There’s always something deeper underground.

October 7, 2013




Rhizomes. What does ginger, bamboo and turmeric have to do with feminist power tools?

In botany and dendrology, a rhizome is a modified subterranean stem of a plant that is usually found underground, often sending out roots and shoots from its nodes. (2013). Rhizome. [online] Retrieved from: [Accessed: 9 Oct 2013].

I made notes on the side of the page to remind myself of the need to dig deeper. Why was Doina Petruscu repeatedly mentioning rhizomes? My only expereince with rhizomes has been in my own garden. Perennial plants like asparagus, and ginger. Was it their ulitplicity, heterogenity or connectedness?

Jumping abruptly to the second reading by Lori Brown, I was specifically interested in the passage on interdisciplinarity, and the quote she provided;

[t]he appeal of interdisciplinarity is no doubt in part a reaction against the seemingly conservative, even repressive implications of discipline: it is addociated with punishment, control, oppression, and pain, or inflexible rules, hierachies, and methodologies. Discipline is also related to an even more pejorative word: disciple, a person who si a follower, a sycophant, a convert, a zealot. Advocates of interdisciplinarity tend to believe that it is the very nature of discipline to isolate itself and to produce disciples. THis it is not much of a stretch to consider that the appeal of interdisciplinarity lies in its potential to serve as a euphemism for academic of artistic freedom.

Mark Linder,”TRANSdisciplinarity” Hunch #9, 12

I was not quite sure of how I was going to link the two thoughts together until I came across this passage;

…the principal characteristics of a rhizome: unlike trees or their roots, the rhizome connects any point to any other point, and its traits are not necessarily linked to traits of the same nature.

Deleuze, G. and Guattari, F. 1987. A thousand plateaus. Trans. Brian Massumi. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 2 p. 21.

My power tool for this week is to be a rhizome.

“As a model for culture, the rhizome resists the organisational structure of the root-tree system [monodisciplinarity; architecture] which charts causality along chronological lines and looks for the original source of ‘things’ and looks towards the pinnacle or conclusion of those ‘things.’ (a building, a plan, a drawing) A rhizome, [inter or transdisciplinarity] on the other hand, is characterised by ‘ceaselessly established connections between semiotic chains, [collaborations] organisations of power, and circumstances relative to the arts, sciences, and social struggles.’ [community oriented design] Rather than narrativise history and culture, the rhizome presents history and culture as a map or wide array of attractions and influences with no specific origin or genesis, for a ‘rhizome has no beginning or end; it is always in the middle, between things, interbeing, intermezzo.’ The planar movement of the rhizome resists chronology and organisation, instead favouring a nomadic system of growth and propagation.

Although what is above the surface may receive most attention from a majority of people, I will remind myself that there’s always something deeper underground.



: : shift from ‘practices of the other’, to practising ‘otherhow’

: : curate and create meaning, instead of planning and imposing

: : address space, not architecture

: : hi/stories + herstories

: : situate yourself. know where you stand.

: : if it does not exist, ‘alteritally’ invent it


Love Jordan.

Doina Petrescu, ‘Altering Practices’ in Altering Practices: Feminist Politics and Poetics of Space, London: Routledge, 2007.


2 Responses to “There’s always something deeper underground.”

  1. Rhizome’s entry into the world of theory began with the psychologist Carl Jung. His introduction to Memories, Dreams, Reflections includes the following reference to rhizome:

    Life has always seemed to me like a plant that lives on its rhizome. Its true life is invisible, hidden in the rhizome. The part that appears above the ground lasts only a single summer. Then it withers away–an ephemeral apparition. When we think of the unending growth and decay of life and civilizations, we cannot escape the impression of absolute nullity. Yet I have never lost the sense of something that lives and endures beneath the eternal flux. What we see is blossom, which passes. The rhizome remains.

    Jung, C.G. Memoirs, Dreams, Reflections. (New York: Vintage Books, 1965) 4.

  2. Ross Thompson

    EVDA 621 Formal Strategies Summary 17/October 05, 2010

    G. Deleuze and F. Guattari, “Introduction: Rhizome”, A Thousand Plateaus, 1987, 3-7, 21-25.

    Deleuze’s introduction to the rhizome is compared to a book in that it is more than a book. It is a multiplicity and exists inside outside, applies differently to each reader and has potential to be bonfire. Delueze considers the Rhizome an image of thought and has the capacity for multiplicities. The Rhizome is between things and does not have a beginning or an end, it is “interbeing, intermezzo. The tree is filiation but the rhizome is alliance, uniquely alliance (25). “The rhizome is an acentered, nonhierarchical, nonsignifying system without a General and without an organizing memory of central automaton, defined solely by a circulation of states What is at question in the rhizome is a relation to sexuality—but also to the animal, the vegetal, the world, politics, the book, things natural and artificial— that is totally different from the arborescent relation: all manner of ‘becomings’ (21). Rhisomes not having a beginning or end can be read in any order in any manner.
    Deleuze also discusses maps and tracings and the rhizomes relationship to maps. Tracings go on the map but do not reproduce the map rather it translates the map to an image. “It has already transformed the rhizome into roots and radicles. It has organized, stabilized, neutralized the multiplicities according to the axes of significance and subjectification belonging to it” (13).
    Is there a limit to rhizome entry/exit points or are they endless?

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