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SELECTION AND NOTES STÉPHANE NADAUD PREFACE PETER PÁL PELBART AFTERWORD AKSELI VIRTANEN

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KAFKAMACHINE | MÁQUINA KAFKA Félix Guattari Originally published as Les 65 rêves de Franz

Kafka © 2006 Nouvelles Editions Lignes

Selection and notes STÉPHANE NADAUD Preface PETER PÁL PELBART Afterword AKSELI VIRTANEN Bilingual Edition: English - Portuguese São Paulo 2011 n-1 publications São Paulo 2011 FUTURE ART BASE SERIES Helsinki 2011 ISBN 978-952-6611-00-6 Despite adopting mostly Brazilian and Finnish editorial norms, n-1 publications does not necessarily follow institutional conventions, therefore, consider the editing a creative work that interacts with the plurality of languages and the specificity of each published piece. Graphic Project: prod.art.br Érico Peretta and Ricardo Muniz Fernandes Image: Karolina Kucia The partial reproduction of this book without commercial ends, for private or collective use, is authorized, as long as the source is cited. If the full reproduction is required, contact the publishers. Printed in São Paulo | December, 2011 n-1 aknowledges the assistance provided for this book by Aalto University.

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Preface 5 ABOARD AN UNSEAWORTHY SAILING SHIP Peter Pál Pelbart

13 SIXTY-FIVE DREAMS OF FRANZ KAFKA 29 TRIALS AND PROCEDURES 35 KAFKA´S BAND 37 PROJECT FOR A FILM BY KAFKA

Afterword 51 THE DISCREET CHARM OF THE PRECARIAT Akseli Virtanen

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ABOARD AN UNSEAWORTHY SAILING SHIP One of the shyest, most reserved, and enigmatic authors of his century, having never had the ambition to compose something like “works” out of his “scribbles,” caught up in the remote Eastern European atmosphere of his time, he is here catapulted by Félix Guattari to our cinematographic century, and to the most ardent problems of our micro and macro-political present. What justifies this leap? Of what does this “literary machine” consist, that which Kafka is to have invented and extrapolates literature, his time, as well as the set of themes and meanings that surround the planetary reception of his work: guilt, loneliness, submission to the Law, transcendence, the anguish of modern man? What interests Guattari is precisely the way it all blows up in Kafka, the power of such makes water, and with it also a form of exercising power. Indeed, in Kafka we have miniscule details, negligible gestures, incongruous images, inaudible sounds, and sometimes it is from such a minute singularity and their colossal effects that something derails — a whole “micropolitics of the incident.” But above all, what matters to Guattari is the way through which an a-signifying process crosses a signifying texture, triggering “mutant lines of flight that are logical as well as affective.” Think of the effect of enigma and ambiguity that is so characteristic when reading the Czech writer. His words trigger in the reader, parallel to the manifest literary discourse, a “work of primary process through which the unconscious potentialities of an entire age are expressed.” The Kafka effect is only comprehensible for Guattari out of this molecularity as if the characters and situations had been swept up in an extreme polivocity in which the sonorous, visual, and gestural elements do not necessarily converge, producing something like a particular system of intensities that polyphonically explodes the narrative that seemed to welcome them, and bottlenecks that seemed to be closed.   This is what we see in reading Kafka’s dreams, which Guattari decided to collect from the letters and diaries, not to interpret them, but showing how they worked for Kafka himself, what “vigilant” (not “free-floating”) attention they required from him, as they “begin” precisely at those moments when meaning collapses, at the points of singularity from which they proliferate, bifurcate, engendering other imaginary formations, ideas, mental coordinates.

