Charles J. Stivale -- Deleuze & Guattari

Duelling Augé's - Pascal and Marc / Addendum from Les Roberts

Updated July 17, 2006


Duelling Augé's - Pascal and Marc
(with reference to the term "espace quelconque" in Cinema 1, p. 109/L'Image-mouvement 154)

To define the confusion between these two names very succinctly that occurs in Cinema 1, one need only see that GD does refer to Pascal Augé (no specific text given as reference) in C 1 (109) to reference the term espace quelconque, but Réda Bensmaia ("L'espace quelconque" in Iris 23 [1997]) apparently errs in attributing this term to a different anthropologist, Marc Augé, but Bensmaia goes a step further: he does not seem to find the precise term at all, but rather associates it with a term used by Marc Augé, "non-lieux" (non-spaces, or non-loci), in Augé's works and provides specific references. Bensmaia draws extensively from Marc Augé in his essay, but it is not clear at all that Marc Augé uses the actual term "espace quelconque" itself.

This question gets complicated when different critics extrapolate: Ronald Bogue in his Deleuze on Cinema (80) refers to Deleuze "borrowing a term from anthropologist Marc Augé", hence cross-attributing to the name not used by Deleuze; D.N. Rodowick in Deleuze's Time Machine simply refers to Bensmaia's essay.

An interesting deepening of the confusion comes elsewhere. In a 1997 essay online, by Donato Totaro http://www.horschamp.qc.ca/9903/offscreen_essays/deleuze1.html, Pascal Augé is correctly referenced, but without a specific reference text. The author refers to another online analysis by Jeffrey Bell (a review of the Iris cinema issue), who (says Totaro) "summarizes author Reda Bensmaia's analysis of Deleuze's transformation of Augé's term." Alas, Jeffrey Bell's online essay is no longer accessible at the original location, www.mailbase.ac.uk/lists/film-philosophy/files/paper.bell.html, but at a new one: http://www.film-philosophy.com/vol1-1997/n8bell . Bell does not take note at all of the discrepancy between the two names, Pascal (that Bell notes from Deleuze's use) and Marc. An interesting cross-reference to Bell's review of the Iris is found at http://www.studioxx.org/e/programming/events/2005/artsbirthday.php which refers to the "espace quelconque", to Pascal Augé as source, and references Bell for this.

Here are other sources that reference "espace quelconque" and Pascal Augé:
-- by Ivana Košulicová , on Jan Nemec, http://www.ce-review.org/01/17/kinoeye17_kosulicova.html [citing Deleuze C1, 109],
-- by Colin Gardner, http://www.artbrain.org/journal_3/gardner.html [no attribution other than citing Augé],
-- Donato Totaro's 1999 synopsis of both Cinema books (!) (using the aforementioned 1997 review) http://64.233.167.104/search?q=cache:fiRKhsDFZuYJ:soma.sbcc.edu/Users/DaVega/FILMST_101/FILMST_101_ARTICILES/Deluze_Bergson_synopsis.pdf+%22pascal+auge%22&hl=en
-- See also the critique of Bensmaia's essay and of Deleuze's take, by Edward R. O'Neill http://www.film-philosophy.com/vol2-1998/n2oneill
-- Phillip Vannini, Waiting Dynamics: Bergson, Virilio, Deleuze, and the Experience of Global Times, http://www.mundanebehavior.org/issues/v3n2/vannini.htm
-- Google Deleuze+Auge yields a plethora of discussions (on blogs and elsewhere)

Oddly enough, no such anthropologist named Pascal Augé exists. In fact, when one searches Amazon.fr for this name, the following title appears: Des cultures et des hommes : Clés anthropologiques pour la mondialisation de Pascal Lardellier, Marc Augé (Préface) - that is, Marc Augé writes the preface to a book by Pascal Lardellier on Anthropological Keys for Globalization. But this is a 2005 publication, so not a reference that might have led astray Deleuze or anyone else writing on this problem.

My conclusion: Deleuze himself gets the name of Marc Augé wrong, not helped at all by GD's occasional habit of not providing exact citations. Bensmaia makes the laudable effort to locate "espace quelconque" in Marc Augé's work, and if he takes issue with Deleuze, it certainly has to do both with the specificity of the term in Augé's writing and Deleuze's very loose appropriation for his own purposes. The best way to handle this in print is to cite Deleuze, "to use Pascal Augé's term" and then provide a footnote indicating succinctly that GD provides no reference whereas Réda Bensmaia does locate an approximate use of the term in Marc Augé's writing, specifically "les non-lieux". Having surfed a range of sites (using Google, Deleuze+Auge), I conclude that Marc Augé is now a given as reference for "espace quelconque" based on his postulation of "non-lieux".

What would account for GD's error? How about this theory: several of the directors about whom he wrote, e.g. Jacques Rivette, Eric Rohmer, had a young French actress in their films, Pascale Ogier, who died very young in 1984, following her success and award (Venice Film Festival) for Rohmer's Full Moon in Paris (Les Nuits de la pleine lune). She also has the special merit to have starred in the little scene (except by me!) film that included Jacques Derrida "Ghost Dance" (cf. http://www.timeout.com/film/70156.html).
So, a possible explanation for GD's error: he transposed Pascal Augé from Pascale Ogier, instead of Marc Augé. There are lots of links to Pascale Ogier, and she was in 2 of Rohmer's films, Perceval le Gallois and Les Nuits de la pleine lune, so she certainly would have been in GD's knowledge bank, and died from drugs shortly after winning the big award. There is an interesting blog entry about Rohmer info at http://www.2blowhards.com/archives/001846.html

Charles J. Stivale, August 11, 2005

From Les Roberts, an addendum re the above:

Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2006 14:35:51 +0100
From: Les Roberts <Les.Roberts@liverpool.ac.uk>
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.7.2) Gecko/20040804 Netscape/7.2 (ax)
X-Accept-Language: en-us, en
To: C_Stivale@wayne.edu
Subject: Duelling Auges - Pascal and Marc
X-Junkmail-Status: score=10/50, host=mirapointms6.wayne.edu
X-Junkmail-SD-Raw: score=unknown,
refid=str=0001.0A090202.44A29546.0034,ss=1,fgs=0,
ip=138.253.100.179,
so=2006-03-30 10:46:40,
dmn=5.2.4/2006-05-04

 

Dear Professor Stivale

I am writing in response to the article you have published on your website regarding the Pascal Auge reference in Deleuze's Cinema 1. As someone who has also been drawn into the web of confusion surrounding the two Augés, Pascal and Marc, I would like to share with you my thoughts and findings on this matter, and to question both your and Reda Bensmaia’s conclusions.

Two or three years ago when researching my doctoral thesis on cinematic spaces of travel I read the Bensmaia paper in Iris with some interest as I was specifically exploring the links between Deleuze's 'espace quelconque' and Marc Augé's idea of 'non-places' in my own work. I spent some time researching the Auge-Deleuze link and trying to clarify exactly who the source of Deleuze's concept was. While I cannot make any authoritative claims in support of the elusive Pascal as the originator of the concept, I’m reasonably confident that the anthropologist Marc could not have been Deleuze’s point of reference for the following reasons:
-- The (Marc) Augé texts which Bensmaïa cites in his article (La Traversée du Luxembourg 1985, Un ethnologue dans le metro 1986, Domaines et Château 1989, and Non-Lieux: Introduction à une anthropologie de la surmodernité 1992) were all written after the publication of Deleuze’s Cinema 1 in 1983. At the time when any such cross-fertilisation of ideas would have taken place (late 1970s and early 80s), Augé had yet to fully develop his ‘anthropology of the everyday’ or his ideas on space and place. The main focus of his work during this period was still largely based around the ethnographic research which Augé conducted amongst the Alladian cultures of the Ivory Coast in the 1960s and 70s. On this basis, therefore, it is unlikely that Marc could have been Deleuze’s source.

-- According to Bensmaia, who sent me an extremely helpful and detailed reply to my enquiries regarding his article, there is a Pascal Augé who appears to have written something on 'espace quelconque', although the exact reference is vague. Apparently, after Bensmaia’s article was published, Iris received a letter from a Pascal Augé asking them to correct the error in their publication. But as far as I am aware Pascal was not able to provide sufficient evidence to support his claim of intellectual ownership. However, despite the Pascal connection, Bensmaia maintains that Deleuze borrowed and transformed the concept from Marc Augé, but I cannot see how this argument can be sustained given the historical mismatch of ideas referred to above.

-- Marc Augé himself has confirmed (in a reply to my query) that Deleuze did not borrow the concept from him.

Given the above, it seems reasonable to conclude that Deleuze was not mistaken in his referencing Pascal Augé, or at least that the former did not develop his notion of ‘espace quelconque’ from ideas put forward by Marc Augé.

Aside from Deleuze’s somewhat lax attitude to referencing, and the fact that no clear trace can be made to publications bearing the name of Pascal Augé, I suspect much of the confusion stemming from Bensmaia’s article has been down to the fact that, aside from a handful of publications, Marc Augé’s work is relatively unknown among Anglophone readers, with many important works still awaiting their English translation. As such, the specificity and intellectual provenance of ideas such as ‘non places’ is all too often overlooked in discussions of his work. This has probably contributed to what in my view is an inadequately problematised conflation of ‘non-places’ with Deleuze’s/Pascal’s concept. Marc Augé has never used the term ‘espace quelconque’ in his writings, and I would question whether non-places can be viewed as in any way approximate to the Deleuzean term. That said, there are intriguing points of connection between the two concepts, which is what prompted my interest in exploring the relationship in the first place. As such, I plan to return to this area of discussion more substantively in a paper I hope to start working on shortly. Provisionally titled “Non-Places and Any-spaces-whatever: Time, Space and Mobile Affect in London Orbital and L’Emploi du Temps”, it will explore more closely these spatialities in relation to two recent ‘motorway films’. With publications such as Ronald Bogue's Deleuze on Cinema also erroneously citing Marc Augé as the source, adding further to the confusion, a corrective and clarification of this issue is in my view both necessary and timely.

Anyway, I thought you might be interested in this update on the controversy. Your website has prompted me to revisit and engage once more with this issue, and hopefully will motivate me towards getting started on my paper... for which I'm grateful.

Best wishes,

Les Roberts

--
Dr Les Roberts
Research Associate
Schools of Architecture / Politics & Communication Studies
The University of Liverpool
Leverhulme Building
Abercromby Square
Liverpool
L69 3BX
T: +44 (0)151 794 2631
F: +44 (0)151 794 2605
Les.Roberts@liverpool.ac.uk


Return to D&G Home Page