Deleuz's narrative series

Gough, Tim (2007) Deleuz's narrative series. In: Telling Places narrative and identity in art and architecture : PhD research space IV; 04 - 05 Dec 2007, London, U.K.. (Unpublished)


In The Logic of Sense (section 33) Gilles Deleuze defines novelists/artists as "clinicians of civilisation". Great authors are more like doctors than their patients - in that, like great clinicians, they create a set of disorders out of disorder, a table or grouping of symptoms out of disparate symptoms, so that "it is not the [Freudian Oedipus] complex which provides us with information about Oedipus and Hamlet, but rather Oedipus and Hamlet who provide us with information about the complex". For Deleuze, this creation of disorders takes on a particular character. In truth, for him, these structurings are not created from "disorder", since that would be to define the "choasmos" of differences - "disorder" in common parlance - by means of the notion of order; that is, it would be to define differences in terms of sameness - something he had spent the whole of his preceding book, Difference and Repetition, battling against. Thus the creation of disorders can only occur within a field where originary difference has been proclaimed and acknowledged, and where every notion of the same or the one is derived from, or "said of" (as he puts it) that which always and from the start differs. The exemplary novelist - Deleuze cites Joyce's Ulysses, Proust and Robbe-Grillet - disposes within this original difference two heterogeneous series of signifier and signified (section 6). These two series resonate through a single homogenous series of names where each term can be seen to relate to the preceding one and the next one, thus: n1 - n2 - n3 - n4... The first name, or signifier, relates to the second name/signifier, relates to the third etc in the familiar continuous chain of signifiers. But it is the novelist's task to consider this homogenous chain instead from the point of view of "that which alternates in this succession" - ie the alternation of signified and signifier through the terms - and to allow these to resonate. In the case of Joyce, for instance, there is a series surrounding "Bloom" which is given as the signifying set; and a corresponding signified series "Ulysses"; between which the author establishes a resonance and relation by various means. In the case of Robbe-Grillet, the two series operate on the smaller scale of descriptions of tiny "states of affairs" against "rigorous designations". In all cases, it is for Deleuze the differences between the series and their terms which "become [through the auspices of the author] primary", not the resemblances. This paper will attempt a preliminary transposition of these Deleuzian strategies onto a creative spatial field. Can a place be disposed according to this strategy of primary difference, homogenous chain of signifiers and the creative diagnosis of two resonating, heterogeneous series? In this case, what would constitute the two aspects of sense? How does this relate to the stoic disjunctive logic of the state of affairs of bodies and the entirely other order of "events", which hover over states of affair as "the battle hovers over its own field" (section 15)? It will be shown that the creation of a place must, like literature, stay true to Deleuze's words in Difference and Repetition: ... [it] opens on to the difference of Being by taking its own difference as object - in other works, by posing the question of its own difference (p195)

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