Felix Guatteri, Manuel DeLanda and Gilles Deleuze appear to be all over the readings this week, and so they should be I guess as they are the three social theorists that coined the term ‘assemblage’, but what is it?
Quite simply, it appears to be a series of elements/actants that come together to create and/or produce something new. From this definition ‘assemblage’ can be anything, however through utilizing the Actor’s Network Theory (ANT) proposed by Bruno Lattori we are able to understand this term in a different light.
Lattori through ANT developed this idea, that all actants should be treated as equals, regardless of if they are humans or not. At first, this theory received a lot to criticism as it appeared bizarre that something that did not encompass human qualities, something like a iPad for instance could be considered equal. However if we consider the work of historians like Plato and Aristotle who believed that technologies are extensions of human thought, it suddenly all makes sense right?
If I haven’t convinced you yet consider this Facebook as an example of assemblage and the impact it can have on the multiple actants. It relies on a heap of elements; apps, computers, internet connection and people. You see without one of these qualities it would not be what it is today, as without Internet connection and computers people would not be able to access it, and
without apps there really wouldn’t be much to do on it. Thus from this example we see that assemblage relies heavily on a
multitude if factors and requires that all these factors work together simultaneously. It all suddenly makes sense now! 🙂
NB: Just as a little break from all the theory, I thought it would be nice to include some ‘assemblage artworks’ within the post. Just to show how something can be made through utilising different aspects and in turn, they create something new. Enjoy! 🙂
Pictures can be found at: