Archive for the Sense Category

Stop Making Sense

Posted in Deleuze, KL, Sense, Tech on February 25, 2008 by untimelymediations


“As there is no surface, the inside and the outside, the container and the contained, no longer have a precise limit; they plunge into a universal depth or turn in the circle of a present which gets to be more contracted as it is filled” (87).

Deleuze’s The Logic of Sense is an interesting point of departure for shifting our conversation towards technology. What cannot be ignored – although this may be my personal research bias kicking in – is the continuing development of Deleuze’s theories of the non-present. More specifically, we can link his argument directly to the internet (in what appears to be the most obvious and broad connection). However, in looking to the internet, Deleuze’s discussions of the non-present-present and subsisting expression are crucial characterizations on how we interpret time and virtual spaces.

In the third series, Deleuze notes that, “sense is that which is expressed” (20). What I find most interesting about this characterization actually comes from Zizek’s Plague of Fantasies (for once I am referencing a future reading!). Throughout, Zizek insists that technologies (insert broad reference to the internet -here-) allow users to sense an expression of something that is neither here nor there. Online, no one actually knows where something is located (insert broad reference to Through the Looking Glass -here-). I believe this would agree with Deleuze’s supposition that, “what is expressed does not exist outside its expression. This is why we cannot say that sense exists, but rather it inheres or subsists” (21). In the same way that users ‘sense expression’ from the computer, there is nothing there guaranteeing its existence. Sense, in terms of internet technologies, is located in the stability of its constant expression—we can repeatedly visit the same websites in which certain senses subsist. Although, in typical Deleuzean fashion, he throws off my whole argument by later admitting that, “to be actualized is to be expressed” (110). This statement then begs question where/how/when are technologies actualized? If expression is both actualized and sensed, what isn’t it?

Particularly pertinent to my research is the continuing development of his theories of time. As he did earlier in Cinema 2, Deleuze maintains that the present does not exist, that it is simultaneously divided into past and future. He states that there are not “three parts of single temporality” but instead two,

“each one of which is complete and excludes the other: on the one hand, the always limited present, which measures the action of bodies as causes and the state of their mixtures in depth (Chronos); on the other, the essentially unlimited past and future, which gather incorporeal events, at the surface, as effects (Aion) (61).

The always limited, or non-present as I am calling it here, is actually only a representation, a simulacrum signified by the past and the future moments. As “one goes from the future and past as unlimited,” the present is infinitely divided between these two. Technologically speaking, when we jump around online, conversely we are dealing with an always present-present—we return to specific sites because we know what will be there. (And here’s where my paper picks up so I’ll stop this response, and I’m certainly returning to this text as new/additional support for my argument…)