Video School

Gilles Deleuze: Societies of Control and Antipsychiatry

This anonymously authored video lecture departs from Gilles Deleuze’s enormously influential 1990 essay “Postscript on Societies of Control,” while also finding its more immediate audiovisual reference in the 2010 eponymous video essay by Gary Hall, Clare Bichall, and Peter Woodbridge, published by Culture Machine. The author here attempts to expand the arguments of Deleuze’s brief text to contemporary noopolitical developments, whilst also giving more attention to the influence of Félix Guattari and his independent work and thought on antipsychiatry and schizoanalysis on Deleuze’s personal political trajectory. In many ways, this video presentation serves as the core of this series’ inquiry, bringing together all the forces at play that animate and give rise to the Intermorph: processes of subjectivation, the emergence of -dividuals, and the de/recodification of communication and language into a degree-zero of pure market speculation. Zombie-subjects, psycho-digital oppression, technology-as-social-form, and control as an abstract machine are important conceptual registers presented and elaborated upon, with an accompanying video animation that exhibits a topic-relevant “corporate kitsch” PowerPoint aesthetic. Advanced capitalism’s final frontier is, the video argues, to “transform human society into a bio-network of mimetic machines,” that is, to decode and recode DNA itself into a replicate humanoid image. Thus, the fate of species is under question, as subjects are modulated and transformed via simulation and prefabrication into highly designed, richly textured matrices of information architecture. Humanity morphs into a “cultural cyborg,” operated via remote technologies, and ontologically maintained through micropolitical supplementations, through which chemical control and affective psycho-politics install new forms of therapeutic governmentality. It is in this noopolitical condition in which drugs, medicine, nano-bio-technologies, social values of mental “health” and “well-being,” and highly commodified sensual regimes all collaborate to establish control mechanisms within the body-psyche of the contemporary subject. Control is no longer an externalized phenomenon, but rather an incorporated set of self-administered dosages, a perpetual hallucination, keeping the -dividualized subject indefinitely within an autoimmune crisis state of self-pathologization and socioeconomic rehab.

Ashkan Sepahvand‘s program We are the Intermorphs explores the notion of the “human” within advanced capitalist civilization, speculating on the possible “future” of a species undergoing transition.