Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 12

NORANordic Journal of Womens Studies, Vol. 15, No.

4, 246256, November 2007


Feminism, Art, Deleuze, and Darwin: An Interview with Elizabeth Grosz

*Department of Art History, University of Turku, Finland, **Department of Musicology, University of Turku, Finland

Elizabeth Grosz is Professor of Womens and Gender Studies at Rutgers University, New Jersey, USA. She has written extensively on the questions of feminist philosophy and theory, for instance on the connections of the body, sexual difference and temporality. Her books include Volatile Bodies: Towards a Corporeal Feminism (1994), Becomings: Explorations in Time, Memory and Futures (1999), The Nick of Time: Politics, Evolution and the Untimely (2004), and Time Travels: Feminism, Nature, Power (2005). Recently she has been concerned with the ontology of art. We met Professor Grosz at the conference Disturbing Differences: Feminist Readings of Identity, Location and Power in Turku in May 1819, 2007.1 Professor Grosz gave her plenary talk on Deleuze and feminism. From Representation to Differential Materiality Katve-Kaisa Kontturi & Milla Tiainen: The notion of representation has a dominant, perhaps even hegemonic, conceptual and pragmatic role in contemporary feminist cultural theory and art criticism. This idea has enabled a conceptual shift; instead of thinking in terms of how social practices reflect reality it is now possible to consider how representational acts intervene in that very reality, contributing to its construction. For one thing, theories of representation have helped articulate a view of art as both a political and a collective process, and not merely a product of a self-contained artistic psyche. In its way, then, the concept of representation implies a reality that is fundamentally shared, mobile, and open-ended. In this regard, it has been an effective tool for feminist theorizing and politics. However, it seems that your philosophical
Correspondence Address: Katve-Kaisa Kontturi, Department of Art History, University of Turku, Finland. Email: katkon@utu.fi 0803-8740 Print/1502-394X Online/07/040246256 # 2007 Taylor & Francis DOI: 10.1080/08038740701646739

An Interview with Elizabeth Grosz


project has increasingly diverged from this mainstream approach to representation. Your recent books in particular have brought the real back into the agenda of feminist and cultural theory. You have also pointed to the problems that ensue from a belief in the exclusive power of representation to shape the world. How would you describe the way in which this neo-realist turn, if one may call it that, is able to respond to the limitations or impasses that lurk within the idea of representation? Elizabeth Grosz: First of all, I want to say that my position is not realist or neorealist because these are epistemology positions, specifications of the relation of the knower to the known. And given that I am not very interested in epistemology, I would not call myself a realist; I would, however, call myself a materialist. The concept of representation means two things: to present again in a different form, and to act on behalf or in place of something. Representation is generally understood as a framed separation from the world that relates to the world either through truth (for science) or through evocation (for the arts). Representation is a mediation of a subject and a world, and is usually understood as what subjects use to construct a world, and themselves. I am much more interested in the dynamic force of the real itself and how the real enables representation and what of the real is captured by representation. Art history and artworks could be understood as experimentations with the real, with the material forces found in the world, rather than representations of the real. So what artists do is create qualities from these forces that also have effects on the world. Art is the place in which we experiment with qualities. Science is the place in which we experiment with quantities. Each one addresses the real, but it addresses it in a different way. Now it seems to me that cultural analysis, theories of art, theories of representation could be understood in terms of primarily material forces, the forces they cohere and the forces they enable to be unleashed in the world. Kontturi & Tiainen: To follow the same broad theme, your most recent books, The Nick of Time (2004) and Time Travels (2005), present a powerful critique of the idea that meanings alonethat is, symbolic and semiotic orderingsmake reality susceptible to change. To paraphrase your argument, this stance has marginalized the realms of materiality and nature; the concept of an active and transforming culture seems to rest on an essentialized notion of nature as immobile and mute. Could you comment on the way in which the emphasis on meaning has delineated, but also restricted, the potential for feminist critique? Grosz: Feminists have been interested in the question of representation primarily because feminism arose from the understanding that women were left out of dominant cultural representations. Feminists have developed structuralist theories from the 1950s that are linked to the significance and primacy of meaning over reality. The real is always mediated by representation. Whatever real we address, this is always already represented. This is clearly Judith Butlers position and is linked not only to the structuralists but primarily to post-structuralism that culminates in deconstruction. What Derrida says is that there is no outside to a text, that every text in a way covers the world itself as the ground of the world. Both rely on and develop the Saussurian


