December 2nd, 1975
Faciality comes undone as much to the advantage of what we've called becoming-animal as to that of musical lines. But isn't there a rapport between becoming-animal and musical lines? As in the case of Mozart's birds… What's do we mean by Mozart's birds? It doesn't mean that Mozart makes the little birds sing. It means that his music, in a certain manner, has a rapport with birds that aren't actually birds. So, what are they? What is the relationship between becoming-music and becoming-animal?
Deleuze 1975-1876 seminars were filmed by one of his students, Marielle Burkhalter, as part of her masters project, "Filming Philosophy as it Happens." Enrico Ghezzi acquired the videos for broadcast on the RAI 3 cinema programme "Fuori Orario," after inviting Burkhalter to screen them at a festival he co-curated. Marielle Burkhalter, along with Stavroula Bellos, would eventually become the director of the L’association Siècle Deleuzien, and oversaw the French transcriptions of Deleuze's seminars at the Voix de Gilles Deleuze website at the University of Paris 8.
Links to a number of these recordings that are available on YouTube are provided below, each of which includes subtitles in Italian. We are grateful to those who have uploaded these videos.
We have ordered the video material chronologically and divided it into 3 categories, providing short titles describing the topics covered for general orientation. The first (A) refers to the seminars that were filmed at Paris-8 Vincennes in 1975-76, around the time that Deleuze and Guattari began working on what would become “Mille Plateaux”. The second (B) includes seminars from 1980-87, after the campus of Vincennes had been demolished and relocated to St. Denis. The third category (C) features miscellaneous fragments or short edits of the above material.
A. Deleuze at Paris 8-Vincennes, 1975-76
B. Deleuze at Paris 8-St.Denis, 1980-87
The personal pronoun “I” (1980) (video link only partial), transcript and translation located in the second Anti-Oedipus and Other Reflections Seminar, 3 June 1980. [New translation provided of this segment added to the 3 June 1980 lecture]
Deleuze sur Hegel (3:34), Deleuze on Hegel (1980), follows the preceding clip, transcript and translation located in the second Anti-Oedipus and Other Reflections Seminar, 3 June 1980.
On Leibniz (1986) -- Session 3 (18 Nov 1986), transcript and translation located in the Leibniz and the Baroque seminar, 1986-87
On Harmony (1987) -- Session 20 (2 June 1987), transcript and translation located in the Leibniz and the Baroque seminar
C. Various fragments (in random order, clips that are segments from longer videos included above in A)
Gilles Deleuze - Vincennes 1975-76 (compilation) Although this long cllp seems to begin at 1:28:40, the viewer can back up to the start for the full length. However, the segment begins in progress, with students seeming to debate a burning question. (3:05:57)
Deleuze et le roman (9:35)
Deleuze sur le langage (1:19)
Deleuze sur la musique (1:04)
Deleuze - Boulez - Berg (5:36)
Gilles Deleuze - Morale ed etica (Lezioni a Vincennes, 1975/76) Interview with Richard Pinhas (7:03)
Gilles Deleuze a Vincennes 1/3 (sub ita) (4:00:00)
Gilles Deleuze a Vincennes 2/3 (sub ita) (4:21:40)
In a dual lecture including both Deleuze and Guattari, the authors introduce different terms developed in their ongoing collaboration which will result, in 1980, in A Thousand Plateaus.
Deleuze & Guattari at Vincennes, 1975-76
Il Senso in Meno, Part 3 - Faciality, Landscapity, Despotic Power
Translated by Graeme Thomson and Silvia Maglioni
(Deleuze) I'd like you to reflect on this… There's the strike today, so there aren't many of us here. Which is good. But how should we proceed? I would suggest that, apart from what you might want to propose… either you can speak about what we've done so far - if you have anything to add or go back to - or else, considering that the things I wanted to talk about today are not yet clear in my mind, I can recount them in a calmer, more relaxed fashion than last time… In this way next time I can begin again and everything will be clearer.
- Anything that might spring to mind… Think well. I have an idea… I have an idea but it doesn't work, it's no good. It doesn't matter…
- Can I ask you to clarify something?
