Drawing A Thousand Plateaus

These drawings are a methodical interpretation of the first three chapters of A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schzophrenia (Wikipedia link) by Gilles Delueze and Felix Guattari, translated by Brian Massumi, University of Minnesota Press, 1987.

They are created as a means of understanding the ideas being presented in the book. Each drawing is labeled by chapter and paragraph.

Marc sent these diagrams to Brian Massumi, the translator of A Thousand Plateaus into English, who is currently one of the editors of Inflexions, the online journal for research-creation. The first volume of the journal includes some of these diagrams in the Tangents section.

Many of these drawings were part of a group art show called Quantal Strife.

How the drawings and drawing style came about:

I was introduced to the book by a friend, John Ely. I started to read it at his place and was instantly mesmerised by the language.  I found the ideas quite elusive and felt compelled to make diagrams so that I could better understand and retain them. 

The writing in A Thousand Plateaus takes some time to adjust to. It is poetic and packed with images. I'll read a paragraph and then try to focus on one of the prominent images and then draw it out. The drawing style is very immediate. It has evolved from an automatic style that I was experimenting with as a means of accessing sub conscious material. The drawings were produced quickly with very little left brain processing. This style was then adapted to illustrate ideas that were developed by a design collective that I participated called RNA. You can see the original RNA drawings here. The RNA drawings were preoccupied with the burgeoning digital networked culture of the late 90's.

I found that a very simple diagrammatic style could be used to articulate fairly complex ideas about information, networks and the self. The RNA drawing style was then adopted to make the visual interpretations of A Thousand Plateaus.


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photograph of book cover

Drawings by Chapter




One or Several Wolves?

10,000 B.C.:

The Geology of Morals

(Who Does the Earth Think It Is?)