K.-K. Kontturi & M. Tiainen

claim that we have no conceptual apparatus and no access to reality without the divisions imposed upon both the mind and the real by language in particular and by representation more generally. Saussure, Butler, and Derrida, and the traditions that follow them obscure the material forces that make the representation possible, and that enable representation to change. These material forces are linked to a different conception of nature. Nature is fundamentally dynamic rather than static. And nature is that which is continually transforming not only life but also the real. Now, once we have a dynamic notion of nature, we dont need representation to dynamize the world, the world is already dynamized. What we need are representations to slow down the world, to make the world temporarily comprehensible, to cohere it. So representation comes to have a more negative role than a more constructive role. Its purpose is to slow down, to make outlines of things that are continually blurry. It was Saussure himself who said that the real and thought are made of nothing but pure differences, with no identity, a claim I would affirm. Nature or materiality have no identity in the sense that they are continually changing, continually emerging as new. Once we have a dynamic notion of nature, then culture cannot be seen as that which animates nature. Nature is already animated, and culture borrows its energy from nature. So it is not as if culture is the transformation of nature: culture is the fruition, the culmination of nature. Culture is no longer understood as uniquely human or as a thoroughly linguistic creation. Culture borrows from the animal. There could be no culture without an open-ended nature. An arena as culturally specific as art history or art theory owes an immense debt to the natural world that it is only now beginning to be able to adequately address. And the same is true of politics. Politics derives from the energies and forces of nature, which are channelled in particular ways in particular contexts and particular geographies. Kontturi & Tiainen: You have repeatedly argued that feminism(s) would benefit from the insights of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, and in particular from their basic premise that the world is in a state of constant becoming, a state of inexhaustible differentiation. In the same vein, bringing temporality back into cultural analysis appears to be among your central concerns. The Nick of Time, in particular, addresses this extensively. Currently, you are also engaged with the work of Darwin, known to the general public mainly as the initiator of evolutionary theory. Could you specify what happens to the notions of becoming and differentiation in Darwins work? Also, it is well known that feminist thinkers have expressed strong doubts towards Deleuze and Guattari and even more so towards Darwin. In light of this, what benefits do you see in these thinkers projects for feminist theories of sexual difference? How could their work reorientate feminist inquiries into and understandings of sexual difference? Grosz: I think Darwin is the first theorist of becoming and the first major theorist of differentiation. Darwin is perhaps richer and more interesting than almost all of his commentators. Darwins work is incredibly rich and open-ended. And feminists have, I think, somewhat foolishly neglected this work because the concept of nature or biology has been so alarming. What Darwin offers us is a notion of life as not only open-ended,

