A thousand plateaus, Deleuze and Guattari

Freud and the single trace (explanation) descending.

I found Deleuze and Guattari were two writers I approached during this module. They are typically seen as creating a cultural model that rejects hierarchical organisation, chronology and ideas that break up flows into specifics. Their idea of culture as rhizomatic is the attractive part for me as it seems to fit with contemporary thinking on information flows and the connectedness of machines and a self. The self as always in-between, not part of an organisational structure but more one evolving through horizontal connections ever outwards and expanding. The planar movement of the rhizome is one that resists organisational vertical order and the self moves and evolves between these cultural fissures and gaps; absorbing, accumulating, discarding and making new connections. The self as machine, a nervous system extending into other machines.

Deleuze and Guattai's thinking revolutionised ideas about the self as presented from a psychoanalytical perspective. Freud in particular was seen as defending the position of the hierarchical model whereby complexity was always reduced to a single point of explanation. How this affected our relationships to ourselves was in Freud seeing emotional and psychic disturbances as reducible to a fixed set of limited principles. The complexity of the disturbed self within a highly multiplicitous world reduced to mother, father, the child and basic libidinal drives.

In working with the self as a project and by exploring wider literature one always encounters Freud or other forms of psychology that seek to explain questions within very narrow models. Deleuze and Guattari by developing the theory of the rhizome identified the limitations of the Freudian perspective and thus provided a framework that seemed to take greater regard for human multiplicity and variation.

In developing a visual language I feel it important that one should engage with thinkers who challenge existing ideas and provide theories that more adequately explain rapid shifts in culture and how the self becomes part of that and is affected by that. The idea of the flow with the self moving amongst all of these connections affords opportunities to engage with interruptions and to make other connections. The rhizome is always in the middle making new connections to other things and that for me is a strong metaphor for the artist's responsibility to themselves and also their position within prevailing culture.

This piece explored the idea of the subconscious and the descending single trace of Freud explaining the complexity of the hidden with a fixed narrow vocabulary. Beneath Freud's trace lies what appears to be a figure splayed out as a cross. The figure is deliberately religious to present to the viewer the idea of fixed perspectives.There are other elements beneath the shroud (trace) and a viewer can engage with that if they get closer but that will raise even further questions. To the viewer of course this doesn't have to be a figure at all because my idea is to elicit a wider mental vocabulary in the viewer and encourage a rhizomatic response. I aim here for the viewer to make their own connections whilst being aware via the material used and its shape that to suggest a single outline (trace) over something as infinitely complex as the self has an inherent redundancy. This piece is another addition to the process of accumulating elements of thinking toward a final cohesive piece that hopefully combines a range of elements and influences that conclude into a coherent place.

I am again seeking to develop ideas and a visual language to express them. My ideas are rooted within philosophical theory and argument, as for me that is where I generate an ultimate artistic response. My creative ideas comes from discussion and association with wider thought and I utilise that as a way to expand my visual language. One might say that visual language could be explored first by accumulated reference to other artists and then reverse engineer ones thinking into those structures but I would personally find that a less honest way of working for me. I seek to say something with each piece of work I create and in order to say I must have reference to the thoughts that start the journey of communication. I am never seeking to elicit a pure aesthetic response I am seeking to develop a point of view that one might engage with and want to discuss.

 

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