The Time of the Encounter

Of the three principal modalities for the creation of the new—the dark precursor (“so is the world born” [Deleuze]), the contemporary (a counter move against the forces of the present [Baross]), and the encounter as a becoming [Deleuze])—two, we know, correspond with distinct, discontinuous and heterogeneous, temporalities. The first passes in reverse, against the progression of time; in the second, the present heterogenises itself, leaps outside the flow of chronological time to contract with different geological layers of the past. What is it that we can say with regard to the third, the time of becoming, or the multiple times/temporalities of plural becomings, when it comes to sound and music? What new event passes in their time? Or rather, what new orders of temporal relations must necessarily be constituted between different elements for a becoming in/of sound— not to pass, for it does not pass, it does not aim at or reach an end—to take place, as it must, in time?

These are some of the questions in the context of which I will attempt to ask: what happens in and to time when sounds encounter one another (for sounds do encounter one another; have an extraordinary propensity for articulating, conjugating, reciprocal modifying, contracting, etc. with one another, which explains contemporary music’s appetite for inventing/incorporating new sounds), and how the critical categories of musical time—of Boulez, Deleuze, Manoury—may already think the difference between not just between music and painting, or sound and colour, or “brute” noise and “son bruité,” but also between music and writing.

Music in Transit: An Interactive Interview With Juliana Hodkinson

In the past, the conference format has enforced a separation between the concert hall and the presentation stage, and hence also between the composer, performer, and researcher; however, as those involved in music are surely aware, the fluidity between these roles—the many hats of musicking—can overwhelmingly complicate such clear-cut divisions. Given the new possibilities of distributing audio (digitally and even wirelessly), a musical analysis could plausibly be heard simultaneously with the very music it seeks to explore; such is the aim of this performance-presentation.

Juliana Hodkinson describes her compositional practice as a kind of sonic writing that oscillates between musical notation, composition for instruments and extramusical objects, and the creation of digital audio. Milk and metal, bells and drums, toys and politicians, silence and noise, news media and field recordings, strings and winds: pointillist references that lead the compositional work away from the limited signifying economy of internal ontological coherence toward an aesthetic of proliferating and dynamically emerging sonic and multi-sensorial contexts. Martin Heidegger (1971, 152) once said, “A boundary is not that at which something stops but, as the Greeks recognized, the boundary is that from which something begins its presencing.” Like a film or skin, this mesh is porous, and in the post-digital age such boundaries need not adjoin one another, but might interlope ectopically, anachronistically, or multiplicitously across a non-Euclidean diorama of extending plateaus.

Whereas a traditional interview may extract music from its placial situation, this performance-presentation constitutes the typical texts of music’s reception synchronically within a given performative space. Seeking to coalesce traditional research practices with current compositional technologies, this “interactive interview” between musicologist and music theorist Danielle Sofer and composer and musicologist Juliana Hodkinson begins with a spoken dialogue of prepared interview materials, including excerpts from texts by Deleuze and/or Guattari and Erin Manning. In the course of the work, this prepared format becomes increasingly interposed by musical and verbal interference. Set up in this way, artistic practice seemingly causes the object of research to fissure, erupt, and escape those who study it, thus replicating the archaeological habits of research more accurately than a traditional conference presentation. Blurring the walls of the concert hall with the boundaries of “transitive places” in a much broader context, our collage locates itself within the delineated territories of Hodkinson’s recent compositions to create a transverse quilt of mix-matched identities, many parts of which are nominally fixed but which in their performance/recitation remain at once analogically open.


Heidegger, Martin. 1971. “Building Dwelling Thinking.” In Poetry, Language, Thought, translated by Albert Hofstadter, 141–60. New York: HarperCollins.

For a Nanomusic: “Sound Desiring Machines” and Multiple Time

Deleuze and Guattari’s concepts had an important impact on my musical thinking. When I started reading both philosophers, I had been working for several years at the intersection of musical writing and psychoanalysis. In Order of Release, Border of Relish (2002–4), I developed a transversal between musical time and the time of the unconscious. Echoes, resonances, and rebounds between sound fragments build a complex and non-linear temporal form. Processes of condensation or dissolution induce a mutative and elastic musical matter with heterochronic textures, a multiplicity of strata, and transitory sound objects.

When I read Deleuze and Guattari, it occurred to me that the minimal units I was combining in ever changing sound constellations—their capacity for connection and propagation through the sound field—could be referred to the “asignifying” particles of the “machinic unconscious (Guattari 1979; Deleuze and Guattari 1980). In my music, small modular three-pitch pendular figures are the elementary constituents of a sound “abstract machine,” and are pushed by antagonistic forces: stratification or “destratification,” “territorialisation” or “deterritorialisation” (Deleuze and Guattari 1980), repetition or mutation.

