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Abstract: This essay aims to diagram the set of connectivities (or “system of relations”) developing in business outsourcing affective, communicative labor and the value-adding digital image in contemporary Hindi-Urdu cinema. What emerges is a resonant set of nested temporalities constituting a new media assemblage. Throughout, I draw on a set of analyses that has developed the notion of affective labor as a decisive break in the organization of value under capital. In this work by feminist political economists, postcolonial critics, and Marxist phenomenologists, affect becomes the substance of interaction and communication: distinct from “emotion,” affect is defined by its relational, bodily character, and cannot be reduced to an internalized feeling. In that regard, affect is considered pre-individual, operating in that moving strata of being and becoming where the subject and populations meet. Affect is both virtual and actual at once, it is an emergent, incipient space of mutation and potential as well as the site of modulation, control, and capitalist valorization. Theoretical frameworks that have brought together Marx, Freud, Foucault, and Deleuze have conceived of affective labor using terms such as desiring production, and more significantly, numerous feminist investigations, analyzing the potentials within what has been designated traditionally as women’s work, have grasped affective labor with terms such as kin work and caring labor [or “labor in the bodily mode”]. Through an analysis of No smoking (Kashyap, 2008) and Office Tigers (Mermin, 2006), I explore the singular emergence of affective labor in the South Asian context, in pervasive processes that are informatizing (rendering as/through data) various forms of life and work. I correlate the function of affective labor in both business outsourcing and digital media through analyses of two key modalities: the evolving functionality of information in the nonlinear, open system of computer technology; and the modulation of subjectivity in the capacities of attention and sensation of value creation.

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I. Why media assemblages now?
The present essay brings together a set of researches into the “life” of new media in India today. By “life of media” I mean the intensive, self-organizing processes that undergird the emergence of various forms of digital, capitalist media and the institutions that grid them. This is a virtual-actual circuit, and what follows is one of its diagrams. Through dynamic interfaces that positively feedback through sets of recurrent media events, assemblages of sensations, matter, technology, brands, and populations emerge. Such media assemblages form novel value streams by modulating the affective capacities of the body: the capacity to affect and be affected. My argument in this essay, therefore, is a contribution toward what Emma Dowling, Rodrigo Nunes and Ben Trott have marked is a critical event in the analysis of affective labor: the overall attempt at “a far more rigorous investigation into the material conditions of various forms of immaterial and/or affective labour.” These material conditions return criticism of media, organizational structures, and nonlinear economic dynamics to an affective realm of potential, where capacities resonate with capacities through processes that are non-coinciding but co-evolving. The field of resonation is a virtual plane that involves a given animate or inanimate body in affective systems of sense, value, and force. In South Asia (and, differently, for its diasporas) thinking these bodily capacities approaching critical thresholds has returned thought to its incipience in body-matter.
Consider the break-up of various state media monopolies (Doordarshan TV, All India Radio, etc.) and the emergence of India as a global power generally within a fully integrated American-led form of neo-liberalism (the close connections that have formed between Israeli and Indian populations, tourism, arms, and security is noteworthy here). From a consideration of movement and becoming, the institutional reorganization coevolved with changes in the sensorium. In other words, the correlated rhythms of the body—rates of perception, forms of attention, intensities of sensation, autonomic processes, and proprioceptive capacities—in a word, habit—shift and mutate as rhythms resonate, oscillate around singular points, and pass through dynamic thresholds. We should consider the mutation in Indian media as a work on forms of literacy and the value of English as a means of accruing economic and social capital. There are new literacies forming through, for instance, the use and mutation of texting (or SMS) language. The lines of flight, which also accrete their modes of control, are multiplying. The past twenty years has seen a catalyzing, revitalizing, and mutating of the vibrant print, visual, craft, and oral media practices that long pre-dated the coming of electronic (colonial) and digital (postcolonial) media. These practices continue in a relatively independent and still evolving sphere, and one that has many points of connectivity and feedback into the new media. For instance, the nearly 150 major newspapers in 100 languages published in India daily and the continued importance of local and regional mela performances have interfaced with different aspects of new media consumption under neoliberal India (especially in mobile phone cultures), and these renewed, catalyzed forces, energies, and flows are partly driving the emergence of new media assemblages in radio, print, video, Internet, performance, mobile phones, and art. It is in this postcolonial singularity that we must situate the rise of capitalist media institutions, their forms of organization, and their concomitant intensive processes, which they territorialize but never totalize.
Curiously, the ontology of this singularity resonates with its own epistemology, its own Regime of Truth. Discourse would in this framework be diagrammed as inflections on a surface of varied curvature. But this is not a metaphor; it is to understand discourse as practices implicating the body, folding the body in a delirious topology, where politics are located in what Massumi following Spinoza called the “passions.” As I will show, in India today the value of affect is truth in so far as truth is understood in relation to synaesthesia and pure reality. From reality TV to TV’s reality (its habituations, statements, durations, intensities, connectivities, functions, capacities, etc.), a hat ke (awry) media swerve has brought the body and its sensations back from the world of Gandhian Satya (due in no large part to the Gandhigiri of movies such as Munna Bhai) squarely into the assemblage of neo-liberal affective labor and digital media. India is entering a phase transition where truth and market value is positively correlated through specific ecologies of sensation. The method in what follows will be one of counter-actualizing truth, value, sense, force, and media toward ontogenesis, incipience, or “pure” difference in a given field, at a given time.