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What characterizes them, among other traits, is that they work with elements of theater, dance, cinema, visual arts, and of course, literature itself... But instead of being sent back by Kafka or Guattari, to a latent content, a private meaning, they stretch to collective spheres, producing “mutations of universe,” of time, of space, of will, of embodiment.   In fact, they are not just dreams, but part of a writing device, components of his “literary machine.” A note written by the author of Anti-Oedipus, in the early 1970s, already insisted on such a direction: “Dream work instigates the most radical creative activities, as a deterritorialization machine whose job it is to fuck up the most territorialized, egoistic, familial, racial, etc., systems.” Every dream would have two possible readings: either that in which you recuperate it as to oedipalize and interpret it, or the other one that opens the text up to “machinate, and traffic it, and see where it goes.” Hence the schizoanalitic ambition of devoloping a technique of dream analysis “without recourse to free association or notions like latent content—manifest content,” and in which fantasies matter little. Such is when the explicit example of Kafka arises, in which he proposes “a machinic reading of the lines of nonsense.”1   At bottom, Kafka’s unfinished works as a whole, including his diaries, letters, novelettes, novels, are for Guattari exactly that: a strange expressive machine, not only inhabited by contemplative sequences that resound in a poetic mode, as in the beginning of his production, but mainly by crises, bottlenecks, percussions, disruptions, in which at the same time one may read impressions of déjà vu and foreboding of catastrophes, where the most intimate pertains to the greatest number.   Here, the reader will therefore not find another book about Kafka, whether an innovative thesis or an original hypothesis that was not already partially asserted or developed in the study published by Guattari, together with Deleuze, in 1975 - Kafka, Toward a Minor Literature. But the reader will have access to trails of Guattari’s “obsession” around his favorite author, which greatly precedes the entire book, and continues well beyond its publication.   Guattari was proud that his first schizo patient was a young Jew who looked like Kafka, and even identified with him. They spent several hours a day 1 Guattari, Félix, The Anti-Oedipus Papers, ed. Stéphane Nadaud. New York: Semiotext(e), 2006, pp. 405-06.

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together. The nascent schizoanalyst suggested he copy out The Castle, and the patient recorded his readings of the book with the “magico-machine technique of the tape recorder.”2 After the publication of Anti-Oedipus, and amid its bombastic repercussion, Guattari sees himself in the difficulties of the author of A Hunger Artist, and dreams of “shrinking.” In his Diary in 1972, it reads the tag Kafkaesque: “To write in order to not die, or die in another way.” We therefore catch a glimpse of a moving becoming-Kafka in Guattari. Now, it is worth repeating one of the keenest Guattarian lessons: Kafka is not the writer who flees the world, but who, wielding it, makes it take flight. If we are at times taken up in a Kafka-becoming, in the most diverse contexts and meanings, it is not just the fact of feeling processed or guilty or accused, but it above all implies unscrewing the mechanisms that lead to deadlock. Kafka showed himself to Guattari’s eyes precisely as a way out of the impasse experienced in that period, among other things, an ally as to not be fully captured by the “Deleuze-machine,” as he wrote, allowing himself his own breath. But precisely his “own” passes through the “other’s”: “Conjunction of two machines: the literary machine of Kafka’s oeuvre and my own Guattari machine.”3 If in the years following his passion for Kafkaesque writing only increases, the irony is that the book about Kafka is written with Deleuze—as if Guattari had had to go through Kafka to come back to Deleuze revived—proposing concepts whose importance never ceases to grow, such as rhizome, assemblage, and collective assemblage of enunciation.   In the writings gathered here, after the book on Kafka, but prolonging intuitions prior to it, Kafka’s works are not just seen like the “clock” that anticipates history, and thus apprehends the diabolical forces that were knocking on the door in the early twentieth century, such as Americanism, Stalinism, Nazism (Amerika, The Trial, The Castle), but also, and above all, as a particular way to invest in an a-signifying molecularization whose effect is not only to smash the molar forms of capture, but to operate a fecund semiotic proliferation. It is understood, therefore, to what extent Guattari saw this “Kafka machine” not as a literary formula, but as an expressive device, a psycho-political power. 2 Idem, p. 146. 3 Idem, p. 405.

