Departure, Arrival, Return
2019, Master Thesis
Moving beyond ideas of the unitary, Departure, Arrival, Return, investigates the multiple material and spatial movements of becoming. Using the spatial theory of Marc Augé, and the ontological theories of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, along with weird realist Graham Harman, my text looks at the various ways in which the subject becomes decentered. Realizing the disorienting effects of practices which dissolve subject and object, but also the extent they can be a vital and transformative force, the text demonstrates the fundamental ambiguity entailed in practices which bring about the dizzying spin of de-subjectivation. This ambiguity is argued through a double-use of Derrida's concept of the ‘pharmakon,’ in which the notion of autonomy becomes challenged by the strange heteronomy of writing, technology and drugs. Throughout the text, the associations between the literal and metaphorical meaning of 'travel' and 'movement' are evoked to describe trips and drifts away from — and back to — the center. The text, like a train of thought, navigates objects, myths, personal stories, travel logs, poetry and experiments — with art and substances alike. This encyclopedic whirl is catalyzed as much by the ‘disorientation’ of modernity as the practices developed in opposition to it, which act both as a prompt for trailing unexpected paths and seeing where they lead, as well as novel prescriptions for constructing the self.