Filmmaking and an Arts-Based Methodology of Intuition: Affect and the Virtual in Research and Pedagogy

Drawing on my arts-based educational doctoral research in 2015 with two secondary visual art teacher candidate participants, Christen and Kelsie, this session explores an emergent arts-based methodology of intuition to provoke the conditions for new and creative thought in both research and pedagogy. This presentation will examine participants’ filmmaking and Deleuze and Guattari’s concept of the nomad to consider how art practice enables unique forms of ontological inquiry described through Deleuze’s work on Henri Bergson’s concept of intuition. Intuition is understood as a process through which memory and perception become amenable to change through affective jolts to thought. As such, intuition emerges as a disposition that enables certain experiences to destabilise rather than affirm tacit and recognisable thought. Christen’s and Kelsie’s films made during their return to their high schools will be examined for the ways in which filmmaking provoked a sensorial and affective form of inquiry of school space, creating the potential for participants’ alternate memories and perceptions of their experience of schooling to emerge. In doing so, Christen’s and Kelsie’s art practice allowed for what Charles Garoian in The Prosthetic Pedagogy of Art (New York: SUNY Press, 2013) referred to as slippages of perception so that alternate understandings of their memories of schooling were made available.

Christen’s and Kelsie’s filmmaking shifted their performance and movement within the school space away from prescribed identities as teacher, student, and student teacher. Rather than performing these particular identities, their movement responded to the embodiment of memories produced by sensory and affective engagement with the space. In doing so, time rather than a linear progression became a virtual confluence of past, present, and future desire, enabling memories to be lived rather than recalled and thus made amenable to change. This artistic and nomadic form of inquiry destabilised the homogeneity and dominant discursive productions of the territory of schooling, allowing for alternate understandings to emerge.

Elaborating on these understandings, the session will present and discuss what has emerged as an arts-based methodology of intuition to create the conditions for participants to encounter tacit and sedimented knowledge and ways of knowing related to teacher practice. This methodology draws on the concept of intuition as a disposition that seeks to explore modes of embodied inquiry to disrupt tacit perceptions of practice. Intuition, as a disposition that problematises, differentiates, and temporalises experience inheres in the capacity of researchers and teacher candidates to ask different types of questions and disrupt normative expectations of practice, “to learn to what extent the effort to think one’s own history can free thought from what it silently thinks, and so enable it to think differently” (Elisabeth A. St. Pierre. “Nomadic inquiry in the smooth spaces of the field: A preface.” In Working the ruins: Feminist poststructural theory and methods in education. Edited by E.A. St. Pierre and W. Pillow, 365-383, London and New York: Routledge, 2000, 260).

Two Shorts

And: Conjunction (2010, 14 min.). A new day is starting. While the city awakes, two clowns tell a story about a city and its people in an empty field without any population. Time passes away. Two men, two women seek for something lost . . . AND is neither one thing nor the other, it’s always in between, between two things; it’s the borderline, there’s always a border, a line of flight or flow, only we don’t see it, because it’s the least perceptible of things. And yet it’s along this line of flight that things come to pass, becomings evolve, revolutions take shape. (Gilles Deleuze, Cahiers du Cinema 271, November 1976)

Web: https://youtu.be/-sv63evmg3w

 

The Four (2010, 8 min.). This short film tries to put into experience a combination of different planes of compositions—the ontological-mathematical logic of Hollis Frampton’s work (Zorns Lemma, 1970), William Burroughs’s cut-up method, and Georges Bataille’s scatological desire—across a theological and concrete field. Each part traces and repeats parts of Allah by Mansour Al-Hallaj. Hallaj is a symptom of heretical clashes in the middle-earth milieu, tortured and sacrificed by his society because of his (her)ethic(al) ideas about the relation between infinite and finite. An underground folk-rock singer recites the poem. This film is about the powers of chaos and the challenges with determined rational structures. In this experience every shot is one second.

Web: https://youtu.be/wfWQN2ytUd4

Dialogue II: On Visual Art or How Does Art Think?

