Mold/Modulation, Analog/Digital (A Handful of Deleuze Quotes)



Postscript on the Societies of Control (1992)

The different internments of spaces of enclosure through which the individual passes are independent variables: each time one us supposed to start from zero, and although a common language for all these places exists, it is analogical. One the other hand, the different control mechanisms are inseparable variations, forming a system of variable geometry the language of which is numerical (which doesn’t necessarily mean binary). Enclosures are molds, distinct castings, but controls are a modulation, like a self-deforming cast that will continuously change from one moment to the other, or like a sieve whose mesh will transmute from point to point. (pg. 4)

The disciplinary societies have two poles: the signature that designates the individual, and the number or administrative numeration that indicates his or her position within a mass. This is because the disciplines never saw any incompatibility between these two, and because at the same time power individualizes and masses together, that is, constitutes those over whom it exercises power into a body and molds the individuality of each member of that body… In the societies of control, on the other hand, what is important is no longer either a signature or a number, but a code: the code is a password, while on the other hand disciplinary societies are regulated by watchwords (as much from the point of view of integration as from that of resistance). The numerical language of control is made of codes that mark access to information, or reject it. We no longer find ourselves dealing with the mass/individual pair. Individuals have become “dividuals,” and masses, samples, data, markets, or “banks.” (pg. 6)

The family, the school, the army, the factory are no longer the distinct analogical spaces that converge towards an owner – state or private power – but coded figures – deformable and transformable – of a single corporation that now has only stockholders. (pg. 6)

Francis Bacon: The Logic of Sensation (1981)

The first question concerns use. For if geometry is not a part of painting, there are nonetheless properly pictorial uses of geometry. We called one of these uses “digital,” not in direct reference to the hand, but in reference to the basic units of a code. Once again, these basic units or elementary visual forms are indeed aesthetic and not mathematic, inasmuch as they have completely internalized the manual movement that produces them. (pg. 112)

“Analogical language,” it is said, belongs to the right hemisphere of the brain or, better, to the nervous system, whereas “digital language” belongs to the left hemisphere. Analogical language would be a language of relations, which consists of expressive movements, paralinguistic signs, breaths and screams, and so on. One can question whether or not this is a language properly speaking. But there is no doubt, for example, that Artaud’s theater elevated scream-breaths to the state of language. More generally, painting elevates colors and lines to the state of language, and it is an analogical language. One might even wonder if painting has not always been the analogical language par excellence. When we speak of analogical language in animals, we do not consider their possible songs, which belong to a different domain; rather we are essentially concerned with cries, variable colors, and lines (attitudes, postures). (pgs. 113-114)

It seems […] that a digital code covers certain forms of similitude or analogy: analogy by isomorphism, or analogy by produced resemblance. (pgs. 114-115)

Analogical synthesizers are “modular”: they establish an immediate connection between heterogeneous elements, they introduce a literally unlimited possibility of connection between these elements, on a field of presence or finite plane whose moments are all actual and sensible. Digital synthesizers, however, are “integral”: their operation passes through a codification, through a homogenization and binarization of the data, which is produced on a separate plane, infinite in principle, and whose sound will only be produced as the result of a conversion-translation. A second difference appears at the level of filters. The primary function of the filter is to modify the basic color of a sound, to constitute or vary its timbre. But digital filters proceed by an additive synthesis of elementary codified formants, whereas the analogical filter usually acts through the subtraction of frequencies (“high-pass,” “low-pass” . . . ) . What is added from one filter to the next are intensive subtractions, and it is thus an addition of subtractions that constitutes modulation and sensible movement as a fall. In short, it is perhaps the notion of modulation in general (and not similitude) that will enable us to understand the nature of analogical language or the diagram. (pgs. 116-117)

