The Fold: A Physical Model of Abstract Reversibility and Envelopment

For artistic research, the model of the fold is exceptionally interesting because it deals with how form and content intertwine in a physical model, and how concrete and abstract interrelate on the plane of consistency. In my paper I focus on chapter two of Deleuze’s The Fold (1992) and take up the concept of “inflection” as an elastic point in the model of the fold that discloses a reality of reversibility. I intend to demonstrate through artworks the concept of “Foldings, or the Inside of Thought” (Deleuze 1988, 95).

Deleuze (1992, 15) states that for Paul Klee the point as a “nonconceptual concept of noncontradiction” moves along an inflection. “It is the point of inflection itself, where the tangent crosses the curve. That is the point-fold” (ibid., 15). Through a simple sketch, Deleuze demonstrates how the point of inflection is the point where the concave turns convex. This is the point of inflection. What happens in the point of inflection? Is it a conjunction? A passage? It would seem that this very special point is a point that conceals a profound metaphysical realisation. It is a physical point in the attribute of extension that corresponds to an invisible point of abstraction in the attribute of thought. Deleuze wants to draw attention to this point by referring to the thinking of Leibniz, the Neoplatonists, Spinoza, and Whitehead.

Because of the existence of concave and convex, there are different points of view, depending on which place we see from. The enfolding reality has multiple points of view; each point of view is a perspective. It appears that we are captured in our point of view. There is always a reversible side of a point of view, and by the power of the imagination we can think the concept of reversibility. A physical model of the fold reveals, in fact, a metaphysical reality of the attributes and the power of the attributes, according to Deleuze’s references to Spinoza. Deleuze’s ideas encompass several crucial things: first, we assume that reality has a mirroring construction; in other words, reality corresponds to an abstract reality that the model of the fold demonstrates. That is to say, physical reality and abstraction are two sides of the same coin. Second, the model of enfolding implies an innate life, the life of a monad, a singularity as a soul. Deleuze (1992, 24) writes, “We are moving from inflection to inclusion in a subject, as if from virtual to the real, inflection defining the fold, but inclusion defining the soul or the subject, that is, what envelops the fold, its final cause and its complete act.” Finally, Deleuze (ibid., 29) asks, “in order that the virtual can be incarnated of effectuated, is something needed other than this actualization in the souls? Is a realization in the matter also required, because the folds of this matter might happen to reduplicate the folds in the soul?”

The “point of inflection” is abstract and physical, a corresponding reversibility. I explore whether a “realization in matter,” a physical manifestation of foldings, affects an abstract reality. My art form is “objects of folding.” By letting folds coagulate, I “freeze” the process to a fixed form to let a “nondimensional point between dimensions” (Deleuze 1992, 16) become visible.

References

Deleuze, Gilles. 1988. Foucault. Translated and edited by Seán Hand. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

—. 1992. The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque. Translated by Tom Conley. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Locative Media Sound Walks: Connecting Nomadism with Contemporary Geolocated Flânerie and Open Source Practices

Soundwalking is a practice that encourages conscious listening and interaction with the sound environment in a non-linear and improvisational manner. There is a theoretical relevancy with “promenadology” and Benjamin/Baudelaire’s flânerie, as the user/listener is invited to wander through an “aurally augmented” urban environment. The result establishes rhizomatic maps and lines of sound/audio walks relevant to the city, as perceived and aurally captured by the artist. The practice of soundwalking suggests wandering new routes, thus questioning linear urban planning, and uses field research and sound recording and their juxtaposition to escape from the model of the “panoramic city,” which is mostly perceived visually.

Most soundwalks and geo-located sound installations use open-source platforms that combine locative media (GPS) with music/sound/performative compositions by applying them to a region’s map. The artist’s and the listener’s function often coincide, both in cases where the sound is recorded while crossing the area and in those cases where the path chosen by the walker/listener determines the artistic result.

In this paper I will attempt to connect the concept of “nomadism,” as introduced and explained by Deleuze and Guattari, with contemporary artistic practices of sound walks, site-specific sound compositions, and geo-located sound interventions in urban public space by juxtaposing the principles of nomad art with those of open-source platforms and flânerie.

As Deleuze and Guattari (1980) imply, many social activities, including art, can constitute a war machine drawing “a plane of consistency, a creative line of flight, a smooth place of displacement” (ibid., 423) by reforming or acting against dominant systems and/or practices (ibid., 500). In the case of soundwalking, nomadism does not apply by suggesting fleeing the city but by proposing wandering as resistance to its confined and bordered space (Deleuze 1985, 149): in these soundscape compositions, narratives prevail, communities acquire space and voice, buildings are not mere subjects for sightseeing tours, the city is not a collection of historical information but a space to aurally, artistically, and socially wander within the micro-frames of which this space rhizomatically consists. Music and narrative as tools, leave behind ethnography, documentary, score, concert halls, museums, and institutions and become pliable materials, fragments of a living organism, of a city-score whose music is made by and is addressed to people. Actually the notions of nomadism and war machine apply here “as a war of becoming over being, of the sedentary over the nomadic” (Deuchars 2011, 3).

