DELEUZE + ART: MULTIPLICITIES |THRESHOLDS |POTENTIALITIES
8 – 10 April 2016, Trinity College Dublin, Eire
Conference co-hosted by School of Drama, Film and Music at Trinity College Dublin and Trinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute
Conference venue: Trinity Long Room Hub
Conference organisers: Radek Przedpełski, Prof. Stephen Elliot Wilmer
Conference website: deleuzeart.wordpress.com
Drawing on Henri Bergson, Gilles Deleuze elaborates the notion of qualitative multiplicity escaping the dialectical opposition of the one and the many. As Deleuze points out in Bergsonism, this type of multiplicity “divides up and does so constantly, but does not divide up without changing in kind, it changes in kind in the process of dividing up” (Think Friday night at a Dublin pub, or Beckett’s “sand flowing between the shingle and the dune”). The philosophical notion is taken up in A Thousand Plateaus where intensive multiplicities are plotted onto psychic, biological and socio-political planes. Those weaponised multiplicities are important for Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari because they engender qualitative change, embodying difference-in-itself. According to the French thinkers, intensive multiplicities are defined by their borderline zones inhabited by the anomalous which under auspicious conditions may serve as a threshold according to which transformation occurs.
The intensive properties of multiplicities make them a perfect medium for art. Furthermore, as Peter Hallward points out, Deleuze puts forward an affirmative philosophy that “equates being with unlimited creativity”. This co-implication of aesthetics and ontology has been mapped out by the work of scholars such as Éric Alliez, Dan Smith, Anne Sauvagnargues, Brian Massumi, Ronald Bogue, Stephen Zepke and Simon O’Sullivan.
The conference invites you to reconsider the notion of art and Deleuze/Guattari’s art philosophy as intensive multiplicities gravitating towards ever-new fields and contexts, “continually transforming [themselves] into a string of other multiplicities, according to [their] thresholds and doors”. The key concern here is how we can articulate a politics of art in these turbulent times. The conference seeks to zoom in on those mo(ve)ments of generation of new worlds at the threshold of the virtual and the actual. As Brian Massumi points out, „it is the edge of the virtual, where it leaks into actual, that counts. For that seeping edge is where potential, actually, is found.” Deleuzian onto-aesthetics is seething with such generative thresholds – suffice it to mention zones of indiscernibility, crystal-images, prosthesis-organs or the diagram in Francis Bacon’s paintings. At the same time many contemporary artists harness the power of multiplicities. For example, in his 3rdi project the Iraqi-American Wafaa Bilal had a camera surgically implanted at the back of his head that would automatically take snaps as he revisited Iraq, the site of his brother’s untimely death in an airstrike.
The conference seeks to approach the onto-aesthetic fields of emergence and their generative thresholds from two interpenetrating and co-implicated angles: philosophical concepts and singular art universes. Consequently, we would both encourage submissions charting connections between Deleuze’s onto-aesthetics and other philosophies, but at the same time we would like to hear from practitioners „on the ground“ starting with the particular – anthropologists, art critics, and artists themselves.
Therefore, we are interested in submissions drawing on intensive multiplicities, their thresholds and potentialities in a variety of ways.
In particular, we are looking for submissions opening up Deleuzoguattarian aesthetic thought to various multiplicities, such as the immediate, the local, the culture-specific. This, for example, could take the form of an engagement with aboriginal belief systems, fractal worlds emanating out of specific art-works, or various paths of bodily mutation in complicity with anonymous materials.
We are also very interested in submissions making transversal connections with other philosophies across time and space. These, for example, could entail investigation of internal resonances within Deleuzoguattarian onto-aesthetics, or between the latter and various strands of Speculative Realism or philosophies of technology.
Keynote speakers will include:
• Mieke Bal, Amsterdam University (NL)
• Barbara Glowczewski, CNRS, Paris (FR)
• Erin Manning, Concordia University, Montreal (CA)
• Simon O’Sullivan, Goldsmiths, University of London (UK)
• Dan Smith, Purdue University (US)
• James Williams, University of Dundee (UK)
• Stephen Zepke, independent scholar, Vienna (AT)
• Audronė Žukauskaitė, Lithuanian Culture Research Institute, Vilnius (LT)