10.07.2023 / Masamichi Koshinaga
The 2023 Deleuze and Guattari Studies (DGS) Conference and Camp took place in Belgrade, Serbia. The DGS Conference and Camp is known as an internationally significant event and has taken place all over the world since 2008. This year DGS Camp took place from July 3 to July 7, and DGS Conference took place from July 10 to July 12 for the first time in the Balkans. The events were organized by the Institute of Philosophy and Social Theory in cooperation with the Faculty of Media and Communications, Serbia, the University of Plymouth, England, the Australian Embassy in Serbia, and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development in Serbia. As DGS has attracted people in many different academic fields, many experts and students gathered in Belgrade from various countries.
The theme of this year’s event was SPACE | CONTROL | RESISTANCE. The concept of ‘control’ was raised by Giles Deleuze in 1990. He saw the old societies of discipline operated through ‘spaces’ of confinement and enclosure. His concern has had potentiality and actuality, and the most critical question remains where and how people should find ‘resistance’. Many of the presenters at the camp and conference directly talked about these concepts.
The DGS Camp took place at Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory from July 3 to July 7. The camp had six instructors present their own topics in Deleuze and Guattari Studies, and the academic disciplines differ variously. The camp participants actively asked questions and sometimes raised their own opinions toward instructors.
Ian Buchanan, Professor of Cultural Studies at the University of Wollongong, gave lectures about ‘assemblage, affect, differential method.’ As a leading scholar of DGS and editor of the Deleuze and Guattari Studies journal, he highlighted the difficulty of reading the works of DG as they contain inconsistent pieces. In the presentation, he suggested five points to read DG’s works and discussed key concepts such as affect, assemblage, abstract machines, and body without organs.
Dr. Anthony Faramelli, a psychosocial researcher and practitioner at Goldsmiths, University of London where he co-head of the Centre for Institutional Analysis, gave lectures about ‘Institutional Psychotherapy’s Spaces of Resistance. – Institutional Psychotherapy’s Spaces of Resistance’. In his talk, he explained resistance in institutional psychotherapy’s space. His talk included theories and practices of psychotherapy and theories of Jacques Lacan and Franz Fanon in relation to Guattari.
Dr. Chris L. Smith, Professor of Architectural Theory at the Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning, University of Sydney, gave lectures about ‘the fold, geophilosophy, architecture and subjectivity, cinema.’ He presented these topics by directly quoting DG’s works and interpreting their texts. The talk included DG’s relations with artworks and architecture.
Jovan Čekić, a full professor from the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade, presented topics of ‘Diagram of Control, Capturing Forces, Art and rendering the invisible forces.’ His interpretations of diagrams of DG were explained by using medieval artworks.
Dr. Andrija Filipović, an Associate Professor of Philosophy and Art & Media theory at the Faculty of Media and Communications in Belgrade, presented topics of ‘anthropocene, plasticene, postsocialist necroecologies.’ The lectures included some remaining issues in Serbia, such as racism against Roma population, oppression against drag culture, and the Belgrade waterfront project in Serbia.
Dr. Janae Sholtz presented topics of ‘Three Forms of Resistance: Creative, Affective, and Noological.’ Her lecture explored DGS’s works also in relation to Spinoza and Bergson. Furthermore, she talked about DG in relation to feminism.
The Conference was held at the Faculty of Media and Communications from July 10 to July 12. There were six sessions of parallel panels and six keynote lectures.
For each session, there were 9 parallel panels which were consisted of the following topics (*number of the panels): Philosophy (8), Technology (4), Literature (4), Pedagogy (3), Ecology (2), Cinema (2), The Balkans (2), D&G and Contemporaries (2), Artistic Resistance (2), D&G and Contemporaries (2), Resisting Fascism, Anthropology, Digital Media and Microfascism, Design and Architecture, Nomadism and the War Machine, C(ha)osmology and cosmicity in the work of Deleuze & Guattari, Spiritual Politics and Religion, Temporality and Resistance, Technicity, Expression, and the Earth, Memes, Screams, and Devouring Machines: Playing with Paradoxes of Resistance, Urban Spaces, Music and Sound, Critical and Clinical Interventions from the Global South, Borders, Migrations and Deterritorialization, Institutional Psychotherapy: The Politics and Therapeutics of the Sector, Sexuality, Race and Gender, Value and Resistance, Cartography and Mapping, Art, Thought and Resistance, Cybernetics and Automata, Theory, Feminism, Trans and Disability Studies, Fascism.
