Marxism and art

Bryan A. Alexander bnalexan at umich.edu
Mon Jul 10 20:02:27 MDT 1995


Another refugee from quiescent seminar-14 speaks:
	The opposition between meaning and machine-function appears in
more developed form in THOUSAND PLATEAUX.  In the semiotics plateau ("587
BC - AD 70: On Several Regimes of Signs") D+G repeat thus opposition, but
assigned to greater contexts.  Interpretation is a feature of the
state-based signifying regime, which obsesses over the "regulation of
interpretations," an "infinite set of signs refer[ring] to a supreme
signifier presenting itself as both lack and excess" (and therefore
needing constant, diligent, supervised interpretation).  The machinic
hermeneutic appears as part of two other regimes, the presignifying (which
works with simple expressions, plurivocal) and the countersignifying or
nomadic (more purely functional).  The "Treatise on Nomadology" plateau
(published separately as well) develops this last point even further.
	This argument or model seems to explain the vigorous
conservativism of many in hermeneutics (Gadamer, Ricouer, etc.).  It also
can be turned on Soviet hermeneutics, as generated/modulated/supervised by
the state.
	How does this turn back on Jameson?  My first response is to think
of those bitter brief notes where Fred denounces Orwell, consummate
antistatist, as a reactionary; now Jameson ends up in the ranks of
statists (D+G are careful to leave "state" as a form, careful to apply it
to both NATO and Warsaw Pact).  This has been for me an old problem with
which I remain uncomfortable, that is, what role does the state play in
Fred's thought?  It appears (like Orwell) briefly, almost tangentially.
(Any comments here from you folks would be especially appreciated)
	And so to Marx: the Marxist context of D+G's work is difficult to
keep in mind for a variety of reasons.  Yet D has often asserted his
Marxist roots.  For both Deleuze and Marx, then, to seek to interpret
capital is to play its own game, to waste time and support reaction.  But
for Deleuze, like Negri, capital is identified so much more strongly with
the state than ever in Marx.We can see this in respective treatments of
secessionists or isolationists: D (+G) support such lines of flight as
mini-war machines, new semiotics and praxises apart from the state
apparatus.  Marx of course condemns these.



Bryan Alexander
Department of English
University of Michigan
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