An Interview with Elizabeth Grosz


but as directed to forces in the future, which we cannot predict in the present. This is what the theory of evolution entails; that all of life is open-ended, that its direction is not predictable, that human is an unexpected outcome of animal development, and the human may not be the last stage of evolutionary elaboration, in short a theory of becoming, the first scientific anticipation of becoming. Darwin made it clear that science cannot function without history. He introduced history as an irreversible factor in biology, something that physics and chemistry havent caught up with yet. A science sympathetic to life must include temporality and duration. He also made it clear that sexual difference, the central concern of feminism itself, is a driving mechanism in the elaboration of life. Darwin hypothesized that at a certain moment in the development of life on earth, life invented this brilliant engine or machinery for engendering maximal biological difference. The discovery was sexual selection. In other words, the division of each species into two beings that were bodily different from each other which differentiated over the tasks of reproduction. This was a momentous discovery of life on earth, and it occurred long before animals differentiated from plants. Darwin shows that wherever sexual bifurcation occurs in species, they never return to a single sexuality. Once the two sexes are divided, they become more and more different from each other, because each generation is the combination of the difference of each pair. Each generation is necessarily different from its parents. What Darwin discovered is that the very machinery for generating biological difference is sexual difference. This informs Irigarays work, and it makes a very convincing and powerful argument for the ontological status of sexual difference. We can clearly admit that class difference, and possibly even race difference are historical, but sexual difference is ontological, the condition for the very emergence of the human. It is only because of sexual difference that race difference erupts and continues. Race is an exact measure of the sexual attraction and procreation of the parents generation. Race is not reducible to sex but racial relations are an expression of sexual relations. How they are politically defined is another issue, Im talking about it on the biological level. But biologically race is an effect of sexual attraction, and class is a very, very indirect effect, like an open-ended effect of sexual selection, as is ethnicity, geography, and all the other particularities that define human life. Feminists should be interested in Darwin. I understand their reluctance to deal with socio-biology or neo-Darwinism, which I think is profoundly anti-feminist. But I think that Darwin like Freud offers tremendous potential for feminism. Kontturi & Tiainen: Could you elaborate further on how Deleuze and Guattari engage with these same themes? Grosz: I dont know if Deleuze and Guattari are very influenced by Darwin directlythey tend to be reluctant to use the word evolution. In A Thousand Plateaus they use the word involution rather than the word evolution. They talk a lot about things like the co-evolution of two life forms, like the orchid and the wasp, or the tick and the mammal. And this notion I think is very interesting; it is not Darwinian directly, but is derived from the work of series of biologists who followed Darwins work. Deleuze is indirectly influenced by Darwin to the extent that his major research sources, Nietzsche and Bergson, are primarily Darwinian.


K.-K. Kontturi & M. Tiainen

Deleuze and Guattari want to derange Darwinism. Unlike the socio-biologists and unlike theorists of aggression like Konrad Lorenz, they are interested in a kind of open-ended, perhaps even queer-Darwinism. Art, Corporeality, and the Politics of the New Kontturi & Tiainen: Feminist art criticism has, for the last two decades, been mainly occupied with the representations of identity and power that artworks may produce, sustain, or subvert. Intersectionalitythat is, the emergence of artistic representations at the cross-roads of diverse ethnic, sexual, religious, or other social axescontinues to serve as a starting point for such research. What interests us as feminist art researchers is how the notions of immanence and materiality might reorientate our feminist analyses. What new questions about art would it be possible to formulate by drawing on these notions? Grosz: Im not very fond of the concept of intersectionality, on the contrary Im very interested in the concept of specificity or particularity, and the complexities of race, class, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, and so on are already compressed in them. How can we rethink art using matter and nature rather than representation? Feminist art aims no longer to represent silent, forgotten, or excluded women. This is a very narrow conception of art. But it was one of the dominant conceptions of the early waves of feminist art such as Judy Chicagos Dinner Party. The goal of feminist art here was to represent forgotten women, to highlight women who had been left out of mainstream representation. But the question now becomes what is feminist art to do if its task is no longer to represent silent or forgotten women; if its task is no longer to represent the other but to represent something in oneself ? Now, I dont want to preempt feminist art, Im not a feminist artist. Feminist art is as open as feminist artists want it to be. It no longer represents the constituency that isnt the artists. Feminist art needs to ask itself the question what is its purpose: Is it to problematize mainstream or patriarchal forms of the art? And if that is the case, then perhaps, it may achieve this function not simply by directing itself to women but to redirecting itself to questions of materiality, which dont directly imply women. What it is to create, to compose musically as a feminist if it is no longer to address a female audience, to create content that is somehow linked to women? Art never works as critique alone, so the concept or question facing feminist artists is how can I produce a work that stands on its own, that has a life of its own, and that speaks to other people? No one can answer that question in advance of the particular work, but the properly artistic question is how can I make this material say what I want it to say. And that is not simply a question of representation. That is a question of form and materiality. Kontturi & Tiainen: Up until now, the central challenge to art research posed by feminist theory is to adopt its accepted practices of reading against the grain; that is, to pursue purposely deviant interpretations of art objects ranging from the old masters paintings to advertising and contemporary art. Current feminist analyses of artworks often emphasize the role of the reader or viewer; a great deal of attention is

