Todd May: creative possibilites in a Deleuzian framework

Gilles Deleuze’s philosophy of life is characterized by the commitment to there always being more than meets the eye. Whatever there is in the actual world contains a virtuality that can always express itself, and often does. In fact, for Deleuze the actual is only an expressive moment of the virtual.
This leads us to several ideas that we will discuss: First, representation is inferior to creation, since representation only captures the actual and does not touch upon the virtual.
Second, creation itself must be an experimentation. Since we do not know the virtual, we can only experiment with the possibilities it offers.
Finally, since the virtual is of this world, and not of another, life (and philosophy) must be lived imminently. Our lives are not matters of judgment from theology or morality, but instead of discovery of what and who we can be in this world.

9 responses to “Todd May: creative possibilites in a Deleuzian framework

  1. Pingback: Ölümsüzlük Teorisi ve Gilles Deleuze | Senselogi©·

  2. Reblogged this on Senselogi© and commented:
    Attacking RedHack is attacking the freedom of information, the press freedom and the freedom of expression!

    The Turkish government afraid form Internet. And how scared! Turkish left-wing hacker group RedHack caused a heart attack inside the Turkish Government. They did it in seizing a very small part of huge secrets of Turkish police and publishing it. They infiltrated to the Ankara police systems, captured some information and published them online. Everyone saw how dirty is police relations, how police produce evidences using illegal means, how deep is the informant culture created by state coups.

    Turkish government admitted its discomfort by confessing that “the image of the state is hacked” and begun to hunt down RedHack with almost all its institutions. But, unable to seize the group, they arrested innocent people who only shared related information on social media, to instill terror in the hearts of the people. There are seven of these people remain in detention. RedHack, declaring, “you arrested the wrong people, we are here,” continue to operate and took down hundreds of police web sites. But that innocent people are still detained.

    The government who RedHack as a “terrorist organization”, keyboards and screens as “weapon”, PlayStation CD’s as “evidence,” in violation of law, bound RedHack case to the specially authorized prosecutors. Their next move will be probably asking help form Interpol, even from CIA! The government is helpless. The government is afraid. The government is scared to death from knowledge! 

    In regarding to the press freedom violations and the number of detained journalist, Turkey has the worst record of the world. The government tries to destroy the books before their publication, arrest journalists and frighten them. Because the government afraid of knowledge.

    When they silenced the press, the information begun to flow on the Internet, on the social media. The Turkish government does its best to oppress the Internet, censor it and silence the people who use their freedom of expression on the Net. For example, the government blocked access to several web sites operated by RedHack without giving any legal justification. Internet censorship in Turkey has one of the world’s worst registries. Because the government afraid of knowledge flows freely. But the Internet is not easy to suppress. Remember that.

    Turkish government’s attacks against RedHack who is exposing its dirty secrets are the same as its attacks against the press freedom, the freedom of expression and the right to information. These attacks are against the freedom of information and they are illegitimate.

    Anonymous supports RedHack who is supporting the freedom of information of Turkish people.

    We demand the cessation of these illegitimate attacks against RedHack.
We demand the immediate release of innocent people have nothing to do with RedHack. We demand the cessation of this fear operation.

    Anonymous will support RedHack and everyone in Turkey working to tear down the barriers to information until the end.

    This support, we will show in every way we possess.

    We are Anonymous.

    We are Legion.

    We do not forgive.

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    Expect us.

  3. I’m always slightly ambivalent about claims to representation being inferior to creation. For someone like Todd May (and a host of so-called “post-anarchist” thinkers) the ontological argument regarding representation is made on the basis of, or in order to ground, the political claim that political representation is inferior to direct participation in social decision making. While I am close to anarchism (at times I’m happy to simply declare I am an anarchist), this seems like too quick a move from one register to another.

    To be clear, I’m favourable to May’s work- I’ve read his intro. to Deleuze (similar content to the lecture), his ‘Reconsidering Difference’, his Foucault book, and ‘The Political Philosophy of Post-structuralist anarchism’, and I enjoy his take on neopragmatism.

    I realise May doesn’t seek to denigrate representation in a Platonic manner but all the same, this line of argument has been used pretty spuriously to produce criticisms of representation in democratic procedures, giving way to a worship of spontaneity and anti-organisational thinking that undermines the uses of a Deleuzian political ontology. This is more a word of caution regarding the abuse of these ideas than it is a criticism of Deleuze or May themselves. Its also important to bear in mind because this is along the lines of a criticism that I remember Eric Alliez throwing at May at a research seminar.

    • This is a very good reminder, Arran.

      While listening, I was mostly thinking about the line between epistemology and ontology, rather than about politics explicitly, not considering May’s commitments. I think the framing of representation as an opposite pole to creation is, mostly just silly. The gaps between our representations and “things” are themselves, seemingly, an agent in creativity–and then once again the gap between our representations and the products created. People thinking that abstract art isn’t at all representational are out to lunch too I think. It always winds up representing in part the moments that went into its emergence. While others may not have access to those moments, they are still there in a sense. For others they also have the imagined process, and their own engagement.

      To posit creativity or desire as purely a positive force, is also a bit negligent. There’s a huge risk in positioning oneself ethically AFTER creation. I remember Bifo critiquing that a bit in After the Future. There’s also a bit of a cult of novelty to all of this.

      I’m mostly comfortable identifying as an anarchist as well, but am struggling a bit in terms of this polemic(?) between process and structure. On a personal level I’ve seen a lot of tenderness thrown aside in the name of spontaneous insurrectionary acts–a lack of intersectional politics.

      Obviously there are certain organizations and structures that are ridiculously worthwhile. Who will build and maintain them? I think my favourite Zizek moment was when he explained that he didn’t believe in anarchism because he was too lazy for constant engagement.

  4. Pingback: Deleuze in Oakland | Critical Fantasies·

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