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  • Memoirs of a Geisha:The Material Poesis of Temporality
  • Barbara M. Kennedy (bio)

Schizophrenia is like love: there is no specifically schizophrenic phenomenon or entity; schizophrenia is the universe of productive and reproductive desiring-machines, universal primary production as "the essential reality of man and nature."1

In an earlier publication on Deleuze and cinema,2 I introduced the idea of a schizoanalysis of cinema to enable a move away from the more traditional theories in cinematic studies. A schizoanalysis is concerned with structures of movement and workings rather than meanings and textual analysis. My aims and objectives in this essay are not to produce a "reading" or a "deconstruction" of the Hollywood movie Memoirs of a Geisha (dir. Rob Marshall, 2005); indeed, I do not explore the film at all in any significant analytic depth. This is not the purpose of my argument. I could have written a piece of textual exploration through detailed analytic exegesis of the forces of attraction and repulsion, the elements of sensation inherent both within the molarity of the narrative and the molecularity of opposing, differing, and oscillating sequences. However, I have chosen to engage with how we might begin to explain our machinic connections, our life-assemblages of enunciation with and through the process of film. [End Page 203] I explore how we might explain the pleasures within our consciousness of fluidity and movement when watching and listening to films. My primary concern is with life and life's kinesthetic and sensorial intensities rather than with mere film spectatorship. I will therefore concentrate only on a few sequences, preferring to offer some new directions from debates in neophenomenology, kinesthetics, and psychology. Concepts such as viscerality, and synesthesia provide a richer, more cognitively distributed, and schizoanalytic body through which to consider our new cinematic territories and valencies. This is a body that is more concrescent, microcosmic, and atomized than currently theorized notions of an immersive body.

In their collaborative works Anti-Oedipus (1984) and A Thousand Plateaus (1987), Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari present a political, psychological, and economic critique of the role that psychoanalysis has played within our social, personal, and cultural experience. Their attack on Freud takes the form of problematizing the role of the subject within such spaces, referring us back to Nietzsche's man of "ressentiment" who, as he "loves hiding places, sacred paths and back doors, everything entices him as his world, his security, his refreshment—a man who needs very much to believe in some neutral, independent 'subject'—the ego."3 Schizoanalysis provides a diagnosis and healing of the man of ressentiment, the slave of neurosis, castration, loss, lack, and oedipal desire. Schizoanalysis erects the schizo, not the subject. Critical of the explanation of the construction of the unconscious that Freud offers, Deleuze and Guattari state,

We constantly contrasted two sets of unconscious or two interpretations of the unconscious: the one schizoanalytic, the other psychoanalytic: the one schizophrenic, the other neurotic-Oedipal; the one abstract and nonfigurative, the other imaginary; but also the one really molecular, micro-physical, and micrological and the other molar or statistical; the one material, the other ideological; the one productive, the other expressive.4

Both Anti-Oedipus and A Thousand Plateaus present a praxis and experimental process in critique of psychoanalysis as the potential for a new flow of knowledges, distributed knowledges, proceeding towards unknown, and potentially creative, territories. This new flow is also pertinent to the Deleuzian idea of life-flows that Deleuze expounds in his final text, Immanence: A Life (2001), in which he writes of the transcendental field:

It can be distinguished from experience in that it doesn't refer to an object or belong to a subject (empirical representation). It appears [End Page 204] therefore as a pure stream of a-subjective consciousness, a pre-reflexive impersonal consciousness, a qualitative duration of consciousness without a self.5

It is this quality of life-flows that I want to try to access through a schizoanalytic methodology in film studies.

Referred to as pragmatics, micropolitics, rhizomatics, and nom-adology, schizoanalysis has the potential to open up new lines of flight not merely through the more molar political spaces, but in the...


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