(Deleuze) Clarify? Yes. Yes. I say yes with a certain melancholy because I always find it sad. So some questions, yes… but not many.
- Is faciality in a certain sense a more important key point than the other two, or are they all at the same level, meaning are they the same thing?
(Deleuze) It depends on the level... I'm sorry if I answer you this way, but obviously it depends on the level. At a certain level everything is seized by, and refers to, faciality, while at other levels faciality comes completely undone, and it's these levels that naturally interest us the most. But it requires a lot of effort to arrive at the levels where faciality slips away in favour of a faceless being… and then problematizes the question of the rapport between faciality and animality - in fact it problematizes a lot of things…
- What about the role of music?
(Deleuze) Yes, oh yes. Here I will regroup a certain number of notions. Actually, your question refers to a lot of what we will be covering this year because faciality comes undone as much to the advantage of what we've called becoming-animal as to that of musical lines. But isn't there a rapport between becoming-animal and musical lines? As in the case of Mozart's birds… What's do we mean by Mozart's birds? It doesn't mean that Mozart makes the little birds sing. It means that his music, in a certain manner, has a rapport with birds that aren't actually birds. So what are they? What is the relationship between becoming-music and becoming-animal?
- It's the exact opposite of Wagner's music.
(Deleuze) Is it the opposite? Regarding the problem of music – it's a good moment to speak about this now – the rapport between musical forms and things that can be defined neither as subjects nor themes but which are actual becomings... The becoming-child in music, the little refrain…
Think of an extraordinary case, a real genius, one of the greatest composers who ever lived: Schumann. His modes, his forms of musical expression are radically new, and are caught up in a series of child becomings with blocs of childhood. The story of Schumann is a good pretext for biographical-aesthetic assemblages. It's no small matter, the becoming-animal of Schumann. When he dies, having gone mad, he has a rapport with animals that is... he hears notes only as animals. But these aren't real animals... he doesn't hear lions... he doesn't hear... These are Schumann's lions, Schumann's hyenas, that he hears. While Mozart's birds are the most spiritual birds in the world.
There's no contradiction between becoming-animal and becoming-spiritual. There's no opposition. What's more, at the end of ascesis you haven't yet become, but you are in the becoming-animal. The great ascetics of Syria actually grazed in their struggle against the Church… when they said the Church is taking a wrong path, and they were hoping to return to the desert. You know how the ascetics lived on their columns, well when they came down they grazed like cows. What we have here is a becoming-animal caught up in a becoming-ascetic, which is really fascinating.
Roughly speaking we see how animal, spirit, man, woman, child are distinguishable as terms at the level of becomings. The becoming-animal, the becoming-spiritual, the becoming-child, the becoming-woman, the becoming-man, the becoming-woman of man, the becoming-man of woman and so on. All this is caught up in a kind of line that is an abstract machine, a sort of abstract line. But I'm saying too much, we haven't even started yet.
Shall we proceed? Any questions on the previous topics? They're not really precise yet so let's try to move on a bit...
Both in Lacan and Sartre, though in two completely different ways, the question of faces and gazes is situated - and I would add extremely actively so – in function of a certain position and a certain problem of subjectivity. I would almost say that our desire would be to do the opposite. And that should we discover processes of subjectivation, these must be in function of the face, rather than the face being related to functions of the subject. In Sartre it's self-evident, the whole theory of the gaze is at the service of the Sartrean conception of the cogito.
In Lacan, if you go back to his essay on the Mirror Stage... broadly speaking I would say that the Mirror Stage seems to me to imply - and here I'm expressing myself in a very crude, rudimentary way – a kind of capture of the image which encloses it, so that in the end it is placed in relation to the so-called symbolic order, or what Lacan refers to as the symbolic order, and to a split subject in the symbolic order.
Why is it that we… when Guattari spoke the other time about faciality, are faced with a different problem? It's because what we are mainly interested in are the relations between faciality and power and not the relations of the face and the gaze to a subject, however it might be conceived.
