Gilles Deleuze on Framing

Posted in Deleuze with tags on May 19, 2012 by immanentterrain2

 

Deleuze does not see the cinematic image as something that should praised for its ability to create reality resembling illusion. On the contrary he sees the frame as essentially ensuring “the deterritorialisation of the image” (1986:15) because images with very different measurements get eventually projected on the same screen, in the same frame. Extreme close-ups and long shots are accommodated in the same measurements and that changes their relationship to each other. This ends up in creating a distinct images specific of the film-world.

 

For me the most interesting function of the frame that Deleuze talks about is the creation of the relationship with the out-of-field. He explains its functioning on two levels. Firstly in the way a framed set is creating and delimiting its own out-of-field sets and establishes relationships with them. This could happen either by literal framing that leaves elements and actions partly out of the frame and implying their continuation or by self-contained framing that nevertheless refers to the out-of-field – to the sets that are not included in the apparently closed frame. The second level of the frame’s out-of-field is its reference to a whole, which is not just the conglomeration of all the sets of framed elements in the film. The whole is rather something that is passing into each of the sets, each of the frames. (1986:17)

In Deleuze’s take the distinction of the framed elements from the out-of-field is not a parallel to the distinction between concrete space and imaginary space because the out-of-field can easily be turning into the elements in the frame. It is more like his distinction between actual and virtual where one is always becoming the other. As he says about the out-of-field, it “refers to what is neither seen nor understood, but is nevertheless perfectly present”(1986: 16)

 

Deleuze’s emphasis on the out-of-field allows a greater attention to the potential of the framed image. Even an apparently closed set must find an openness to something outside it. To look at each image then not as a self-contained unit of information, and not even as building relationships with other shots in a sequence, but rather as something always in relation to what is outside its limits, the framed image becomes much more dynamic. Furthermore the connection to the whole means that something that the film does, its most fundamental ability to affect must be present in each frame. An image can thus no longer be just a narrative continuation from what preceded it, but rather an element that encompasses the whole in some way.

Piibe Kolka

References

Deleuze, Gilles. 1986. Cinema I. The Movement-Image. London: The Athlone Press

 

 

Commercial Philosophy?

Posted in Art, Art and Philosophy, Deleuze, Film with tags on May 17, 2012 by immanentterrain2

In an interview with Cahiers du cinema following the publication of his cinema books, Deleuze describes his experiences in the cinema while studying as a philosophy student and the similarities he found between the two forms. In his studies, he was drawn to philosophers that were interested in introducing “real” movement to thought, so it’s no surprise that he found a commonality in film, an art form of movement. He finds cinema to be highly adept at displaying spiritual life, or as he defines it, “movement of the mind” (Deleuze 366). “The brain is the screen,” thoughts being the construction of molecules linked together in time (Deleuze 366). Deleuze turns to cinema when philosophical problems lead him there looking for answers, but the relationship goes both ways.

The part of this interview that most intrigued me was when the interviewer asks about the crisis of the cinematic auteur. The crisis being the current proposal that everyone is an auteurs, and bad ones at that. Deleuze answers with a discussion of the differences between advertising and art. He notes that advertisers that call their work “the poetry of the modern world,” have failed to realize that no art is created in regards to the public’s expectations. (Deleuze 369). Advertising is most definitely created with the expectations of the public in mind, even when it strives to shock. Art is created from the opposite of this, from unexpected places and thoughts. Here then he says there is no such thing as commercial art. There is art that is wildly popular, that requires financial means, or that is bought and sold, but if it is art, it is not commercial. The term auteur refers to artwork, but not everyone creating film is an auteur for Deleuze. A work of art should ask new questions, probe problems, and create new space and time, exactly what an auteur should be doing through film.

Considering Deleuze sees such similarities between cinema and philosophy, I was wondering what would be considered the commercial opposition of philosophy. Perhaps it is the entire genre of self-help books. In a way they traverse some of the same avenues as philosophy, for instance probing questions about how one should live, but again, we can see how Deleuze makes the distinction between advertising and art. Self-help books are constructed with the expectations of an audience in mind and seek to provide answers, however flimsy they may be, instead of breaking new ground and furthering inquiry into the basis of the questions they ask. Self-help books may become best sellers, but they appeal to a lower level of thinking that craves easy answers just as Deleuze describes poor cinema as appealing to the lower brain circuitry of violence and sexuality.

-HB

Gilles Deleuze, “The Brain is the Screen”, in Gregory Flaxman (ed.), Brain is the Screen:Deleuze and the Philosophy of Cinema (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2000), pp. 365-373.

Do superheroes have supersouls?

Posted in Deleuze, Leibniz with tags , , , , on May 17, 2012 by immanentterrain2

Caped crusaders, parasitic costumes, and the Baroque fold of comic book artist Todd McFarlane.

Where and how can we identify the fold? Deleuze writes that “the fold can be recognized first of all in the textile model of the kind implied by garments: fabric or clothing has to free its own folds from its usual subordination to the finite body it covers. If there is an inherently Baroque costume, it is broad, in distending waves, billowing and flaring, surrounding the body with its independent folds, ever-multiplying, never betraying those of the body beneath … vested doublets, flowing cloaks, enormous flaps, overflowing shirts, everything that forms the great Baroque contribution to clothing of the seventeenth century.” (D 121)

Todd McFarlane is a comic book artist who rose to prominence in the early 1990’s while drawing for the Spider-Man series, but is probably most widely known for creating the character Spawn, pictured above. McFarlane cultivated an idiosyncratic visual style with distinctly Baroque aspects: incredible amounts of detail are always paid to the pleats and folds of the capes and cloaks of elaborate costumes. Like most traditional comic book artists, McFarlane expends more than enough time emphasizing the exaggerated physique and musculature of the comic book hero, but in a break from other artists, he often focuses as much if not more visual detail on these sartorial adornments, often to the point where they obscure or deemphasize the typical superhero body.

Left: In an earlier work of McFarlane we see: a human, enfolded by a superhero protector, in turn enveloped by a Baroque cape whose pleats fold into an infinity of bats, flapping and folding their wings as they fly off into the night. Right: Deleuze sketching the inflection point in the fold.

In McFarlane’s worlds, characters are defined not simply by their bodies and abilities but by the way they are framed and enveloped by costumes that create an interiority around the character, a point of inflection between the hero and the outside world, a kind of second skin that often imbues the hero with their special powers.

Describing Johann Joseph Christian’s Saint Jerome, Deleuze writes “A supernatural breeze … turns the cloak into a billowing and sinuous ribbon that ends by forming a high crest over the saint.” (D 122) In a way he could almost be describing this McFarlane rendering of Spawn:

But McFarlane’s Baroque pleated costumes are not simply superfluous visuals. Deleuze: “in every instance folds of clothing acquire an autonomy and a fullness that are not simply decorative effects.” (D 122) Indeed, Spawn’s costume is not simply decoration but is in fact the source of his superpowers: capable of shape-shifting and providing him with inhuman strength. The costume is in fact autonomous: a semi-sentient being with a will of it’s own. “Spawn had become aware that his costume was not merely clothing, but a living symbiote with a life of its own. He was able to control it to an extent, but it often acted without his will.” (Spawnworld.com)

An even more poignant example of the autonomy of the fold in the comic world of McFarlane is Venom: an arch-enemy of Spider-Man co-created by McFarlane and first introduced in the mid-1990’s. Venom is essentially a costume, but is also a full character with its own individuality. It is a parasite from another planet that cannot live on its own and seeks out hosts with which it merges, taking on and enhancing the properties of the host. Venom is drawn to Spider-Man because of all the hero’s well-known powers.

