START
ABOUT
WRITING
WORK
Live/Work
Museum
Commuting/Chaos
Sonification
USCode
Sketches
MAPPING A THOUSAND PLATEAUS, MARCH 2014



(click to enlarge)

French philosopher Gilles Deleuze and psychoanalyst Felix Guattari published A Thousand Plateaus in 1980. The text is the second volume in their series Capitalism and Schizophrenia, the previous volume being Anti-Oedipus published in 1972. The book was a landmark of continental thought influencing a myriad of disciplines on both sides of the Atlantic. One of the notable aspects of the book is that concepts are often used prior to being introduced and explained giving it a circular and non-linear (or rhizomatic to use the terms of the text) nature. In the introduction they suggest the book is composed of 'plateaus', not chapters and explain:

We are writing this book as a rhizome. It is composed of plateaus. We have given it a circular form, but only for laughs. Each morning we would wake up, and each of us would ask himself what plateau he was going to tackle, writing five lines here, ten there. We had hallucinatory experiences, we watched lines leave one plateau and proceed to another like columns of tiny ants. We made circles of convergence. Each plateau can be read starting anywhere and can be related to any other plateau (22).

In this spirit, the above visualization is a cursory attempt to map the complex space of this text. The red bars represent the number of occurrences of key phrases that appear, build and disappear throughout the text. The vertical grey lines mark the given division of the text into sections. The analysis was based on the 1987 English translation of the text. Asterisks next to words mean that the root was used to find multiple forms.