What do we mean by face-power relations? I will speak of the role and function of the face in power apparatuses. I'm improvising slightly but we can agree that power apparatuses are not reducible to a unified entity. Political power is the face of the leader. I don't know if this is the case now for Georges Marchais, but at the time of Thorez, when Thorez arrived at a party meeting people would say, “Ah, here's Maurice!” The first name is indicative of a face. “Look, it's Maurice, hello Maurice!” So political power is the face of the boss. And suddenly it's no longer only the first name. There's the whole role of the poster, the portrait. The portrait has its own history: painting. And painting is complicit with power apparatuses, even if it is so in its own way, as for example in the case of Goya or Velasquez...
One of the functions of painting itself is to establish the official portrait. The portrait of the king, the portrait of the leader… or today it's photography. Can we get shut of all this, by saying that they are simply ideological phenomena? Perhaps we will have the chance to see how bad a concept ideology is, not because it defines phenomena of illusion but because the concept of ideology itself is a completely false one. Ideology doesn't exist. What exist are components in power organizations. Thus the face of the leader, political faciality, is perhaps a component of the political power apparatus.
Second example, I continue… passional power. If there is a political power there is equally a power of the passions. It's a classic theme. Passional power and the face of the beloved. When did this happen? It's not a simple matter… It occurred when the face of the beloved took on the appearance of a piece in a power apparatus. The passion-power. When did this occur? Broadly speaking - perhaps there are precedents – this happens during the time of courtly love. It's then that the face of the beloved takes on a role – it begins around the 11th-13th century – that compared with previous epochs really seems like a bout of madness. We can say that something new made its appearance. So this is my second example: passional power - and with it a second form of faciality: the face of the beloved.
Then there is a topic that has become a commonplace of psychology, of neonatal psychology, which is the baby's reaction to the mother's face. It's interesting… they don't talk about the reaction to the gaze, it's always the question of the maternal face. The baby that is being breastfed reacts to mummy's face. The power of family is the mother's face. So there we have a third form, or a third case, of faciality. One expert on this question is a paediatrist and psychoanalyst called Spitz. S-P-I-T-Z. He has shown the importance of a certain illness that he regards as quintessential in the development of a number of schizophrenic phenomena in children. The baby, when deprived of the mother's face, reacts through a strange malady characterized by schizoid disorders.
Then we have the face of the star. The star's face is interesting. For the next time - seeing as how there aren't many of you at today's class and we're limiting ourselves to sketching out some new topics... The star's face... we'd need someone familiar with the history of cinema to do some research on this topic which must be really interesting... What role did the star's face play in silent cinema? And with the advent of the talkies, did anything change in the function of faciality at the level of the star's face? Did the voice really have the role that's been attributed to it at the beginning of the talkies? It certainly did have a role but not the one you might think. When the talkies began, did the individuation of the star occur through voice or not?
- There are examples of stars who made the transition from silent to sound cinema...
(Deleuze) Yes, although there aren't many for whom it worked. But I'm thinking more of the question: silent star, sound star. Does the faciality function work in the same way?
(Yolande Finkelstein – student)
- All of discourse, the whole of literature is situated in relation to the desire of the other. And the other's desire means the other's gaze. Which means that suddenly the only things that can exist do so through the other's gaze. And what I wanted to talk about in the last lesson in relation to a certain type of spectacle... I suddenly have the impression that, in the same way that money circulates, so too do gazes. I mean… at the level of merchandise, how desire is imprinted... and besides... you were talking about the boss's face... well, I want to speak about woman's face. Because woman's face doesn't exist either, and...
(Deleuze) Sorry, I did make an allusion to courtly love and the face of the beloved.
- Yes, ok, but I mean even woman, even speaking about 'woman' in general. I mean, in the spectacle there is always a certain division of roles, of functions. And seeing as how the other day we were speaking about the semiotic wall, to be honest now I’d like to speak about doors. I mean… there's always a kind of unfolding of events that takes the form of a trial, and therefore you have a whole category of illusory doors.
