Deleuze and Contemporary Art

Deleuze and Contemporary Art

Stephen Zepke
Simon O′Sullivan
Copyright Date: 2010
Pages: 336
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  • Book Info
    Deleuze and Contemporary Art
    Book Description:

    Leading figures in the Deleuzean philosophy of art criticism field contribute chapters that explore the extensive writings on art, art history, and aesthetics in the realm of contemporary art, of Deleuze and Guattari.

    eISBN: 978-0-7486-4240-3
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vii-vii)
  4. List of Illustrations
    (pp. viii-xii)
  5. Introduction: Deleuze and Guattari and Contemporary Art
    (pp. 1-12)
    Stephen Zepke and Simon O′Sullivan

    Deleuze and Guattari and Contemporary art. Our emphasis lies squarely on the conjunction, on what it might mean and what it might be able to do. How can we articulate or even explode this conjunction, now and for a future to come? What is at stake is an actualisation of Deleuze and Guattari’s ‘logic of the AND’; an actualisation in action, a pragmatics that is not a ‘localisable relation going from one thing to the other and back again’, but a ‘transversal movement that sweeps one and the other away, a stream without beginning or end that undermines its banks...

    • Chapter 1 The Politics of the Scream in a Threnody
      (pp. 15-33)
      Gustavo Chirolla Ospina

      Deleuze is interested in the scream.¹ He asks about the importance of the scream when he thinks about Francis Bacon’s painting. How to paint the scream? It is about making visible, not just a particular sound, but those invisible forces that make it come about. The same problem arises with music, it is Alban Berg who knew how to ‘make music out of the scream’ and he put the sonority of the scream in a relationship with the soundless forces of the Earth, as with Marie’s scream in Wozzeck and with the soundless forces of Heaven in Lulu (Deleuze 2002:...

    • Chapter 2 A Shift Towards the Unnameable
      (pp. 34-42)
      Suely Rolnik

      Having decided to experience Cildo Meireles’ Red Shift, I take the first available flight to Belo Horizonte.¹ Arriving at Inhotim, I head straight for the work, installed in a building especially constructed for the installation and conceived by the artist himself.² A fourth wall has been added to the structure that did not exist in previous versions, which allows a separation from the external space. This is no trifling matter; free from the distracting murmur of exhibitions and with no time limit, I enter the installation, shut the door and let myself go.

      First environment: furniture, domestic appliances, carpets, paintings,...

    • Chapter 3 The Heterogenesis of Fleeing
      (pp. 43-62)
      Gerald Raunig

      In everyday usage fleeing is something for cowards. The virtue of manfully throwing oneself with a weapon into the midst of a fight is opposed to the flight and withdrawal typical of a dishonourable attitude. In the hetero-normative everyday the sanctified mode of subjectivation for the honourable and manly fighter is a decision to take one of two sides, followed by a fight for the sublation [Aufhebung] of this division, and the final reestablishment of unity. Movement may only develop in this striated and stratified space between division and unity.

      Yet within our narrow geopolitical-discursive space shaped by occidental-dialectical thought...

    • Chapter 4 Anita Fricek: Contemporary Painting as Institutional Critique
      (pp. 63-82)
      Stephen Zepke

      One place we might start a Deleuzian discussion of Contemporary art is with his definition of the ‘contemporary’. For Deleuze the ‘contemporary’ is an ontological rather than chronological term, marking the emergence of something new as the construction and expression of being in becoming. As a result, ‘contemporary’ art produces sensations that exceed any pre-given conditions of possibility, in a genetic ‘event’ that constructs a new future. ‘Contemporary’ art is forever out of time, ‘to come’, an ‘absolute deterritorialization’ that ‘summons forth a new people’ (Deleuze and Guattari 1994: 99). In this sense, Guattari suggests that instead of speaking of...

