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Electronic Literature and Getting to the New

3:45 PM, Tuesday 14 Aug 2018 (1 hour 15 minutes)
Gilles Deleuze assumes that the source of creativity/the new (as opposed to just the development of what already is implicit in existing things) lies outside conscious thinking. In this paper we discuss Deleuze’s approach to finding the difference between development and creativity via the analysis of film technology, and ask whether anyone is using computers the way Deleuze conceives of those film-makers who are philosophic using film?

There is a problem with creativity: the danger is that any experiment/approach which dreams of escaping conventional parameters will nevertheless inscribe these parameters in its assumptions. The question, “How do you get to the new?”  has to be approached with some caution. In answer to this question, Gilles Deleuze’s assumption is that the source of creativity/the new (as opposed to just the development of what already is implicit in existing things) lies outside conscious thinking. New ways of thinking begin in experiences that perturb our habitual filters and let in new sensory experiences. Can this be extended beyond cinema? Walter Benjamin saw the shock of DADA as a necessary prelude to the shock of film. In a similar manner, can we see the shock of film as the necessary prelude to the shock of important movements in computer art, electronic literature and digital media?

It makes intuitive sense that some end run around the conscious rationality of the thinking self has always been a technique of creative minds. It is standard in many of the creative arts to employ methods that disrupt the sensorium - we are thinking particularly of performance and dance, while the whole history of modern art can be understood through this lens. This impulse holds as much for the making of the new as for its exhibition: musicians take drugs, mathematicians drink, physicists walk themselves into trance states, as they compose. The vector of Deleuze’s thought indicates that because thought is based in/derived from sensation an effective way to escape existing forms of thought is to create sensoriums which escape the existing ways we process sensation.

The paper discusses some computer art and technology projects that appear to speak to this process: efforts not oriented to extending/reproducing existing human forms of thinking/doing, but that instead, look to new/augmented sensoriums producing new concepts. We believe that many examples could be advanced, but given our background we reach to work in virtual reality. Following this discussion we ask: “Is there a way to build Deleuzian solutions/perspectives into computer-based artworks designed to provoke human experiences?” We use the context of a computer-mediated art project, “Improvising Consciousness” that Anstey has been working on for several years, and focus on a limited number of design concepts that we draw from Deleuze.
Media Study, UB