Dorothea Olkowski, Madly Creative or Creatively Mad: The Crystalline Brain
Deleuze’s image of the crystalline brain raises an important question. Is madness a prerequisite for creative genius? Is it the case that the creation of new concepts or the creation of works of art that are original and exemplary benefit from madness? My reasons for asking this question are not only theoretical, that is, I want to understand Deleuze’s point, but they are also personal. My grandmother and aunt suffered from schizophrenia and recently, I realized that the rules of our household when I was growing up resembled that “rules” that Alice encountered in Wonderland. This talk examines the relationship between the organization of Wonderland and the schizophrenic creativity of Antonin Artaud in the context of Deleuze’s concept of the crystalline brain. Distinguishing between the doxa of ordinary perception and the acute state of Artaud’s creative brain, implies that an ethics of creation is what Deleuze demands from philosophy, from cinema and from art. Whether one can slip in and out of this state like Alice, or must remain embedded in it, like Artaud, is the question this talk explores.
Dorothea Olkowski is Professor and Chair of Philosophy at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, Director of the Cognitive Studies Program, and former Director of Women's Studies. Specializing in phenomenology, contemporary continental philosophy, and feminist theory, she has been a Fellow at the University of Western Ontario, Rotman Institute of Philosophy and Science, the Australian National University in Canberra, and UC Berkeley. She is the author/editor of ten books including Postmodern Philosophy and the Scientific Turn (Indiana University Press, 2012), The Universal (In the Realm of the Sensible), (Edinburgh and Columbia University Press, 2007), and Gilles Deleuze and the Ruin of Representation (University of California Press,1999). Author of over 100 articles including essays, book reviews, encyclopedia articles, translations of her work, and collaborations with artists, she is currently working on the intersection of Deleuze’s philosophy of creation with the doxa of phenomenology.