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Ulaş Aktaş: Civilisational Wilderness or Civilderness and Cultural Immune Systems
Civilisational Wilderness or Civilderness and Cultural Immune Systems
(p. 97 – 108)

The development of cultural screens

Ulaş Aktaş

Civilisational Wilderness or Civilderness and Cultural Immune Systems

PDF, 12 pages

Hyperpolitics …deconstruction …the global financial crisis …asymmetric wars …gender depression …superpositivism …climate change …the global slum crisis … investor blackmail …the spread of AIDS …budgetary collapse …biopolitics …neo-racism … etc. etc.1

It would not be difficult to come up with yet more terms with which to continue this series. Terms describing the general state of crisis are in themselves so inflationary that merely in describing the crises one attains a critical state oneself. The term crisis is a medical one, suggesting that an organism will either recover or die. While in the current formation of civilisation neither of these options can be expected, it would appear more accurate to follow Paul Virilio’s profound diagnosis and assume a state of “raging standstill”2.

Can anything consistent even be said about the development of this hyperaccelerated civilisational standstill? Perhaps not, yet it would seem that an attempt must be made.

Taking Foucault’s and Deleuze’ expectations of a further radical transformation in the supporting axes of civilisational force formations and Hans Peter Weber’s concisely clarifying insights into the mode of operation of a cultural screen (the immunitary conditions of the culturality of human existence) as my point of departure, a certain virulence seems to me to be present. It is the virulence of an inquiry into an as yet unqualified cultural screen for the future constitution of civilisation. That the current cultural screen, by which I mean the balance of forces within the cultural immune systems, is in a state of disintegration, would seem apparent.3 My perspective is the one of a cultural anthropologist. I will therefore proceed as follows:

1. First of all I shall attempt to clarify the Foucauldian-Deleuzian expectations of a further radical transformation within the supporting axes of the basic formations of civilisational forces. 2. My next step is to outline the creatural conditions of cultural screening within an anthropic community as described by Hans Peter Weber. 3. Finally I should like to delineate the effect of dance on cultural screening at issue here as a search for the poetic elementary particles of an aesthetics of existence.

The collapsing civilising forces: the age of axes

When we speak of dance and politics today, it is self-evident that the state no longer formulates the new civilising forces. Rather, these are created by a tuning of forces on every organic and organisational level. The state is merely expected to join and lend its legitimising support to these forces, which have established themselves globally in the radical research and recovery industries.4 State policies no longer act but only assist, and often enough not even that – the new forces establish themselves beyond the classic forces, the new forces exerting control over the old. Showing no preference for the body, i.e. biotic organs, as the site at which to exert their influence, they are unlimited and impinge on everything that is physically attainable, following the slogan: Brains first!! (AI, robotics etc.)

Deleuze was not the first to realise that these civilisational changes were not merely superficial phenomena but the cause of fundamental transformative processes within the creation of the self. In agreement with Foucault’s finely differentiated analysis of the modern age in The Order of Things5 he proceeds from the assumption that every epochal formation stems from a combination of force relations, the forces of the inside and forces of the outside. The forces of the inside are the forces of the self or of human beings, for example imagination, memory, insight and will power.6 Forces of the outside or civilisational achievements are artefactural techniques and control techniques as secondary creative forces. I don’t want to go into too much detail at this point. The important question for our purposes is the one Deleuze poses concerning the change in the formation of forces, namely: “If the forces within man compose a form only by entering into a relation with forms from the outside, with what new forms do they now risk entering into a relation, and what new form will emerge […]?”7

With this question Deleuze refers to a transformation of a transformation, a shift in the quality of the transformation or retrograde evolution. What was not yet visible to him, what he did not or could not yet write about in the 1980s, is the question of where this change might occur within the civilisational sphere. Concerning the transformation of the human form and the social form in this final stage of the retrograde evolution he considers only the incremental form which results from the final dis-covery of the noietic physique: the superman form. The analysis of the cultural conditions which are also transformed under the pressure of post-historical impulses, intertwining relations such as human diversification8, civil war, population growth towards the forces of the outside, silicium (cybernetics) and the genetic components (genetics), remain largely unconsidered.9

