Big Worlds and Little Tents

It may have been possible in the not-too-distant past to dismiss the pavilion (the ‘pavilloner,’ as Le Corbusier disparagingly called it) as a minor and inconsequential type of architecture, a frivolous ornament on the landscape.

Today, one might find it harder to ignore such architectural spaces – whether they are built for official institutions and international expositions, or conceived by artists as more experimental structures that intervene within a politics of cultural representation.

Pavilions are now often front and center to what are being called the spaces of global cultures. Hence, it is time that there were more scrutiny of what they are, or what they have been in modern history. Considering the symbolic capital they afford those individuals, organizations or nations that have them constructed, but also the agency they offer those who would seek to challenge consensual culture and raise questions about the use of public space, pavilions might be recognized for what they are: architectural works that may appear trifling (especially next to grander civic monuments), but which are more often than not embattled structures, bound up with claims to power, status and identity, and thus harboring some rather big ideals or ideas about the world.

Big World of Art
Big World of Art

As a way of beginning, it might be helpful to try and visualize, for heuristic purposes, a simple genealogy of the pavilion, which would support the above hypothesis. Such a genealogy could be complicated later; this is certainly what the texts that follow this introduction will do. Beginning with the earliest examples, one might call to mind those portable foldaway structures, capable of being set up quickly in the encampments of military campaigns and diplomatic assemblies. In the ancient Roman Empire and beyond, these acquired the name ‘butterflies’ – papilio in Latin, from which the modern French pavillon derives. This was possibly on account of their fleeting appearance in the landscape, and the way that their canopies appeared to flap in the breeze.

Such structures were undoubtedly utilitarian, but they were also heraldic, stately and ornamental, in keeping with their purpose ( They continued to be used through the modern period, although the more purely functional tents used in warfare today hardly compare. Bringing the pavilion more squarely into the sphere of art and culture were the much more festive tents of medieval and renaissance pageantry. Here, different forms and uses were found, to the extent that the image of the pavilion now begins to divide and multiply.

As it enters palatial gardens, villa parks and country estates (Figure 0.1), however, the pavilion is still very much tied to power and wealth, as well as to land and territorial claims. This is why, in spite of appearances, it is never entirely uncoupled from its largely patrician and martial associations. It enters the world of the propertied classes with a less obvious pragmatic or diplomatic purpose, more as an embellishment or pleasant diversion.

Yet, it is no less meaningful for that. Never reducible to a frivolous addition, the construction of a pavilion usually was (and perhaps still is) motivated by self-aggrandizement, aesthetic speculation, civilizing ritual or political strife of some kind. By the eighteenth century, parks and gardens were beginning to host a broad range of structures that might (at a stretch) be referred to as pavilions.

Europeans were now aware that garden pavilions actually had a much more ancient history outside Europe and Asia Minor, extending to the Far East. Having spent some time in Canton, the architect and former employee of the Swedish East India Company William Chambers enthused: ‘No nation ever equaled the Chinese in the splendor and number of their garden structures‘. See (this article) for more on this topic.

Amidst the classical revival, many pavilions now took on the character of more permanent (or quasi-permanent) fixtures in the landscape; some became so monumental, rigid and austere that they lost the sprightliness of butterflies altogether, and transmogrified into something new, not infrequently resembling mausolea more than flamboyant marquees. See this article on our site for more.

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Digital Cameras Make Photography More of an Art Form

There were a lot of accusations of cheating and excess manipulation from photographers when digital photography first hit the mainstream. Indeed, just the other day I was chatting to a 70+ photographer (who ran a camera shop) and he reiterated the view that digital photography is not an art, but traditional film photography is an art.

Why? Does a definition of art help? Wikipedia states that: Art is a (product of) human activity, made with the intention of stimulating the human senses as well as the human mind and/or spirit; thus art is an action, an object, or a collection of actions and objects created with the intention of transmitting emotions and/or ideas.

