Upcoming events

PEDAGOGIES IN THE WILD. The 3rd South African Deleuze & Guattari Studies Conference, 4-6 December 2019, University of the Western Cape, South Africa [Link]

Encountering the Social: Masquerades, Fluidities, and Becomings of Postcapitalism. Deleuze and Guattari World Congress Delhi, 20-22 February 2020, Delhi, India [Link]

Political Aesthetics of Design. Workshop: 25. – 26.04.2014, Zürcher Hochschule der Künste

[scroll down for German]

With the currently much-discussed issues of political difference and the dissolution of the aesthetic, the field of political aesthetics has reopened. Having focused in the last years intensely on images and media the discourse shifts more and more to the fabrication of things (as matters of concern) in the context of design practice. These are by no means objects in the classical sense, but products that emerge from heterogeneous connections. Deleuze and Guattari conceive design – as well as marketing and advertising – as a “discipline of communication”, which develops products pseudo-conceptually and presents them as quasi-events: the simulacrum of a noodle pack trading as “true concept” – and the product providers as “the real concept-artists”.

It is assumed that in the context of communication relationships between concepts and events cannot be considered adequate. Their alliance is, according to Deleuze and Guattari, a genuinely philosophical one. It follows that a philosophical understanding of design aims at its immanent that is to say social (“micro-political”) conditions, which are implied in the design practice and possibly modeled as a rhizomatic structure. In most cases they are adjusted to the requirements of the logic of communication or made invisible by shiny surfaces of products.

In the workshop “Political Aesthetics of Design” the dark side of design is therefore the central topic to be discussed. The question is how informal processes occur in the area of design that allow for new associations or networks between seemingly different and separate (disciplinary) fields undermining the traditional dichotomies (nature-culture, culture-technique, form and content). Neither being craft, art nor science, design has its own intrinsic logic, which – historically – is due to the mechanization of production methods of consumer goods and services, which is being connected with an emerging ware or productaesthetics and with a more general concept of knowledge culture.

Assuming that philosophical activity is resulting from a confrontation with the non- philosophy, design could be interpreted as a (non-philosophical) universe of discourse/practice that subjects (philosophical) theory to a process of change. With Deleuze we could say that design has to be designed as a problematic idea that acts as a condition of the given – in thought, experience and action. In other words, design determines (social) situations, and this power of determination can be understood only if it is taken (by philosophical means) as an idea or heterogeneous chaining. This idea has to be fleshed out in detail by presenting and reflecting its spatial and temporal aspects, but also the specific potential (potentia agendi) of physical and technical things that play a role in the design network.

Mit den aktuell viel diskutierten Themen der politischen Differenz und derEntgrenzung des Ästhetischen hat sich das Feld der politischen Ästhetik neu geöffnet. Nachdem Jahre lang intensiv auf Bilder und Medien fokussiert wurde, rückt in letzter Zeit im Kontext der Designpraxis die Fabrikation der Dinge (im Sinne von Sachen, die uns angehen) mehr und mehr in den Mittelpunkt der Aufmerksamkeit. Bei ihnen handelt es sich nicht um Objekte im klassischen Sinne, sondern um Produkte, die aus heterogenen Verbindungen hervorgehen. Deleuze und Guattari begreifen das Design – wie auch das Marketing und die Werbung – als eine „Fachrichtung der Kommunikation“, die auf eigenwillige Weise Produkte begrifflich gestaltet und als Ereignisse präsentiert: das Simulakrum einer Nudelpackung firmiert als „wahrer Begriff“ – und der Produktanbieter als eigentlicher Begriffskünstler.

