UIQ - A Space Oddity
FRIDAY 01 JULY / UIQ - A Space Oddity: a lecture performance by Silvia Maglioni & Graeme Thomson
:: 7pm – 10pm
Following the publication in 1980 of Mille Plateaux, a work that for many marked the culmination of Félix Guattari’s intellectual adventure with Gilles Deleuze, Guattari began work on a film script for a science fiction movie, Un amour d’UIQ. Initially developed in collaboration with filmmaker Robert Kramer, the script ofUIQ (Universe Infra-Quark) was to occupy Guattari on and off for the next seven years.
Influenced both by his work with psychotics at the La Borde clinic and his engagement with radical politics, UIQ offers a blueprint for a subversive ’popular’ cinema (Guattari originally had ambitions to make the film in Hollywood with Spielberg’s then producer Michael Phillips) of scrambled semiotic codes, impersonal, transpersonal affects and minoritarian becomings that in terms of the possibility of its actually being produced would be pure science fiction. Yet in desiring to make the film in the commercial arena as a sci-fi blockbuster, Guattari was effectively raising the stakes of his own political engagement, attempting to break into the dream factory to reconfigure patterns of collective unconscious desire.
In this audiovisual essay, the first stage in a multiform project around UIQ (which will also include a book publication of the script in collaboration with psychoanalyst Isabelle Mangou), artists and filmmakers Silvia Maglioni & Graeme Thomson consider how the development of the UIQ script appears amid a general resurgence of interest in science fiction in the late 1970s and early 1980s. It is around this time that sci-fi becomes a screen of projection and mourning for the scattered phantoms of disappointed revolutionary desire, in which the radical alterity of a political ’outside’ is increasingly projected no longer through the imaginary of collective struggle but in terms of encounters with alien intelligences or life forces – encounters configured within a continuum that runs from interface to interbody to interbrain.
UIQ imagines a hyper intelligent infra-cellular life substance as capable of transmitting its nascent will through global communications networks as of plugging into the precarious ‘desiring machines’ of a community of social and psychological outsiders. The film could considered a ’molecular’ interbrane response to an imaginary and ideological closure that began to take hold during the1980s, mediated through the aesthetics of postmodern nostalgia. Guattari’s unrealised film has interesting implications both for cinema and collective practices in terms of how it promises to rewire dominant modes of spectatorship and subjectivation.
By placing echoes of the unfilmed script in relation to a montage of scenes from sci-fi films of the period – from Tarkovsky’s Solaris and Stalker, to Spielberg’s Close Encounters and ET through Demon Seed, The State of Things, Blade Runner, Videodrome, Starman and others – Maglioni & Thomson aim to isolate the singularity of UIQ in the virtual dimension of what it might have been and what it may yet become.
Through the UIQ script we can see, in a movement a-parallel to Deleuze’s monumental philosophical study on the cinema, Image mouvement/ image temps, the emergence of Guattari’s own theory and contingent pragmatics of ‘minor’ cinema. Although, or perhaps because, the film was never made, elements of UIQ will resurface in some of the concepts developed in his last major theoretical work, Chaosmosis, part of the movement of an outlandish thought that zigzags between theory and fabulation, science and fiction.
The lecture performance will be followed by a conversation with Kodwo Eshun and Anjalika Sagar of The Otolith Group, Isabelle Mangou and Dork Zabunyan