Milieus of Locality. The Aesthetic of the Point of View

The explosion of pervasive digital technologies and ubiquitous computing is today creating a milieu where technological mediation has reached a very subtle point. Subjects find themselves plunged into hyperconnected environments, wrapped in a cloud of data, where sensation and cognition take place in a distributed and environmental way, beyond what has always been referred to as subjectivities; now, profiled and described as a set of billions of data, they appear as segmentarised and (in)dividualised monads (Deleuze). The world, thus understood, becomes an immanent set of algorithmically produced and refined patterns or profiles, in which people and situations become immediately and operationally “meaningful,” and where what has been called algorithmic governmentality (Berns and Rouvroy) succeed in controlling, anticipating, and modulating behaviours. Crossed with the “smartification”  of  objects  and  environments,  which  are  now  able  to operate autonomously and make choices before us, even the aesthetic experience  has been in many cases transformed by the “technical management of the process of aesthetization” (Stiegler).

In front of this “catastrophe of the sensible” (Stiegler), the result is an increasing feeling of isolation, or “dividualization” (Guattari, Deleuze), and of “loss of the world” (Deleuze) as psychodiversity, noodiversity, sociodiversity, and biodiversity. What therefore happens to localities, points of view, and the multitude of individual differences when all this becomes a function, which can be (pre)defined and uniformed? How should we understand and reconsider the aesthetic relation between the life of the individual, its setting, and the outstanding intercultural society in modern “smart environments”?

The aim of this paper is to analyse, through a dialogue between Deleuze and Whitehead, whether a possibility for the individual to structure multiplicity in technologically mediated environments can still be found through the arts. This will be done following their interpretation of the “point of view” as an opening onto an infinite series of variations—the world and its virtuality, the set of all the com-possibilities—that includes the subject as mirroring those possibilities and proceeding towards the truth by organising the visible. Finally, the essential function of the arts in reaestheticising the possibility of feeling the multiplicity will be explored, in terms of an “ethics of care” of such multiplicity and aesthetic possibility.

Diagrammatic Traits: Scream(S)-Force(S)-Manifold(S)

Departing from Kant-Deleuze’s notion of synthesis understood as a “rule of construction” by which a complexion of heterogeneous elements is driven to the consistency of a concept, this panel inquires its diagrammatic conditions—that is, its operative potential for the creation of transversal relations. Andres Vahos engages in the operative dimension of the cry—an operation problematising the lien between image and force—by constructing a relation between the sensible “signal” and the invisible or inaudible forces stirring the cry. Claudia Mongini examines the Leibnizian concept of force in terms of its logics: the potential for a synthetic construction of an “architecture of multiplicities.” Force is grasped in its intrinsic relational conditions, as a mechanism of transversal production. Emiddio Vasquez’s intervention departs from a pragmatic problem encountered in his making of art, the presence of “false dualism” between analogue and digital. He proposes to think of this impasse in terms of Riemaniann (and Deleuzian) manifolds. This panel asks whether the operation of synthesis—a factor producing (and problematising) difference in each intervention—can be transposed as a critical point of inquiry between the papers as well, thus opening the point of view of a (problematic) relation between aesthetics, ontology, and artistic practice. Can this strategy be conductive towards the creation of an agencement of artistic research?

 

«Du cri au sourire»: éléments d’esthétique Deleuzienne

Andres Vahos

Selon Deleuze, le crissement, le bégaiement et la glossolalie sont des traits de « l’image moderne de la pensée ». Si les deux derniers sont abordés à l’aide de notions issues de la linguistique, le crissement semble moins thématisé. Notre présentation audiovisuelle montre l’importance du « cri » dans la philosophie de Deleuze et problématise cette notion à partir de la dimension critique et clinique des forces qui nous poussent à « crier ». Pour Deleuze, les principes philosophiques constituent des véritables cris, les concepts étant le chant qui module et la signature qui clôture un cri. Deleuze classe souvent les philosophes en fonction des cris qu’ils cherchent à pousser.

Cependant, le cri ne deviendra un « cas spécial » pour Deleuze que dans le cadre de ce qu’il nomme la « schrizophrénisation » de la littérature et l’« hystérisation » de la peinture. Dans la formule d’Artaud, « briser la langue pour toucher la vie », Deleuze voit un procédé actif de désorganisation du langage qui transforme la valeur phonétique des lettres-organes par l’action tonique des « cris-souffles ». Les cris d’Artaud sont les crépitements d’un langage affectif dont le ciment est « fluide » et le corps « a-organique ». Lorsque Bacon affirme qu’il cherche à « peindre le cri, plutôt que l’horreur », son vœu comporte pour Deleuze la déformation des figures par l’exploration amiboïde des « contours » : la « bouche qui crie » devient un organe indéterminé par lequel le corps s’échappe vers un « aplat » matériel « vif et dur ». Si le « fait intensif » du Corps sans Organes permet à Deleuze de rapprocher Bacon et Artaud, il nous semble que le geste du cri invite à les séparer : le cri-souffle est une action qui « plonge » les mots dans la « profondeur » du corps tandis que le cri peint est une opération qui « module » les figures dans la « profondeur maigre » d’un système corps-couleur-plan.

