I should begin by saying that, despite the conference title and theme drawing on Deleuze’s work, the conference I attended wasn’t, in fact, a ‘Deleuze conference’. This was pointed out to me by one of the conference organisers, Dr Jennifer Barker (whose writing I very much admire and engage with extensively in my own work), when I muttered something to the effect of “why can’t we talk about the figure and figuration without obsessing over what Deleuze had to say about it”.
This was a considerable relief to me since Deleuze was not going to be found anywhere in my conference paper – all the bodies I was going to discuss were going to have organs! Thankfully, this turned out to be a surprisingly little frowned-upon move and, certainly in the panel on ‘Resonance’ that I was speaking on, there was clearly a sense of a renewed interest in the materiality of the ‘lived’ body (in contexts as varied as drone visuality and queer cinema).
More generally, and across the various panels, there appeared to be an overarching effort to integrate a range of different approaches to the ‘figure’ (including phenomenology, theories of affect, and various perspectives on gender and race) in new and exciting ways, countering the sometimes perceived incompatibility of these approaches.
Attending this conference was an extremely inspiring experience, mainly because I had the privilege of being surrounded by incredibly smart, creative and kind people for three days of panels, screenings, plenaries and the odd drinks reception.
There was a thought-provoking sense of timeliness to the issues presented and discussed at the conference, at a point when film philosophy is branching out in a range of different and exciting directions.
I am very grateful for the funding provided by the CMC Research Committee.