Why does Sherlock Holmes have to play the violin? Was he a simple music lover that wish for a position in the local symphony orchestra or was the violin a substitute of his absent mother etc. childhood trauma? Nah, it’s neither but the violin is crucial for Holmes activities and key to his ability to solve the craziest crimes. The violin is nothing more or less than a concept, a devise that the detective inserts in order to stop thinking and for indetermination to possibly emerge. It’s when he runs into a cul-de-sac that he needs the violin, to be able to see what can not be seen through the lens of reason, deduction, conclusion. He has to have it to defuse his gaze, to stop being human. It’s not that he wants to or could look at the world through the “eye” of the violin. Not at all, he just needs to vibe with the violin, let the violin transfer its agency without knowing to what end. A concept is a machine that carries with it the capacity to dislocate causality. This can only happen through an agency that is non-human.
It has too often been considered that Gilles Deleuze is a relational philosopher among other postmodern and poststructuralist thinkers. It’s evident that phenomenology and its continuation can not have it otherwise; the world is its relations and there is no founding moment or origin. Value is relational or relative. With Deleuze nothing could be more wrong. It is true that transformation is central to his work but becoming is not a transformation from one known to another known, nor from a know to and unknown – which also is knowable as absence. Instead becoming is a change from something to some thing – contingent change – which is to say from something that is inscribed in a web of relations to some thing which has no relation, where the lack of relations instead renders it being, but a being that is withdrawn. A different way of describing Deleuze becoming is, from reality to immanence, and in a way back again.
This fact has almost consistently been ignored by continental philosophy, critical theory and anything Marxist because it would undermine, although to some extent different but yet their fundamental premise. Poststructuralism simply had to insist on Deleuze as relational in order not to poop in its own shoes. Deleuze’s reasoning on the other hand was that only through insisting on immanence or potentiality could philosophy have anything to do with truth, although not as in consolidating truth but instead as in generating or producing truth, a truth that when colliding with reality, language or representation without exception dissolve into and/or are violated by any of those capacities, that in any case is the same. Curiously however, it is not truth that is incorporated into reality but the other way around. It is reality that needs to transform in order to generate compatibility with truth, because: nothing can or must exist within reality that is not inscribed in a web of relations. For something to be true, on the other hand, it cannot have relations, if it has each relations is different, and hence truth cannot be true. In order not to collapse reality will transform contingently in order to establish any or some kind of relations with truth, however the moment relation is established truth loses its being, is swallowed by language. Deleuze knows truth can not be established only generated. This makes him a productive rather than consolidating philosopher, but it also makes him a philosopher, aware of the problems of relations, that places faith in being, or perhaps better, in realism.
It goes without saying that for Deleuze truth cannot be produced, because production is always directional and known – it just doesn’t work to produce “I have absolutely no idea”. Deleuze however proposes that one under certain circumstances can produce the possibility of production, but there can obviously be no guarantee. This production of possibility can not be linear or probabilistic but must be contingent which is why Deleuze needs to introduce a capacity for the possibility to possibly happen. This capacity, which is not a tool as a tool always knows it destination, is known as a machinic assemblage, or a concept. A concept is an indetermination machine, which also must be indeterminate to itself
Knowledge is performative whereas being is not. Knowledge is relative whereas being is true.
What does it mean to produce knowledge, or what are the implications of knowledge production? To learn, or participate in a course has nothing to do with knowledge production, but means to possess established knowledge. Education is the opposite of knowledge production, there is no production going on at all, all the student does is to consume established packages of knowledge. Creative or artistic education is no exception.
For the notion knowledge production to have any bearing it must signify to make or create knowledge, knowledge that was previously not existing or possible. Consequently knowledge production at the end of the day means to bring something new into being, something that is and must not yet be knowledge.
It appears impossible to produce knowledge, as one can not through determination produce what one can not know. Therefore in order to produce knowledge a devise is needed. As we have understood this devise is known as a concept.
To engage in knowledge production is to attempt to engage in being. To engage in knowledge production implies to engage in the possibility of the production of truth. To engage in knowledge production further means to call out an agency foreign to humanity.
Now, how does this relate to art and aesthetic experience? Art is to a large extent connected to knowledge, but is not the same as aesthetic experience. The moment art is “only” knowledge it transforms into service and aesthetic experience is nullified. Knowledge is consistent, causal and continuous, it is reliable and ownable. Aesthetic experience or the encounter with art is something else, it is that that goes beyond reason, cognition and conclusion, it is to vibe with that violin or in other words the aesthetic experience is to be engaged by an agency that is non-human. Since non-human agency cannot be knowledge and therefore must be being; aesthetic experience is a productive encounter with truth. For aesthetic experience to possibly take place there is a need for devise, indeed an indetermination machine – a concept – both in respect of artistic production and experiencing or viewing art. The aesthetic experience implies an engagement with foreign agency, it is to engage in something that is not yet human, which is something to which no relation can be established yet it is there. That that is yet there is being and being is always alien.