Bram Ieven | Machine, poëzie en kapitaal: Een involutie op het werk van Félix Guattari


This article analyzes Félix Guattari’s concept of the (abstract) machine and its implications for the relation between literature and capitalism. Guattari’s work develops an alternative concept of the machine that endeavors to think a transversal nterrelation between heterogeneous elements. At the same time, the machinic processes that Guattari sees everywhere can operate as restraining forces. In many respects this is the case for capitalism, Guattari argues. His later work deals at length with searching for new ways in which a creative use of media and the arts can counter such restraining forces by creating new and heterogeneous connections. Focusing on poetry in specific, this article outlines Guattari’s ideas in relation to literature. The article confronts Guattari’s work with Frans-Willem Korsten’s recent work on the relation between poetry and capitalism. Korsten argues that poetry and capitalism share a similar operative principle, but that this principle is effectuated in different ways in poetry and capitalism. Korsten’s theory accounts for the ineffectiveness of poetic critique on capitalism, and at the same time works toward an alternative mode of poetic critique.

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