These pendulums, with their modular quality and their constant pivoting movement, keep forming evolving “assemblages” (Deleuze 1964; Deleuze and Guattari 1980) whose ramifications (chains of interconnected pendulums) can either converge towards one centre, such as Guattari’s “black hole” [Guattari 1979], with the condensation on one object or figure, or create independent lines and migrate toward other zones. Since they keep circulating and building ever renewing fleeting configurations, they can be considered as sound “desiring machines” (Deleuze and Guattari 1972). In these sound rhizomes (Deleuze and Guattari 1980), repetition has an important function. It is a step-by-step process. Each repetition of a pendulum alters its envelope, generates a small gap, a small differance (Derrida 1967). It is a “differentiating repetition” (Deleuze 1968). Being caught in a permanent flow, these elementary figures both repeat and mute, simultaneously form and dissolve. This formal paradox characterises all my pieces. Abstract figures are elaborated only in order to show that they can be undone, that they are plays of forces. They are perceptible only because they insist. Their appearance/disappearance reveals not only a “capture of forces” (Deleuze 1981) but also the paradoxical “becoming” of a present that suggests before and after, past and future, “Aion” (Deleuze 1969) or the “empty form of time” (Deleuze 1968)—time as a pure process.

The musical form is not preformed; it is the result of the sound trajectories, of different “becomings” according to the different pieces.

Psyché-Cité/Transversales (2005–7) is a psychogeography. The sound topology is both a becoming-machine and a becoming-scream, a “zone of indiscernibility” (Deleuze 1981) between the brain and the metro, the psyche and the city, scream and noise. It is a hybrid sound territory. Mutatis mutandis (2008) is a whole set of vibrations. Fluxes of particles coagulate or trace more or less dense migratory paths. It is “musical genetics,” with repetitions and errors (such as DNA). It is a becoming-filament and a becoming-molecule. Shel(l)ter (2009–10) refers to an atomic bunker in Berlin and to nuclear physics. It is a becoming-atom, a “nanomusic.”

From the Body Without Organs (Deleuze 1981; Deleuze and Guattari 1972, 1980), a kind of “organum-body” underlies my music topographies—that is, a never definite and never stabilised sound body since the invested vibratory fields are never frozen.


Deleuze, Gilles. 1964. Proust et les signes. Paris: Presses universitaires de France.

—. 1968. Différence et répétition. Paris: Presses universitaires de France.

—. 1969. Logique du sens. Paris: Editions de Minuit.

—. 1981. Francis Bacon: Logique de la sensation. Paris: Editions de la Différence.

Deleuze, Gilles, and Félix Guattari. 1972. L’anti-Œdipe. Paris: Editions de Minuit.

—. 1980. Mille plateaux. Paris: Editions de Minuit.

Derrida, Jacques. 1967. L’écriture et la différence. Paris: Editions du Seuil.

Guattari, Félix. 1979. L’inconscient machinique: Essais de schizo-analyse. Paris: Recherches.

Peau/Pli: A Skype Performance and Its Metamorphoses

An actor reciting Deleuze and Anzieu and a dancer in a bubble. A delirium of words, electric signals, movements. Criticising and exploring connections, intercorporeality, and processes of embodiment.

The outside is not a fixed limit but a moving matter animated by peristaltic movements, folds, and foldings that together make up an inside: they are not something other than the outside, but precisely the inside of the outside (Deleuze 1993, 96–97).

In the performance PEAU/PLI the ubiquity of different media moistens the physical sensation of the participants. Enfolded by the noise of the data cloud, the “Skin-Ego” (Anzieu 1985) loses its contour, the boundary between the self and the environment is no longer clearly determined. Thousands of Deleuzian “folds” are to be experienced.

An actor performs texts by Anzieu and Deleuze in a former worker’s pub. He interacts via Skype and electric vibrations with a dancer in a plastic bubble, enfolding his “Skin-Ego” in the streets of the surrounding quarter. In the hyperlocal encounter of the interacting improvisation, dissonant presence experiences are evoked by the artists. The performance was folded again and again, for example, at gallery Schaufenster in Selestat (France), at Regionale 2014 and in the book Intercorporeal Splits (Fetzner and Dornberg 2015).

Which forms of artistic encounters and of collective forms of thought and affect arise in this performance and its metamorphoses? What kind of place, time, and body relationships emerge? Which roles play the technical, medial, and topological agents in the formation of the common intercorporealities and in the emergent socio-technological processes? How can the philosophy of Deleuze contribute to our understanding or/and influence these projects and the corresponding processes of artistic research, its methodologies, and its transdisciplinarity?



Anzieu, Didier. 1985. Le Moi-Peau. Paris: Dunod.

Deleuze, Gilles. 1993. The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque. Translated by Tom Conley. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press

Fetzner, Daniel, and Martin Dornberg, eds. 2015. Intercorporeal Splits: Künstlerische Forschung zur Medialität von Stimme, Haut, Rhythmus. Leipzig: Open House.