An Interview with Elizabeth Grosz


paid to his or her socio-historical and political positioning. How, in your view, is the relationship between the reader or viewer and the artwork reconfigured if art is approached from the angles of immanence and materiality? Grosz: Im not sure that the reader is the object of feminist art. This is a very, very important question about what is it that makes art art. I am reluctant to make the reader or the audience the object that is addressed by art. Because the audience is what is present here and now, and the audience is always a little shocked by the production of the work of art. The audience is the present of an artwork, and I think that at its best, art always addresses the future. If you look at the history of art, its significant that every major experimental innovation has created this huge resentment in the art audience. Its only the field of art that creates these minor riots, in the 19th century, for example, when the norms of academic painting in some way were transgressed. One of the mistakes of feminist art has been to reduce artor literatureto its reception and interpretation by readers. I dont want to say the artist is autonomous, and I dont want to say the audience is irrelevant, but the artwork is an autonomous object, and it stands depending on what it produces, whether it is understood by an audience or not. One addresses two things in art, one addresses the field of art, in other words the history of art, the past of art, but one also addresses the future of art. Art, the artwork, is the present that is poised between the past and the future. Deleuze talks about this as an artwork addressing the plane of composition, in other words, the whole history of the discipline that made that particular artwork possible. But it also summons up a people to come. This is not an audience, but a people who will find this artwork yielding sensations. Art that is too directed to how people will understand it is already compromised before it begins. Once you direct your artwork to educating or informing an audience, getting across a political message, the imponderable nature of art is reduced to a lesson. We get very bad art that is moralistic, that tells us what to do. We dont know how to interpret art in advance; only attunement to its specificities gives this to us. It affects us in such a way that we dont know the interpretation is always too late. Kontturi & Tiainen: Since the early 1990s, and especially since your book Volatile Bodies (1994), you have worked hard to introduce Deleuzian and Spinozist notions of open corporeality, affectivity, and intensity into feminist theory. Even though the so-called affective turn has aroused a lot of discussion in feminist art research, influencing its methods, the DeleuzianSpinozist understandings of affectivity and the body have not been much elaborated on thus far. Both in art practice and art theory feminists have rather celebrated the themes of lived corporeality and the cultural politics of emotion. Could you specify how the DeleuzianSpinozist notion of affectivity connects to the above-mentioned affective turn? How could their mappings of the body in terms of intensities, flows, and rhythms affect the future directions of (feminist) art research? Grosz: The turn to affect and emotion in feminist theory, as I understand it, has been largely phenomenological, I dont think its entirely phenomenological, there are


