December 16th, 1975

Everyone knows the body moves. But it's not these movements we want to talk about. What interests us are movements of a more secret nature. The body is endowed with intensive movements. What are these intensive movements? Even if we've already often used this formula – for the moment we won't seek to justify it – compared to the animal body, the human body is animated by movements of deterritorialization. The human body is a deterritorialized animal body. Remember that wonderful passage in Nietzsche when for the first time the fish leaves the swamp and breathes air… Little by little, it raises itself on its hind feet.  The whole story of the human body's arrival at vertical stature is a vast tale of deterritorialization. Let's look at some examples, let's not think in terms of partial-object integration but rather in terms of composition of relative movements of deterritorialization.

Seminar Introduction

Deleuze 1975-1876 seminars were filmed by one of his students, Marielle Burkhalter, as part of her masters project, "Filming Philosophy as it Happens." Enrico Ghezzi acquired the videos for broadcast on the RAI 3 cinema programme "Fuori Orario," after inviting Burkhalter to screen them at a festival he co-curated. Marielle Burkhalter, along with Stavroula Bellos, would eventually become the director of the L’association Siècle Deleuzien, and oversaw the French transcriptions of Deleuze's seminars at the Voix de Gilles Deleuze website at the University of Paris 8. 

Links to a number of these recordings that are available on YouTube are provided below, each of which includes subtitles in Italian. We are grateful to those who have uploaded these videos.

We have ordered the video material chronologically and divided it into 3 categories, providing short titles describing the topics covered for general orientation. The first (A) refers to the seminars that were filmed at Paris-8 Vincennes in 1975-76, around the time that Deleuze and Guattari began working on what would become “Mille Plateaux”. The second (B) includes seminars from 1980-87, after the campus of Vincennes had been demolished and relocated to St. Denis. The third category (C) features miscellaneous fragments or short edits of the above material.

Deleuze in Seminar
Deleuze in his seminar at the University of Paris VIII, Vincennes, in 1975.

A. Deleuze at Paris 8-Vincennes, 1975-76

Il Senso In Meno 1 Gilles Deleuze & Felix Guattari Vincennes, 1975 1976 Parti 1 2 3 4 (4:00:00)

Il Senso In Meno 2 Gilles Deleuze & Felix Guattari Vincennes, 1975 1976 Parti 6 7 8 9 (4:21:40)

deleuze su molteplicità molare e molteplicità molecolare (1:40:51)

B. Deleuze at Paris 8-St.Denis, 1980-87

The personal pronoun “I” (1980) (video link only partial), transcript and translation located in the second Anti-Oedipus and Other Reflections Seminar, 3 June 1980. [New translation provided of this segment added to the 3 June 1980 lecture]

https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x36nts9

Deleuze sur Hegel (3:34), Deleuze on Hegel (1980), follows the preceding clip, transcript and translation located in the second Anti-Oedipus and Other Reflections Seminar, 3 June 1980.

On Leibniz (1986) -- Session 3 (18 Nov 1986), transcript and translation located in the Leibniz and the Baroque seminar, 1986-87

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yEg4Tc40rWM

On Harmony (1987) -- Session 20 (2 June 1987), transcript and translation located in the Leibniz and the Baroque seminar

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JBMX6uECxc

C. Various fragments (in random order, clips that are segments from longer videos included above in A)

Gilles Deleuze - Vincennes 1975-76 (compilation) Although this long cllp seems to begin at 1:28:40, the viewer can back up to the start for the full length. However, the segment begins in progress, with students seeming to debate a burning question.  (3:05:57)

Gilles Deleuze, Pierre-Félix Guattari a Vincennes (1975-1976) (22:30)

Félix Guattari - Université de Vincennes 1975 (9:56)

Deleuze et le roman (9:35)

Deleuze sur le langage (1:19)

Deleuze sur la musique (1:04)

Deleuze - Boulez - Berg (5:36)

Gilles Deleuze, Lecture, Mille Plateaux 1 (7:00)

Gilles Deleuze, Lecture, Mille Plateaux 2 (9:26)

Gilles Deleuze - Morale ed etica (Lezioni a Vincennes, 1975/76) Interview with Richard Pinhas (7:03)

Gilles Deleuze à Vincennes, 1 (sub. ITA) (9:47)

Gilles Deleuze à Vincennes, 2 (sub. ITA) (9:51)

Gilles Deleuze à Vincennes, 3 (sub. ITA) (4:36)

Gilles Deleuze à Vincennes, 4 (sub. ITA) (9:27)