En 1969, Deleuze développe dans son “roman logique et psychanalytique” l’idée d’une genèse de la parole qui suppose une série de transformations énergétiques : des pulsations « physiques » qui deviennent des pulsions « libidinales » pour se transformer ensuite dans l’énergie potentielle d’une « surface » désexualisée. Le système sonore du corps, dont le cri-souffle fait partie, retrouve ainsi son plein usage dans une bouche libérée du bruit, possédée par les voix venues d’en haut et remplie de paroles insolites. Plus tard, en 1981, avec le cri-peint, Deleuze explore la vibration, l’accouplement et la dissipation des figures par une “force sans objet” qui conserve cependant le contour d’un inquiétant sourire. Il faudrait alors distinguer le cri-souffle qui menace “du fond” le corps-langage avec une catastrophe, la “faillite” de l’organisation inappréciable du point de vue logique de la « surface », mais aussi le cri-peint dans la « profondeur superficielle » de la viande où les têtes rencontrent le “chaos” en conservant le sourire.

References

Deleuze, Gilles. 1969. Logique du sens. Paris: Editions de Minuit.

———. 1988. Le Pli: Leibniz et le Baroque. Paris: Editions de Minuit.

———. 2002. Francis Bacon: Logique de la sensation. Paris: Editions du Seuil.

Deleuze, Gilles, and Félix Guattari. 1991. Qu’est-ce que la philosophie? Paris: Editions de Minuit.

 

On the Logics of Force in Deleuze-Leibniz

Claudia Mongini

Departing from the problem of the relation between the one and the many from which Deleuze, in his book on Leibniz, constructs the singular relation between the sensible and the intelligible, I will introduce the concept of force, in terms of a fold of matter. I take into particular account the process of synthetic construction, in its double aspects of genesis and production, which Leibniz developed in a series of geometrical studies.

The first problem to be addressed consists in the delineation of the character of Leibniz’s constructivist logic. This is expressed by the potential of creating real entities—that is, both concrete objects and abstract relations. Thereby, I will carefully analyse the combinatorial facets from the point of view of their “technical criteria”: I will enter into the complex relation subsisting between the concept of invention understood as expression of singularity and the project of construction of a “logical architecture of multiplicities.” Within this frame of reference, the concept of logic comes to constitute the trait d’union between the project of a generative metaphysics (onto-logics) and an epistemological one. I will proceed with the examination of the concept of force, by placing the question of the role of physics within the onto-epistemological dimension delineated before. By taking into consideration Leibniz’s essays written from 1690 (the essays on mechanics and the 1692–98 essays on dynamics), I will focus on two problems: the question of experience and that of genetic construction out of a supra-geometric entity.

Two movements of thought will be articulated: an a posteriori one, which takes into account the effect produced by force, and an a priori one, which considers instead force from its generative conditions—space, time and action. I will then address the concept of derivative force in its relation to contingency—that is, in relation to the specificity of concrete chains of entities. Out of this description I will problematise the concept of force in its intrinsic relational (and thus transversal) conditions. I will articulate this question on the two levels examined before: on the ontogenetic level, by following the question of how the movement of force comes to generate a minimal condition within nature; and on the epistemic level, by outlining the problem of the relation between matter and dynamics before the cuts produced by the disciplinary division of knowledge have taken their effect. This level of problematisation allows the problem to shift from matter-force to force-brain, and thus raises the aesthetic question of an autoplastic reconstruction of the machinic complex of nature. Can this level be considered in terms of a knot where philosophy is intimately tied up with art as process?

 

 

Homeomorphic Sound

Emiddio Vasquez

Taking as a point of departure Deleuze and Guattari’s thoughts in What is Philosophy? on the inseparability of sensation from the material conditions of any art form’s medium, one cannot help but ask, What are we to make of digital art, and in particular digital sound? It is all too simple to dismiss the battered dualism of analogue versus digital reproduction of sound, but the resurgence of analogue synthesis along with the ever-expanding industry of digital sound synthesis invites us to explore further these two domains. From an ontological perspective, these two domains correspond to the two types of multiplicities (discrete and continuous ones) that Deleuze imposes on Bergson’s philosophy by referring to physico-mathematician Bernard Riemann. The latter defines music as being a rare case of a continuous manifold that we can experience in everyday life, which in return necessarily problematises its digital or discrete reproduction.

This problem invites us to rethink the means by which the smooth and striated fuse with one another, as Deleuze and Guattari put it. I would like to elaborate on a possible approach borrowed from topology: homeomorphisms. With this criterion in mind, I would like to discuss some of the techniques that validate this fusion and critically engage with ones that do not. I propose this critical discussion in relation to particular cases concerning the analysis of musical samples as well as problems encountered in my own experience of making music. The idea of synthesis will thus be explored in respect to a multilayered set of levels: on the level of disjunction between analogue and digital and on that of ontology and mathematics, as well as within breaks occurring in practice.