The Venom suit literally enfolds Spider-Man, creating an interiority for itself that is nevertheless still outside of the host – a new soul that the host’s inner soul must struggle to resist, as Spider-Man fights to assert himself and free himself from the parasite. How many monads should we count in this schema? Spider-Man, Venom, Spider-Man-as-Venom, perhaps also Venom-post-Spider-Man given that the costume acquires some of the hero’s powers, others?  Deleuze writes that even elements like water can themselves be creased: “skintight fabric will still be a watery fold that reveals the body far better than nudity … the spiderweb of the whole body, including the face.” (D 122) In the drama that transpires, the risk was that our hero could have failed. As Venom took over it made itself seem more and more appealing to the interior soul. For a moment the two souls were in accord. Ultimately of course Spider-Man frees himself from his enemy, causing the parasite to go in search of other hosts, which he finds and overtakes in turn, and the comic book drama continues. As Deleuze writes, they “do not allow the differences of inside and outside, of public and private, to survive. They identify variation and trajectory, and overtake monadology with a ‘nomadology’.”

But why this obsession with the living costume in Todd McFarlane’s work? Perhaps he is expressing a certain monadology. The world exists, populated with individuals, pleated souls that express and are expressed in their world; but McFarlane then folds all of this into another – aliens from other planets (Venom) or other dimensions (the Spawn suit is said to be from hell itself) are costumes with their own individuated interiority that they then enfold around our protagonists. The heroes draw their power by being selected and enwrapped in this way, by becoming enfolded into a second higher world. But where have we seen this before? Aren’t nearly all superheroes already pleated in this way? Spider-Man is actually Peter Parker, Superman is Clark Kent. Perhaps the most common trope in the comic book universe is that the hero is the alternate identity – the caped avenger and the mild mannered regular guy – the superhero already stands in for this pleat in the individual. McFarlane is simply doing it again – a kind of higher order repetition of this pattern that enfolds the fold in another, and suggests a repeating of the monadological folding to infinity.

Deleuze writes: “if we want to test the definition of the Baroque – the fold to infinity … we must dig into the everyday recipes or modes of fashion that change a genre.” (D 122) And indeed, the wildly creative and innovative visual and narrative experiments of Todd McFarlane were in many ways genre-changing comic book worlds that succeed at demonstrating precisely that.

McFarlane’s Batman with pleated cape and marble sculpture: folded layers of the Baroque.

– Rory Solomon

“Al Simmons | Spawn Encyclopedia | SpawnWorld”, n.d. http://www.spawnworld.com/encyclopedia/alsimmons.htm.

Deleuze, Gilles. The Fold : Leibniz and the Baroque. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993.

Koulish, Robert. “Spiderman’s Web and the Governmentality of Electronic Immigrant Detention.” Law, Culture and the Humanities (2012). http://lch.sagepub.com/content/early/2012/02/02/1743872111433376.abstract

Empirical consumerism

Posted in Deleuze, Immanence, Rhizome, Subjectivity with tags on May 17, 2012 by immanentterrain2

This post might err on the side of saccharine; I want to talk to you about milieus and customer service. Taking permission from empiricalism – in which everyday experiences is knowledge – I’d like to make some statements from personal experience, bouncing off a Deleuzean mirror. Also too, I am interested in substantive philosophy: something that can be internalized has more value to me.

Passing through a city, we encounter multiple sites of exchange. We pay for transit, food, too many beverages, learning, accessories, entertainment, fashion, housing. Our lives are paid for at every level. Aside from negotiating, or choosing what is the appropriate product to consume (based on personal guidelines, beholden to personal standards), the method of transaction is fairly automatic. Present the good, receive the price, hand the money over, watch the cash be put in the register, the change is counted out and the receipt enclosed. The moment that this perfected chain of events is interrupted is if there is a problem with the expected good/payment, or if there are questions/information needed to complete the purchase. The certain chain of events has been disrupted. The reaction of the consumer ranges from nonchalant, to awkward, to even irate, and possibly angry. Customer service representatives, don’t they just take it all in?

These representatives fill our environment; racing feet to fetch that thing, busy hands to fold that item, arrange, rearrange, provide, and solicit. They occupy the establishments we go to, and we hold them accountable for our experience. Good service or bad service, the very mood of our purchases is attached to that person, or team of people expected to fulfill our needs and wants in exchange our money.