Gilles Deleuze à Vincennes, 5 (sub. ITA) (9:56)

Gilles Deleuze à Vincennes, 6 (sub. ITA) (9:50)

Gilles Deleuze à Vincennes, 7 (sub. ITA) (9:47)

Gilles Deleuze à Vincennes, 8 (sub. ITA) (9:49)

Gilles Deleuze à Vincennes, 9 (sub. ITA) (9:58)

Gilles Deleuze à Vincennes, 10 (sub. ITA) (9:48)

Gilles Deleuze à Vincennes, 11 (sub. ITA) (9:52)

Gilles Deleuze à Vincennes, 12 (sub. ITA) (9:35)

Gilles Deleuze à Vincennes, 13 (sub. ITA) (9:52)

Gilles Deleuze à Vincennes, 14 (sub. ITA) (9:54)

Gilles Deleuze à Vincennes, 15 (sub. ITA) (9:56)

Gilles Deleuze à Vincennes 1975 (9) italian sub (51:51)

Gilles Deleuze a Vincennes 1/3 (sub ita) (4:00:00)

Gilles Deleuze a Vincennes 2/3 (sub ita) (4:21:40)

 

English Translation

Edited

In a dual lecture including both Deleuze and Guattari, the authors introduce different terms developed in their ongoing collaboration which will result, in 1980, in A Thousand Plateaus.

Gilles Deleuze

Deleuze & Guattari at Vincennes, 1975-76

Il Senso in Meno, Part 5 - Faciality, White Screen, Three Theorems of Deterritorialization

Translated by Graeme Thomson and Silvia Maglioni

 

There’s an article by Lewin... You can find it in this issue of Nouvelle revue de psychoanalyse, just after the Isakower text. In this article, Lewin discovers a white screen of the dream. We could also call it a white wall of the dream. The white screen of the dream, that one normally doesn't see... Why not? According to Lewin, we don't see the white screen of the dream because it is usually covered by the dream's visual contents. And seeing as how Lewin is nonetheless a Freudian, just as one might predict, the dream's visual contents express the desires – but it's the white screen of desire - that come to trouble sleep. However, for Lewin this white screen expresses something else, not the desires that trouble sleep but the desire to sleep. This is obviously why we don't see it. There's only one case where we see it: when the dream lacks visual content, that is when the dream is for the most part, or else entirely, made up of vague proprioceptive sensations. You see how he's trying to rival Isakower...

The white screen of dream appears to the dreamer only when the dream is without visual content, when its only contents are those of a proprioceptive nature – manual, cutaneous and so on, as Isakower defines them. Spitz adds the white screen. The white wall. He too being a Freudian, and always adding something to Isakower while preserving his theory, Spitz wonders what the white screen is. And he says that the white screen is again the mommy's breast. The white wall, the white screen are mommy's breast. It's odd... How can the white screen be mommy's breast? It's not difficult, says Spitz – no, sorry… I wanted to say Lewin. Spitz will have something else to say...

According to Lewin, it's when the suckling baby experiences the approach of its mother's breast, getting larger and then pressing flat. Bizarre, wouldn't you say? The mother's breast approaches the baby and, as it does so, it gets larger and flattens. And it loses its volume... I always get this wrong: concave or convex? Convex? I don't know... you work it out! And then it forms a white screen. As you see, Lewin adds two points to Isakower's study: a white screen appears precisely when the dream still lacks visual content. And then this white screen represents the breast that approaches and presses flat.

[tape interrupted]

Spitz says that the white screen has a role that Lewin hasn't noticed. It's not at all the breast approaching and flattening out. That's not what it represents. It's the face of the mother, which the child uses as a guide to find the breast. In this way, he manages to combine Isakower's sensation of contact with visual perception from a distance. And like many other pediatricians, he concludes that from very early on, the child uses the mother's face as a guide. But what are the conditions of the face it sees? It sees it from the front, though blurred, a white stain on which some kind of holes are vaguely defined: the holes of the eyes. And this takes on crucial importance with regard to feeding.

[tape interrupted]

As long as the mouth and eyes are treated as... volumes or cavities, they are not yet... and here we need a new word: facialized. In more simple terms I would almost say that they still form part of the body. The facialization of the mouth and nose perhaps imply certain operations that presuppose the white wall, or the white screen, the eyes as black holes. A whole facialization that is not pre-established. So, in saying this, we must also say that there is a facialization of the breast.

