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Despite Deleuze’s anti-psychonalytic stance, his work has been compared with Lacan’s. While Deleuze and Psychoanalysis stresses the divergences between Deleuzian vitalism and psychoanalytic pessimism, Schuster’s The Trouble with Pleasure takes the challenge to forsake the opposition between negativity-impossibility-lack and creativity-difference-becoming, and instead to interpret Deleuzian thought as an innovative attempt to rethink negativity. In What is Sex? Zupančič compares the Deleuzian and the Lacanian reading of the death drive, a concept that has informed political negativity within Queer thought, especially since Edelman’s No future.
Building on these works, this paper aims at reexamining Deleuze’s scheme of the three syntheses of the Unconscious (Difference and Repetition), and especially the third moment that he designates as the future. Unlike present habit and past memory which synthesize past, present and future, the future is rather the “pure and empty form of time” as such. The future is precisely that which destroys any idea of progress or continuity. As for Lacan, he retraces the interrelation between Symbolic and Real in Aristotelian terms: automaton designates the signifying chain, whereas signifiers are linked according to certain determining rules; tuchê is the ungraspable real that lies beyond the chain and functions as its external cause. Tuchê is both what causes the automaton and what interrupts its regularity; it designates the unanticipatable event for which we are never prepared.
To what extent can the Deleuzian “untimely” future relate to the Lacanian tuchê? Can this conceptual dialogue contribute to the inception of alternative temporalities?
11:30am - 12:00pm
Masochistic Duration and Deterritorialized Desire
McNeil Christian Taylor
St. John's College, University of Oxford
My paper uses Deleuze’s theorization of masochism to examine how extended cinematic duration can become a site of erotic investment. I argue that Coldness and Cruelty is a text largely concerned with time, specifically the relationship between stillness and movement integral to the cinematographic apparatus. In order to instantiate this masochistic temporality, I turn to one of Deleuze’s most frequently cited filmmakers in Cinema 2, Jacques Rivette. Notable for their play with extended duration, eroticism and gender roles, I argue his films reveal a perversely pleasurable relation to cinematic duration.
I develop the temporal dimension of masochism through Tracy McNulty’s reading of Coldness and Cruelty, where masochism becomes an expression of the “unbound”, immediate energy of the drives. Associated by both Freud and Deleuze with lingering and stillness, it exists in stark contrast to the mediated paternal desire of the symbolic order, which is thermodynamic and entropic. We can thus already see how masochism prefigures the deterritorialization of the time-image from the movement-image, refusing the mediation of chronological time. By providing the missing link between the cinema books and Deleuze’s earlier work on masochism, my paper allows us to view the films of the time-image—as well as more recent developments in extreme duration, such as Slow Cinema—from the previously untheorized perspective of perverse desire. I demonstrate that Rivette’s films enable an experience of immediate jouissance rather than mediated desire, as he and his actors attempt to preserve aesthetic indeterminacy against the finality of mediation.
12:00pm - 12:30pm
Faculty of Arts, Department of Psychology, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
‘For the unconscious must be constructed, not rediscovered.’
Deleuze and Guattari
The unconscious patterns of mind are explained by psychoanalysis, psychotherapy and psychology with various concepts that all merge in the following definition: they are imprints or tracings of any individual or group experience that condition the functioning of mental processes and consequently influence human behaviour towards themselves and towards others.
Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari added a new perspective on these theories, not merely as criticism thereof, but also as their enhancement. Namely, they explained the unconscious in the context of their ontological assumptions as populated by multiplicities implying two different – but not opposing – modes of being: molar, extensive, or territorialized, on one hand, and molecular, intensive, or deterritorialized, on the other. However, they did not offer merely a profoundly new explanation of the unconscious, but also an understanding of the human ability to bring about its conscious change. That is why in this context they introduced the concept of a map that radically differs from a tracing: a tracing is closed and presupposes something that is already done or pre-existent, while a map creates anew. It draws the lines of becoming that are created when the unconscious maximally opens itself into the plane of consistency – deterritorialized matter. It is a plane of the immanence of desire (understood as willpower), containing all its potentials.
Following this view, territorialized social arrangements and their functions are explained as the consequences of the unconscious assemblages and their modes of being. The topic is approached from ontological, psychological, and political points of view.