Deleuze and the Cinematization of Schelling (Modified)

contour volcano

In his discussion of Francis Bacon, Deleuze sets up the image of the contour as a sticking point to catastrophe that threatens to submerge a landscape. The goal is to save the contour by creating a space for catastrophe to settle in, as in Bacon’s catastrophe-painting where ‘stubborn geologic lines’ embrace chaos. In Schelling’s case, these geologic lines would qualify as the very ‘will of the deep,’ an ‘expression of geological potencies.’ These potencies, however, invert the function of contour in Deleuze: instead of abstract expressionism, the will of the deep signifies the transcendentalism of nature.

Nonetheless, both accounts of catastrophe may complement each another. If the Deleuzian contour is the place of double exchange between the limit and the refiguration of the limit to absorb catastrophe, the Schellingian abyss points to a veritable space of freedom even as the ground (or earth) is embracing the very ungrounding of the will of the deep that threatens to unground freedom. In this sense, contours can serve as moving images of the abyss of freedom in the sense that they problematize the relation of freedom to nature, in the same manner


action is problematized (in Deleuze) in a moving image, such as the cinema. Here we can take the cinema to mean the moving image of freedom threatened by the ungrounding of the will, of humanity facing extinction.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s