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Title: [Un]disciplined gestures and [un]common sense : the sensual, acoustic logic(s) of paradox and art
Author: Calvert, Sheena
ISNI:       0000 0004 2689 2668
Awarding Body: University of Greenwich
Current Institution: University of Greenwich
Date of Award: 2009
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This dissertation takes as its point of departure, the claim that difference, not identity, is the primary quality of language. This difference is initially argued to be an 'uncommon sense'; one which does not emerge from a ground, origin, or operate within a dialectic of essence/appearance, but which consists of an economy of acoustic surfaces/timings/spatialities: diffuse, interpenetrative, and unclassifiable: a 'sensual' logic, not a logic based on identity, or metaphysics. Traditional philosophies of language tend to flatten out and simplify the space/time /material relations of language, in favour of a stable, timeless, fixed identity, which makes logical thought possible, through fixed, linear, disciplinary forms. They claim that language is able to unambiguously locate concepts, concretely, in time and space, unproblematically supporting thought. In contrast, it is the original contribution of the thesis to extend and complicate categories of logic, to include doubt, paradox, infinity and 'unstable' forms of understanding, as evidence of difference as the primary quality of language: a "mimetologic" as Lacoue-Labarthe has termed it, or what Adorno calls an anti-system, or Negative Dialectic. The 'difference' which paradox, in its ability to be this/not this, embodies, shows us the limits of representational thinking; as it strains against that limit, while simultaneously (and paradoxically), retrieving the intensity of thought. Part I draws on the key historical debates within philosophy, as they concern language, logic, and an account of sense. Part II shows that in the search for what Wittgenstein has called "the subliming of our account of logic", wherein signs equal facts in a relatively simple, way, aporias are inevitable, becoming viral in any system, such logical paradoxes and antinomies undermining any stable, determinable, ground for language. In Part III an 'acoustic' logic is posed as an alternative to logics based on visual paradigms, which cannot capture the dynamics of paradox and art, or account for their non-identical 'surfaces'. Part IV points towards art, literature, and performance in which the mimetological surfaces of language form [Un]disciplined gestures, constituting a praxis of [Un]common sense, whose logic is acoustic. Finally, communication itself is seen to be comprised of acoustic, paradoxical, mimetological surface(s), and an acoustic logic is offered as an a-representational, sensual form of understanding.
Supervisor: Golding, Sue ; Williams, John Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR