experimentation


experimentation
  ---- by Bruce Baugh
  In French, the word expérience means both 'experience' and 'experiment'. To experiment is to try new actions, methods, techniques and combinations, 'without aim or end' (D&G 1983: 371). We experiment when we do not know what the result will be and have no preconceptions concerning what it should be. As an open-ended process that explores what's new and what's coming into being rather than something already experienced and known, experimentation is inseparable from innovation and discovery. The elements with which we experiment are desires, forces, powers and their combinations, not only to 'see what happens', but to determine what different entities (bodies, languages, social groupings, environments and so on) are capable of. Deleuze holds that 'existence itself is a kind of test', an experiment, 'like that whereby workmen test the quality of some material' (D 1992: 317). In literature, politics, painting, cinema, music and living, Deleuze valorises an 'experimentation that is without interpretation or significance and rests only on tests of experience' (D&G 1986: 7), the crucial experience being the affective one - whether a procedure or combination produces an increase in one's power of acting (joy) or a diminution (sadness).
  Experimentation can be an investigative procedure that seeks to explain how assemblages function by analysing the elements that compose them and the links between those elements; an 'assemblage' being any compound in which the parts interact with each other to produce a certain effect. However, experimentation is also a practical dismantling of assemblages and the creative production of new combinations of elements; even when experimentation concerns thoughts or concepts, it is never merely theoretical. Experimentation does not interpret what something, such as a text, an idea or a desire, 'means', but seeks to discover how it works or functions by uncovering an order of causes, namely, the characteristic relations among the parts of an assemblage - their structures, flows and connections - and the resulting tendencies. Effects are demystified by being related to their causes that explain the functions and uses of an assemblage, 'what it does and what is done with it' (D&G 1983: 180).
  Experimentation is necessary to reveal 'what a body or mind can do, in a given encounter', arrangement or combination of the affects a body is capable of (D 1988c: 125); and also to reveal the effects of combinations of different bodies and elements, and especially whether these combinations or encounters will increase the powers of acting of the elements combined into a greater whole, or whether the combination will destroy or 'decompose' one or more of the elements. The compatibility or incompatibility of different elements and bodies, and the effect of their combination, can only be ascertained through experience; we have no a priori knowledge of them through principles or axioms. An experimental method of discovery through the experience of new combinations of things encountering each other is contrary to any axiomatic-deductive system or any system of judgement using transcendental criteria. Because outcomes cannot be known or predicted in advance, experimentation requires patience and prudence, as certain combinations may be destructive to the experimenter and to others. On the other hand, the knowledge gained through experimentation with different conjunctions and combinations allows for an art of organising 'good encounters', or of constructing assemblages (social, political, artistic) in which powers of acting and the active affects that follow from them are increased.
  Life-experimentation, through a set of practices effecting new combinations and relations and forming powers, is biological and political, and often involves experientially discovering how to dissolve the boundaries of the ego or self in order to open flows of intensity, 'continuums and conjunctions of affect' (D&G 1987: 162). Active experimentation involves trying new procedures, combinations and their unpredictable effects to produce a 'Body without Organs' (BwO) or a 'field of immanence' or 'plane of consistency', in which desires, intensities, movements and flows pass unimpeded by the repressive mechanisms of judgement and interpretation. Experimental constructions proceed bit by bit and flow by flow, using different techniques and materials in different circumstances and under different conditions, without any pre-established or set rules or procedures, as similar effects (for example, intoxication) can be produced by different means (ingesting peyote or 'getting soused on water'). 'One never knows in advance' (D 1987: 47), and if one did, it would not be an experiment. Experimentation by its nature breaks free of the past and dismantles old assemblages (social formations, the Self), and constructs lines of flight or movements of deterritorialisation by effecting new and previously untried combinations of persons, forces and things, 'the new, remarkable, and interesting' (D&G 1994: 111). In literature, politics, and in life, experiments are practices that discover and dismantle assemblages, and which look for the lines of flight of individuals or groups, the dangers on these lines, and new combinations that will thwart predictions and allow the new to emerge.
  Connectives
   § desire
   § immanence

The Deleuze dictionary. . 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • expérimentation — [ ɛksperimɑ̃tasjɔ̃ ] n. f. • 1834; de expérimenter 1 ♦ Action d expérimenter (2o). L expérimentation d un nouveau produit, d un médicament sur des animaux. ⇒ essai, expérience. Champ d expérimentation. 2 ♦ Sc. Emploi systématique de l expérience… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Experimentation — Ex*per i*men*ta tion, n. The act of experimenting; practice by experiment. J. S. Mill. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • experimentation — index research Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • experimentation — 1670s; see EXPERIMENT (Cf. experiment) + ATION (Cf. ation) …   Etymology dictionary

  • experimentation — [ek sper΄ə mən tā′shən, ek sper΄əmentā′shən; ik sper΄ə mən tā′shən, iksper΄ə men tā′shən; ] often [, ekspir΄ə mən tā′shən, ek spir΄ə men tā′shən; ikspir΄ə mən tā′shən, ik spir΄ə men tā′shən] n. [ML experimentatio] the conducting of experiments …   English World dictionary

  • experimentation —    by Bruce Baugh   In French, the word expérience means both experience and experiment . To experiment is to try new actions, methods, techniques and combinations, without aim or end (D&G 1983: 371). We experiment when we do not know what the… …   The Deleuze dictionary

  • Experimentation — Méthode expérimentale Pour les articles homonymes, voir Expérience (homonymie). La Science et les Sciences Généralités Connaissance · Théorie · Savoir Classification des scienc …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Expérimentation — Méthode expérimentale Pour les articles homonymes, voir Expérience (homonymie). La Science et les Sciences Généralités Connaissance · Théorie · Savoir Classification des scienc …   Wikipédia en Français

  • experimentation — ex|pe|ri|men|ta|tion [ıkˌsperımenˈteıʃən] n [U] 1.) the process of testing various ideas, methods etc to find out how good or effective they are experimentation with/in ▪ experimentation with computer assisted language learning 2.) the process of …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • experimentation — ex|per|i|men|ta|tion [ ık,sperımen teıʃn ] noun uncount FORMAL the process of testing various ideas, methods, or activities to see what effect they have: teenage sexual experimentation experimentation in/with: Experimentation with drugs is… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English


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