Play as an Affective Field for Activating Subjectivity: Notes on The Machinic Unconscious

Deleuze Studies 6 (2):250-264 (2012)
Abstract
How often does an interest or pleasure in your life become something that has to be managed, given a hierarchical position amongst other tasks, and thus becomes a chore alongside other chores? When content and possibility are stripped by scheduling and the demands of capitalist required labour mean that free play or time required for speculative and/or creative thought is removed in the interests of deadlines, what happens to the compassionate, generous and intimate functioning of thought and life? This paper considers how Guattari argues that subjectivities are produced and organised by what he describes as machinic assemblages. Machinic assemblages are those aspects of life that operate to regulate the affective powers of life. Guattari's work on activities such as art making, game play, music and performance provides ways to consider the labour of subjectivity outside of work. I ask the reader to consider what the notion and motivation for play signal. Arguing that a singular life at play is the collective event of play, I describe play as a mediatising form for the production of subjectivity. The play field situates and directs the machinic assemblage of subjectivation through its own forms of mediatisation
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