Now, let me qualify my stance before I slant this piece. I have a crazy hospitality resume. In about 12 years, I have worked in hockey arenas, golf course maintenance, snack shack, beer cart, cafes, university residence, hotel, hostel reception, butchery, honey factories, vineyards, housekeeping, and bars. I’ve despised and adored my jobs in the same day. To get through to the next paycheck, there was something in me to care about these jobs. As a result, these experiences have shaped how I approach other “customer service representatives,” a clinical term to classify all those who are the gatekeepers to our commodities.

The other day, to upkeep my bad lung clogging habit, I recognized a man from another tobacco store. This was my chance to say ‘hey!” I asked him his name, and he asked for mine, and now we exchange the news and our commentary every time I step into one of his shops. This more familiar encounter makes my vice glow. A dormant congeniality is activated, and without ulterior motive. Dividuation is a lesser issue now.

Component to a rhizomous existence, a plane of consistency, forming multiplicities, are the very nodes that connect to our own personal rhizomes. This is our relation to the world, to engage with the stimuli that surround us. Deleuze dubs this environment as a milieu. As Uexküll notes in his study of the tick, and Deleuze incorporated in his philosophy, in order for stimulus to have an impact, it needs to be noticed by the subject. Our milieus are the result of our observations and our input into them. Rather than be motivated by enhancing insulated lives, we need to have an ulterior motive of relations: such “relations to form or compound extensive relations or to enable an intensive power, sociabilities and communities.”[1]

Poverty of our relations can be this skimming of an elemental part of our daily lives. Societal codes, or even just the experience of dealing with multiple strangers in a day can inhibit our relations with various keepers of commodities. Maybe it’s because we are forced to give our money over that causes us to feel somewhat distrustful. In this obligatory milieu, we can consider our habits, and devise lines of flight by interacting with these goods-and-services-keepers. This yields some perks that lessen or bypass some of the capitalist expectations. Friendly banter with a bartender gets a shot passed to you under the table, the barista will ring in a small drip for that latte, the tobacco store will sell you the pack, but throw in free papers and filters. This is not to try and garner free shit, but a symbol of camaraderie. Consider, “the simple animal has a simple environment; the multiform animal has an environment just as richly articulated as it is”[2]

Here is a to and fro to our milieu, a re and pro. This is to make our experiences ceaseless versions of us, to construct a common plan of immanence that is inclusive of beings.[3] Creators make a move by dotting that canvas or whatever medium. Creators in everyday living make a move with others to continuously launch an inexhaustive variation of ourselves to exercise the capacity to become more complex persons in experiencing milieus. The trick is, creation is not a divine ability, it is in all of our abilities. In terms of our daily lives, by maintaining the contact at the level of money transaction, there is obedience to the transcendent capitalist flows. Rather, to be inexhaustible is to include other bodies, minds and individuals, and develop unique, diverse multiciplicities. To create is to make an action, unpredictable, is to willingly open up to be affected and to affect, to expand the capacities for relations. This is key as in our currency habits; we are left unaware of the dormant qualities unless we release them through re-engaged encounters.

Milieus are not maintainable surroundings, but are modulated through our concern and action towards. Let’s take the idea of guardian angels for a second. We’ve all had those random events when life really blows, and we are at our wit’s end. Then out of generosity and resourcefulness, or sheer luck, some stranger alleviates the situation. Our gratitude is likely to be genuine, but also borne out of relief. But now consider how to be that guardian angel, that miracle instigator, for someone else.

This is sometimes what the customer service team does for us. Someone needs to make a move to make someone’s day. While service is an expectation, there is value in a reciprocal relationship. This is regulated through a tipping system, but there can be intangible exchanges in which can liven up someone’s position or a general circumstance. Something unexpected beyond the customary manners of please’s and thank you’s, but a genuine engagement of persons. In this busy buzzing service climate, there are multitudes of becomings to connect with. It is an idealistic, sweet notion, but this makes sense to me, and this is what I consider while reading Deleuze. In my hospitality experiences, I would come to know the various chefs, baristas, housekeepers, bussers, etc. in any  environment. My tone of voice, my attention towards them, my appreciation for their work, and my expectation of work is all involved in my potential interaction with them. A mentor taught me, always ask for their names.

