Replicating Subjectivity and the Conundrum Of The Readymade

The term ‘Readymade’ describes a prefabricated, often mass-produced object isolated from intended use and elevated to the status of art by the artist choosing and designating them as such. Similarly, Colonialism occurs when a country or a nation takes control of other lands, regions, or territories outside of its borders (boundaries of the country) by turning those other lands, regions, or territories into a colony.

One response to “Replicating Subjectivity and the Conundrum Of The Readymade”

  1. According to Deleuze and Guattari’s reading of the anthropological literature, tribal societies mark bodies in initiation ceremonies, so that the products of an organ are traced to a clan, which is mythically traced to the earth or, more precisely, one of its enchanted regions, which function as the organs on the full body of the earth. Material flows are thus “territorialized,” that is, traced onto the earth, which is credited as the source of all production. The signs in tribal inscription are not signifiers: they do not map onto a voice, but enact a “savage triangle forming … a theater of cruelty that implies the triple independence of the articulated voice, the graphic hand and the appreciative eye” (189). Empires overcode these tribal meaning codes, tracing production back to the despot, the divine father of his people. Material flows in despotic empires are thus “deterritorialized” (they are no longer credited to the earth), and then immediately “reterritorialized” on the body of the despot, who assumes credit for all production. When tribal signs are overcoded, the signifier is formed as a “deterritorialized sign” allowing for communication between the conquered and the conquerors. Signifiers are a “flattening” or “bi-univocalization”: two chains are lined up, one to one, the written and the spoken (205–6; cf. Derrida’s notion of “phonocentrism”). The body of the despot as imperial socius means that workers are the “hands” of the emperor, spies are his “eyes,” and so on.

    Capitalism is the radical decoding and deterritorialization of the material flows that previous social machines had zealously coded on the earth or the body of the despot. Production is credited to the “body” of capital, but this form of recording works by the substitution of an “axiomatic” for a code: in this context an “axiomatic” means a set of simple principles for the quantitative calculation of the difference between flows (of deterritorialized labor and capital) rather than elaborate rules for the qualitative judgments that map flows onto the socius. Capitalism’s command is utterly simple: connect deterritorialized flows of labor and capital and extract a surplus from that connection. Thus capitalism sets loose an enormous productive charge—connect those flows! Faster, faster!—the surpluses of which the institutions of private property try to register as belonging to individuals. Now those individuals are primarily social (as figures of capitalist or laborer) and only secondarily private (family members). Whereas organs of bodies were socially marked in previous regimes (as belonging to the clan and earth, or as belonging to the emperor, as in the jus primae noctis), body organs are privatized under capitalism and attached to persons as members of the family. In Deleuze and Guattari’s terms, capitalism’s decoded flows are reterritorialized on “persons,” that is, on family members as figures in the Oedipal triangle.

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