‘A work of art does not contain the least bit of information’: Deleuze and Guattari and Contemporary Art

Stephen Zepke


Deleuze and Guattari’s rejection of Conceptual art is well known, and sits awkwardly with the current hegemony of ‘post-conceptual’ artistic practices. Equally awkward is Deleuze’s ontological and political dislike of photography, which produces a ‘snapshot’ or representation of becoming, placing cliched images directly into our brains, controlling our actions and reactions by denying us the power to think creatively. In Cinema 2 Deleuze will extend this argument to the new ‘electronic image’, which like Conceptual art turns the plane of composition into a ‘flatbed’ plane or ‘screen’ that simply formats information, and with it our interfaced brains. Today, conceptual practice, photography and digital technologies are all simply taken for granted by contemporary art, which is also happy to use “D&G” as well. But doesn’t Deleuze and Guattari’s thought require a more critical application? Doesn’t it demand a minor war-machine? What would this be in the case of contemporary artistic practice? Amongst various possibilities this paper will explore the sublime ramifications of a Deleuzean image of ‘thought’, and its position as the ‘immanent outside’ of art’s post-conceptual trajectory.


philosophy; Deleuze; Kant; contemporary art; photography; aesthetics; sublime; immanence

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.21476/PP.2017.33145

Copyright (c) 2017 Stephen Zepke

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