    • Chapter 5 Capitalism and Schizophrenia and Consensus: Of Relational Aesthetics
      (pp. 85-99)
      Eric Alliez

      There is an amusing article written some ten years ago by the French art critic Eric Troncy, entitled ‘The Stockholm Syndrome’. Later revisited by Baudrillard, through Troncy, ‘Stockholm syndrome’ referred to the paradoxical relations linking socio-cultural consensus to the aesthetics of an avant-garde reduced to the most fashionable ‘look’ of the nineties. The fact that this was to end badly – today, Troncy writes quirky apologetics for reality TV as contemporary art’s most radical readymade, by virtue of its renunciation of all claim to the elitist status of the artwork (the ‘everyday’ perfect crime!) – makes the article’s opening lines...

    • Chapter 6 The Practice and Anti-Dialectical Thought of an ′Anartist′
      (pp. 100-115)
      Maurizio Lazzarato

      In Jacques Rancière’s ‘aesthetic regime of art’, art is conceived of as a specific activity that suspends the ordinary spatiotemporal coordinates and connections of sensory experience and their dualisms of activity and passivity, form and matter, and sensibility and understanding. These dualisms, which Rancière claims constitute the ‘distribution of the sensible’, are political in the sense that they determine social hierarchies according to relationships of domination between those of ‘refined culture’ (the active) and those of a ‘simple nature’ (the passive), the power of people of leisure (liberty) over those who work (necessity), and the power of the intellectual working...

    • Chapter 7 Ethologies of Software Art: What Can a Digital Body of Code Do?
      (pp. 116-132)
      Jussi Parikka

      In a Deleuzo-Guattarian sense, we can appreciate the idea of software art as the art of the imperceptible. Instead of representational visual identities, a politics of the art of the imperceptible can be elaborated in terms of affects, sensations, relations and forces (see Grosz 2008). Such notions are primarily nonhuman and exceed the modes of organisation and recognition of the human being, whilst addressing themselves to the element of becoming within the latter. Such notions, which involve both the incorporeal (the ephemeral nature of the event as a temporal unfolding instead of a stable spatial identity) and the material (as...

    • Chapter 8 Fractal Philosophy (And the Small Matter of Learning How to Listen): Attunement as the Task of Art
      (pp. 133-154)
      Johnny Golding

      Deleuze and Guattari offer three playful but coded journeys onto the broad arena they call ‘the task of art’– where task, not to mention art, is meant to spill into, reconfigure and/or destroy the varying pragmatic-spatiotemporal intensities one might otherwise call ‘life’. These three journeys can be listed thus: that of an immanent ‘becoming-x’; that of the ever-sporing ‘rhizome’; and that of the a-radical, surface-structured, non-rooted ‘refrain’.

      Par-boiled into a manifesto-style primer, the first of these journeys is shaded and toned by the concept-process-phrasings of a ‘becoming’, be that as a ‘becoming-intense’, a ‘becoming-animal’, a ‘becoming-woman’, a ‘becoming-sunflower’, a ‘becoming-imperceptible’...

    • Chapter 9 An Art Scene as Big as the Ritz: The Logic of Scenes
      (pp. 157-175)
      David Burrows

      How did it happen? How did the problem of the separation of art and life, essential to the development of avant-garde art, come to be overshadowed by concerns for criticality and taste? No doubt critical postmodernism – the drive to emphasise the place of art within cultural, socio-economic and institutional frameworks – and the heady cocktail of creativity and celebrity promoted by the art market in the 1980s both played a part in eclipsing the problem of the sublation of art and life. Perhaps too, the critique of avant-garde groups – the dismissal of their Popes and claims for originality...

    • Chapter 10 Abstract Humour, Humorous Abstraction
      (pp. 176-188)
      Robert Garnett

      References to humour currently abound in contemporary art discourse, and it appears that a widespread outbreak of laughter has been underway in recent years that would ostensibly seem to drown out the chorus of melancholy that has prevailed since the gradual demise of the postmodern. This would not be unwelcome were it not for the fact that much of what passes for humour within these discussions functions, I wish to argue, as little more than a perpetual pathos of a refrain of resignation. In Deleuzian terms, I wish to argue, this amounts to irony, rather than a genuinely affirmative humour....

