Eventum Tantum: On the Paradoxes of Sense, Dark Precursors, Quasi-Causes, and the Excessive Rest

Deleuze’s notion of the “dark precursor” makes its first appearance in Difference and Repetition as that agent or force that initiates and ensures the communication between two series of differences. It is thus assigned the task of differentiation as such and burdened with its own disappearance once the differences have been differentiated. A certain affiliation with the tradition and critique of reification, with the logic of the disappearance of the process under the product, has been asserted by various readers of Deleuze: difference as becoming (process/virtuality) tends to disappear within the differentiated as being (product/actuality). I will try to show, why the question that makes Deleuze so interesting for contemporary art is how one can reveal the traces of the artistic process while it insists on them and at the same time, buries them beneath its product? How can one not fall back into a deterministic or reductionist model of causes and effects? In The Logic of Sense, this problematic is further developed within a theory of the event, defined as the event of sense and, thus, as strictly incorporeal. The “dark precursor,” I would like to argue in my presentation, reappears in The Logic of Sense as the “quasi-cause,” a notion Deleuze develops out of the stoic differentiation between the body, on one hand, and incorporeal effects, on the other hand. I will trace the notions of the “dark precursor” and the “quasi-cause” within the two cited works and point out their relevance for a non-deterministic and non-reductionist account of the world as infinite becoming. I will do so by confronting these Deleuzian concepts with exemplary artistic positions and their influence on artistic research since the late 1960s, thereby questioning the (im)possibility of escaping reification.