As promised in my previous post, today I begin working my way through the essays on Gilles Deleuze in The Brain Is the Screen: Deleuze and the Philosophy of Cinema, ed. Gregory Flaxman (2000).
Purple or not, Martin has some good stuff to say if you put on your RayBans before reading:
… As soon as [I wake up; open my eyes after sleep], a luminous breach shocks perception, unsealing this still absent gaze with the force of a continuity of flowering images, each reacting upon the others in an order that Bergson takes it upon himself to progressively unravel:
Here is a system of images which I term my perception of the universe, and which may be entirely altered by a very slight change in a certain privileged image — my body. This image occupies the center: by it all the others are conditioned; at each of its movements everything changes, as though by the turn of a kaleidoscope.
As it happens, there is no mark that would distinguish image and reality. Each image will be considered real from the outset, each expressing the others out of its place, the locus of which constitutes its transcendental principle. Indeed, the place can never be reduced to the site.
… a point of view never resolves itself into matter. It is to be conceived more as a way of being than as the form of a being. It places itself more on the side of “memory” than of “matter” — to use Bergson’s terms. Each urban complex presents itself as a set or a “block.” It designates a finite grouping of elements, of cataloged, numerable buildings. On the other hand, what will necessarily exceed the enumeration of elements is the infinite figure of possible perspectives that this city could offer us depending on the point of view from which one considers it. There is something like an unfurling of loci that opens in the midst of the site and that will cut in the sky a singular array of rooftops, a composition of relations organized along sight lines that are characteristic every time.
… In logical terms, one would say that these places do not belong to the site. They are not elements of the site, but incorporeals, in the sense that the Stoics reserved for this term — events of the cut, or the cut out, surfaces piled up or planes superimposed in a way that depends on the displacement of the observer (or of the locutor), on the variation of the adopted points of view: something volatile that undoes itself with the rapidity of movement and the successive shifting of perspectives.
… The points of view on the city approach infinity while the architectural components remain essentially numerable. Without belonging to the site in a stable manner, this virtual combinatory of perspectives inhabits the site in the mode of inclusion. More numerous than the elements of the site, the perspectives escape it, hover over it in proliferating series that must nevertheless be included in the site itself. Thus, the perspectives will not be real by the same rights as the hard elements of the set.
… There is always an excess of places (loci) with respect to the site (situs) — as one would say in Cantor’s language. Would one then go so far to say that all these virtualities, these points of view on the city, are simply fictive? Is the view that I have from this bridge, or this bench, unreal? This is to formulate the question badly because each perspective reveals a determinable aspect of the city, or cuts out a characteristic image. The view that I unfurl using myself is a kaleidoscopic set of images superimposed all along a line that cuts through the city. The least modification of place leads to a redistribution of the landscape in its entirety. … There are images and piles of images, a matter and a memory. The least perception is already an overload of images and supposes a memory as the law of their superimposition. In this sense, there is nothing unreal about a view — regardless of the place at which planes join, or from which the landscape gets cut out. But for all that, the point of view will not allow itself to be touched, handled like a pebble or a brick. Therein lies all the difference between the world as it has consistency and the world as it is experienced, traversed by a perspectival cut that persists in memory — that is to say, in this accumulation that tears mobile landscapes out of the world.
… each time my perception launches its tip in a given direction, my memory takes off, and contracts its lens of remembrance in the direction of this cone … Each perceptive pointing, in cutting through the landscape toward the exterior, hones itself toward the interior that will pick it clean of perspectives in order to form a continual and durable volume.
… Architecture is a visual montage in which the world gets called into existence in the form of the ideality of a space that remains phenomenal, a world totally interior to the ediface that thereby ceases to be perceived simply from the outside. A space is born that is not reducible to exteriority; instead of condemning us to see things from the outside, it clarifies them from within. Everything works toward this clarification according to the immanence of a point of view with which philosophy necessarily enters into relation. Between the volume of an idea and the volume of an architectural form there is an interior spark that comes to idealize a thoroughly spiritual contour.
… The Abbey of Cluny: a mental design laid out in an interlocking series of vaults, the center of which is everywhere and the periphery nowhere.
… The image and, in the image, philosophical contemplation are born on the occasion of a rupture with the geographical site, the occasion of a gathering able to illuminate things in a space not to be confused with the exteriority of the parts it was believed to separate — a space that allows things to be taken from “inside,” What we need is a gaze liable to develop itself from the interior, encircled by the mass of a wall that presents itself as a volume swollen with light, so that images and thoughts, crypts and tombs may be born. This is true to such an extent that philosophy, in its entirely, must define itself — as the inverse of science — by an invagination or a turn of the gaze up into the head, by this indefatigable desire to explore an imperceptible world, taking as its only guide the internal architecture of a problem, more than in the exteriority of matter.
[ … ]
… if nature and mind conjoin in a common membrane, this fusion does not amount to a dismal identity wherein every difference would merge into the uniformity out of which, as Hegel would say, nothing ever emerges. At stake here is not a night when all the cats are grey, but a live surface, cavernous and differential, streaked with holes and lights.
The immanence of being and thought is not a fall into the indiscernible, the equalization of all tensions in a lifeless homogeneous soup. It is more of a metastable surface in a perpetual variation, a surface on which matter and memory touch and conjoin one another, an intermediate canvas where images begin to flicker. What is an image that is not this psychophysical encounter of thought and nature? Where to situate an image, if not upon a common membrane, neither of pure spirit nor of pure matter but, rather, the intermediate fringe on which they blend? An image cannot be reduced to the cold, objective reality of independent matter, but neither is it the simple subjective survey of my mind as it exacts a look at the inaccessible back of things. The image is born in the middle, between the two, in the crucible of being and thought, as a new reality, an entity that comes to live an autonomous life that is impossible to place in me or outside of me. … The image, envisaged in the form of a live membrane, is not a dead plane, an undifferentiated mix where both I and not-I are abolished and “all the cows have become grey.” In truth, the univocity in which being and thought conjoin, the image that articulates them, instead of fading into the One, unfurls as a complex multiplicity of broken hues, cracked ideas, explosive affections.