly reminds us that our th ought always occurs in the middle of things; that is to say, the outside to which thought connects has already began and exists prior to our consciousness of it. Guattaris writing in the early 1990s addresses these illusions of consciousness in an era in which, despite growing awareness of environmental problems, we fail to grasp the contradiction in the fact that the factories producing our soaps are polluting our habitat (Ulmer xxvi). Given the absolute immanence of nascent subjectivity, humanities sc holars today should redirect the tradition of thinking the subject toward new projects that create concepts and design methods, in conjunction with new technologies, which expand the scope of subjectivity, or, in other words, increase our capacity to affect and be affected by immanent forces in the world. The subject as cogito ( i.e., the isolated individual personified by Descartes idiot) has become an inadequate foundation for thinking and acting in the context of twenty first century developments, su ch as globalization, environmental disasters, and the proliferation of the digital apparatus. In order to comprehend global multitudes and participate effectively in emergent rhetorical situations future generations will need to be capable of experiencing themselves disjunctively, in the sense of an emergent and processual assemblage. Though we begin at the level of individual subjectivity, this is only the beginning of the issue because, in Deleuze and Guattaris scheme, the

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17 question of the individual is inextricably linked with broader, apparatus level events. Planes of individual identity experiences are laid out by collective machines, which are themselves dialogically related to the available modes and technologies of production.

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18 CHAPTER 3 MACHINES, NOT STRUCTURES Guattari stipulates that his ecosophical perspective is at once applied and theoretical, ethicopolitical and aesthetic ( Three Ecologies 44). Nowhere is this blend more evident than in his discussions of machines, which are informed by nu merous disciplines from secondorder cybernetics to modernist art. Guattari uses the term machine to refer at once to actual and virtual properties. (He is not simply pointing to the technical appliances that the term often refers to in everyday conver sation.) Machines are actual in that the word denotes existing institutions, groups, and practices, but machines also address the virtual possibilities of collectivity and thus function as a theoretical model. In his assessment of the contemporary psychol ogical landscape, Guattari claims that individual and collective subjectivity lack modelisation and, further, that this lack of theoretical models explains the stasis of many social movements, including environmentalism ( Chaosmosis 58). For this reason, Guattari insists that the development of alternative models for subjectivity (in contrast to Oedipus, for example) must become an immense site of theoretical work and lead to the invention of new practices ( Chaosmosis 58). Without the existential recomposition (e.g. the subject to components of subjectification) that theoretical models engender, the ecosophical project of nascent subjectivity becomes lost to itself. Nascent subjectivity is entirely dependent on the capacity to install ones thinking into a constantly mutating socius ( Three Ecologies 45). In this sense, the machinic turn in Guattaris final book, Chaosmosis should be read as a direct follow up to the challenges and tasks he proposes at the conclusion of The Three Ecologies Ultimately, Guattaris machines (be they desiring, celibate,

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19 abstract, aesthetic, etc.) have two crucial, praxis oriented objectives: (1) to help the individual install himself into collective dimensions (becoming machine); (2) to help institutions and groups evolve autopoietically through processual encounters withand complex articulations of disparate sources of alterity (nascent subjectivity at the collective level). In many ways, Guattaris version of the machine could be regarded as an appropriate figure or emblem for poststructuralism. Breaking with the (dogmatic) sign systems of structuralism, Guattaris focus on machines also performs an important inversion of phenomenologys tendency to reduce the objects under consideration to a pure intentional transparency ( Three Ecologies 25). And yet, though he explicitly distances his thought from structuralism and phenomenology, Guattari does retain important traces of each these intellectual movements. His modelization of the machine incorporates a preference for studying contextualized structural objects, but the methods he advocates (schizoanalysis, institutional analysis, transversality, etc.) clearly emphasize the need for spontaneous receptivity, a quality esteemed by many phenomenologists, which encourages us to encounter each phenomenon in its heterogeneity rather than overwrite its expression according to the structure of our own interpretative frameworks. For Guattari, machines pose at least three qualitative differences to structures (the o bvious emblem of structuralism). First of all, machines express a logic of intensities (or pathic logic), while structures operate according to the logic of discursive sets. Discursive sets presuppose a separation between subject and object, and for this reason, The truth of a proposition answers to the law of the excluded middle: each

