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  • On the Fabulation of a Form of Life in the Drawn Line and Systems of Thought
  • Verina Gfader (bio)

The Garden

Organic and nonorganic objects, concrete as well as indeterminate figures, populate the garden landscape. Exact machinic lines create and define a series of pattern-like images, scenes where colorless human and nonhuman forms are strangely interweaved with each other and with topological spaces. Filmic zooms further abstract an already abstracted architecture. The image framing undergoes radical cutting. It is as if the single images of the graphic novel Garden are extracts from a huge unifying image, segments of a surface that cannot be seen in its totality.1 The people, characters, are made from geometric forms, textures such as fur or stripes, and bodily extensions. Lacking singular facial components they remain a crowd. Heads are round shapes or planet-like, sometimes describing a cube with a hole in the middle, sometimes with animal-like extensions such as a beak. If eyes are drawn, they appear as simple dots or similar, occasionally also as technological devices, as camera, as telescope. These in a sense characterless beings form a group of travelers exploring a seemingly mutating environment. There is constant movement achieved by prolonged lines extending across the paper surface, [End Page 61] and by perceptually rapid actions of the figures (climbing, jumping, walking) resulting in an assemblage of compressed "stories" within an overall story. The complete story is constantly put into question by a certain lack of linearity the novel may suggest. Page becomes a catalyst, (play)ground for energies surfacing as animated geometries.

How can vital lines, understood as lines that embody and express a lively quality, be read in relation to the reiteration of histories that propose an intrinsic link between modes of vitality, life-forms, and power?

In what way does drawing, particularly when perceived as the line being animated, contribute to the formation of an inclusive mode of agency: human/nonhuman, material/immaterial?

In what way is the animated drawn line inseparable from questioning its ontological status?

Drawing on legacies of Tezuka Osamu's anime work and drawing more generally, this essay assumes that drawing is always already a movement, is by its very nature nonstatic, vital so to speak. With the animated line, more specifically, there is an additional, an extra or hypermovement perhaps, which brings in a different kind or degree of movement. This movement is based on when drawing opens up the possibility of autonomy in relation to its "conditions," when it proposes a form of life, a quasi-autonomous life-form, thereby becoming a material or immaterial agent. Supposing that the conditions for this drawing/animation are as such reducible to zero, or exchangeable with a loose or to a degree unstable set of parameters (the line has its own life), a differentiation has been made between drawing as a means of expression versus drawing as an image or indicator of refusing power and a degree of the "authorial." As will be explored in this text, drawing is caught in a state of being both. And, the line has its own force or power.

Referring to this quasi-autonomous life-form of a line, it maybe becomes essential here to think about a relation between the biopolitical and animation based on the assumption of a particular form of life. Giorgio Agamben has proposed the form-of-life that "defines a life—human life—in which the single ways, acts, and processes of living are never simple facts but always and above all possibilities of life, always and above all power."2 In Means without End: Notes on Politics, Agamben aims to formulate a coming politics based on this proposition, which means abandoning the distinction between different forms of life (biological life as the secularized form of naked life divided [End Page 62] from the political life) that haunts the discourse of political life since Michel Foucault's introduction of biopolitics.3 Affirming that life is now intrinsically linked and subordinated to politics (governmental principles and states) and thereby biopolitical, Agamben claims to redefine and clarify what one means with biological life "outside," prior, or exclusive to political power. Transforming the constitutive elements...


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pp. 61-71
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