A personal account of my encounter with the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze. A work-in-progress.
Pre-Figuring Deleuze in Figural Analysis
Before I proceed any further to this blog project, I would like to take time in introducing my strange ‘friendship’ with Gilles Deleuze: a friendship which involves “competitive distrust of the rival as much as amorous striving toward the object of desire… claimant and rival.’ My admiration for Deleuze traverses between an amorous cohabitation and a rivalry. His philosophy, for the past two years, provided me enough space for thinking. His philosophy became my place of residence, my living abode, my overgrown garden where I could sit every afternoon drinking tea. It is as if each of his concept is meaningfully placed in a space before me, like objects in a toolshed – a network of ideas sliding on top of each other, ceaselessly transforming in each step of the way. Each concept is a friend, a tool, a strange outgrowth. Deleuze easily became a confidant, a keeper of my secrets, a giver of pathways. Yet, one can never be too close to a friend. A right amount of ‘rivalry’ or critical reading and admiration sets the friendship in motion. And for two years we have been in conversation, in continuous debate, which would often amount to a transformative becoming of each other. Am I talking sense here? Is it possible to be in ‘conversation’ with a dead philosopher for two years? Or am I talking about my undisclosed invisible friend named Gilles Deleuze? Well, my encounter with Gilles Deleuze is real. The inscription of his philosophical ideas in my mind did not happen in thin air. I read him. I read his books and wrote marginal notes on it. I also read him through the books written by Deleuzian scholars. The encounter more or less is real.
Deleuze’s Wake: Tributes and Tributaries, part of SUNY’s Contemporary Continental Philosophy Series, was the first book I bought about Deleuze. It was written by Ronald Bogue, one of the early scholars of Deleuze. I bought it when I was still an undergraduate student in Chemical Engineering (2008-2009) from a Booksale Bookstore at North Avenue. Like many other books at home, it laid on my bookshelf for years. I did not know what to do with it. It is a philosophy book with a strange and unfamiliar language. I remember reading it six years ago confused with the words deterritorialization, asubjectification, refrains, affect, time-image, as if underneath each word lays a secret world: a dense vegetation waiting to be explored and uncovered. My nineteen-year-old self is not enthusiastic enough to partake on a Deleuzian journey. So I left it on my bookshelf for years to gather dust .
This is just a quick update on my research project. Some exploratory notes on the domain of research.
My research project on Lav Diaz is becoming a rigorous cartographic project of existing literature exploring the domain of all possible and impossible fields that might actually play in dispensing and distilling the idea of cinema and time. It is unforgivable to perform cartographic sketch for a filmmaker coming from only one root or one guiding framework. Frameworks are arborescent structures. They are centric and centered on subjectivity and historical & cultural determination decreasing potentiality of the plane generative of pure events. The plane for this project must manifest as a empirical space for contending issues which includes not only the problematics of time and cinema but also the following: ontology of representation which dates back to Plato, emancipatory power of cinema , the author/auteur, affect and perception, spectatorship, political economy of time, ethics, the Other and the Minoritarian, digital era, etc.
After tracing and mapping ‘time’ from all directions: from Rodowick (digital x time) to Flusser (post-history) to Bliss Cua Lim (postcolonialism x time) to Agamben (time vs. history) to Deleuze (who reads Bergson, Spinoza and Kant) to Guattari (transversality, ecology) to Derrida (time’s invisibility, differance, trace, critique of metaphysics of presence) to Massumi (perception x time), I am now entering a differential passage.
- Toni Negri for labour time
- Bernard Stiegler for technology x time
- Jacques Ranciere for image x politics and his writing on Bela Tarr
- Quentin Meillassoux for his striking proclamation of ‘time as absolute’ in After Finitude: An Essay on the Necessity of Contingency
- Ray Brassier for relation of time to extinction
- some contemporary writings on slow cinema (recently Justin Remes’ Motion(less) Pictures: The Cinema of Stasis)
The project is becoming a hyperplane, a manifold of intersecting discourses, which will eventually collapse into a field or a network of relations that would answer the question: What is the relationship of time and the film image?
Time is the most difficult component of the project, while Diaz’s cinema remains as an object of philosophical and critical analysis. The relation of time and Diaz’s cinema is a difficult mix of philosophy and cinema studies. I can, however, remain considerably ‘disciplined’ by focusing only on film studies aspect reviewing and integrating only the literature available within the film discipline along with extensive formal film analysis, generating a work of secondary literature. The addition of time as a component to the research stretches the domain of the project.
Edinburgh University Press Blog
Gilles Deleuze (1925–1995) is probably Meillassoux’s most important interlocutor, the philosopher who is both closest to his own concerns and yet the one with whom he most strongly disagrees. On the one hand, both Deleuze and Meillassoux place great emphasis on contingency, and each draws from the work of David Hume in important respects in order to make the case for contingency. The central thesis and subtitle of Meillassoux’s After Finitude is that the only thing that is necessary is the necessity of contingency. Deleuze and Guattari, similarly, will call out in What is Philosophy? against what they label the cult of necessity and will reaffirm Nietzsche’s own advocacy of the roll of the dice, the chance and contingency inseparable from all things. In What is Philosophy? they will also give philosophy the task of creating concepts, a task that entails affirming and embracing…
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