The tectonic shift of the human, civilisational and cultural axis permeates and radically transforms the inner fabric of human and social forms. This is what I call the second age of axes.10 This situation is similar to the Nietzschean image of building a ship while sailing on the high seas, an image which foregrounds a decisive point not taken into consideration in anticipating the superman structure: that of the preservative screening forces which are also subject to change, are also at the point of disintegration and which therefore must be created anew. These processes of disintegration are particularly apparent in the current inflation of crises.

The profound changes that can be expected as a result of the post-historic civilisational impulses operate at every level: ecological, political, economic, social, mental, cultural etc. The fact that the age of axes will also transform concepts and the understanding of what constitutes the self-conception of the present cannot be overlooked. What do the conditions of a future constitution of the human-nature-culture relational field look like? At this point I should like to draw attention to the immunitary conditions, to the transformation of the screening forces within the epochal form formations.

The cultural screen

The chaotic processes of ruin (“chaosmatische Abwirtschaftungsprozesse”) on an ecological, political, economic, social, and cultural level are not only evidence of the cracks appearing in the world edifice of modernity which allow one to glimpse the advance of a highly accelerated and mobilised civilisational formation with its superman structures. They are above all evidence of the structural change within the screening force relations: the age makes explicit its own immunitary conditions, the working conditions for a humane life aboard the spaceship earth.

I would like to briefly sketch a) the screening forces’ mode of operation b) the reasons for their coming into being and c) their positioning within the formation of forces.

1. Foucault’s technologies of the self – inner politics

With the term technologies of the self Michel Foucault examined the process of the constitution of the “self” within the context of its underlying historical formations of power. The constitution of the self can accordingly neither be understood completely through psychological nor through sociological analyses. Foucault uncovers a force field in which different forces are in effect. As examples for these forces he cites, among others, administrative and organisational forces as well personal forces: the force to imagine or to will. In the field of personal forces he also sees counterforces at work. These forces cannot be situated unilaterally, neither within a person nor within society. They act automorphously, i.e. they only organise themselves within the tension field of the intrinsic organisation of the mind and the autonomous sphere of contact.

The intrinsic structuring of the mind and the sphere of contact act upon each other alternately and the forces that operate within them are not only similarly differentiated, they are also present in a similarly disrupted fashion and act in a similarly complex manner. Within this process some forces and potentials are favoured, in other words a drift sets in, commonly known as civilisational evolution.

2. Cultural sense

Where and how are the screening forces generated? As is known, not only felicitous forces act within the mental structures of human existence. These structures are actually prone to crisis and firmly connected to notorious stress factors. The screening forces occur retroactively and in opposition to these stress forces. There is a “cultural sense” as defined by Hans Peter Weber: a sense similar to the sense of hearing or sight, which is geared towards moments of recovery (moments of presentification), seeking the chance to temporarily diminish these notorious stress factors.

There are at least three causes for their occurring, three stress factors which contribute to the mental situation of human beings’ disposition towards crisis.

1. One cause is the “eccentric positionality of the human being”11 (Plessner). Due to their mental constitution humans are capable of referring to themselves and positioning themselves outside themselves. They are self-reflective. Mentally, therefore, people are in a certain sense never in the present, i.e. they are always also absent. This absence12 is connected to a lack of restraint within consciousness, which is thrown back upon itself. This being thrown back upon oneself is an infliction. The French term for this is ennui which I would translate as a corrosive feeling of emptiness.

2. A second cause is the advancing “consciousness towards death” (Heidegger).13 This consciousness is also the price we pay for the self-reflective abilities of cognition and is also connected to an extremely frightening consciousness. The horror of being conscious of death needs no further explanation.

