Monday, March 7, 2005

Writing to get free of myself

This weekend I'm obsessed with the idea of getting free of oneself. Certainly Foucault never meant it as attaining some sort of absolute, objective or transcendental distance from self. He meant to use this as a critique of essentialist and stable understandings of subjectivity and truth. But I want to push aside Foucault's technologies of the self and try to understand the role of mobility in subjectivity and objectivity.

"If language can no longer reflect the truth, then such subjects are free to attempt to rethink and redescribe the world." - Elizabeth St Pierre, 2002

If I am trying to get free of myself, where do I go? What do I take with me?

The obvious answer is to become nomadic, become rhizomatic. (Are there two words more often abstracted from D&G's work?!) In freeing myself from myself I can de-territorialise along any line of flight. I can continually become something, someone, else. I can take and leave what I want. I can resist becoming fixed, being re-territorialised.

I can also become voluptuous, even monstrous. Outside the lines. Excessive. Overflow.

I keep thinking about St. Pierre's comment about knowing that the requirements of her dissertation would "overwrite the fragile text" she had written in her head. I can also imagine my own dissertation suffocating, pinned down like an entomologist's rare damselfly. I can understand why she prefers "nomadic writing practices" - they allow her writing to resist (re)territorialisation.

If I were to present my dissertation as a linear document comprising introductions, theories, methodologies, data analyses, and conclusions it would not resemble or represent any of my actual experience in doing this research.

But if I want to write a nomadic dissertation - one in keeping with the last four years of my life - what would it look like? My blogs? (Yes and no.) Like Benjamin's Arcades Project? (Yes and no.) Like Latour's Aramis? (Yes and no.) Like the exquisite corpse? (Yes and no.) Like a metaphysical conceit? (Yes and no.)

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