Constructing the Aesthetico-Conceptual: Deleuze, Derrida and Artistic Research

  • Spencer Roberts (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


Deleuze and Derrida’s philosophical friendship, though somewhat distant, was queerly convivial in character. Their mutual hostility towards conceptual stasis, overly linear approaches to temporality and excessively centered notions of the subject targeted a number of common philosophical opponents - and they were likewise united in their affirmation of difference. However, as might be expected of any post-structural alliance, this apparent unity of purpose arose out of some seemingly incommensurable tensions: Deleuze’s mode of ontological enquiry squared poorly with Derrida’s rejection of metaphysics; Deleuze’s positive engagement with the sciences, and his prioritisation of material-sensation sat awkwardly with Derrida’s more pervasively textual and somewhat idealist orientation; and Deleuze’s development of an impersonal concept of Husserlian expression served to check Derrida’s rather more stringent and single minded rejection of phenomenological presentism. However, despite his veneration of art, creativity and material-sensation, it is important to remember that, like Derrida, Deleuze was predominately a writer – albeit a writer with an at once affective, performative and corporeal agenda. Indeed, when taken at face value, it would seem to be Derrida who most fully explored the artistic potentialities of experimental writing. Deleuze’s emphasis upon performativity, emergence, and onto-genetic construction nevertheless serves to extend and supplement the Derridean account of textuality by exposing its neglect of the process of writing. In so doing it foregrounds the potential for Deleuzo-Derridean thought to instantiate a genuinely aesthetico-conceptual image of thought. This paper attempts to determine the extent to which assemblages of conceptual, aesthetic and performative practice inspired by Deleuzo-Derridean thought might fulfill the promise of artistic research.
Period19 Jun 2017
Event title10th International Deleuze Studies Conference: Taking Flight: Assembling, Becoming, Queering
Event typeConference
Conference number10
LocationToronto , Canada, OntarioShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational