Sunday, December 7, 2008

Deleuzian Aesthetics

[The entirety of this essay has been removed; the introduction remains as a place holder.]

To conceive of a Deleuzian aesthetic as a de jure smooth, nomadic, or rhizomatic state would be to misunderstand both Deleuzian aesthetics and thought altogether.For at the end of A Thousand Plateaus, Deleuze and Guattari clearly state: “smooth spaces are not in themselves liberatory.But the struggle is changed or displaced in them, and life reconstitutes its stakes, confronts new obstacles, invents new paces, switches adversaries. Never believe that a smooth space will suffice to save us” (500); moreover, such smooth spaces can in fact be quite dangerous: places in which one may be “killed, plunged into a black hole, or even dragged toward catastrophe…into demented or suicidal collapse” (161). Therefore, Deleuze does not privilege the smooth-nomad-rhizome over their respective counterparts, but he claims that sometimes it is wise to remain striated-sedentary-arborescent to preserve oneself physically and mentally. This is not to say that a Deleuzian aesthetic is not of a de jure nature smooth, nomadic, or rhizomatic, but it most certainly manifests itself within a de facto mix that is a confluence of smooth-striated, nomadic-sedentary, and rhizomatic-arborescent tendencies. To this extent, what matters is not so much the nominal distinction attributed to an aesthetic-object (i.e. “Is it nomadic or sedentary, rhizomatic or arborescent?”), but how these mixtures are “translated, transversed…reversed, [or] returned to” (474)[1] while in “coexistence and competition in a perpetual field of interaction” (360). In other words, within a Deleuzian aesthetic, the multiplicity of conflicting processes, relations, and transformations which an aesthetic-object continually enters into takes precedence over 1) particular, nominalistic designations and 2) aesthetic-objects that avoid, or attempt to avoid, passing through and between such mixtures.

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