Dabei ist vorausgesetzt, dass im Rahmen der Kommunikation die Verhältnisse zwischen Begriffen und Ereignissen nicht adäquat gedacht werden können. Ihre Verbindung ist laut Deleuze und Guattari eine genuin philosophische. Damit ist zugleich gesagt, dass ein philosophisches Verständnis des Designs auf seineimmanente, möglicherweise rhizomatisch modellierbare Konstruktion abzielt, d.h. auf gesellschaftliche („mikropolitische“) Verhältnisse, die in der Designpraxis impliziert sind, zumeist aber kommunikationslogisch verstellt oder von den glänzenden Produktoberflächen unsichtbar gemacht werden.

Im Workshop „Politische Ästhetik des Designs “ wird deshalb die dunkle Seite im Design zur Diskussion gestellt. Es geht um die Frage, inwiefern im Design informelle Prozesse ablaufen, die zwischen verschiedenen und scheinbar getrennten (disziplinären) Bereichen neuartige Assoziationen oder Netzwerke bilden, die die traditionellen Dichotomien (Natur-Kultur, Kultur-Technik, Form-Inhalt) außer Kraft setzen. Weder Handwerk, Kunst oder Wissenschaft, besitzt das Design eine eigene Logik, die sich – historisch betrachtet – aus der Technisierungder Produktionsweisen von Gebrauchsgütern und Dienstleistungen ergibt, die mit einer neu entstehenden Warenästhetik und mit einem allgemeiner gefassten Begriff der Wissenskultur verbunden wird.

Sofern die philosophische Tätigkeit aus einer Konfrontation mit der Nicht-Philosophie resultiert, wäre das Design als ein (nicht-philosophischer) Gegenstand des Denkens aufzufassen, der die (philosophische) Theoriebildung einem Prozess der Veränderung unterwirft. Mit Deleuze müsste man dann vielleicht sagen, dass es als eine problematische Idee zu konzipieren ist, die als Bedingung des Gegebenen (im Denken, Erfahren und Handeln) fungiert. Anders gesagt, determiniert das Design (gesellschaftliche) Situationen – und diese Leistung der Determination lässt sich nur begreifen, wenn es als Idee oder heterogene Verkettung (mit philosophischen Mitteln) in den Blick gebracht wird. Diese Idee wäre im Einzelnen zu konkretisieren, indem ihre spezifischen räumlichen und zeitlichen Aspekte, aber auch die eigentümliche Handlungsmacht der materiellen und technischen Dinge, die in den Design-Netzwerken eine Rolle spielen, dargestellt und begrifflich reflektiert werden.

Konzeption: Prof. Dr. Marc Rölli

Öffentliches Programm

Institut für Designforschung, Zürcher Hochschule der Künste, Hafnerstr. 39, 8031 Zürich (Eintritt ist frei)

Freitag, 25.04.14

13:00 – 14:00 Marc Rölli (Design Research Institute, University of Fine Arts, Zurich)
„Introduction – Political Aesthetics from a Deleuzian point of view“

14:00 – 15:00 Manola Antonioli (Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Art de Dijon, Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Versailles)
„Design and Ecosophy”

15:00 – 16:00 Betti Marenko (Product Design, Central St. Martins, University of the Arts, London)
„Deleuzian Design? The adventure of of capturing material stories from the future“

16:00 – 17:00 Sjoerd van Tuinen (Faculteit der Wijsbegeerte, Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam)
„The Cosmic Artisan“

17:00 – 18:00 Zafer Aracagök (Department of Visual Communication Design, Istanbul Bilgi University)
„Aesthetics of the -Dividual”

Deleuze and the Passions

Annual National Deleuze Scholarship Conference #3
Erasmus University Rotterdam, 16 May 2014