In attempts to open up a rhizomatic existence, there are affectual capacities in being sensitive, while contributing to our milieus. If anything is to be achieved, my thought is to pay attention to subtle possibilities in every opportunity of relations.

-Bria


[1] Deleuze, Gilles. “Spinoza and Us” Spinoza, Practical Philosophy. Trans. Robert Hurley. (San Francisco: City Light Books, 1988)). P.126

[2] Uexküll, Jakob von, A Foray Into the Worlds of Animals and Humans: With a Theory of Meaning. Trans. Joseph D. (O’Neil Minneapolis: University of Minnosota Press 1940) P. 5o

[3] Deleuze, P. 122

Frieze Weekend 2012

Posted in Art, Art Exhibits, Deleuze and Guattari with tags on May 17, 2012 by immanentterrain2

Last weekend, I took a ferry out to Randall’s Island to visit the Frieze Art Fair, the inaugural New York iteration of the London fair. It’s hard not to have a love/hate relationship with art fairs. On the one hand, they offer the opportunity to view an incredible amount of art from galleries all over the world in one location. On the other, the sheer volume of work makes them an exhausting experience that is not conducive to a truly rewarding experience of art – not to mention the fact that there’s no hiding the intention to move large quantities of product.

The tent, three football fields long and pristinely white, was as beautiful as it was imposing. Holding over 180 galleries from 30 countries, Frieze estimates that visitors numbered in the region of 45,000 (1).

Frieze Art Fair New York 2012

There’s really no comparing the experience of the tent’s interior to other New York art fairs, even the Armory Show, Frieze’s closest competitor. With a high, vaulted ceiling and natural lighting only supplemented by fluorescence, the tent provides gallery conditions not far shy of the country’s best contemporary art institutions.

It is both an insult to museums and a compliment to the fair that the two forms have come to resemble one another to this degree. The fair provides these beautiful open spaces, charges you an exorbitant admission fee ($40/ $25 for students), includes panel discussions and lectures by people like curator and art historian Robert Storr and MoMA Director Glen D. Lowry, produces a “Frame” section of curated galleries displaying solo exhibitions of artists who have yet to display internationally, has multiple restaurants, and a non-profit arm called Frieze Projects that commissioned outdoor work by ten artists displayed surrounding the tent. Frieze even came with a major corporate sponsor, Deutsche Bank, who also sponsors exhibitions at the Guggenheim.

Team Gallery’s booth at the Frieze Art Fair New York 2012

Salon 94’s booth at the Frieze Art Fair New York 2012

So yes, the tent was beautiful, but in the end it still had the feeling of a corporate trade show or market, specifically designed to keep you moving and weed out the buyers from the gawkers.  Without a map, the uniform spaces became a blur. I found myself thinking about smooth and striated spaces while traversing the many halls.  Art Fairs are incredibly nomadic as they take place all over the world in pieces of pop up architecture or temporary exhibition halls. One could reach the Frieze Fair by complimentary ferry, shuttle, or car, with connections to the other fairs around the city capitalizing on the influx of art buyers and professionals. This kind of nomadism is not what Deleuze and Guattari are referring to in reference to smooth spaces in A Thousand Plateaus. This kind of travel and movement is about the destination and is incredibly organized. The experience of Frieze was utterly striated and controlled. There is a hierarchy of access including two levels of VIPs as well as the high-ticket price that deters another level of audience. Galleries purchase territories within the tent with slight differences in placement and size, but for the most part, they are all little white boxes in a line. They are homogeneous, distinct, and ordered.

