Deleuze and the Cinemas of Performance: Powers of Affection by Elena del Río

By Elena del Río

This ebook bargains a special reconsideration of the acting physique that privileges the concept of affective strength over the suggestion of visible shape on the centre of former theories of spectacle and performativity. Drawing on Gilles Deleuze's philosophy of the physique, and on Deleuze-Spinoza's correct options of impact and expression, Elena del Río examines a type of cinema that she calls 'affective-performative'. The positive factors of this cinema spread through particular and interesting discussions of the events, gestures and speeds of the physique in a number of motion pictures via Douglas Sirk, Rainer W. Fassbinder, Sally Potter, Claire Denis, and David Lynch. Key to the book's engagement with functionality is a constant consciousness to the body's powers of love.

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In the Deleuzian sense, highly pertinent to performance, difference is not dependent on a binary alternation between two terms, where one always remains dominant. As Abigail Bray and Claire Colebrook explain: Deleuze’s “transcendental empiricism” posits a univocality whereby bodies, consciousness, actions, events, signs, and entities are specific intensities – each with its own modality and difference. They do not need their “difference from” each other in order to be . . in their specific singularity beings are positively different .

Massumi 1996: 231) 9. As Vicki Kirby explains, [w]ord and flesh are utterly implicated, not because “flesh” is actually a word that mediates the fact of what is being referred to, but because the entity of a word, the identity of a sign, the system of language, and the domain of culture – none of these are autonomously enclosed upon themselves. Rather, they are all emergent within a force field of differentiations that has no exteriority in any final sense. qxp:Andy Q7 24 6/5/08 10:46 Page 24       10.

I have purposely chosen to engage with Mulvey and Butler as two paradigmatic feminist theorists who, on the surface, seem to belong to widely divergent strains of feminist theory – the former closer to the structuralist model, more reliant upon a notion of identity, the latter more closely identified with a poststructuralist questioning of the limits of identity. But despite this notable difference between them, some of the fundamental psychoanalytic premises of Mulvey’s notion of the female body persist in Butler’s account, in either case failing to supplement the proverbial passivity imputed to the female body with a transformative capacity for action.

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