Beyond this description, there is no general agreed-upon definition of art, since defining the boundaries of “art” is subjective, but the impetus for art is often called human creativity. Clearly from this definition, both traditional and digital photography and anything in between can be art. Even straight documentary photography ‘stimulates the senses’, so could be classed as art, although the idea of hanging say Don McCullin or Philip Jones Griffiths on my wall seems a little distasteful ( I think the above photographer, like many who spent a long time in the darkroom learning their craft, felt threatened by the ease of digital. They projected the craft or the science of photography as being the art, not their creative input.

Digital Art History
Digital Art History

Ansels Adams Zone system is pure science, but his photographs are pure art, there is something of his and his subjects soul in each of his photographs that triggers emotions in all of us. It’s an odd point of view that film photography is art. I’ve given a number of talks to photography clubs where I have asked the question of them “Do you consider yourself to be an artist?”.

Most photographers asked did not consider themselves to be artists, but as I discussed with them and the above definition proves, any and all of their work could be considered art. My conclusion though is that digital photography has made photography more of an art form than ever. It has democratised photography, removed the technical and scientific barriers that stood in the way of a doll truly expressing themselves through a print.

Digital and computers have made it easy, and not only to produce a high quality print, there are now many ways to convey your vision – digital projection, print on T-shirts, light boxes. Just as any person can walk into an art shop and buy brushes, paints and a canvas and make a mark, now anyone can buy and use a camera to make their chosen mark.

And the results are all around us. The quality of photography today is amazing. From the sports pages of the newspaper, to the revival of alternative processes (of which normal film is now one!), to prints on a gallery wall, there is not only a level of technical excellence but a level of creative and intellectual excellence that includes and surpasses for many people anything that happened before.

Ansel Adams and Henri Cartier Bresson will always be masters because of the strength of their creative vision. With technical barriers removed, maybe the rest of us can concentrate on getting there to and being artists, or at least have fun trying. But then, ‘artist’ is only a label.

How Art Can Transform Societies

Many development practitioners and social theorists have noted that any development process has an important cultural component. Efforts to improve quality of life or reduce inequality, for instance, are inherently tied to local customs, values and social systems. Accordingly, research has found that culture can foster development as well as hinder development outcomes.

Thus, it is important that development planners take cultural considerations into account, as benevolent interventions made without attention to cultural conditions and factors may prove futile or even have unexpected adverse effects.

However, to date, research has provided less insight on how culture in the sense of visual, literary and performing arts can be linked to development. This connection was picked up by John Clammer, Visiting Professor at the United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS), who focuses on the sociology of development and the sociology of culture as applied to development issues.

Transformational Art
Transformational Art

What inspired you to examine the relationship between art and development? This was a mixture of my own personal interest in the arts — some of which I have practiced! — and my commitment professionally to development studies. For a long time these existed as two separate spheres, until I began to think about how to bring them together. That was the genesis of my new book, and once I started to think about and research the idea, there turned out to be many links.

In the field of development, art tends to be seen as a by-product of society or, at best, merely instrumental for development processes. What potential do you think is missed with this kind of view? What impact do you hope that this book will have on the way art, culture and development are perceived? It is sadly true that art is seen as a by-product, but with a little more thought it becomes apparent that culture, including the arts, is the very medium in which we live much of our daily lives.

I am reminded of the wartime British minister who, when asked to cut spending on the arts during the war years, asked the very relevant question: “Then what are we fighting for?”. I think this is true for development, too ( What are we developing for? I hope that the book will illustrate some of the many ways in which this question can be answered — the enriching of life, expressions of identity, and many other things.

I think that a genuinely holistic understanding of development has to give as much attention to its cultural aspects as to its economic, political and technological ones. Infrastructure is not much use if there is nowhere to go with it!

Alongside promoting culture and development, you advocate for the development of culture. What does this entail? And why is it important? This is a key to the whole book. My concern was with many levels of development: the instrumental and educative role of the arts, the fact that the arts constitute much of the identity of a culture — its dance, architecture, painting and so forth — its role as therapy and as a peacemaking mechanism, and very much its role in empowerment, not only in relation to gender, but also for youth, for minorities, for refugees, and for other marginalized groups.

