26 Mar 2011

Deleuze Cinema Update: Run Out and Touch Someone. Buster Keaton. The Cameraman

by Corry Shores
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There is a new Deleuze Cinema Project entry. Click on the title below.

Concrete Rules and Abstract Machines Link to Henry Somers-Hall's Deleuze and Merleau-Ponty: The Aesthetics of Difference.



by Corry Shores
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A great link at concrete rules and abstract machines to a paper just recommended to me by a Deleuze/Merleau-Ponty/Bergson and Phenomenology scholar Judith Wambacq of Universiteit Gent. Her works can be seen here. It is an excellent paper, Henry Somers-Hall's Deleuze and Merleau-Ponty: The Aesthetics of Difference. Here is his faculty page, his publications, and here publication links on philpapers.

22 Mar 2011

Amazing New Clifford Duffy Innovations

posting by Corry Shores
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See more of Clifford Duffy's beautiful innovations. Here is a gorgeous word from a stunning poem, remand:

o ,, n

And here a lovely phrase

at's time's at

See his painting too:

And certainly notice his interactive innovation for this poem. I cannot reproduce it on my blog, so see it here in the poem 'turf'

After the 'of', there is space for the eyes to read, until getting to his time-modulating double commas. We might not notice that there is a cloaked hyperlink, 'war' taking us to another wonderful poem (place your cursor near the last double comma and click). But when I first read it, I did not see it. Yet I felt something in that place where the word was. I felt the immediacy of time, as has been the case lately when I read many of Duffy's works; he has been producing new time experiences. So I wonder, what is our experience of this poem? Does it change how we experience the temporality in that space of the invisible war? Does Duffy create a far greater temporal intensity using this technique? That is my impression. Without knowing of the hidden war, I felt the force of time while my eyes moved over that place. But now knowing it is a link to another poetry-world, it feels like so much more is given birth in that instant my eyes are in that spot. Do you feel it too? In that blank space, another parallel language world is expressing itself implicitly. What separates these worlds is not space, because they intersect the same place. When we look in the mirror and see a person appearing many years older than we had in mind for ourselves, we feel the depth of these many years all in that instant. Time is not the passage from the past to the present, but the feeling of the forces at war between these images. Perhaps when our eyes see both language worlds in the same place, we do not have the feeling that space lies between them, but perhaps forces of time do; we might think, for example, that it will take time for us to go from this poetry world to the hyperlinked one. But we feel ourselves already in that other world, even before going there; we feel that other world implicitly in this sentence. So we feel the time between the two language worlds right there in an instant where we see just a small spaceless point in the motion of the poem. Our space-time warping into this other world is not actualized, it is implicit, we feel ourselves being thrown in that direction, like how a ball spinning on a chain always feels itself being thrown in a straight line away from its circular path.

As Duffy's poems show, language can generate 'lines of escape' or 'lines of flight'. By doing so, we feel ourselves fly-off to another meaning-world, all while remaining within the immediacy of our given experience. So perhaps one way language produces time is by creating these lines of flight to other language worlds, which compresses the time between them into our immediate temporal experience. Do we feel this in Duffy's poems? There are other reasons they create time, but is this at least one of them?

12 Mar 2011

RE: Sei zeMar kdow nsOnCap su leAllThr ough outTheYear‏

by Corry Shores
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RE: Sei zeMar kdow nsOnCap su leAllThr ough outTheYear‏