3. The third cause I would like to refer to here is “the shame of being human” (Deleuze)14. This shame does not refer here to the human form but rather to the knowledge of the pitiful state of one’s own mental constitution. The shame of being what one is or, to phrase it in a more Heideggerian mode, what one has been thrown into.

Counter to these three instances of crisis of the neuro-mental constitution, the screening forces come into play. The recording agencies of mental states are “full of longing for something that has been lost”15. They are not directed forwards. They do not advance the civilising front. Jean-Luc Godard has called them the avantgarde’s arrièregarde.16 The processes of civilisational transformation are naturally also driven by this consciousness of a deficiency within the mental state. The screening forces act in opposition to the growth of cognitive fitness. But both are to be understood as a reaction to the deficiency within the mental state, which is a constitutive lack of (existential) integrity.

3. The civilisatorial process – phantasmatic organisation

The process of civilisatory transformation as described by Deleuze is driven by the phantasm that all the oppressive and depressing qualities of the real can be dispelled by technical progress. The modern subject is a constitutive factor of this process, and is understood, as Peter Sloterdijk has pointed out, mainly as an entrepreneurial imperative. Below the sublimity of subjectivity, the release of entrepreneurial energies is more vehement than morals or ethics. To be a subject, as stated by Sloterdijk, is to “participate in the experiments of modernity in the mental formatting of entrepreneurial energies”17. The point of power, which is concentrated within the subject, is subordinate above all to the “dynamics of world history” in the “organisation of disinhibition”18, according to Sloterdijk, with which Europe embarks upon the subjection of the unlegislated exterior (the farflung coasts of the Caribbean).19

How, then, are the screening forces transformed within the present epochal force formation?

Seen historically, it becomes evident that with the beginnings of modernism as a social formation, art becomes linked to the expression of the subject and with terms such as freedom, autonomy, truth etc. This is where the social figure of the artist is invented. It is clear that the nuclear family arises at the same time as the industrial revolution and that art forms are subject to the same changes as mass society and mass civilisations. One excellent example for this is the bourgeois opera and theatre. In the course of the 20th century the 19th century art forms are split up once again. The opera and the theatre continue to exist but after two world wars society has changed. Television appears with its own formats, such as talk shows, soap-operas etc., taking the place of much of what the opera once stood for. Later phenomena which I – rather idealistically – choose to call art are perceived by society as being both radical and abstract and are not easily accessible to the majority: Schönberg, Webern, Cage, Cunningham, Beckett, Giacometti, Beuys etc.

The radicalisation of the process of civilisation is a challenge to art, even an overwhelming one. High-modernist art, with its claims to understanding and expressing the world, positioned within a world that has become highly complex, is challenged by itself.

How is one to dance against Auschwitz or Hiroshima?

The sheer attempt to “dance against” anything would be naïve! Art after modernism – and I think the date 1945 would serve very well as a point of reference – had to and must now relinquish its own irresolvable complexity and retreat. It becomes in a sense truly radical but it would be more accurate to say it becomes nuclear, focussing on the core. Beckett’s plays are destilled cores – their greatness lies in their smallness. Absolute music, absolute art – Merce Cunningham’s dance could well be termed absolute dance in this sense – cristallises something from out of the cultural forms of bourgeois art, something which can also be found in older art forms, for me most discernably in Bach. Art becoming absolute means it dispels its surrogates, its representational function, its worldliness and becomes nuclear.
In reference to Foucault Deleuze mentions three ordering civilisational strategies to describe the historical evolution of society in the last centuries. These are: the god-dispositve, the human-dispositive and the superhuman-dispositive. Below these formations there are, however, by all means some things that persist throughout. Some things remain over the different ages and cultures, things referred to by the moment of absolute art, that which can be found over and over again, from classical antiquity, the Renaissance to contemporary absolute music and art, as an elemental force within the formation of forces. In accordance with Hans Peter Weber20, I shall call these forces melos. The melos survives the strata of various civilisational strategies for it is anthropomorphically deep-seated! The melos is as deeply rooted as the logos or nomos. It is an anthropomorphic elementary force. The melos is a constitutive desire for self-cultivation within the human mental constitution, a desire to become present, for presentification and mental integrity. It is a sensory organ, a sense directed towards primary cultural gratification.