In particular I was interested in the ways in which creativity and imagination in one area — in this case the arts — spill over into other areas of what I have called “social creativity”: new thinking about issues such as environment, social inequalities, new family arrangements and many other possible areas. Refer to (this post) to read more.

You suggest that art can promote social inclusion and empowerment, or create economic opportunities and alleviate poverty, for example. Could you share some examples from the field of innovative approaches experimenting with art and development that demonstrate how culture can act as an agent of social change? There are many examples. I myself have been involved with artists from Kolkata working with tribal groups in remote areas of the state of Orissa. They have been stimulating local craft production as a means of poverty alleviation and as a way of addressing gender issues. Read this post for more on this topic.

The women who make the jewelery, which can be sold for a considerable profit in the boutiques of Kolkata and other urban centres, get to keep their income and devote it to their own activities and to supporting their children. The region witnesses rather extreme alcohol consumption among the men, who tend to use any extra income for their own purposes. But the craft promotion initiative brings income to women, gives them a sense of self-esteem and maintains artistic traditions within the community.

The Impact of Art On the Spectator

Art can be a creative means to convey certain aspects of adult education in a pleasant way. Apart from its’ aesthetic qualities, art is able to change people, bring new perspectives and emotions and be a bridge for learning even in an unconscious way.

In this article, Dr Aaron Attard Hili Doctor of Law and Artist explains that through the visual arts, the artist and the spectator can discern abundance of knowledge that are all around them, or inside of them, that cannot be illustrated quickly or easily with mere words. Art is a language of feelings such as emotion, perception and forms or inspiration. Art acts as a transmitter to the spectators.

Impact Art
Impact Art

Various episodes can be recognized and summoned up much faster with a picture: “Painting,” the French artist painter Robert Delaunay said, “is by nature a luminous language.” Lastly the human brain is well skilled from very young age to absorb and handle visual images in a way differently from verbal thinking.

The artist’s “words” are not phonetic utterances

Art speaks. Dr Aaron continues to elaborate. The artist’s “words“, though, are not phonetic utterances, but rather are tonality, line, shape and texture. Every work of art – every picture or statue – has its own style. An artist’s style is not something he/she deliberately adopts. Like a man’s handwriting or the tone of his voice, it is an inevitable part of himself. It is his personality made manifest.

The artist is a man of attainable activity. He has to have imagination and he has to have craftsmanship. He has to imagine the thing he is going to make; and he must also have the power to translate what he has imagined into terms of his medium.

The quality of an artist’s vision has no other limit than the imaginative tools of the artist himself. Whatever the human eye is capable of observing or the human mind of conceiving is the potential raw material for the work of art. But the limitations of the medium are definite and physical. Each medium has its own inherent limitations and potentialities. The artist as craftsman must accept those limitations, and by accepting, exploit them.

Art is a communication

An artistic activity is not something done just for the fun of doing it. No doubt it is fun to do a figurative painting or sculpturing a motif, but no artist was ever content to have his fun and then throw the result of it away. The picture has to be seen and the sculpture to be admired at. Art is a communication. Behind every work of art is the artist’s appeal to his fellows, ‘don’t you see what I mean? Can’t you see what I am getting at?’

More often than not two components of artistic and aesthetic experience that are involved in contemplating visual works of art – the relationship between embodied considerate beliefs in the observer come into view: (a) the characteristic subjective content of the works in terms of the actions, intentions, objects, emotions and sensations depicted in a given painting or sculpture; and (b) the quality of the work in terms of the visible traces of the artist’s creative gestures, such as energetic modeling in clay or paint, fast brushwork and signs of the movement of the hand.

