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Exhausting (Architectural) Theory, Noopolitics and the Image of Thought
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE). (Critical Studies in Architecture)
2016 (English)In: SITE MagazineArticle in journal (Other academic) In press
Abstract [en]

It is exactly the space and pace, the local and global extent of exhaustion that I wish to explore again in this essay. In the introduction to Deleuze and Architecture, and in other of my writings,[1] I have extracted a methodology of exhaustion from Deleuze’s brief and dense essay “The Exhausted”, so removing and abstracting it, without some attendant risks, from the specific application he has tested in his reading of Samuel Beckett’s novels, plays and television plays.[2] Below I will address the way Deleuze enumerates four ways of exhausting the possible, accepting that this list should not be taken as exhaustive. I should also admit that I have wilfully extracted these four approaches from what Deleuze identifies as three ‘Languages’: Language I, II, and III respectively. It is important to note, as I will elaborate, that the results of the methodology of exhaustion can proceed toward a more powerful composition of forces, as well as toward a decomposition of our relations and encounters amidst our local environment-worlds. That is to say, the methodology produces what could be judged as both ‘failures’ and ‘successes’, but this very much depends on point of view and situation. Although in Deleuze’s argument the methodology seems to progress from exhaustive series or ‘combinatorials’ (of concepts, things, images,) toward the dissipation of the power of an ‘image of thought’, I will argue that it is more useful to see what happens when the methodology is followed in both directions.  The four approaches to a methodology of exhaustion include: 1) the composition of combinatorials arranged through the formation of exhaustive series (of concepts, images, things, any such thing that can be named); 2) the drying up or exhausting of the flow of weak and strong voices; 3) the extenuation of the potentialities of space by way of the any-space-whatever, as well as exhaustion via images; 4) and finally, the dissipation of the power of the ‘image of thought’, which as an iconoclastic moment leads either to a new more positive image of thought or else to a more dogmatic one. It is also worth mentioning that there is a mathematical and geometrical definition of a method of exhaustion that allows the area beneath a curve to be calculated by approaching the problem of exactly measuring curvature without, strictly speaking, arriving at anything more than a sufficient answer, creating what might be called a working method. To be exhaustive, in the sense of a search party, is to search an area as completely as possible, but there is always the suspicion that some thing still remains to be unearthed, or that we missed some crucial detail. And so the search may well be taken up at a later date. Crucially, and as will hopefully become clearer, the methodology of exhaustion as well as confronting the dissipation of sense, also leads to the breakdown of the organic or inorganic body, defined in the broadest way to include, for instance, a human body, a body politic, a built environment-body, an ecological body, and so forth.

[1] Hélène Frichot, “Michelle Hamer: One Stitch at a Time” in Louis Mannie Leoni, ed. 05401, 01 (2012) pp. 17-19, 25-26; Hélène Frichot and Stephen Loo “Introduction: The Exhaustive and the Exhausted – Deleuze AND Architecture” in Deleuze and Architecture, op. cit.; Hélène Frichot, “Gentri-Fiction and our (E)States of Reality: On the Exhaustion of the Image of Thought and the Fatigued Image of Architecture”, in Nadir Lahiji, ed. The Missed Encounter of Radical Philosophy with Architecture (London: Bloomsbury, 2014).

[2] “The Exhausted” was first published not in the collected essays of Critique et Clinique, translated by Daniel W. Smith as Essays Critical and Clinical, where it now appears in English, but first appeared in Samuel Becket’s Quad et autres pieces pour la television. Samuel Beckett, Quad et autres pieces pour la television (Paris: les éditions de minuit, 1992); Gilles Deleuze, Critique et Clinique, Paris: Éditions de Minuit, 1993); Gilles Deleuze, Essays Critical and Clinical , Daniel W. Smith and Michael A. Greco, trans. (London: Verso, 1998).



Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm, 2016.
Keyword [en]
noopolitics, architectural theory, exhaustion
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-193065OAI: diva2:974880
Available from: 2016-09-27 Created: 2016-09-27 Last updated: 2016-09-27

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