Actants // Reactants // Rat Rock


Dude climbs with shirt off

Makes me uncomfortable

Me, I can’t undress

“How could movements of deterritorialization and processes of reterritorialization not be relative, always connected, caught up in one another?” (Deleuze and Guattari 10) write Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari in “Rhizome” from A Thousand Plateaus. I do not like asking questions of readers – although sometimes I do. Deleuze and Guattari explore this question in their text, but I cannot say that I grasp the answers yet. There is a concept here worth exploring, however, clearly if there was none this would not be an assigned reading.

Screen Shot 2015-10-03 at 11.13.03 PM

Climbers are the actants I am most interested in at my site, Rat Rock in Central Park. Their existence is what makes the site interesting to me. I see them as deterritorializing the rocks on which they climb while being reterritorialized by the same rock. These two parties play off one another both physically and at a level resembling affect.Screen Shot 2015-10-03 at 11.13.17 PM

I do not want to spend all of my energy focusing on only one of the many actors at this site, however, so I would like to call attention to a few more: the people, animals, and plants (the living beings), but also the weather and the time. These are all factors whose implicit forms become like fluids here as they swirl together, forming a vortex whose centre lies at Rat Rock itself. In “The Autonomy of Affect” from Parables of the Virtual, Brian Massumi writes of implicit form, “[it] may be thought of as the effective presence of the sum total of a thing’s interactions minus the thing” (Massumi 35). I would like to think of this swirling of form as a continuous process of deterritorialization and reterritorialization, although the use of those terms may be all too binary in this case – and furthermore I still am not sure I have a firm grasp of their meanings yet.Screen Shot 2015-10-03 at 11.13.28 PM

In Emma Charles’ short film “Fragment on Machines” we see human characters as secondary elements, many ignorant of the highly industrial systems that hum, labouring for their benefit, in the buildings around them. There is great power in the network that allows instant communications between people, but the physical manifestations of this network, the cables and wires and housing and air conditioning and electricity – becomes forgotten. I want to explore what silently humming networks contribute to Rat Rock as a site of interest for climbers. And furthermore, how might the affect of this network impress itself upon the act of climbing.Screen Shot 2015-10-03 at 11.13.35 PM

I wrote at the beginning of this post that I do not like asking questions of readers. And yet somehow I feel that without explicitly writing questions I have brought up more than I have been able to answer. That is a cliché conclusion – I will avoid those in the future.



A rat runs on rock

A simple observation

Stirs questions in me

~ by caspermessmann on October 3, 2015.

2 Responses to “Actants // Reactants // Rat Rock”

  1. I think that the Haikus are great! They’re an interesting way to captivate the reader’s attention from the start. It also adds some humor, too.

    Although, to me, the notion of climbers deterritorializing the rock is something that I wish for you to elaborate on more. What exactly do the climbers, as well as the many other actants, do the the territory surrounding the rock – and the rock itself – that allows you to see rock’s deterritorialization. Similarly, how exactly does the rock reterritorialize the actants upon the rock? While there certainly can be affect as a product of this relationship, I wish to understand what precise affect this produces. While I see that you state that you may not have a firm grasp on this binary relationship yet, I think it is something interesting to delve in to nonetheless.

    Your artistic choice to the split one picture up into quadrants is also interesting to me. I think each quadrant is able to highlight a different actant, and that within itself is a very strong statement.

  2. Casper – after reading your blog post for this week, two things stood out to me — the two poems and the broken but connected image. I think the two poems work extremely well as a start and then end to the post as it sets the mood and topic of your post. The image is cleverly presented as it resonates with the idea of climbing — the higher you climb, the more you can see.

    I also learned a lot from the quotes you decided to embed from the readings especially when you connected it to your ecology. The idea of affect becomes clearer when you state what you are focusing on at Rat Rock. I think that the combination of these elements will definitely aid you in understanding the way different agents play a role in the ecology as well as the interactions between them.

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