abstract for deleuze & design

Difference and Repetition in the Art of Prototyping

The emergence of praxis-led theory has led to an increased interest in Deleuzian philosophy within converging realms of art, design and technology. However, while much has been written about the design of actualised objects or systems, little has been said about the stages of prototyping and iteration, and how it relates to Deleuze’s process ontology.

This paper explores how Deleuze’s concept of Difference and Repetition coincides with the design processes of prototyping and iteration. Deleuze proposes an ontology that debunks the notion of an individualised self instead it is through repetition that creates difference, where difference thus forms a process of being individual – ‘being is becoming’. Through this concept, this paper will examine how prototyping, an industrial form of repetition can be rethought in the wider context of human-making, where that the process of iteration is not merely to complete the goal of an optimised form but rather a continuous process of becoming. Within this context, it is possible to argue that art, is a prototype. Instead of a prototype of usability-optimisation, it is a prototype of affected experience to form iterations of immanence.

This paper will also examine how the theory of Virtual/Actual can play a role in helping designers create situations of potential. Deleuze argues that art and design should move towards a system of Virtual/Actual as opposed to Possible/Real as the latter merely exhausts the potentials of each other; what is possible is only what can be realised, what is real is an actualised possibility thereby forming a closed loop. Instead, he proposes a Virtual/Actual, where the key condition of the Virtual is ‘surprise’.

In the conclusion, Deleuze shows the goal of art and design is creating meta-stable situations, to suspend the state of becoming before it is fully actualised and dearth of virtual. This paper will also show several examples of projects where designers were successful.

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