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The Fold, A Physical Model of Abstract Reversibility and Envelopment

Chapter in book
Authors Elisabet Yanagisawa Avén
Published in The Dark Precursor: Deleuze and Artistic Research
Pages p. 415-425
ISBN 9462701180, 9789462701182
Publisher Leuven University Press
Place of publication Leuven
Publication year 2017
Published at School of Design and Crafts
Pages p. 415-425
Language en
Keywords fold, envelopment, monad, Deleuze, Spinoza, proximity, sensibility, virtual, objectile, metaphysics, inflection, point of view, inhesion, reversibility, artistic research
Subject categories Design, Visual Arts, Ethics, Theory of science, Theoretical philosophy, Art History, Aesthetics, Arts


For artistic research, the model of the fold is exceptionally interesting because it deals with how form and contents intertwine in a physical model, and how concrete and abstract interrelate on the plane of consistency. In my chapter I focus on chapter two in "The Fold" by Gilles Deleuze, and take up the concept of inflection as an elastic point in the model of the fold that discloses a reality of reversibility. Deleuze states that for Paul Klee the point as a “nonconceptual concept of noncontradiction” (15) moves along an inflection. “It is the point of inflection itself, where the tangent crosses the curve. That is the point-fold” (ibid). Through a simple sketch, Deleuze demonstrates how the point of inflection is the point where the concave turns to be convex. This is the point of inflection. What happens in the point of inflection? Is it a conjunction? A passage? It would seem that this very special point is a point that conceals a profound metaphysical realization. It is a physical point in the attribute of extension that corresponds to an invisible point of abstraction in the attribute of thought. Deleuze wants to draw attention to this point by referring to the thinking of Leibniz, the Neoplatonists, and Whitehead. Because of the existence of concave and convex, there are different point of views, depending on which place we see from. The enfolding reality has multiple points of views; each point of view is a perspective. It appears that we are captured in our point of view. There is always a reversible side of a point of view, and by the power of the imagination we can think the concept of reversibility. A physical model of the fold reveals, in fact, a metaphysical reality of the attributes, and the power of the attributes, according to Deleuze’s references to Spinoza. This thinking of Deleuze encompasses several crucial things: First, we assume that reality has a mirroring construction; in other words, reality corresponds to an abstract reality that the model of the Fold demonstrates. That is to say, physical reality and abstraction are two sides of the same coin. Second, the model of enfolding implies an innate life, the life of a monad, a singularity as a soul. Deleuze writes, “We are moving from inflection to inclusion in a subject, as if from virtual to the real, inflection defining the fold, but inclusion defining the soul or the subject, that is, what envelops the fold, its final cause and its complete act.” (24). Finally, Deleuze asks, “in order that the virtual can be incarnated of effectuated, is something needed other than this actualization in the souls? Is a realization in the matter also required, because the folds of this matter might happen to reduplicate the folds in the soul?” (29). I explore whether the way of creating folds in matter leads to a life of sensibility, by making sculptoral models of folds though a process of autogenesis. The art work consists of a preparation of a material for making folds in matter. By letting them coagulate, I thereby “freeze” the process to a fixed form, in order to let a “nondimensional point between dimensions” (16) be visible. Reference: Gilles Deleuze. The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque. Trans. with foreword by Tom Conley. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1992.

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