Assemblages: Assembling the Unassembled

Rumen Rachev

This entry is about assemblages, as much as it is not about them. Here the focus falls upon assembling the unassembled, looking for the unassembled masses, attempting an assembly of words about the unassemblages.

Knock-knock. He opens the door. Bruno Latour answers. You ask: “How to assemble the unassembled?” He passes his book Reassembling the Social (2005). You open it and try to understand why it is so difficult to assemble all the different things there are under one flag/banner/category/ontology and position them in the right boxes. The answer is elusive, as is the task of assembling assemblages and, more importantly, trying to assemble the unassembled.

The unassembled - all those pieces that are left after you finish assembling the assemblage, the small screws and bolts leftover from an Ikea flat-pack, left to sit around unused, since the assemblage seems complete.

Knock-knock. The assemblage cannot be ever or over completed. Holes and gaps will always poke through the finished assemblage, reminding of its incompleteness and desire for a stage where the assemblage can be really completed. The objet petit a of the assemblages—the illusive unassembled. Not fit to fit properly and too fit to just be discarded like nothing. Boxes falling in bigger boxes and trying to fill in the void created between all those boxes stacked one next to or on top of another. The void is not the missing part—it is the essential part. The unassembled is the part that does not require assemblage in order to participate in the assemblage. The more it seems it does not fit, the more it fits in the assemblage. The unassembled is one of many, and many of the one. Without a clear end and start, the unassembled ticks like a clock without hands and numerals. No instructions how to assemble. Just knock.

Synonym: Putting up
Antonym: unassembled
hypernym: boxes
hyponym: trinity

Latour, B. (2005). Reassembling the social: An introduction to actor-network-theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

COST Action IS1307 New Materialism: Networking European Scholarship on 'How Matter Comes to Matter'.

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With the changing of societies on local, national and international scales owing to economic, ecological, political and technological developments and crises, a reorganized academic landscape can be observed to be emerging. Scholarship strives to become increasingly interdisciplinary in order to grasp and examine the unfolding complexity of ongoing ecological, socio-cultural and politico-economic changes. Additionally, academics forge... Read more or find out Who's Who

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Genealogies of New Materialisms; examines and intervenes in canonization processes by compiling a web-based bibliography, coordinating the OST 068/13 8 EN... Read more

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New Materialisms on the Crossroads of the Natural and Human Sciences; seeks to develop new materialisms at the boundaries of the human and natural sciences. The group focuses on how European new materialisms can rework the ‘Two Cultures' gap... Read more

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