A work of art may be an expression of the artist’s inner vision, and it may also be useful to society, but beyond both these it is a thing-in-itself. It exists in its own right. It consists of a set of shapes made of pigment applied to canvas or of a set of masses carved out of stone or modeled out of clay. In a word, it has form; and it must obey the laws of form as dictated by whatever medium the artist uses or perish. Moreover, a work of art is self-contained. A picture must have edges whereas the experience it embodies has no edges, no beginning nor end.

Artists have a vision that they need to express

There are special laws that govern the painting of pictures and the making of statues. The first thing that occurs to one is that they are both capable of representing objects known to or imagined by their creators. They are under no obligation to do so, of course. There are sculptors and painters today whose carvings and pictures do not represent known objects. But on the whole it has been the practice of painters and sculptors to produce works of which one could say, ‘Look! That is a man; there is a house and a flock of sheep.’ And, in case of doubt, pictures and statues usually have titles to help one to identify the object represented. These titles are not an integral part of the work of art, though they may cause intrusion in the mind of the spectator when taken in conjunction with the work of art.

Dr Aaron concludes that artists have a vision that they need to express. The job description of an artist is to make the spectator look, think and feel by whatever means necessary and according to the particular artist’s training, vision, experience and point of reference. This article has more on this subject. The experiencing elements are of two kinds: emotions and feelings. The effect of a work of art upon the spectator who enjoys it is an experience different in kind from any experience not of art. It may be formed out of one emotion or may be a combination of several; and various feelings, intrinsic for the artist in particular medium, may be added to compose the final result.

Group Art Therapy for Schizophrenia Patients

Schizophrenia is a severe mental disorder that affects as many as 1 in 100 people at some point in their lives. In addition to “positive” symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions, many people also experience varying degrees of loss of energy and motivation, impaired attention, and other so called negative symptoms.

Although treatment with antipsychotic drugs reduces the positive symptoms of schizophrenia and decreases the likelihood of relapse, it has little impact on negative symptoms. Psychological and social interventions are widely used in combination with drugs in an effort to further improve the health and social outcomes of people with schizophrenia, and several interventions have been shown to be effective.

The possibility that involvement in creative activities can improve health has often been discussed but rarely examined.5 It has been argued that for people with severe mental disorders such as schizophrenia, art therapy has advantages over other treatments because the use of art materials can help people to understand themselves better while containing powerful feelings that might otherwise overwhelm them.

Art Therapy
Art Therapy

Few attempts have been made to examine the effectiveness of group art therapy as an adjunctive treatment for people with schizophrenia,7 but the results of a pilot trial suggested that it may help bring about clinically important reductions in negative symptoms of schizophrenia. Findings of this study, together with those of trials of other creative therapies, have resulted in the inclusion of arts therapies in national treatment guidelines, which recommend that clinicians consider referring all people with schizophrenia for arts therapies, particularly for the alleviation of negative symptoms of the disorder.

Those randomized to group art therapy were offered weekly sessions of 90 minutes’ duration for an average of 12 months. Art therapy was carried out in keeping with recommendations of the British Association of Art Therapists11 and aimed to enhance self expression, improve emotional health, and help people develop better interpersonal functioning. Patients were given access to a range of art materials and encouraged to use these to express themselves freely. Art therapists generally adopted a supportive approach, offering empathy and encouragement.

They rarely provided psychotherapeutic interpretations of interpersonal process or images. They did, however, frequently discuss these processes in supervision. Within this framework, therapists employed specific therapeutic interventions considered appropriate to individual needs and circumstances ( This approach is in keeping with recommendations for the pragmatic evaluation of complex interventions in which individual therapists are encouraged to apply treatment principles flexibly to fit with the needs of participants.

Activity groups also took place on a weekly basis and were made available to participants for an average of 12 months. Facilitators of these groups encouraged participants to agree activities collectively; these included playing board games, watching and discussing DVDs, and visiting local cafes. The use of art materials was prohibited. Group facilitators were asked to refrain from exploring the thoughts and feelings of study participants or offering psychotherapeutic interventions.

