This performance flows from a collective reading group in which Chrissy Nadler and I, bit by bit, read Gilles Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition. Originally performed at the 2014 Cultural Studies Association annual meeting, it has since been converted to a digital project. Originally his doctoral thesis, but not published for 15 years, Difference and Repetition is often described as Deleuze’s most “traditional” philosophical monograph. Divided into six chapters, it systematically seeks to reframe the philosophy of difference while also providing a counter-genealogy of difference no longer subordinated to “the fours iron collars of” representation: identity in the concept, opposition in the predicate, analogy in judgement and resemblance in perception.
Still, we found in reading it much more than a slow and methodical reconstruction of philosophy and ontology. With that in mind, we want to offer a performative reassembly of Difference and Repetition. Our piece aims to utilize our bodies, voices and affects to produce an embodied, rather than linear, understanding of the text. What follows will highlight the complication of representation and limitations of “knowing” through exploring other possibilities for participating in and with a traditional philosophical text. In Deleuze’s undoing of the dialectic there is still space needed to account for what was formerly understood as oppositional. Making creative use of ourselves as two different bodies, we hope to produce in and with you an emergent sense of difference that is non-dualistic.
My thanks go to Chrissy for converting the piece into its digital format and making it shareable here.