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20 object appears in a relationship of binary opposition with a foundation ( Chaosmosis 28). With the logic of intensities, the relationship between subject and object r emains open or in question; therefore, the machine extracts complex forms from chaotic materials because there is no extrinsic global reference ( Chaosmosis 28). Indeed, the logic of intensities is the flow quintessential to aesthetic paradigms. Structures, however, smack of scientific paradigms in that they slow down or bracket chaos and alterity in order to erect a referent ( What is Philosophy 118). To combine the terms of What is Philosophy? with Chaosmosis (published in consecutive years), machines a sphilosophy seek to articulate a consistency specific to chaos or alterity, whereas structures as science use the referent to actualize the virtual, and, by extension, to define sources of alterity through reference to known or self asserted variables ( What is Philosophy 118). From the polarity above, we can clearly distinguish machines and structures in terms of their opposing attitudes towards alterity or difference. A structure defines difference only in relation to itself, while machines direct us towards a more collective machinism without delimited unity, whose autonomy accommodates diverse mediums of alterity (Chaosmosis 42). The machinic drive for autopoiesis necessitates a process of undergoing all the heterogeneous elements operative in the event, which heterogenises the machine clean of any dominant, unifying, or universal trait ( Chaosmosis 39). Machines initiate processes of resingularization precisely by allowing themselves to breakdown as they disjoin and rejoin to form new configur ations immanent to the singularity of the event. As such, machines offer a strong model for inventing the new ecological practices, which Guattari only imagines in passing during

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21 The Three Ecologies their objective being to processually activate isolated and repressed singularities that are just turning in circles (34). Moreover, as a consequence of these two prior distinctions, machines embody an awareness of their own fluidly and finitude, whereas structures, like Guattaris diagnosis of capitali st subjectivity, are intoxicated with and anaesthetized by a collective feeling of pseudoeternity ( The Three Ecologies 34). In addition to dividing human experience of the socius into rigid categories (e.g., nature vs. culture), structures naturalize the divisions they construct by stabilizing the maximum number of existential refrains (The Three Ecologies 34). Given our knowledge of machines and structures in Chaosmosis we can look back over The Three Ecologies to gain an even greater command of t his crucial opposition: The principal common to the three ecologies is this: each of the existential Territories with which they confront us is not given as an initself [ en soi ], closed in on itself, but instead as a for itself [ pour soi ] that is precario us, finite, finitized, singular, singularized, capable of bifurcating into stratified and deathly repetitions or of opening up processually from a praxis that enables it to be made habitable by a human project. (35) Passages such as this one show the r ough beginnings of ideas that would later grow into full chapters in Chaosmosis Furthermore, this particular passageits language of in itself (structure) and for itself (machine) speaks to the important role that JeanPaul Sartres theory of groups had in Guattaris thinking on disjunctive collectivity, which the machine models. Gary Genosko has already demonstrated the degree to which Guattaris early distinction between subjugated groups and subject groups is an appropriation of Sartres writing s on seriality and fusion. For our purposes, it is also useful to consider machines and structures in this context. Guattari inherits Sartres passion for thinking

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22 about group behavior precisely because he shares Sartres hatred of seriality, which Fredr ic Jameson defines as the mode of human interaction which corresponds to the domination of the practico inert1 ( Marxism and Form 147). In other words, a population is subjugated by seriality whenever they relate to one another automatically via behavior that is massproscribed by an elite, seemingly invisible authority. According to Genosko, a subject group has liquidated its seriality and come together in the flash of a common praxis (Transversality 60). Subject groups connect in response to an eve nt rather than the mandates of a leader or doctrine. Subject groups illustrate a disjunctive mode of collectivity in their priority for a processual engagement in dynamic encounters with sources of alterity, rather than the stability and dominion of a sel f asserted structure. For Guattari, this mode of group subjectivity like the machine signifies a solidarity that occurs without the dogmatic influence of any learder(s). Furthermore, the subject group measures its collectivity not by the amount of people participating in the group, but rather on the quality of difference articulated among group members, as well as the groups capacity to register the enunciations of (non)human assemblages outside of the group.2 Consequently, a subject group attentive to its own ecology (i.e., the diversity of its (ephemeral) constituency and the broader institutions and envi ronment with which it interacts ) is quic k to (re)shape itself in response to a wide spectrum of social forces, including but not limited to environmental disa sters. When isolated structures are brought into working proximity, structure breaks apart, and this disjunction is necessary for true collectivity. Again, this is a monumental insight of Guattaris ecosophy: relationships of mutual constructivism and acts of co creation are

