Smooth Striations

Almost like a reminder of the room as time-machine in Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency [and for this reader: the metaphor of the book in hand as time-machine], the potential of language as a transportation device is referenced by Marie-Laure Ryan as being close at hand.

Life is lived in real time, as a succession of presents, but through its ability to refer to physically absent objects, language puts consciousness in touch with the past and the future, metamorphoses time into a continuous spread that can be traveled in all directions, and transports the imagination to distant locations.

Eerie that in a web search after typing in the first four letters of the keyword TARDIS a neurological disorder (tardive dyskinesia*) is offered up as next in line … and the association may yet shift over time.

Ryan’s marvellous book, Narrative as Virtual Reality, can account for such hypertextual transitions by reference to the suggestion from Mark Nunes (“Virtual Topographies: Smooth and Striated Cyberspace” in Cyberspace Textuality) that Deleuze and Guattari’s distinctions between the smooth and the striated have some use in describing types of … let us pick up Ryan’s words:

The spatial metaphor supports different scenarios, depending on whether textual space is conceived as a “smooth” expanse that the reader cruises for the pleasure of the trip or as a “striated” space of freeways whose sole purpose is to lead to a destination. […] In a smooth-space environment, the reader is driven by an obsession to get further, either fortified or dampened in this drive by the thought that her desire to exhaust all the links cannot be satisfied. In a striated space, the reader gives herself a goal, such as reaching the center of a labyrinth, or finding the exit, and her relation to the text is very much that of a player who hopes to beat a computer game.

Back to Nunes. His note 7

Guattari in later writing has addressed how computer-mediated communication can “not merely convey representational contents, but also contribute to the fabrication of new assemblages of enunciation, individual and collective” (19). See “Regimes, Pathways, Subjects” (Incorporations, New York: Zone, 1992) for a discussion of machines, assemblages of enunciation, and the production of subjectivities.

And to Guattari’s note 3 (trans. Brian Massumi) which concludes

What we need to conceptualize is a continuum running from children’s games and the makeshift ritualizations accompanying attempts at psychopathological recompositions of “schizoid” worlds, through the complex cartographies of myth and art, all the way to the sumptuous speculative edifices of theology and philosophy, which have sought to apprehend these same dimensions of existential creativity (examples are Plotinus’s “forgetful souls” and the “unmoving motor” which, according to Leibinz, preexists any dissipation of potential).

*This neurological disorder frequently appears after long-term or high-dose use of antipsychotic drugs.

And so for day 968

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.