Whereas Chronos was inseparable from the bodies which filled it out entirely as causes and matter, Aion is populated by effects which haunt it without ever filling it up. Whereas Chronos was limited and infinite, Aion is unlimited, the way that future and past are unlimited, and finite like the instant.
—Gilles Deleuze, The Logic of Sense, 165
Already in 1969, thinking about extra temporality of the event, and inspired by the Stoics, Deleuze rehabilitated for contemporary thought the distinction between Chronos and Aion. Introducing an outside of time into the inner fabric of time itself, Deleuze argued for a chronology that is derived from the event—the event being the singularity that originates any given chronology. For a musician, for someone permanently involved in the radical here and now of the performative moment or compositional decision, Deleuze’s argumentation seems completely logical, even if paradoxical. Later, in collaboration with Guattari and particularly in A Thousand Plateaus (1980), Deleuze further developed notions of time that are seminally related to Pierre Boulez’s concepts of the smooth and the striated: (1) the non-pulsed and the pulsed flow of musical time, and (2) the continuum or the discontinuum of musical spaces. Boulezian dualisms, like Deleuzian ones, are meant neither as oppositions nor as dialectical pairs; more creatively, they refer simply to attractors, which might be activated or not, according to different actualisations of forces. The combat of Chronos and Aion is, therefore, not to be seen as a fight between opponents, but rather as lightings, as bidirectional discharges of power between two fields loaded with differential energy.
For this dialogue, the combat of Chronos and Aion is taken both as an initiator to the discussion and as a pars pro toto in terms of possible relations between Deleuze and musical practices: How and to what extent can the work of Gilles Deleuze contribute to or enhance new understandings of music? How can it be used reflexively and productively? Is there a new music after Deleuze, a new musicology after Deleuze, a new performer after Deleuze, a new listener after Deleuze?
This dialogue is born out of a public dissensus: Brian Hulse’s review (2015) of Edward Campbell’s book Music after Deleuze (2013), and Edward Campbell’s response to Hulse’s review (2015), a debate that makes reference to some texts by Martin Scherzinger and a debate that was published at a time when Martin was a visiting research fellow at the Orpheus Institute (February 2015). In a slightly provocative gesture, but in the sense of enabling a richer debate on Deleuze and music we decided to invite all parts and have a productive dialogue on music before, after, with, or without Deleuze.
Paulo de Assis, chair
Campbell, Edward. 2013. Music after Deleuze. London: Bloomsbury Academic.
Campbell, Edward. 2015. ‘Musicology after Deleuze: Response to Brian Hulse’s Review of Music after Deleuze – All Music is ‘Deleuzian’. Deleuze Studies Journal, 9 (1), 145-52.
Deleuze, Gilles. 1990. The Logic of Sense. Translated by Mark Lester with Charles Stivale. Edited by Constantin V. Boundas. New York: Columbia University Press.
Hulse, Brian. 2015. ‘Review of: Edward Campbell. 2013. Music after Deleuze, London: Bloomsbury’, Deleuze Studies Journal, 9 (1), 137-45.