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23 predicated upon commitments to disjunction the processual breakdown of structures into machines. Genosko reminds us, very importantly, that Guattaris distinctions between machine and structure, subject group and subjugated group, are nonabsolute (Transversality 60). For instance, an institution or group that operates akin to the machine model is not necessarily machinic by natureit could devolve at any moment into the seriality of a structure. But the same holds true of the inverse (i.e., structure to machine), and this conviction is the cause of Guattaris optimism regarding the potential impacts of inventing new practices. In critiquing what he calls Integrated World Capitalism (IWC),3 Guattari simultaneously sets up a c ontrast against which to invent ecological praxes and he specifies a target discourse at which to direct ecosophical interventions. Throughout The Three Ecologies Guattari suggests a productive opposition between the ecosophical goal of nascent subject ivity and the limits of IWCs capitalist subjectivity: A capitalist subjectivity is engendered through operators of all types and sizes, and is manufactured to protect existence from any intrusion of events that might disturb or disrupt public opinion. It demands that all singularity must be either evaded or crushed in specialist apparatuses and frames of reference. Therefore, it endeavors to manage the worlds of childhood, love, art, as well as everything associated with anxiety, madness, pain, death, or a feeling of being lost in the CosmosIWC forms massive subjective aggregates. (33) On none of these subjective aggregates is IWC more dependant than mass media. In fact, Guattari likens mass media to poison and mutant algae as he illustrates its t endency to pollute mental ecology and erode social ecology. Doubtlessly alluding to mass medial conditions, he claims, It is not only species that are becoming extinct but also the words, phrases, and gestures of human solidarity ( Three Ecologies 29). When

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24 Guattari calls for a valuesystems revolution, which would reevaluate the purpose of work and of human activities according to different criteria than profit and yield, he is at once announcing the need for a revolutionary way of using media technologies ( Three Ecologies 38). Media, then, is the first target of ecosophy. Notes 1 Sartres practicoinert refers to conditions in which institutions structure social relations in a way that delimits human action, rendering freedom into a mere exercise of dead possibilities. For an authoritative commentary, see Jamesons chapter Sartre and History in Marxism and Form. 2 Guattari s theory of group subjectivity via machines could be applied to present efforts to alleviate the disciplinary isolation that continues to cripple research universities. Scholars who aspire to collaborate across multiple fields should aim to create transd isciplinary machines rather than interdisciplinary structures With transdisciplinary machines, the objective is not to incorporate the study of science (its objects and methods) into the study of, for instance, cultural or aesthetic texts. Such inclusi ve maneuvers result, more often than not, in a homogenization on both fronts. In the case of ecocriticism, as Dana Phillips points out, both ecological science and literary analysis often become reduced to ideological critique. Therefore, rather than encouraging humanities scholars to somehow acquire an additional expertise in scientific inquiry, interdisciplinary efforts would do well to recast some of their energy to the cocreation of transdisciplinary machines (i.e., evolving set of processes committ ed to institutionalizing the production of a group subjectivity). This transversalist mode of working valorizes an ensemble of heterogeneous scholars, each sounding their mastery of instruments unique to their respective disciplines, playing in concert wi th one another at the same venue (collaborating on the same problems and projects). If we apply this analogy to much of the work that currently parades under the banner of interdisciplinary, then we find the projection of an impossible ambition: to command expertise in every academic fieldto become, in short, a oneman band. 3 Guattaris critique of Integrated World Capitalism foreshadows some of Fredric Jamesons recent arguments against globalization in Valences of the Dialectic

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25 CHAPTER 4 TOWARD POST MEDIA Digital theorist Gregory Ulmer has recently claimed that electracy is the principal site of the emergence of group subjectivity an identity experience that interfaces between individual and collective (115). As a pedagogy of new media, electracy purports to do for the community as a whole what literacy did for the individuals within the community (Ulmer xxvi). Unprecedented both in degree and kind, the new collaboration called for by electracy will require, throughout its development, the testing of numerous concepts derived and appropriated from poststructuralist theory. With Guattari s work in mind, we can formulate some urgent questions fo r electracy, and these questions also posit urgent connections between ecological and digital approaches to the humanities. For instance, what happens to our understanding and experience of the digital apparatus when we adopt the theoretical models of ecosophy (e.g. nascent subjectivity and the machine)? Guattari does not answer this question in his own work; however, he does leave a number of provocative signposts particularly in his select use of the term post media. Post media, as I will suggest, names an emergent mode of cultural production that makes ecosophical use of digital media technologies. Scholars of poststructuralism and new media alike have written next to nothing1 about Guattaris notion of post media, probably because Guattari develops the concept only in passing, elusive and intermittingly, throughout his later works. Unlike schizoanalysis or geophilosophy, post media is never the subject of entire chapters. Still, post media stands out in Guattaris writing as an optimistic horizon to which his other key concepts repeatedly refer:

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26 Only if the third path/voice takes consistency in the direction of self reference carrying us form the consensual media era to the dissensual post media era will each be able to assume his or her process ual potential and, perhaps, transform this planet a living hell for over three quarters of its populationinto a universe of creative enchantments. (Regimes, Pathways, Subjects 104, emphasis added) An essential programmatic point for social ecology will be to encourage capitalist societies to make the transition from the mass media era to the post media age, in which the media will be reappropriated by a multitude of subject groups capable of directing its resingularization. ( Three Ecologies 40) Technol ogical developments together with social experimentation in these new domains are perhaps capable of leading us out of the current period of oppression and into a post media era characterized by the reappropriation and resingularization of the use of media. ( Chaosmosis 5, emphasis added) We can already notice that Guattaris post media carries connotations that evade Lev Manovichs 2001 definition of the term. For Manovich, post media signifies a change surrounding artworks and the nature of mediums in contemporary, digital milieus. On one hand, the internet makes multimodal communication the norm; hence, it becomes difficult to categorize net art (which often combines photography, video, text, images, and sound) using the traditional logic of genre typology (i.e., identification via medium: sculpture, drawing, painting, etc.). According to Manovich, if one can make radically different versions of the same art workthen the traditional strong link between the identity of an art object and its medium becomes broken (Post media Aesthetics). In other worlds, as more artworks commonly exist across different mediums, the idea of the medium though still important in the formation of meaning can no longer be appealed to in sorting out various artworks from each other. In Manovichs terms, post media is synonymous with post medium Guattari appears to be less focused on the typology of art proper, as his use of post media evokes a broader sense of social transformation. Although Guattari and

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27 Manovich identify a similar historical cause (i.e., the proliferation of new media and its accessibility to noncorporate entities), Guattaris conception of post media is true to his idea of the new aesthetic paradigm, which, at a basic level, involves the explosion of artistic techniques and mentalities into arenas of social practice and institutional politics. Innovative, aesthetic uses of media technology become a way to generate nascent subjectivity and machinic collectivity: One creates new modalities of subj ectivity in the same way that an artist creates new forms from the palette ( Chaosmosis 7). Guattari points to several examples in the field of psychoanalysis that demonstrate how new media may be used in parallel with his theory of the new aesthetic paradigm. For instance, he refers to a practice in which the therapist acts out or improvises psychodramatic scenes with the patient while a video camera records both of them. Therapist and patient then watch and discuss the video playback of the scene. T his practice often furthers the treatment program by emphasizing the artificial, creative dimensions of the production of subjectivity ( Chaosmosis 8). Guattari argues that, in cases like these, the inventiveness of the treatment distances us from the sci entific paradigms and brings us closer to an ethico aesthetic paradigm ( Chaosmosis 8). Post media, then, continues a predigital mission to transform subjectivity; here, media technologies are employed (and considered vital) because they generally provide the most accurate means to diagram the alternative models of subjectivity vital to ecosophy in particular and poststructuralism in general. In essence, the desire to use the technology is motivated by the theory, and the development of the theory is its elf influenced by developments in technology. (Would it be possible to sustain the experience of nascent subjectivity in a society without new media?) Post media, at

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28 least in this sense, describes a condition in which poststructuralist theory and new media processually inform one another. Post media is clearly not an allusion to an era devoid of media or its effects; Guattari agrees with Paul Virilio when he claims, the increased speed of transportation and communications and the interdependence of urban centres are equally irreversible ( Three Ecologies 29). While Guattari is very against mass media, he is anything but a technophobe. Verena Conley rightly points out that [u]nlike many post 68 French theorist, Guattari does not use a Heideggerian blue print[h]e advocates the construction of new subjectivities with technology (120). In Guattaris work, mass media is conceived as a stance an ideological use of media technology that is in no way inherent to or determined by the medium. Guattari wants t o problematize our habitual attitude towards the technologies (e.g., radio, television, computers) that have now become fixtures of everyday life in many parts of the world. From the stance of massmedia, especially from the consumers point of view, a television or a computer is regarded as a technical machinethe machine as a subset of technology ( Chaosmosis 33). Guattari calls for a reversal of this relationship, such that his expanded conception of the machine (see above) becomes a prerequisite for technology rather than its expression (33). Thus, if we take this reversal to be a founding gesture of the post media stance, the user finds herself recast into an altogether different set of relations with media. For example, rather than seeing the co mputer as a device whose operations demands technical expertise above all else, the post media user would approach the computer as a technology in progress (i.e., always in the process of being reinvented), whose operations affect and are affected by

