4.19.2009

The Folds of Language

I have lived with Deleuze's fold for over a dozen years. At times, its power as a figure speaks to me immediately, eloquently.

I was drinking tequila with the good Dr. L Green the other evening as we were discussing how best to perform becoming. To render it visually seemed right and, at the risk of offense, easy. But to express it linguistically posed a completely different challenge: how to perform becoming without naming and yet still being in language which necessarily names.

This may be obvious. We may all know this already: language describes and does, at the same time but not necessarily in the same breath (to say I'm cool does not make me cool — an yet to say I'm cool does do something, is itself part and parcel of becoming). But, as I said, at certain times the power of this idea resonates with me, a harmonic convergence that makes my entire body vibrate.

Which is perhaps the point: the idea is folded through the body.

Folds upon folds.

The descriptive power of language — the meta — folds into its own materiality — its performativity, yes, but also its palpability — to form a sense event that is at once meta and material. And that is precisely what that very idea does to me: I understand it, yes, but I experience it as well, the idea itself a sensual affect that does not efface the ideality of the idea.

If that makes sense.

To speak, to write, is to fold. Such is language. It does not first name and then perform. Nor does it perform and then name. Neither precedes the other; neither effaces the other. The meta and the material are folded in every inscription, in every utterance, in ever different ways, at every different angles.

We might call these folds "tropes."

Deleuze's book >

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