Walker Art Center


February 17, 2003

Thoughts while reading the Rhizome piece

Reaction to Osfavelados and his Rhizome for dummies

Maybe Hypertexts do indeed not exist, because we cannot perceive them, we can only follow its branches but it is very hard for a human to perceive all the branches at once, it is hard for humans to comprehend the totality of all possibilities. We think in lines, follow paths, go back on our tracks. If that is hypertext, then maybe it does exist, but chances are that we are only confronted with chaos.

I am a phenomenologist: I believe that I can only perceive the world with the aid of myself. This results in a world that exists within me. That world is a manipulated copy of the world, manipulated in order to help me understand it, manipulated to help me cope with the chaos that is. While looking at the world I manipulate the world in order to understand it. If I cannot deal with a certain perspective, I cannot use it to perceive the world, the things that can therefore be seen using that perspective do not exist. I can be a flat earther, a believer in witchcraft, a rave-god on acid trying to fly, a successful manager using neuro-programming: what I believe is the truth even if I will believe something else tomorrow.

Can the rhizome be perceived? I believe there is a chance the human mind cannot cope with the perspective and therefore it can be said that the rhizome does not exist. But I’m not sure. From a creative perspective I do not fully agree with the rhizome (which does not mean I cold not enjoy one)

>>>A book has neither object nor subject; it is
>>> made of variously formed matters, and
>>>very different dates and speeds...

There are several writers who have created books like that, William Burroughs for instance, while using his taperecorder experiments (the joy of postmodernism: a book that writes itself). It is a nice thing to write, and sometimes even nice to read, it. But it is my creative choice to try to create stories that have a subject and an object. I like suspense, I like fairytales and would like to give the same feeling I got as a kid when reading a great book as a present to my audience.

>>>A book is in itself a little machine;

Indeed, following certain rules one can create suspense, excitement, rage, love, horney vibes in the head of the person reading your story. Willingly play with the emotions of the reader, take their feelings on a grand tour, using machinery of the narrative elements. A true revolution is one of the heart:. Create the emotion and the heart will follow.

>>While Modern thinking uses the tree
>>metaphor, trunks and branches that
>>classifies the world into categories and
>>relations [structures], D+G propose the
>>model of rhizome, where all heterogeneous
>>elements are interconnected, new relations
>>can be continuously invented.

I like this one. Thinking of Spaghetti: Spaghetti started out as a tool to connect pieces of writing while putting them on a drawing field. Later on I started seeing it as a tool to create overviews of buildings and landscapes. A topography of a story, spatial narative. But one can always use it the way it was intended in the first place, but StroySpace can probably be used the same way.

>>While Modernism's pretension was to
>>interpret unconscious, rhizome is a tool
>>to produce new unconscious, to produce new

I like this one too. But humans are stupid animals. In a way it is my opinion (note: I’m very careful here) that Gone With the Wind is one of the best films ever made, because it is one of the most successful in creating emotions. And in my opinion, that is what the purpose of a movie and any other piece of art should be. And isn’t emotion the result of (unconscious) desires? Combine this with my explanation of the book (/work of art) as a machine, then a work of art is a machine intended to create emotions.

>>>While Modernism imagines there is a
>>>certain given structure of reality that
>>has to be revealed, and thus it has an
>>unavoidable conservative perspective of
>>the world, rhizome doesn't give this for
>>granted; past, present and future are to
>>be continuously invented.

Present and future can be invented over and over again to suit our unconscious desires so they can be expressed in our emotions.

This may all sound very pro Hollywood and in a way, it is. But Hollywood only takes it one way: try to give the audience the emotion they want (no more bad endings is their creed).

I do not believe in the creed of the authentic work of art, especially not when creating literature/narrative. Instead I believe that we can create new works of narrative by combining elements we know and telling it the way we want. Hollywood – in a way -does the same, but it does only provide those elements that they think are best suited for a mass audience (not to mention the way they tell their stories).

A man accused of something he has not done, a woman in search of her father in a foreign city, a young boy trying to find a safe passage through a dark forest. Those are powerful stories that can be used as elements in a machine.

Rhizome sounds like chaos. No one is going to read chaos for fun when they cannot understand what it is about. Unless the structure of our mind is going to change and we are able to perceive order in that newly created type of chaos called the rhizome. There is a possibility that this could happen: watch today’s videoclips and movies and compare them to those of 20 years ago. But when we are able to perceive order in a Rhizome, is it still a rhizome? (sounds like some theories about the grotesque to me: the grotesque exists at the moment after we realize something is strange and before we understand what it is)

And what is the difference between dark romanticism and rizhome?

Posted by Jeroen Goulooze at February 17, 2003 02:27 PM

hi jeroen
thanks for your interest in my post. i wasn´t probably very politically correct in it... sorry to whoever might have been disturbed by it. i was somehow replying to a couple of articles / messages sent by f in the last months... as i am using rhizome myself as a tool as a central piece of my work, i am a bit susceptible about certain comments... and i guess within a certain boundaries there is need, sometimes, for a little agressiveness in this no contact chats.

of course, as structuralism does, rhizome has many limitations. as you well say, as soon as you find order in rhizome, - D+G would say, as soon as you over-codify it -, then it isn´t a rhizome anymore.

However, things that you find in rhizome, instead of "order", are strands, nodes, speeds - idoru?-, intensities, fugues, rhythms, assemblages, multiplicities, territorializations / reterritorializations, cartographies... that is, you find other things, that, who knows, might be interesting. and of course you don´t know how interesting or moving... they may be, until you find them and go through them... like friends or lovers or most of the things in life...

the failure of the plan is part of the plan...

i might go cook some spaguetti now...
easy... osfa

Posted by: osfa on February 17, 2003 03:24 PM

I live in Holland, I'm not worried by being political incorectness, and I did not seee any.

I was only thinking out loud about a certain tendency I percieve: the more revolutionary someone gets while making art, the more chaotic, rhizomatic the art becomes most of the time. And I took another position,

It was a creative opinion I gave. Nothing more. This is not an oposit opinion. This is a rhizomatic world, no oposites exist here.

Posted by: Jeroen Goulooze on February 17, 2003 05:21 PM
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