August 2009

blue hose

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here love is buried from the Lives of the Saints series – (a case reopened)

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pines

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sky

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64 years ago, a person who sat on the step evaporated, only leaving the shadow


– image from here, inverted in time

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two magazines, Are you barsexual? from the Landmarks of Auckland series

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invitation to a hanging, from the new and recent works series

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coming soon, from the new and recent works series

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The Danger of the thesis (see preceding post) and a Complication

Surgery will be necessary to prove the thesis that Deleuze’s ‘Un manifeste de moins’ is actually about Alain Badiou. We will have to conduct a transplant, surgically removing Deleuze from theatre and then reconnecting Badiou to theatre, that is, removing Deleuze’s philosophical apparatus from its dependence on theatre and artificially creating this dependence inside Badiou. What will happen? One thing is sure:

The danger in this kind of operation is that theatre quickly multiplies. Already we have a surgical theatre, spectators, a prescribed operation – a script, surgeons – actors, an attendant chorus of nurses and interns, machines ready to play god, lights, even masks! So: a theatre of philosophical operations is succeeded by an O.R.

(The open set oscillates wildly between theatre and philosophy; and theatre endangers the ontological status of mathematics by turning it into a subset.)

What’s to stop the multiplication? There is nothing bracketing this theatre apart from another theatre. The play of representations, the play of plays, opens up to infinity. The infinities multiply. They are in fact actors.

THERE ARE TOO MANY INFINITIES!

We need to shorten the circuit. It must be immediate. There can be no recourse to representation, no detour. We need a philosophy that relates each infinity directly and immediately to the particular – even before it becomes particular, while the particles are still mobile, waves. We need a virtual ontology.

OMG! We are back in Deleuze’s ‘theatrum philosophicum’ and the operation to excise theatre has struck a complication: theatre has hypostasized; it is in every nerve.

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An indefensible thesis, illustrated by the Sausage Queen, flipped for obvious reasons, among other more and less connected images

The thesis of my proposed dissertation is that Gilles Deleuze’s only extended writing on theatre is about Alain Badiou.

‘Un manifeste de moins,’ in a sense sums up Badiou’s entire philosophical ontological project: because the Deleuze text does not have as its referent the theatre of philosophy with which he is otherwise, in the majority of his books and writings, engaged, and despite the fact that the reference it names is Camelo Bene, the concept it creates, for which it is a manifesto, is subtractive; it is a manifesto of less, just as Badiou’s ontology is subtractive. Deleuze’s corpus, I would say, is the rhapsody for theatre; it captures a spirit (which might be called ‘theatrum philosophicum’) that for all Badiou’s rhapsodizing is out reach.

The thesis is theatrically satisfying, if impertinent, and, on the face of it, philosophically indefensible. For the former: Badiou and Deleuze meet over or meet in theatre. Theatre is an interest that manifests itself in Badiou’s philosophical writing in quite a different way from how it appears in Deleuze’s. You might say, in Deleuze it is immanent – given the conceptual-personae throughout his work and the statement that for him “There is a drama beneath every logos”* – except for ‘Un manifeste de moins,’ written directly about Carmelo Bene’s theatre work (Superpositions, written with Bene, I have not seen a translation of)… and then that Badiou comes closest to Deleuze when analysing theatre, as if Deleuze were already where Badiou is looking: in theatre.

…because:THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS AN EMPTY THEATRE

For the latter, in Deleuze’s ‘theatrum philosophicum’ what can be said? What is on the one hand philosophically indefensible in this mirror realm to philosophy, theatre, may be theatrically necessary, may have the force of an encounter, having the necessity of a dramatic encounter. … And then there is the opposition: Badiou/Deleuze, a philosophy of (not genitively but encompassing) theatre/a theatre of philosophy, a writer who rhapsodizes (for) over the excess of theatre/a writer who produces a manifesto of subtraction (for theatre)… theatre here is like a veritable Möbius strip, follow Badiou on one side (theatre) and you end up with Deleuze on the other (philosophy)… And the extraordinary and unmistakable luck that Badiou’s ontological project could bear this title: A manifesto of less.

On the subject of difference, Badiou in ‘Rhapsody for theatre’ attributes the danger to the state, the political force, the power of theatre to the fact that the differences it presents are also represented and representative in that they have no object: they are differences without object and shown so to be, on stage. Theatre relies on this absence of object. It is intrinsic.

Deleuze articulates ontological difference in precisely the way Badiou describes it to exist theatrically: as internal, intrinsic and without object, non-identical (politically non-identitarian). This is the definition of difference in itself. Badiou finds it on stage.

Then, travelling back in the opposite direction: What does the thesis do to Deleuze? What is the meaning it gives to Badiou’s dispute with Deleuze, the epistolary argument that took place 1992-4 and resulted, after Deleuze’s death, in Badiou’s book on Deleuze, The Clamour of Being? What difference does it make to their differences? What difference does it make at all? (Which all ought at once to be construed both at the level of the state, nationally, and at the local and minoritarian, micropolitical level, since…

because THERE IS NO THEATRE THAT DOES NOT MAKE A DIFFERENCE, means that in New Zealand there is no theatre? OR I have no theatre?)

I believe that the thesis actualises a crack, theatre/philosophy, which is not so wide that I cannot stand astride it, as, I believe, Deleuze bestrode it.

SO: Between Manifesto & Rhapsody: The Fate of Theatre (in two French thinkers) would name the proposal for which the emboldened script heading this post provides its indefensible thesis?

*quoted in Gilles Deleuze and the Theatre of Philosophy, ed. Constantin Boundas and Dorothea Olkowski, Routledge, New York, 1994, p.2

A further note: the note as link
Theatre becomes metaphor at the speed of flight (which is a role of difference: deterritorialisation): for example in the introduction to Alain Badiou’s address in the link below, the importance of Rhapsody for theatre is not already directly because it about theatre; it is immediately noted that it about theatre as political, with enormous philosophical weight on that articulating ‘as.’ The moment theatre is introduced it metaphorises: there is no innocent theatre; it is theatre as politics, as philosophy, as therapy, as erotics … and then again, what’s the difference between this ‘as’ and the ‘of’? a theatre of science? or theatre as art?

Link to Alain Badiou: Théâtre et philosophie, listen

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