Call for Proposals

In a 1980 interview, Gilles Deleuze states that the concept of assemblage constitutes the unity of A Thousand Plateaus: “the analysis of assemblages, broken down into their component parts, opens up the way to a general logic: Guattari and I have only begun, and completing this logic will undoubtedly occupy us in the future”. Even if Deleuze and Guattari did not actually continue this work, the concept of assemblage became increasingly relevant for addressing problems of (in)stability, (in)determination, and transformations regarding social, political, economic, philosophical, and aesthetic phenomena. With its interplay between structure and contingency, assemblage is a dynamic concept, linking the problematic of organisation with that of change.

Used in A Thousand Plateaus in relation to different fields of knowledge, human practices, and nonhuman arrangements, assemblage is variously applied today in the arts, in human and in social sciences, under the common denominator of assemblage theory, that more or less explicitly refers back to Deleuze and Guattari’s foundational concept of agencement. However, it might be more productive to think of a logic of assemblage rather than a theory. This logic addresses flexible operative principles and fluid processes that pass through and cut across different practices, codings, and materialities. There is an assemblage whenever it is possible to identify a coupling made of an ensemble of material relations (content) and a specific regime of signs related to it (expression). Such couplings are not dialectically articulated, but they rather create a polarity between actual highly coded and territorialised strata, and a virtual decoded and deterritorialised diagram (abstract machine). Concrete machines—also called machinic assemblages of desire—tend towards the former, while collective assemblages of enunciation tend towards the latter.

With Man Ray’s DANGER/DANCER. L’Impossibilité (1917 – 1920), Guattari exemplifies an important feature of artistic and literary assemblages. On one side, the machine depicted cannot execute the movement of the Spanish dancer it is supposed to represent, and on the other, “this machine component can only be a dancer” (1973). DANCER/DANGER is a non-functioning machine as its cogwheels and pinion racks are unable to operate and, at the same time, it is an elaborated depiction of a complex gearing system, suggesting creative modes of com-possibility.

The third international conference on Deleuze andArtistic Research DARE 2019: Machinic Assemblages of Desire  invites scholarly papers and artisticpresentations that investigate the logic of assemblage in the arts, focusing onmodes of impossibility in perfectly operating machines, as well as inmisfunctioning or absurd ones.

Questions addressed may, for instance, include:

  • Which bodies, regimes of bodies, actions, or intra-actions can we identify and use in the arts? Which expressive acts, statements, regimes of signs, enunciations?
  • How does a logic of assemblage relate to the current aesthetico-epistemic regime?
  • How does digital and post-conceptual art relate to Deleuze and Guattari’s notions that were born in an analogue world?
  • How is it possible today, within the complexity and acceleration of a hyper-connected society, to detect the imperceptible movements of an assemblage before they are actualised?
  • How to expose them in intensive critical actualisations and create new modes of expression?
  • How to reveal the interstices, or indeed how to produce unforeseen cracks, inconsistencies, and lines of flight within existing, ever-changing assemblages?

Proposals for standard presentations should be for 30 minutes slots (20 min + 10 min Q&A with/out audiovisuals) while proposals for artistic presentations may vary in duration and will be considered on a case-by-case basis. All proposals are reviewed in single-stage open peer-review by at least three members of the advisory board. Besides making sure that all presentations meet the academic standards of the conference and its publications, reviewers will especially evaluate whether the presentation is pertinent to the conference topic, whether Deleuze (and his world) is integral to the presentation, and whether the presentation is relevant to artistic research or art practice.