November 19, 2005

Anthony McCall and the Deleuzian fold




Anthony McCall and the Deleuzian fold: You and I, Horizontal
Photo: Viren Brahmbhatt

A preview of one of Anthony McCall's
[1] most recent "solid light" installations, You and I, Horizontal at The Kitchen (at 512 West 19th Street) on November 12, 2005, is an experiential fluidity that architects may find stimulating. It is pure ‘poetics’ of light and space: an experiment with a single jet of light projected into the dark space through a projector: A line describing a cone, and space … the projected light through intense darkness translates itself into a visible/perceptible light-scape that a viewer may traverse through or travel along. The spatial negotiation and the travel through the resultant hyperspace is all personal and almost ethereal. The light enfolds the viewer as they enter in and out of the cone of light that wraps around them; and the movement through the cone warps and swerves the conical space into a series of loops or folds - evocative of baroque space. The spatial dimension of light is rarely experienced in such an intense and intimate manner; this is as close as one may get to experiencing a Deleuzian Fold.

In The Fold
[2], Gilles Deleuze suggests that the concept of the monad[3] - a model for expression in contemporary aesthetics, is viewed in terms of folds of space, movement, and time. Similarly, the world is interpreted as a body of infinite folds and surfaces that twist and weave through compressed time and space. According to Deleuze, Leibniz also anticipates contemporary views of event and history as multifaceted combinations of signs in motion and of the "modern" subject as nomadic, always in the process of becoming. In this installation, Anthony McCall pushes the boundaries of physical space (and psychological space) by compressing and expanding light and with the viewer (the “modern” subject, a nomad) as a body in motion; the installation becomes a commentary on Body, Space, and the Continuum in a profoundly Deleuzian sense.

Light x Time = Space Warp: The equation produces a swerve with no constant, only variables. It is a “world without center" as Deleuze would describe it. It is a space without edges and is composed of nothing but difference(s). The installation creates an infinite possibility for ‘space’ to exist as continuously displaced variables. Plotting it out on a piece of paper or mapping it in your mind, one can find a line that "swerves" - a perfect expression of Deleuze's thought. The plotted curve could be described as a diagram or map of Deleuzian concept of thought.


[1] Anthony McCall is an artist, and designer, who lives and works in New York. His film Line Describing a Cone was shown in the Whitney Museum’s exhibition Into the Light: The Projected Image in American Art 1964–1977.

[2] The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque by Gilles Deleuze, Tom Conley (Translator); University of Minnesota Press (November, 1992)

[3] An indivisible, impenetrable unit of substance viewed as the basic constituent element of physical reality in the metaphysics of Leibnitz.

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