JULY 2006 'The Work of Gilles Deleuze' Conference Abstracts

Steven Eastwood (SUNY, Buffalo)

unknown bodies

Some thoughts on Gilles Deleuze and the moving image

What is the nature of a thought that is at once brain, screen and world? Gilles Deleuze, progenitor[1] of schizoanalyis, navigator of ideational lines of flight, and author of the film philosophy books Cinema 1: the movement-image and Cinema 2: the time-image, writes of an "unknown body". It is not the corporeal body that seals an inside, or a screen, which is outside, but a body between them, a body that is both thinking and screen. How is it that I can react to moving images as simultaneously like a world, and a world? Deleuze, calls this unknown body a spiritual automaton in the brain made possible by cinema - a new thought in thought. 1895: along comes the moving image as an eruption for cognition, an anomaly for the brain, offering a gap in sensory-motor perceptual regulation, interrupting the habitual thinking of the brain, providing a fissure in thought, what Deleuze calls a nooshock that forces thought to think itself by perceiving thought-like events other than its own, out there in the outside, on the screen. This is quickly suppressed by story, by impossible continuity, by propaganda, prompting Deleuze to lump together Hitler and Hollywood. Throughout Deleuze's philosophy he refers to a "plane of immanence," upon which emergent beings become, in their own temporality. Developing ideas from both Nietzsche and Bergson, Deleuze suggests that habitual sensory motor mental behaviour has lead to static, teleologically rooted identities whose thoughts and experiences (and films) transpire in the form of cliché, over-determined by what has come before. "Becoming", for Deleuze, is the human identity as various flight lines, and the plane of immanence is the site for this cartographic invention. This is an emergent space, an open-whole, consisting of intervals in thought between stimulus and response. The cinema philosophy of Deleuze re-discovers every image as potential "time-image", as a durational space that can be divorced from narrative or representational habituation, in order to enable temporal, ideational and corporeal otherness. The spiritual automaton finds new networks and connectivities, as unknown body, as mind in flight. The cinema becomes a peculiar prosthesis, a situatedness for the other thinker in thought, the situation of time in time, of space in space, where the body finds extensivity and new virtualities. In Deleuze we discover a siren call to engage with film and video as lovers, as fools, as intercessors with our heads spinning into the unspeakable, as cartographers endlessly writing over existing maps, as filmmakers whose films are our own. Somebody once rang me and in broken English spoke of a "Three-year long film" she wanted to show me. At the 1999 total eclipse of the sun my video camera picked up someone commenting that, "It's like the lights going down in the cinema." Digital video editors experience a phenomenon referred to as "interfacing," where, exhausted, they, for example, find themselves attempting to slow and reverse traffic on their journey home in an oneiric configuration between film/video temporality and their own. This paper follows emergent trajectories of cinematic unknown bodies. There will be elements of free-indirect discourse between reasoned and sourced ideas (including Deleuze, Irigaray, Badiou, Sobchack, Merleau Ponty, Grosz), accidental ideas, anecdotes, and contingent activity. The presentation will most likely emerge in the form of a video/film essay, or a live performance, willfully slipping into gaps.

A. Eylem Atakav (Southampton Solent)

Women’s Cinema as “Minor” Cinema

“How many people today live in language that is not their own? Or no longer, or not yet, even know their own and know poorly the major language that they are forced to use?”
(Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari)

When feminist theories of women's cinema first appeared in the 1970s, there were so few films by women whereas today, although women's filmmaking is still very much a minority activity, there is enough work in a wide range of styles and from a variety of cultures. The plurality of forms, concerns and constituencies in contemporary women's cinema now exceeds even the most flexible definition of counter cinema. Women's cinema thus seems 'minor' rather than oppositional.

The idea of the minor comes from Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari’s concept of minor literature. A minor literature is not like a literary genre or period, nor is classification as minor an artistic evaluation. A minor literature of a minority or marginalised group, written, not in a minor language, but in a major one, just as Kafka, a Czech Jew, wrote in German.