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29 mac hinic assemblages of a constantly mutating socius ( Three Ecologies 45). That is to say, under the logic of post media all users maintain a potential to invent the practices by which people relate to new media, while, at the same time, there is a basic a wareness that the hardware and software of new media wield a powerful stake in the production of human subjectivity. Of course, the post media stance owes its viability to the decentralization of the means of media production and dissemination brought about by the commoditization of personal computing; however, it would be a dangerous reduction to mistake the mere technocratic fact of decentralized media production for the cultural achievement of a post media sensibility. Indeed, theorizing post media enables us to see just how well massmedia has already adapted to the emancipatory conditions of Web 2.0. Some of the most striking examples of mass media 2.0 can be found on popular websites dealing with ecological crises and the green movement. Guattaris ecosophical perspective on media and globalization offers a framework with which to analyze some recent surges of this emergent online genre, which we may call the green list. To begin with a basic definition, the green list is a form of Web 2.0 wr iting whereby internet users enumerate a clear and simple list of steps or tips intended to promote an ecofriendly lifestyle. In its most common manifestation, however, the green list whether authored by individuals or corporations becomes a testament to IWC, mass media, and consumerism. As the brief discussion of green lists below will suggest, the Web 2.0 environment is entirely susceptible to mass media colonization, and we therefore must develop oppositional, post media pedagogies in order to realize any of the revolutionary potential that scholars typically attribute to digital authorship.

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30 Guattari provides the perfect preface for my mini critique of the green list when he speculates on the prospects of computer aided design: The machinic product ion of subjectivity can work for better or for worseIts impossible to judge such a machinic evolution either positively or negatively; everything depends on its articulation within collective assemblages of enunciation. At best there is the creation, or invention, of new Universes of reference; at worst there is the deadening influence of the mass media to which millions of individuals are currently condemned. ( Chaosmosis 5) On one hand, green lists apparently pop up as so many signposts directing consumers to the markets socially responsible transitions, marking the promise of conscious consumerism under a new kind of capitalism. Launched by a few environmental journalists in 2007, The Daily Green has quickly become one of the most trusted sou rces on the Web for news and information about going green with the mission to broaden the audience for earthfriendly living by showing how going green is relevant to everyone (Daily Green). A section of their website called top going green tips off ers ten idiot proof steps every user can implement immediately to get started on a green path. These steps, many of which are common to most green lists, include: stop idling in your car, turning off computers when not using them, switching to green e nergy for your home, doing laundry with cold water, carpooling, and paying bills online (Daily Green). Each of these tips constitute a gesture towards sustainability in that they effectively control the damage of cultural habits that waste natural resourc es on account of laziness or inefficiency. On the other hand, all of the tips assume, no doubt encourage, a basic continuity: people will continue to define themselves (and their relation to environmental concerns) through consumerism. The explicit mess age is to commute to the corporate office with a coworker, or to share one car for a trip to the mall with a group of friends keep

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31 amassing bills, but pay them online now. By taking, as a given, activities associated with working and spending in the name of the commodity, green lists protect institutions like malls and transnational corporations by maintaining them innocently in the background. Figuratively speaking, corporate institutions are the pervasive white space in between each ecofriendly tip; th ey issue the invisible motives that prompt each tip and they linger as the implicit destinations for which green lists prepare their readers. Rather than question the mall or the corporation, green lists insist that consumers must become more efficient in their consumption of the capitalist commodity. As such, green lists function as training manuals meant to help consumers help corporations survive the growing awareness of humanitys contributions to the ecological crisis, particularly the ramped spread of American consumer culture during the last fifty years, which is now being exported more than ever throughout the world. While plenty of green lists are published in isolation from one another on the web, there are a number of major Web 2.0 style hubs for this genre that act as databases, organizing lists according to topics such as green cuisine or green cleaning. First of all, just as there is a studio executive behind each Hollywood feature film, many green list databases are subtly sponsored by c orporate entities. A true manifestation of Guattaris nightmare of IWC, the database The Great Green List is sponsored, albeit discretely, by a company called Earthsense.2 Though the sites amateur appearance is meant to resemble the templateformat of a grassroots, public wiki, all submissions to The Great Green List must pass review by an editorial staff hired by Earthsense. Moreover, many green list hubs, including The Great Green List, feature product promotion hyperlinks that send users directl y to online shopping areas.

