Chaos, Territory, Art

Deleuze and the Framing of the Earth

Elizabeth Grosz

Columbia University Press

Chaos, Territory, Art

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Pub Date: May 2008

ISBN: 9780231145183

136 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $26.00£19.00

Pub Date: May 2008

ISBN: 9780231517874

136 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $25.99£19.00

Chaos, Territory, Art

Deleuze and the Framing of the Earth

Elizabeth Grosz

Columbia University Press

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. Through this framework, which knits together the theories of Charles Darwin, Henri Bergson, Gilles Deleuze, Félix Guattari, and Jakob von Uexküll, we are able to grasp art's deep animal lineage.

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. According to Grosz, art is the way in which life experiments with materiality, or nature, in order to bring about change.

Elizabeth Grosz's writing is at once clear and evocative. Her readings of Deleuze and Guattari are astute and judicious, opening their thought to practitioners of all the arts. Her use of Charles Darwin and Jakob von Uexküll is illuminating, and her approach to the evolution of the arts provides a refreshing alternative to the deterministic and reductionistic arguments of many evolutionary biologists and their enthusiasts in the field of aesthetics. I know of no other book that offers a similar view of the arts and their relationship to the natural world.

Ronald Bogue, professor of comparative literature, University of Georgia

This wonderful and short book... continues her recent quest of recasting Darwinian biology within a Deleuzean and Nietzschean understanding of sexual difference.

Arun Saldanha, Environment and Planning
Acknowledgments
1. Chaos. Cosmos, Territory, Architecture
2. Vibration. Animal, Sex, Music
3. Sensation. The Earth, a People, Art
Notes
Bibliography
Index

About the Author

Elizabeth Grosz is professor of women's and gender studies at Rutgers University. She also teaches gender studies and architecture at the University of Bergen, Norway, and The University of Sydney, Australia. Grosz has been a visiting professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, the University of California, Irvine, Johns Hopkins University, and George Washington University. Trained in continental philosophy, she has written widely on the body, sexuality, space, time, and materiality, and her publications include The Nick of Time: Politics, Evolution, and the Untimely and Time Travels: Feminism, Nature, Power.