Inspired deeply by Alison Butler's 'Women's Cinema: the Contested Screen', this paper intends to examine women's filmmaking whilst questioning the possibility and -in Deleuze's terms- the impossibility of women's filmmaking in a patriarchal society.

As Meaghan Morris points out “this question is echoed obliquely in the concerns of early feminist film criticism and Claire Johnston’s work on women’s films made within the system of Hollywood’s social and cinematic codes. A minor literature is not ‘marginal’; it is what a minority constructs in a ‘major language’, and so it is a model of action from a colonised position within a given society.”

It is, then, apposite to ask here one other question: are women filmmakers not living in a language of their own?

Butler argues that the notion of minor cinema is functional to the debate that the existence of women’s cinema needs not to be premised on an essentialist understanding the category of ‘women’. The communities imagined by women’s cinema are as many and varied as the films it comprises, and each is involved in its own historical moment. Thinking of (some) women’s cultural production as ‘minor’ (in some ways) does not depend on a belief in women’s absolute alienation from language and culture.

Here, again, Deleuze’s understanding of the effects of the experience of marginalisation is useful: “Sometimes the minority filmmaker finds himself in the impasse described in Kafka: the impossibility of writing differently and behind it, a ‘double impossibility’, that of forming a group and that of not forming a group.”

Therefore, as Butler points outs the distinctiveness of women’s filmmaking is not based on an essentialist understanding of gendered subjectivity, but on the position –or positions- of women in contemporary culture in Kafka’s impasse: neither included within nor excluded from cultural tradition.

To sum up, to call women’s cinema a minor cinema is to free it from the binarisms (popular/elitist, avant-garde/ mainstream, positive/ negative) which result from it as an oppositional cinema.

Ed Romein (Erasmus University, Rotterdam) & Sjoerd van Tuinen (Gent)

City without Predicates

By the end of the twentieth century we saw the demise of the city as a concept for describing the contemporary urban condition. The proliferation of prefixes like post, ex, sub and dis to the ‘urbs’ of contemporary life signal an increasing difficulty of conceptualizing the ongoing processes that shape, reshape, fragment and reconfigure it. Our impression is that this unbridled proliferation of prefixes attests to the deep inadequacy of a nineteenth century conception of urbanity and to the end of the nineteenth century conception of the city. This observation is paralleled by the recent discourse about ‘the end of the social’. In our view these debates evolve around a social ontology which is based on, what we will call, a dogmatic image of sociological thought, i.e. on transcendent objects and metaphysical essentialism, and which is directly responsible for the theoretical incapacity to understand the current urban condition. To get out of this cul-de-sac we propose to turn towards a Deleuzian ‘flat’ or processual social ontology. By developing a contemporary conception of the ‘urbs’, using the Deleuzian ontology of the virtual-actual – especially in its Leibniz-Tarde lineage – we hope to contribute to a sociological theory of cities. We will call this concept a city without predicates, which we derive from Leibniz’ monadological transformation of Plotinus’ and Augustine’s notion of the ‘city of God’ into a logical and metaphysical understanding of the Baroque city as a virtuality that can no longer be the subject of any series of predicates or essential properties, but which rather subsists as the transversal of these differentiated series. This concept can be operationalized by using the work of the recently rediscovered sociologist Gabriel Tarde, who held the reductionist starting point that “every thing is a society”. In Tarde this singularity is played out in society through the concepts of invention and imitation. Through such a conceptualisation of the urban condition in terms of singularities we hope to light up a different side of urban phenomena as diverse as terrorism, counter-terrorism measures, surveillance, insurance and architecture.