All art therapy and activity groups were co-facilitated by a member of staff or volunteer who received training in the trial and intervention. During the treatment phase of the trial, art therapists and activity group facilitators received monthly group supervision from a senior practitioner with relevant expertise.

Recordings of each supervision session were reviewed by a senior member of the study team who provided feedback to supervisors about adherence to agreed guidelines for the delivery of respective interventions. Standard care involved follow-up from secondary care mental health services, care coordination, pharmacotherapy, and the option of referral to other services as clinically indicated, except other creative therapies, which participants agreed not to undertake until completion of follow-up.

In another secondary analysis we examined the impact of the uptake of the interventions on our primary outcomes using two stage least squares estimates. This analysis is based on instrumental variable methods and avoids the selection bias of per protocol or as treated analysis. The approach assumes that the effect of allocation to treatment has no effect on the outcome if the patient does not receive the treatment.

See this page for more. As there are no data to suggest that there is a minimum number of sessions of art therapy that someone needs to attend to derive benefit from this intervention, we used this approach to estimate the benefit per session, assuming it is proportional to the number of sessions attended, when adjusted for site, sex, and age. All P values were two sided and considered significant when less than 0.05.

Arts Therapies for Depression and Anxiety

Breast cancer is a condition whose diagnosis may result in extensive emotional, physical, and social suffering. It engenders stress and anxiety related to future prognosis and potential mortality. It may also cause uncertainty about changes in a woman’s body image and treatment options.

Patients may experience anxiety regarding surgical experience, coping with acute pain, treatment regimens, financial burdens of care, and disruptions of their personal and professional lives .

Cancer patients are increasingly turning to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies to reduce symptoms, improve quality of life, and boost their ability to cope with stress. Different types of arts interventions have been used to alleviate symptoms and treatment adverse effects in women suffering from breast cancer. Arts therapies are made use of especially by motivated patients who want to actively participate in their healing process.

Art for Anxiety
Art for Anxiety

Among others, from a large New Zealand health survey which sampled 12.529 people, aged 15 years and older, it is known that CAM users are more likely to be middle aged, rich, well educated, of European descent, and female. They are more likely to have hardness to treat conditions and to be less well but actively try to maintain their health. In particular, when patients undergo acute treatment, arts therapies are recommended as well, when physicians detect the need for psychosocial support and therefore consult psychooncology services.

Description of the Interventions

Arts as therapy have become increasingly popular in a number of medical and health fields and the application ranges from working with children suffering from psychiatric disorders to elderly dementia patients. As the importance of psychosocial aspects of dealing with a cancer diagnosis and treatment has been better recognized and understood, the interest in arts therapies for breast cancer patients has also increased. Art therapy is an umbrella term for therapies such as dance and movement therapy, music therapy, and art therapy working with visual arts materials. The use of the artistic media as a means for therapy offers patients a way to communicate experiences, feelings, and needs, which are hard to express verbally.

Art Therapy Video

This possibility for an alternative way of communication can be important in particular for patients who are dealing with emotional conflicts and spiritual or existential issues. In reflecting on the image, music, or dance as well as on the process of its production with the arts therapist, one’s resources can be activated or new ways of coping with the situation can be developed ( At the same time the artistic process can be a way for experiencing one’s own capability or to relax in times of straining physical treatment. Arts therapies therefore are increasingly used in psychooncology with the goal of psychosocial stabilization and support in the process of coping with the disease.

Other Research

Mainly, studies have looked at symptomatic effects such as anxiety and depression, two of the most commonly coexisting accompanying illnesses of breast cancer, while there are only a few empirical trials assessing the effects of art therapy on coping and quality of life of the breast cancer patient, apart from a number of case studies.

Wood et al. in 2011 carried out a systematic review of art therapy in adult cancer patients. They concluded that art therapy is a psychotherapeutic approach that is being used to manage a spectrum of treatment-related symptoms and facilitate the process of psychological readjustment to the loss, change, and uncertainty characteristic of cancer survivorship. However, the review did not include a meta-analysis. Moreover, while breast cancer was the most prominent type of cancer in their review, Wood et al. did not include a separate analysis of studies that included only breast cancer patients.