Keynote speaker: Jason Read

In recent years the humanities, neuroscience and the social sciences have witnessed an ‘affective turn’, especially in discourses around post-Fordist labour, the economic and ecological crisis, populism and political sentiments, cultural identity, mental health, citizenship, agency and political struggle, contemporary artistic practice, and new configurations of bodies and technologies. While no one quite agrees what affect is, this new awareness of affect would be unthinkable without the pioneering work of Gilles Deleuze, who defined affects as pre- and transindividual becomings,
i.e. processes or passages that augment or diminish our capacity to act and engage with others and that are therefore primordial to, albeit inseparable from, sensations, emotions, feelings, tastes, perceptions, meanings and all other, ‘higher’ forms of cognition. Working along the naturalist axis of Lucretius-Spinoza-Nietzsche, Deleuze famously replaced judgment with affect as the very material movement of thought. Besides entirely active affects, the highest practice of thought, there is no thought without passive affects or passions. According to his magnum opus Difference and Repetition, thought finds its own necessity in ‘isolated and passionate cries’ that deny what everybody knows and what nobody can deny : ‘every true thought is an aggression’. More concretely speaking, whether we are dealing with emotions in psychology and sociology, sensation in art, passion in theology, or the struggle with opinion in philosophy, the aim of thought is always to denounce the sad passions, their causes, and those who derive their power from them. Sad passions are affects that join desire to the illusions of consciousness and separate us from our power to act. While joyful passions increase our power, sad passions enslave us. The essential problem of politics, according to Deleuze, is the ‘tyrants’ and ‘priests’ who inspire sad passions in us. His work can thus be read as a critical and clinical encyclopedia of the sad passions that constitute the affective infrastructure of contemporary capitalism: illness, shame, spitefulness, guilt, bad conscience, stupidity, neurosis, mistrust, weariness, fatigue, fatalism, cynicism, ignorance, hope, anguish, disgust, contempt, cowardice,
hatred, laziness, avidity, regret, despair, mockery, malversation, and self-abasement.

We invite papers of 20 minutes that deal with the question of the passions in the work of Deleuze. Please send a 300 words abstract with your name, keywords, contact information and a short biography to Monique Goense, 323450mg@student.eur.nl, before 15 March 2014.

This one-day symposium will consist of three panels each of which features three speakers, one keynote address, a catered lunch and a concluding reception.

Scientific committee: Rosi Braidotti, Rick Dolphijn, Andrej Radman, Sjoerd van Tuinen

This symposium is organized by Sjoerd van Tuinen (www.svtuinen.nl) and the Centre for Art and Philosophy (CAP, www.caponline.org) with the financial support of the Netherlands Scientific Research Organisation (NWO) and the
Trust Fund foundation.

– John Protevi – Water


Speech held at the International Conference “Gilles Deleuze – Texts and Images”, South Carolina, April 5-8, 2007


For Deleuze and for DG, being is production. The production process (intensive difference driving material flows resulting in actual or extensive forms) is structured by virtual Ideas or multiplicities or “abstract machines.” Thought, however, is vice-diction or counter-effectuation: it goes the other way from production. It is a matter of establishing the Idea / multiplicity of something – “constructing a concept” – by moving from extensity through intensity to virtuality.

Download full PDF: Protevi – Water

– Marc Rölli: A Pragmatism of Difference? Gilles Deleuze’s pragmatic move beyond structuralism



In the 26th series of paradoxes in Logique du sens (1969), Gilles Deleuze distinguishes between an order of language (l’ordre du langage) and an order of speech (l’ordre de la parole). Events are what make language possible, says Deleuze. But language does not begin with events. In fact nothing has its origin in the order of language. There is, however, always something beginning in the order of speech. There is always someone beginning to speak. „Il y a toujours quelqu’un qui commence à parler.“


Deleuze is alluding here to a famous passage in the Critique of Pure Reason, where Kant says that our knowledge may commence or begin with experience, but “nevertheless does not […] originate […] in experience.” The reason for this, according to Kant, is that “our empirical knowledge” is “composed” of both empirical facts as well as a priori supplements.


A posteriori knowledge here, a priori knowledge there – and neither “can be distinguished from the other until long practice has made us attentive and skilled in differentiating between them.”


Download full PDF: Rölli – A Pragmatism of Difference?