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Whatever the outcome of the elitist quest for community, however, no matter how the relationship between elites and the labouring masses may turn out, the production of a new space commensurate with the capacities of the productive forces (technology and knowledge) can never be brought about by any particular social group; it must of necessity result from the relationship between groups – between classes or fractions of classes – on a world scale.

There should therefore be no cause for surprise when a space-related issue spurs collaboration (often denounced on that basis by party politicians) between very different kinds of people, between those who ‘react’ – reactionaries, in a traditional political parlance – and ‘liberals’ or ‘radicals,’ progressives, ‘advanced’ democrats, and even revolutionaries. Such coalitions around some particular counter-project or counter-plan, promoting a counter-space in opposition to the one embodied in the strategies of power, occur all over the world, as easily in Boston, New York or Toronto as in English or Japanese cities. Typically the first group – the ‘reactors’ – oppose a particular project in order to protect their own privileged space, their gardens and parks, their nature, their greenery, sometimes their comfortable old homes – or sometimes, just as likely, their familiar shacks. The second group – the ‘liberals’ or ‘radicals’ – will meanwhile oppose the same project on the grounds that it represents a seizure of the space concerned by capitalism in a general sense, or by specific financial interests, or by a particular developer. The ambiguity of such concepts as that of ecology, for example, which is a mixture of science and ideology, facilitates the formation of the most unlikely alliances.

–– Henri Lefebvre, The Production of Space (1974), p. 381 of D. Nicholson-Smith’s (1991) translation

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In one of his masterpieces, H.P. Lovecraft recounts the story of Randolph Carter, who feels his “self” reel and who experiences a fear worse than that of annihilation: “Carters of forms both human and non-human, vertebrate and invertebrate, conscious and mindless, animal and vegetable. And more there were Carters having nothing in common with earthly life, but moving outrageously amidst backgrounds of other planets and systems and galaxies and cosmic continua…Merging with nothingness is peaceful oblivion; but to be aware of existence and yet to know that one is no longer a definite being distinguished from other beings,” nor from all of the becomings running through us, “that is the nameless summit of agony and dread.” Hofmannsthal, or rather Lord Chandos, becomes fascinated with a “people” of dying rats, and it is him, through him, in the interstices of his disrupted self that the “soul of the animal bares its teeth at the monstrous fate”: not pity, but unnatural participationBut then a strange imperative wells up in him: either stop writing, or write like a rat…If the writer is a sorcerer, it is because writing is a becoming, writings is traversed by strange becomings that are not becomings-writer, but becomings-rat, becomings-insect, becomings-wolf, etc. We will have to explain why. Many suicides by writers are explained by these unnatural participations, these unnatural nuptials. Writers are sorcerers because they experience the animal as the only population before which they are responsible in principle. The German pre-romantic Karl Philipp Mortiz feels responsible in principle not for the calves that die but before the calves that die and give him the incredible feeling of an unknown Nature – affect. For the affect is not a personal feeling, nor is it a characteristic; it is the effectuation of a power of the pack that throws the self into upheaval and makes it reel. Who has no known the violence of these animal sequences, which uproot one from humanity, if only for an instant, making one scrape at one’s bread like  a rodent or giving one the yellow eyes of a feline? A fearsome involution calling us toward unheard-of becomings. These are not regressions, although fragments of regression, sequences of regression may enter in.

Deleuze and Guattari (1987). A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia (Vol. 2). Trans. Massumi. p. 240.

From Luigi Serafini's Codex Sphinianus (With thanks to Dara Blumenthal for sending!)

From Luigi Serafini’s Codex Seraphinianus (With thanks to Dara Blumenthal for sending!)

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