Wim Christiaens and Sjoerd van Tuinen (Gent)

Bergsonism and Quantum Theory. Some Notes on a Deleuzian Philosophy of Nature

Gilles Deleuze wanted a philosophy of nature in a pre-kantian, almost archaic sense. A central concept in his philosophy is ‘multiplicity’ which he adopted from Bergson. Although the concept is philosophical through and through, it has roots in mathematics and physics. Deleuze was attracted to this term because he believed it indicated a break with the dogmatic image of thought (which constrains itself into producing representations of reality conceived as particular things with strict borders, behaving and interacting according to invariant laws covering all possible states). We believe that the discussion concerning the ontological status of quantum phase space induces a similar break with both the ‘naive’ realism and empiricism that is upheld by many analytical philosophers and with the transcendental idealism of continental philosophy. Even though it is true that a transcendentalist understanding of phase space representation of a physical entity is not a typical materialist picture of reality, it derives from a normal Euclidean representation, and can in principle be reduced to it.

There are two fundamental characteristics that indicate that one could interpret the state vector with the concept of disjunctive unity and the bergsonian correlation actuality-virtuality: 1. The state vector of a quantum system comes very close to a multiplicity: the variables that describe it are incompatible (for example position and momentum) without transcending the unity of the state space. 2. Although there is always a variable for the entity it describes that is actual in the classical sense (we are sure to obtain a determinate value upon measurement), for the main part its variables are indeterminate. This indeterminacy is at the same time less and more than a classical possibility.

In conclusion we want to show how bringing together certain interpretations of quantum mechanics and Deleuze’s bergsonian ontology would contribute to a renewed philosophy of nature. Although the interpretation of quantum mechanics is an industrious subdiscipline in philosophy of science, regular science still marginalizes its importance. Wee see the lack of success of that marginalization - the mathematical structure and its algorithms never really suffice, and seem unable to leave the philosophical-ideological context behind in which it arose, contrary to antecedent successful physical theories - as a positive phenomenon. Contrary to previous physical theories, the Outside/unthought destabilizes marginalization and fuels interpretation in its constructivist sense. The relation between QM and its interpretations is a fine and significant example for a contemporary metaphysics, which follows Deleuze’s motto: “Science is never ‘reductionist’ but, on the contrary, demands a metaphysics - without which it would remain abstract, deprived of meaning or intuition” (Gilles Deleuze in Bergsonism). Ultimately, Deleuze’s ontology of multiplicities has a capacity to account for the epistemological success of the concept of Hilbert space. It does not dismiss the transcendental critique, but radicalizes it in a ‘transcendental’ or ‘superior empiricism’, i.e. a post-Kantian philosophy of nature.

John Sellars (KCL)

Deleuze’s Stoicism

This paper will examine the Stoicism within the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze. It will not be primarily concerned with Deleuze’s explicit comments regarding Stoicism in The Logic of Sense (although these will be touched upon) but rather with a more pervasive Stoicism running throughout his work, both with and without Guattari. The case for the existence of this deeper Stoicism within Deleuze’s philosophy will be advanced on six fronts: 1) the Stoics stand at the beginning of Deleuze’s counter tradition of philosophies of immanence running through Spinoza, Hume, Nietzsche, and Bergson; 2) the Stoics were the first to reverse Platonism, a task that Deleuze presents as the principal task for modern philosophy; 3) Deleuze shares with the Stoics a practical conception of philosophy, notwithstanding the definition of philosophy as the creation of concepts advanced in What is Philosophy?; 4) Deleuze follows the Stoics in proposing the dissolution of the boundaries between the individual and cosmos; 5) Deleuze and Guattari’s nomadology stands within the Stoic cosmopolitan tradition; 6) Deleuze presents Stoicism as an ethics of amor fati and, as such, the only meaningful form of ethics there is.