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Machines and Assemblages The reader has every right to ask why this word “machine,” associated with an author that a certain tradition places closer to angels. Suffice it to mention the machines described by Kafka with such detail, everywhere, the one from the penal colony being the most literally mechanical? Or is it necessary to add to it that a machine is never just technical, it is always part of a social machine that uses men like pieces of its gears, as he knew so well to demonstrate? However, as already noted in Kafka, Toward a Minor Literature, men are not only part of the machine while carrying out their work, but in their adjacent activities, in their leisure, in their loves, in their protestations, in their indignations.4 Thus, the mechanic is part of the machine even at the very moment when he ceases to exercise his profession, the stoker is also part of it when he chases after Lina, the machine of justice includes offices, books, symbols, but also women, the accused, erotic flows, and the writing machine that is found in an office is equally composed of secretaries, deputies, bosses, all a hierarchical distribution, but also libidinal ... Consequently, there is no purely technical machine, every machine is already part of a larger machine, of a machinic and a machination into which desire and connections enter. Kafka never ceases to show his characters in just that position of adjacency in relation to them – it is the K function. Thus, the Finnish Economic Theorist Akseli Virtanen’s precious appendix is quite welcome, in which he situates the current “precariat’s” position of adjacency within the complex machinic assemblage that some call semiocapitalism, with its strength of arbitrariness, semiotic inflation, and absence of meaning. Where the challenge and urgency of assessing the impact of such mechanisms on the affective, subjective or expressive plane, as well as the resulting political leeway.   Now, in Kafka’s world, utterances are an integral part of the machine, employee protestation or indignation also... As a senior employee of an insurance company, he knew this perfectly well, as he was precisely at this intersection between the world of concrete work, with its accidents in the midst of so many machines, and complaints, lawsuits, proof, indemnification: machines and 4 Deleuze, Gilles and Félix Guattari, Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature, Minneapolis, Minnesota Press, 1986, p. 81.

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utterances. And in his socialist leaning, perhaps even anarchist, he happened to be surprised: “Instead of taking the building by storm and stripping it bare, they come to beg at our feet.”5 In any case, it is in the intersection between this material and enunciative level that the writing machine is inserted, which echoes not only books read or forgotten, but above all the grinding of these machines, where they emit new sounds, new enunciations. That Deleuze and Guattari’s later works changed from the notion of machine to prioritize that of assemblage does not detract from the freshness and utility of the theorization of this machinic dimension, increasingly present in the contemporary world and the assemblages that characterize it.   Kafka, for Deleuze and Guattari, is the name of a collective assemblage of enunciation. His solitude is populated, his individuality is collective, his enunciation is that of a people, even if that people does not exist, or is yet to come, or will never exist. According to Milena’s moving testimony, “he never sought to shelter himself from things, ever ... He has no refuge, no home. That is why he is exposed to everything, unlike us, who are protected. One might say, a naked man among those who are clothed.” Kafka is the Deterritorialized, he is the Celibate, who when refusing the capture of the conjugal or familial or national or religious (the Law), carries a different community with him, the virtual. No wonder it serves to reconsider the statute of today’s very community, be it (im)possible, from a disturbing context where solitude and the multitude collide and intertwine, in a game whose board remains to be reconfigured. Thus, in his books, as Blanchot noted, “the impossibility of common existence, the impossibility of solitude, the impossibility of remaining in such impossibilities,” they find themselves constantly overturned: a doomed world, a world of hope, a closed world, an infinite world, and the obstacle that, after all, becomes a step.6   We will not distort these short writings by Guattari when postulating that the lines they let loose, very fine ones, that come from dreams, about processes, that are written for a movie, constitute small clues of a Guattarian wish, of a bet, even an ambition, let’s say, to rerelease Kafka’s “projection.” Not in 5 Klaus Wagenbach, Franz Kafka. 1883-1912, Paris, Mercure de France, p. 68. 6 Maurice Blanchot, De Kafka à Kafka, Paris, Gallimard, 1981, p. 69.

