An assemblage is any number of “things” or pieces of “things” gathered into a ̦single context. An assemblage can bring about any number of “effects”—aesthetic, machinic, productive, destructive, consumptive, informatic, etc. Deleuze and Guattari’s discussion of the book provides a number of insights into this loosely defined term:
In a book, as in all things, there are lines of articulation or segmentarity, strata and territories; but also lines of flight, movements of deterritorialization and destratification. Comparative rates of flow on these lines produce phenomena of relative slowness and viscosity, or, on the contrary, of acceleration and rupture. All this, lines and measurable speeds constitutes an assemblage. A book is an assemblage of this kind, and as such is unattributable. It is a multiplicity—but we don’t know yet what the multiple entails when it is no longer attributed, that is, after it has been elevated to the status of the substantive. On side of a machinic assemblage faces the strata, which doubtless make it a kind of organism, or signifying totality, or determination attributable to a subject; it also has a side facing a body without organs, which is continually dismantling the organism, causing asignifying particles or pure intensities or circulate, and attributing to itself subjects what it leaves with nothing more than a name as the trace of an intensity… Literature is an assemblage. It has nothing to do with ideology. There is no ideology and never has been. (3-4)
The book, as described above, is a jumbling together of discrete parts or pieces that is capable of producing any number effects, rather than a tightly organized and coherent whole producing one dominant reading.
The beauty of the assemblage is that, since it lacks organization, it can draw into its body any number of disparate elements. The book itself can be an assemblage, but its status as an assemblage does not prevent it from containing assemblages within itself or entering into new assemblages with readers, libraries, bonfires, bookstores, etc.
Rhizome, glossary, issue 05