(Deleuze) Yes, yes. What you call illusory doors are quite close to what Félix calls black holes. There could be a connection there. But we'll see. Don't fall…
It's kind of.... so anyway, let's suppose that these functions of faciality, these facialities pertain to apparatuses of power, and are distributed throughout them with different functions. And maybe even through different figures. Let's chance a small verbal link with some previous matters. Wouldn't the face be one of their key forms? But of what, you may ask. One of the key forms of redundancy… or, better, isn't the face a knot of arborescence? And to enter into rhizomes, don't we have to undo the face? And what would it mean, to undo the face? Well, it's just a question, a point of reference that will maybe help us locate things… but let's be more precise.
Let's suppose that power needs, or rather powers need - each in their own way - to produce face. There is a production of face. In the story of how Hitler… and here Félix was right in speaking in general about micropolitics... when we think of the story of how Hitler came to power: why should it be Hitler and not the high command who was ready to seize power? Why Hitler? What took place at the micropolitical level? There were traits of faciality that provoked redundancy, a resonance that had political and economic dimensions. This is why we're well beyond simple ideology. What was it that made Hitler's face literally rewarding, not illusory, not ideological, but profitable and rewarding?
There is an economy of faciality. Let's try to formulate this... For the moment all we have is a rough schema, I'm not saying we have an answer. But let's try to advance with this topic. Where does the link between power and faciality derive from? Once again, we can't say that faciality is at the source of power. That would be a nonsense, to ascribe everything to psychology or I don't know what. Faciality has its place, as a component piece of power apparatuses. But where does the link derive from?
For sure, there is no genetic link. Again we cannot say that power derives from a face that imposes itself. That's not it. So where does this intimate rapport faciality-power apparatus originate? We can conceive of systems where it doesn't feature. Let's imagine... let's proceed by an imaginative experiment, which is the best way because it's always there that we can vary things. There are different semiotics, the face is obviously part of a type of semiotics. The face, faciality, is a semiotics of power or it forms part of certain semiotics of power. But there are other semiotics that don't function through faciality.
The mask... the mask is a very complicated notion. We have to think about masks the way Levi-Strauss considered totemism, which is to say that the mask as such is a false concept. Masks have such a multiplicity of functions that speaking about the mask doesn't mean anything. But there are cases where the mask, rather than constituting a phenomenon of faciality, constitutes a phenomenon whose role is to make the head into an actual function of the body - which is to say, its role is to avert all risk of an autonomous faciality. This helps us advance a little...
In other semiotics of power, in other systems, there needs to be autonomy of faciality but to whose benefit, and for what? Sorry, we're going too fast here… Every time a semiotics of power will have the tendency to deny or suppress references of corporeality, coordinates of corporeality, it will at the same time tend to replace the semiotics of corporeality with a semiotics of a wholly different nature: that of faciality.
Let's take the example of what we could call, just to be simple, primitive peoples… or rather - to use a more useful word that will help us lose the evolutionist baggage - we can even talk about pre-signifying semiotics, primitive semiotics. What goes on in primitive semiotics? All the components are interwoven in such a way that they never find themselves dominated by a signifier. That's why we can refer to them as pre-signifying – semiotics that aren't distributed in line with signifying chains but which refer simultaneously to gestural, rhythmic and oral components - which doesn't mean components of the face… by oral components I mean the mouth as a cavity, and that has nothing to do with the face.
If I seek to characterize these pre-signifying components, to attribute certain features to them, I would say: corporeality – including in their power apparatuses… So, corporeality, animality, an intimate rapport with animal-becomings, collective enunciation, a collective mode of enunciating... At the same time these semiotics are heavily territorialized, these power apparatuses are heavily territorialized. So, to sum up pell-mell: corporeality, animality, collectivity, territorialization.
We reterritorialize on the face, the face of the leader. “Hi Maurice, Maurice, you're here!” “Hello Georges!” And Maurice, having nothing more to say, replies “Good morning comrade.” And there are murmurs of “Here's the boss!” “Did you see? It's the boss.” Then you have the face of the star. It's Greta Garbo... “Hello Greta Garbo!” We're light years away from questions of the gaze, with her dark glasses, the black holes of Greta Garbo. So, we have Greta Garbo. And then, “Oh, it's mummy!”
