- ---- by Simon O'SullivanAlthough appearing throughout Deleuze's work, the 'fold' is particularly mobilised in the books on Michel Foucault and Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz. In each case the fold is developed in relation to another's work. We might even say that these books, like others Deleuze has written, involve a folding - or doubling - of Deleuze's own thought into the thought of another. We might go further and say that thought itself, enigmatically, is a kind of fold, an instance of what Deleuze calls the 'forces of the outside' that fold the inside.Specifically, the concept of the fold allows Deleuze to think creatively about the production of subjectivity, and ultimately about the possibilities for, and production of, non-human forms of subjectivity. In fact, on one level the fold is a critique of typical accounts of subjectivity, that presume a simple interiority and exteriority (appearance and essence, or surface and depth). For the fold announces that the inside is nothing more than a fold of the outside. Deleuze gives us Foucault's vivid illustration of this relation, that being the Renaissance madman, who, in being put to sea in a ship becomes a passenger, or prisoner in the interior of the exterior; the fold of the sea. In Deleuze's account of Foucault this picture becomes increasingly complex. There is a variety of modalities of folds: from the fold of our material selves, our bodies, to the folding of time, or simply memory. Indeed, subjectivity might be understood as precisely a topology of these different kinds of folds.In this sense, the fold can also be understood as the name for one's relation to oneself (or, the effect of the self on the self). The Greeks were the first to discover, and deploy, this technique of folding, or of 'self mastery'. They invented subjectivation taken to mean the self-production of one's subjectivity. Subsequent cultures, such as Christianity, have invented their own forms of subjectivation, or their own kinds of foldings; and of course it might be said that our own time has its own folds, or even that it requires new ones. This imbues the fold with explicitly ethical and political dimensions, for as Deleuze remarks, the emergence of new kinds of struggle inevitably also involves the production of new kinds of subjectivity, or new kinds of fold (here Deleuze has the uprisings of 1968 in mind).As for Deleuze's use of Foucault and Leibniz, the fold names the relationship - one entailing domination - of oneself to (and 'over') one's 'self '. Indeed, one's subjectivity for Deleuze is a kind of Nietzschean mastery over the swarm of one's being. This can be configured as a question of ownership, or of folding. To 'have' is to fold that which is outside inside. Meanwhile, in the Leibniz book we are offered other diagrams of our subjectivity. One example is the two-ﬂoored baroque house. The lower loor, or the regime of matter, is in and of the world, receiving the world's imprint as it were. Here matter is folded in the manner of origami, whereby caverns containing other caverns, in turn contain further caverns. The world is superabundant, like a lake teeming with fish, with smaller fish between these fish, and so on ad infinitum. There is no boundary between the organic and the inorganic here as each is folded into the other in a continuous texturology.The upper chamber of the baroque house is closed in on itself, without window or opening. It contains innate ideas, the folds of the soul, or if we were to follow Guattari here, this might be described as the incorporeal aspect of our subjectivity. And then there is the fold between these two ﬂoors. This fold is like one's style in the world, or indeed the style of a work of art. It is in this sense that the upper chamber paradoxically 'contains' the Whole world folded within itself. This world is one amongst many 'possible worlds' each as different as the beings that express them. The world of a tick, for example, is different from that of a human, involving as it does just the perception of light, the smell of its prey and the tactile sensation of where best to burrow. This is not the tick's representation of the world but the world's expression, or folding in, of the tick.As with Deleuze's book on Foucault, the later parts of his Leibniz book attend to future foldings. Deleuze calls attention to the possibility of a new kind of harmony, or fold, between the two ﬂoors of our subjectivity. This new kind of fold involves an opening up of the closed chamber of the upper ﬂoor and the concomitant affirmation of difference, contact and communication. Echoing his book on Foucault, here we might say that these new foldings are simply the name for those new kinds of subjectivity that emerged in the 1960s, in the various experiments in communal living, drug use and sexuality, as well as in the emergence of new prosthetic technologies.Connectives
The Deleuze dictionary. Revised Edition Edited by Adrian Parr . 2010.