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32 In April of 2009, The Daily Green hosted a link (atop every single page of their website) that sent users to a Radio Shack promotion. (Hence, this neutral green list hub frames and feeds straight into a corporate buying si te.) Clicking on the Radio Shack link, users learn that the promotion offers a Radio Shack gift card to anyone willing to exchange used electronics for store credit (PC Informant). Perhaps such deals do lead to some reduction of the 20 to 50 million tons of electronics waste that accumulates around the world each year, though nonprofit organizations already offer free and convenient services for recycling electronics. Nevertheless, applying Guattaris writings on capitalist subjectivity, I would argue that these promotions shorten the experienced life cycle of the companys products by furnishing consumers with incentives to part with electronics before they reach the end of their technical functional life cycle (or as soon as impulse decides it is a ni ce day to upgrade to the latest model). Implicitly, these promotions grease the skids for more efficient patterns of consumption, encouraging an even quicker rate of product turnover and fueling the capitalist mode of productions expansion into new global markets. We should also note the acceleration that accrues to the shopping experience, which is now more aptly a buying experience. Shopping time is eclipsed as less profitable waste, for here the path is laid out for consumers around the worldwithout waiting in line to use their old computer ( if you already own it, then it must be old ) to purchase the newest computer, all the while feeling like a good, socially responsible capitalist: they made money and saved the environment. If left to the green list conventions, this is what the concept of sustainability becomes for citizens whose native tongue is the language of consumption. Indeed, IWCs hypertextual green lists are literal relays to the commodity,

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33 and they are much improved from the pri nted pamphlets of early capitalism, which merely spelled out the what, where, and why of commodity expenditure. Assuming the collective assembledges of enunciation of post media should contrast from the commercial logic evident in green list hubs, we need to return to the question of post media in search of a more analogous and desirable comparison. Without going into much detail here, I want to suggest a space of potential synthesis between post media pedagogies and the contemporary art practices theorized as relational aesthetics by curator and critic Nicolas Bourriaud, himself an expert on Guattaris work. Speaking from his encounters with contemporary art, Bourriaud asserts that an artworks primary value is its status as a social interstice (16). Appropriating the term from Marx, Bourriaud explains, The interstice is a space in human relations which fits more or less harmoniously and openly into the overall system, but suggests other trading possibilities than those in effect within the sys tem (16). For Bourriaud, art acts as a social interstice to the degree that it creates free areas, and time spans whose rhythm contrast with those structuring everyday life or encourages an inter human commerce that differs from the communication zones that are imposed upon us (16). Translating the concept of social interstice into humanities education, one can imagine how academic projects could be designed, with the resources of digital media, to act as an interstice for proposing ideas on the basis of a social and aesthetic profitability and for exploring ways of relating to new media that deal with noncommercial forms of exchange ( Three Ecologies 42). Notes 1 Michael Goddard, w orking primarily in film studies, is one of the only scholars to deal directly, at some length, with the post media question in Guattari. Goddards approach

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34 differs from mine as his article investigates Guattaris participation with Italian free radio; Go ddard does not directly address post media as appears in Guattaris books. At the end of his article, though, Goddard formulates a question that I will address later in the context of humanities education, The [post media] question is one of how to com pose networks of subjective autoorganization that are able to assume an autonomy from neoliberal economic and military networks and their associated deadening of relationality, affect and desire in the direction of pure functionality and aggressivity. 2 Earthsense is a for profit company that specializes in marketing research and branding with the mission of making sense of our world to provide must have consumer knowledge that would make cause related product, marketing and strategy efforts more eff ectivewe focus on marketing that directly affects the bottom line (Earthsense).

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35 CHAPTER 5 CONCLUSION: AUTOPOIETIC CREATIVITY Claiming that tertiary descriptions us ually revert back into dualisms, Guattari prefers four term frameworks, The fourth term stands for an nth term: it is the opening onto multiplicity ( Chaosmosis 31). Autopoiesis is the nth component of ecosophy. Autopoiesis, often summarized by Guattari as a dance between chaos and complexity, characterizes the passage back and forth between nascent subjectivity, machinic collectivity, and post media. Near the end of Chaosmosis Guattari evokes a condition omnipresent in his worldview of self organizing partial objects: Something is detached and starts to work for itself, just as it can work for you if you can agglomerate yourself to such a process (1323). One can think of autopoietic creativity as the capacity to yield ones self to chaos and, in doing so, undergo the event such as to channel the advent of nascent subjectivity. (Guattari calls this process an event advent.) The task here is to grasp alterity at the point of its emergence, creating in concert with sources of alterity (i.e. th e machine, post media), rather than overwriting alterity in favor of default apriori or transcendent representations (i.e., the ego, mass media) ( Chaosmosis 117). This autopoietic mode is of course absent from the so called ecological subject of deep ecology, which retains an ever expansive Self at the front and center of its ontology. An ecohumanities adapted to Guattaris ecosophy would thus replace Naesss Self Realization with autopoietic creativity, making autopoiesis a new core value at the heart of the humanities. Furthermore, the virtual ecology of the digital apparatus makes the internet, for instance, an ideal pedagogical scene for humanities courses to introduce autopoiesis, which, as Guattari suggests, is a far cry from our oedipal habi ts. In this sense, autopoietic creativity should be regarded as a

