A few thoughts as I attempt to comprehend Deleuze and Guattari's concept of the Body without Organs.
During the studio research as performance, I started to ponder the concept of a body without organs. Since 2013, I have been engaged in my early practice. I've been utilizing the digital camera to investigate transformative experiences, identity, and other concepts through camera-mediated performances.
My comprehension of the concept of an unrecognized, volatile, and fluid body stems from my reflections on the representation of the body in performance documentation and how the digital camera enabled me to experiment with movement, light, and other choreographies of mediations. The "Body without Organs" or BwO is a phrase borrowed from Antonin Artaud by Deleuze and Guattari to describe an assemblage or body with no fundamental organizational principles and, thus, no organs. A post-Enlightenment creature, the BwO is a body but not an organism.
You never reach the Body without Organs, you can't reach it, you are forever attaining it, it is a limit. People ask, So what is this BwO?—But you're already on it, scurrying like a vermin, groping like a blind person, or running like a lunatic; desert traveler and nomad of the steppes. On it we sleep, live our waking lives, fight—fight and are fought—seek our place, experience untold happiness and fabulous defeats; on it we penetrate and are penetrated; on it we love...The BwO: it is already under way the moment the body has had enough of organs and wants to slough them off, or loses them. ( Thousand Plateaus Deleuze &Guattari 150
The Body without Organs is thus, according to Deleuze and Guattari, also a "plane of consistency" that connects disparate or dissimilar parts (507). In other words, the BwO offers a space area necessary for movement. Instead of the unifying principles of a system of organization, the BwO's system of embodiment is comprised of consolidation principles.
Although I’m specifically reflecting on the human body in performance art, it’s important to mention that the concept of BwO is applied to any body, human and non-human. Deleuze & Guattari demonstrate that every living thing has organic natural getaways to the world, and in which these getaways are used for giving and receiving simultaneously with its multi dimensional surroundings. Every living organism is in a constant becoming, never in a permanent form, subjected to various modulations of orders.
The appearance of organs is deconstructed, and gestures are not assigned to a particular social class, race, or body type. Unidentified. The body is divided into fragments that permit experimentation, alignment and realignment of connections between various inner and outer parts, and known and unknown elements. This type of non-homogenized body is subjecte to multiple forces and capable of releasing energies in accordance with a non-binary sequential conception of desire and corporeal difference.BwO, which relates back to Spinozist concepts, describes the potentialities, effects, or connections that a body may have but about which one is typically unaware. The act of "making oneself a body without organs" entails separating oneself from a stable body image and engaging in experience. It is a process-based understanding of the body that asserts that its boundaries are constantly shifting. Losing one's identities and boundaries in order to change into something else.
body with glitches and no organs The Glitch Feminism: A Manifesto by Legacy Rusell offers one of the most intriguing perspectives on how BOW might be in our current digital culture, particularly within the context of cyberspace (following Donna Haraway's "A Cyborg Manifesto"). This is because the technological glitch, a type of "machinic anxiety," suggests applications of error and strategic nonperformance in cyberspace as a reaction to the violently normative world. In order to transcend preconceived notions (of gender, identity, identification, censorship, and surveillance), it is necessary to abstract the body and pursue processes of becoming that are beyond mimesis or resemblance and based on subjective relations. A "Malleable self as a form of language," a "safe space to survive and exist," is a digital glitch body.
Slow motion and blur within the camera are methods driven by conscious decision to use the camera as an apparatus to deconstruct the organized presentation of the body, while simultaneously amplifying the space in which the body without organs is situated, as a natural organized and static space-studio floor, marks on the wall, objects within the camera frame.
My feet are rooted in the existential field, while my body is transforming.I traced how the camera mediated and recorded my phenomenological experiences of embodied listening, arriving through movements that emerged from the interaction between body, space, objects, and recorded through the digital camera in keyframe still photographs.
"No one knows what a body can do," said Baruch Spinoza, implying that we can do seemingly impossible things with our bodies. If we got rid of the rules we made as humans to dictate what a body should be able to do.
It has a different meaning in French, and that meaning goes beyond semiotics. Corps sans organes by Antonin Artaud is more like a body without organization than a body without organs. To become a body without organs is a form of anarchism in which the individual multiplies, distorts, and transforms the sum of the parts into a new representation or, perhaps, multiple identities. The deliberate decision to distort, reorganize, and deconstruct the body is an action that rejects unity, deviates from fitting into a large pre-determined frame, and fails to recognize and be recognized.
Body without organs does not necessarily imply absence from the body; rather, the 'organized' organs lose their assigned functions, becoming fluid, transitory, and unstable, morphing and changing position and functions.As such, the body is a component of passage, the permanent transitory
Body image is described by Deleuze and Guattari in Anti-Oedipus as "the final avatar of the soul, a vague conjoining of the requirements of spiritualism and positivism." (AO 23.)
Perfection is a delusion, and hierarchies contain misery.
- Deleuze, Gilles, and Felix Guattari. A Thousand Plateaus. Bloomsbury Academic, 2013.