So, anyway, this is our hypothesis. Unlike what occurs in semiotics of corporeality, or in corporeal power apparatuses of the primitive, pre-signifying type, faciality becomes, or would become – other than this we can’t say anything yet, we don't know why… But faciality would perhaps become - it's just a hypothesis - a key element of power apparatuses, when power apparatuses become disembodied, abstract, when they are deterritorialized, and therefore what happens is a reterritorialization on the face. What would this hypothesis mean? Maybe we'll realize it's false, but I'd be surprised... it's not possible. We'll realize that it is true but for reasons we don't yet know. It's clearly true… we cannot be mistaken. So where does this lead us?
It leads us to say something quite simple, which is... when primitive codes break down, when they collapse, when pre-signifying codes - with their polyvocality, their mixture of gestural, rhythmic, corporeal, animal, territorialized components - when this collapse occurs... in brief, when the savages disappear to the profit of the great empires or whatever, you name it… feudality, certain forms of feudality - African, Asian - and later capitalism and so on... what happens is that sexuality, or even phenomena of desire in general, undergo (if we want to continue with this terminology) a vast decoding. They are literally decoded. Their codes lay in pre-signifying semiotics. Women, the collective character of marriages, children… it was all in place, well framed. Obviously, there was a decoding of desire, of sexuality, women, children. Decoded flows of women, children. Our hypothesis consists simply in saying: faciality is what rises up as a means of overcoding. It's not by chance that the face, unless it's swollen, is the least sexualized component of the body. And is the face part of the body? Yes, no… we don't know… we shall see.
In any case, when primitive codes collapse, when desire undergoes this trial of decoding, it becomes overcoded by the face, which therefore takes on a function that is not at all that of sublimation - it won't be directly sexual - but which will nonetheless form a part, an integral part, of sexuality. On a formal plane, the face will become the overcoding of sexuality. It becomes our way of overcoding sexuality, in line with the will and the directives of incorporeal, deterritorialized apparatuses of power and so on… It's the face, the eyes of your beloved, your leader's gaze. All these faces... the face of a star.
(Georges Comtesse – student)
- The eyes of Elsa…
(Deleuze) The eyes of Elsa. Yes.
(Yolande Finkelstein – student)
- But taking all these examples...
(Deleuze) We mustn't play around with Annie's eyes... But he touched them. And look what happened...
(Yolande Finkelstein – student)
- But taking all these examples… there's something I want to say… The other day, after the little accident, I heard someone say: “ But the guy who got beaten up had spent the whole night with the woman.”
(Deleuze) Great. It's a good subject... It's clear that all these problems of the couple, of faciality… concern us. Except for those holy spirits who have set off on a becoming-animal that consists in grazing. But I am the only one here... actually, I shouldn’t have said that... Okay, so this is our first hypothesis. Is it clear to everyone?
- I was very uneasy at the beginning, when you started talking about power. I would prefer if we just continued what we were doing… and when the subject came up we could discuss it… but not to begin with it. It seems to me that the concept of power in this lesson has become too structured.
(Deleuze) Just now, you mean?
-Yes, now we were speaking...
(Deleuze) So we'll stop.
- I hope so, but...
(Deleuze) Oh, we can't talk about Proust all the time! And when we do talk about Proust, there's someone who criticizes...
- But I have the impression that this matter... before the symbolic structuring Lacan speaks of, for example, you have aspects that connect to musculature, parasitism, the rapport with the mother... something that also reminds me of a text by Marx on what a number of economists including Rousseau were saying about the state of humanity before capitalist society. I mean, what Marx calls the Robinsonades. When we speak about rhizomes or non-faciality or making faciality collapse aren't we perhaps falling into an idealist, even ideological discourse? And wanting to unmask something don't we risk ending up with another schematization?
- You're bringing up a lot of different questions here. Obviously, I would avoid any confrontation with psychoanalytical topics such as narcissism, pre-narcissism, Lacan's topics in The Mirror Stage... I would avoid them simply because they are none of our business. There's room for a lot of kinds of business in the heavenly kingdom! Maybe we'll come across what you're saying. We'll encounter it, but indirectly. I don't know. Perhaps... When you say that it's unnecessary to focus all our attention on power, I apologise, but we've only been discussing this for fifteen or twenty minutes, and around a single question.