Gratification through art is familiar to us. The testimonies of the arts still posess a residual actuality for us and are still perceived as small refuges within society. There are still people who sense that there is something in the arts, that, in exposing oneself to works of art, reactivates something within themselves. And these people want to be reactivated culturally. They do not want to be entertained, in the sense of killing time, which basically means anaesthetising or killing the sense of nihilism. They do not want anaesthetics, they still want reactivation even though this is barely possible today for those inhabiting the higher reaches of civilisation through the medium of art. It is not feasible in the sense of having a public effect. It cannot create a public being, that is over now, dissolved.21

The cultural sense, the desire for reactivation, for the non-annihilation of the present has disappeared from the public sphere and in part from the private sphere as well.

The disappearance of this culture of presentification in society has been active in the form of an organised movement for a long time.22 These are discrete manoeuvres that have worked in the past. For instance it occurs through educational institutions for masses of people who have been lead in a one-dimensional direction, namely in that of patented knowledge. The result is masses of people as living resources of knowledge in a decidedly civilised form of productivity! These are technologies of self-adjustment, of self-manipulation, of self-conditioning, the “civilisational self-breeding selection which has already overstepped the biotic level and has attained the neuro-sensationary level.”23 The public is still unaware that civilisation is engaged in self-breeding selection.

These are tendencies towards a feralisation, towards a civilisatory wilderness. Civilisation itself becomes a wilderness, it is a wilderness of a different kind: a civil-derness, which could also be called a self-wilderness. Civilisation has fallen not only from a natural state, but from a cultural state as well. This is the reason why cultural screens develop: the desire to create mental and cultural integrity. And that is what I would like to call cultural immune systems, this neuromental constitutional force. The current transformation in the epochal force formation leads, as I have mentioned above, to the disintegration of existing cultural immune systems. Cultural screens are situated within processes of disintegration. New forms of cultural immunisation must be created by the agents of cultural sensation out of art’s remaining topicality.

An aesthetics of existence

In my previous remarks I have pointed out a differentiation – that between the cultural and the civilisational. I did this in order to describe the quality of existence in the present. I believe that existence always has a quality. Before it becomes objective or subjective, existence is intensity.24 The world is approached foremost in a qualitative fashion. In fact, access to the world is not even access. There is only quality or intensity and everything else comes later.

Why do I point this out? I think there is a certain difficulty we undergo when we try to develop an emotional relation to our own existence. This development of a relationship to one’s own existence is the basis upon which all of philosophy is grounded. We wake up to a world full of difference. This awakening is what in philosophy is known as the experience of contingency. This experience is the boundary of thought but not of existence. There is a quality of being beyond the experience of contingency. When we no longer know anything for certain and everything seems to be mere convention, then that is a condition that can be frightening (for philosophers it is exhilarating). Therefore, for pragmatic reasons, I shall differentiate between the quality of existence and the world of linguistic differences.

In other words, there is an aesthetics of difference. Jacques Rancière calls this the “first aesthetics”25 which organises the world into a system of differences, separating those who can speak from those who cannot. And then there is an aesthetics of existence, which I claim is not primarily about difference but about intensities, or rather not about différance but about coherence.

In the aesthetics of existence there is no objective knowledge, but rather something which I would like to refer to as Anmutung (seeming). Subject and world are not separated from one another, which makes knowing something impossible. But existence prior to difference does not simply take the form of indifference. It is not indifferent, counter to what has been repeated over and over again in philosophy. It is the site of the cultural. There really is something there!

Differences exist as qualities of existence. Qualities do not express themselves. This means that differences do not create qualities. Differences are definitely relevant to political aesthetics and existence naturally depends on these “first aesthetics” of the political. But existence reaches much farther than these aesthetics! We must remember this. It is a danger of philosophy to think that there is only thought as differentiation and nothing else as if there were nothing but communication and nothing behind it.

