My research for exercises in this part of the studies as well as summaries of background reading to understand difficult concepts Deleuze put forward and to integrate it into my understanding of Visual Arts and answering Part 4 of this course.
ON READING DIFFERENCE AND REPETITION
It is clear that Deleuze wants to account for how things change – difference of time – movement. (stable/in movement/flux) are ideas this adds to this concept. Deleuze want us to think of difference not simply that which comes from identity, but on its own. Deleuze criticize thinkers who emphasize that which is stable or eternal, over that which is in flux, in movement. We need to account for change – we see how certain things develop into new things, how it evolved. For Deleuze this movement came from relationships with environment and things – for him these ‘spaces’ between things created the possibility for ‘newness’.
We read Saussere (a structuralist), we understood him to say that meaning is a product of the differences between words and signifiers in our unconscious . This can be seen as that we are a product of signification which we find ourselves in – not by our control – we are a product of these signifiers. (things) Here Deleuze ( post structuralist) is saying it is much more complicated, as everything in the world is connected and potentially these are so much more, there are an infinite number of possibilities . He builds upon Spinoza’s Monoism, that everything is connected. Two words jumps to me: Identity and reducible. Deleuze takes up this as a critique: the idea that identifies are essential to what the ‘thing’ is. The ‘thing’ can be economics, kinship, signs. Difference is everywhere. According to Deleuze it is not enough to say as Kant, that rationality forces us to think, he says something in nature forces us to think. When we think, we repeat – generalising, looking for resemblances – actions of thought. In every repetition, something distinct occurs – every thought is different — newness is inscribed in every moment – no equal, while carrying something of the first. It is the very difference in every repetition that accounts for newness. These ideas we are thinking arise from somewhere real – presented to us by the world around us, we reorganise the variables to try and create solutions, almost like a kind of map of things to repeat, to make different – this map, the quality of newness, is what Deleuze calls the VIRTUAL. So virtuality has similarities and potentialities – there is movement in relation to each other within the universe; they repeat, but in every repetition, different combinations are formed/potentialized. He states that the more that living matter complexifies, the more it transforms this VIRTUAL into spontaneous action and unforeseen movements. This multiplicity PRECEDES the IDEA! So we should see the VIRTUAL as the present moment – that plane, the surplus, in the spaces between.
- Difference expresses itself in identities and every identity has to have the possibility of new identities – they carry difference with it. An example is the brain of an infant and how it develops – synaptic connections is formed – part of habituation, can happen in different ways.. The identity of the brain contains within it, difference, that can imerge /be expressed in other ways of being who you are, than the way who you happen to be now.
- This means that difference through time, is always carried forward. Identities come and go, difference is always there/ it remains.
- Difference is always with us and in front of us, it keeps coming back with every change of identity.
- Difference eternally returns (Nietzsche says the eternal returns – difference is that thing which returns)
The image of thought
Deleuze’s idea is that thought is centered on the idea of what everyone knows; what he is looking for is somebody who manages not to know what everyone else knows. This is centered on three things:
- goodwill – the sincerity to seek to know
- upright thought – the idea that thought seeks the truth
- recognition/representation – that you find the thing you were looking for; that the world gives you -reveals the truth that you seek
He questions the traditional way of thought:
- it confines thought to conventions, conventionalities and banalities
- and prevent the new coming into one’s thought space
- it allows room for that which is not true error
Therefore the central search in philosophy is for TRUTH, but he thinks this never gets us past what we think we know – we always come back to the same identies. Thought, but not in the traditional way, of dogma ( that which is not questioned and talks about what everybody knows) goes to truth What makes us think – pg 183 – ‘Something in the world forces us to think. This something is an object not of recognition ( dogma) but of a fundamental encounter ” ( thrown back on myself – forces discomfort, and it is not that we choose it, it happens to us and we sense it in an emotional tone by either wonder, love, hatred, suffering – it cannot be recognised, only be sensed. ( something that lies beyond my recognition, …. there is more than what is presented to me……)
I get the feeling that Deleuze like something about ‘newness‘ or novelty – I see that what forces thought is some sort of crises.newness; and when you are faced with this crises/newness, you have the opportunity to follow it/ deal with it. And now you have opened up a problematic field ( you do not know the answers as with dogm thought) – answers are not given – you are now in that moment of creativity
Nomadic nomos: wandering across the surface is expressed by Deleuze as the nomadic nomos, as the decentralized multiplicity of viewpoints, an ungrounded ‘chaos’ in the sense that there is not any longer one dictating representational framework against that forms are grounded.