Since patients with different types of cancer are heterogeneous in terms of sociodemographic factors, symptoms, treatment, and side effects, meta-analyses should focus on homogeneous cancer groups. Furthermore, the terminology is somewhat confusing since there is “art therapy” in which the term “art” refers to visual art and “arts therapies” as a main category for all forms also including therapies such as music therapy, dance therapy, and drama therapy.


This meta-analysis showed that arts therapies seem to positively affect the extent to which breast cancer patients score in anxiety and depression but not quality of life. It leads to the recommendation that in breast cancer patients the option of participation in arts therapies is being suggested and shown to be significantly effective for reduction of anxiety and depression over control.

Apart from case reports, there are currently only a small number of empirical studies investigating the effect of art therapy on psychological parameters such as coping and quality of life accompanying the breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Family Therapy Research and the State of Art

Over the last few years the health systems, specially the mental health system, have been pressured to prioritize empirically validated techniques and practices. Systemic family therapy (SFT) in particular has been accused of neglecting research, and has been strongly challenged to prove the effectiveness of its interventions.

Within such framework, it was inevitable that systemic therapists and researchers would work together for that goal, in order to scientifically fundament the rightness of family therapy funding as an integral part of mental health services.

As a result, this alliance has recently allowed systemic therapy to acquire significant visibility in the mental health field, having proven its capacity against various relational problems and difficulties, such as domestic violence, anxiety, alcoholism, depression, and having been considered less expensive when compared to alternative and equally effective treatments or even as cost effective as other mental health groups.

In sum, it can be said that the efforts made to subject this approach to scientific scrutiny have opened paths not only in research (showing areas of future studies and contributing to an evidence-based clinical practice) but also in clinical practice (proving the effectiveness of this type of intervention which relies on practice-based evidence). Kazdin highlight the fact that knowing the influence of certain aspects in therapy can be important at a theoretical as well as a practical level.

The review mainly focused on recent published works (about 80% of the reviewed literature was published after 2000), but it also considered other works (the oldest dates back to 1983), for a deeper approach of the original models. We conducted systematic searches on online databases (e.g., EBSCO Host), from publication date of 1983 to present, including terms as “family therapy” “family therapy research” “family therapy outcomes” “family therapy process” “common factors” and “systemic research methodology”.

Manual searching was also performed to identify references that were not picked up during the computer-based research. Our selection process resulted in a similar number of studies related to therapy outcomes and processes ( Specifically, 3 references about “family therapy” were selected, along with 18 references about “family therapy outcome research“, 14 relating to “family therapy process research” and, finally, 3 about “systemic research methodologies”.

Naturally, some of these references provided important information on more than one subject (for example, references about family therapy outcomes research, very often also clarify some aspects about process research and vice versa); however, for simplification purposes, we categorized them according to the paper’s main theme. The global references selection constitutes an attempt to represent a sample of relevant studies, although we are aware that many other studies may be pertinent to this review.

The concern with the rigor of therapy in general, including family therapy, together with an emphasis in explaining outcomes, led to an accentuation of the importance of the factors associated with the therapy(ie)s’ success. Initially, the paradigm of therapeutic change considered the models and techniques as the only aspects responsible for the process of change. This exclusivity was later challenged by a group of authors who presented the common factors paradigm.

Since the end of the thirties, the concern to identify the key elements that make different interventions (in terms of models and techniques) effective has been increasing, with a view to understanding which therapeutic factors are most common. According to this last paradigm, the success of therapy does not depend mainly on the specific contributions of each model or theoretical approach, it rather depends on a number of factors or mechanisms of change which are common in the different forms of effective therapy, and the models are considered as a background in which the common factors operate.

With this approach in mind, we will present some elements, which are widely identified as relevant for the therapeutic process in general, and, therefore, also for SFT.