As I was walked the halls, becoming numb to the quantity of art and lacking a sense of direction, I spotted the art collector and philanthropist Eli Broad (http://www.broadfoundation.org/).  I decided that following his path would be as good as any other direction. It was a completely strange experience because it made me realize that while I was conscious of the fact that everything displayed was for sale, the prices were so wildly out of my price range that this fact became almost completely irrelevant. How different it must be to visit an art fair for shopping and not spectacle.

Eli Broad in front of the Metro Pictures booth at the Frieze Art Fair New York 2012

For all the doom and gloom about it being a celebration of conspicuous consumption and art market value over artistic value, art fairs and galleries are still some of the best opportunities to see work directly out of artists’ studios and even better, works by artists who have yet to be included in museum shows. There wasn’t much of this at Frieze, the expensive gallery fee no doubt motivating the safer display of established artists (riskier choices at NADA or smaller fairs like seven @ SEVEN the same weekend). I will say, though, that I discovered the work of Calla Henkel and Max Pitegoff there, when I almost kicked a piece of their installation:

Image

Calla Henkel and Max Pitegoff, “New Media (Cocktails),” 2012 at T293 Naples and Rome, Italy. Photo: http://sb95.com/

And gained a new appreciation for Roger Hiorns, whose sculpture that continuously produced foam, inspired some of the most sustained looking I observed at the fair.

Roger Hiorns at Marc Foxx Gallery’s booth, Frieze Art Fair New York 2012

-HB

(1)  http://friezenewyork.com/press/releases/frieze-new-york-2012-widespread-acclaim-for-inaugural-edition/

Laughter in Deleuze

Posted in Body and Affect, Deleuze, Foucault, Nietzsche with tags , , , , , , on May 17, 2012 by immanentterrain2

One of my favorite quotations from all of the media studies program—and I can’t put my finger on why, precisely, but I often find its final four words bouncing into my thoughts unannounced—comes from Adorno and Horkheimer’s Dialectic of Enlightenment: “The culture industry replaces pain, which is present in ecstasy no less than in asceticism, with jovial denial” (112). Reading Deleuze, I’ve encountered at least two other moments where laughter comes into play, and not the pathetic laughter of the denial of the dominated, but another form of unexpected laugher, bizarre good humor given the circumstances.

In the chapter of Deleuze’s book on Foucault about Discipline and Punish, that seminal and terrifying book on the surveilling Panopticon and the theater of punishment, Deleuze opens nearly sadistically: “The Divine Comedy of punishment means we can retain the basic right to collapse in fits of laughter in the face of a dazzling array of perverse inventions, cynical discourses and meticulous horrors. A whole chain of phenomena, from anti-masturbation machines for children to the mechanics of prison for adults, sets off an unexpected laughter which shame, suffering or death cannot silence” (23). Expressing laughter seems to suggest an interior that may be affected by outside events but that will not be fully subsumed by them. Even darker, though resilient, is how Deleuze calls this laughter “a great joy which is not the ambivalent joy of hatred, but the joy of wanting to destroy whatever mutilates life” (23).

Another example comes in “Nomadic Thought,” in which Deleuze attributes Nietzsche’s unlikely but essential laughter to the unbounded joy of revolution in the face of atrocity. Laughter is positive and creative, an uncontrollable escape from restraints of imposed logic and morality. Laughing at the traumatic, as Deleuze prescribes for readers of Foucault, at least flies in the face of a morality instated by transcendence. There is a war between those who seek to control and those who seek to liberate action and maximize potential for individuals to enter into productive and creative relations that have not been imposed upon them. And on the fighting side there is still a path to happiness, often found in subversiveness of minor literature. The philosophers championed by media studies tend not to fall into despair; no matter how dire their findings on control societies or bodily torture, something keeps them bouncing up. Whether we’re being denied autonomy, as in Adorno, or coming “face to face with something sickening, ignoble, disgusting,” as Deleuze describes the provocation for Nietzsche’s laughter in “Nomadic Thought” (258), there’s always something to laugh about. Isn’t that funny?

-Duncan Cooper

Deleuze, Gilles, and Seán Hand. Foucault. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 1988.

