Perpetual Doubt, Constant Becoming

The philosophical proposition of the rhizome offers a “structure” (or anti-structure) that goes some way to describing the often unnameable, intangible processes required for the production of art—establishing a set of conditions that support the necessity for unknowingness and uncertainty as methodology.

In taking the rhizome as a basic principal for consideration in the generation of physical work, employing emergent processes rather than construction by design, my practice engages this key concept from Deleuze and Guattari in multiple ways:

In aiming to be composed “not of units but of dimensions, or rather directions in motion,” (Deleuze and Guattari 1987, 21) the work consists of many strands, structured from hundreds of thousands of rubber bands, that wrap, stretch, loop, hang, and twist around and across an architectural space. The work exists in the space between, growing among things, opportunistically inhabiting and encompassing architecture as part of its structure where the work “forms a rhizome with the world” (ibid., 11)—rather than existing separately to it.

The work does not rest within a single discipline: the lines act like drawings in three dimensions—it consumes and melds with architecture, the push and pull of effusive colour in space emphasises painterly qualities while often referencing, in it’s analogue form, digital technologies and the vastness of “the web.” The practice exists more broadly within the expanded field of sculptural installation where ideas and processes for generating art are not separable into constituent parts but exist in symbiosis.

The entangled network of filaments from which the work is constructed are like threads of visual organisation connecting any point to any other point in a meshwork and bit-coding of information. The seemingly abstract, annotative qualities of the work act like a mapping in the space of its own making. The vibrating strands become a fluid diagram—“a shifting map” (ibid., 19)—of the performative act that constituted its construction.

There are different timescales embedded in the work. The piece may take minutes, hours, or days to install, although the strands, with their handmade morphology, have been hundreds, thousands of hours in the making.

The elastic band is a unit of variable measure, therefore the work lacks exactitude as its overall length is immeasurable and is relative to the amount of tension and weight exerted upon the ropes. The strands are still being made, but there is no definable amount, no given end to the making of the material: “It has neither beginning nor end, but always a middle from which it grows and which it overspills.” (ibid., 21) There are many beginnings and ends lost among the mass metreage of loops that expand or contract across space.

Nomadic in nature the work can be packed down and reinstalled (almost) anywhere. Taking form for a finite period of time until rolled up ready to be remade in a unique, but relative, form in another time and space—much as worm-casts represent the aftermath of movement through the ground and exist for a while on the surface until they become washed down again by rain. They can reform, but each time, differently.

The title of the work reflects the overarching uncertainty of process through which one may burrow to arrive at the production of an artwork. The work is a processual murmuration where any seeming point of arrival quickly loses itself as it melds into a point of departure—the journey to seek form continues—arrested momentarily only by fleeting instances of articulation.


Deleuze, Giles, and Félix Guattari. 1987. “Introduction: Rhizome.” In A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Translated by Brian Massumi, 3-25. London: Continuum.

Diagrammatic Traits: Scream(S)-Force(S)-Manifold(S)

Departing from Kant-Deleuze’s notion of synthesis understood as a “rule of construction” by which a complexion of heterogeneous elements is driven to the consistency of a concept, this panel inquires its diagrammatic conditions—that is, its operative potential for the creation of transversal relations. Andres Vahos engages in the operative dimension of the cry—an operation problematising the lien between image and force—by constructing a relation between the sensible “signal” and the invisible or inaudible forces stirring the cry. Claudia Mongini examines the Leibnizian concept of force in terms of its logics: the potential for a synthetic construction of an “architecture of multiplicities.” Force is grasped in its intrinsic relational conditions, as a mechanism of transversal production. Emiddio Vasquez’s intervention departs from a pragmatic problem encountered in his making of art, the presence of “false dualism” between analogue and digital. He proposes to think of this impasse in terms of Riemaniann (and Deleuzian) manifolds. This panel asks whether the operation of synthesis—a factor producing (and problematising) difference in each intervention—can be transposed as a critical point of inquiry between the papers as well, thus opening the point of view of a (problematic) relation between aesthetics, ontology, and artistic practice. Can this strategy be conductive towards the creation of an agencement of artistic research?


«Du cri au sourire»: éléments d’esthétique Deleuzienne

Andres Vahos

Selon Deleuze, le crissement, le bégaiement et la glossolalie sont des traits de « l’image moderne de la pensée ». Si les deux derniers sont abordés à l’aide de notions issues de la linguistique, le crissement semble moins thématisé. Notre présentation audiovisuelle montre l’importance du « cri » dans la philosophie de Deleuze et problématise cette notion à partir de la dimension critique et clinique des forces qui nous poussent à « crier ». Pour Deleuze, les principes philosophiques constituent des véritables cris, les concepts étant le chant qui module et la signature qui clôture un cri. Deleuze classe souvent les philosophes en fonction des cris qu’ils cherchent à pousser.

Cependant, le cri ne deviendra un « cas spécial » pour Deleuze que dans le cadre de ce qu’il nomme la « schrizophrénisation » de la littérature et l’« hystérisation » de la peinture. Dans la formule d’Artaud, « briser la langue pour toucher la vie », Deleuze voit un procédé actif de désorganisation du langage qui transforme la valeur phonétique des lettres-organes par l’action tonique des « cris-souffles ». Les cris d’Artaud sont les crépitements d’un langage affectif dont le ciment est « fluide » et le corps « a-organique ». Lorsque Bacon affirme qu’il cherche à « peindre le cri, plutôt que l’horreur », son vœu comporte pour Deleuze la déformation des figures par l’exploration amiboïde des « contours » : la « bouche qui crie » devient un organe indéterminé par lequel le corps s’échappe vers un « aplat » matériel « vif et dur ». Si le « fait intensif » du Corps sans Organes permet à Deleuze de rapprocher Bacon et Artaud, il nous semble que le geste du cri invite à les séparer : le cri-souffle est une action qui « plonge » les mots dans la « profondeur » du corps tandis que le cri peint est une opération qui « module » les figures dans la « profondeur maigre » d’un système corps-couleur-plan.

En 1969, Deleuze développe dans son “roman logique et psychanalytique” l’idée d’une genèse de la parole qui suppose une série de transformations énergétiques : des pulsations « physiques » qui deviennent des pulsions « libidinales » pour se transformer ensuite dans l’énergie potentielle d’une « surface » désexualisée. Le système sonore du corps, dont le cri-souffle fait partie, retrouve ainsi son plein usage dans une bouche libérée du bruit, possédée par les voix venues d’en haut et remplie de paroles insolites. Plus tard, en 1981, avec le cri-peint, Deleuze explore la vibration, l’accouplement et la dissipation des figures par une “force sans objet” qui conserve cependant le contour d’un inquiétant sourire. Il faudrait alors distinguer le cri-souffle qui menace “du fond” le corps-langage avec une catastrophe, la “faillite” de l’organisation inappréciable du point de vue logique de la « surface », mais aussi le cri-peint dans la « profondeur superficielle » de la viande où les têtes rencontrent le “chaos” en conservant le sourire.


Deleuze, Gilles. 1969. Logique du sens. Paris: Editions de Minuit.

———. 1988. Le Pli: Leibniz et le Baroque. Paris: Editions de Minuit.

———. 2002. Francis Bacon: Logique de la sensation. Paris: Editions du Seuil.

Deleuze, Gilles, and Félix Guattari. 1991. Qu’est-ce que la philosophie? Paris: Editions de Minuit.


On the Logics of Force in Deleuze-Leibniz

Claudia Mongini

Departing from the problem of the relation between the one and the many from which Deleuze, in his book on Leibniz, constructs the singular relation between the sensible and the intelligible, I will introduce the concept of force, in terms of a fold of matter. I take into particular account the process of synthetic construction, in its double aspects of genesis and production, which Leibniz developed in a series of geometrical studies.

The first problem to be addressed consists in the delineation of the character of Leibniz’s constructivist logic. This is expressed by the potential of creating real entities—that is, both concrete objects and abstract relations. Thereby, I will carefully analyse the combinatorial facets from the point of view of their “technical criteria”: I will enter into the complex relation subsisting between the concept of invention understood as expression of singularity and the project of construction of a “logical architecture of multiplicities.” Within this frame of reference, the concept of logic comes to constitute the trait d’union between the project of a generative metaphysics (onto-logics) and an epistemological one. I will proceed with the examination of the concept of force, by placing the question of the role of physics within the onto-epistemological dimension delineated before. By taking into consideration Leibniz’s essays written from 1690 (the essays on mechanics and the 1692–98 essays on dynamics), I will focus on two problems: the question of experience and that of genetic construction out of a supra-geometric entity.

