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Return to the Fold: Gilles Deleuze and the Story of the Superfold
RMIT University, Melbourne Australia.
2010 (English)Conference paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This paper will investigate the connective tissue of creative concepts that can be mapped between the disciplines of architecture and philosophy. I will present an aesthetics of the infinitely small – as well as the immeasurably large – that is to be discovered in the creases and pockets, the material pleats and immaterial inflections of Gilles Deleuze’s concept of the fold. I will also briefly follow Michel Serres’s involutions in insisting that we still do not yet know what a fold can do. Serres famously uses the material of a baker’s dough to talk about the seemingly inexhaustible pliability of folding tactile stuff. The dough is stretched out and folded over, again and again, so that the relation of the material to itself becomes increasingly complex. No doubt given dough’s material constitution it arrives at a limit when folding will no longer benefit the bread that is to be baked! Throughout the 1990’s the philosophy of Deleuze was popularised for architects and influenced their formal explorations of the fold and the process of folding. Even though many of the aesthetic results remained mechanical or reified versions of the fold, which obscured the infinitely porous peristaltic movements, whorls and maelstroms, and worlds within worlds, as well as the pliable materiality offered up by this concept, the fascinating architectural forms that sometimes emerged from all this activity should not be discounted. These early mechanical folds gave way to folding experiments that digitally invested in new combinations of computation and biology, or unexpected admixtures of silicon and carbon. Now the name of Deleuze is rarely heard amongst experimental (post)digital architects, but the affects, percepts and concepts of his and Félix Guattari’s creative philosophy still quietly circulate. In part the legacy of Deleuze has resulted in what can be identified as a new biotechnological paradigm for architecture, as today an investment in a logic of the living, a physiology of forms and behaviours is being made as architectural avatars of computation such as Biothing and Terraswarm weave evolutionary algorithms into webs of affect and percept without apparent scale or purpose, but with an increasingly recognisable aesthetic or ‘feel’ that appears to inaugurate posthuman landscapes for a new earth, even a coming people. I will conclude by investigating this feel or atmosphere of the fold by way of Deleuze’s concept of the ‘superfold’, an operation that inaugurates novel relations between forces toward the creation of new forms of labour, language and life. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Gilles Deleuze, fold, digital architecture, infinitesimal calculus
National Category
Philosophy, Ethics and Religion Architecture
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-86557OAI: diva2:500839
Connect, Continue, Create: 3rd International Deleuze Studies Conference. Amsterdam. 12-14 July 2010
QC 20120328Available from: 2012-02-13 Created: 2012-02-13 Last updated: 2012-03-28Bibliographically approved

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