Rhizomes, Ecologies, + Subways

I’ve been thinking about what I want to study for my ecology project and I’m still interested in the first idea I had, which was to look at a few different subway stations. With that, I also want definitely want to analyze (I don’t really like referring to it as an ‘analysis’ because I also want the website to hold a sort of experience and not just a reflection of straight information, but… I still used “analyze” anyway…) that with the trains and train networks, and how they affect the areas and peoples around them.

But mostly, I want to see how the stations themselves exist as liminal spaces. For a while now (and hopefully for the next few months too… since I’ll be focusing on this idea with this project), I’ve been really interested in the idea of spaces and ambiences, and especially the everywhere-nowhere types of spaces that I think train stations really capture. There’s something about how spaces of congregation for mass transit turn what I think would otherwise be a social gathering into something very insular and isolated. At the same time that they’re peripheral, they’re also in between (which is probably why I keep trying to use the word “liminal” since I think it captures that sort of existence really well).

“Rhizome” is a great text to view the stations in (and also was probably the most fun and engaging time I’ve had reading theory… ever?). Rhizomes having no beginning, no end, and being just sort of in-between, train stations capture that same sort of feeling, or type of existing. I think the concept of a rhizome also extends really well to digital media because they exist as and also with interfaces, which also have a dual-type (not really “dual,” but I’m not sure how else to describe it) of being.

Deleuze and Guattari also present the idea of objects and texts only existing exteriorly, as hubs from which networks of connections and relations can be made — which connects so well with the idea of media ecologies that the class opened with. For spaces to consist of the dynamic interactions and relationships within them, as ecologies, is exactly the lens I wanted and still want to analyze the stations through. But what I thought conflicted in the two texts in an interesting way was the ecologies necessarily consisting of the objects within them (and also their relationships), but the rhizomes being only exterior. Deleuze and Guattari say in the beginning, “We are no longer ourselves” (“Rhizomes” 3). So there’s a sort of deterioration of the individual then.

With that, the last (at least major) thing I’ve been thinking about is how people might also become transitory in the space of train transit — how we become parts of interfaces, being outside but also in-between. And then what ideological (even though D+G say there is no ideology) structures come into play with architectures of transit and how they’re thought about and created now.

I know that’s a lot to fit into one project so I’ll focus probably on one major idea so I don’t really do a disservice to the other concepts and spread it all too far, but I’ll definitely think about it all more!



~ by adriene on February 10, 2015.

2 Responses to “Rhizomes, Ecologies, + Subways”

  1. I feel that you have the most provocative style/voice with regards to this post, as it is easy to read, personal but yet also very edifying. You laid out your thought process very clearly and linked your media ecology project with the Rhizome reading seamlessly. Overall, I really enjoyed the organization of the blog post the most; it was really well-written!

  2. Although I chose other readings as the best post and the most provocative in style, I found your post, especially your ecology project, to be the most provocative in content. I am also fascinated with the idea of a subway station as a sort of limbo, which was well depicted in the 3rd installment of Matrix trilogy, and the way you connected this idea to Deleuze reading was something that I had not thought about.

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