K.-K. Kontturi & M. Tiainen

other theorists that are involved, but its largely linked to phenomenology. In other words it has been linked to the intentional structure of emotions. So if I experience fear, there is an object that Im fearful of. And phenomenology looks at that intentional structure of affects and emotions. This is very interesting work, but it is not work Im interested in. Kontturi & Tiainen: That, for instance, is what interests Sara Ahmed?2 Grosz: Yes, and I think what Sara Ahmed is doing is a phenomenology of everyday life.3 What she is looking at are the various emotions and the appropriate and inappropriate objects to which they are directed. But I dont think that Deleuze is interested at all in affects of a subject. And this is his critique of phenomenology. Hes interested in that affect that opens us up to what is unliveable, whereas phenomenology is interested only in that which we can live and experience even if it remains the latent structure of our lived experience. So in place of Husserl and his place at the origin of contemporary phenomenology, we always have to put Nietzsche, because he shows that force is greater than affect, and force is unliveable by a subject. Deleuze is interested in intensities which are unliveable by a subject and which open the subject up to an inhuman power. He talks a lot about the inhuman powers of the universe itself, of cosmic forces, for example. I think that the affective turn is again a reproduction of the politics of the subject, the politics of the primacy of the subject. Again, I want to say Im not really fundamentally critical about this politics of the subject, I think it is an important stage in feminist work. But to the extent we remain tied to the subject, we cant see the opening up of the subject to that which is bigger than it, which are the material forces of the universe. Intensity is significant, not because its an emotion but because its resonating force is such that it opens us up to things we cannot control. Deleuze offers a counter to the affective turn. Kontturi & Tiainen: You have recently said that art is the possibility for us having a new body, more of a body, a more intense body than we have now (Grosz 2006: 22). It seems, then, that in your view, art (still) possesses real potential to change the world. Hence concepts of creation and the newperhaps even of autonomy in some sensewould seem central to your understanding of the arts. This is in contrast to the majority of todays feminist scholarship in art research, which attempts to get rid of such concepts, often condemning them as modernist, romantic or downright elitist. This problem extends to the choice of what to studynowadays different kinds of popular or everyday practices are often preferred over high art as subjects of analysis. (This gesture, for its part, tends to perpetuate the division between high and low domains of culture.) Could you comment on how and why the concepts of the new, creativity, and perhaps autonomy would still be of use to feminist art research? Grosz: In many ways what Im proposing is quite elitist. Im happy to acknowledge that, if we understand elitism as a particular mode of access that is not similarly available to all. If we want everything to be open to everyone that is okay, but as a

An Interview with Elizabeth Grosz


result we produce a lowest common denominator. I am interested in the autonomy of art. But by autonomy I dont mean autonomy of art from everything. I mean the autonomy of art from everyday life. I think that there is something really correct in the work of the avant-garde theorists, particularly those working in the 1920s. What was interesting about Russian formalism, for example, is its concern with the idea that art is an autonomous activity, that it is freed from a kind of politics that occurs in everyday life. That is not to say it is free of politics. Art is embedded in the politics precisely of art practice, art criticism and art exhibitions. There is clearly a politics involved in the process of art but its not the same as the politics of the government or politics of political struggles. And to the extent that art becomes part of political activism it often, not always, reduces itself to propaganda. Art is autonomous from everyday kinds of politics, or even from governmental politics. That does not make it apolitical, however. What art contests throughout its history is precisely the values of the previous generation of art production. Art continues a kind of parallel political struggle which is not directly translatable into the politics of everyday life but which is a struggle, and which is a struggle directed to the forms, techniques, procedures, and values that govern the preceding generation of art. Every art directs itself to the history of art and to a critique of its own predecessors. It is as political as any other political activity. So is this elitist? Yes, to the extent that you need to know about the history of art, which is not true of most art consumers, but it is true of most art producers. Political art is art that produces new artistic forms and norms. Kontturi & Tiainen: Coming from the fields of musicology and art history respectively, we are interested to know how you see the potential of different art forms to generate new kinds of bodies. For instance, do sound, in music, and image, in painting, have their own specific ways of engendering new bodily intensities? Grosz: Yes, absolutely. There are many different types of art. Each field of art is potentially capable of being directed to a different bodily sense. So music, of course, appeals to the ear. Art appeals to the eyes. Sculpture appeals to the hand. Perfume, which is the art, if you like, of the smell, appeals to the nose. And gastronomy is now something like the art of the mouth. Each of the arts aims to make all of the other organs function even if it is just one organ. Music aims to make your eyes function like ears, makes the whole body into an ear, that resonates with music. The more we enjoy music and the louder it becomes, the more the body itself, our chest, torso, and our stomach, resonate as musical instruments. So the more absorbed we are in a particular work of art, the more all our other senses are directed to the one sense that is summoned up. Painting, to the extent that its powerful and affective, makes us want to hear the paint, touch it, smell it, taste it, as well as to look at it. Each of the arts summons up something that all of the arts have in common, resonating with every other art, thus their common connection between the body and the earth. All arts address the same imponderable forces although each addresses them specifically through its own techniques. Deleuze suggests that perhaps at bottom all of the arts attempt to make time comprehensible, time touchable, all of the arts are