Often, contraband messages get smuggled through our spam filters. Somehow the constructions communicate subversively, not in the sense of having subversive political messages or purposes, but subverting the codified efforts to block its flow. These bootlegged messages seem different than a secret code. We don't need a decoder to know the meaning. It just speaks to us in its devious way. It is stealth communication. The radars cannot read it, and it flies through the defenses. Our email boxes are not immune to these invasions, because language is immune to attempts at exhausting its meaning using mechanical methods. Language is a much more sophisticated machine. It can disassemble into a more heterogeneous and differential state. The message above seems incoherent. That is precisely its power. Its parts relate so differentially that the algorithms could not put them together into a whole coherent message.[1] But our eyes can. What might interest us is the self-differential process, how 'Seize Markdowns On Capsules All Throughout The Year' becomes 'Sei zeMar kdow nsOnCap su leAllThr ough outTheYear‏.' The parts that were combined do not usually fit together. The parts that were split would normally need to be touching. This is incoherence in two senses: the glue comes undone in some cases, and things that do not naturally glue together are forced into each other, despite their resistance to sticking together. We sometimes hear new slang terms from groups whose power is in the minority. They mostly use the same phonetics, often times the same words, perhaps in all cases the outer appearance of the slang term is something that fits in the language system of the majority power. But its meanings are not fully interpretable by those in the majority. Parents no matter the effort they invest often give up in exasperation trying to understand their teen children's lingo. Or people not accustomed to rap might be unable to discern any of its meanings, despite the rapper speaking entirely in that person's native language. These counterfeit words circulate through the normal currency, except unlike false money, bootlegged language is more valuable than the genuine marks. Slang terms have expressive power perhaps because they throw disruptions into the system, which they can do, because they are designed to pass freely within that system. When we hear a slang term we don't know, it seems like it is from a foreign language, but we know it is not from some language of a different part of the world. Slang is language originating among the parts of our system and circulating freely throughout the regimented ranks of all the other words, as if its subversive meaning wears an invisibility cloak.

[1] A new mechanical method could be devised to discern it, first by only placing spaces before capital letters. But the point is that the algorithms are created only after the invention of the new deformations, in a delayed response to them, hence at first the contraband messages will often get through the defense machinery.

As Time Breathes

posting by Corry Shores
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Another beautiful time creation, Clifford Duffy's 'As' at The Fictions of Deleuze and Guattari. Here is a small piece. I feel language breathing time:

Blue as a river . Dark as a night. So the cloud . Bulk blue sky ask the anagram word. Of the
name . So the plateau rivers delivers its own self. Along the rink dark as the skater's legs,

and the ring between the sky and ocean ~ and lips over hips and the word as its vessel

ties fingers over thighs . and the ~


2 Mar 2011

The Still of Time: A-Temporal Phenomena in the Duration of Deleuze’s Bergson

by Corry Shores
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The following is from my presentation at the Bergson and his Postmodern and Immanent Legacies conference.

The Still of Time:
A-Temporal Phenomena in the Duration of Deleuze’s Bergson

Deleuze is often considered an anti-phenomenologist. Yet my sense is that his critique of phenomenology is more of a constructive critique. Deleuze is not against the project of studying phenomenal appearances; he merely does so on the basis of different principles and methods. Namely, Deleuze seems interested mostly in the phenomenality of phenomena. Phenomenologists, however, often turn their attention to how phenomenal appearances become constituted throughout the flow of our internal time consciousness. But for Deleuze, a phenomenon is a flash. It could appear instantaneously. What we will explore is the possibility that a Deleuzean phenomenology need not appeal to a flow of time consciousness in order to account for the production of phenomena.

This endeavor is inspired by an article that phenomenologist Michael Kelly wrote, where he defends Husserl’s time consciousness against Deleuzean-Bergsonists. These critics charge that Husserl’s theory of internal time cannot “accommodate time’s fundamental characteristic, namely its passage.” . Yet, Kelly shows that Husserl’s later writings on temporality are immune to this critique.

We might note how Deleuze famously said of his Bergsonism book that it is a classic instance of his buggering technique. He writes, “I imagined myself getting onto the back of an author, and giving him a child, which would be his and which would at the same time be a monster. It is very important that it should be his child, because the author actually had to say everything that I made him say. But it also had to be a monster because it was necessary to go through all kinds of decenterings, slips, break ins, secret emissions, which I really enjoyed.”

So what we will explore is the possibility that one such conceptual offspring is a surprising interpretation of Bergson’s duration: for Deleuze, duration’s fundamental characteristic is not its flowing passage. Perhaps we might characterize duration by employing terms with more of an a-temporal connotation, like instantaneous, simultaneous, and eternal. But these provisional characterizations should really only serve to avert our attention away from time’s flow in order to focus more on time in its absolute immediacy.

To do this, let’s first examine Bergson’s expanding circuit diagram.