I have three correlated arguments that I will advance through two main media examples. The analysis of capitalist media flows should first of all foreground the production of values that are immense and immeasurable and yet susceptible to biopolitical control (to borrow gladly from Antonio Negri). But does the immeasurability of postfordist value understood abstractly necessitate that patterns of value creation don’t generate their own events of measure: this is what Patricia Clough would suggest is the preindividual substrate of measure itself, a virtual-actual field in phase transition.
Let us draw out some implications of Negri’s argument. The globalization of value-added services, processes, and products, and the immaterial labor that is their substrate, is a useful point of departure in such an analysis. This would be to elaborate the obscure connectivity, or better, evolving functionality between the nature of neo-liberal labor exploitation in Business Services Outsourcing (BSO) and the variable algorithms of computer generated imaging (CGI), returning to Benjamin’s insight of correlating the habituated processes of the industrial worker with film, architecture, perception, and the aura. Let us call this functionality (or intensive multiplicity) the Value Added Image, and note that the stylization of contemporary Indian urban life in dominant cinema has offered up a new cinematic cliché: the “lonely bubble” of the distracted and privatized cell phone user in recent films, in which the value-added of the interactive cellular screen divides the cinematic scene, interrupting narrative and enabling a forking away from profilmic timespace, a folding of timespaces, their intensification along the lines of an individuated reality centered on consumption, security, and the entrepreneur-ing of various populations: “reality” intensified. This suggests something fundamental in the nonlinear history of media in India: as media has globalized, so perception has become privatized, isolated, and newly hierarchized. But there are many mutinies against these processes, reactive forces becoming active and making an affirmation of becoming. My aim here is to demarcate lines of flight already emergent from this system of neoliberal perceptual control, and suggest trajectories, tendencies of becoming that are less intolerable than the ones capitalist forms of security, value, and force would have us accept as the destiny of a stable nature.
This method reconstitutes the abstract diagram of a given media field understood as imagistic flows “half-way between representation and matter,” as Bergson put it. In other words, if we understand perception as continuous and simultaneous with matter itself, the correlation of intensive flows of matter, energy, biomass, and information becomes uniquely important in this method. What are the motors in a given assemblage, and how do you modulate, tweak or break them? My first argument suggests that the emergent media assemblage in India shows the correlation of sensorimotor circuits across media platforms. Keep in mind that for Hardt and Negri affective labour produces “social networks, forms of community, biopower [where] the instrumental action of economic production has been united with the communicative action of human relations.” My argument extends this line of thought to suggest that BSO labor as communicative, relational, creative, and hyper-disciplined (affective labor), resonates with the modulation of rates of attention and multisensory perception in digital media today. Note that I am not arguing that the representational capture or habituation of the potentiality of biopolitical value is a metaphor for BSO labor; rather, there are key feedback loops forming functional regimes of passage between affective labor and digital modulation. This is what I am calling an ecology of sensation, that is, the functional connectivities pertinent to the mobilization and capture of bodily affect within a given technological assemblage. Events and practices, flows and singularities: the non-representational method aims to return to the synaesthetic field of emergence (the virtual plane) that is strangely passive and active at once
Acknowledging the inheritance of Deleuze’s “ontology of sense” rather than the closure of a dialectical metaphysics, the aim of a media assemblage analysis would be to diagram pragmatically ways of jamming such circuits of habituation by opening, tweaking and refunctioning the material connectivities themselves. To break the motor of sensation itself is continuous with the multiplicity of insurrections against the capitalist control of value. In short, the biopolitical analysis of valorization in new media, as it follows the phase transitions of the body’s affectivity, diagrams sensory-motor circuits of sensation becoming habit, and the circulation and refunctioning of cliché images (a system of relationships of habituated time). The aim here is to open both thought and sensation to mutations or transvaluations of value itself.
Throughout this paper I draw on a set of analyses that has developed the notion of affective labor as a decisive break in the organization of value under capital. In this work by feminist political economists, postcolonial critics, and Marxist phenomenologists, affect becomes the substance of interaction and communication: distinct from “emotion,” affect is defined by its relational character, not limited by an internalized feeling. In that regard, affect is considered pre-individual, operating in those strata of being where the subject and populations meet. Recalling Baruch Spinoza’s “ethics,” the production of affect is not conceivable otherwise than in terms of the production of a relation. This virtual relation, as Jonathan Sterne’s work on sound shows, is transversal to both culture and nature, and yet invested in concrete series of actuals, “following the plane that gives it its particular reality.” Understood in this way, affects seem to be at stake everywhere within a labor world dominated by dynamic connectivities, and by the imperative of building connections, of defining one’s own personality as a knot of multiple networks. In order to be successful in a world where labor is becoming increasingly flexible, casual, and “precarious,” one has to show that he or she is capable of building relations, of producing affects. In a situation in which the boundary between friendship and business is being itself blurred (are you building a connection with a certain person because you like him or her, or because he or she can be useful for you?), specific problems arise, which can nurture specific disturbances. As Michael Hardt has usefully noted, “The productive circuit of affect and value has thus seemed in many respects as an autonomous circuit for the constitutions of subjectivity, alternative to the processes of capitalist valorization. Theoretical frameworks that have brought together Marx and Freud have conceived of affective labor using terms such as desiring production, and more significantly, numerous feminist investigations analysis the potentials within what has been designated traditionally as women’s work have grasped affective labor with terms such as kin work and caring labor [or “labor in the bodily mode”]. Each of these analyses reveals the processes whereby our laboring practices produce collective subjectivities, produce sociality, and ultimately produce society itself.” Hardt goes on to note, that the term service covers a large range of activities from health care, education, and finance, to transportation, entertainment, and advertising. The jobs, for the most part, are highly mobile and involve flexible skills. More importantly, they are characterized in general by the central role played by knowledge, information, communication, and affect. In this sense, we can call the neoliberal economy an informational economy. How, then, in the context of the informatization of the Indian economy, is the function of affective labor correlated in both business outsourcing and digital media? One modality of this evolving functionality is the nonlinear, open system of computer technology; another is the modulation of subjectivity in the capacities of attention and sensation of value creation.