K.-K. Kontturi & M. Tiainen

about capturing the invisible, unheard, tasteless, soundless form of time. So rhythm is about temporalization. Painting is also about a kind of temporalization. Kontturi & Tiainen: Earlier you have spoken of vibrations. Would you say something about that? Grosz: Vibration is that which characterizes every art but also that which characterizes every form of life and the relation of attunement that every form of life has to its natural environment. So vibration is something that I see as the force that links from the universe as a whole and its rhythms of the movement around the sun, the seas, day and night, and so on. These vibrations produce in living creatures particular structures, each animal is a different kind of structure. The rhythms of life, birth, death, and copulation, the effects that the seasons have on each person or each living thing: these are vibratory forces. So vibration is transmitted from the universe to the living body. But also from the living body to the works that are produced by that living body, which affect other living bodies only through their vibratory force. So music is sonorous vibration, painting is visual vibration, and these are transmitted most directly to other bodies. This is why art can be most interestingly explored not through representations but through force. Force vibrates from the cosmos to the body to the work of art and back again. Kontturi & Tiainen: Like both Deleuze and Darwin, you have often emphasized that it is the animal forces rather than the rational ones that are (mostly) at play in the arts. You have described, for example, how lobsters, too, enjoy music. In addition, you have written in Nietzschean terms about how art is a celebration of the forces of life. Yet you also continue to insist on the importance of sexual difference. What sort of a new feminist politics could arise from the simultaneous focus on animal, nonhuman, and material forces and on (the radical becoming of) sexual difference? Grosz: The animal is important because it is from the animal that sexual difference derives. Sexual difference is animal long before it is human. The human is an effect of animal sexual difference. So in a way the answer is easy: sexual difference is, according to Darwin, the force that makes all of the arts possible. Sexual selection means that the two sexes attempt, even in the most humble animals, to attract each other through various vibratory forces. Darwin talks a lot about birds and sees bird song as the very origin of human music; and about the vibratory colour of fish, in which we may perhaps see the very origin of painting. We as humans get the raw materials to produce art: sonorous cadences, intense colours, from birds, fish, and plants. Where do we get the idea of a luminous blue or a bright green or a dazzling red except from the animals that we see it on? Man borrows every quality that makes up art from nature. Nature uses these qualities to intensify life. Birds take the brightest coloured leaves and make them part of their nest, and they sing around these coloured leaves to produce a performance that sexually excites other birds, and human beings too, which is why we spend so much money on song-birds. The inspiration for art and the raw materials for art all come from nature. The human is the production of a new form for these material forces that are primarily

