Manuel De Landa. Intensive Thinking in Deleuze's Materialism 2009 (1-7)

source: European Graduate School     Feb 19, 2010
http://www.egs.edu/ Manuel De Landa speaking about the idea of intensive thinking as a hallmark of Gilles Deleuzes materialism in a seminar entitled Gilles Deleuze and Science at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland. De Landa discussed the idea of difference in the circulation of matter and the process of production versus evolution. In intensive thinking, as De Landa explains, intensity replaces extensity; the things that matter in thinking are significance, relevance, importance versus a possible explication of a truth. De Landa spoke about Aristotle, Einstein, Heidegger, and the development of modern physics in an effort to explain his concepts. Public open lecture for the students and faculty of the European Graduate School EGS Media and Communication Studies department program Saas-Fee Switzerland.

Manuel De Landa is, among other roles, a philosopher, media theorist, film maker, and artist. As these, he has inhabited and lived between the intersections of thinking and creativity, uncovering the interstices which link historically separate autonomous fields to each other. Beginning in the late 1970s in New York where he produced a number of underground 8 and 16 mm films, De Landa has been at the forefront of creative thinking, working at the outer edges of media theory and incorporating the work of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari into his ideas. Manuel De Landa holds the Gilles Deleuze Chair of Contemporary Philosophy at the European Graduate School as well as teaching at Columbia University, the University of Philadelphia and the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

De Landas close reading of Deleuze and Guattari, and more importantly his continuation or extension of their ideas, sees the creative potential of philosophy in a new materialism. In his writing he seeks to expand on the notion of a total unity, through assemblage, of multiple singularities. His work focuses on the idea that our rational view of the world in stable, solid structures is at best limited; instead he seeks clarification through the concept of liquidity, in which the liquid structures, constantly on the verge of chaos, have the greatest potential for creation. De Landa rejects viewing the world through a solely anthropocentric perspective and instead gains insight through an insistence on viewing nature from a non-anthropocentrically heirarchized environment. In this liquidity, De Landa see the power to self-organize and further, the ability to form an ethics of sorts, one untouched by human static control, and which allows an existence at the edge of creative, flowing chaos.

This unique vision comes to the fore in De Landas A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History, in which he analyses history as a confluence of infinite variation, a flow of dynamic processes without rational, or traditional, order. De Landa sees in his history instead a revived form of materialism, liberated from the dogmas of the past. The history then presented is one of flowing articulations rather than one conducted along a linear, static construction. Moving beyond a concept of binary oppositions, De Landa instead sees a past of infinite bifurcations, a flowing, liquid unfolding which exposes a collective identity from a myriad of points and perspectives.

Manuel De Landa has written and published extensively since the early 1990s. His published work includes War In the Age of Intelligent Machines (1991), A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History (2000), Intensive Science and Virtual Philosophy (2005), and most recently A New Philosophy of Society: Assemblage Theory and Social Complexity (2006).