Deleuze and Kant. Aesthetics Between a Theory of Conditions of the Sensible and an Analytic of Judgment
Organização:  IFILNOVA e SEyTA
Universidade NOVA de Lisboa, Colégio Almada Negreiros
28 / 10 / 2022

Deleuze displaces aesthetics, making it gravitate around something else. And this something else is what Deleuze likes to define as a new image of thought. Now, because he avoids the classic questions of aesthetics, he can turn artworks into critical sites for thought. That is precisely what happens with his texts on literature which have shaken our very idea of literature in its relation to thought, inscribing concepts as powerful as those of the “abstract machine” and “collective assemblage of enunciation”. Similarly, with his views on painting as neither representation nor conceptualization, but instead as capture of forces, what allows Deleuze to highlight in the work of Francis Bacon a non- figurative thought, that is, a thought that is neither illustrative nor narrative. Likewise, with cinema, what interests Deleuze is the relation of cinema to thought and the brain. The time-image becomes the very presentation of the brain.
This permanent deterritorialization of works in order to revisit them via another plane of composition, is perhaps the most decisive centre of Deleuze’s style. He traverses works and their modes of perception like domains of a plane that exceeds both the works and their effects. Deleuze believes that this excess, that this recomposition of canonical fields of aesthetics on a new plane, the plane of a new image of thought, can bring about a convergence of the two senses of the aesthetic which, since Kant, have been radically separated: that of the theory of the sensible and that of the theory of the beautiful.
The aim of this talk is to show how it is precisely to respond to this crisis that divides thought about art, that Deleuze inscribes the question of art in a new formulation of the transcendental program, that is, in a new description of the conditions of experience. In Deleuze’s view, the very conditions of contemporary art have disturbed the Kantian split between an aesthetics of the sensible and an aesthetics of judgment. What one finds in contemporary art is always the process of inscribing the aesthetics of judgment within transcendental aesthetics, in order to fund the transcendental in an ontology of the sensible. The work of art, in its singularity and exceptionality, contains all the conditions of experience that constitute it as object of judgment of the beautiful or the sublime. The work of art, then, appears as experimentation, that is, as the genetic locus of both the
object and the conditions of it’s becoming-sensible, as the locus of a genesis that does violence to thought and forces it to think.

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