from In The Deleuzian Age, California College of Arts and Crafts (San Francisco, 2000)
Despachos1 at the museum: Who knows what may happen . . .
by Suely Rolnik
It is always a question of freeing life where it has been imprisoned, or trying to do so in an uncertain combat.
Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari2
Life, in its power of variation, constitutes one of the privileged targets of contemporary capitalism investment. The visible horizons for its expansion being exhausted, it is in the invisible that capital will discover this unexplored mine: to extract life’s formulae for creation, in its different manifestations, will be its goal as well as the cause of its inevitable ambiguity: Actually, on the one hand, to meet its aim, capitalism will necessarily have to invest in research and invention, which increases chances for expansion of life – on the other, the aim of its investment is not the expansion of life, but rather the manufacturing and the commercializing of clones of the products of life creations, in order to expand capital, its leading principle.
The most obvious example is genetic research resulting in a DNA databank that feeds the biotechnological industry with matrices to be reproduced, even in a very remote future. However, not only from biological life is capitalism interested in extracting formulae, but also from subjective life, where the feeling of the self is being generated and where the territory of existence is being shaped, without which one can hardly survive.
Just like biodiversity in nature, a never-ending source of investment to capital, there is multiculturalism in the modes of constituting subjectivity.
Thus, neo-capitalism summons and supports singular modes of subjectivation, but only to reproduce them, detached from their connection with life, and turned into products: mass-produced clones, commercialized as prêt-à-porteridentities.3
What is sold are images of those identities/goods that will be consumed even by those whose subjective marrow capital sucks to produce the clones.
In the contemporary re-invention of capitalism, the distance between producing and consuming vanishes: the consumer him-or herself becomes its raw material and its product.