[tape interrupted]

The third phase of organization of the face might consist in a series of genetic stages. But this doesn't really tell us anything. We have the impression that it isn’t like that, it isn't true, that's not the way it happens. Nor do we wish to see it in terms of phenomenological positions. That's not what happens either. It's not like that. It's not a confrontation of gazes, the gaze of the baby seeking the gaze of the mother. In such an approach, we hear the galloping hooves of spiritualism approaching. That's not it. And the proof of this is that for the baby it functions even when the mother is masked. A mask with two holes. Or else, when the mask has eyes it tries to pull at them, to tear them off like two little balls.

So we won't bother with phenomenological positions. We're tired of all that. And, naturally, there's another approach we also refuse. We absolutely do not want this to be a question of partial-object integration. And yet we feel that there is that danger…the baby's hand, the mouth, breast, eyes, the white wall to integrate them all. Why don't we want this? Because we're extremely diffident towards partial objects. We have the impression that that's not the way our machine functions. What is this business of partial-object integration anyway? We see the return of the baby's split-up body that would be integrated little by little and then... this list of objects: hand, breast, mouth, eyes... one could add others to the list. But we wouldn't wish to do this.

And, as a last point, nether do we wish to have anything to do with a structuring-structural organization. Because even in this case, imagining there is a beginning, if we consider our abstract machine without knowing what it does, knowing only that it works, that the little balls move and there is the white wall and the black hole... then we can say it works, even if we don't know to what purpose. It's a whole different field to that of partial objects or of structuring-structural organizations or of genetic axes and what have you. So what might it be for?

To be more clear, I'll try to give you the answer, otherwise if I pretend to discover it, the whole thing becomes too confusing... Perhaps we can say the following: The body is endowed with movement. It shouldn't be thought of in terms of objects but in terms of its movement. You will tell me I'm not saying anything new. Everyone knows the body moves. But it's not these movements we want to talk about. What interests us are movements of a more secret nature. The body is endowed with intensive movements.

What are these intensive movements? Even if we've already often used this formula – for the moment we won't seek to justify it – compared to the animal body, the human body is animated by movements of deterritorialization. The human body is a deterritorialized animal body. Remember that wonderful passage in Nietszche when for the first time the fish leaves the swamp and breathes air… Little by little, it raises itself on its hind feet. 

 

The whole story of the human body's arrival at vertical stature is a vast tale of deterritorialization. Let's look at some examples, let's not think in terms of partial-object integration but rather in terms of composition of relative movements of deterritorialization. I need only go back to my list: the hand.

The hand, as is well known, is a paw. It's generally agreed that the hand is a deterritorialized forepaw, literally ripped from the ground. This at least is a fact. What's more, primary school textbooks distinguish between the so-called musculoskeletal hand – that of the monkey swinging from branch to branch - and the prehensile hand. And it can be said that the musculoskeletal hand represents a second degree of deterritorialization in relation to the paw, while the prehensile hand represents a third degree of deterritorialization. So this free hand... at the same time has a correlative. Interesting...

We never deterritorialize alone but at least in two. And this is important for us. We will never treat the hand as a partial-object. That's a butcher's idea, to say that the hand is a partial object. It's pure Frankenstein. Or that the eyes are partial objects. It makes no sense. It's no good, it's for those who chop people up into pieces, the anatomists. Of course they make the body function through partial-object integration. It's a disgrace. For us the hand isn't a severed hand, it's not a partial object but the support of a movement.

Let's try to find a better word. It's the agent of a movement of deterritorialization that must literally be qualified, measured, quantified. There are speeds of deterritorialization. I said that one never deterritorializes alone. So what does the hand's deterritorialization have as its complement? The tool-object, the use-object. When the hand ceases to be musculoskeletal and becomes prehensile what does it grab hold of? What it seizes, even if it happens to be a breast, is the use-object. The tool. What we will call machine is already this. I'm not saying it's the machine in its totality, but it is the assemblage of the two. So that's the first level.

Second level: the mouth. Is it a partial object? Note how I don't yet posit a face, I haven't posited a face. I treat the mouth as a cavity that is part of the animal body, part of what we call the muzzle or head. But it doesn't belong to a face. It wouldn't be good if I already gave myself a face.

(Student)

- Therefore the mouth...

 

 

(Deleuze)

- Here too it's not a partial object but an agent of deterritorialization. Why is this? Obviously, it's not the same as for the hand. This is why we have to compare all these movements of deterritorialization and constitute a body. Not like some idiot partial object integration. I erase this last remark. Not like some partial object integration, as Melanie Klein so elegantly said, but like... erase that... the simultaneous place, the simultaneous agent of a vector and a movement of deterritorialization, with different intensities and velocities. And everything happens at once. There's no primacy in the connections, they all link up with one another.