Six keynote lectures by leading scholars in DGS were delivered.
Ian Buchanan gave a lecture titled: What is Affect? He explained that Deleuze and Guattari’s concept of affect is not solely derived from Spinoza, as commonly believed. Their original conception of affect is structurally essential to the development of schizoanalysis as a critical methodology. While Spinoza’s ideas influenced their work, it is crucial to recognize that schizoanalysis incorporates elements from various authors. He explained that affect should not be seen as a mere application of Spinoza but an invention or reinvention by Deleuze and Guattari themselves.
Janae Sholtz held a lecture titled: Deleuze, The Future of Thinking; The Thinking of Immanence. In their presentation, she discussed that the implications of quantum physics have sparked interest in philosophy, particularly among new materialists. She considers quantum physics as a significant step for philosophy by focusing on the concept of immanence. This presentation explored what is unique to Deleuze’s concept of immanence and project of transforming thought and how these become essential touchstones for future thinking about our cosmological existence.
Claire Colebrook delivered a lecture titled: Ready-made and the Readymade: The Politics of Monuments. 2020, especially in the USA, saw the widespread demand for the destruction of statues that commemorated colonialism, slavery, racism and imperialism. In the presentation, the debates surrounding the removal of statues deployed seemingly opposed versions of history and memory.
Igor Krtolica gave a lecture titled: „The Rhizome, between philosophy, science, history and anthropology.“ In their book „Rhizome,“ published in 1976, Deleuze and Guattari bridge the gap between their earlier work, „Anti-Oedipus,“ and their upcoming book, „A Thousand Plateaus.“ They introduce the concept of a nomadic image of thought and a philosophy of multiplicities. The lecture explored the relationship between the rhizome and nomadology.
Patricia MacCormack gave a lecture titled: From (immoral) Anthropos to ethical Geo-stratum. The creative aesthetic task of nurturing the Earth surpasses human expectations. In the presentation, it is explained that by embracing an ecosophical approach, we transcend anthropocentrism and strive for a becoming-machinic relationship with the Earth. Aesthetic becomings defy species boundaries, fostering new ethical relations that empower the Earth and its inhabitants.
Chris L. Smith delivered a lecture titled: The Nonhuman Sex of Architecture. In the final chapter of Anti-Oedipus (1972), Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari describe a voyage to ‘the world of transverse communications, where the finally conquered nonhuman sex mingles with the flowers.’ In subsequent works, Guattari further develops this idea, particularly in his exploration of Japan’s techno-fetishism and machinic eros. The lecture illustrated how the images of architecture may resist the more hegemonic and anthropocentric affirmations concerning architecture’s complicity with the city-state.
Nicholas Thoburn gave a lecture titled: Deleuze’s Grandeur de Marx: A Midnight Book of Communism. Deleuze’s last announced but unwritten book, „Grandeur de Marx,“ has attained mythical status. While his published works already delve into Marxist ideas, Deleuze’s announcement of this book before his death hinted at something new to say about Marx’s significance. Despite the book remaining unwritten, this talk focused on the themes as its announcement sparked imagination and created a fabulation.
After the DGS camp and conferences
The Camp and the conference in Belgrade were very successful. Apart from the conference, the weather in Belgrade was very hot; however, even that did not prevent the participants to partake in the lively discussions.
I personally took some participants from Japan to see the city of Belgrade for sightseeing. We had a good dinner in a restaurant in Skadarlija. I guess that other participants equally enjoyed not only the academic event but also the beautiful scenery and delicious meals in Belgrade.
Next year, the DGS24 camp and conference will be in Delft July 3-10, 2024 (TBC) at the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, Delft University of Technology (Convened by Andrej Radman, Stavros Kousoulas, Heidi Sohn and Robert Gorny).