Afterimage: The Dark Precursor

One morning in September, during the preparations for the conference, we noticed these large black-and-white photographs hanging on the walls of De Bijloke. We learned that every season, De Bijloke invites a visual artist to reflect on music: Michiel Hendryckx (2011/12), Randall Casaer (2012/13), Jan Van Imschoot (2013/14), Dirk Zoete (2014/15), and, this season, Iphygenia Dubois and Lore Horré with their new series Afterimage. No other relation between Afterimage and DARE 2015 was apparent, except that we would soon be sharing the foyer. A small incident we were about to ignore and yet the conference topic forced us to think again.

We can recognise an ambivalence important to Nietzsche: all the forces whose reactive character he exposes are, a few lines or pages later, admitted to fascinate him, to be sublime because of the perspective they open up for us and because of the disturbing will to power to which they bear witness. They separate us from our power but at the same time they give us another power, “dangerous” and “interesting.” (Deleuze 1983, 66).

There and then, external circumstances were forcing an encounter, inducing a double capture (Deleuze 1987, 7). Artistic research is made of such encounters. Sometimes, something passes across disparate series in art and research, producing when it happens the tingling electric feeling of the sublime and, when it has happened, the electrifying fascination with what it creates. In this passage, Lyotard seems to capture the dark precursor at the highest intensity:

Sublime feeling is analyzed as double defiance. Imagination at the limits of what it can present does violence to itself in order to present that it can no longer present. Reason, for its part, seeks, unreasonably, to violate the interdict it imposes on itself and which is strictly critical, the interdict that prohibits it from finding objects corresponding to its concepts in sensible intuition. In these two aspects, thinking defies its own finitude, as if fascinated by its own excessiveness. (Lyotard 1984, 55)

A few weeks later, I remembered where in Deleuze I had found something about the afterimage and found the reference in Brian Massumi’s translator’s foreword to A Thousand Plateaus. I quote it here as a conclusion to this short introduction and as a good omen for Iphygenia and Lore and for the entire DARE 2015:

In Deleuze and Guattari, a plateau is reached when circumstances combine to bring an activity to a pitch of intensity that is not automatically dissipated in a climax. The heightening of energies is sustained long enough to leave a kind of afterimage of its dynamism that can be reactivated or injected into other activities, creating a fabric of intensive states between which any number of connecting routes could exist. (Massumi 1987, xiv)

Paolo Giudici

References

Deleuze, Gilles. 1983. Nietzsche and Philosophy. Translated by Hugh Tomlinson. London: Continuum.

Deleuze, Gilles, and Claire Parnet. 1987. Dialogues. Translated by Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam. New York: Columbia University Press.

Lyotard, Jean-François. 1984. The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge. Translated by Geoff Bennington and Brian Massumi. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press

Massumi, Brian. 1987. “Translator’s Foreword: Pleasures of Philosophy.” In A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, ix–xv. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.