Deleuze: work of art – act of resistance

Let’s say that is what information is, the controlled system of the order-words used in a given society. What does the work of art have to do with it? Let’s not talk about works of art, but let’s at least say that there is counter-information. In Hitler’s time, the Jews arriving from Germany who were the first to tell us about the concentration camps were performing counter-information. We must realize that counter-information was never enough to do anything. No counter-information ever bothered Hitler. Except in one case. What case? This is what’s important. Counter-information only becomes really effective when it is—and it is by nature—or becomes an act of resistance. An act of resistance is not information or counter-information. Counter-information is only effective when it becomes an act of resistance.

What relationship is there between the work of art and communication? None at all. A work of art is not an instrument of communication. A work of art has nothing to do with communication. A work of art does not contain the least bit of information. In contrast, there is a fundamental affinity between a work of art and an act of resistance. It has something to do with information and communication as an act of resistance. What is this mysterious relationship between a work of art and an act of resistance when the men and women who resist neither have the time nor sometimes the culture necessary to have the slightest connection with art? I do not know.

Malraux developed an admirable philosophical concept. He said something very simple about art. He said it was the only thing that resists death. Let’s go back to the beginning: What does someone who does philosophy do? They invent concepts. I think this is the start of an admirable philosophical concept. Think about it… what resists death? You only have to look at a statuette from three thousand years before the Common Era to see that Malraux’s response is a pretty good one. We could then say, not as well, from the point of view that concerns us, that art resists, even if it is not the only thing that resists. Whence the close relationship between an act of resistance and a work of art. Every act of resistance is not a work of art, even though, in a certain way, it is. Every work of art is not an act of resistance, and yet, in a certain way, it is.

Take the case of the Straubs, for example, when they operate the disconnection of voice and visual image. They approach it in the following way: the voice rises, it rises, it rises and what it is talking about passes under the naked, deserted ground that the visual image was showing us, a visual image that had nothing to do with the sound image. What is this speech act rising in the air while its object passes underground? Resistance. Act of resistance. And in all of the Straubs’ works, the speech act is an act of resistance. From Moses to the last Kafka including—I am not citing them in order—Not Reconciled or Bach. Bach’s speech act is that his music is an act of resistance, an active struggle against the separation of the profane and the sacred. This act of resistance in the music ends wich a cry. Just as there is a cry in Wozzeck, there is acry in Bach: “Out! Out! Get out! I don’t want to see you!” When the Straubs place an emphasis on this cry, on Bach’s cry, or the cry of the old schizophrenic women in Not Reconciled, it has to account for a double aspect. The act of resistance has two faces. It is human and it is also the act of art. Only the act of resistance resists death, either as a work of art or as human struggle.

What relationship is there between human struggle and a work of art? The closest and for me the most mysterious relationship of all. Exactly what Paul Klee meant when he said: “You know, the people are missing.” The people are missing and at the same time, they are not missing. The people are missing means that the fundamental affinity between a work of art and a people that does not yet exist is not, will never be clear. There is no work of art that does not call on a people who does not yet exist.”


from Deleuze’s lecture/conference “What is the creative act?”


download: Gilles-Deleuze-on-Cinema_-What-is-the-Creative-Act-1987-English-Subs.mp4

The Interface = relation

The interface, Hookway tells us, has always exhibited a ‘a tendency toward a seeming transparency and disappearance’ and this ‘illusory disappearance is an essential aspect of the operation of a user interface, in as much as an operator internalizes the user interface in the course of working through it.’

‘Control upon the interface involves a double moment,’ we are told, ‘where power at once confines and enables.’ We are at once augmented and reduced by our interactions, promised limitless powers but only if we may shrink ourselves to fit a machine-readable vision of the human.

‘[T]he surface refers back to a thing,’ Hookway explains, ‘and expresses the properties of that thing, while the interface refers back to a relation between things and expresses an action.’