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II. Diagramming Sensation
Let us follow a non-representational connection between a recent Bollywood flop No Smoking (Anurag Kashyap 2008) and the 2006 documentary by Liz Mermin Office Tigers. Office Tigers revolves around Joe Siegelman, a 34-year-old American ex-Goldman Sachs executive, who authoritatively directs the movement of the camera around the Chennai offices of Office Tiger, the BSO company that he and a partner founded. There is a certain endearing boorishness about him as he “brags about how fabulously successful [Office Tiger] is.” In short, the movie presents itself less as industry expose and more like corporate propaganda for Office Tiger itself. As Anita Gates writes in her New York Times review of the film, “Executives suggest that Office Tiger’s secret is working its staff remarkably long hours, eliminating coffee and tea breaks, and instilling pride in the employees’ work by periodically telling them that they’re the best and the brightest and that this job is the gateway to a glorious financial future for them… [Office Tiger] lies somewhere between a white-collar sweatshop and a religious cult. But that may be true of a lot of corporations.” Gates goes on to note that the company relies heavily on instilling what are seen as American corporate values in their Indian employees. “The better to have them accepted and respected by American clients, the officers believe. For starters that means a 10 a.m. meeting starts at 10 a.m., not 11 a.m. or noon.” As an intertitle from the introductory segment states, “Fusing American corporate culture and Indian ambition, Office Tiger aims to shape a new generation of global professionals.”

My interest in this film stems from the lacunae very much at the surface of the corporate sheen. We know that India’s domestic manufacturers successfully negotiated the coming of liberalization in 1991, “dispelling,” says Nirmal Kumar Chandra, writing in Economic and Political Weekly, “the Washington-inspired myth of their inefficiency.” Chandra goes on to note that the producers not only kept “competing” imports at a low level, but also began to export on a larger scale than before in medium- to hi-tech areas. There has been a strong solidarity between Indian governmentality and the expansion and concentration of Indian capital accumulation. Over the past few years major companies such as Tata, Reliance, Infosys, and Wipro have been floating their shares in western stock exchanges and acquiring some renowned western firms. “However,” adds Chandra, “India’s major breakthrough has been in information technology (IT) and IT-related services like software development, ‘business process outsourcing’, etc.” In the 1990s, Indians capitalized on low labour costs here to seize opportunities that opened up with the IT revolution in the US. Over the years the established firms and start-ups moved into ever more complex areas of software engineering.” We can read the symptoms of this history in the corporate propaganda, but what method ties the legible (actual) and the intensive (virtual) together?
I suggest that we need a counter-actualizing method, a pragmatic experimentation in bundling and unbundling correlated processes of intensity. This is why the analysis of affective labor is so decisive: at the heart of the debate on affective labor is the question of the relationship between the virtual and the actual in contemporary criticism. One way of understanding this is considering the debate on the measure of value in analyses of what Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri call “Empire.” Has value become immeasurable in some fundamental way in Post-Fordist capital? Hardt and Negri insist that it has, stating that the “temporal unity of labour as the basic measure of value today makes no sense.” Their concern is that we “investigate what kind of labour we are dealing with and what its temporalities are.” They posit that “today, with the passage from Fordism to Post-Fordism, the increased flexibility and mobility imposed on workers, and the decline of stable, long- term employment typical of factory work,” the “regulatory rhythms of factory production and its clear divisions of work time and non-work time tend to decline in the realm of immaterial labour.” Massimo De Angelis argues that “a measure is always a discursive device that acts as a point of reference, a benchmark, a typical norm, a standard” (De Angelis, 2007: 176). Let us pause and consider this relation of measure to discourse: when does measure become discourse, or is it always already discursive in its very nature? By locating measure in the constellation of concepts around normativity (and so within the dialectic of docility and agency) what De Angelis does is ground measure in an epistemo-linguistic field, foreclosing a rigorous consideration of the virtual-actual circuit of self-measuring affective labor. But what if the value added of affective labor were thought of as a critical event in capital accumulation rendering an immeasurable affectivity open to probabilistic knowledge-capture? Critical events always in a definite but unpredictable way exceed their actualization, since they return the components of a multiplicity to their incipience in a plane of potential which in itself is immeasurable. What if affective labor adds value intensively to a given stream of surplus extraction, and after a certain threshold of intensity this event of adding value through modulating affect becomes open to a statistical and probabilistic reappropriation of the stream itself? This would be to grapple with the self-measuring capacities of affective labor, its immanent production of value as a critical event in capital (I owe this point to a conversation with feminist sociologist Patricia Clough, whose work on measure is a profound meditation on the virtual-actual circuit of affective labor). That capital today is constituted by a set of potentializing assemblages of matter and sensation, inciting affective labor to critical events of value and sense, which are then open to measure enables us to understand our present moment: an “extreme” neo-liberal regime of regulation and assessment forms feedback loops with variegated planes of potential: a sieve with a variable mesh.
Deleuze writes, “A life contains only virtuals. It is made up of virtualities, events, singularities. What we call virtual is not something that lacks reality but something that is engaged in a process of actualization following the plane that gives it its particular reality.” The aim, then, would be to go from actual to virtual through a method of counteractualization, and thereby move toward a new virtual plane. As Delanda has shown, when representations diagram connectivities as variably part of material and intensive flows (populations, biomass, energy, information, and sensation), they return to their plane of immanence, their transcendental field. What they lose in iconicity, they gain in movement and connectivity.

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In one sequence of Office Tigers, a white, Jewish American management trainer lecturing the “Talent Transformation Team” tells a group of Indian employees that “A piece of history is taking place right now here at Office Tiger. It’s not a call center that’s content to do the simplest kind of work imaginable, make a profit and go on. No. Office Tiger is really thinking of innovative, much more efficient ways where the best and brightest of India can work with the best and brightest people all over the globe. You guys are truly a part of history. Such a rapid economic development in such a short period of time, such a dramatic change of values. But I have news for you: this is actually the first hint of what’s going to happen, because this process of globalization is just beginning, and the opportunity for people like you—ambitious, young, talented people—is just starting.” Intercutting non-motivated shots of Chennai street life (Indian “truths”?) with interviews, the movie also follows the English-speaking Indian employees through long hours of meeting deadlines, learning English grammar, dodging marriage proposals, managing clients, and literally singing the praises of Office Tiger. Where is the potential for innovation between these rituals? Early in the film, Deepak, an Operations Account Manager, declares in a close-up shot, “I think its great to spend twenty hours a day in the office because that tells you of a great work ethic. I know I have done it in the past. I’m proud of it because that keeps me ahead in this competitive game. Because if I can spend twenty hours, you know, just being the best I can for those twenty hours, I know I’ve gained a lot of ground over all those hungry wolves around me.” Work then for tactical advantage given an aggressive, ever changing field of force relations. The next shot, at long-range, is of a group of women employees waiting for the start of a meeting. (The film gives the false impression that women have an equal presence throughout all strata of Office Tiger; in that sense the ideology of merit, or a worker’s market-value, seems to neutralize the force relations of gender, caste, class, and religion of Indian society.) Through such editing and camerawork, the movie makes clear that these hungry wolves are not primarily other outsourcing companies but in fact Deepak’s fellow employees, all of whom are organized into client-specific teams that compete for cash bonuses by constantly upping their own productivity. The bonus is for what is called sustained operations excellence, and the African American head of human resources at Office Tiger declares this a meritocracy. (A telling moment in the film is when one of the Indian managers declares that to him one of the greatest management leaders was Adolf Hitler, only to be reprimanded by his Jewish American supervisor for cultural insensitivity; another is when a South Asian woman is inspiring her workers, saying, I’ve heard that Office Tiger “is a place where once you get inside you can forget about your family. This is the change I am talking to you about, the change that is painful.”)
What of the space in which Office Tiger functions? The spaces are represented through clichéd “establishing shots.” The spatial enclosure of Office Tiger establishes the business itself as a switchboard of connectivity, surveillance, and creativity. The voice-over usually is of activity inside the building, giving a sense of energy, consciousness, and stability to the vast space. Four minutes into the film, Joe narrates his epiphany over globalization on a “dark and stormy” London night, preparing a report for his meeting at Goldman Sachs the next morning. Over the strum of a sitar and intercut through a contextualizing montage, we see a long-range, night shot of one of the Office Tiger buildings from above, the sharp angles of cubicles, air conditioning units and shaded windows showing a room bustling with activity. Later, we see the high-security, executive offices of Office Tiger, located in what was for a brief time, India’s largest shopping center in Chennai. The securing of space through guards and CCTV, and the tracking of workers through scanned identification cards and cameras, produce a rarefied space, distinct from the quasi-public malltiplex (mall + multiplex; Frederic Jameson’s classic antimony of a public space privately owned) to which it is connected. Overall, we can see the mode of distraction and registration specific to these spaces: continuous worker registration flows into information streams of human resource data, and it is monitored through a variety of algorithm-driven practices, criteria, and sensors.
So what is this form of labor that is being so closely modulated and continually disciplined? Aneesh argues in Virtual Migrations that neo-liberal economics has wrought a “fundamental transformation in the nature and organization of labor.” With fast data-communication links, programmers and other associated workers based in one part of the world are increasingly able to work on other locations around the globe. This deterritorializing of space is brought out well in the movie Outsourced (Jeffcoat, 2006). In that film, a white, 20-something middle-manager at an American “novelty products” phone center is forced to train his replacement in a small town in northwest India. The immateriality, speed, and unmooring of information catalyzes the material and representational capture of the Indian locale. This capture of space through narrative unfolding is legible in one web-review of the film: “Todd—and the audience, for that matter—is able to see this new situation with fresh, perhaps better-informed, eyes. Resentment evaporates and understanding takes its place, and the result left the audience I was with smiling from ear to ear as the closing credits rolled. Hopefully, some of that sentiment will carry through the next time one of us dials a 1-800 number and hears a voice on the other end that might belong to someone far, far away.”
Keeping this actual and wished-for (“transnational understanding through exotic heterosexuality”) transformation in mind, let me emphasize some of the key elements of the representation of Indian services outsourcing. Most obvious is the structured semantic slide between cultural values and capitalist value, which could be shorthanded as: the valorization of labor (i.e. the real subsumption of life itself within capitalist social relations; the hegemony of market value) is part of the revaluation of culture itself. We should specify though that culture here is not limited to a set of performative scripts of identity, or discursive constructs of subjectivity, nor is representation merely a legible text; rather this field should be understood as a culture-nature assemblage of partially self-organizing material, identitarian, and affective (bodily) networks: a non-coinciding resonant unity, an ecology of sensation and sense.
Office Tigers, the movie and the organizational model, both elicits and covers-over this dimension of cultural-ecological revaluation through dichotomies of tradition vs. globalization, Indian vs. Western, familial home vs. world-office, presented again and again through habits and mutation. This itself would complicate the too facile argument of the dissolution of boundaries and borders in the new transnational economy; what Office Tigers makes perceptible is the bodily implication, or affective regularities that distinguish value from value, population from population. Thus, in the form of the corporate BSO, the revaluation of culture is seen as necessary to the strategies of capital accumulation, not only because culture changes the way workers think, but joined to particular machinic assemblages gives them a new set of resonant habituations correlated around the English language, information technology, and market value. This is the case across the BSO labor-pool. Facility in English and connectivity to digital networks defines this set, which is not limited to the corporate form. There is a growing population of Indian freelance outsourcers, who operate entirely from the Internet as a way of supplementing their income. Their success does not depend on their cultural knowledge of the West primarily (decisive for the success of an Office Tiger worker), but rather their capacity to speak or write in English (which involves an irreducible cultural dimension), and their ability to stay connected at a workable speed from wherever they are.

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In Office Tigers the simultaneous valorization through revaluation bleeds into all the other dimensions of the lives of the workers. For instance, the friction between the expectations of non-South Asian managers trained in neoliberal meritocracy—what we might call the new abstract labor—and the network of ties of its actual employees stages this disjunction of valuation. These ties surface in moments of guarded sociality within the office, in subtle looks of disgust or discomfort exchanged between managers and workers, and workers and camera, in the opposition between marriage and office, in American pop music sung by male workers at office parties and in private get-togethers (“Stand by Me,” “Country Rose”). Moreover, the stark differences of status, wealth, language, and self-representation between the global services employees and the fleetingly visible populations that service them—the background labor of affective and material reproduction: maintenance, security, and administration staff—bubbles through this social disjunction.
The main point here for the purposes of this paper, is that Office Tiger presents itself as a corporation that provides measurable value-added services to Western firms, but these quantities are forms of discursive measure from the streams of immeasurable values of affective labor. As numerous commentators have noted, this is the labor that inhabits, enables and exceeds the boundaries between home and office, between merit and privilege, between men and women, and between work time and leisure time. Affective labor is in fact prior to these distinctions, and implicated in their relations of force. It is this space of creativity in between times that Office Tiger attempts to control as its own domain: “We liberate potential,” as an intertitle reads. Indeed, it is the value of potential duration itself (starting work on-time, the duration of the work day, the conscious deployment of mobile phones in the organizational structure facilitating the intensification of labor-time through multi-tasking: Aneesh’s “time zone warp,” Deleuze’s Untimely plane of immanence from which the variable present only flows) that is most under attack and occupation by the pedagogies of Office Tiger. To bundle and unbundle these repetitive parallel processes are central aims of the pedagogies of Office Tiger.
It will be no surprise that this transvaluation of value is central to the actual connectivity between work and information technology, established through an algorithm-based governance structure that Aneesh terms “algocratic.” As Upadhya remarks in her review of Aneesh’s study, the algocratic mode of hegemony depends on technology, especially information technology, which structures work routines and workplace behavior: in the post-industrial economy many work tasks are now performed through computers and the symbolic manipulation of code, giving rise to new systems of control, based on the coding process. “The algocratic mode has enabled new global flows of information labour as well as control over geographically dispersed workers through constant online access and monitoring, as seen in the model of geographically and temporally ‘distributed development’ followed by Indian software outsourcing companies.” Indeed, the digitization of information and its circulation in real time across the globe is a key catalyst for this transvaluation of value. For his part, Hardt notes that one “novel aspect of the computer is that it can continually modify its own operation through its use. Even the most rudimentary forms of artificial intelligence allow the computer to expand and perfect operation based on interaction with its user and environment.”
It is the value-added to specific cinematic clichés by information technology that brings me to a consideration of contemporary Bollywood cinema. I have argued in Untimely Bollywood: Globalization and India’s New Media Assemblage that contemporary Hindi-Urdu cinema is undergoing a definite phase transition, and that by diagramming the set of durations (or vibratory fields) assembled through the various processes constituting cinema—time embodied in form—we could begin to write a nonlinear history of South Asian media. Giorgos Artopoulos and Eduardo Condorcet note that in Bernard Cache’s analysis of the assemblage entered into by a kite, a method for diagramming “inflections on surfaces of varied curvature” becomes available to thought and practice. “In doing so, he describes the evolution of a form, and its shaping force in time. With the use of advanced geometries, time can be embodied in form—form—for example the kite—is the ‘site’ for the calculation of multiple forces. Digitally-generated environments to be inhabited by a ‘player’ raise the issue of human presence in the space-less environment of the computer” (214). Media as inflections moving, embodied in time, in form, and always doubled by the Untimely: this would alas, be too metaphorical for an effective diagram. But let us progressively differentiate this metaphor, and show the set of intensive entities constituting it.
One way to consider duration ontologically is to follow the relations it enters into. Deleuze suggested that there are definite properties of duration. “Pulsed time and non-pulsed time are completely musical, but they are something else as well. The question would be to know what makes up this non-pulsed time. This kind of floating time that more or less corresponds to what Proust called “a bit of pure time.” The most obvious, the most immediate feature of…non-pulsed time is duration, time freed from measure, be it a regular or irregular, simple or complex measure. Non-pulsed time puts us first and foremost in the presence of a multiplicity of heterochronous, qualitative, non-coincident, non-communicating durations. The problem therefore is clear: how will these heterochronous, heterogeneous, multiple, non-coincident durations join together…” Durations do not (necessarily) communicate, but they do join together. What I have been calling a non-coinciding resonant unity is this “joining together” of duration yielding a media assemblage with emergent properties. Through embedded or transversal time-scales, a non-pulsed time mobilizes self-organization, morphogenesis and a virtual plane. Following Deleuze’s suggestion for a biological understanding of temporal cycles, Delanda puts the problem thus:
Thinking about the temporality involved in individuation processes as embodying the parallel operation of many different sequential processes throws new light on the question of the emergence of novelty. If embryological processes followed a strictly sequential order, that is, if a unique linear sequence of events defined the production of an organism, then any novel structures would be constrained to be added at the end of the sequence….On the contrary, if embryonic development occurs in parallel, if bundles of relatively independent processes occur simultaneously, then new designs may arise from disengaging bundles, or more precisely, from altering the duration of one process relative to another, or the relative timing of the start or end of a process. This evolutionary design strategy is known as heterochrony…”
If heterochrony is the necessary condition of affective capacities, then sexuality (between individual and its populations) finds its non-coinciding incipience here as an ecology of sensation, in folded bundles of parallel processes, that disengage, feedback, and mutate. It is this heterochronous duration that marks both the immensity of affective labor, and its susceptibility to control. It also limns an edge of chaos, relatively deterritorialized, in the phase transition of contemporary Bollywood.

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Based on Stephen King’s “Cat’s Eye,” Anurag Kashyap’s No Smoking has been by and large panned by the critics as “pseudo-intellectual,” and almost totally rejected by national and diasporic audiences (although it will no doubt find an afterlife on Hindi satellite TV channels such as Sony, Zee, and B4U). A niche movie without a niche. The plot and camera revolves obsessively around K (John Abraham), a smug, rich, egocentric chain smoker. His wife Anjali (Ayesha Takia) threatens to leave him if he does not quit smoking. K’s mysterious friend Abbas Tyrewala (Ranvir Sheorey) recommends a smoking cessation program at an improbably located prayogshala or “rehabilitation center” (translated as “laboratory” in the English subtitles) somewhere in a remote gulley of Dharavi (India’s largest and highly variegated slum). When K finally arrives after having descended level after level into what will turn out to be his own private inferno, he finds that the program has some rather extreme methods of making you quit smoking. The spiritual head of the center is one Baba Bengali (Paresh Rawal), a proud friend and admirer of the late Adolf Hitler (a Photoshopped image of the Fuhrer and the Baba hangs on his wall). The Baba forces K to sign an absolute contract: “I hereby agree to do whatever l am asked to do in order to successfully quit smoking. I am getting into this program knowing exactly the risk my smoking will pose to me and my family. Thanks.” If K fails to follow any of the Baba’s rules his entire family will be tortured and killed one by one. The rest of the film plays out this failure in spectacular, but also numbing fashion.
Sensations resonate in No Smoking through a visual and aural style that explicitly confronts the audience with other media substrates with which cinema has evolved. As we shall see, the specific innovation of Kashyap’s cinema begin to displace the sensations of the Hindi-Urdu melodrama organized through various parallel narrative tracks, mass lighting, song-dance, and the rasas of color (think, for quick reference, of the Rajesh Khanna vehicles Kati Patang [Samanta, 1970] or Amar Prem [Samanta, 1971]). His stylization of narrative bits brings vision and sound to their own ecology, their own heterogeneous, heterochronous histories understood as sensation vectors distributed across media platforms. John Rajchman noted in his introduction to Deleuze’s Immanence, that a “life involves a different ‘synthesis of the sensible’ than the kind that makes possible the conscious self or person. Sensation has a peculiar role in it, and Deleuze talked of a ‘being of sensation’ quite unlike individual sense data waiting to be inserted into a categorical or discursive synthesis providing the unity of their manifold for an ‘I think.’ The being of sensation is what can only be sensed, since there precisely pre-exists no categorical unity, no sensus communis for it. At once more material and less divisible than sense data, it requires a synthesis of another, non-categorical sort, found in artworks, for example” (9). This indefinite synthesis of sense is, I think, uniquely available to thought through diagrams of the present media assemblage in India. The emergence of new cinematic forms in Hindi-Urdu cinema finds its own morphogenesis in this assemblage of habit and sensation.