If you agree and no one has anything further to add, I think we’ll go back to this question, because we need to, for Félix and I it’s necessary. So please allow me to settle the issue. Besides, we've gone from the power of the star to that of Hitler, so it's sufficiently varied - not to mention Odette’s power over Swann. You see, the problem is extremely varied. But for the moment we're blocked. Although we've established one thing, a hypothesis I've tried to summarize. Yes...
(Anne Querrien – student)
- The first congregation of teachers that was deterritorialized and that attained a national scale was that of Jean Baptiste de La Salle. Curiously enough The Rules of Christian Decorum and Civility, which teaches correct comportment, and was written by de La Salle… millions of copies of which were distributed in France… is the first to say something positive about the face.
(Deleuze) Interesting... What date is that?
- The first edition is from 1713… and in the previous Rules - which is closer to de La Salle in terms of content - the only mention of the face is this: “Since it is upon the face that signs of the spirit of wisdom and modesty appear, which give an air of good or bad judgement, we must ensure that it is always well composed. To be agreeable to others, do not assume a stern or a forbidding countenance...”
And listen to this… “It should not be stern or forbidding but nor should it show anything too giddy or resembling a schoolboy. The whole face ought to reflect an air of seriousness and wisdom. Nor is it according to decorum to have a melancholy or a peevish countenance, and your face ought never to reflect any passion or ill-regulated affection. Your face ought to be happy with no sign of...”
(Deleuze) I interrupt you, Anne, just to stress one of Félix's concepts - which is the enumeration of traits of faciality and their associated norms with respect to a model-face.
- And it continues... “with no sign of either intemperance or dissipation. It ought to be serene but not too easygoing; open, without giving signs of too great a familiarity; gentle, without softness, and never suggesting anything vulgar. To everyone it must manifest your respect or, at the least, your affection and goodwill. It is, however, proper to allow the expression on your face to reflect the various business matters and circumstances that arise.”
And then it goes on to explain that on a sad occasion, one must not appear cheerful... The wise man seeks to “maintain a tranquil countenance that does not readily change its disposition or expression, no matter what happens, agreeable or disagreeable... It is something very improper, something that shows great vanity and is not at all becoming in a Christian, to apply beauty spots and paint to your face, covering it with powder and rouge. The vain person who resorts to such artifices performs an unnatural gesture since nature is our reference.”
(Deleuze) Obviously classical, not romantic nature…
- Yes, classical. It also says that one shouldn't frown as a furrowed brow expresses melancholy. “It is impolite to knit your eyebrows; this is a sign of haughtiness. Instead, you ought to keep your brows relaxed all the time… To raise them indicates scorn, and to let them droop over the eyes is characteristic of the melancholy person”. The part about the eyes is also very interesting. The rules of modesty insist that the eyes should be soft, serene, demure etc.
What I find fascinating is that all this is contained in The Rules of Christian Decorum and Civility which was distributed to the entire population and then taken up by teachers… “Modesty being the only external quality that can be controlled.” - which is to say modesty is what keeps body and face as they should be. Every two months, the friars of Christian schools had to write a letter to their superior recounting everything they had done - meaning if they had been modest, well-behaved, if they had been ill, if they'd had evil thoughts and also how they’d behaved towards the children. It was a literary system created to account for one's own behaviour by the master friars of the Christian Schools.
(Deleuze) A programmatic system… a programme of the face, of faciality.
- Also… with respect to landscape, to landscapity... the Jesuits speak about this. In ascesis, in the spiritual exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, the first phase is the composition of a place: meaning that one always has to be represented in a place or landscape. There is a series of key landscapes, I have to look for the reference, because I just discovered about this… He ordered a collection of engravings, placing himself in landscapes where Christ had apparently lived. And this is how he began his spiritual exercises.
(Deleuze) In the landscape?