Why do I insist on this differentiation? It is quite simple. There is no truth on the basis of thought. Political differentiation must be understood via an aesthetics of existence. This means that the aesthetics of political differentiation should not simply appropriate the aesthetics of existence. In other words, it is not about dissecting dance into its political components but rather extending political distinctions using the experience of dance, dance being about existential gratification.26

I have said much about the post-historic changes in civilisation and about the virulence of a cultural screen of the future.27 I would like to end with an internal image for a possible form such a future cultural screen might take. A few lines by an existential romantic delineate this form. Hölderlin writes:

Man has learned much since morning,
For we are a conversation, and we can listen
To one another. Soon we’ll be song.28

1 The concept of a cultural immune system is related to Gilles Deleuze’s and Felix Guattari’s concept of a body without organs. Deleuze/Guattari: “It is a question of making a body without organs upon which intensities pass, self and other – not in the name of a higher level of generality or a broader extension, but by virtue of singularities that can no longer be said to be personal, and intensities that can no longer be said to be extensive.” – Gilles Deleuze, Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus (Minneapolis, London: University of Minnesota Press, 1987), p. 156.

2 See Paul Virilio, Rasender Stillstand (München: Hanser, 1992) and his Revolutionen der Geschwindigkeit (Berlin: Merve Verlag, 1993).

3 Clearly, this tableau will form the background to a considerable reform in the field of dance.

4 Hans Peter Weber on the term third nature: “That which is called the third nature is therefore a) not a third (but rather an unlimited extension of radicalised and applied knowledge concerning conditioning and upgrading, pure scientism) nor is it b) nature (but rather the ultimate civilisational project, ‘mendeling’ itself into the programme of generic programming at every level.” – Hans Peter Weber, Essays 3 (Berlin: sine causa Verlag, 2008), p. 194.

5 Michel Foucault: “It is no longer possible to think in our day other than in the void left by man’s disappearance. For this void does not create a deficiency; it does not constitute a lacuna that must be filled. It is nothing more, and nothing less, than the unfolding of a space in which it is once more possible to think.” – Michel Foucault, The Order Of Things – An Archaeology Of The Human Sciences (London: Vintage, 2002), p. 341.

6 Gilles Deleuze in his treatise on Foucault: “Foucault’s general principle is that every form is a compound of relations between forces. […] the force to imagine, remember, conceive, wish, and so on. One might object that such forces already presuppose man; but in terms of form this is not true. The forces within man presuppose only places, points of industry, a region of the existent. In the same way, forces within an animal (mobility, irritability, and so on) do not presuppose any determined form. One needs to know with what other forces the forces within man enter a relation, in a given historical formation and what form is created as a result from this compound of forces.” – Gilles Deleuze, Foucault (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1988), p. 124.

7 Deleuze, Foucault, p. 124.

8 Human diversification can, according to Hans Peter Weber, be seen as the transformation process of state formations and forces through a new prospect of human leagues, geared towards diversification: Hans Peter Weber, “Wie spät ist es?”, Menschenformen (Marburg: Tectum Verlag, 2000).

9 I subscribe in particular to the objections of Hans Peter Weber, namely that under the Superman-form life, labour and language would only be liberated cynically, insofar as that life would be set free by the manufacturing competence of machines of the third kind, of robots and automata, and language by the programming of the operating/generating codes of computation, while a considerable part of the human population will be dismissed from labour into a newly formed enormous field of decadence (into the proliferating redundant or even obsolete service industry and occupational custody). – See Hans Peter Weber, KreaturDenken (Berlin: sine causa, 2006), p. 523.

