2:00pm - 2:30pm
The Digital Outside: information, noise and the unthinkable in thought
1Deakin University, Australia; 2Université Paris Nanterre
This paper develops the theme of “information” as it emerges across a handful of Deleuze’s later works. In these texts -including Cinema II: The Time-Image, What is Philosophy? and “Postscript on the Societies of Control”- Deleuze, along with Guattari, criticises information as a managerial function, implicated in processes of neo-liberal subjectivisation and control. “When you are informed,” he will write, “you are told what you are supposed to believe.”
I claim, however, that in mounting this critique, Deleuze perhaps neglects the characteristic operations of affirmation which orient his broader philosophical project. To re-frame the problem in the politico-metaphysic terms of Capitalism and Schizophrenia, we might say that while Deleuze identifies the functions of capture and of reterritorialization immanent to information technologies with characteristic aplomb, he neglects a concomitant elaboration of their potentialities for deterritorialization and rupture. The properly Deleuzian task, in an age of ubiquitous informatic structurations, is thus to identify those energies, forces and tensions immanent to information (and information technologies), which are irreducible to control, capital, or any representational schema.
And information theorists like Shannon and Weaver unwittingly provide us with the model for just such a presence, in their elaboration of “noise” as an a-semantic, aleatory process immanent to information transmission systems. To this end, in this paper, I draw on the concept of “noise” as it emerges in cybernetic and information theory, linking it to the Deleuzian motifs of deterritorialization and of the “outside”- that unthought and unthinkable encounter which serves as the very condition of thought.
2:30pm - 3:00pm
Comparative Aesthetics ... full of holes
University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
This paper uses Deleuze’s onto-aesthetic concept of écart (gap, cut, interval, deviation) - supplemented by similar notions put forth by François Jullien and Ryosuke Ohashi - in order develop a methodology for doing comparative aesthetics. I will then take the concept as the basis for interpreting the machinic animism evoked in the works of Japanese installation artists Tomoko Sauvage and Yuko Mohri.
In a recent volume, it has been suggested that the next “stage” of comparative philosophy should be practiced “without borders,” that we should move completely beyond the epithet “comparative” as we methodologically embrace something akin to “fusion philosophy” (Chakrabarti and Weber, 2015). While the history of Western philosophy - from Pythagorus to Heidegger - is punctuated at key moments by encounters between cultures, this methodological stance “beyond compare” too easily invites acritical and apolitical understandings of such encounters. That is, it assumes we have established a level playing field upon which we were comparing in the first place. This paper takes as its premise that “beyond,” rather than imply “without” (without borders, without comparing), should instead demand an intensification and further definition of the relationality of thought highlighted by comparative studies. This is especially important in our era of hyper-globalization, in which everything seems to be flattened into a postmodern supermarket, including a flattened gesture towards difference and pluralism. I will build upon the work of Gayatri Spivak and Homi Bhabha in order to begin sketching a different sort of comparative methodology, which takes its name from Gilles Deleuze’s concept of écart (gap, cut, interval, deviation). I will further elaborate this logic of écart with François Jullien’s own conception of the term along with Ryosuke Ohashi’s idea of cutting. According to Deleuze and Ohashi, we find such gaps, cuts, or holes everywhere - ontologically, epistemologically, logically, existentially, politically - even if they are most visible within the domain of art and aesthetics.
Finally, after providing a brief outline of this methodological framework, I will put it to use in analyses of the constructed ecosystems of the Japanese installation artists Tomoko Sauvage and Yuko Mohri. The recent works of these artists channel intangible energies such as magnetism, gravity, temperature, light, and sound in order to relinquish artistic agency and insist upon the powers of the nonhuman and the unpredictable. The works invite comparisons with the ideas of Marcel Duchamp, John Cage, Daisetsu Suzuki and, in particular, Deleuze and Guattari’s somewhat elusive idea of machinic animism.
3:00pm - 3:30pm
The tattooed body as territory. The expressive signature before the control.
University of Lisbon, Portugal
In Post-face to Control Societies, Deleuze seems to be terribly prescient: in the early 90s, prior to the sovereignty of the internet, he already tells us that “The disciplinary man was a discontinuous producer of energy, but the man of control is undulatory, in orbit, in a continuous network”. What Foucault has pointed out as the examination’s function of the individuals is now surpassed by the continuous assessment of the “dividuals” which are the “dividends” (debt) of a mass that is understood as data, market or banks controlled by piracy, hackers, and viral agents.
Now, this new kind of power, from molar architectural space-time to molecular and continuous space-time of the “dividual”, has also transformed the concept of body: the body is no longer the mute body shaped by discipline of space and time. In control societies, the body is marked by a regime of signs as the inscription of debt inside the capitalist flux which, by digital data, has a perfect and total command of the body’s life. Modern body has become the locus of constant social management, the satellite unit or even a control post. Modern body is permanently connected to power structures. Rather than Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon, with a centralized focal point from which activity is surveilled, what we have now is a diffuse matrix of information gathering algorithms. “Panopticon” now becomes a “Superpanopticon”. This normalization of surveillance has become intimate to the modern body. It has become the body’s own skin.
My aim is to understand the production of the tattooed body as an affective territorial signature within the Deleuzian-Guattarian biopolitical theory on control societies taking the technological tattoo as the paradigmatic example.