ANU painting postgraduate blog

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decipering Deleuze and Guattari

Dear reading group, I’m finding the next reading a little dense to say the least. Could anyone suggest an adjunct text to help unpack its content? Any pithy suggestions would be welcome Vanessa.


July 20, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. I’m sorry about this, but it is important for me to understand this text as it appears to be a key theoretical context referenced by most artists working with animals. There is Brian Massumi’s ‘A user’s guide to Capitalism and Schizophrenia’. It is helpful to also read the introductions to ‘A Thousand Plateau’s’ itself, I probably should have included it with the excerpt.

    Comment by vanessa | July 21, 2009 | Reply

  2. I hope as artists we can agree that although it is dense writing, visual equivalences to the text form in the mind quite readily when reading it. I always read the text while thinking about art (including my own) in order to extrapolate. After Nicky’s request for suggestions, I began reading the text while thinking about Nicky’s work. In ‘Memories of a Naturalist’ and its articulation of how natural history (and theology) conceive of relationships between animals, I thought of your picturing of the exotic concept and found passages which appear to describe the thinking based on difference that form notions of the exotic. From page 234.”In the case of a series…conform in varying degrees to a single, eminent term, perfection, or quality as the principle behind the series. This is exactly what the theologians used to call an analogy of proportion…The first form of analogy [series] passes for the most sensible and popular,and requires imagination; but the kind of imagination it requires is a studious one that has to take branchings in the series into account, fill in apparent ruptures, ward off false resemblances and graduate the true ones…”On page 235, Understanding “the relationships between animals are bound up with the relations between man and animal, man and woman, man and child, man and the elements, man and the physical and microphysical universe.”In effect the ‘other’ according to man in the context of Western perspectives.

    I am interested in how the text critically examines this concept of other (at the foundation of structuralism) and offers becoming as an alternative. Examples of becoming are offered, beginning with Willard’s identification with a rat and confrontation with the pack (multiplicity) as a prominent feature of Becoming-Animal, Becoming-Imperceptible. 1730-5 is noted for the prevalence of vampires (p.237), “Structuralism clearly does not account for these becomings, since it is designed precisely to deny or at least denigrate their existence.”
    Page 239: The sorcerer – the shape shifter, the powerful spirits who induce fear such as the devil, (the rainbow serpent, the platypus) who exist as a becoming, a transgression between species, who thwart the stability of the original, perfect and separate envisaged by natural history and theology. Later werewolves (p.249 “packs, or multiplicities, continually transform themselves into each other, crossover into each other. Werewolves become vampires when they die.”)and Moby Dick (p.245 “Moby-Dick is neither an individual nor a genus; he is the borderline, and I have to strike him to get at the pack as a whole and pass beyond it.”). Then further along, we have the human who is becoming, on page 246: “Sorcerers have always held the anomalous position, at the edge of the fields or woods. They haunt the fringes. They are at the borderline of the village, or between villages. The important thing is their affinity with alliance, with the pact, which gives them a status opposed to that of filiation. The relation with the anomalous is one of alliance.” Becoming is then a formal agreement made between separate familial or species groups by a ‘sorcerer’ who exists as the embodiment of this link which necessitates separation from association with family. Like the priest between human and God in our own cultural history. Like the shaman or medicine man/woman in indigenous cultures as a link between human and animal or spirit being.
    Which leads me to ask what is the role of the artist in our society?

    Comment by vanessa | July 21, 2009 | Reply

  3. You absolutely don’t have to be sorry about suggesting a dense text that is relevant for your work. Thankyou for taking time to reply in depth, I will look forward to the discussions next week. I believe we all think ever so slightly differently but at the moment there is no ready visual equivalence that remotely opens up in my mind when I read it. I will persist though.

    Comment by nickyjdickson | July 22, 2009 | Reply

  4. I have just started a research project of which my blog is one component. I start from D & G’s use of the quilt as an example of ‘smooth space’ (in ‘Thousand Plateaus’ p524+)and I am hoping to test this out using the work of a number of contempoary Australian quiltmakers!

    As for helpful texts, I’ve been using ‘The Deleuze Dictionary’edited by Adrian Parr Edinburgh University Press (2005). I’m finding it useful.

    I’d appreciate any comments on my blog as I develope my project!

    Comment by Sarah | October 1, 2009 | Reply

    • Hi Sarah,

      sounds like an interesting project and I would like to look at your blog. What is its address. I googled you but couldn’t find it, thanks Nicky

      Comment by nickyjdickson | October 15, 2009 | Reply

      • Nicky try I found it there I’m sure.

        Comment by Vivienne | October 17, 2009

      • Hi Nicky
        My apologies it has taken me a while to get back to you, my blog address is:
        At the moment I’m attempting to find any D & G writing on dreams, can you help?
        THank you!

        Comment by Sarah | January 7, 2010

  5. Sorry (again!) looks like I’m reading your comments out of order! Yes, looks like Vivienne has found it!

    Comment by Sarah | January 7, 2010 | Reply

  6. are there any images of your work(s) that I can access on the net??

    Comment by Sarah | January 15, 2010 | Reply

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