Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Practical Abstraction (Vagueness)

Something that has always struck me when reading Deleuze and Guattari (as well as many of their predecessors) is the emphasis placed on a practical use of their concepts. After all, John Rajchman reminds us that Deleuze encourages “uses” and not instead “applications.” By taking this statement into consideration with what is stated by Michael Speaks in the intro to Earth Moves one can begin to see an emphasis on a kind of “practice” (or practical work-creative work) that demands a fluid and varied movement (uses) and not instead a direct and linear tracing of one stagnant concept onto another (application).

Thus, in
Earth Moves (1995) Bernard Cache is developing a “use” (a practice) for concepts that have been presented by Deleuze and Guattari, not by laying them on top of predefined and established architectural premises, but by building (destroying) and developing new architectural “practices.” For Cache it is the concept of “the Fold,” which maintains an utmost importance “in the shaping of the form of practices (including techniques and logics), rather than the shaping of individual architectural forms” (xvi). Cache thus takes this concept and employs it (uses it-puts it to work-sets it in motion) “as a way to rethink the relationship between body and soul, past and present, and between furniture, architecture, and geography” (xvii). In this way Cache is using the concept of “the Fold” to deterritorialize the very territories upon which he practices.

Lastly, it should be stated that along with this “practical” method comes an appeal to the "abstract – “
it seems that the more one confronts the continuum, the more important it is to remain in touch with the most abstract experience possible, even if the meaning of “abstract is not quite clear” (Cache, p. 49). This is a necessary abstraction for those who wish to actualize inflections, for those who wish to open themselves up to chance (for those who wish to ride the wave and create). Cache (like Deleuze) establishes the artist as the one capable of “working with abstraction” and consequently being able to create a formal practice amidst the vagueness that surrounds (the artist- a practitioner of the abstract).

-Vanessa Meyer

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