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Chaos, Territory, Art: Deleuze and the Framing of the Earth

by Elizabeth Grosz Columbia University Press
Pub Date:
05/2008
ISBN:
9780231145183
Format:
Hbk 136 pages
Price:
AU$45.99 NZ$46.95
Product Status: Available in Approx 7 days
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Instead of treating art as a uniquely human and cultural 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. Approaching art as a form of erotic expression that connects sensory richness with primal desire, Grosz 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 that enables living bodies to experience 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 Jacob von Uexküll we are able to grasp art's deep animal lineage. Art is not tied to the predictable and known but linked 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. It is the way in which life experiments with materiality, or nature, in order to bring about change.

''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 Darwin and 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 books that offer a similar view of the arts and their relationship to the natural world.'' — Ronald Bogue, University of Georgia

''This is altogether a provocative and engaging study into an ontology of art through an examination of making, one that presents an interesting angle on discussions of art as excess. Grosz’s writing is measured; her theoretical movements paced and assured.'' - The Media Culture Review, January 2009

Acknowledgments

1. Chaos. Cosmos, Territory, Architecture

2. Vibration. Animal, Sex, Music

3. Sensation. The Earth,a People, Art

Notes

Bibliography

Index

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 Uexkll 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
Elizabeth Grosz is professor of women's and gender studies at Rutgers University. She has been a visiting professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, the University of California, Irvine, Johns Hopkins University, and George Washington University. Her publications include The Nick of Time: Politics, Evolution, and the Untimely and Time Travels: Feminism, Nature, Power.