Access options available:. By Elizabeth Grosz. New York: Columbia University Press, The sentences unfold and caress you like a plume of exhaled smoke, giving the book's emphasis on sexual attraction and the eroticism of sensation a physical force. This is its most compelling aspect, giving the question of gender in her discussion of Deleuze and Guattari's aesthetics a real embodiment. In this sense, her argument is as affectual as it is intellectual, and so explores a way of "doing" philosophy that is both "artistic" and "feminist.
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Access options available:. By Elizabeth Grosz. New York: Columbia University Press, The sentences unfold and caress you like a plume of exhaled smoke, giving the book's emphasis on sexual attraction and the eroticism of sensation a physical force.
This is its most compelling aspect, giving the question of gender in her discussion of Deleuze and Guattari's aesthetics a real embodiment. In this sense, her argument is as affectual as it is intellectual, and so explores a way of "doing" philosophy that is both "artistic" and "feminist. This combination is developed in the second chapter, where Grosz reads Darwin to show how art "hijacks" the evolutionary demands of survival "through the excessive or nonadaptive detours of sexual selection, sexual taste, and erotic pleasure" As a result, and as she later elaborates, art is a "line of flight towards the world of autonomous qualities regulated by sexual selection" These, she claims, are "qualities that can't be directly capitalised" 54 a possibly dubious claim in our age of biopolitics inasmuch as art "is an elaboration of the most primitive and elementary fragments of an ancient animal prehistory" This "primitive" "animal prehistory" will find its artistic exemplar in Aboriginal paintings from the Western Desert.
Grosz's use of Darwin in the name of Irigaray is the most original part of her book. The price for this, however, is almost entirely paid by art. Grosz effectively converts "art" into a biological concept and process almost completely detached from actual artworks. Apart from the twelve pages on Western Desert painting from Australia with which the book concludes, there is only cursory mention of artists or artworks, and the Aboriginal [End Page ] paintings in fact support this neglect of "actual art" and of Deleuze and Guattari's account of it.
Western Desert painting, Grosz gleefully informs us, "defies" Deleuze's categorization of modern painting in his book on Francis Bacon 90 while at the same time being entirely "contemporary" rather than "a timeless traditional indigenous art form" In this way Western Desert painting is "art" in Grosz's sense, it is uncontained by traditional "Western" or "primitive" art forms and instead stands as an example of her "bioaesthetics.
While this process culminates, as does the book, in "the political overcoming of the present and helps bring a new, rich, and resonating future into being" , what this future might actually be is, unfortunately, anybody's guess. Grosz's attempts to biologize "art" and her affirmation of Western desert painting as an example of this are clearly not "wrong," but they do ignore and perhaps by implication reject an important element of Deleuze and Guattari's own work.
Deleuze and Guattari do emphasize the animal qualities of aesthetic processes which are for them living processes , but such qualities attend their "actual" emergence as "art" of both a Western and "nomadic" persuasion, for Deleuze and Guattari they are not necessarily distinct. For example, they call the birdsong that is one of Grosz's constant themes a "readymade," using the English term to emphasise its connection to Duchamp and the revolution that will come to be called, after the sixties, "contemporary art.
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Chaos, Territory, Art
Add to Cart. Instead of treating art as a unique creation that requires reason and refined taste to appreciate, Elizabeth Grosz argues that art-especially architecture, music, and painting-is born from the disruptive forces of sexual selection. She approaches art as a form of erotic expression connecting sensory richness with primal desire, and in doing so, finds that the meaning of art comes from the intensities and sensations it inspires, not just its intention and aesthetic. By regarding our most cultured human accomplishments as the result of the excessive, nonfunctional forces of sexual attraction and seduction, Grosz encourages us to see art as a kind of bodily enhancement or mode of sensation enabling living bodies to experience and transform the universe. Art can be understood as a way for bodies to augment themselves and their capacity for perception and affection-a way to grow and evolve through sensation. Grosz argues that art is not tied to the predictable and known but to new futures not contained in the present. Its animal affiliations ensure that art is intensely political and charged with the creation of new worlds and new forms of living.
Chaos, Territory, Art: Deleuze and the Framing of the Earth