From: "Greg J. Seigworth" <gseigwor@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 26 Aug 1995 10:42:39 -0400 (EDT)
Charley ... thanks for the considered and thorough reply to the first of
the questions. And thank you especially for saving what was the most
obvious (and cut-to-the-quick) response to my question about "spaces of"
until the end of your message. Every so often after a conference
presentation or after someone has read an article of mine, I will get a
question like "I heard you using a such-and-such term that so-and-so
person ALSO uses but you are not using it at all in the same way that they
do. Could you explain how your use of this term is related to theirs?"
And usually I stumble around for some semblance of a coherent response,
when what I should have said--most immediately--is "Their coincidental use
of this single term is not related at all. They are engaged in two
entirely different projects!" So you could have easily have played de
Certeau's apple to D+G's orange and left it at that (but you didn't).
Still having said that, I'm not yet fully convinced about this "spaces of
affect" usage. (Sorry, I can be thickheaded sometimes.) At one level, my
problem is this (which is pointed up nicely at the end of your message):
you remark that you remain "comfortable that the term *spaces of affects*
(quotes dropped) does not foreclose ongoing processes of 'becomings.'"
But my problem (and, maybe, it is only _my_ problem) was not that your
phraseology interrupted an ongoing process of 'becoming' but that it seems
to presume that, every time the musics starts and people begin to move, a
becoming is underway; all I'm really trying to say is that sometimes
people are unmoved/unaffected (even when they are located in a forcefield
of music and motion). I hate to be a pessimist but sometimes becomings
are never launched (Spinoza's "sad passions" and all that). There also
needs to be, in other words, more of a sense of struggle, the possibility
of incompossibility, the potential for failure. It's not that you
"foreclose" on an ongoing process but, rather, I'm not sure that you
haven't lept into the 'process of becoming' a bit too quickly. A few
years ago John Fiske was running around slapping smiley-stickers on
resistance; (ironically via a rather wily-nily appropriation of de
Certeau): maybe he still is (I've stopped reading him). You're nowhere
close to doing something similar but it's just a danger that I think we
all should watch out for (especially when we are writing as fans). God
knows how often I have been thoroughly excited by something--currently
Bjork & Tricky--only to find my friends totally unresponsive.
My other problem still has to do with "spaces" (I'll let the "of" slide).
You ask: "When does affect 'not arrive?' And then go on to describe its
appearance at every cajun music/dance event, classroom, faculty/committee
meeting that you've ever attended. I agree (except there are certain days
in the Millersville public speaking course that I'm required-- by
contract--to teach that can get pretty darned close to a total lack of
affective tonality). So, yes, affect is everywhere: we swim in it (like
fish) as Lyotard says. But, if affect occupies all space already, how can
it then be found in a plural form of spaces? What differentiates (or
perhaps I should say "differenticiates") these "spaces" from the more
general sense of space? Obviously, it is different degrees of intensity
and dispersion (as I refer in a later question of my original post).
Perhaps then it would be better, then, to refer to affect in the plural as
"affects" (to allude to these differing degrees of cohesion/turbulence)
and refer to space in the singular. Undifferentiated and zero-intensive
space is, of course, D+G's definition of the 'body without organs.' That
is where all becomings begin (or fail); it is what I meant (in an
admittedly imprecise way) by reference to deCerteau's use of place: as
something logically prior to the production of space. In fact, when I sat
down tonight to review over Plateau 10 as you suggested, ATP fell open to
page 479 (where I've made some note in the margin about Jameson and his
"cognitive map") and I found D+G's use of the phrase "space of affects."
Where would we be without chance?
P.S. Have I mentioned that I'm a reluctant and altogether lousy dancer
(maybe _this_ is my problem!)? My wife gave up on me over a decade ago.
While music has never failed to move me intensionally--after all, most of
my professional experience before academia was as a recording studio
engineer, my first 'professor-ship' was teaching at the Cincinnati
College-Conservatory of Music, I supported myself through my undergrad &
graduate years by working in record stores, I still teach radio &
multi-track recording here at Millersville and do a regular radio show on
the campus station, etc etc--I've never felt all that compelled to extend
my body across space as I listen (although Kendall, my two-year old
daughter, has managed to force me out of this habit to some degree ... as
I mentioned). I remember Larry Grossberg telling me once that it amazed
him that he'd attend a concert with Simon Frith and Frith would, more or
less, just stand or sit there: relatively immobile. But that's pretty
much my boat too.