clarifying affect

The traditional framework of robot motion planning is based on manipulating a robot through a workspace while avoiding collisions with the obstacles in this space. Our application of motion planning, on the other hand, is aimed at determining potential paths that a robot (or ligand) may naturally take based on the energy distribution of its workspace. Hence, instead of inducing the motion of the robot through actuators, we examine the possible motions of the robot induced by the energy landscape of its immediate environment.53

Latombe’s distinction between the two approaches to motion planning is an important one in that it foregrounds Deleuze’s distinction between effective and affective space. Effective space is rational space functioning according to a discernible logic, as in the first method for motion planning. Effective space is negotiated by a binary logical process, such as colliding/not colliding with obstacles. In effective space, actions are directed from the inside-out: the subject is able to adapt by exerting itself within the space. As a result, interactions within effective space are extensive, concerned with conditions of quantity than quality.

Affective space, on the other hand, does not operate according to a knowable or predictable logic and can only be inferred in excess of its effective conditions. Rather than allowing an extensive, outward response to the space, affective space induces an affect within the subject: an intensive, outside-in inflection in response to specific forces inherent in the site. Subjects do not logically adapt to an affective space; rather they are qualitatively changed and adapted by the space. In the case of ligand-binding, the second method of motion-planning not only takes into account the navigation of the effective space of the molecular environment but also considers the affective space: whether or not the energetic forces in the environment reconfigure the structure of the ligand into a different molecular conformation.54 The probabilistic conformational roadmap can therefore be considered an extrapolated mapping of the affective space in regards to energy minimization.

…. snip snip….

One of the first to articulate the post-architectural style was Peter Eisenman [AwC: who, by the way, designed the most distinctive piece of architecture on my campus]. In 1992 Eisenman submitted a proposal for the redevelopment of Rebstock Park, a 250-acre site on the perimeter of Frankfurt. First developed in the mid-19th century by Ernst May, the original architecture of Rebstock Park employed the once fashionable suburban solution of the Siedlung: mass-produced blocks of housing and commercial areas repetitively and densely staggered across large peripheries of development without interpenetrating streets or alleyways. … Eisenman’s approach to Rebstock Park was Deleuzean: rather than erase or cover up the corrupted grid, Eisenman decided to push it to its limits, to nurture it through a process of repetition until it erupted into a new singularity that transformed the totality of the site.

By focusing on and iterating the wasted space of the grid, which threatened to overwhelm the rational plan of the Siedlung, Eisenman provoked a catastrophe – an intrusion of external forces in the unexpected form of the fold – that transformed Rebstock Park from the outside according to a new and other logic – what Eisenman calls an “ur-logic” that operates outside that of the subject. In The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque, Deleuze develops Leibniz’s notion of the fold as resembling “a sheet of paper divided into infinite folds or separated into bending movements, each one determined by the consistent or conspiring surroundings.”51 Deleuze’s “consistent or conspiring surroundings” are the possibilities of the outside – the potentials for change inherent in the local particularities of the environment – that intrude upon and influence the anthropomorphic form of the grid. Eisenman himself borrows Deleuze’s metaphor of folded paper in comparing the fold to origami: “Deleuze’s idea of folding is more radical than origami, because it contains no narrative, linear sequence; rather, in terms of traditional vision, it contains a quality of the unseen.”52 The grid is therefore inflected by what cannot be seen by the subject: the virtual field of possibilities indigenous to each site.


Timothy Lenoir and Casey Alt, History of Science Program, Stanford University

amazing presentation:



4 thoughts on “clarifying affect

    1. i imagine the duo that wrote this piece (lenoir and alt) got the distinction from eisenman rather than deleuze.

      if deleuze does indeed make the distinction, it is either in the Foucault book in the last chapter/appended chapter or the leibniz book.

      otherwise, eisenman uses is here ( to clarify eisenman’s use even more, he’s using ‘effective space’ as a shorthand for Cartesian space, which should map pretty cleanly onto Lefebvre’s Production of Space. e.g. Eisenman: “Leibniz turned his back on Cartesian rationalism, on the notion of effective space and argued that in the labyrinth of the continuous the smallest element is not the point but the fold’. If this idea is taken into architecture it produces the following argument. Traditionally, architecture is conceptualized as Cartesian space, as a series of point grids. […] In mathematical studies of variation, the notion of object is changed. This new object is for Deleuze no longer concerned with the framing of space, but rather a temporal modulation that implies a continual variation of matter. The continual variation is characterized through the agency of the fold: ‘no longer is an object characterized by an essential form.’ He calls this form of an object ‘object event.’”

    2. it may also be useful to note that Deleuze rarely uses the word “affect.” For Deleuze desire and affect are more or less the same, but the term ‘desire’ is out of vogue so present day scholars have shifted to affect.

      In the two texts currently under scrutiny here, his important mention of affect Leibniz book is in regards to the harmonious resonance between signing monads, and in the Foucault book on in the chapter on power he discusses power’s affective qualities (to incite, provoke, etc, but also the Spinozist ‘ethics’ of openness).

  1. Question:
    Do others get the idea that “the fold” replaces the psychoanalytic projection/introjection?

    In that case, one could do the (vast) work of replacing psychoanalytic theories of internalization/externalization w/ the fold, to great effect. In particular, Marx/Lacan’s use of the camera obscura to define the imaginary order. Surely someone’s already written this paper? Kerslake maybe, but then it lacks the political dimension?

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