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The Force of the VirtualDeleuze, Science, and Philosophy$
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Peter Gaffney

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780816665976

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816665976.001.0001

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Numbers and Fractals: Neuroaesthetics and the Scientific Subject

Numbers and Fractals: Neuroaesthetics and the Scientific Subject

(p.229) Chapter 9 Numbers and Fractals: Neuroaesthetics and the Scientific Subject
The Force of the Virtual

Patricia Pisters

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter proposes the hypothesis that the popular obsession with mathematics and the mind of the scientist is related to a Deleuzian ontology of differences, repetitions, and folds that finds a full expression in films that not only deal with mathematics and madness in terms of their content, but also in terms of their particular “neuroaesthetic” style. Departing from the idea that “the brain is the screen,” the chapter starts by looking at the changing relationships between cinema and the (neuroscientific) brain, from the movement-image and the time-image to a contemporary “neuro-image.” It develops this concept of the neuro-image further by looking at two films of Darren Aronofksy, Pi (1997) and The Fountain (2007), relating them to Deleuze’s ideas on thought in Difference and Repetition and on Leibniz’s Baroque mathematics in The Fold. It is argued that aesthetically both of these films give direct access to a scientific brain that reaches out to the universal questions of the genesis of the universe: life, death, and belief. In doing so, these films could be considered as the extreme poles of contemporary neuroaesthetics in cinema that reveal its profound relations to the forces of the virtual.

Keywords:   mathematics, Deleuze, brain, movement-image, time-image, neuro-image, Pi, The Foundation, neuroaesthetics, cinema

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