Painting is the analogical art par excellence. It is even the form through which analogy becomes a language, or finds its own language: by passing through a diagram. Abstract painting consequently poses a very particular problem. Abstract painting obviously proceeds by code and program, implying operations of homogenization and binarization that are constitutive of a digital code. But the abstractionists often happen to be great painters, which means that they do not simply apply to painting a code that would be external to it; on the contrary, they elaborate an intrinsically pictorial code. It is thus a paradoxical code, since instead of being opposed to analogy, it takes analogy as its object; it is the digital expression of the analogical as such. Analogy will pass through a code rather than passing through a diagram. It has a status that borders on the impossible. And in another way, perhaps art informel also borders on the impossible, for by extending the diagram to the entire painting, it takes the diagram for the analogical flux itself, rather than making the flux pass through the diagram. This time, it is as if the diagram were directed toward itself, rather than being used or treated. It no longer goes beyond itself in a code, but grounds itself in a scrambling. (pg. 117)

The diagram, the agent of analogical language, does not act as a code, but as a modulator. (pg. 120)

Gregory Bateson has a very interesting hypothesis on the language of dolphins in Steps to an Ecology of Mind […] After having distinguished analogical language, founded on relations, and digital or vocal language, founded on conventional signs, Bateson comes up against the problem of dolphins. Because of their adaptation to the sea, they have renounced the kinesic and facial signs that characterize the analogical language of other mammals; they nonetheless remained condemned to the analogical functions of this language, but found themselves in the situation of having to “vocalize” them, to codify them as such. This is something like the situation of the abstract painter. (pg. 188, note 7)

A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia (1980)

There may be a greater or lesser number of intermediate states between the molecular and the molar; there may be a greater or lesser number of exterior forces or organizing centers participating in the molar form. Doubtless, these two factors are in an inverse relation to each other and indicate limit-cases. For example, the molar form of expression may be of the “mold” type, mobilizing a maximum of exterior forces; or it may be of the “modulation” type, bringing into play only a minimum number of them. Even in the case of the mold, however, there are nearly instantaneous, interior intermediate states between the molecular content that assumes its own specific forms and the determinate molar expression of the outside by the form of the mold. Conversely, even when the multiplication and temporalization of the intermediate states testify to the endogenous character of the molar form (as with crystals), a minimum of exterior forces still intervene in each of the stages. (pg. 58)

The synthesizer has taken the place of the old “a priori synthetic judgment,” and all functions change accordingly. By placing all its components in continuous variation, music itself becomes a superlinear system, a rhizome instead of a tree, and enters the service of a virtual cosmic continuum of which even holes, silences, ruptures, and breaks are a part. (pg. 95)

In analogical transformations, we often see sleep, drugs, and amorous rapture form expressions that translate into presignifying regimes the subjective or signifying regimes one wishes to impose upon the expressions, but which they resist by themselves imposing upon these regimes an unexpected segmentarity and polyvocality. (pg. 137)

Let us recall Nietzsche’s idea of the eternal return as a little ditty, a refrain, but which captures the mute and unthinkable forces of the Cosmos. We thus leave behind the assemblages to enter the age of the Machine, the immense mechanosphere, the plane of cosmicization of forces to be harnessed. Varese’s procedure, at the dawn of this age, is exemplary: a musical machine of consistency, a sound machine (not a machine for reproducing sounds), which molecularizes and atomizes, ionizes sound matter, and harnesses a cosmic energy. If this machine must have an assemblage, it is the synthesizer. By assembling modules, source elements, and elements for treating sound (oscillators, generators, and transformers), by arranging microintervals, the synthesizer makes audible the sound process itself, the production of that process, and puts us in contact with still other elements beyond sound matter. It unites disparate elements in the material, and transposes the parameters from one formula to another. The synthesizer, with its operation of consistency, has taken the place of the ground in a priori synthetic judgment: its synthesis is of the molecular and the cosmic, material and force, not form and matter, Grund and territory. (pg. 343)

…what Simondon criticizes the hylomorphic model for is taking form and matter to be two terms defined separately, like the ends of two half-chains whose connection can no longer be seen, like a simple relation of molding behind which there is a perpetually variable, continuous modulation that it is no longer possible to grasp. The critique of the hylomorphic schema is based on “the existence, between form and matter, of a zone of medium and intermediary dimension,” of energetic, molecular dimension—a space unto itself that deploys its materiality through matter, a number unto itself that propels its traits through form. (pg. 409)

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