So why is also the mouth swept up in a movement of deterritorialization? Because – and I hope this is true since I only found it in a text written by a German professor called Klaatch – who says something quite splendid. He studied to be a vet and he says: Humans, not even hominids, but only humans have lips. What a revelation! Only humans have lips. Even if some humans don't, but this concerns faciality. What does this mean that only humans have lips? He doesn't say much about it but there's one very lyrical passage. I'll read it to you later because it's quite charming, like a little ballet of the face. He speaks so well that you can tell this is someone who knows his subject. But what does he mean?

The lips, which are so important for the human mouth, are the outfolding of the mucous membranes. It's rare, it's very singular, a mucous membrane that outfolds. If I'm not wrong, animals don't have lips. Which means that their external skin hardens, I hope. And yet I'm disturbed when I look at a cow because it seems like it has lips but it surely isn't the case. It's the external skin that hardens. In this sense the cow's head is part of its body. I have the impression that apes... but sadly the professor doesn't speak about this... I don't know but if you look closely at an ape, it seems to have a kind of... hardening of the skin. It's not at all the inversion of the internal mucous membranes.

I implore you… if anyone has an objection, please keep it for yourself. It's essential. In any case, we would have to ask a vet: if any of you know one, ask them. But they will only say yes, and if they say no... look hard until you find a vet who says yes. However, it's not that important. Let's suppose that next week someone tells us it's false. It's not important. You have to understand that there are two types of lips, which are completely different. I mean to say, there's a point at which an idea cannot be false. It becomes impossible.

I'll say that the human mouth has lips and that the lips are a deterritorialized mouth. The mucous membranes which form the walls of the bodily cavity, in outfolding themselves become deterritorialized. The deterritorialization of the muzzle, the head, I don't know what to call it, through the human mouth, is very different from the deterritorialization of the hand… but that doesn't mean they don't go together. It too has a correlative. But what is it? The same professor teaches us that only humans have a mouth endowed with lips but only women have breasts. Irrefutably so. What do animals have? They have what are technically referred to as mammary glands.

Any vet will make a distinction between mammary glands and breasts. And the difference is the following: the breast is a deterritorialized mammary gland. Because of its vertical stature. But why is this? What is the difference?

The technical difference appears to be that the breast is a mammary gland surrounded by adipose and muscular tissue. Therefore, while the mouth with its lips is a deterritorialized muzzle, the breast is a deterritorialized mammary gland. Here I would add something quite significant: already in my two couples, hand-tool or hand-use object and mouth-breast, we can identify a first law of deterritorialization. It's fun to make a series of laws, or theorems of deterritorialization.

Here is the first theorem of deterritorialization: when two organs are deterritorialized in a complementary rapport, one reterritorializes on the other and vice versa.

Second theorem - this one is quite clear – the hand is a paw, the prehensile hand is a deterritorialized paw or a deterritorialized musculoskeletal hand that has become empty, ripped from the earth or the trees. Its correlative is the tool, which at a lower level is a deterritorialized material.

[tape interrupted]

Territoriality, deterritorialization and reterritorialization constitute three notions that are not reducible to each other. Reterritorialization is a highly specific operation. Usually, it occurs in the context of what we call artifice or artifact. An artificial tool. The breast... okay, if we don't yet have an artifice in vertical breastfeeding, the baby bottle is in any case an artifact. So the mouth's reterritorialization on the breast and that of the breast on the mouth constitutes breastfeeding.

And here we have a further deterritorialization. Notice that I remain within the dimensions of the deterritorialized body. Even the mouth I consider a cavity. I said that the mucous membrane outfolds: the mouth still pertains to the body.

Third deterritorialization: the face, which here is fully the deterritorialized animal head, following which… I will tell you later. Obviously it's not the genetic axis, the paw which became a hand, vertical stature, a thousand other things... The face I will define not through the mouth but precisely through the eyes.

The eyes see. The story of the gaze is valid for animals. It's animals that look. It's the human face that sees without looking. Which is why it's so horrible. It really is a horror story that I'm recounting. The partial object is nothing by comparison. The real horror. The eyes, the face... what do they do? In any case, we have a movement of deterritorialization that is perhaps more... much more intense... which doesn't mean it isn't much slower than the others. By being slower it arrives at its goal, at its aim, less quickly. Hence, the illusion of the genetic stages.

[tape interrupted]

The second theorem of deterritorialization: faster deterritorializations do not necessarily come first. What's more, faster movements presuppose slower ones. What is the first landscape, after all? As many authors have shown, the first landscape is the steppe. It's there that for the first time the gazeless eyes see. On the steppe. Before, we had to look. Why? The old evolutionists explain it well.    