Departing from the distinction of audio walks, sound walks and listening walks, I will connect these contemporary artistic practices with the Deleuzian notion of rhizome and nomadism in order to indicate how the sound routes of wandering create experiential, non-dichotomous relations between public space and people that inhabit it or cross it, and how this process is a becoming-art through the inclusion of lines of flight and soft spots that converse with displaced artistic tools and site specific sound representations.

References

Deleuze, Gilles. 1985. “Nomad Thought.” In The New Nietzsche: Contemporary Styles of Interpretation, edited by David B. Allison, 142–49. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Deleuze, Gilles, and Félix Guattari. 1980. Mille Plateaux. Paris: Editions de Minuit.

Deuchars, Robert. 2011. “Creating Lines of Flight and Activating Resistance: Deleuze and Guattari’s War Machine.” Seminar at the Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand.

Nomad dérive

The goal of the workshop is to create a sound map of the area around the conference and compose a soundwalk using mobile phones and GPS to augment the sensorial dimensions of experiencing the city. We offer to participants the use of Android mobile phones, headphones, software, and recording equipment. Participants are advised to bring their own laptops and Android OS devices if possible, although Akoo-o can provide a number of mobile phones. The workshop will be scheduled as follows:

(1) Theory (distinction of sound walks, listening walks, audio walks; promenadology; public space art; link with the Deleuzian notion of nomadism and rhizome; locative media art). (2) Walk around the area of the conference venue to get acquainted with conscious listening and the specific site; field recordings of the area. (3) Editing the audio material (field recordings); acquaintance with editing software and basic techniques. (4) noTours (getting acquainted with this open source locative media platform to create a sound walk using the area map). (5) Walk to the area to listen to the soundwalk. (6) Discussion.

Participants are inducted into the process of soundscape composition, sound design, and sound mapping within the framework of site-specific artistic practice and promenadology and are familiarised with the use of innovative locative media applications. We will exemplify in practice field recording techniques and sound editing, as well as reproduction and sound composition based on the map of the city, using the open-source platform “noTours.” noTours (http://www.notours.org/) is an open-source software platform developed by escoitar.org collective for creating site-specific and interactive artistic works with the use of locative media technology, which results in an environment of “augmented aurality” within public space.

Starting from the situationist practice of “derive” and the Deleuzian concept of “nomadism,” we create itineraries that escape from concrete urban planning—which is primarily visual, geometrically aligned, and panoptically designed. We suggest a new cartographic model that could represent various layers of perception and experience of urban space and is based on mobility rather than stasis: this would include time as a fourth dimension, the subjective glance, the relational and emotional layers of experience; finally, it should be open to a polyphonic narration about space, at the process of its transformation into place. Strolling within an aurally augmented city is an open-ended artistic gesture that is ready to be reinterpreted and retoured by each listener. noTours is a tool for détournement and moving, appropriating the popular format of tourist guides and transforming it into a medium for non-touring and non-guiding.

The notion of “augmented aurality,” as used in the artistic practice of soundwalks, consists of intervening in space using audio means. It is an experience of immersion in a hybrid environment between material and potential reality, which employs the multiple levels of the constantly transforming notion of public space. As Deleuze and Guattari imply, many social activities, including art, can constitute a war-machine drawing, “a plane of consistency, a creative line of flight, a smooth place of displacement,” by reforming or acting against dominant systems and/or practices. In the case of soundwalking, nomadism is not relevant because it suggests fleeing the city but because it proposes wandering as resistance to the city’s confined and bordered space. In these soundscape compositions narratives prevail, communities acquire space and voice, and buildings are not the mere subjects of a sightseeing tour; the city is not a collection of historical information but a space to aurally, artistically, and socially wander within the microframes this space rhizomatically consists of. Music and narrative become tools; leaving behind ethnography, documentary, score, concert hall, museums, and institutions, they become pliable materials, fragments of a living organism, of a city-score whose music is made by and is addressed to people. Actually the notion of nomadism and war machine apply here “as a war of becoming over being, of the sedentary over the nomadic.”

Nevertheless, one should not assume that locative media soundwalking is in itself an act of drift against dominant systems. Locative media technology relies upon the ultimate panoptical device, satellite supervision, which in turn is adopted within the lures of postmodern, immaterial capitalism. But as the capitalisation of individual movement establishes itself alongside the colonisation of private space by “dotcom neoliberalism,” it is the movement between milieux, the reflection upon our shifting habitat, and the détournement of the parts of a well-oiled machine that can give us the ability to escape from a stagnant structure. From this perspective, we tend to view the work of art as a process, a dialogue between fields, a discursive negotiation with our social, physical, and digital environment, and an approach that reflects on the way the workshop is performed.