Deleuze Studies Conference

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Felicity J. Colman

The Labour of the Refrain: What is Media Philosophy?

The political manifestos of different nation states in the world today do not vary a great deal. Acts of aggression and domains of aestheticism are force fed into collective subjects, ensuring that work by the state-made-self continues. The situation is amplified by the media regulations of specific nation-state controls over rituals and habits, and becomes a component of the production of social and familial affective controls that work to regulate the worker-bodies required for the nation, in and for economic order to be maintained. However, one collective subject that appears regularly on our media surfaces is the dead one * in militarized economies a dead body is still required to be productive, and the dead body exists as both an object for the terms of dying and a highly subjectivised subject. Engaging with the ontological terms of the refrain that Guattari used to describe the territorial aspect of a concrete machine (in Molecular Revolution), later expanded with Deleuze (in A Thousand Plateaus), I want to here consider Guattari's concept of machinic subjectivation through the death of the subject. In this paper I will examine some of the public structures of the death of the subject as arranged by national security institutions and the media (looking for example at the processes given on the death of soldiers and civilians in the current war in Afghanistan and Iraq, or the deaths in custody of indigenous people). Engaging a Deleuzian method for the analysis of such situations gives rise to another question that this paper will address; what is media philosophy?

About the keynote speaker

Felicity J. Colman is Senior Lecturer in Film & Media Studies at Manchester Metropolitan University, UK. She recently edited Film, Theory and Philosophy: The Key Thinkers (Acumen Publishing, 2009) and was co-editor of Sensorium: Aesthetics, Art, Life (Cambridge Scholars Press, 2007). Felicity has published on aesthetics, gender issues, and contemporary art and cinema practices, with specific reference to Gilles Deleuze and Fèlix Guattari, in journals including Angelaki: The Journal of the Theoretical Humanities, Pli: Warwick Journal of Philosophy, Women: A Cultural Review, Reconstruction, and The Refractory. She has a number of monographs forthcoming, including Deleuze and Cinema (Berg, 2010), Contemporary Film Theory (Wallflower Press), and books on Screen Affect, Robert Smithson, and Screen Manifestos.