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Smooth Space / Striated Space

We had the pleasure of a guest speaker come to our seminar on 26 March 2013 to (attempt) to explain Deleuze and Guattari’s complicated theory of Haptic/Smooth and Striated space, elucidated in their seminal book A thousand Plateaus. I was introduced to some new concepts and terminology  that I can’t claim to fully understand; I will relay the information I have in the limited sense that I was able to make of it.

  • A ‘body’ can be a person, object, art work, and in this sense they relate to these things in the way that we are taught to refer to them as ‘texts’.
  • ‘Non-sense’ describes a concept or idea so complex that we are unable to make sense of it.
  • ‘Haptic interrogation’ is making use of the senses (mainly touch and sight) to investigate a ‘body’.  Once the ‘haptic interrogation’ has occurred we have identified and come to know this body. It is committed to our ‘haptic memory’ for later use.
  • Smooth space refers to an unchanged landscape and also to abstraction; such as the ocean or snow covered landscape, or perhaps random static on a television.
  • Striated space refers to an altered place, somewhere that man has changed in order to suit his needs.  Striation results from human interaction with a body.  It results from man making sense, organising, interpreting.

I am not sure how these terms enhance my own knowledge or how I can apply them to my own work.  The uneducated part of me wonders why these definitions are necessary at all.  It seems as if an intention is being made to complicate what would otherwise be a simple issue.

Perhaps I do not yet understand the full ramifications of this terminology and its potential application.