Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Superject, Objectile and the Baroque perspectivism

Gilles Deleuze, The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque (1988), trans. Tom Conley (London and New York: Continuum, 2006).

If the focus of the object is profoundly changed, so also is that of the subject. We move from inflection or from variable curvature to vectors of curvature that go in the direction of concavity. Moving from a branching of inflection, we distinguish a point that is no longer what runs along inflection, nor is it the point of inflection itself; it is the one in which the lines perpendicular to tangents meet in a state of variation. It is not exactly a point but a place, a position, a site, a 'linear focus,' a line emanating from lines. To the degree it represents variation or inflection, it can be called point of view. Such is the basis of perspectivism, which does not mean a dependence in respect to a pregiven or defined subject; to the contrary, a subject will be what comes to the point of view, or rather what remains in the point of view. That is why the transformation of the object refers to a correlative transformation of the subject: the subject is not a sub-ject but, as Whitehead says, a 'superject.' Just as the object becomes objectile, the subject becomes a superject. A needed relation exists between variation and point of view: not simply because of the variety of points of view (though, as we shall observe, such a variety does exist), but in the first place because every point of view is a point of view on variation. The point of view is not what varies with the subject, at least in the first instance; it is, to the contrary, the condition which an eventual subject apprehends a variation (metamorphosis), or: something = x (anamorphosis). For Leibniz, for Nietzsche, for William and Henry James, and for Whitehead as well, perspectivism amounts to a relativism, but not the relativism we take for granted. It is not a variation of truth according to the subject, but the condition in which the truth of a variation appears to the subject. This is the very idea of Baroque perspective. (20-21)