Published on March 9, 2014
Beyond Representation : Beyond Representation Traditionally, representation is an articulation of that which is already given as a representation in experience. “For Deleuze, philosophy has been governed by just this dogmatic image of thought, the idea of a subject who passively and dutifully recognises and represents the world (Deleuze 1994) (Colebrook, 2002: 1)”. Deleuze and immanence: not grounded in experience and its objects do not necessarily bear a strong resemblance to empirical objects. Beyond Representation : Beyond Representation Why “beyond representation”? A re-presentation? (As if “thought were a passive picture or copy of the world” (Colebrook, 2002: 1). Some central concerns... To be creative, or to at least attempt to “think” (as a creative activity), we have to try and divest ourselves of simplistic processes of recognition...such as notional concepts of identity, representation, difference and the subsequent unity of things in the world that really have no actual unity at all. Beyond Representation : Beyond Representation “Philosophers have treated the world as though it were already meaningful, identifiable and logically ordered. They have regarded thinking as the passive repetition of the world’s inherent meaning and logic. Stupid or malevolent thought, however, shows that thought does not naturally copy the world or inevitably provide one more example of common sense” (Colebrook, 2002: 5). Beyond Representation : Beyond Representation Deleuze: a critique of this system of representation, introducing instead a philosophy of 'immanence'. Nice encapsulation: “The initial metaphysical intuition of Deleuze is very simple; the vital forces that can be activated in thought are kept at bay by an ordering and filtering system which imposes on reality a determinate logical structure. We may move beyond this logical structure if we can produce thoughts that are sufficiently abstract to think reality outside of representation. Deleuze's general account of what it is to be, or 'ontology' therefore leads to a perspective on human life that is in conflict with conscious experience. However, Deleuze also seeks to replace this conscious subject with another subject, defined by its passage through time, its capacity to undergo affects and by its creative potentials rather than its conscious experience of itself (Due, 2007: 9). Beyond Representation : Beyond Representation Deleuze: a critique of this system of representation, introducing instead a philosophy of 'immanence'. As Due writes succinctly: “The terms 'representation' and 'immanence' are mutually exclusive and define each other: representation consists of thinking about the world through the filter of a logical model centred on the notion of the 'individual object', and corresponding thereby to how the world presents itself in everyday experience. Immanence is the ideal of understanding reality, not as it appears in experience, but as it unfolds according to its own intrinsic genetic processes” (Due, 2007: 6) Or more succinctly... Beyond Representation : Beyond Representation Beyond Representation : Beyond Representation Basically via Deleuze if we divest ourselves of simplistic commonsense notions of things...we can get a perspective of the world that challenges its representation within experience. Think of how an immanent-ist perspective might help your own research. An alternative to the subject: the individual human mind constituting a self-conscious centre of knowledge and action (see Due: 9) You might be saying – what's in it for me? But important matter such as creativity and ethics are at stake... Think of the “stereotype” or any “type” - is this thinking? How is difference taken into account? Beyond Representation : Beyond Representation Breaking down these traditional notions of recognition, representation and reality... Why does it matter to you? Well in media, cultural studies, and central to creative production work is “representation”, but you can't really think about its constitution, if you don't know how it is engendered in the first place... This is really the intellectual brief of this course... Thinking through representation, and the limits it places on thought... Beyond Representation : Beyond Representation Going through undergrad, you would have gone through semiotics and structuralism... Some of you may have done some post-structuralism... Structuralism – conceiving self-enclosed formal systems to explain ideas such as communication etc (e.g. Saussurean Semiotics) Post-structuralism – shift to social and cultural forces, rather than some “standard” system Queer Theory for example... Beyond Representation : Beyond Representation Of central importance to Deleuze's philosophy is desire...desire is productive (not lack ala psychoanalysis)... Claire Colebrook writes: “What something is is its flow of desire, and such forces produce diverging and multiple relations. My body is ‘female’, for example, through its desire for other bodies; one produces one’s sexuality through desire. (Desire is not based on lack or what we do not have; desire is productive.)” (Colebrook, 2002: xvi) Desire produces society... In short, moving away from fixed identity or being... Beyond Representation : Beyond Representation “...Deleuze’s work, in very different ways, sought to free life from fixed and rigid models, such as the image of the rational subject, the image of ‘man’, or even the ideas of thinking as information and communication. Philosophy, for Deleuze, was not about creating correct pictures or theories of life, but transforming life. Philosophy is not something we apply to life. By thinking differently we create ourselves anew, no longer accepting already created and accepted values and assumptions. We destroy common sense and who we are in order to become” (Colebrook, 2002: xvi). Beyond Representation : Beyond Representation “Difference, for Hegel, was necessary, absolute and negative. Most twentieth-century thought, including key works in feminism, race theory and political theory, is indebted to Hegel, for whom what something is is defined through its other, its negation, or what it is not” (Colebrook, 2002: 6). Hegel and dialectical thought – think binary oppositions, for example... Beyond Representation : Beyond Representation Deleuze's difference: “...difference is groundless, anarchic, constantly creating and never the same as itself. We cannot say that ‘it’ differs, so thinking difference brings us up against the very limits of speaking (or our tendency to use nouns and conventional sentences): ‘Difference must be shown differing’ (Deleuze 1994, p. 56)” (Colebrook, 2002: 14). Beyond Representation : Beyond Representation “Positive difference must therefore destroy the pacifying and stabilising intellect of common sense; it must allow thought to move beyond a logic of fixed terms. For Deleuze, positive difference is not so much a theory or proposition as it is an eternal challenge. We tend to perceive the world as already differentiated; we do not, for example, perceive the differential genetic powers that produce organisms. At any time that we try to think of the difference that produces distinct terms, we tend to label it, identify it and subordinate it once again to common sense and representation” (Colebrook, 2002: 14). Is it possible to break out of this habit ?