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36 crucial skill for the development of both ecological literacy and media literacy. We must learn to teach autopoetic creativity and, in doing so, autopoietize the academic machinery of the humanities tradition. Transversal connections among recent scholarship suggest a promising starting point. For example, Guattaris ecosophical imperative to intervene at a microsocial level finds pedagogical expression in the tenets of ecocomposition set forth by Sidney Dobrin and Christian Weisser, namely that student writing should be directed beyond the limited scope of classroom assignments to address larger, public audiences and that writing should be taught as a vehicle to affect change, to bring about awareness in the mental, social, and environmental ecologies of which students are a part (58). In addition, Ulmer has already theorized some ways in which the digital humanities class can become a kind of online consultancy.1 Under this appro ach, students work heuretically through an intensive webbased project, experimenting with digital authoring software in order to inject humanities (often poststructuralist) perspectives into the discourse surrounding public policy issues. As the pedagogi cal genres of electracy continue to develop,2 teachers should begin to build networks between their classes and larger, public audiences, with the goal of circulating academic work among relevant social organizations or political bodies. Of course, the primary value of any student project should lie in its capacity to facilitate learning experiences specific to a given discipline; one risk of doing service learning projects (via partnerships with nonacademic organizations) is that the service can underm ine the learning. Thus, in designing collaborative projects for post media, one should mind Guattaris distinction

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37 between machines and structures: create an autopoietic network that learns like a machine. In fact, I would argue that by creating network s for the ecosophical circulation of student writing, we may open up pedagogical interactions that otherwise get left to chance when students merely post their work onto vast Web 2.0 platforms. If we can publicize aspects of the learning process thereby accommodating diverse mediums of alterityour various academic communities (e.g., courses, collaborative scholarly projects, etc.) will operate much closer to the disjunctive collectivity that Guattaris machines diagram By building into the work an aut opoietic openness to extraacademic perspectives, academic discourse will be inevitably challenged to become different in response to different problems and different rhetorical situations. The motive to create these opportunities goes hand in hand with t he imperative to extend complex humanities perspectives into the public sphere, particularly those domains where competing discourses threaten to overwrite or displace the humanities. Deleuze and Guattari assert that, over the course of the twentieth cent ury, commerce has all but replaced philosophy in the creation of concepts ( What is Philosophy 16). Additionally, the circulation of electrate projects will bring us much closer to the political conditions of the post media era, which, according to Guattar i, will require collective forms of administration and control, rather than a blind faith in the technocrats of the State apparatuses ( Three Ecologies 28). Ultimately, autopoietic networks do not promote allegiance to a specific, existing political posi tion; rather teaching autopoiesis constitutes an ethical refoundation of political praxis ( Chaosmosis 120).

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38 Scholars and teachers working in the humanities occupy a unique position from which to invent the public spheres (autopoietic networks) of post me dia and to inspire students to proliferate disciplinary knowledge beyond academic conventions through electrate encounters with ecosophical problems. Collectively, our research will lead to the discovery of new paradigmatic problems that will reaffirm the vitality of our fields for thinking the digital apparatus in an age of general ecological crisis. Our pedagogical experiments with emergent technol ogies will push students toward new ways of understanding and experiencing media, but also toward new ways of putting academic research (even poststructrualism) to use in unconventional rhetorical situations. As Guattari suggests and this may seem counterintuitivetheory across the humanities disciplines can become more experimental and more creative if we cul tivate methods for appropriating computers as equipment to think with : Computers, expert systems and artificial intelligence add as much to thought as they subtract from thinking. They relieve thought of inert schemas. The forms of thought assisted by c omputer are mutant, relating to other musics, other Universes of reference. ( Chaosmosis 36) In taking a post media stance towards emergent media, we can think the new and think it collectively, but only to the extent that we develop digital practices capable of producing a new (ecosophical) relation between individual subjectivity and the collective thought. From this perspective, anticipated in Guattaris writing, the eco humanities and the digital humanities become rhizomatically bound towards one anot her through the concept/project of ecosophy. Notes 1 For more on Ulmers vision of this electrate consultancy, see the introduction (The EmerAgency) of Electronic Monuments Here, Ulmer initially defines the EmerAgency a s a deconstructed consultancy, meaning that it is simultaneously an immanent critique

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39 of conventional consulting and an experiment in an alternative mode that adapts arts and letters knowledge to a practice supportive of a virtual civic sphere (xxxi). 2 Following Ulmers logic of invention, the humanities can become more autopoietic by appropriating the creative arts project as a process based affective learning experience. These new aesthetic projects would depart from the role that art projects typi cally occupy in courses such as creative writing, studio art, and film or video production. Traditional arts courses tend to structure all lecture and discussion around improving students artwork, attempting to polish the pieces according to the criteria of prospective artistic venues. The student is positioned as an artist in training. New aesthetic projects in general humanities education, however, would incorporate aspects of the art project as an experiential vehicle to enhance students engagement with disciplinary questions. As rhetorically situated acts of aesthetic invention, new aesthetic projects promise to cultivate the affective dimensions so crucial to digital rhetoric, and they also promote a relational aesthetics that is not isolated from social or political contexts. As such, new aesthetic projects offer a unique approach for teaching and learning autopoiesis in relation to the digital apparatus.

