Becoming: The process of existence




Becoming is the  process of existing in the world, which is always an emergent and collective process of being in relation to others. For Deleuze and Guattari (1987, p. 145), the processual experience of becoming is enacted through two interpenetrating articulations: the ‘machinic assemblage of bodies’ which constitutes a relational ecology or network; and the ‘collective assemblage of enunciation’, which is the aesthetic expression of existence.  This double articulation of becoming positions the learning environment as fundamentally an ecological and aesthetic assemblage (Massumi, 2011). A core aim of States and Territories is to create spaces for experiencing both articulations of becoming: the ecology of experience as a dynamic entanglement of people, places, things and ideas; and the aesthetics of experience as a work of art. 


Becoming always involves entering into an assemblage or composition with other beings. Deleuze and Guattari (1987, p 10) give the example of the wasp-orchid assemblage, wherein the wasp becomes necessary to the life of the orchid, and vice versa. A line of becoming is drawn between the wasp and the orchid, which produces ‘emergent properties above and beyond the sum of its parts’ (Bonta & Protevi, 2006, p. 59). The teacher-learner assemblage functions similarly as a symbiotic relationship, which also has an expressive function that is fundamentally aesthetic. New modes of perception, interaction, communication, movement, engagement and thought are emergent properties of the teacher-learner assemblage. 


Rather than privileging one particular stream of philosophical thought, becoming allows for different philosophical positions to coexist within an ‘ecology of knowledge practices’ (Stengers, 2005). It is important to recognise the resonance of this understanding with Indigenous ways of knowing and being with the Earth (Arabena, 2010). For many First Peoples around the world, humanity and nature are intricately entangled in a Universe that is ‘inherently dynamic, constantly changing in a process of renewal, and profoundly interrelated’ (p. 262).