A Thousand Machines
A Concise Philosophy of the Machine as Social Movement
Translated by Aileen Derieg
In this “concise philosophy of the machine,” Gerald Raunig provides a historical and critical backdrop to a concept proposed forty years ago by the French philosophers Félix Guattari and Gilles Deleuze: the machine, not as a technical device and apparatus, but as a social composition and concatenation. This conception of the machine as an arrangement of technical, bodily, intellectual, and social components subverts the opposition between man and machine, organism and mechanism, individual and community. Drawing from an unusual range of films, literature, and performance—from the role of bicycles in Flann O’Brien’s fiction to Vittorio de Sica’s Neorealist film The Bicycle Thieves, and from Karl Marx’s “Fragment on Machines” to the deus ex machina of Greek drama—Raunig arrives at an enhanced conception of the machine as a social movement, finding its most apt and concrete manifestation in the Euromayday movement, which since 2001 has become a transnational activist and discursive practice focused upon the precarious nature of labor and lives.
Distributed for Semiotext(e)
About the Author
Gerald Raunig is a philosopher and art theorist who lives in Vienna, Austria. He is the author of Art and Revolution (Semiotext(e), 2007).
“It is to Gerald Raunig’s great credit that his essay reintroduces the concept of the machine as defined by Deleuze and Guattari; he examines it against the background of Marxist tradition, which has been articulated most innovatively in post-operaism. His work shows the possible intersections and continuities, but also points to discontinuities between these two theories which have evolved at markedly different periods.”