Race and Colorism in Bollywood

Posted: April 12, 2008 in Bollywood, Ecology of Sensation, India, Method, Race

Delanda talks movingly, yes movingly–what to do about Delanda’s style? there must be an untimely experience here as well–of the virtual; he writes, “The modelling process begins with a choice of manifold to use as a state space. Then from experimental observations of a system’s changes in time, that is, from actual series of states as observed in the laboratory, we create some trajectories to begin populating this manifold. These trajectories, in turn, serve as the raw material for the next step: we repeatedly apply the differentiation operator to the trajectories, each application generating one velocity vector and in this way we generate a velocity vector field. Finally, using the integration operator, we generate from the vecotr field further trajectories which can function as predictions about future observations of the system’s states. The state space filled with trajectories is called the “phase portrait” of the state space.” The aim here is to treat analyses of media assemblages as “phase portraits.”  There are many approaches to this question, but perhaps we could begin by saying that it is a matter of scale. 

There is this wonderful phrase in Zen the sense of which is that one’s practice of Buddhism should be one long unbroken unbalancing, a long, uninterrupted mistake. In Zen, of course, this means that one is always correcting one’s practice, because one is always drawn toward that asymptotic attractor, the ego, the substantive self, the spatialized self. But we need spaces that diagram potentiality, the vector field of identity. 

To resume my last post:

Concomitant with this economic shift in India was the regionalization of politics toward what commentators have called vernacular modernities, where people live in the world of the local language and in its media, and follow whatever variously constructed “traditional” customs suit them, but also negotiate aspects of Western modernity, such as computer engineering or agrobusiness. This suggests that modernity is not a line of development, but a gradient of non-linear forces, that birfucate and undergo phase transitions. There is phrase that captures this self-organizing economic dynamic: patterned but unpredictable. In terms of the political economic variables that cannot be reduced the positionality of the already known, we should not forget that India continues to grapple with at least three armed insurgencies each with very long histories and substantive critiques of Indian modernity: The Kashmiri (Pakistan-influenced) insurgency for democratic rule; the Assamese rejection of centralized Indian nationalism; and of course the ongoing Naxalite-Moaist movement for rural power, land, and resource redistribution in parts of eastern and southern India. Further, the past twenty years has seen the introduction of new economic gradients centered on global financial practices, information technologies, and a service economy displacing an agricultural one. These economic gradients have also meant that there is a re-potentialization, an intensification, and new critical thresholds of sun- and water-based energy flows throughout India’s new ecology of capital. Thus, on the one hand, the harvesting of sun and water energy have become subservient for the first time (beginning around 2000) to the harvesting of information-energy.


1. In terms of the postitionality of the already known see Massumi, Introduction to Parables of the Virtual.

2. In terms of the shifts in economic gradients, and the emergence of new forms of energy exploitation see Cities as Dissipative Structures, Manual Delanda, War in the Age of Intelligent Machines, and A Thousand Years of Non-Linear History


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