An analysis of Kafka’s Penal Colony and Duchamp’s The Large Glass Through the Concepts of Abstract- Machines and Energeia

Medeniyet Art, IMU Art, Design and Architecture Faculty Journal, 3 (1):29-44 (2017)
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This study aims to grasp the two distinct artworks one is from the literary field: Penal Colony, written by F. Kafka and the other one is from painting: The Large Glass, designed by M. Duchamp. This text tries to unravel the similarities betwe- en these artworks in terms of two main significations around “The Officer” from Penal Colony and “The Bachelors” from The Large Glass. Because of their vital role on the re-production of status-quo, this text asserts that there is a similarity between them in the name of being part of the dispositions of body and desire. First of all, the text focuses on Penal Colony, especially on “The Officer” in or- der to observe his obsession towards the order that ruled by former and the late officer of colony. Deleuze & Guattari conceptualize it as “abstract-machines” and it refers to a contingent state of being which is produced as an obligatory entity. Besides, The Officers’ application via a “labeling machine” on inmates creates a framewok of a dispositif in Foucauldian terminology. Secondly, it is emphasized that The Bachelors from the Large Glass for his context, due to its reference for the concept of desire and a metaphorical connotation for desire as “cocoa”. The Large Glass is also turn around the dispositif in a different way: love. It is stated that criticizing the love to nowhere which belongs to The Bachelors and it can be found that there is an abstract-machine again in back of this practice and it converts The Bachelors’ energeia to make an apparatus possible and operative.

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Atilla Akalın
Istanbul Gelisim University


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