Thought Beyond Research

Kamini Vellodi

conference: DARE 2017: aberrant nuptials
date: November 20, 2017
venue: Orpheus Institute, Concert Hall
format: keynote
keywords: Michel Foucault

abstract about the author(s)


This paper explores the critical implications of Deleuze’s philosophy of thought for the notion of artistic research. This paper is in two parts. The first part considers the ways in which artistic research upholds a representational image of thought. While practices of artistic research involve diverse forms, it is arguable that the image of thought that is often presumed and evaluated assumes research as a production of knowledge, inscribed within existing discourses, methodologies, and concepts, and disseminated among a community of knowing subjects.

Building upon Deleuze’s notion of thought  without  image,  I  pose  as  an  alternative the notion of a thought-construction that  affirms  the  element  of  thinking  that  is new, unknowable, and non-representational. I will give particular focus to Deleuze’s theorisation of the “problem,” as a means by which thought constructs itself. It is through the notion of “artistic problems” that Deleuze’s philosophy can be brought into intriguing confrontations with figures across both philosophy and art history—including Edgar Wind, Aby Warburg, Henri Bergson, Michel Foucault, and Erwin Panofsky—all of whom, in differing ways, built on the intuition that artistic/creative practices problematise rather than ask and solve questions.

In exploring some of these conceptual resonances I will attend to the question, rarely explicitly addressed, of the potentials of Deleuze’s thought for art history. The second part of the paper animates this tension between thinking and research through a series of case studies across the history of visual art to which Deleuze himself makes reference. This will raise the problem of the time of thought, and of artistic thinking in its problematic guise, as exceeding historicity—something that, I argue, has provocative potentials for the notion of artistic research as an image that the art of today has of itself.

about the author(s)

Kamini Vellodi

Kamini Vellodi is an academic with a background crossing philosophy, art history, fine art, and visual culture, and a practising artist working mainly in painting. She is Lecturer in Contemporary Art Practice and Theory at Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh, and Honorary Lecturer at Exeter University. She completed her PhD in philosophy under the supervision of Peter Osborne and Eric Alliez. Her research focuses on the critical implications of Deleuze’s philosophy for art history, with a focus on early modern visual arts, and her work has appeared in publications including Art History, Parrhesia, Zeitschrift fur Kunstgeschichte, and Deleuze Studies. She is completing a monograph on Tintoretto and Deleuze’s philosophy of constructivism titled Tintoretto’s Difference: Deleuze’s Concept of the Diagram and the Problem of Art History (Bloomsbury Academic).

info & contact


Edinburgh University, UK


k.vellodi [AT]