Whenever I get interested in a new genre of music or a new movement and aesthetic in art, I look forward to seeing how the Japanese have appropriated it and what they have done with it. I had begun listening to hip hop with Wu Tang and the likes, but I truly came to appreciate and understand the essence of hip hop only with Nujabes. Similarly, I started listening to electronic music of various kinds and listened for a while to amazing artists, but it has been only with Susumu Yokota that I feel myself entering into the essence of electronic music, by which I mean, its irreducibility to analog modes of production, it fundamental difference from analog music, what it can do that analog music cannot. Especially the albums Sakura and The Boy and The Tree. Susumu Yokota is truly giving me so much life.
In the first moment, under the sway of flowing curiosity as much as technical necessity, consciousness understanding itself as such attempts to draw out or cut up the ecological continuum, the received or incoming sensorium into discrete and neatly differentiated components. The positing of the universe is in direct correlation with and is generally reflected in the way positing posits itself to itself, and all of this unfolds within a concrete feeling of the determinability of the flood of existence. The other moment then takes place within an abstract feeling of the indeterminability of the flood of existence. In such an articulation of the fact of experience, all that can be said is that something posits, or indeed, that positing takes place, a mad and delirious positing, almost a kind of fabulation, of irreducible and infinite movement and becoming. This is not only the emergence of animism but also of music – essential music. And somewhere in the process, the problem of individuation individuates itself, finding the conditions ripe for a crystallisation of the always already ongoing activity of the worlding that is thought and the thinking that is the world. Is there such a thing as an entering into greater imagination? Is there possible a physics or even pataphysics of the production of novelty?
The philosophy of Gilles Deleuze allows for a fundamentally dynamic, processual and genetic conception of reality. This is as opposed to a static, representational and objectivist view of reality that has been prevalent in the history of western metaphysics. The representational view privileges identity over difference, being over becoming, and conceives of the real as comprising of self-identical, stable and already formed entities. In this sense it is ultimately the subsumption of the empirical under the conceptual. For Deleuze, on the other hand, the world is in a constant state of becoming and being is equated with unlimited creativity. This is the context in which he reconceptualises the Kantian transcendental field as not merely the condition of possibility of experience but the conditions of the genesis of real experience. This is the meaning of transcendental empiricism. The transcendental or virtual realm thus cannot be derived analogously from the realm of the actual but in fact is qualitatively and structurally different.
This revision of the transcendental is related to his revision of Kantian aesthetics. Kant divided aesthetics into two halves, viz. the theory of sensibility as the form of possible experience and the theory of art as a reflection on real experience. Deleuze has attempted to unite the two aspects of the aesthetic by showing that there cannot be an a priori account but only a genetic account of the forms of sensibility. This means that as a function of an encounter for instance with a work of art new forms of sensibility, new sensations, new affects and new experiences can be produced. Hence ontology and aesthetics are always already implicated in one another in Deleuze’s philosophy into what Eugene W. Holland has called ‘Onto-aesthetics’.
The earth is fundamentally a body without organs or a plane of consistency and life is a creative, dynamic process of becoming and divergent flows that shoot off in various directions in the production of novelty. It is a transcendental field that is pre-individual, virtual, intensive, differential, molecular, a smooth space of the order of problems or Ideas – neither form nor formlessness but the pure unformed. But life has a tendency to limit itself by becoming striated in the form of extensity and actuality. This process of the molarisation, organisation and structuration of the dynamic flows is called stratification. The singularities and differential processes of smooth space get individuated and actualised into forms and strata. Nonetheless the virtual realm which is the realm of problems is always way richer and complex than the actual which are temporary and metastable solutions to the problems.
In this light, art (and also philosophy) is an event and practice of destratification, decoding, deterritorialisation which produces lines of flight and molecular lines of becoming. It is the abstract machine par excellence that frees the earth and allows life to come in touch with its hidden or lost potentiality and vitality. It is the intensification and differentiation of life towards the production and creation of novelty. Its task is to fight the organism, the signifier and subjectivity into becoming-imperceptible, becoming-indiscernible and becoming-universe. The dynamic potential for art is always virtually present in earthly processes. This is the sense in which art does not wait for the human. It is not the authorised imposition of form upon matter but more in the nature of a capture of forces that creates the conditions for encounter. Such is the political significance of art in that it allows for new experience, new life, new relations, new interactions and a new earth.