Keith Robinson (South Dakota)

An Ontology of the ‘Virtual’ in Whitehead’s Metaphysics

A good deal of recent work on Deleuze has focused on his importance as a philosopher of the ‘virtual’ and the intensive processes that emerge from it. That Deleuze finds the ontological and metaphysical expression of these virtual processes in the work of Nietzsche, Spinoza and Bergson is perhaps now well known. The ‘trinity’ of Deleuzian thought –with Spinoza as the ‘Christ’ of philosophers - is now established in the commentaries. Far less appreciated, at least in the Anglo-American reception of Deleuze, is the extent to which he ‘returns’ with a difference to the inestimable -yet abandoned (Deleuze says ‘assassinated’) - work of Alfred North Whitehead in order precisely to experiment with the virtual logic of becoming and difference and to continue the work of creating transformative and transversal relations in between science and philosophy.

In what follows I would like to draw out a more detailed resonance between certain elements of the ‘virtual’ metaphysical framework developed in Whitehead’s later works, especially Process and Reality, and Deleuze’s own virtual philosophy especially in Difference and Repetition. It is hoped that this will not only open up new perspectives on Deleuze’s thought but it will also show the extent to which Whitehead’s work is ready for what one commentator calls ‘rehabilitation’, opening a space in which Whitehead’s philosophy becomes once again a living and creative possibility for thought.

Patricia Farrell (MMU)

The Story of the Larval Subjects: a Paratactic Narrative in Difference and Repetition

“The story of the larval subjects” – that is, the account of individuation – in Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition, is a form of paratactic narrative, implicated in and complicated with another paratactic narrative: Deleuze’s account of the three passive syntheses of time. Using the “larval subjects” – and the reworking of a broken lithographic plate by Odilon Redon – as examples, this paper will consider the idea of an emergent paratactic narrative, how it might be generated and what it does within the experience of reading it.

As a written work, the account of individuation is a form of “potential literature” as practised by the French literary group OULIPO, employing structural constraints to make works which generate multiply diverse ways of being read. Deleuze frames a theory of the production of subjectivity, as a passive synthesis derived from Bergson and Gilbert Simondon, with the dissensual adjacencies of the presentation of time in Bergson and Nietzsche. The result is a mapped space which articulates two co-existent but divergent readings We can read its technical invention in terms of its content leading to a reinforcement of its fictive qualities, binding it into its narrative form: reading it semantically, reading it syntactically to derive from it a recounted history of subjectivation: and we can read it pragmatically, as a series of poetic strategies or as a set of structural principles for a performance: something like a dance-score which maps out a space a performer can distribute their moves across. Such a performer has to learn to be able to read and express congruently. Ideally then, through reading, a process of articulated individuation takes place – and that constantly, never completing its performance so that the function of Deleuze’s story of the larval subjects is increasingly less representational and more physically affective. The crux of the matter is how we learn to read this potential of pure expression and become disposed to its purpose.

The purpose of this pure aesthetic can be seen as the genesis and evolution of a pure ethic – or an ethos as way of living, a move through and beyond the synthesis of empirical habit toward a transcendental habit of thinking. This story requires a progressively more engaged reader and a progressively more dissolved subject: a contemplative reader passively synthesised and set in motion. With Deleuze’s exemption of consciousness from the transcendental realm and, as I argue, the emergence of a paratactic narrative from the congruence of semantic and pragmatic readings, what can we say about that narrative’s emergent history, its emergent personae?

Dror Yinon (University of Paris 1: Panthéon-Sorbonne)

Dispensing with the image of thought: Deleuze on the
distinction between thought and reason

In his critique of the “image of thought” (Difference and Repetition Ch. 3), Gilles Deleuze advances the thesis that a sharp distinction should be made between thought and representation. By failing to maintain this distinction, he argues, philosophy has fallen into a certain illusion, that of a dogmatic image of thought, which consists of grasping thought exclusively in terms of representation or recognition. As Deleuze explains, transcendental philosophy generates this illusion by conceiving of the condition in terms of the conditioned, an operation which Deleuze characterizes as a duplication of the empirical onto the transcendental.