Two movements of thought will be articulated: an a posteriori one, which takes into account the effect produced by force, and an a priori one, which considers instead force from its generative conditions—space, time and action. I will then address the concept of derivative force in its relation to contingency—that is, in relation to the specificity of concrete chains of entities. Out of this description I will problematise the concept of force in its intrinsic relational (and thus transversal) conditions. I will articulate this question on the two levels examined before: on the ontogenetic level, by following the question of how the movement of force comes to generate a minimal condition within nature; and on the epistemic level, by outlining the problem of the relation between matter and dynamics before the cuts produced by the disciplinary division of knowledge have taken their effect. This level of problematisation allows the problem to shift from matter-force to force-brain, and thus raises the aesthetic question of an autoplastic reconstruction of the machinic complex of nature. Can this level be considered in terms of a knot where philosophy is intimately tied up with art as process?



Homeomorphic Sound

Emiddio Vasquez

Taking as a point of departure Deleuze and Guattari’s thoughts in What is Philosophy? on the inseparability of sensation from the material conditions of any art form’s medium, one cannot help but ask, What are we to make of digital art, and in particular digital sound? It is all too simple to dismiss the battered dualism of analogue versus digital reproduction of sound, but the resurgence of analogue synthesis along with the ever-expanding industry of digital sound synthesis invites us to explore further these two domains. From an ontological perspective, these two domains correspond to the two types of multiplicities (discrete and continuous ones) that Deleuze imposes on Bergson’s philosophy by referring to physico-mathematician Bernard Riemann. The latter defines music as being a rare case of a continuous manifold that we can experience in everyday life, which in return necessarily problematises its digital or discrete reproduction.

This problem invites us to rethink the means by which the smooth and striated fuse with one another, as Deleuze and Guattari put it. I would like to elaborate on a possible approach borrowed from topology: homeomorphisms. With this criterion in mind, I would like to discuss some of the techniques that validate this fusion and critically engage with ones that do not. I propose this critical discussion in relation to particular cases concerning the analysis of musical samples as well as problems encountered in my own experience of making music. The idea of synthesis will thus be explored in respect to a multilayered set of levels: on the level of disjunction between analogue and digital and on that of ontology and mathematics, as well as within breaks occurring in practice.



Bacon and the Cartoonist: The Emergence of the Figure Through Two Opposing Diagrams

In The Logic of Sensation, Deleuze describes Francis Bacon’s practice as a constant struggle to avoid or surpass figuration, illustration, and narrative, all of which are central elements of the art practice most commonly known as “cartooning”—the drawing of comic strips, books, and graphic novels. This paper will focus on Deleuze’s use of the concept of the “diagram” and the “figural” in The Logic of Sensation to argue that comics create sensual experience through discursively articulated depictions.

Deleuze opens the chapter on the diagram by saying “We do not listen closely enough to what painters have to say. They say that the painter is already in the canvas, where he or she encounters all the figurative and probabilistic givens that occupy and preoccupy the canvas.” The probabilistic givens are the established figurative practices that surround the painter, a bombardment of imagery and methods of representation that threaten to pull the painter into illustrative cliché. So how can they be avoided? Bacon says, “make random marks (lines-traits); scrub, sweep, or wipe the canvas in order to clear out locales or zones (color-patches); throw the paint, from various angles and at various speeds.” Through this act of exorcism, the figurative givens, the clichés, are removed, expelled from the canvas. This process creates the diagram, which is not a painting, or an image, but a set of possibilities.

For comics scholar Thierry Groensteen, the cartoonist’s diagram is created through a process of “gridding.” Like Bacon’s givens, this process can pre-exist the making of any marks on the drawing surface. It is “a stage of reflection that is not always incarnated,” and operates as “a primary repartition of the narrative material.” Rather than avoid figuration, cliché, cartoonists must create their own set of clichés—a set of marks that allow serial recognition, potentialities that allow them to give form to the narrative material: this is the diagram of a cartoonist. And it is through this seriality, this repetition, that the figural—in the sense described earlier of a presence that is dependent on depiction but not contained within it—is created in comics. It is also through seriality that the figural, which Deleuze describes as a sense of presence and awareness of identity created by a work that, while dependent on depiction, cannot be located solely in that depiction.

