Teaching Contingencies: Deleuze, Creativity Discourses, and Art
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This dissertation, flying between aesthetics, visual arts, and political/cultural/historical issues, traverses lines of stratification, and (de/re)territorialization to examine uncertainties in making and teaching art. In keeping with a conviction that nothing is unitary, that everything is always connected to countless others, Deleuze and Guattari’s metaphor of rhizome is the central organizing element in my work. My research questions what is meant by creativity, whether assumed to be a gift, talent, or innate quality, and what is meant by teaching art in university, which assumes creativity can be organized and developed. Differing discourses of creativity exhibit a general continuity of agreement that creation takes place within chaos, and forms where chaos and order meet each other. I posit that contemporary discourses of creativity hegemonically reinforce capitalism as a system of nomadic power and of constant de/reterritorialization. All, in a capitalist system, is linked to the construction of the urge to consume, and therefore the acceleration of capitalism necessitates an increase in the rate at which we manufacture venues for consumption, even in such innovative ways as by making creativity itself a consumable package. How do we resist this? From a Deleuzian point of view, creation is a becoming event, as destructive as productive. Creativity, which is about freedom, occurs on a plane of immanence which sifts chaos and multiplicity together to break lines. Teaching, however, is on a “plane of organization” where rigid and dichotomous segmentarities of personal and social life operate. I suggest that artistic knowledge can be theorized and taught, in the Schönian sense, but creativity, a matter of “lines of flight,” is fundamentally unrelated to artistic knowledge. I argue that what can be taught is technique, theory, and the material language of media, and that these should be taught as explicit professional objectives, not as “creativity.” We can teach the value of breaking away from the false seriousness of creativity, with reference to Dada. We can teach the enjoyment of chaos and the confrontation of it. We can teach resistance. We can teach a love of complexities. We can teach play.