Thursday, December 20, 2007

An entirely new medium of academic engagement and interaction

I happened to come across Deleuze’s review of Simondon’s L’individuation online (another translation can also be found in Desert Islands and Other Texts). It is interesting to observe how many of the key themes that will make up his later work are already pre-figured here: his critique of the false alternative between formless chaos and supreme individuation, the distinction between singularities and individuals, the role of irreducible inequalities in the actualization of beings, the idea of the individual as a product or result, resonance between divergent series, and so on. This should not, of course, come as a surprise as these themes were already central to Nietzsche & Philosophy (especially the all important sections on quantity and quality in the second chapter), and this review was written in 1966 when Deleuze would have been composing Difference and Repetition (these themes figure heavily in chapter five, “The Assymetrical Synthesis of the Sensible”).
At some point I hope we see a translation of Simondon’s L’individuation à la lumière des notions de forme et d’information. I’ve been working through it for some time, but it’s very slow going as Simondon draws heavily on a variety of different sciences, working with their various vocabularies. Out of frustration I’ve even thought about paying someone to translate it, though it would cost a fortune. Being the crass American that I am, my French just isn’t that strong. I have little doubt that this book would have a tremendous impact on English speaking work on Deleuze as well as a variety of other disciplines. Fractal Ontology has been kind enough to translate portions of L’individuation for those who are interested. Be sure to check out their translations of Ruyer as well (Joseph and Taylor, you two really ought to be perfecting your translations and publishing them, not throwing them out into the blogosphere…Though we’re all grateful to you for your work).
In addition to these sources, Shaviro of The Pinocchio Theory has a couple of excellent posts working through Simondon’s L’individuation (here, here, and here). The third of these posts is the most interesting for me in relation to my own work. It was these posts that first motivated me to start my own blog, as they were the first writings from the “theory blogosphere” I came across, showing me an entirely new medium of academic engagement and interaction. In addition to this, Nick, of The Accursed Share, has been kind enough to post the first half of Simondon’s On the Mode of Existence of Technical Objects. by larvalsubjects

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the link; and yeah, once we realized we might be able to put something substantial together, we quit posting our translation work directly on the internet. We figure we'll continue to host the documents we already have posted up there... All of the work posted is Taylor's, and although they're fairly solid, they're essentially "guerilla" translations; we were learning as we were going along. Our fluency is picking up, though, and we're currently beginning work on a more full-scale project (one of Laruelle's books) as well as a few other things we're cooking up...

    Your blog is great, by the way. Keep it up!