Felix Guattari was a modernist. He not only liked a lot of modernist artists, but his ‘aesthetic paradigm’ found its generative diagram in modern art. The most important aspect of this diagram was its insistence on the production of the new, the way it produced a utopian projection of a ‘people to come’, and so a politics whose only horizon was the future. Also important for Guattari's diagram of the ‘modern’ were the forces of abstraction, autonomy and immanent critique. Together (...) these elements construct an artwork that is radically singular and separate, composed of a-signifying, a-temporal and invisible forces, sensations that go beyond our human conditions of possibility. In this Guattari's modernism must be understood as being quite different from his co-option by contemporary art theorists influenced by post-Operaist thought. Post-Operaism understands politics as ‘being-against’, a dialectical form of negation that finds its political condition of possibility in what already exists. Because such thought sees modern art as being entirely subsumed by the institutions and markets that contain it, art itself must be negated in order for aesthetic powers to become political. This has lead post-Operaist thought to align itself strongly with the avant-garde positions of institutional-critique and art-into-life, or ‘non-art’. Guattari's modernism takes him in a very different direction, affirming modern art despite its institutional enframing, because art is forever in the process of escaping itself. This makes modern art the model in Guattari's thought for politics itself. (shrink)
Thirty years on from the publication of Chaosmosis, Guattari’s words invite an evaluation: ‘The aesthetic power of feeling seems on the verge of occupying a privileged position within the collective Assemblages of enunciation of our era.’ While this privilege can be seen today in the realms of social networks, mass media and populist politics, its place in contemporary artistic practices is more ambiguous. Guattari is careful to separate ‘aesthetic power‘ from ‘institutional art’, but the ontology of Chaosmosis nevertheless seems to (...) find its model in the artistic avant-garde, and artistic affects and percepts are its privileged and recurring examples. Tracing the path of Guattari’s prophecy through the last thirty years of contemporary art involves two distinct approaches: first, to analyse Guattari’s reading of Duchamp, and to follow its trajectory through a generation of thinkers who utilised Guattari’s approach to art, most notably Nicolas Bourriaud, Franco Berardi (Bifo), Maurizio Lazzarato and Eric Alliez; second, to confront Guattari’s prophecy with the post-conceptual modes of art that now appear hegemonic, and that would seem to deny its efficacy. This we might say, is to approach our problem twice – once philosophically, and again from the point of view of contemporary art. As we shall see, these approaches lead in quite different directions. (shrink)
Deleuze's relationship to Kant is intricate and fundamental, given that Deleuze develops his transcendental philosophy of difference in large part out of Kant's work. In doing so he utilises the moment of the sublime from the third Critique as the genetic model for the irruption of the faculties beyond their capture within common sense. In this sense, the sublime offers the model not only for transcendental genesis but also for aesthetic experience unleashed from any conditions of possibility. As a result, (...) sensation in both its wider and more specifically artistic senses (senses that become increasingly entwined in Deleuze's work) will explode the clichéés of human perception, and continually reinvent the history of art without recourse to representation. In tracing Deleuze's ‘‘aesthetics’’ from Kant we are therefore returned to the viciously anti-human (and Nietzschean) trajectory of Deleuze's work, while simultaneously being forced to address the extent of its remaining Idealism. Both of these elements play an important part in relation to Deleuze's ‘‘modernism’’, and to the discussion of his possible relevance to contemporary artistic practices. (shrink)
This paper shows that there is one and the same break in the artistic creative process of Robert Smithson and in the philosophical creative process of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari. For Smithson it takes place between Site-Nonsite works and Earthworks . For Deleuze and Guattari it happens in the transition from Difference and Repetition to Anti- Oedipus . Smithson's break marks his abandoning of the institution in favour of an art of direct intervention, the Earthworks confronting one of the (...) most pressing political concerns of his time, the destruction of the earth. Deleuze and Guattari's break happens as they take us from a conceptual mapping of structures to a material machinery of production that allows thought to engage with real political processes. (shrink)
What is the importance of deconstruction, and the writing of Jacques Derrida in particular, for literary criticism today? Derek Attridge argues that the challenge of Derrida's work for our understanding of literature and its value has still not been fully met, and in this book, which traces a close engagement with Derrida's writing over two decades and reflects an interest in that work going back a further two decades, shows how that work can illuminate a variety of topics. Chapters include (...) an overview of deconstruction as a critical practice today, discussions of the secret, postcolonialism, ethics, literary criticism, jargon, fiction, and photography, and responses to the theoretical writing of Emmanuel Levinas, Roland Barthes, and J. Hillis Miller. Also included is a discussion of the recent reading of Derrida's philosophy as 'radical atheism', and the book ends with a conversation on deconstruction and place with the theorist and critic Jean-Michel Rabate. Running throughout is a concern with the question of responsibility, as exemplified in Derrida's own readings of literary and philosophical texts: responsibility to the work being read, responsibility to the protocols of rational argument, and responsibility to the reader. (shrink)
Tracks the sublime art movement from Kant to the 21st century and onwards to a new future Stephen Zepke tracks the sublime art movement from its beginnings in Kant to its flowering in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. He shows that the idea of sublime art waxes and wanes in the work of Jean-Francois Lyotard, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Jacques Derrida, Jacques Ranciere and the recent Speculative Realism movement. With it, a visionary politics of art seeks to (...) give it the most creative power possible: the power to overcome our conditions and embrace the unknown. (shrink)
This chapter examines the relevance of the thoughts of Gilles Deleuze to the works of Allan Kaprow and Adrian Piper. It argues that Kaprow had made a shift akin to Deleuze's move from expressionism to constructivism and addresses the politics of Kaprow's practice in relation to Deleuze's concept of counter-actualisation. It describes the alternative of Piper's practice as one that creates performance events capable of catalysing new social territories in and as life.