“Henceforth, it is the ways of living on this planet that are in question”, Felix Guattari begins the third paragraph of The Three Ecologies. This question of living that he poses on behalf of a collective subjectivity extends across the environment, the socius and the mind; across the weeds, the sun, the salaries, the friendships, the ambition, the respite. Within his ecosophy, the labours of tending to a garden, tending to a togetherness and tending to an intelligence all constitute one big labour — which should come to replace the blind late-capitalist value systems. This bigger activity is not composed of individuals in an additive arithmetics, but it exceeds the sum of its amorphous parts, where the excess is a new field of possibility.
A single rupture, accident or detail can open this field to reorganisation. Perhaps it would seem inconsiderate in the face of an approaching global crisis to pose the virus as such an event, yet as we become more sensitive to inhabiting and relating, the observation that change surrounds us can be a caring companion borrowed from a dearer future. In cultivating new human praxes, “we will have to consider … incidents outside the norm as indices of a potential labour of subjectification.”*
Now, when we have a new kind of time on our hands — not free, not empty, but present — this webpage extends one possible gesture. What is found here is not intended to be a new veneer for a highly adaptable cultural capital, but an assemblage of sensibilities. They are extended by the filmmakers to their worlds, and by the films to ours. They do not dissect life into the social, the emotional and the material, but think them all at once through many scales; from the most intimate (a friend’s knees, a slight confusion, one’s own voice) to the most institutional (a beauty pageant, a court-case, a sacred site). And thus they conspire new affinities.
That is simply to say, the vectors of subjectification open to us now are different than those of last month. Aesthetics can yet again be the thing to make them palpable. For now, see these scenes fill your rooms with their odours.
*Felix Guattari, The Three Ecologies (London: Athlone Press, 200) p.34.