As only singular acts of creativity can, No Smoking plays with visual and aural style, and narrative technique in a way that suggests new connectivities forming, habits dissolving into the incipience of sensing. More specifically, its presentation strikes the senses as a kind of hallucination, making perceptible the norms of reception that form the set of habituations of contemporary cinema itself. As one of the foremost filmmakers of India’s new New Wave, Kashyap has been able to present Mumbai on the verge of communal riots (Black Friday [2004]), and the peculiar saturation and jamming of filmic cliché throughout social life (No Smoking [2008], Dev.d [2009]). More, his website “” has elaborated a discourse of the filmic hat ke (remove, swerve, excess, interruption) that brings discourse into a confrontation with the duration of intensity and the intensity of duration, blurring distinctions between web-, graphic novel-, and filmic-representation, and instead constituting a new ensemble, a new set of feedback loops, a new functionality between parallel processes engaged in each other. A movie “about” breaking the habit of smoking, the film concatenates various visual clichés to at times stunning and dizzying effect. For example, animated internal dialogue bubbles borrowed from comic books flash at various moments signaling what a character “really” thinks of another character or the situation. Subtle digital effects and figures intimate a shadow world of lost souls inhabiting a progressively unclear reality. The intermittent bleach bypass cinematography gives a kind of vortex of grayness to the mise-en-scene (a post-industrial imagistic cliché), contrasting with the clichéd spectacle of John Abraham’s star body (specifically his sculpted chest). Thus, the blurring of reality, dream, present, past, film, TV and comic book, through various digital effects and the curiously forking narrative produce effects of disorientation and estrangement, even as the camera stabilizes these effects through the focus on Abraham’s body and character. The presentation of the flesh of the body through the graphic and excessive representation of dismembered limbs, sliced bodies, and the collapsed body in asphyxiation stylizes violence, very much in the vein of Ram Gopal Varma’s Sarkar Raj (2008) or Johnny Gaddaar (Raghavan, 2007). Finally, we should situate the effects of the various aural motifs or sound clichés that link Baba Bengali’s violence to shifts in plot and scenario; these sound clichés seem to work as aural knots nominating the given visual into sets of metaphors, symbols, condensations, and codes. But the loss of sound-hearing is tied to breaking habituations; for instance, the use of silence in a scene of momentary deafness following the explosion that prevents K from lighting up another “cancer-stick” makes us sense this metaphoric capture as its interruption. All of Baba’s former patients wear hearing aids.
Both these movies pose the question of value and difference as gradients of perception, nested and transversal timescales resonating and passing critical thresholds. What is the value of the new international division of services, and how does one measure that value given the radically flexible nature of profit accumulation, skilled labor, and labor management strategies in high-tech outsourcing work? What are the critical events through which affective labor yields a measurable value? How do cultural and familial values take on variable force through this shift in the measure of work and profits? What forms of digital technologies add value to the sensory-motor circuits already habituated, pushing perception toward a non-representational becoming? Differently and yet resonant, No Smoking and Office Tiger launch the body toward new habituations, and present a diagram that more and more passes through the binary code of the algocratic.

spikes 1

III. Conclusion: The Value of Affect
My argument here is focused on trying to diagram the set of functional connectivities between the economic, technological, and cultural synergies of digitized labor in actual space (as a key component of value added business services) and the aural/visual style and narrative technique of Indian new New Wave movies such as No Smoking. We should note that part of this method aims toward an intuitional knowledge, one not comprehended through the dialectic, space, or essence. Thus we dispense with assuming that media institutions are given, or that they have a progressivist history; there are practices of institutionalizing media flows, which we have referred to as the griddings specific to a virtual-actual circuit, but these emerge from sets of durations that are gradually habituated and hierarchachized. These durations are ontological in so far as they catalyze an affective domain through feedback loops toward singular points. Foucault reminds us in The Birth of Biopolitics, that the control of lives of danger, dangerous life, is the aim of biopolitical projects under neoliberalism; the practices specific to its governmentality invest the potentiality of life-in-risk, and the modulation of its distributions across human and non-human multiplicities. The question remains what are the kinds of affects (capacities) mobilized in value added outsourcing, value added digital compositing, and the addictions of globalization? I suggest that contemporary South Asian media criticism should explore other methods of analyzing sensation and its modulation beyond its mooring, or better, gridding in representation. If affective labor, digital compositing, techno-genesis, and enfolded narrativity are modes of habituation resonant across a far flung media assemblage, such image centers resonate with the body and a mutating set of values and modes of measure.
This resonation has to do with the embedded timescales of bodily (re)production, from micro-durations in specific regimes of passage (spacetimes of sensation) to population-specific becomings that form over centuries or millennia (formations of sexuality, institutions of family). There are various ways of gridding the connections between sets of stimuli and particular habituations; the cycles of these stimuli and the mutation of these habits have a relative autonomy from the cultural, national, identitarian can be a resource for radical thought, action, and art. What is at stake is developing different styles of counter-actualizing, because bundling and unbundling the durations of a style is a method of becoming in itself. The intensive processes that underlie any given media assemblage can connect—and often do—with other assemblages, ecologies, ontologies. Which is only to insist that we can do different things through our perception, we have mutating capacities. This is the autonomy of affect, as Brian Massumi has it. But culture feeds back into these intensive processes, sometime to catalyze them in nonlinear directions, but more often to grid them as positionalities. Finally, the critical legacy of most importance in rasa theory is the intimation that the body, the embodied mind is itself embedded in and mutates through circuits of sensation and pleasure, matter and activity. In the spirit of both Walter Benjamin and Jacques Derrida, we may say that the aim of a non-fascist aesthetics, an aesthetics of monstrosity, would be to open representation to this non-representational becoming.