    • Chapter 11 From Aesthetics to the Abstract Machine: Deleuze, Guattari and Contemporary Art Practice
      (pp. 189-207)
      Simon O′Sullivan

      The following essay is in three inter-related parts. The first section introduces and attempts to think through a certain kind of contemporary art practice utilising what might loosely be called a Deleuzian framework (and via an argument that is in part made against Craig Owens and Nicolas Bourriaud). This section begins with an account of my encounter with a particular object and an art scene that contributed to my own rethinking about what the contemporary is and what it does. The second section revisits some of the points made in the first but is more explicit (and abstract) in its...

    • Chapter 12 Traps Against Capture
      (pp. 208-224)
      Edgar Schmitz

      Talking of traps solely in terms of capture is always too simple because it cuts out whatever else they might articulate. And it is too lazy because it avoids whatever else needs to be thought in order that capture can multiply and become plural, complicated and un-captured. Indeed, talking of capture as if it were finite means giving into it; it is to be captured by capture. Such a framing consolidates capture into a given state and condition, yet it is precisely the opposite that is needed: capture needs to be undone and re-configured to allow for the invention of...

    • Chapter 13 Sign and Information: On Anestis Logothetis’ Graphical Notations
      (pp. 227-245)
      Claudia Mongini

      ‘I construct my signs as an information source for sound’, is a programmatic statement by the composer Anestis Logothetis.¹ In his 1974 text ‘Signs as Aggregative State of Music’ Logothetis relates the notion of sign as a musical notation to that of information, exploring the tension between his compositional directions and the performative freedom it leaves to the musicians.

      Logothetis started to explore new methods of compositional notation in 1958, six years after Earle Brown first departed from standard notation in his composition December 52,² and John Cage began exploring new acoustic territories by translating randomisation processes into sounds.³ Logothetis...

    • Chapter 14 Anti-Electra: Totemism and Schizogamy
      (pp. 246-265)
      Elisabeth von Samsonow

      Which path leads back to the pre-Oedipal, back to the universe of the primal Mother, the mother as the world? Freud bracketed the continent of the pre-Oedipal out of psychoanalytical theory, considering it a sphere without words or concepts. Indeed, one is always already expatriated; one has already emigrated when one begins thinking about it. For this simple reason the pre-Oedipal rose to become the greatest field of projection for feminist psychoanalysis, onto which was pinned the hope that it could, as an ancestral and prior continent, be (re)conquered exclusively by means of a feminine logic.¹ Its mythical nature has...

    • Chapter 15 Unimaginable Happenings: Material Movements in the Plane of Composition
      (pp. 266-285)
      Barbara Bolt

      In 2005 W. J. T Mitchell published a book entitled What Do Pictures Want? The Lives and Loves of Images. It is a provocative title, one that raises the possibility that pictures might just be animated beings possessed of a vital life. In a coda to the second chapter, ‘What Do Pictures Want?’, Mitchell is asked by a number of respondents – including Charles Harrison, Lauren Berlant, Teresa de Lauretis, Terry Smith, Mary Kelly and others – to address the following ‘troubling’ questions: ‘What constitutes “animation” or vitality? What defines a living organism as distinct from an inanimate object? Isn’t...

      (pp. 286-309)
      Neil Chapman and Ola Stahl

      Francesco Kulla approaches the lighthouse. Its white crystal eye marks a termination of his journey. And the other, the ruby eye, object of his devotion, was the sign that he should first depart. He has been on the road for years, perhaps decades. In any event, when he tells it, he will exaggerate. Proceeding step by step, always in the same dirt-black suit, always barefoot.² Now with a baseball cap, pilfered, its caption: ‘Can I buy you a drink or do you just want the cash?’ Soiled, his hair beneath it, the same. Without shoes but with head protected. The...

  10. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 310-316)
  11. Index
    (pp. 317-324)