Deleuze, Gilles. “Nomadic Thought.” Desert Islands and Other Texts, 1953-1974. Ed. David Lapoujade. Trans. Michael Taormina. Los Angeles, CA: Semiotext(e), 2004.

Horkheimer, Max, and Theodor W. Adorno. Dialectic of Enlightenment. New York: Continuum Pub., 1972.

How Might One Live?

Posted in Deleuze on May 17, 2012 by immanentterrain2

I figure, for my last post, made on the final day of the semester, a relevant question (going back to the first question we were asked this semester) is how might one live?  It would seem difficult in our society to escape the many striations and power relations that societal structures externally impose upon us at every turn.  After reading Deleuze, Foucault, Nietszche, Hume, and so many other great thinkers, I initially was discouraged, as it seemed rather difficult to extricate one’s self from the many shackles society imposes upon us.  Especially after reading Foucault.  At the same time, however, I am filled with hope, because from what we’ve been reading, it seems that we are all on the right path(s) towards thinking and living outside the hegemonic box, so to speak.  In fact, much of our generation seems to be embracing this supremely important question, whether they are conscious of it or not.  The question becomes even more important in the light of the exponential technological advancements going on in our society.  As an example, why do people react against language changing through text messaging, the internet, and other new methods of communication?  Is this not a deterretorialization of the linguistic codes which have reinforced false consciousness, and restricted independent/new thought for thousands of years?  Is this not the very breakdown of structures that Deleuze discusses in so many essays?

Is the immediacy of our culture and it’s desires ultimately a positive and/or negative thing?  Have people not become in some way more connected and even closer because of this immediacy?  Perhaps some people’s desire for immediacy will hold them and subsequently humanity back, but the ones who capitalize on it will bring our world closer to a new way of living.  In fact, are we not in a constant changing process of living throughout our entire lives?  Is there no way to rightly live except the way that works for you?  The readings would suggest that escaping the hegemony of our culture and it’s institutions (especially religious ones enforcing a transcendent concept of existence) would be the right way to live, but what begins as a sub- or counter-culture eventually becomes mainstream culture, and the same is true for thought.  This class has completely opened my eyes to the world, and I am sure I am a different person/process than I was 4 months ago, but perhaps there is no right way to live other than what makes you happy and/or what helps us as humanity forward.  While I have begun shedding my anthropocentric view of the universe, the question of how we as people might live is still supremely important.  But so many people in our world have begun thinking less and less about themselves, I cannot help but think that perhaps we are beginning to live in a new way in our world.  People will always be striated by society, will always be limited by power relations, will always succumb to hegemony, but people will also always react against that, will always live and think nomadically, and will always be becoming different and new.

In the past 6 months, I’ve quit my job, left my apartment, and begun to literally become nomadic, freelancing wherever I can make a living.  I am splitting my time between New York, Boston, and Philadelphia.  It is extremely difficult.  I, like most people, am a creature of habit, I ritualize the world so as to assimilate and control it, but this is impossible in my life now.  I am very used to having my own place, my own space, within which I repeat and repeat and repeat ad infinitum.  What I’ve noticed is that although I am not always sure where I’ll be staying each night, each day is a new adventure, and each day feels longer and more eventful.  Time has been slowing down slightly for me; these past 4 months have been the longest months for me in a long while, because through  ritualization, assimilation, repetition and control, time and our lives seem to slip by quicker and quicker.  Now, when I wake up, I am faced with something new almost every day, and the times that I stay in one place for too long become constraining.  I have a ways to go before I am able to really become truly nomadic and to take full advantage of this lifestyle.  I question whether or not we as humanity had it right 10 thousand years ago when we were hunter gatherers, or if we needed to create society to once again return to a nomadic life.  I am not proposing that you all do the same, but rather, that we find ways to think and perhaps live in the moment as the hunter gatherers were forced to, and that we embrace each day as an adventure and chance to become something new.

May, Todd. Gilles Deleuze: An Introduction. New York: Cambridge UP, 2005. Print. p. 1-25

Jeff

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