If you take individual depictions of a character in a comic to be serial appearances of the same character pulling different expressions, then you have in mind a figure that is not contained within any of these individual figurations; this, I want to suggest, is comics’ equivalent to Deleuze-Bacon’s figural. Deleuze characterises Bacon’s creation of “the improbable visual figure” as a constant negotiation between free manual actions and the presence of a pre-existing visual whole. My comic Starts Out Vague magnifies the opposition of these pictorial and prepictorial acts in attempting to analyse the figurative regime operative in the act of drawing known as cartooning. It is built from sequences of figurative images produced using the following process: perform movements, copy these movements by manipulating a digital three-dimensional model. This process begins with movements that are transcribed in a medium that has no edges or surface, and ends with reinjection into the overdetermined surface of the comic’s page, where not only specific places but also a specific order of movement through those places are privileged by the constraints of gridding. Finally, the reading protocols that guide the navigation of a comic are fundamentally discursive: in comics, the figurative is placed into discourse, and through this interaction emerges the figural.

Partitions suspendues, partitions circonstancielles, partitions graphiques et partitions étendues : l’œuvre comme re-diagrammatisation ‘ecopraxique’

Plasticien ouvert à toute mutabilité, mon travail artistique est le travail d’un « bricoleur » enchevêtrant les supports qu’ils soient numériques, picturaux ou sonores, comme le vecteur d’un langage plastique indocile. N’ayant jamais voulu choisir entre les arts plastiques et la musique, je mène un travail artistique où se contaminent, se rapprochent et se confrontent arts plastiques et pratiques musicales.

Dans cet atelier transdisciplinaire, la notion de « partition » (Score) s’est rapidement imposée comme le lieu privilégié de « précurseurs sombres » singuliers. En effet, « sous-produit » ou « objet artistique mineur » (la partition est aussi une « recherche de son propre point de sous-développement »), la partition est la condensation, la précipitation (au sens chimique du terme), de branchements fautifs et de nouveaux raccords entre des percepts des affects et des concepts très hétérogènes. Dans notre atelier, ces partitions se constituent autant d’images que de sons, autant de dessins que de vidéo que de processus interactif ou autogène.   

Nous proposerons une démonstration sonore et visuelle de “partitions” et nous montrerons comment celles-ci engagent des « agencements » en amont de leur réalisation. Des surfaces sensibles d’inscription sur lesquelles on fait l’exercice de la « notation », c’est-à-dire de l’inscription du sensible « comme il tombe ». Les partitions sont des révélateurs (comme on le dit de la photographie) d’accidents et d’interférences, en amont de leur écriture, comme en aval de leur interprétation.

À partir de ces exemples précis nous montrerons comment la « partition » peut être comprise dans le sens étendu que donne Deleuze à la notion de diagramme. En effet, par la perspective d’interprétation que le concept de partition mobilise ensuite, elle ouvre vers de nouvelles lignes de fuites et travaillent à une re-diagrammatisation des signes en présence et récoltés. En cela la « partition » s’opposerait à cet autre diagramme nommé « machine abstraite » et qui referme toutes nouvelles possibilités.

Au contraire, les partitions que nous mettons en œuvre sont ces objets ambigus qui ne sont pas seulement descriptif mais, tout à la fois « ingérant, digérant, redistribuant » s’ouvrant vers des lignes de fuite. La partition apparaîtra dans cette description comme une pratique du démontage, « constituant autant de points d’émergence ou de créativité, de conjonctions inattendues, de continuums improbables », ouverte à toutes les métamorphoses (shapeshifting) et faisant de l’œuvre une prégnance, une actualisation temporaire et collective révélée à égale importance par tous les acteurs-réseaux de son apparition.

Nous choisirons de mêler à l’analyse, quelques exemples d’interprétation live et/ou enregistrée pour faire de ce moment un moment d’échange sur une recherche indissociable de la pratique. Nous nous appuierons sur

(1)        les partitions circonstancielles (underscore) : partitions nomades, écriture dessinée sur le motif (sonore).

(2)        Les partitions suspendues, partitions mutables et interactives, qui propose une re-diagrammatisation des signes en présence qui dans le jeu performatif de sa réalisation engage la fabrication de « nouvelles possibilités de fait ».

(3)        Musique Maigre et musique de poche : recherche autour d’une musique décroissante et écologique.