Happiness and the Art of Life

Notions of happiness, wellbeing and quality of life have become a significant crystallization point in what Foucault would have called a dispositif, or an apparatus or device of power.

Whilst this development has long historical roots, it is only since the late 1990s that it has congealed into something recognizable as such an apparatus, comprising different elements that have already received copious commentary, both within academic literature and by a range of stakeholders in wider forums such as openDemocracy.

In proposing to address the affective dimension as such, beyond its construction in discourse (and associated practices), we depart from the tradition of ‘governmentality studies’, to offer more than a descriptive account that stops short of suggesting the possibility of an alternative, however speculative the latter may be. In the argument we develop below, we contrast the discursive and empirical normativity of the neo-liberal concept of ‘happiness’ with the immanent normativity that authors like Canguilhem and Deleuze, in the wake of Spinoza and Nietzsche, associate with the concepts of ‘health’ and ‘joy’.

It is not accidental that the thought of each of these authors, from whom we draw inspiration, can be characterized as a form of vitalism, where attention to relationality and process takes precedence over the definition of entities and their properties, the latter being regarded always as the emergent product of an immanent set of relations. By contrast, we propose, the thought that animates the happiness dispositif is predicated on the ‘bifurcation of nature’ that has long informed Western rationality.

In the succinct definition offered by Bruno Latour, bifurcation is ‘what happens whenever we think the world is divided into two sets of things: one which is composed of the fundamental constituents of the universe – invisible to the eyes, known to science, real and yet valueless – and the other which is constituted of what the mind has to add to the basic building blocks of the world in order to make sense of them’.

A bifurcated approach to questions of happiness and wellbeing, we argue, underlies the scientism, individualism and biologism that many critical commentators have already identified as features of the discourse on wellbeing and of the ‘happiness agenda’.

The will to power in this sense is not primarily to be understood as the will of any given individual person, and still less a conscious and linguistically articulated ‘want’. One might just as well say that it is the will of the larger machinic and hybrid creature that is the dispositif, and that the dispositif serves precisely to organize or machine the affective dispositions of what we come to call ‘individuals’. To make this suggestion is not to deny personal subjectivity, and this is an important point.

In fact, abstracting from social context, what we call the subjectivity of an individual person is, from this perspective, nothing but a dominant force that has succeeded in capturing, redirecting and transforming the organic powers and potentials of the socially located body it calls its own. But that body itself, taken in abstraction from its attendant consciousness, is no less analyzable in terms of will to power. The body, for example, is composed of numerous centers of organic activity dominated by the more centralized assemblage of biological organs we call the brain.

The brain, to paraphrase Whitehead, is a dominant center that receives its data from numerous more specialist centers, coordinating, redirecting and transforming them in line with its own preferred sphere of activities or ‘system of purposes’. But of course bodies and subjectivities, in concrete reality, are never abstractable from their implication in broader forms of social order. To use a concept from Deleuze and Guattari, the elements of a dispositif or assemblage, including the people involved, are territorialized.

From this perspective it is not a question simply of tracing a will to power – or the joy associated with it – back to a subject, an individual, that might have willed it or experienced it. As Nietzsche put it, ‘there is no “being” behind doing, effecting, becoming; “the doer” is merely a fiction added to the deed – the deed is everything’.

This style of thinking, in short, resolutely refuses to separate the subjective from the objective. It refuses to treat, for example, experiences of happiness or misery as if they were a merely subjective matter that has nothing to do with a real world; and it refuses to consider the real world as a meaningless and objective matter that has nothing to do with the experiences and desires of subjects, because it is simply ‘the way things really are and have to be’.

Joy, to repeat, is defined by Spinoza and Nietzsche as the feeling of becoming more active in the world. The affects are an integral aspect of the art of life. That is to say: of the creative activity of lending form to one’s own real existence, collective and individual.

A turn to affect and an interest in joy and happiness thus become indispensable to psychology, but this is a turn which does not separate the feelings from what is felt and that does not consign emotions to an expressive domain purified away from an instrumental domain of material reality, political practice and collective action.