10 Karl Jaspers coined the term the age of axes to describe the period from 800 to 200 BC, during this period “the spiritual foundations of humanity were laid simultaneously and independently in China, India, Persia, Judea, and Greece. And these are the foundations upon which humanity still subsists today.” Karl Jaspers (2003). The Way to Wisdom: An Introduction to Philosophy (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press), p. 98

11 Helmuth Plessner, The Levels of the Organic and Man. Introduction to Philosophical Anthropology (unpublished).

12 Concerning the dimensionality of absence in dance see: Gerald Siegmund, Abwesenheit – Eine performative Ästhetik des Tanzes. William Forsythe, Jérôme Bel, Xavier Le Roy, Meg Stuart” (Bielefeld: transcript Verlag, 2006).

13 Martin Heidegger, Being and Time, trans. by Joan Stambaugh, revised by Dennis J. Schmidt (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2010).

14 Gilles Deleuze, Unterhandlungen (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1993), pp. 243–253.

15 Elias Canetti, Die Fliegenpein, Aufzeichnungen (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1995), p. 81. Cannetti writes about the Australian Arandi term Eraritjaritjaka which expresses precisely this longing. Heiner Goebbels, among others, made this term the basis of a musical drama in 2004.

16 Bazon Brock, in reference to Jean-Luc Godard, discusses the avant-garde’s arrière-garde. This arrière-garde’s aim is to prevent certain potential futures. This occurs through the speculative forestalling of potential futures. He calls this positioning an avant-gardism of refusal, whose espousal demands the greatest powers of persuasion and the most immense stamina: Bazon Brock: “We call those artists, who oppose and resist the apocalyptic prognoses of the future and the futile-seeming develoments, arrière-gardists.” These proponents of the arrière-garde, according to Brock, work with the supply of eschatological claims and confront them in the present with future pasts. Pasts are to be conceived as former futures and the present regarded as tomorrow’s past. The future would then be an imaginative space in which the interplay of time forms is set in motion imaginatively, that is with the goal of creating as many options as possible. Bazon Brock, Lustmarsch durchs Theoriegelände (Köln: Dumont, 2008). Translation mine.

17 Peter Sloterdijk, Weltinnenraum des Kapitals (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 2001), p. 94.

18 See Peter Sloterdijk, Sphären II. Globen (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1999).

19 Sloterdijk, Weltinnenraum, p. 94.

20 Hans Peter Weber, Orphisch (Berlin: sine causa Verlag, 2007).

21 Following Walter Benjamin it is necessary to assert that art in the age of industrial mass production can only be effective in society as an aestheticisation of politics (for Benjamin the experience of fascism: the aestheticisation or militarism, nowadays we must add the experience of the “supermarket”: the aestheticisation of hyperconsumption), but also as a politicisation of the arts (communism, and accordingly representational art) and no longer as l’art pour l’art. The demands of the political economy, the agents of social organisation and communication have become irreconcilably separated from those of art, a phenomenon that Benjamin attempts to assert as the loss of “aura”. Walter Benjamin, Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp 1980).

22 The result of this disappearance of a culture of presentification leads to what Guy Debord has attempted to describe in “The Society of the Spectacle”. As the world becomes a product and thereby a commodity and people learn to see themselves in the dominant images of need, “man loses his understanding of his own existence and desires.” […] “The unbridled fulfillment of the will of the commodity rationale has shown quickly and without exception that the fake’s becoming worldly has lead to the world’s becoming fake.” Guy Debord, Die Gesellschaft des Spektakels (Berlin, Edition Tiamat 1996) p. 26 and p. 201, translation mine. The 20th century artists of the Arrière-garde were given the task of conserving the magic of the world’s transformation, above and beyond its associations with the spectacle, be they technological, economic or political.

23 See Hans Peter Weber, Vom KreaturDenken (Berlin: sine causa Verlag, 2006).

24 I would also subscribe to the connection between the body without organs and intensity as described by Deleuze/Guattari in A Thousand Plateaus: “That is why we treat the BwO as the full egg before the extension of the organism and the organisation of the organs […]; as the intense egg defined by axes and vectors, by gradients and thresholds, by dynamic tendencies involving energy transformation.” Deleuze, Guattari, 1987, p. 153.