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40 LIST OF REFERENCES Bourriaud, Nicolas. Relational Aesthetics Trans. Simon Pleasance and Fronza Woods. Dijon: Presses du Reel, 2002. Conley, Verena Andermatt. Artists or Little Soldiers? Felix Guatta ris Ecological Paradigms. Deleuze/Guattari & Ecology Ed. Bernd Herzogenrath. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009. pp. 11628. Cubitt, Sean. EcoMedia. New York: Rodopi, 2005. Daily Green. The Easiest Ways to Go Green for Earth Day. 27 April 2010. Web. 16 April 2009 < http://www.thedailygreen.com/going green/latest/greentips 10easiest?click=nav / >. Deleuze, Gilles. Spinoza: Practical Philosophy Trans. Robert Hurley. San Francisco: City Lights, 1988. Deleuze, Gilles and Felix Guattari. Anti Oe dipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Trans. Robert Hurley, Mark Seem, and Helen R. Lane. Minneapolis: Minn. UP, 1983. Deleuze, Gilles and Felix Guattari. What is Philosophy? Trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Graham Burchell. New York: Columbia, 1994. Dobrin, S idney and Christian Weisser. Natural Discourse: Toward Ecocomposition. Albany: SUNY Press, 2002. Earthsense. About Earthsense. 27 April 2010. Web. 18 April 2009 < http://www.earthsense.com/about us>. Genosko, Gary. The Life and Work of Felix Guattar i: From Transversality to Ecosophy. The Three Ecologies Trans. Ian Pindar and Paul Sutton. London: Continuum, 2008. Goddard, Michael. Felix and Alic e in Wonderland: The Encounter b etween Guattari and Berardi and the Post Media Era. Generation Online. 2006. Great Green List. Great Green List Homepage. 27 April 2010. Web. 18 April 2009 < http://www.greatgreenlist.com/>. Guattari, Felix. Chaosmosis Trans. Paul Bains and Julian Pefanis. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1995. Guattari, Felix. Regimes, P athways, Subjects. The Guattari Reader Ed. Gary Genosko. Cambridge: Blackwell, 1996. pp. 95108. Guattari, Felix. The Three Ecologies Trans. Ian Pindar and Paul Sutton. London: Continuum, 2008.

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41 Jameson, Fredric. Marxism and Form: TwentiethCentury Dia lectical Theories of Literature. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1974. Jameson, Fredric. Valences of the Dialectic New York: Verso, 2009. Lawlor, Leonard. Following the Rats: Becoming Animal in Deleuze and Guattari. SubStance. 2008. Vol. 37, No. 3, pp. 16987. Manovich, Lev. Post Media Aesthetics. ARTMargins 2001. Vol. Oct. McNamee, Gregory. Wild Things. Utne Reader 1997. Vol. Nov Dec, pp. 14 15. Morton, Timothy. Ecology without Nature: Rethinking Environmental Aesthetics Cambridge: Harvard UP, 2007. Naess, Arne. Self Realization: An Ecological Approach to Being in the World. The Deep Ecology Movement Ed. Alan Drengson and Yuichi Inoue. North Atlantic: Berkeley, 1995. PC Informant. Trade in old electronics at RadioShack. 27 April 2010. Web. 16 April 2009. < http://tips.vlaurie.com/2009/04/17/tradein old electronics at radioshack/>. Phillips, Dana. The Truth of Ecology: Nature, Culture, Literature in America Oxford/New York: Oxford UP, 2003. Rubin, Libby. The Eco humanities as Literature: A New G enre? Australian Literary Studies 2008. Vol. 23 No. 3, pp.290304. Ulmer, Gregory L. Electronic Monuments Minneapolis: Minn. UP, 2005.

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42 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH John Tinnell was born in Asheville, North Carolina. He studied American literature and creative writing at Stetson University, earning his B.A. in 2007. Upon completing his masters degree, John will continue his graduate education in English at the University of Florida in the fall of 2010. The areas of specialization for his doctoral work will likely include digital media and film studies, composition and rhetoric, and poststructuralist theory.