Charles J. Stivale -- Deleuze & Guattari

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Magazine littéraire 406, February 2002 -- Dossier: "L'effet Deleuze"

Updated February 26, 2003

Magazine littéraire 406, February 2002 - Dossier: "L'effet Deleuze" [The Deleuze effect]

References Points, II: Deleuze in Sound and Images - Elie During

Video and CDs allow us to see and hear Deleuze in action: in conversation with Claire Parnet, filmed by Pierre-André Boutang in the context of a series of televised segments initially conceived as "posthumous"; also, in the teaching situation at Vincennes, on Spinoza.

"L'Abécédaire de Gilles Deleuze," 450 minutes of video recording in the format of a three-video box set (Buena Vista Home Entertainment), declines quite appropriately the twenty-six letters of the alphabet, from "A as in Animal" to "Z as in Zigzag," passing through "L as in Literature." Here we find Deleuze at his home, in a relaxed but very prepared exercise of philosophical quasi-monologue. In both a didactic and informal way, pushed ever onward by Claire Parnet, he speaks about complaining, about the song of the Earth, about the place of judgment in philosophy, about drinking, about illness and fatigue, about the constitution of space through linkage of tiny pieces in Riemann and Bresson (a beautiful example of the encounter between a philosophical concept, a scientific notion, and an aesthetic percept), but also about Claude François and Charles Trenet, about Benny Hill and the 8 PM evening news, and many other things besides. Of course, the question of the seminar experience is raised ("P as in Professor"), about his demonstrations on the musical saw at the Amiens lycée, and about the crazy atmosphere at the Vincennes seminar.

"Spinoza: immortalité et éternité," a double CD published by Gallimard (collection "A haute voix"), provides an idea of what the Tuesday seminar was like, delivered by Deleuze in a fragile, but firm voice, for more than fifteen years, in a classroom in Paris-VIII. This is an impeccable lesson: the linkage of movements and concepts, identification and exposition of problems, also with a few rather comical moments of digression, and the inevitable singularities of the seminar (incomprehensible questions, drafts blowing into the room, etc.). As a counterpoint to this seminar which is in every way a professorial lecture [magistral], one should listen to the Nietzsche text read by Deleuze with a psychedelic musical background (Heldon, alias, Richard Pinhas): the recording is from 1972 or 1973, and the song is called "The Traveler" (audio document available on the Web site: http://www.webdeleuze.com/html/sommaire.html. Richard Pinhas continued this experiment with Maurice Dantec ("Schizotrope", the Richard Pinhas and Maurice Dantec Schizospheric Experience) in a very different direction than what other electronic musicians inspired by Deleuze and Guattari have been able to produce (see the Berlin label Mille plateaux, and the albums "In Memoriam Gilles Deleuze", or "Folds and Rhizomes," with Mouse on Mars, Scanner, Oval, etc.). In this case, there are excerpts from Deleuze read by Dantec, whose vocoder-manipulated voice accompanied by floating or "metratronic" guitars creates a rather beautiful effect. To get an idea of what this symbiosis between music, philosophy, and conceptual personages can create, listen to a few minutes of the CD entitled "The Life and Death of Marie Zorn" (audio archive accessible at http://www.cuneiformrecords.com/bandshtml/schizotrope.html).

 

Transl. CJ Stivale

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