- For the Jesuits, it was in the landscape…
(Deleuze) So in the Jesuit order the exercises...
- Historically speaking this is a century before…
(Deleuze) … the landscapity of the Jesuits, and the faciality of the scholars who followed, who take up the Jesuits' methods… but in order to invent something specific of their own.
- More specifically for the people.
- What you've just read... in 1946, in a Catholic school in Gerson where I studied... I was fourteen... somebody read that to me. I haven't heard it since then. And they pointed out what you just said. I mean, I was at boarding school and in our classroom we had images of Saint Ignatius of Loyola... this was 1946.
(Deleuze) Images of landscapity, landscapes. But In Loyola's writings, as far as you know… was the landscape already presented as something that had to convey certain sentiments of the soul that could be expressed on the face? Perhaps it only passed by way of the soul’s sentiments… Yes?
(Robert Albouker – student)
- In one of his seminars, Foucault was speaking about confession during the classical age, and he spent the entire hour talking about how confession worked with the Jesuits.
(Deleuze) Yes, he takes it up in Discipline and Punish.
(Robert Albouker – student)
- Confession has to be carried out point-by-point for the whole body and especially in relation to the eyes and what one hears. Half of confession concerns the face… What did you see, what did you hear, what did you smell? You have to tell them everything.
- I want to say something else regarding confession. I was on the steps of the Gerson staircase in Rue de la Baume, before confession, and next to the film review I was reading there was a photo of Martine Carol, half-naked… that I hadn't even noticed. I remember the confessor told me: “Don't pass this image around!” Those were his exact worlds, “Don't pass this image around!”
Deleuze: Don't pass this image around! That's very important, and we'll see why. Remember these words! Note them down; I'll need that... Don't pass this image around! I won't remember it otherwise.
- Concerning the landscape...
- I want to go back to the text…
(Deleuze) It's important this sequence: landscapity- faciality.
- According to the book I read, which is unfortunately just an abridged popular edition… it's part of the Seuil Spiritual Masters series. In any case, the Loyola citation I mentioned says that it really is a deliberate case of redundancy.
(Deleuze) Really, does it say that?
- Not exactly, but it says that it is a question of inscribing the imagination within such limits...
(Deleuze) You're a fraudster, like us!
- More or less... It's a question of inscribing imagination within strict limits, in such a way that it becomes completely fixated on the desired object.
(Deleuze) It is redundancy, redundancy of frequency also because I'm sure they carried it out several times a day. Perfect, perfect.
(Deleuze) Yes, did you want to say something?
- A while ago we thought about setting Jacques Martin straight because he hosts a TV show every Sunday morning called “Le petit rapporteur”… and every week his aim is to demolish a figure on the left. And his main argument is “Did you see the face on that?” … Did you see the face on that?
(Deleuze) Unfortunately also Sartre did something similar, but we have to forgive him. I think he explained himself later. He said he had been rushed; he'd spoken too quickly. At least I think that's what he said. So… ok fine. We're done with this first point. I'll pass on now to a second point that at first glance seems completely different… I haven't forgotten, Antoine, we can talk later if you don't mind…
I would just like to have the right to dream a little, with Félix and all of you. I say the words, “There it is, I see!” And it's as if - and it's not by chance that I’m saying this, because it'll be useful later - it's as if we pretended to fall asleep. As if we were in the phase of falling asleep, as psychologists say. And then we start to see strange things... The first thing I see, and I really do see it, I'm seeing it… is the face of the despot.
The despot's face is highly significant. I would even say that in this first figure we have the very substance of the signifier. He has knitted eyebrows, he has a hidden smile. The despot's face as signifier. You can find texts everywhere, on all the despots, where they talk about their facial tics. This face of the despot… allows me to dream, maybe I’m mistaken, we don't know yet. It's a face that imposes itself upon us, at least when we are falling asleep, and it’s always facing me. A frontal face. You could say to me “And what about yours?” Well I don't have that. I tend to be bowed over, though I obviously look at that face, sometimes bowed over, sometimes with my eyes raised. It's a face on high. Facing me.