The first environment, the real animal Umwelt is the forest. Note that in the forest there are no hands, no prehensile... no, sorry, I meant musculoskeletal hands. The ape swings from one branch to another. Perhaps we have the beginnings of a prehensile hand, but very, very limited. There's no mouth, no face. Nor is there a voice. There's too much noise in the forest to be able to speak. They can't speak. The apes have, to use a nice expression, laryngeal sacs that don't enable them to speak. You need a supple larynx to be able to speak, and in the forest they don't have that. It's not possible. The supple larynx is a deterritorialized larynx.

Everywhere we are traversed by movements of deterritorialization. I was saying that the steppe is the first landscape. It's the complement of the face. The face reterritorializes on the steppe and the steppe reterritorializes on the face. But what is the steppe? It's a deterritorialized forest.

And here we come to my third theorem of deterritorialization. Up until now we've only considered complementary reterritorializations at the same level. The hand reterritorializes on the tool and the tool on the hand, the mouth on the breast and the breast on the mouth, the face on the landscape and the landscape on the face. But in the other sense, I make a scale, an intensive scale. An intensive scale that I define in function of the relative speed and intensity of the deterritorializing movements that take place at each level. I've already looked at three. And here I would add that those that take place more slowly are the first to occur. The last to arrive are the first to occur. That's why genetic psychology gets it wrong, as do theories of partial objects. This way, we can get rid of them all in one fell swoop. Good. And, in this case, all this happens from lowest to highest, from fastest to slowest. A reterritorialization of the faster movements on the slower.

[tape interrupted]

I'm almost done with this... and now at least we have the solution to our second set of notions. Sorry if I spoke at such length... I will stop before the third… what time is it now? So as to let you speak a bit…

We have a solution, or at least the confirmation of a solution: this business of power apparatuses. If I go from one to two to three, I can say that the third – face-landscape – is at the same time the slowest movement and yet the most intensive, and therefore the most deterritorialized. That of the hand is the fastest. It is already a deterritorialization with a complementary reterritorialization. And it is the least deterritorialized. Reterritorialization occurs from the least to the most deterritorialized. And that's what the artifice is.

So, third theorem: we call artifice a reterritorialization of the least deterritorialized on the most deterritorialized. That’s already a lot so I'll stop there… I'm sure you're fed up with all this.

Everything falls in place. We shouldn't be surprised that certain power apparatuses need both face and landscape. It's the same forces that establish faces and make environments. So are these the same forces that need to keep us attached to a white wall or to plunge us into a black hole? No doubt.

So these power apparatuses would need both the abstract machine of faciality - white wall-black hole - and the concrete movements of deterritorialization, that is: the most deterritorialized on which everything artificially reterritorializes - just as we said at the beginning when we began this study of the face - will overcode that which has lost its code. And what is it that has lost its code?

Everything that pertained to territoriality, that is to say the animal body or human corporeality which has never ceased to deterritorialize, more and more, and to reterritorialize by artifice and which, having lost the codes of corporeality, must be overcoded.

So as long as we have codes of corporeality and the maintenance of territorialities, even if these are of a nomad type – what we call “primitives”… nomadic, semi nomadic or sedentary peoples - there is absolutely no need for faciality, nor for power apparatuses that produce face, nor for their abstract machines. These peoples have their own, but not of that type. They have other abstract machines: abstract machines of dance, abstract machines of gesture…

French Transcript

Edited

In a dual lecture including both Deleuze and Guattari, the authors introduce different terms developed in their ongoing collaboration which will result, in 1980, in A Thousand Plateaus.

En cours de développement

Lectures in this Seminar

A Thousand Plateaus I - Deleuze at Paris 8 (video links) / 01
A Thousand Plateaus I - Deleuze at Paris 8 (video links) / 02
A Thousand Plateaus I - Deleuze at Paris 8 (video links) / 03
A Thousand Plateaus I - Deleuze at Paris 8 (video links) / 04
A Thousand Plateaus I - Deleuze at Paris 8 (video links) / 05
A Thousand Plateaus I - Deleuze at Paris 8 (video links) / 06
A Thousand Plateaus I - Deleuze at Paris 8 (video links) / 07
A Thousand Plateaus I - Deleuze at Paris 8 (video links) / 08
A Thousand Plateaus I - Deleuze at Paris 8 (video links) / 09
A Thousand Plateaus I - Deleuze at Paris 8 (video links) / 10