All entries for Thursday 20 January 2005

January 20, 2005

Zone of indiscernibility between philosophy, art and science

Follow-up to Opinion from Transversality - Robert O'Toole

In What Is Philosophy? Deleuze and Guattari seem to argue for a strong division between philosophy, art and science. This could be a reaction to criticism of their earlier collaborations. But do they only go so far as to say that the different disciplines (machinic phyla) have different aims and different methods, whilst still maintaining that they do pass through chaosmosis together, sharing zones of indiscernibility? That would be more in keeping with their earlier work. And what is the nature of this transversality? Just opinion? Or are there more sophisticated (viral, germinal) mechanisms at work?


Follow-up to Opinion from Transversality - Robert O'Toole

Deleuze and Guattari do sometimes refer to freedom and freeing up, but it is a kind of diagrammatic freedom.

A particular activity may be constrained in several ways. The material of its expression may impose a limit, and as Guattari argues in Chaosmosis, a change in the material may act to free it up, to give it a chance of escape. Conversely, material of expression may be constrained to the point of starvation by a language, concept, artistic practice, scientific experiment (all of the aparatus of capture). Loosening the dependence between the material and the aparatus may bring life back to the material. This need to do this may be the source of transcendence. Again Guattari employs this as a psychotherapeautic practice, but guards against transcendence.

Regarding literature (Kafka, Lawrence), they say:

It is always a case of freeing life wherever it is imprisoned. p.171


Follow-up to Free expression – a misconception from Transversality - Robert O'Toole

Opinion, against philosophy.

The three disciplines advance by crises or shocks in different ways, and in each case it is their sucession that makes it possible to speak of "progress." It as if the struggle against chaos does not take place without an affinity with the enemy, because another struggle develops and takes on more importance - the struggle against opinion, which claims to protect us from chaos itself. WiP p.203

Opinion: a negative term used by Deleuze and Guattari in What Is Philosophy?

Opinion does refer to a specific machinic phylum, but one that invades and parasitises those of art, science and philosophy. The three disciplines, each with their own machinic phyla (creative engine), pass through chaos (change) in their own ways. This relation to chaos defines each discipline. But opinion offers a quick and easy solution to each, a stereotypical creativity – perhaps implying a departure from the appropriate form of creativity, and more contentiously, freedom of expression (see previous entry).

Perhaps it does this by making too immediate and ill-considered a transversal move between phyla: for example, conceptual art. In philosophy it appears as transcendence. In art as the figurative or symbolic. Sophistry.

This also relates to the debate between Klee and Kandinsky concerning the relationship between forms in painting and music.

But opinion is a machinic phylum in itself – is it a phylum of the viral? Of the retrovirus? – as I said in Deleuze and Philosophy.