Bergson uses it to illustrate the way that the past is always contemporaneous with the present. He first has us consider what he calls an ‘after image’. They are always a part of our perception.

We look at some object, then abruptly avert our gaze to another place. For a split-second, the image of the initial object will carry-into and overlay-upon the new scene we see. The prior object remains in our field of perception, even though it is actually no longer there. Instead, it is virtually there.

The virtual past image inserts itself so thoroughly into the new actual image that “we are no longer able to discern what is perception and what is memory.” Perhaps this is why fast moving objects leave a blurry trail behind them.

According to Bergson, just while the perceived image is sent to our brain, the most recent image in our memory has already arrived-upon and overlaid our current perception, with both moving lightning fast in a continuous circuit.

But just as soon as we see something, it will already begin to appear differently to us, because we move our eyes or notice something new in what we see. Like before, the new image and its predecessor circulate immediately. Yet the even older image has not gone away; it too re-imposes itself on the present perception, but in a somewhat less vivid way. Nonetheless, this enriches the object with another layer in its appearance.

With each additional moment, another new inner circuit pushes-out the former ones.
So we see, then, that the past and present are perpetually crystallized together. “In truth,” writes Bergson, “every perception is already memory. Practically we perceive only the past, the pure present being the invisible progress of the past gnawing into the future.”

Yet even though all of our past is always interposed in the present in an implicit way, sometimes what we see causes one recollection to stand-out more explicitly among the rest. Often we observe something in our daily life that causes certain prior memories to flare-out before our “mind’s eye.” And sometimes our flashbacks can be so vivid that they drown-out the actual things we see. We then begin to feel as though we are reliving that past experience.

Deleuze illustrates these recollection-circuits with the cinematic flashbacks in Marcel Carné’s movie The Daybreak (Le jour se lève).

The film follows events happening from sundown to dawn. During this short period, a murderer flashes back into his past. Whenever we return to the present, we hear a heavy doom-filled bass and drum beat. It gives us the feeling we are moving inevitably toward a fatal end. So during the flashbacks, the past is so vibrant that it completely covers-over the actual present things standing before him in his room. As viewers, we only see what he is remembering, and not the events still carrying-on in the present while he dreams. But because upon returning we hear that fatal march toward the end, we are reminded that even while reminiscing, we never escaped the current doomed situation.


Now consider if we were to memorize a series of spoken lines for a play. Each time we practice it, we create a new individual memory. When it comes time to perform, we just start with the first word, and the rest seem to follow automatically, without our needing to recall any single rehearsal. All the previous times were contracted into that present moment of automatic habitual bodily performance. But after the show, someone might ask us about how we memorized the lines. Then we could relax and daydream about those moments, seeing them in their vivid detail.

Bergson illustrates this with his famous cone diagram. As new things enter our memory, they add to a cone.

If we are acting automatically, like when performing something we rehearsed, then we are down closer to the S point.

Being near this tip does not mean our memories have gone away. Rather, they are all contracted into our physical actions, like how a performance expresses physically all our memories of past recitals. When instead we daydream about the past, the images expand-out in our minds, as during a flashback. In these moments, we reside at a higher layer of the cone. Always we are varying somewhere between automatic action and dreamful reflection, so we might be at any of the many possible layers of expansion or contraction of our memory.


So during flashback scenes, the character’s memory leaps-up to a higher level. But during an action scene where he acts automatically, his memory is contracted into the present moment, down at the cone’s tip. We are always changing level, varying ‘melodically’ between our intense physical engagement in the present moment and our drifting somewhere in dream-land.

So the larger circuits are more distant memories, and the higher cone levels are increased degrees of expansion on one part of those memories.

The cone levels and the circuits are not equivalent, but we might place them in correspondence by noting that when moving to a distant circuit, we are also expanding our memories. In these slides we might correlate the movement-into-flashback with the expansions in the diagrams.

What we notice are the simultaneity of the layers. At any one moment, our consciousness is expressing, implicitly or explicitly, all our past actions and memories. We do not need time to flow in order for it to fully present itself in its immediacy. When the hero sees a memento and flashes back to an event taking place a couple months prior, he does not feel two months of time in their continuous passage. Instead, he experiences two months time in a sudden flash. So the simultaneity of the distant past with the active present becomes immediately evident to him. It is not an extent of time that he undergoes in this flash, but rather time in the form of an intensity.