An Interview with Elizabeth Grosz


natural and that return to nature in some sense. So sexual difference is a natural concept that culture transforms into its own. Qualities are natural concepts that are transformed into cultural characteristics. Indeed everything is indirectly derived from nature, if we understand nature as a dynamic open-endedness, instead of as fixed and ahistorical. So the very conditions for making art, indeed the very condition for the radical becoming of sexual difference, themselves come from the open-endedness of nature. Kontturi & Tiainen: Our last question relates to the broader concerns engaging feminist scholarship. Unlike many feminist thinkers, your attitude towards the writings of Deleuze, Spinoza, and Darwin, for instance, can be described as genuinely affirmative rather than critical. Could you elaborate on this? Why is it important to be affirmative? What can this approach give to feminism and especially to the future of feminism? Grosz: Ive made it a policy for quite a while to avoid critique. Critique always affirms the primacy of what is being critiqued, ironically producing exactly the thing it wants to problematize. But more than that, critique is a negative exercise. It is an attempt to remove obstacles to ones position. It is really difficult to continue to work only on material that you dont like, or thats problematic or oppressive. And this is the future facing feminists forever if feminist theories are only a critique of patriarchal discourse. Such a critique was necessary in the first place to leave open the option of something like feminist thought. But once feminist thought has erupted, it is important that it not be defensive, that it not be attracted to its lowest enemy rather than aspiring to something higher. We need to find out more than what is wrong with the position: we need to understand primarily what is right with the position. There is no text that is so dangerous to feminist thought that we shouldnt read it. I dont think that we are in danger of being contaminated by patriarchal thought, since we are already contaminated by patriarchy. The real question is how can we exceed patriarchy, how can we put more into patriarchal texts than there is there so they become transformed in the process. Now one could easily read Deleuze, Spinoza, or Darwin negatively, especially if one is a feminist; none of them have anything particularly positive to say about women. At best, they are indifferent about the question of women, but nonetheless we have to ask, even if they dont say something positive about women, what tools do they give as such that we might be able to say something positive about women. And it seems to me that they do give us a number of tools that maybe they havent understood how well they can be used themselves Deleuze allows us to say things that we couldnt say without Deleuze. The same goes with Spinoza, or Darwin. We need to be more joyous in the work that we do. Life is hard enough with the crippling limitations placed on women, minorities, queers, and so on. We need something primarily affirmative, and theory is one of the few places where we can affirm. Theory is not necessary for the conducting of everyday life. Theory is a joyous luxury. We need to affirm all those activities that give us joy. We need to affirm those activitiesthinking gives us joy, perceiving gives us joy. Feminism has been too much about what has been done to us that is wrong. We need to affirm the joyousness of the kind of life that we are looking for. The


K.-K. Kontturi & M. Tiainen

joyousness of art, the pleasure of thought, feminism needs to return to something that makes it feel happier as well as productive. Joy, affirmation, pleasure, these are not obstacles to our self-understanding, they are forms of self-understanding. And if life is more and more oppressive, then in a way it is only these small pockets of knowledge production, art production that provide a counter to the weight and emptiness of everyday life. So we need to affirm, we need a place where we can simply affirm. The rest of the world is bleak enough. I mean the point is the way in which the new world is produced is precisely through revelling in the affirmation of the strengths that art gives us. The only way we can make a new world is by having a new horizon. And this is something that art can give us: a new world, a new body, a people to come. Acknowledgements We would like to express our gratitude to our colleague Ilona Hongisto (Department of Media Studies, University of Turku, Finland) who helped throughout various stages of the interview process. Notes

The conference was organized by the Centre for Womens Studies at the University of Turku, Finland, and the research project Disturbing Differences funded by the Academy of Finland. 2 Professor Sara Ahmed also acted as one of the key-note speakers of the conference Disturbing Differences held at the University of Turku in May 2007. 3 See e.g. Sara Ahmeds books The Cultural Politics of Emotion (2004) and Queer Phenomenology (2006).

Ahmed, Sara (2004) The Cultural Politics of Emotion (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press). Ahmed, Sara (2006) Queer Phenomenology: Orientations, Objects, Others (Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press). Grosz, Elizabeth (1994) Volatile Bodies. Toward a Corporeal Feminism (Bloomington & Indianapolis: Indiana University Press). Grosz, Elizabeth (Ed.) (1999) Becomings: Explorations in Time, Memory and Futures (Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press). Grosz, Elizabeth (2004) The Nick of Time: Politics, Evolution and the Untimely (Sydney: Allen & Unwin). Grosz, Elizabeth (2005) Time Travels: Feminism, Nature, Power (Sydney: Allen & Unwin). Grosz, Elizabeth (2006) Art and Deleuze: A round table discussion with Elizabeth Grosz, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Art, 7(2), pp. 422.

The interview was conducted by Lic.Phil. Katve-Kaisa Kontturi (Department of Art History, University of Turku, Finland, katkon@utu.fi) and Lic.Phil. Milla Tiainen (Department of Musicology, University of Turku, Finland, miltia@utu.fi, http:// users.utu.fi/miltia).