Choosing and Being Chosen

To boil my research down to its bare bones, it might be said to be about movements of choice, choosing and being chosen or interpellated (Butler, 1997) through embodied activities and intervals – rather than as the effects of singular causes. My work draws on the Deleuzian event and theories of affect, including ideas taken from Brian Massumi, Patricia Clough and Theresa Brennan to rethink ‘eating disorder’ in terms of what I have conceptualised as ‘a difficult relationship to feeding the body’.

The robust, muscular, feminist and queer politics of Butler’s work (1990, 1993, 1997) set in motion, as they worked on, and through me what I would notice and forage for in Deleuze. In turn, through Deleuzian ideas, I would reconsider turning as an activity and process, rather than as limited to psychic life alone. Through Butler, and Deleuze, rather than choosing or being chosen I consider the nuance of desire and the way in which bodies collude with demanding categories and flows of affective life in ways which exceed thoughtfulness alone. Untitled

While my work is interested in the abstract, the interest is by virtue of its capacity to work differently with what is presumed concrete about matter. The way it can open up possibilities which are foreclosed through an emphasis on ‘the actual’ or what can be seen in vision alone. Although the theoretical influences which flow into and out of my work are away from the fixity of common sense, my thinking has always been towards how those with a difficult relationship to feeding the body may have more liveable lives.

One of the implications of working with the event is the political hopefulness I see in a) finding a conceptual space of annunciation which can accommodate nuanced embodied experience and potential; and b) the idea of counter actualisation which I use to trouble dogmatic medical notions of ‘recovery’. As such, one of the questions I am presently engaging with is how counteractualisation, which Deleuze refers to as our greatest freedom, could be considered as a means to open possibilities of ‘doing’ for those with difficult relationships to feeding the body. How movement, rather than fixity, can develop democratic possibilities of living differently or making sense differently as opposed to thinking only through short term, high cost, invasive treatment programmes.

Sarah Dyke

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  1. Pingback: Engaging with Challenging Theory | ESRI Blog

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