This dialogue brings together philosophers and artists to address issues at the core of Deleuze’s ontology of art. It will be oriented around the question of art’s contemporary work as a critical production of thought. This is a question that, explicitly or implicitly, connects all our speakers—from Eric Alliez’s notion of the diagrammatic regime of thought between art and philosophy that distinguishes itself from an aesthetic regime of forms, to Ian Buchanan’s desire to excavate the schizophrenic construct of the social from Deleuze and Guattari’s ontology of art, and Anne Sauvagnargues’s wish to articulate the Guattarian category of the ecological image as one capable of accounting for our digital transformation of contemporary art; from Peter Stamer’s construction of his cinematic idea of Deleuze, to Marc Ngui’s diagrammatic thought-drawings of A Thousand Plateaus. This question of art’s thought is one that traverses Deleuze and Guattari’s writings on art, distinguishing their position from any aestheticisation, formalisation, or historicisation, and forging a platform from which any privileged relation to the “visual” as a historically legitimated category is intensively problematised. How does the (visual) work of art think, and how can we in turn think this thought? How does this thinking illuminate the question of a singularly artistic research? Is this a question whose horizon is that of the contemporary and, if so, why? How can Deleuze and Guattari’s works revitalise the increasingly fraught status of the categories of image and visual?

Kamini Vellodi, chair

Posthumous: 26 Letters to Deleuze

In three sessions between winter 1988 and spring 1989, philosopher Gilles Deleuze, sitting in his living room, answered questions posed by a television crew. The principle was as simple as it was sophisticated. The topics he was confronted with followed the letters of the alphabet—from “A as in Animal” to “Z as in Zigzag.” Via these twenty-six letters, Deleuze revisited and reformulated a variety of his philosophical concepts. To avoid zig-zagging in his discourse, Deleuze received the list of topics beforehand and worked assiduously on the answers he then extemporised during the recordings. It’s the arbitrary form of the alphabet and Deleuze’s way of talking that makes the Abécédaire so fascinating for me: Deleuze offers an incredibly generous, enlightening, witty, and, yes, instructive insight into his philosophical oeuvre—and despite the alleged formality of the alphabetical order, Deleuze does philosophy-on-the-go from A to Z. Now, close to the twentieth anniversary of Deleuze’s death by defenestration on 4 November 1995, I cannot help approaching Deleuze’s Abécédaire from a particular perspective: of the man who spoke to Claire Parnet and to the camera as a living ghost. I know that the room he was interviewed in was not the room from the window of which he leapt, but I can’t help being haunted by that feeling. There on this armchair sits a philosopher, already severely sick, who talks as if he was dead: “What saves me is the clause: all that will be used, if usable, only after my death. I speak from after my death.” I would have wished to sit next to him, to smuggle myself into this room and look at him over the shoulders of the others, to place myself between him and Claire Parnet, to roam around in the living room where they talk and try to take notes, or to hum a tune. Maybe the filmic inserts, the discursive captions, and the puns I put in-between Deleuze’s statements are my way of getting close to him, as if opening a window onto the world, giving way to my perspective of his world, becoming a mute spectator-interviewer who is too late to ask questions. A futile thought of mine, somehow totally inappropriate, but well . . . “The artist tears percepts out of perceptions,” as Deleuze says in “I as in Idea.” Sometimes, tearing out is the equal of smuggling in something else in-between. And this is the idea of me paring down Deleuze’s seven-and-half hours of dialogue to a sixty-minute found-footage movie. This project in becoming (yes, I haven’t used each letter of the Abécédaire, rather I have selected concepts I felt more familiar with from my own work) is addressed to Deleuze without address. My letters to Deleuze are directed toward him—in the direction of—visual postcards everyone can read. Dear Gilles . . .

At the very end of the chapter “Z as in Zig-Zag”—the last letter in the alphabet and the last take of the interview—when the camera has already veered off but is still rolling, Deleuze says off-camera, “Posthume, Posthume!” He says these words with an audible smile of vitality. A first version of the then two-and-a-half-hour video work has been developed and presented at EMPAC Troy/New York in March 2014 on the occasion of an artistic residence.