So why this face? There must be a reason. Because for all of us… it doesn't matter if you realize it or not, you'll always see it as you're falling asleep… Why is this face, facing us, projected on a white wall? As though the wall had windows. It's similar to the techniques of graffiti. A man facing us on a white wall, on a white background. The white wall and the signifying face seen frontally. Like the face on the Shroud. The face imprinted on a handkerchief. This face facing us on a white wall seems to me something terrifying. While we're peacefully falling asleep, it's terrifying. Maybe it doesn't exist, maybe it does, maybe... Anyway, there's a first point, let's put it aside for the moment. It already forms a schema. A white rectangle, a face. Is this face already a black hole? A black hole on a white wall, that would suit us. But let's not rush things. Let's just say: a face on a white wall. And that is facing us. That's the signifying despotic face. In fact it doesn't act by means of the signified. It acts through a series of rhythmic lines on a white wall. What it means, which is to say what it signifies… is of no importance. Whatever it signifies, it will always signify something, and this something will never be any use to us. It's pointless to concern ourselves with it.
Second figure... I’ve already developed this sufficiently so I can just remind you of it. Two faces facing each other… that approach one another as they descend. The first figure was, as we would say today in specialist language, synchronic. It's synchronic: face on white wall. The second figure: two faces facing one another that move closer, following a line. As I said, I've already developed this at length, so I'm not going to insist: Tristan-Isolde, Tristan-Isolde, Tristan-Isolde up to an exaggerated proximity of the two faces - which means what? The plunge into the black hole.
This figure is diachronic. There's a whole becoming of the two faces, which are not necessarily facing each other. They might even be back to back. In any case, they are in profile, two faces in profile that descend, approach one another, brush against a black hole… faces that will plummet into a black hole, the black hole of passion. Tristan and Isolde. This time it's no longer the signifying synchronic face of the despot on the white wall. It's the passional face. Or, to stick to a convenient term, one without the slightest hint of evolutionism, it’s the “post-signifying” face. The passional face of the beloved, not with the function of signifiance, but with one that we could call the function of subjectivation.
Following our method, this doesn't mean that we refer the face to a subject but, rather, it is from a figure of the face that we generate the function of subjectivation. And when I refer to the two profiles that don't necessarily face one another, in this diachrony, in this falling towards the black hole... This time, what we have is no longer a face seen frontally on a white wall but a face in profile that flows along a diachronic line, a diachronic line, in opposition to the surface of the white wall, that moves towards the black hole. They are not necessarily looking at one another, as I said before. They might half turn to observe each other. You see, from passional love they're already tending towards a kind of conjugal phase. They observe each other. Or else they turn away.
God turns away from my face as I turn away from his. There was a time that gods didn't turn their faces away. Which god invented the turning away of the face? Who was the god that turned his face away from his devotee, just as the devotee turned his face away from his god? Who invented this diachronic line that heads towards a black hole? It's the history of the Jewish people, the story of the double turning away. A history that will have its own unfolding and that will end with the anti-semite Heidegger... in his reinterpretation of the double turning away, that he calls categorical, and it's not by chance that all this comes from Kant, passing by way of Holderlin.
This falling asleep is opening up a lot of material, it's becoming too erudite... so I'll stop there, but it's clear that here we have another figure.
You can see that our strongest desire is to make the black holes and the white walls function together. Because they have to. And this is where terror is born. A black hole in a white wall, there's nothing more terrifying. Any other kind of death would be preferable to that. Okay, so here's the third image we see while falling asleep. The previous ones were modes of organizing the traits of faciality. And as Anne quite rightly said, there is a list of traits of faciality that will be overcoded by the face.
The third figure of falling asleep that I see... and here things start to get more disturbing… what happens is a kind of freeing up of the traits of faciality that escape the face, as though the face melted and the traits of faciality became like birds, sometimes heavy, sometimes light… and began to interact with other traits, traits of landscapity… “Hair in the wind”, as Félix calls it.
In a dual lecture including both Deleuze and Guattari, the authors introduce different terms developed in their ongoing collaboration which will result, in 1980, in A Thousand Plateaus.
En cours de developpement