Strange Assemblage

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David Robert Cole


This paper contends that the power of Deleuze & Guattari’s (1988) notion of assemblage as theorised in 1000 Plateaus can be normalised and reductive with reference to its application to any social-cultural context where an open system of dynamic and fluid elements are located. Rather than determining the assemblage in this way, this paper argues for an alternative conception of ‘strange assemblage’ that must be deliberately and consciously created through rigorous and focused intellectual, creative and philosophical work around what makes assemblages singular. The paper will proceed with examples of ‘strange assemblage’ taken from a film by Peter Greenaway (A Zed and 2 Noughts); the film ‘Performance’; educational research with Sudanese families in Australia; the book, Bomb Culture by Jeff Nuttall (1970); and the band Hawkwind. Fittingly, these elements are themselves chosen to demonstrate the concept of ‘strange assemblage’, and how it can be presented. How exactly the elements of a ‘strange assemblage’ come together and work in the world is unknown until they are specifically elaborated and created ‘in the moment’. Such spontaneous methodology reminds us of the 1960s ‘Happenings’, the Situationist International and Dada/Surrealism. The difference that will be opened up by this paper is that all elements of this ‘strange assemblage’ cohere in terms of a rendering of ‘the unacceptable.'


Article Details

The Unacceptable Special Issue July 2014 (Peer Reviewed)
Author Biography

David Robert Cole, University of Western Sydney

David R Cole is a university lecturer at the University of Western Sydney (A Prof). He is a trained philosopher and educational thinker, concerned to open up new modes of thought. David researches and writes in a multidisciplinary manner, harnessing impactual and motive ideas, trying to move away from subjugation to any one modality or form of containment. So far, this approach has yielded 8 books (including a novel called A Mushroom of Glass) and numerous articles, book chapters, research grants and presentations. David’s latest monograph is called: Educational Life-forms: Deleuzian Teaching and Learning Practice.