— Branden Hookway, Interface (MIT Press, 184pp, £17.95, ISBN 9780262525503), via

IF3: theories on audio-visual

Been reading the last part of Deleuze’s Cinema 2 – Time-image for most of the day. In the last chapter (The components of the image) he seems to be focused very much on sound (words, sounds, music) and finally on a ‘birth of the audio-visual‘. It looks like I’m searching for certain views, perspectives, thinking about the audio-visual, about the cinematic sound and image, electronic image in the cinema, in order to find paths towards concrete actions – programming, searching for content, recording, composing… Of course, Deleuze’s writing is philosophical, deep and extremely challenging, while Michele Chion’s is somewhat chaotic and (especially compared to Deleuze) superficial. But it seems to me that what I need is to extract workable concepts that will help me in a practical way. I suppose that Chion’s concepts are still imaginative and interesting enough for that purpose.

It is quite amazing that Deleuze writes in 1985:

“When the frame or the screen functions as instrument panel, printing or computing table, the image is constantly being cut into another image, being printed through a visible mesh, sliding over other images in an ‘incessant stream of messages, and the shot itself is less like an eye than an overloaded brain endlessly absorbing information: it is the brain-information, brain-city couple which replaces that of eye-Nature. […] a brain which has a direct experience of time, anterior to all motivity of bodies […].”

Misconceptions About Communism (and Capitalism)

The US’s particular brand of capitalism required exterminating a continent’s worth of indigenous people and enslaving millions of kidnapped Africans. And all the capitalist industry was only possible because white women, considered the property of their fathers and husbands, were performing the invisible tasks of child-rearing and housework, without remuneration. Three cheers for free exchange.


It should be intuitive that capitalism, which glorifies rapid growth amidst ruthless competition, would produce great acts of violence and deprivation, but somehow its defenders are convinced that it is always and everywhere a force for righteousness and liberation. Let them try to convince the tens of millions of people who die of malnutrition every year because the free market is incapable of engineering a situation in which less than half of the world’s food is thrown away.


…most of the greatest art under capitalism has always come from people who are oppressed and alienated (see: the blues, jazz, rock & roll, and hip-hop). Then, thanks to capitalism, it is homogenized, marketed, and milked for all its value by the “entrepreneurs” sitting at the top of the heap, stroking their satiated flanks in admiration of themselves for getting everyone beneath them to believe that we are free.

via 7 Huge Misconceptions About Communism (and Capitalism) | Alternet.

questions and notes (interface fractures research 13/10/07)

At the moment I’m quite inspired by an article in The Wire about Matana Roberts (not a jazz musician, but an experimentalist). Her focus on the past of black slavery and reflection on the present (immigration, LGBT, and more) make me think about my own position and desire to reflect my own past, the past of this country. Slovenians, huh. I’m thinking of slovenian folklore, perhaps a slavic, pagan one on one hand, and about the partisan-communist/belogardist-collaborators issues and conflicts on the other. What kind of people are we Slovenians? Cankar talked about servants, fieldhands, toadies… Cankar is a dark departure point. Slightly halucinogenic. I’m asking myself questions about what are my/our roots which define the most problematic issues in the present? And of course, is there a way to express them, or at least this retrospection and questioning – in a contemporary audio-visual way?

Perhaps I don’t want to be so specific in historic way. Perhaps it would be interesting to think about all those different historic roots, but then move onto a slightly more general feelings, like hate, fascism, xenophobia, … and it seems important to stay honest, to keep a strong connection to what I really stand behind.

I would be looking at:

  • history of slovenia (80s?)
  • histories of art/avant-gardes (Zabel, Šuvaković)
  • theories of fascism, anarchism, critical-culture,
  • philosophy of noise (Voegelin)
  • audio-visual languages (incl. M. Chion), Tscherkassky

I imagine producing textual fragments, visual fragments, 3d structures, sonic fragments – a lot of noise, a lot of bass.

I’m thinking of how different today time is, the precarity, the capitalist exploitation (of workers, of consumers). Is this a new form of fascism? No. Since there is no totalitarian state.(?).

Let’s hold that we are living in informational capitalism. Is it possible to use certain political-artistic strategies from the alternative movements of the 80s in order to reveal the paradoxes of informational capitalism? Jodi Dean.