How is one to understand this critique? Interpretations (for example, James Williams’ commentary on Difference and Repetition) tend to connect it with Deleuze’s analysis of the structure of recognition based on the functions of subject and object as fixed poles (called by Deleuze “common sense”) and concrete acts of recognition understood as falling under that form (named “good sense”). According to this line of thought, Deleuze’s critique is designed to show that this structure is erroneously conceived of as transcendental, while it is only an illegitimate product of the abovementioned duplication. Instead, Deleuze calls for a radical change in the doctrine of the faculties which consists in studying them in their disjointed state, that is, out of their collaboration with recognition.

I think this interpretation does not offer the required critique of Kant: viewed from a Kantian perspective, the above interpretation of Deleuze’s critique is insufficient; it only stresses the necessity of admitting of a thought which is distinct from the understanding (the faculty of recognition) but does not explain its nature. However, Kant insists that thought cannot be exhausted by recognition, hence his distinction between reason and understanding. Half of the Critique of Pure Reason is dedicated to unfolding the structure and function of reason. Thus, in order to realize Deleuze’s critique of the image of thought, it is necessary that it confronts Kant’s notion of reason, particularly his notion of ‘Idea’.

In this paper I show that Deleuze’s notion of ‘Idea’ in its relation to Kant’s should be taken as the focal point of his critique. That is, Deleuze’s notion of Idea is based on the Kantian demand to distinguish thought from understanding. Deleuze sustains this critique by showing that Kant fails to meet this demand in his analysis of reason, i.e. that Kantian reason is still thought of in terms of representation.

My claim is that the reason why kant duplicates the empirical onto the transcendental is that his notion of reason stays within the limits of object-oriented thought. On the other hand, Deleuze’s notion of Idea, with its problematic nature understood anew, constitutes a thought that is not object oriented. Hence, instead of having regulative reason guide the subject’s cognitive activity (i.e. Kantian reason), the subject is confronted with problems imposed upon him by creative thought (i.e. thought elicits the subject’s experience rather than guides it).

Tristan Moyle (Anglia Ruskin)

Transcendental Empiricism in Deleuze and McDowell

Both Deleuze and McDowell – commonly thought of as very different philosophers engaged in very different projects - call the conception of experience they offer a ‘transcendental empiricism’. This paper asks two questions. First, are there any underlying similarities between Deleuze and McDowell that allows us to name both of them ‘transcendental empiricists’ in a meaningful sense? Second, what differences are there between the transcendental empiricism of McDowell and Deleuze? In relation to the first question I hope to demonstrate that both philosophers seek to avoid Absolute idealism and traditional empiricism by modulating Kant’s transcendental idealism. Specifically this modulation takes the form of a re-working of the Kantian notion of transcendental, a priori sensibility. In relation to the second question I hope to demonstrate that there are in fact two quite distinct models of transcendental empiricism, which I shall call transcendental empiricism I (McDowell) and transcendental empiricism II (Deleuze). I will argue that transcendental empiricism II is a more satisfactory conception of experience because it avoids the threat of idealism that contaminates McDowell’s version of transcendental empiricism. I will argue that Deleuze neutralises the threat of idealism - in a way that echoes themes from later Merleau-Ponty and later Heidegger - by conceiving an immanent relation between transcendental sensibility and the ‘aesthetic form’ of experience.

Ils Huygens (Jan Van Eyck Academie, Maastricht)

Thinking affect: a new perspective for visual studies

In Deleuze and Spinoza’s view the body is not considered as a substance but as a kinetic and dynamic thing that is fundamentally organised by “a capacity for affecting and being affected.” Affect exists only as relation between two bodies and transgresses the borders between self and other, between subject and object. In the cinema, the viewer is confronted with a double inter-affective relation, with the body on the screen, but also with the screen itself which is also a kinetic body in the dynamic worldview of Deleuze/Spinoza.

Since the last few years in film– and mediastudies, the concept of affect has become a central term. Affect, as in psychology, is considered as something that takes place on a bodily, sensational level, not consciously registered unless it is actualized into feeling or emotion. Deleuze scholars like Brian Massumi and Steven Shaviro claim that the effects of affect, even when it is not consciously perceived, are real and need further attention, especially in relation to media like cinema or television that have the capacity to intensify, alter or distort the affective dimensions of an image, sound, voice, face or gesture.