This non-representational becoming is nothing other than a pragmatic affirmation (a practice) of what Antonio Negri defines as affect. “Affect can be considered…as a power to act that is singular and universal. It is singular because it poses action beyond every measure that power does not contain in itself, in its own structure, and in the continuous restructurings that it constructs. It is universal because the affects construct a commonality among subjects” (“Value and Affect” 85). Of course, given that affect is adaptive and historically specific, it is not absolutely universal, just relatively populational. Simply its capacity is in its movements. Affect as the capacity to act is the name of a desire, a passion, a tendency. Second, affect is the power to transform the universal into the singular and the singular into the universal. This circuit has an expansive dynamic that has no limits (it is thus free, ontologically open, and omnilaterally diffuse [86]), only obstacles (modulation through control mechanisms and algorithms: algocracy). But that each obstacle overcome (the critical event of value added in affective labor, for instance) adds to its ontological power; the “conditions of action and transformation are from time to time appropriated and go toward enriching the power of action and transformation” (85-6). But there is no progress in this, nor is it only a lesson of institutional history. Its lessons are in the bodily habits, its strategy is to unbundle and rebundle durations, nonpulsed times in the body—affirming again with Bergson that perception is continuous with matter. Negri concludes thus: “Since value is outside of every measure (outside of both the ‘natural’ measure of use-value and monetary measure), the political economy of postmodernity looks for it in other terrains: the terrain of the conventions of mercantile exchange and the terrain of communicative relations. Conventions of the market and communicative exchanges would thus be the place where the productive nexuses (and thus the affective flows) are established—outside of measure, certainly, but susceptible to biopolitical control” (86). Our diagrams have to aspire to the non-dialectical nature of this control in order to short circuit the connection between the diagram and control itself, and loop it into affective flows of a revolutionary nature. “…the standpoint of the oppressed that constructs insurrection and imagines a revolutionary reconstruction, a standpoint from below that richly constructs a non-place of revolutionary reality” (88).
What is the relation of this revolutionary non-place to market reality? What is the system of temporal relations that connect neoliberal affective labor and digital perception? In what way does the new New Wave within Hindi-Urdu cinema negotiate and resonate within the terrain of global capital? The obvious answer is that this cinema is a cultural expression of neoliberalism, it represents its logic in its form and content, in its institutional production and consumption. But what if our aim is to piece together as best as we can a functional diagram of a virtual field, a plane of pure potentiality from which both the new New Wave and neo-liberalism emerge? The aim of this paper has been to pose the question of connectivity from the perspective of relations of motion, affective capacities, habituation, and intensive processes of time. Representations as lines of force and intensity, sensorimotor actions incipient, potential, or actual, elongated into perception by memory and habit, through a stochastic conduit; the flow of images are material in so far as they are correlated with a multiplicity of flows, such as energy, biomass, and information. All with gradients, all with specific singular points, around which these flows organize asymptotically, and from which they fly given the force of various shocks or tendencies. But clearly one of the implications of the break-up of “Bollywood melodrama” (a heterogeneous cliché if there ever was one) is that cinema, and by extension all media, has come into a new relation with reality itself. A newly stylized, affective reality, one that has no calculation (because it is a qualitative multiplicity) and for that reason enfolds the potentiality of value. And the regime of modulation for this system of relations is the market. It both modulates flows and legitimizes institutions, statements, and governance through the aura of a cyclical, not to say cynical truth. What together Office Tiger and No Smoking offer us is a diagram of this potential value: in the modulation of perception and mobilization of memory on the one hand, and the networked mobility of services and their algocratic control on the other, the problem of India’s new (relation to) reality opens through strategies of jamming. What No Smoking shows us, and this time narratively, is that the true value of things in neoliberal India is habituated through resonant and at times discordant cosmologies, or regimes of truth. Baba Bengali meets Ashwin Navin (president of Bittorrent): both are trying to break your habits of consumption. The connection between the market as jurisdiction and the market as truth is strong in India, confirmed by a tendency of displacement of the court scene creating narrative closure in Hindi-Urdu melodrama with the corporate boardroom scene in serials such as Betiyaan on Zee TV. But the governing elites in India (who have never lost the aura of stewardship or trusteeship that Gandhi bestowed on the rich and privileged) are slowly losing control of the mechanisms of market jurisdiction. The market determines truth, value. Both of which seem infinite under neoliberalism because the market has really subsumed bodily capacity within its ontology. Confusingly, affect is both potential and prison. But this is not a dialectic, it is a network of sensorimotor circuits in becoming. As Chandra notes, in India over the past fifteen years, “GDP growth did accelerate…, and many industries progressed… On one point there is no doubt. The new regime, by privileging foreign capital, especially capital flows into the stock market, has lost a great deal of autonomy in policymaking, and the country remains perennially vulnerable thanks to unabated fiscal deficits and reliance on capital inflows” (43). He goes on to note, moreover, that political instability is positively correlated with polarizations in wealth. The market has launched in India not a new regime of truth, but a reorganization of perception, force, value, and sense through a new ecology of sensation.


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