ceaseless pursuit of a life

Installation shot of Duchamp’s Mile of String, a original image John Schiff, 1942, Philadelphia Museum of Art. Image modified by the author to show the author chasing Deleuze through the museum.

“It’s like the moment compared to staring at pictures of it” Illy, It Can Wait, 2010

 “The more an image is joined with many other things, the more often it flourishes. The more an image is joined with many other things, the more causes there are by which it can be excited.”

(Spinoza Ethics Part V, Proposition XIII, Proof)

I also am eagerly anticipating this week’s diagramming workshops, despite tardily introducing myself, and contributing to the blog. In RL I’m usually referred to as Scott East… At the moment, I am a hermit in the final stages of a PhD (hopefully – I’ve never done one before, this may explain my tardiness) at the Centre for Cultural Research, University of Western Sydney. I also am a sessional tutor & lecturer at COFA as well, and it was through this network that a colleague mentioned to @amunster that I might be interested in this super-exciting workshop.

My PhD research developed in the context of an Australian Research Council Linkage grant Hot Science Global Citizens: the agency of the museum sector in climate change interventions. I became interested in the work of diagramming (or as I have thought about it in my writing prior to this workshop: figuration, following other guides such as Donna Haraway, Rosi Braidotti and Ulrike Dahl), as one tactic to avoid thinking of academic labour as always a secondary practice of writing about something that is already (dead) over. I have often jokingly referred to my doctoral research as Chasing Deleuze through the Museum.

Given that my thesis is dominating my life at the moment, and chasing that joke for a moment, the diagram that I would like to propose for a life, is one of me literately chasing Deleuze through the museum in a game of tag. The image below is a modified image of Marcel Duchamp’s intervention at 1942 Surrealist Exhibition (usually now referred to as Mile of String or as it was originally known his string). The ghost of Deleuze is placed here, both as the informer for our collective thinking of a life and as an interlocutor. Duchamp famously installed along with the paintings several miles of string. At the opening Duchamp arranged for Carroll Janis, a young boy at the time to run around and play ball in the galleries with his friends. Disrupting the expectations of the civility usually expected in such a space provides an evocative figure for life and its (unexpected, collaborative, & open-ended) movements.

It is difficult to know, whether Carroll and his hired troupe, whose natural tendencies for spontaneous play may’ve quickly lost interest with the ball and began another game, perhaps even “tag” or “it”. Tag consists of seemingly infinite variations; however, most versions don’t have an end point, teams, scores or prohibitive equipment requirements. Just for the thrill of the chase one or more players pursue other players in an attempt to tag or touch them. A tag makes the tagged player it and the game continues indefinitely. In this ceaseless pursuit of connections, what else could a life be (?), I have enrolled in this workshop… and look forward to multiplying the connections with you all…