According to Brian Massumi, who has developed Deleuze’s notion of affect quite extensively by connecting it to scientific research and cultural studies in his book The Autonomy of Affect, image-reception is two-sided: there’s the personal, actualized level and there’s the superlinear level of intensity. Whereas the first level is that of socio-linguistical codification and of clear cut cognitive emotions, the superlinear level can break the level of logical expectations and cause a sudden disruption. The superlinear level does not register words or symbolic content but intensity, “the effect of an image’s duration”. What Massumi is talking about is the level of affect: body movement, voice timbre, facial expression all produce real effects in the viewer of which he himself is not yet consciously aware of, surface stimuli that are registered by our skin and visceral senses.

In this essay I will try to expand a little more on the development of an affective approach to images. What might such an approach mean? How can we approach affect in language? And how can we turn it into a productive tool of analysis for the study of images? Which concepts need to be looked at and what connections can be made to other non-philosophical research? Some promising linkages that we believe might help develop an affective approach further lie for instance in empirical psychology (William James), the psychology of emotions (Silvan Tomkins) or neurology (Damasio) which will also be briefly discussed.

Matt Lee (Greenwich)

What is the force of counter-actualisation?

One of the central problems in understanding Deleuze lies in the idea of ‘counter-actualisation’. Deleuze’s shift from Kantian ‘conditions of possible experience’ to the formula of his transcendental empiricism (‘conditions of real experience’) involves a rejection of the priority of the thinking subject. Yet without the thinking subject, who is it that counter-actualises, how is it done and why does it happen?

Deleuze’s answer seems to rest on an ‘encounter’ with force but this encounter is read as fully positive. If this is so, where is the space for a counter-actualisation? How can a counter-actualisation occur without some lack, negation or nothingness forcing it? To give the answer, ‘the intensity of the encounter’, avoids the necessary characterization of a direction to counter-actualisation. The key question becomes one of establishing where we can find the point of actualization turning on itself, countering itself. In effect this is an attempt to establish an account of the materiality of counter-actualisation.

To establish such a materiality of counter-actualisation it is useful to examine the role learning plays within Deleuze’s work. In particular, by examining learning we can begin to encounter key tensions between Deleuze’s work as an account of materiality as against a thinking of materality, in particular locating the radicality of Deleuze’s thought, almost paradoxically, in the way he articulates thinking itself.

José Carlos Cardoso (Évora University, Portugal)

The Hanging of Ariadne

In the intellectual progression of Deleuze we sees two directions, seemingly, absolutely incompatible: the ontological one and the transcendantal.

When we seeks where its two parallel approaches meet - the battle field of the Deleuze’s philosophy - we realizes that that occurs in the development from "the same" idea: the transcendental field (Logique du sens), the plan of immanence (Mille Plateaux ; Qu’est-ce que le philosophie ?).

However, the setting in question of the concept of immanence makes emerge a thought of the experiment; but of an experiment which releases in its concreted reality its own conditions of possibility - here the debate is, clearly with Kant - i.e., a renewal of the matter of transcendental aesthetics. The search for an empirico-transcendantal aesthetics, to speak with the deleuzian way.

It is tried, therefore, in this paper, to try to understand the essential role of the aesthetic laboratory - in particular the book on the painting of Francis Bacon and the two volumes on the Cinema - in this radical setting in question the conditions of the thought itself, therefore of the destruction of the dogmatic image of the thought.

Gulsen Bal (Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design)

……………………………………… modus operandi

a small step towards another ‘intriguing’ proposition…

The focus of attention in this presentation is to explore what practice comes down to transcending its own context with the politics of production towards the ‘processual’ intensities through critical modalities within a philosophy of practice in a critical function of theory. Methodology wise practicing philosophy to some extent is taken into account as if such was “theory is simply a challenge to the real. A challenge to the world to exist.”[2]

The key which opens the “axiomatics” of Deleuzian projects to the paradox, therefore, lies in the extent to which it questions philosophy itself as a “reading machine.”[3]

Through opening this kind of discursive space by means of creating a complex mode of production site, art production therefore can be brought together under the rubric of the creation of new philosophical concepts in its reference to a philosophical encounter. In other words, almost the im-/possibility of the engagement, which opens up the creative process to a dialogical interaction the routes taken per se…

Thus the ‘dialogue’ becomes one of the issue that worth pondering. Let’s start by asking what takes the place of communication, which infused with elements drawn upon attention on a sphere of ‘contact zones,’ where dialogues reside within its latent omnipresence in its manifold modalities.

The direction of this argument leads towards how one can describe the constituency of dialogic art practice and create a cross-border communication through the axes of trans-cultural practices, which open a new space formed, by a space of interruptions and a space of enunciation.

This opens up the question of the political and the mechanism for the critical engagement of artistic production. Therefore a multitude of rhizomically self-transformative pluralistic approaches, what the ‘other’ wants to show us through the parameters of what the ‘other’ is showing is still intriguing.

During this intellectual quest, the issues will cover the differential structures in representational boundaries as well as some complementary ideas, including the border phenomena in trans-local and trans-national location within cultural geography.

Maria Lakka

The caesura of the will: Deleuze’s Nietzschean turn

Deleuze’s philosophical project, as instantiated in Difference and Repetition, is profoundly informed by Bergson’s conception of time – an unceasingly creative reality rather than an abstract form, and such an influence becomes explicitly apparent in the elaboration of the passive syntheses of time. However, Deleuze does not limit himself to the two forms of contraction-memory (corresponding to the first and the second passive syntheses) but he also recalls Nietzsche’s eternal return, which he calls “the empty form of time” as “universal ungrounding”. In this paper, I want to focus on the “disjunctive synthesis” of the eternal return and to explore the reasons for Deleuze’s implementation and how it becomes significant for his idea of ‘becoming’.

The concept of duration appears to emphasize the centripetal force of repetition and memory and although Bergson also mentions a centrifugal force in parallel operation, it is Nietzsche who conceptualized a force of expulsion within eternal recurrence. The Nietzschean notion differs from the ancient conception of the eternal return of the Same, which views repetition in natural and astronomical cycles and remains an empirical doctrine. His doctrine prevents time from being merely qualitative change or variation, as it was also conceived by the scientific law of the conservation of energy. Although the latter sustains the timelessness of being, Nietzsche’s and Deleuze’s concept make it a condition of becoming, which brings a redistribution of the whole.

The doctrine of the eternal return cannot be conceived separately from the will to power and it therefore attains, according to Deleuze a double status: on one hand, as an ethical thought it is the formulation of the “practical synthesis” which moulds the will into action. On the other hand, it is an esoteric doctrine which makes the will not only a power of creation but one which necessarily also entails the risk of self-annihilation. This is the “paradox of passion” as Agamben has called it. Deleuze’s incorporation of Nietzsche’s eternal return diverts him from the Levinasian notion of radical passivity, and emphasizes how it is an energetic will that envelops its own caesura.

Kostas Koukouzelis (Athens)

Deleuze and Kant on the notion of the ‘transcendental field’

