Agata Cieślak: Digressionary Practices: Making Use of Less


Advisor/tutor: Marina Vishmidt
Arnhem, June 2018


The following thesis attempts to introduce a method of thinking of and within art practices that would have potential for implementation in other disciplines and realms of reality. To do so, I develop two central concepts: the digressionary and the less, which come to frame a specific tactic of reasoning, producing and speculating. While deriving from the Deleuzoguattarian philosophy of the 'minor', the digressionary and the less do not simply duplicate the concept of the minor, but rather shift it; in the end presenting a challenge to its very position. The digressionary gesture concerns a withdrawal from the major, not as opposition to it, but through the taking of its unwanted matter – the less – which in turn entails a bearing of all the responsibilities and pleasures interwoven in what is retrieved. This method of thinking involves a different approach than to what is found in the academic production of knowledge, allowing alternative ways of understanding: rejection of direct purpose; the retention of constant flux and making use of negativity, which is considered as an important force. Further, digressionary practices challenge normative patterns in subject-object relations and in doing so provide examples for alternative possible futures. As to explicate these concepts, I turn towards an analysis of three different types of phenomena: waste, comedy and fiction; which also serve to frame the thesis' three chapters.