Deleuze and Contemporary Art

By Stephen Zepke; Simon O’Sullivan | Go to book overview

Chapter 12
Traps Against Capture

Edgar Schmitz

I cannot tell now whether escape was possible but I believe it must have
been; for an ape it must always be possible.

Kafka, ‘A Report to an Academy’

Talking of traps solely in terms of capture is always too simple because it cuts out whatever else they might articulate. And it is too lazy because it avoids whatever else needs to be thought in order that capture can multiply and become plural, complicated and un-captured. Indeed, talking of capture as if it were finite means giving into it; it is to be captured by capture. Such a framing consolidates capture into a given state and condition, yet it is precisely the opposite that is needed: capture needs to be undone and re-configured to allow for the invention of new ways out.

Closure only happens, if it ever does, because it is brought to a situation. Immanent to the situation there is always more, so long as you refuse to give up on other possibilities, and the more capture seems complete, the more urgently this ‘more’ needs to be mobilised through a whole different set of attitudes. If ‘an attitude of resignation is out of the question’ (Nancy 2000: 54), one possible attitude against capture is that form of humour Deleuze describes as intrinsically lateral, which spreads milieus sideways and which he differentiates from irony operating as yet another stratifying regime of signification. Humour, by contrast, offers a topology of evasive moves and a continual slippage in which it seems implausible that capture could ever be finalised, and in which even extreme forms of closure are undone from within. Attitudes like these never cohere into models. They need to be played out rather than defined, and they need to animate rather than describe examples which in themselves do not illustrate anything but rather play alongside the fields they engage, ‘(like the German Bei-Spiel, that which plays alongside)’ (Agamben 1993: 10). What these attitudes generate are clusters

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