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The project's funding goal was not reached on Wed, June 12 2013 10:00 PM UTC +00:00
Alexei AitouganovBy Alexei Aitouganov
First created
Alexei AitouganovBy Alexei Aitouganov
First created
$1,068
pledged of $10,000 goal
24
backers
0seconds to go
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Wed, June 12 2013 10:00 PM UTC +00:00

About

Confirmed interviewees include: Avital Ronell, John Protevi, Claire Colebrook, Patricia Pisters, Alexander Galloway, and Gregg Lambert

Desiring Machine is the long overdue documentary about French philosopher Gilles Deleuze. Unique in 20th century thought, Deleuze's work weaves together a diversity of disciplines (cinema, literature, psychoanalysis, mathematics, anthropology, quantum physics), while creating its own peculiar lineage (Spinoza, Nietzsche, Leibniz, Bergson, Foucault, Hume, the Stoics, Zen), which has placed him in a precarious in-between of Continental and Analytic, academic and literary writing, philosophy and cultural theory. This far-reaching transversality, combined with Deleuze's belief that the job of the philosopher is to create new concepts, has created a vast non-linear system, an image of thought, complete with its own unmistakable vocabulary that has been adapted by many thinkers and artists alike. Our aim with this film is to capture some of these central themes by interviewing leading Deleuzean scholars in France and the US, while also providing a modicum of biographical information on his life in Paris, Deauville, and Saint-Léonard-de-Noblat (Deleuze once said "Academics' lives are seldom interesting," but we believe his may still be of interest to some).

This is primarily a philosophical documentary, which will incorporate a diversity of interviews linked together by theme through certain leading questions. There will be a feature length version of 90 minutes - 2 hours, as well as a (very) extended director's cut that will preserve all the interviews in their entirety. The feature-length outline by theme is as follows:

Animal: we start with the Cosmic Egg (the ovoid analogy runs throughout Deleuze's work from his first essay) as a hatching point for an exploration of the different forms of becoming. Becoming-animal is a recurring concept in his work, one which branches out into many associated themes like territoriality as the beginning of art, the difference between individuals and the horde/pack/swarm,  the exteriority of a milieu (and its inherent lines of flight), the interiorority of an animal's umwelt (or sensory world, borrowed from Jakob von Uexküll long before Thomas Nagel asked "what is it like to be a bat?" in Analytic philosophy), and the ritournelle (refrain) that permeates everything like a birdsong. 

Plant: the concept Deleuze is possibly best known for is that of the rhizome, which he contrasts against the tree-like or arborescent model that has dominated Western thought since antiquity. The rhizome, like ivy or weed, is defined by a non-linear characteristic, which allows it to survive even if its earlier rooted structure is destroyed, and likewise can live on non-geneologically when divided into multiple parts, contrary to the arborescent model, which topples if struck at the root. In many ways it is the master key to unlocking associated Deleuzean concepts like those of smooth vs. striated space, intensive vs. extensive philosophy, and nomadology vs. the State. Considering the abundance and diversity of writing on the rhizome, we'll doubtful have time for other plant concepts, but will likely bring in some of Deleuze and Guattari's thoughts on "ecosophy," to underscore their emphasis on multiplicities and assemblages over any sort of unified, holistic structure. 

Mineral: here we'll address the geological concepts, from the Nietzchean variation of "The Geology of Morals," to the different Faucauldian themes of startification, sedimentation, and historical formations. Also, we'll deal with intensive properties of inorganic materials and how they effect assemblages across different milieus, thereby determining what we can see and what we can say (especially great on this topic is de Landa's "1000 Years of Non-Linear History," to which we awe much in inspiration for our film's structure). We'll also look at Deleuze & Guattari's "geophilosophy," and the claim that the earth is a Body without Organs.

Machine: we take on the theory of assemblages head on. The machine, in Deleuze, is both broad and specific (see Raunig's "Thousand Machines"). Our main focus, as the title suggests, will be the desiring-machine, a concept used to describe the unconscious as a factory that is the site of desiring-production (a development of Nietzsche's Will to Power), in contrast to the Freudean view that the unconscious is a representational theater. Finally, we will tackle perhaps the most difficult of Deleuze's concepts, that of the Body without Organs, a term he borrowed from the great schizophrenic poet Antonin Artaud, to describe how we can disavow desiring-production and become truly free!

While we will preserve the complete interviews unadulterated in the extended director's cut, the feature-length film will not be your usual documentary. There will be no shots of the Eiffel tower, pretentious string quartet music, or accordions. Our goal is to make something as visually stimulating as it is thought provoking, as sonorous as it is inspirational, and this will not be accomplished by mimicking what other documentary directors have done in the past. The biggest challenges lie ahead in post-production, but we already have many ideas for songs, movie clips, and video footage, which together will present a seamless unity of sound, sight, and thought. 

Risks and challenges

The online release will use dynamic layering (video annotations) to navigate between interviews by clicking pop-up links that appear on the screen at a given point allowing the viewer to learn what other participants said on a particular topic. We hope thus to create an interactive rhizomatic documentary that takes full advantage of recent technological developments in video production.

We primarily need money to cover travel costs around France, US, and possibly Portugal (for a Deleuze conference that would allow us interview several big names in one trip). Remaining money, will be used for licensing of video and music to be included in the documentary. This is a non-profit undertaking by people who love Deleuze, so far being funded out of the director's pocket. We hope to make the feature length film available for free (with the extended cut for a small fee so as to cover hosting/distribution costs).

Desiring Machine will be made one way or another, even if we have to use an iPhone camera to do it. But its quality, the extent of its distribution, and our protection against legal battles in the film production jungle, depend largely on you.

The kickstarter goal we have set is a spartan minimum we need to start filming in June. We hope to generate sufficient interest to have a proper budget and are actively seeking other funding opportunities. We have a non-profit organization that can take grants, tax deductible donations, etc. Even if you can't help financially, any recommendations for alternative funding are most welcome. Lastly, some us will be around Cannes this May promoting our production, so if you're in the Côte d'Azur and would like to meet someone from our team before deciding whether you want to fund our project, that could be arranged. We thank you for your consideration!

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    A Desiring Machine postcard to be printed for the film premiere, with our thanks, signed by the director + we hope to make the feature-length film free to all, but if for some reason we can't, you will still get a copy upon completion

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    As above + a shout-out on social media and our website + a secure download of the extended director's cut with complete interviews

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    All of the above + your name in the "thanks to" section of the film's credits + a limited edition t-shirt "I am a desiring machine" which will be designed for the film's cast and crew... and you

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    All of the above + 2 invitations to the film's NYC premiere (travel expenses not included, for European supporters there will probably be a Paris premiere at a later date)

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    All of the above + an associate producer credit + if you want, a non-speaking role in the film during one of the transitional shots (must be able to travel to us either during the summer France filming or NYC in autumn)

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    All of the above + the original art for either the postcard or poster (first pledge gets first choice) drawn by internationally acclaimed painter and teacher at NYC's Art Students' League, Vladimir Aituganov (aituganov.com)

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Funding period

- (37 days)