“No plastic form will be found in my works, I mean any form perceived objectively, for itself, according to the laws of light and shadow, through the conventional means of relief … All my art is confined solely to the resources of chiaroscuro, and also owes much to the effects of the abstract line, that agent from a profound source, acting directly on the spirit.” – Odilon Redon
Words and ideas to contemplate from the reading thus far:
- pre suppose
- beneath the realm of identity
- The term that Deleuze uses for that thing that we cannot define, is difference in itself – also multiplicity
- common sense
- good sense
A great example for difference: If we think of the brain as a field of difference, not as a blank slate, note as a set of potentialities, not as an identity, but as something that could be many different things, of which we even to not know what it could be – that would be difference. Fauccoult would refer to this as ‘exposure to experience’.
On the website of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts I find interesting information when Alexandra R Murphy explains the significance of the sower subject and notes its critical reception as follows:
“Sowing is the penultimate act of faith in man’s battle to earn his daily bread, for potentially edible grain is flung to the winds, in the hope of harvests far beyond the control of the sower. In Catholic France, the sower often began his task by crossing himself, or by forming a cross with a handful of grain flung into the air in two strokes. After reaping, sowing is the most frequently reproduced agricultural activity and, among countless prototypes, the illustrations for October in the Très Riches Heures of the Duke de Berry, depicting a similar sower – capped, wearing leggings, and holding his seed bag in his left hand – is often suggested as a source for Millet. But as with so many of his images, The Sower is more likely to have evolved from the conflation of several well-studied visual memories. When The Sower was exhibited, it attracted a considerable amount of attention, with at least nineteen critics commenting on it in their reviews. For the most part, reactions were favorable, although the critics differed widely in their understanding of the picture. De Chenevières, an important conservative critic, admired the ‘beauty, poetry and grace’ of the figure, while Clément de Ris praised the picture as ‘an energetic study full of movement.’ The thick, heavily worked surface disconcerted most of the critics, and the otherwise favorably impressed [Théophile] Gautier described the technique as ‘Millet’s trowel scrapings.’ But even more than technique and style, the critics felt compelled to address the image itself: almost to a man, they were struck by ‘the strangeness and power of the figure,’ although after acknowledging the inescapable presence of the sower, they remained uncertain what he represented. Fizelière saw a religious dignity in the figure who stood ‘Alone, in the middle fo bare and newly turned ground, as if he understood the grandeur of his mission,’ Sabatier-Ungher saw ‘the Modern Demos,’ (the Greek personification of the common man), where Desplaces felt Millet had ‘vilified the sower.’”
Olkowski, Deleuze and Giotto’s painting for Exercise 4.4
Research about the painting:
Done in 1305 this is one of a series of frescoes on the life and passion of Jesus, in the Arena Chapel in Padua. The painting shows how Judas greets Jesus with a kiss, identifying him for the Romans who have come to arrest him. The kiss of Judas, also known as the Betrayal of Christ, is how Judas identified Jesus to the multitude with swords and clubs who had come to arrest him. The Judas’ kiss became a poignant symbol of betrayal in the Christian world. Instead of relying on the sublime, we see three-dimensional (rilievo) people, with real individual and expressive faces. This new humanity is especially visible in gestures that have lost the liturgical quality, and in spite of their dignity, solemnity, reserve, they are portrait as everyday gestures; where as the stiffness of figures painted in the conventional Byzantine style together with the flat one-dimensional space they occupied, made it almost impossible for the spectator to connect with the subject matter. These works was the foundation of the Italian Renaissance. Giotto was by now experimenting with chiaroscuro, he changes the picture plane, we have a figure with his back to the viewer, perfectly grounded, looks like he is pulling something with his left hand, as well as a figure in the right, coming close up to the viewer – in front of the crowd and showing what is happening with the embrace. Up to now the norm for all visual representation was according to Alberti’s Single Point Perspective, with laid out rules.
On an indifferent ground of ‘black nothingness’, e.g. the sky, the group of followers and enemies of Christ, ground becomes differentiated by establishing shapes and different viewpoints of the depicted figures. The beholder is not absorbed by one-view point only, but by multiple ones. when Deleuze speaks about the raising ground and the dissolution of forms, he contrasts the indifferent ground with the intensity and spiritual expressions of the depicted figures. The difference is not between the pictorial planes and the hierarchical structure but between the ground and the singular expressions.
A great find: YouTube video I accessed online on 23 April 2019. The curators discuss Giottos use of narratives outside of the Biblical – because people wanted to know what happened in events in between events that are mentioned in the Bible! This caught my mind with regards to Deleuze and difference filosophy. The painting was compared with a similar scene done by the artist, Deutchio’s betrayal of Christ, where the Christ figure is looking at the viewer – the embrace of Judas in Giotto’s work, makes that Christ is in profile and that He and Judas are looking at one another. Almost the whole top half of the painting is full of the lances – creating chaos within the crowd and a tense almost violent atmosphere which could abrupt at any moment.
I downloaded Olkowski’s book on my Kindle, after reading a bit on Amazon and realizing it is valuable to my understanding. I also found another source, Gilles Deleuze’s Transcendental Empiricism: From tradition to difference – google the page on his take on the quote by Deleuze I am supposed to apply for this question. He suggests that Deleuze’s takes up Heidegger’s train of thought, and that Deleuze sees difference not dialectically as difference between something “indefinite and something definite, but as the unilateral and asymmetrical distinctiveness of THE determination in general. Self-distinction does not define itself through negative logic as that from which it distinguishes itself. Difference cannot be located either speculatively in the interior of the concept, because in this way its non-conceptual relations disappear form view, not can it be conceptualised as empirical difference between diverse things. Difference is not given, but is that through which the given is given. Difference has to be thought in itself, that it does not become sub-diverted by the four mediational forms of representations: identity, analogy,, opposition and similarity. The is how one prevent difference from being spread over the ‘ surface of the identical’.
Chronology in relation to this exhibition 1
1906 First influence of Negro sculpture upon Picasso, who begins large composition
The young ladies of Avignon.
1907 Picasso finishes The young ladies of Avignon (figs. 11, 12).
Strongly under Negro influence (figs. 12, 13, 14).
Cezanne influence in landscapes of Braque, who had previously painted in
manner of Matisse (fig. 8), and in Bowls and jug of Picasso (fig. 15). Braque
meets Picasso. Kahnweiler buys from Picasso.
1908 Picasso and Braque under influence of both Cezanne and Negro sculpture
(figs. 16, 17). Beginning of “facet” Cubism (fig. 20). The word “cube” asso
ciated with Braque’s landscapes such as the Seaport (fig. 19) . Braque exhibits
at Kahnweiler’s. Leger develops independently under influence of Rousseau.
1909 Picasso and Braque proceed with disintegration of natural object by dislocat
ing facets or merging them with background (figs. 21, 25). They paint in sober
greys, greens and browns. First Cubist sculpture (fig. 90). Gleizes, Metzinger,
Picabia, Delaunay drawn to movement.
1910 Work of Picasso (fig. 27) and Braque more abstract. Suggestion of depth and
distinction between foreground objects and background almost disappears.
Leger (fig. 32), Gris, Marcoussis,/la Fresnaye, Marcel Du champ allied with
1911 Picasso (fig. 30) and Braque paint increasingly abstract compositions with
straight lines predominating. Braque introduces letters and textures of imita
tion wood and marble (c/. fig. 63 of 1913).
First group exhibition at Independants includes Gleizes, Leger, Delaunay.
Guillaume Apollinaire, champion of the movement, accepts the term Cubism.
1912 Apogee of Analytical Cubism in such works of Picasso as the Violin (fig. 31).
Picasso and Braque further develop imitation textures which lead to collage,
the pasting of strips of paper, cloth, etc., in combination with painting or
drawing (figs. 64, 65). Gris’ Picasso (fig. 33). Du cubisme by Gleizes and
Metzinger published. Delaunay (fig. 58) begins to use brilliant color in con
trast to sobriety of Picasso and Braque. Gleizes, Metzinger, Jacques Villon and
others create Cubist group, Section <TOr, which exhibits in this and the fol
lowing year. Duchamp’s Nude descending a staircase (fig. 40) and Bride
1913 Picasso, Braque, Gris continue collage ; transition to Synthetic Cubism.
The beginnings of Cubism, 1906-08
The beginnings of Cubism followed close upon the Fauve revolt of 1905.
Braque was at first a member of the Fauve group and worked under the influ
ence of Matisse and Friesz until 1907. Picasso too, though outside the Fauve
movement, was certainly Fauve in the barbaric spirit and color of much of
his work of 1906 to 1908.
Research and reading of Douglas Crimp’s essay, Pictures (Artnews.com) first published in 1977 and then a second revised and expanded version which was published in the journal October in 1979. Here Crimp’s focus was on what a picture did once it was released into the world – his concern was with what pictures DO. He sees this as a way that a picture is being fetishized and that the artists were trying to test traditional understandings of authorship -I think of the work of Sherrie Levine – in a time of mass-media consumptions. The artists’s interest were outwardly intellectual, were conceptual – a rigorous way of working and thinking. For Crimp this exploration of ideas and objects was reflected through a reliance on post-structuralist theory.
Reading – online research
In Out of the World: Deleuze on the philosophy of creation , also googled, Peter Halword’s take on above quote to use for my answer is as follows
Descombes, Vincent, Modern French Philosophy, Cambridge University Press – Downloaded on monoskop – there is a chapter on Difference ( Derrida and Deleuze), p136 – 167 He first looks at Derrida, then on Deleuze, on which I focussed. Starts on page 152: The search for a Transcendental Empiricism – hard reading!
Also look at below site – this author writes on film philosophy and critiques D Olkowski’s the Ruins of Representation
John David Ebert has a great YouTube series on Deleuze and Difference and Repetition. I accessed this today ( 29 April 15:00)