CfP: Virtuality, becoming and life (Rome, July 4-13 2015)

Department of Philosophy, Communication and Visual Arts of University of Roma Tre

Call for Papers
The triad of terms in the title is meant to indicate three steps that may build a path through Deleuze’s and Guattari’s philosophy. This path is but one among the many possible, as the titles of the previous conferences reveal. To borrow a term from psychogeography, we may call it a “desire path”, where desire paths represent the alternate routes created by the walkers’ desires and necessities. Though it is an open path, it is paradoxically coherent and unified. Each of its step indeed refers to the other in more than one way.

The first term –virtuality- refers both to the central issue of time and to the philosophical friendship between Deleuze and Bergson. As Deleuze’s early writings of the Sixties witness, it was a very close friendship which remained vivid also in his later work on cinema in the Eighties. Both Bergson and Deleuze share the common aim to affirm the coexistence and the continuous and mutual interplay between the past and the present, the actual and the virtual. Such an interplay constitute exactly that process of differentiation which grounds the creative dynamics of all different arts, and notably, of cinema.

The creative and positive movement of differentiation, as a process of metamorphosis, underpins the concept of “becoming” as a fundamental notion for Deleuze’s overall philosophy and particularly for the text he wrote with Guattari, Mille Plateaux. The notion of Becoming is to be understood as a verb rather than a noun –they write- it is not one, nor two, but something between-two, an interaction between two domains, a boundary and an escape line: it is the becoming-animal, the becoming-music, the becoming child, the becoming-woman. As a reaction against the Platonic idea of Being and Essence, the Becoming refers primarily to Nietzsche’s thought and to his notion of the “eternal return”. Since no living being can resist the becoming, the becoming must be a being in itself, a being that coincides with the process of coming back, in the sense of thinking “the same” from “the different”.

The deeper meaning of Nietzsche’s philosophy is to affirm the becoming not only as essential to life –since life is becoming, multiplicity, and fortune- but as something we need to accept and consciously affirm. To this extent, virtue is not renouncing to all passions but saying “yes” to life. In Deleuze’s last text, life is described as immanent and “unique”; no longer individual but completely impersonal, it is a “total power, a total bliss” It is from this starting point that philosophers – both in Italy and elsewhere – have started developing the idea of an “ontology of the present” – which sets itself as the aim of contemporary philosophy.

Following the path we have proposed, and even imagining something different, we welcome individual proposals for papers, panel proposals, as well as alternative approaches to presentation formats (such dialogues or performative pieces).

  • The conference will accept papers in English from across a very broad range of areas including, not limited to, the following:
    Aesthetics and Artistic Practices
    Architecture and Urban Planning
    Film Studies
    Digital Realm and New Media
    Literature and Literary Criticism
    Sociology and Politics
    Gender Studies
  • Abstracts should be 300-500 words and must include title and three keywords.
  • Biographical statements and affiliations should be approximately 100 words and must include contact information.
  • PAPER NOTIFICATIONS: We plan to notify the acceptances until February 15th, 2016