Going against the arborescent structure, where the society follows a linear and hierarchical system, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari proposed a new system based on multiplicity and connections, defined as Rhizome. women_are_heroes_rio_de_janeiro

    Women Are Heroes, JR (2008) – Favela Morro da Providência, Rio de Janeiro – Brazil.

Deleuze and Guattari uses the roots as metaphor to define an open system, decentralized and compost by networks without beginning, middle or end, that implies the idea of infiltration, spreading like water and occupying all the empty spaces. The concept of a Rhizome is explained through six principles:

  • 1° and 2° – Connection and heterogeneity: any point of a rhizome can be (and usually is) connected with another one with no order or symmetry;
  • 3° – Multiplicity: the idea of unity is substituted by multiplicity, creating an open system that is always changing;
  • 4° – Asignifying rupture: a rhizome can be broken, but never stopped, it will return to grow in a different path or maybe with a different function;
  • 5° and 6° – Cartography and Decalcomania: the system don’t follow a model, axis or structure. It is like a map, not a tracing.

Related to the society relations of exteriority, in a Rhizome system each person is part of an organism, but still is unique and individual at the same time, and more than that, can start another system or join an existent one. It is a constant process of movement and self-organization that grows in all directions, creating many connection possibilities. A modern example of a rhizome are the South American favelas. With no hierarchy or bounder, everything is connected, and overflowing the land they occupy, there are cultural exchange with the rest of the city and especially in individual relationships, creating a network much more complex than we can imagine. It never stops to grow (first horizontally then vertically) and in this case, who builds, expands and transforms are those who walk every day by these communities. Seeking survival in scarce conditions, they are their own urban planners, nothing more natural.