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the extensive sense, through this fame that just weighed on the quality of his reception, but rather intensively. Therefore, Guattari agreed to organize an exhibition at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, for the centenary of the author’s birth, entitled The Century of Kafka. But precisely, it seems that he was not satisfied to note the extent to which the twentieth century was that of Kafka, who knew how to “anticipate it” like none other. It was necessary to take another leap, found in final piece published here: “For too long, Kafka has been described as a literary hack of the nineteenth century; in fact, his approach to unconscious social processes places him perhaps on the level of the twenty-first century, on the level of what could be twenty-first-century cinema.”   This is where we encounter Guattari’s becoming-filmmaker, in his project (“inordinate,” he says) to make a film by Kafka. Not a film about Kafka, but the film that Kafka would have made. Well, it could not be film noir, somber, since his works are essentially humorous, violent, and cheerful. A film by Kafka could neither be grounded on “characters,” “individuals” subjected to claustrophobic situations, in a trivial intersubjective regime, as in the film adaptations that are content to transpose the plot. Everything is more complex and subtle, more de-subjectified, more molecular. Hence the little gem of this collection, at the same time the most unfinished, “unravelled”; the most “experimental” of the pieces presented here: the outline of Guattari’s screenplay in which the main “character” is a wall, or a face in decomposition, traversed by winds, music, speech – it is faciality as a subjectivizing device undoing itself, in favor of another politics of the face. Indeed, there are paranoid outbursts (like the tormented Trotskyite defendant during a Stalinist trial, a literal transcription of the Moscow trials), or abrupt accelerations, disruptions. Or the jump over the railing by the suicidal youth in The Judgment, a horse looking in the window as in A Country Doctor, as well as interspersed dialogues, overlaps, blank intervals... What is essential, in any case, are the systems of intensity that show up, “changes in gravity, in the coordinates of time and space, types of dilations or retractions of all perceptive semiotics.” We do not know if the concrete indications of the script written by Guattari can make such a film possible – which is of least importance. Perhaps there is here, at bottom, the (“inordinate”) idea that another movie-of-the-world can be glimpsed, coming from Kafka.

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As is well known, the literature surrounding Kafka is immense. Thanks to the stronger interpretations, like that of Adorno, Benjamin, or Blanchot, even the most unorthodox, like that of Deleuze-Guattari, it is true that Kafka was saved from reductionist readings, religious, psychoanalytical or sociological, keeping open his critical fate.   Assuming that Kafka’s writing goes beyond his works, it moves with a historical unconscious in unusual ways, it invents analytical operators of disjunction and overflows, which it invests, from intensive stops and accelerations, in other lines of escape – where processivity appears as a necessary reverse of the precariousness that together drag us into the heart of our present, that is, outside of it – Guattari seems to suggest that these works speak to us then, precisely, not from a past, but from their future, offering unusual instruments whose operability is yet to be discovered.   Perhaps this is the meaning of the book’s two directions: the “cinematic” approach to the author’s dreams, on the one hand, the “oneiric” scripting of a movie that is virtually his, on the other – but the oneiric in Kafka is a purified, sober, and rigorous description, such as his language, furthermore, completely distant from the hazy lyricism of his contemporaries. Armed with this Kafkaesque expression machine, and going from one pole to another, Guattari hints at how the dream and cinema, privileged foci of contemporary subjective enunciation, can give rise to mutations in the collective enunciation – provided they are freed from the semiotic impoverishment of which they were the object, reopening themselves to an a-signifying cartography of desire, beginning from those points where everything seems to sink.   Thus, that is always also at stake – the point at which something sinks. The trips that Kafka made through ​​ his writing, and those to which he still invites us, are not, as Deleuze and Guattari note, those of the “bourgeoisie on an ocean-liner, ‘with much effect, roundabout,’ a package tour, but the schizovoyage, ‘on a few planks of wood that even bump against and submerge each other.’”7   Once, questioned by a young interlocutor whether we lived in a destroyed world, Kafka said, “We live not in a ruined but a bewildered world. Everything 7 Deleuze, Gilles and Félix Guattari, Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature. Minneapolis: Minnesota Press, 1986, p. 71.

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creaks and rattles like the rigging of an unseaworthy sailing ship.”8 The Kafka machine is that which lets us hear those rattles and creaks, whistles and screams, echoes and chants.   Peter Pál Pelbart    

*** The original publication of this book, entitled Soixante-cinq rêves de Franz Kafka, was edited by Stéphane Nadaud, to whom credit is due for having studied the manuscripts at the IMEC (Institut Mémoire de l’Édition Contemporaine), selected them, written the clarifying notes, and made the necessary alterations.

8 Janoush, Gustav, Conversations with Kafka. New York: New Directions, 1968, p. 103

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KAFKAMACHINE  

preface Peter Pál Pelbart

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