 

 

Machinic Companions: Exploring Nonhuman Perceptions, Temporalities and Expressions

Scientific research needs objects and apparatuses for investigations, but usually forgets them when it retrospectively constructs objectivity. Karen Barad refers to this as a “quantum entanglement” between the object and the “agencies of observation.” In a guided screening of my film prendas—ngangas—enquisos—machines (16 mm, Cuba, 2014), I will trace how research tools are not to be understood as somnambulant immobilities but as intensive ecological and relational forces with autonomous qualities. The camera, for example, is undoubtedly a moving “body” with expressive capacities, formed by the entanglement of the different rhythmic worlds, rather than just cultural and technical equipment. It breathes. It doesn’t “capture” reality but dynamically disturbs it, or moves conjointly with its surroundings. It never remains at one speed or one affect throughout a film, but each change of speed and each affect, every tiny turn inside my head, becomes a real movement. The camera maintains a state of constant change and becoming together, or at the same time. It doesn’t conflate, but creates human and nonhuman assemblages by actualising symbiotic sensibilities in motion. Describing machinic (opposed to mechanistic) relations or alliances, Deleuze and Guattari come up with the seductive wording “machinic phylum.” Unlike biology’s classical animal or plant phylum, the machinic phylum decodes kingdoms, classes, orders, and families, and crosses them diagonally. The machinic phylum is natural and artificial, a “destratifying transversality.” The machinic phylum is helpful as it enables us to understand technology not just as tied to a human “evolution” but also as a living system that folds, unfolds, and refolds organic and machinic matter into one another. Learning from and accessing nonhuman perceptions, temporalities, and expressions turns a camera into a machinic companion and the making of art into a situated practice of ecology.

Proto-Objects

For the installation Proto-Objects, Michael Schwab commissioned four independent collaborators to respond to his artistic analysis of his own brain activity. This was recorded as he was exposed to a succession of one hundred pictures, randomly chosen from the history of art (from 1420 to 1912). The initial EEG scan took place as part of the research project “Wissen im Selbstversuch/Knowledge through Self-Experimentation” (2009–10, PI: Yeboaa Ofosu, see http://www.hkb.bfh.ch/?id=2453) at the Hochschule der Künste Bern (CH) and was carried out by Dr. Thomas Koenig at the Universitätsklinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie Bern (CH). The raw EEG data was statistically analysed and geometrically transformed with the help of Padraig Coogan, Leon Williams (both Royal College of Art, London, UK), Michael Klein (Universität Heidelberg, D), and David Pirrò (Kunstuniversität Graz, AT). This work resulted in the construction of one hundred three-dimensional “proto-objects,” each corresponding to what is deemed significant in Schwab’s cognitive response to each particular picture.

The name “proto-object” was first used by Schwab in a book chapter (Schwab 2012) that utilises Hans-Jörg Rheinberg’s research on “experimental systems” for possible epistemologies and methodologies of artistic research. Rheinberger makes a distinction between two spaces, the graphematic and the representational space (see Schwab 2013). Surprising events that lack explanation are produced in experimental settings and traced in the graphematic space as “epistemic things.” Epistemic things are gradually transposed into the representational space where they register as knowledge. According to Rheinberger (1997, 28) appropriating François Jacob, epistemic things announce future knowledge and, thus, drive history. However, in the context of techno-scientific experimental systems, and despite being rooted in the graphematic space, the future of an epistemic thing lies in the representational space—that is, research must feed into science.

The installation Proto-Objects speculates that this economy is reversible, following a two-step procedure. The material installation transfers an actualised technical object back to an epistemically underdetermined space, a virtuality suggested by a multiplicity of images from different disciplinary backgrounds. In this installation, Einar Torfi Einarsson transforms Schwab’s proto-objects into scores to be interpreted and played by the cellist Séverine Ballon; the contemporary artist Florian Dombois uses the one hundred objects to develop a “language of things,” in which he writes poetry; the architect Miguel Figueira modifies Van Gogh’s Pont de Langlois (1888) on the basis of the proto-object corresponding to that painting; and Taslim Martin uses one proto-object as the template for a creamer and sugar set.

Needless to say, there are no “real” proto-objects outside their presentation as manifold, “the real object is reflected in a mirror-image as in the virtual object which, from its side and simultaneously, envelops or reflects the real: there is ‘coalescence’ between the two . . . a double movement of liberation and capture” (Deleuze 1989, 68). Keeping what Deleuze says here in mind, the installation Proto-Objects may be seen to suggest alternative modes of signification within artistic experimental settings.

The book Proto-Objects published for this installation is available on issuu

References

Deleuze, Gilles. 1989. Cinema 2: The Time-Image. Translated by Hugh Tomlinson and Robert Galeta. London: Athlone Press.

Rheinberger, Hans-Jörg. 1997. Toward a History of Epistemic Things: Synthesizing Proteins in the Test Tube. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Schwab, Michael. 2012. “Between a Rock and a Hard Place.” In Intellectual Birdhouse: Artistic Practice as Research, edited by Florian Dombois, Ute Meta Bauer, Claudia Mareis, and Michael Schwab, 229–47. London: Koenig Books.

—, ed. 2013. Experimental Systems: Future Knowledge in Artistic Research. Leuven: Leuven University Press.