Thursday, 9 March 2017

Rotor Exhibition - Reflections on Discursive Documents, discussion Event #1

At the discussion event, hosted by Dr Liam Devlin on 2nd March, the artists Alex Baldea and Seba Kurtis were introduced with a short explanation of their work.

In thinking about ethics & politics - then drilling down into democracy, society and motives, the social discursive (discussion) actants are, in this case, photographs.

 I'm drawn to recall some of the writings of Gilles Deleuze and Filix Guattari, with " A Thousand Plateaus" in particular.

I cannot profess to have read the whole book, I haven't, - it's an enormous tome.

But of the parts that are often referred to, the ideas that Deleuze and Guattari had, which ostensibly is about "where we are situated in the world around us" (the worldview, if you like), can be split into 3 ares. They called these "Strata". If one thinks about layers for a moment, the world is made up of Inorganic (geological), Organic (biological) and Social (People, politics, society and everything that goes within it).

It is the third Strata (societal) that is of interest here of course. They initially write about human motivations (Freud) and labour (Marx), and position previous history in society as being a constant struggle to satisfy a combination of both.  The modern individual, being part of society, will eventually become "repressed and neurotic".

Eventually, through deeper and deeper analysis, (which is often influenced by what others think and do around you anyway, such as, in their case, other philosophers like Jaques Derrida, Jurgen Habermas and many others), they come to the essence of what they see (and here it is Deleuze in particular) as values in society, and how they emerge within a 'governed' state.  Deleuze talks about the pinnacle of 'practice' as a human being, being "Creativity" (not unlike Nietzche who felt it was 'Art') and states:

"Herein, perhaps, lies the secret: to bring into existence and not to judge. If it is so disgusting to judge, it is not because everything is of equal value, but on the contrary because what has value can be made or distinguished only by defying judgment. What expert judgment, in art, could ever bear on the work to come?" Deleuze (1980).(1)


  • Thinking about Photography as a document, as a record of fact, is no longer a valid activity.
  • The idea that text and photography are one and the same emerged through the latter part of the 20th Century.
  • There's much more research for me to do on this, but I think I have started to get a sufficient grasp of the subject to enable me to talk about it... Which is, of course, what Dr Devlin wants us to do! 

Post Annotation;

I also came across some work by aboriginal artist, Shevaun Wright (, which is of particular interest in the 3rd planned discussion.


Deleuze G, & Guattari, F. (1981) A thousand Plateaus, Translated by Massumi, B. (2004) Vol. 2 of Capitalism and Schizophrenia. 2 vols. 1972-1980. Trans. of Mille Plateaux.

(1) See Essays Critical and Clinical, p. 135.

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