“It is not very difficult to determine the essence of the ‘novella’ as a literary genre: Everything is organized around the question, ‘What happened? Whatever could have happened?’ The tale is the opposite of the novella, because it is an altogether different question that the reader asks with bated breath: What is going to happen? Something is always going to happen, come to pass. Something always happens in the novel also, but the novel integrates elements of the novella and the tale into the variation of its perpetual living present.” – Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus (trans. Brian Massumi)

“Forming grammatically correct sentences is for the normal individual the prerequisite for any submission to social laws. No one is supposed to be ignorant of grammaticality; those who are belong in special institutions. The unity of language is fundamentally political. There is no mother tongue, only a power takeover by a dominant language that at times advances along a broad front, and at times swoops down on diverse centers simultaneously. We can conceive of several ways for a language to homogenize, centralize: the republican way is not necessarily the same as the royal way, and is not the least harsh. The scientific enterprise of extracting constants and constant relations is always coupled with the political enterprise of imposing them on speakers and transmitting order-words.” – Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus (trans. Brian Massumi)

“A concept is a brick. It can be used to build the courthouse of reason. Or it can be thrown through the window. What is the subject of the brick? The arm that throws it? The body connected to the arm? The brain encased in the body? The situation that brought the brain and body to such a juncture? All and none of the above. What is its object? The window? The edifice? The laws the edifice shelters? The class and other power relations encrusted in the laws? All and none of the above.” – Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus (trans. Brian Massumi)

“Unlike natural persons, corporations have limited liability for their owners and managers, perpetual life, separation of ownership and control, and favorable treatment of the accumulation and distribution of assets that enhance their ability to attract capital and to deploy their resources in ways that maximize the return on their shareholders’ investments. Unlike voters in U.S. elections, corporations may be foreign controlled. Unlike other interest groups, business corporations have been effectively delegated responsibility for ensuring society’s economic welfare; they inescapably structure the life of every citizen. It might also be added that corporations have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires. Corporations help structure and facilitate the activities of human beings, to be sure, and their personhood often serves as a useful legal fiction. But they are not themselves members of We the People by whom and for whom our Constitution was established.” – Justice John Paul Stevens, United States Supreme Court, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (internal quotes and citations omitted)

“The discourse of art, like any other professional discourse, imposes limitations on the possibilities of the gaze, speech or actions conducted by the spectator. The discourse of art directs us to continue to see the work of art as the source and goal of discourse, and enables the specialist spectator to exercise professional knowledge and to enjoy the fruits of its authority. . . . A civil intention enables the spectator to exceed the limits of professional discourse and to regard the image, not as source and end in itself, but first and foremost as a platform that bears the traces of others, and thus as a junction that articulates between such traces and the spectator who sees them.” – Ariella Azoulay, Civil Imagination: A Political Ontology of Photography

“The photograph is never a sealed product that expresses the intentions of a single player. The photograph does not make a truth claim nor does it refute other truth claims. Truth is not to be found in the photograph. The photograph merely divulges the traces of truth or of its refutation.” – Ariella Azoulay, Civil Imagination: A Political Ontology of Photography

“Over the course of the last 250 years at least, human beings in different locations have thought of themselves as citizens and have debated the essence of citizenship as well as its limitations. Now that so much time has passed, thought concerning citizenship need no longer be bound to the invention of a zero point, a hypothetical moment of inception. It is more productive to see citizenship as an interface that enables humans to create a shared world, one which they will be able to continue to inhabit together in the future, not only because of their actions but because they calculate the effect of their actions on others who share the world. . . . The particular functioning of the modern nation-state, however, which has captured the discourse of citizenship and subordinated it to the logic of sovereignty that dictates who among the governed is a citizen, bestowing status and a package of rights and duties on the citizen that are not allocated to other governed individuals, has created fertile conditions—not for civil intention, but for civil malfunction.” – Ariella Azoulay, Civil Imagination: A Political Ontology of Photography

“Whenever human beings exist together with one another, whether in private or in public space, whether in open or closed spaces amenable to, or hidden from, the surveillance of others, their being together constitutes political existence. This political existence takes different forms characterized by varying degrees of freedom and repression.” – Ariella Azoulay, Civil Imagination: A Political Ontology of Photography

“To historicize visual culture adequately is also to undermine the narrative that presents the history of art as the pertinent field of knowledge for the generation of visual culture in relation to which visual culture stands as a kind of appendix or late variant, possessed nevertheless of loyalty to shared principles. The hegemonic narrative, which accepts the imperialist pretenses of the history of art, presents art as the central channel for visual practice and sees photography as a sub-medium within this. In this account, photography has, since its inception, knocked ceaselessly on the door of art in order to gain admittance into its domain. Within the narrative it offers, the history of photography is indivisible from supposedly key moments when the photograph was admitted into museums of art. Such a narrative erases the infinite richness of photography and the many uses to which it was put outside of the context of art or the museum. It overlooks the fact that most users of photography display no desire to belong to the field of art, nor do they seek the recognition of its resident experts.” – Ariella Azoulay, Civil Imagination: A Political Ontology of Photography

“Whoever appears in a photograph or whoever is glimpsed in its frame always stands in a certain set of relations with others. Neither the photographer who is invested with ownership rights over the photograph as object, nor the work of art constructed as the center of gravity of the discourse of art, are capable of erasing the photographed persons or any other participants in the event of photography from the civil space in which they are present and whose coming into being they demand from those who observe them.” – Ariella Azoulay, Civil Imagination: A Political Ontology of Photography

“The coming together of the photographer with the persons photographed always extends beyond the concrete encounter between them. The photograph serves to increase the chances that the encounter will, in fact, endure, migrating to other spaces and circumstances which, at the very least, evade the photographer’s ability, or that of the persons photographed, to know them in advance.” – Ariella Azoulay, Civil Imagination: A Political Ontology of Photography

“A community of stakeholders is usually represented by a certain body or sovereign power. The sum total of citizens cannot, however, be represented. Modern nation-states who bestow a civil status on their subjects presume to manifest and to represent their citizens as if this civil status were the essence of citizenship. But citizenship is the outcome of a hypothetical partnership between individuals that enables them to relate to one another as having equal access to this partnership. Any regime that seeks to subject such partnership to representation inevitably infringes upon it and cannot, therefore, be said to represent it. The foundational principle of partnership between citizens lies in the fact that they are not subject to sovereign power and cannot therefore be represented by it. Such partnership can at most be imagined by the members who participate in it. From the eighteenth century onward, it has been possible to imagine this partnership in different forms, as taking different directions and proceeding through different channels. All such imaginings constitute a form of taking-part in this citizenry and any such partnership presents an opportunity to imagine such a citizenry.” – Ariella Azoulay, Civil Imagination: A Political Ontology of Photography

“Corporations are great and appalling things. They take you and shape you in nearly nothing flat, twist and swivel you. And they do it without overt persuasion, they do it with smiles and nods, a collective inflection of the voice. You stand at the head of a corridor and by the time you walk to the far end you have adopted the comprehensive philosophy of the firm.” – Don DeLillo, Underworld

“The photographer engages in a significant series of choices with respect to the event of photography, and these influence the manner in which its final product—the photograph—will appear. Such choices begin with the sheer decision to aim the camera in the direction of a certain event or certain individual, and range through decisions relating to the selection of colors employed or the angle of the shot that will determine the tone of the frame. But even when a photograph is staged in all of its particulars, so that these decisions are highly controlled and highly rigid, the photographer still employs a camera and people are still present in the situation alongside her: they, in fact, stand before her. The co-presence of individuals at the time that the photograph is taken is admittedly usually managed in accordance with the ritual of photography, but it is never totally subordinated to the latter. The space that extends between them, and subsequently the space that extends between them and the spectators of their photograph, is a political space where huma beings look at one another, speak and act in a manner that is not solely subordinate to disciplinary constraints, nor to ones of governance.” – Ariella Azoulay, Civil Imagination: A Political Ontology of Photography

“The capitalist machine does not run the risk of becoming mad, it is mad from one end to the other and from the beginning, and this is the source of its rationality. . . . its operation grows more relentless . . . it produces the terrible single class of gray gentlemen . . . it does not run the risk of dying all alone, but rather of making us die, by provoking to the very end investments of desire that do not even go by way of a deceptive and subjective ideology, and that lead us to cry out to the very end, Long live capital . . . . Except in ideology, there has never been a humane, liberal, paternal, etc., capitalism. Capitalism is defined by a cruelty having no parallel in the despotic regime of terror. . . . exploitation grows constantly harsher, lack is arranged in the most scientific of ways . . . . The reproduction of the interior limits of capitalism on an always wider scale has several consequences: it permits increases and improvements of standards at the center, it displaces the harshest forms of exploitation from the center to the periphery, but also multiplies enclaves of overpopulation in the center itself, and easily tolerates the so-called socialist formations. . . . There is no metaphor here: the factories are prisons, they do not resemble prisons, they are prisons. Everything in the system is insane.” – Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, Anti-Oedipus (trans. Robert Hurley, et al.) (emphases in original)

“Sexual repression, more insistent than ever, will survive all the publications, demonstrations, emancipations, and protests concerning the liberty of sexual objects, sources, and aims, as long as sexuality is kept—consciously or not—within narcissistic, Oedipal, and castrating coordinates that are enough to ensure the triumph of the most rigorous censors.” – Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, Anti-Oedipus (trans. Robert Hurley, et al.)