To further illustrate, Deleuze discusses flashback movies made by Joseph Mankiewicz. In these films, flashbacks are the product of bifurcations. There are two dimensions to these bifurcations or forkings. The first sort we will consider is the forking as a break in a linear progress, as described by Prigogine and Stengers.


They describe how for certain chemical reactions, changes in one variable can be correlated to the variations of others, but then one variable will reach a point when its path is indeterminable. It could increase or decrease, but this outcome is always left to chance.

The other sort of bifurcation we find in Borges’ story ‘The Garden of Forking Paths.’ It describes a Chinese monk’s unfinished manuscripts for a novel with this same title. It went unpublished because it was incomprehensible. The chapters did not proceed just sequentially. A following chapter would be like an alternate version of the same prior one.

The Garden, then, forks-not through space but rather through time. Characters in stories normally must choose between diverging paths. In the Garden, however, the character, “chooses— simultaneously—all of them. He creates, in this way, diverse futures, diverse times which themselves also proliferate and fork.”

There is one remarkable scene in Mankiewicz’ Barefoot Contessa, which showcases both senses of bifurcation. The soon-to-be Contessa quite abruptly switches companions, taking her down a drastically different path. But this scene was remembered by two different people, each in their own way and with their own slight variations. We will place both scenes side-by-side, listening just to the audio from one.


We notice that sudden instant of the slap, that crack in the flow of time, when the next moment is completely undetermined, entirely discontinuous with the present, that moment which is truly phenomenal, that pure, intense, dramatic moment outside the flow of time.

Now, the Contessa’s forking is the reason each of these people recalled the event. We see the relation between bifurcation and flashback shown even more vividly in Mankiewicz’ A Letter to Three Wives. In this story, a woman writes a letter to three wives saying she ran off with one of their husbands, but she does not specify which one. This is a forking in their lives, and it causes them to recall prior forkings in the past that foreshadowed the current situation. In one wife’s recollection, we see her discover a possible reason her husband might have left with the other woman. Her face makes a certain expression that is almost identical with her current one, as if in her past she was already flashing forward to the future. And likewise, events in the present unfold where she gets news that seems to confirm her suspicions, and she makes that same facial expression again, linking all three moments together.


So when something happens in our lives that takes us down a diverging unexpected path, we on the one hand might flash back to another forking in the past that only implicitly hinted at the current bifurcation; yet on the other hand, we are already living the present moment as a memory given in advance of its future recollection, only we don’t know yet what future forkings will bring out the present moment’s implicit significance. In the instant of the flashback, past, present, and future are all simultaneous and immediate to our consciousness, as if we are always in a way standing outside of time’s flow and experiencing events from the perspective of eternity.

We noted at the beginning how phenomenology requires time to pass in order for phenomena to appear. This in a way gives the present moment a sort of thickness. It swells out from the present, fading into the past like a comet tail, as Husserl puts it.

And we are only able to constitute a phenomenal object by means of associative similarities that present themselves and synthesize across a span of flowing time. But for Deleuze, we need not think that appearances show themselves through time in its flowing. The phenomenon of motion, for example, might just be the diminishing vibrancy of layers of after images all showing in one instant of perception.

Deleuzean Bergsonist Depth of Time

(Thanks eyefetch)

(Thanks diagonalthoughts.com)

(Thanks marinagraham)

If ever we feel time, we feel it as a difference or a gap, like when peering in the mirror and seeing someone who looks older than we thought we were. Abruptly-noticed signs of age make us feel the depth of many years all in that sudden instant when they flash before us. Instead of an extensive thickness of time, we might think of an intensive depth of time. Each moment in our lives has the depth of all time, here and now immediately. A Deleuzean phenomenological time need not flow, and perhaps should not flow. If the flow is based on associating similarities bridging one moment to the next, then more flow would mean less difference from moment to moment, and thus less standing out, less appearing, less phenomenality.

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