Becoming* is a machine, and Becoming is a machine*, so Becoming is a machine-becoming-a-becoming-machine.
**Paradoxically, the most simple way of describing Becoming is symmetrical with the most complicated way of describing it; Becoming is a machine. In simple terms, a machine is something made up of parts, and uses some kind of mechanics to perform a particular task; Becoming runs or executes something, it does something. This machine is, however, a different kind of machine, the kind of machine that you find in Capitalism & Schizophrenia (1987), after which this machine is named: Becoming.
A machine, to us, is something more fundamental than the mechanical machine, but our description of a machine is entirely contingent with a particular metaphysics, a metaphysics that we might be tempted to call the Metaphysics of Venus, or of Desire. Capitalism & Schizophrenia is one of many texts in the past 30 years that refigure “the universe” as made of desire as a kind of fluid substance. It is as if, the further you zoom in on the microscope, past atoms, protons, electrons, neutrinos, and quarks, eventually you arrive at an impassable foam that has accumulated like pond scum on an infinity dense pool of raw, unspecified desire. Desire flows through us, but also as us; as Lucritius wrote of Venus, she is both the object of desire, and the desire itself; a double genetive (Nail, 2018).
Desire, in its “raw form”, exists outside of the universe, and it can only permeate or enter into reality, or interweave with reality, through a process of specification. To become “real”, desire must take on a specific “form”, and it becomes specific through the work of machines. We say that these desiring-machines are symmetrical with mechanical-machines because mechanical-machines are defined by positive production, whereas desiring-machines are defined by negative production: breaks. A machine is a break in the flow. In the simple sense, we might imagine a break as the point where a river breaks off into a tributary, or the point where a river breaks from the ocean; desire breaks into reality through desiring-machines that specify. A more nuanced take might be to imagine the work of Titian who “folded in the world in on itself” as they created a rupture; Brutalism (Carrière, 2023). The business of machines is in trying to produce radical breaks through synthesis, interference, and specification techniques which are specific to each machine. Machines have specific behaviours because they themselves are specifications, they are of the same matter as what they work with — Venus is both the object of desire, and the desire itself.
Becoming is a machine that produces “traces”, impulses specified or typified into forms like articles, interviews, reviews, letters, and even film. Yet, in the more nuanced sense, Becoming doesn’t produce those things, the authors and directors do. So what does Becoming do, if not produce things? We are simply interwoven into the process: the reason why Botticelli’s Aphrodite stands in a shell is because of how shells are formed. Shells are formed by flows of minerals like calcium interweaving with flows of water (Gaia collaborating with Tethys), and within this process of weaving Gaia and Tethys together, Aphrodite is born. She enters into reality as a secret third string covertly woven into the plaits of Becoming. Desire is woven into matter, born into the shell, or born through the shell as it is knitted. Becoming, as a philosophical concept is a machine that braids, and it is specified by an immortal desire for difference.
Becoming oscillates between these two interpretations of the same statement: Becoming is a machine. Becoming is both the web and the spider, and neither, simultaneously. Becoming breathes through publishing, drawing traces in, breathing traces out — publishing is just how Becoming powers its engines. What Becoming exhales are called traces because they are just impressions, residue that accumulates as part of the process.