Sonic Forms of Capture

Terri Bird

conference: DARE 2017: aberrant nuptials
date: November 20, 2017
venue: Orpheus Institute, Auditorium
format: in words
practice: music and sound
keywords: Anne Sauvagnargues

abstract about the author(s)


The many and varied practices of art engage in multiple processes of forming, involving conceptual, material, bodily, temporal, and spatial procedures. In What is Philosophy? Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari insist, “composition is the sole definition of art,” stating “what is not composed is not a work of art.” They task artists with producing compounds of sensation that render sensory heterogeneous aggregates, or assemblages of affects and intensities extracted from forces lying at the limits of sensibility. The aim of art they describe is to render perceptible forces that lie beyond perception and to capture, in what is given, the forces that are not given.

An exploration of composition in this paper will emphasise processes of capture in the artwork of Geoff Robinson. Robinson is a visual artist based in Melbourne who utilises sound, both recorded and live, as a territorialising device. For example in Site Overlay/ Acoustic Survey (2013) he deployed field recordings, made with a directional microphone that captured specific sound events, that were played back in a relay across three sites. The resulting acoustic overlay reterritorialised the initial audio capture as a recording in  a different site where it was accompanied by a range of improvised sounds. Through this layered process of displaced recordings and introduced sounds, Robinson experimented with procedures of capture in the forming of his work.

What I am interested in is the manner by which artists engage with force relations in processes that render sensory or perceptible the imperceptible. These relations concern the capture of forces that Deleuze highlights in his writing on art, which draws on the non-substantial philosophy of individuation developed by Gilbert Simondon. Simondon regards form taking as a process or event that places an emphasis on temporal appearance rather than the constitution of an individual or a secondary presentation. Simondon’s understanding of individuation and the role of information exchange in this process will be used in this paper in the context of investigating the forming operations at play in Robinson’s artworks.

This investigation highlights the reformulation of the relationship between forces and forms that Anne Sauvagnargues elucidates in her study of Deleuze’s writing on art (2013).

This understanding of art as a capture of forces enables the work of works of art to be understood as processes of differentiations producing intensive composites of fluctuating force relations. These composites of  force relations open onto a world not lived or felt and it is this world Robinson aims to expose through his spatial and temporal sonic displacements.

about the author(s)

Terri Bird

Terri Bird is an artist primarily practising with Bianca Hester and Scott Mitchell as the collaborative group Open Spatial Workshop. OSW recently exhibited Converging in Time at MUMA, Melbourne. She is also a senior lecture in the Department of Fine Art, MADA at Monash University. Recently her essay ‘Registering Surface, Excavating Inheritances’, including a discussion of the artwork of Nicholas Mangan and Theresa Keogh, was published in Deleuze Studies 10(4) 2016. Previously she has published “More than Material” in Studies in Material Thinking and “Figuring Materiality” in Angelaki, as well as in a number of artists’ catalogues including, “This Conversation” written with Tom Nicholson.

info & contact


Monash University, Melbourne, AU


terri.bird [AT]