25 See Jacques Rancière, Ist Kunst widerständig? (Berlin: Merve, 2008).

26 Gernot Böhme and Sabine Huschka state: ”Dance always follows a choreography. The Greek chorós, the Latin chorus (from whence we have the word ‘choir’) originally meant: place of dance, meaning a separate area where the cult dance for the gods took place. A further classification is added at the moment of situation: the chorós is a ‘conceded‘, framed site of the performance and viewing of ‘bodies in motion’. Choreography also includes the Greek graphós, graphein, to write or rather to etch and writing. To dance is to write into space, spatial etching, the drawing and textualisation of space – not in letters but in the ephemeral, invisible traces and figures that are produced by the dancers’ motion – appearing and disappearing.” – Hartmut Böhme, Sabine Huschka, ”Prolog”, Wissenskultur Tanz, ed. Sabine Huschka (Bielefeld: transcript, 2009), p. 13. Stefan Hölscher corrects this negligent reduction of dance to a formal language belonging to the regime of knowledge (we cannot call it a culture of knowledge). In accordance with Negri he refers to Spinoza’s distinction between potestas (formations of power) and potentia (facility) in classifying the body. If the body, as Spinoza implies, is understood as the potential of a facility, then there is a shift in the relation between “constitution and constitutionality.” – Stefan Hölscher, unpublished dissertation, December 2010.

27 The cultural screens work along the same lines as arrière-garde art, as a conserving moment within the anthropic field, which opposes nervous changes and softens them, makes them easier to assimilate. They are magic and transformation. Their experience lies beneath linguistic difference, i.e. the are not based on the experience of difference but that of intensity.
In keeping with Deleuze, this turn towards the experience of intensity must be understood in relation to a turning away from the attempts of classical thinking to unify thought within a highest, incontrovertible reason and intepreted as a turning towards the fragmentary and towards metamorphosis.
In contrast to Deleuze, who understands intensities as an exposing, explosive element (the volcano metaphor) of a “being towards becoming”- and thereby towards a permanent state of departure and mobilisation – here becoming is brought into a paradoxical state: “revealing” as “harbouring”.
In the understanding of art’s arrière-garde the deleuzian intensities are directed towards people’s culturality. Thinking culturality is only possible with a rejection of civilisational fitness-enhancement, neuro-enhancement and body-building.

28 Friedrich Hölderlin, Celebration of Peace (1801–1802) Translated by James Mitchell (

  • immunization
  • body
  • crisis
  • politics
  • dancing

My language

Selected content

Ulaş Aktaş

is  a cultural anthropologist and associate researcher at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Frankfurt am Main. He is researcher in the “cern minor lab”, co-editor of the magazine: “plateau – Zeitschrift für experimentelle Kulturanthropologie” and co-founder of the interdisciplinary research group “menschenformen”. His areas of teaching and research focus on body in the technological and social transformation processes of present time (body thinking), the importance of audiovisual media for the cultural and imaginative reproduction of the social (image thinking), the “sex” for the reproduction of power within society (gender thinking), the meaning of post-historical civilizatory processes for the further development of the creature called “human” (creature thinking), critical social theory for the maintenance of a thinking that assumes from the suffering (critical thinking).

Stefan Hölscher (ed.), Gerald Siegmund (ed.): Dance, Politics & Co-Immunity

This volume is dedicated to the question of how dance, both in its historical and in its contemporary manifestations, is intricately linked to conceptualisations of the political. Whereas in this context the term "policy" means the reproduction of hegemonic power relations within already existing institutional structures, politics refers to those practices which question the space of policy as such by inscribing that into its surface which has had no place before. The art of choreography consists in distributing bodies and their relations in space. It is a distribution of parts that within the field of the visible and the sayable allocates positions to specific bodies. Yet in the confrontation between bodies and their relations, a deframing and dislocating of positions may take place. The essays included in this book are aimed at the multiple connections between politics, community, dance, and globalisation from the perspective of e.g. Dance and Theatre Studies, History, Philosophy, and Sociology.