Deleuze in one of his last writings, namely ‘Immanence: a Life…’, gives a compressed, yet quite illuminating diagram of his entire philosophical project. It is there that the notion of a ‘transcendental field’ is unveiled to be of crucial importance for the superior (transcendental) empiricism he is claiming to defend. The paper is an exploration of the ambiguous, yet quite important, relation to Kant’s transcendentalism. I am arguing, against recent influential interpretations (Hardt and Negri stress exclusively Deleuze’s Spinozism) that Deleuze has been influenced by Kant in more than one ways. Thus, the argument is as follows. First, I will argue for the necessity, role and nature of the transcendental in both Kant and Deleuze. Second, I will just focus on the notion of the ‘transcendental field’, important for philosophies of reflection, like Kant’s. It is of huge importance for us to locate some common ground on the significance of anti-Cartesian internal difference for both thinkers. Of equal importance is also Deleuze’s own critique and revision of the Kantian project in terms of the introduction of time. The transcendental is not the condition of possible experience, but becomes the genetic account of real experience. It provides determinability instead of rational determination or empirical indetermination. Deleuze wants to replace the synthetic a priori consciousness with an impersonal, pre-individual yet singular field (plane of immanence). Is such a move successful or does it commit what Kant terms the fallacy of ‘amphiboly’?

Cath Ferguson (MMU)

Title tbc

The relation between theoretical discourse and Fine Art practice continues to be problematic. It would be contradictory to suggest that artistic invention has its cause in specific theoretical or philosophical ideas but on the other hand ideas are always involved in making art on some level. The danger is that discourse would reduce the problematic nature of art to a function of a priori criteria of judgment. If the ambition of art is to operate as what Deleuze would term an object of a ‘fundamental encounter’ rather than an object of recognition then ideas should have a liberating role both when it comes to making art and in expanding our perception of it through discourse.

This issue will be explored through a discussion of the paintings of the New York based Spanish artist Juan Usle. A significant aspect of Usle’s work is their close resemblance to his photographs despite the fact that the paintings are ostensibly abstract. This ‘resemblance’ is not a matter of imagery, however, and could be more accurately described, perhaps, in terms of a repetition in painting of relations formed in photography between its subject and the act of capture on film. The difficulty here is that there is at once a sense of association but without identifiable similarities that could be pointed to as ‘evidence’. The challenge of interpretation is to remain close to the material specificity of the paintings (without bracketing the relation as a function of cultural change, for example) and demonstrate the relation as a vital force in the work.

This difficulty will be addressed by approaching the work as evolutionary process drawing on aspects of Deleuze’s biophilosophy and a model of biological evolution developed in the field of biosemiotics. Following this model such a photographic ‘influence’ could be understood as an element in the environment which becomes interpreted by each painting (as a kind of organism). As such the interpretation is a function of the work’s specific ‘genetic code’: the pictorial history or legacy encoded and the materials and processes selected to express it.

In approaching the interrelation of theory and fine art practice from this direction the aim is also to investigate the nature of a ‘transcendental empiricism’ and the challenge the widespread tendency for art discourse to unwittingly (or wittingly) adopt a representational image of art practice.

Michael McGuire (LMU)

Deleuze and the Articulation of Control

The work of Deleuze has begun to find increasing application in the field of Criminology, especially with regard to his briefly sketched idea of a ‘control’ society. The problem of the regulation and control of the social order constitutes an important area of research within the discipline - one with theoretical underpinnings in the work of a range of important criminologists such as Stan Cohen and David Garland as well as in the influential models of disciplinary power developed by Foucault. In this paper I aim to outline how Deleuze’s critique of Foucault – in particular the shift he emphasizes between social relations locked into a ‘logic of enclosure’ towards those rooted in the ‘network’ - has begun to alter the perspectives of criminologists on a range of issues from punishment, regulation, crime and technology and so on. I aim particularly to examine how Deleuze’s notion of a ‘society of control’ can serve to illustrate current trends in criminal justice systems more effectively than the more familiar paradigm of the ‘surveillance society’. In so doing I hope to refine and disambiguate Deleuze’s notion of control itself.

[1] With Guattari.
[2] Jim Fleming and Sylvère Lotringer (Ed.) Forget Baudrillard, An Interview with Baudrillard. New York: Semiotext(e) Foreign Agents series, 1987, p.123
[3] The problem of ‘imposed’ philosophical readings on Deleuzian project can be found in Alain Badiou’s Deleuze: The Clamour of Being where he argues and raises the question of philosophy itself as a “reading machine.”