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Educação & Realidade

versão impressa ISSN 0100-3143versão On-line ISSN 2175-6236

Educ. Real. vol.42 no.2 Porto Alegre abr./jun. 2017 


School Everyday Life in Images

Carlos Eduardo FerraçoI 

Marco Antonio Oliva GomesI 

IUniversidade Federal do Espírito Santo (UFES), Vitória/ES - Brazil


This article aims at questioning school everyday life in images, based on intercessors and concepts from Deleuze and Guattari’s Philosophy of Difference. It is based on data-image-graffiti produced during investigations developed by us with public schools’ everyday life in the city of Vitória, ES, Brazil. The text claims that, in order to speak about school everyday life in images to favor the sudden, the production of meaning and the multiplicity of knowledge, it is necessary to invest in another research attitude - one that considers chaos, chance and permanent openness and complexity of school everyday life as forces to constitute an immanence plane and create concepts. The article affirms the idea of impossibility of choosing images that would be considered the most representative to speak about events in the schools.

Keywords: Image-Representation; Image-Sensation; Cliché; School Everyday Life

On the Problematic Field: chaos, rhizome and the research with everyday life

In this text, we start from the idea that the construction of our problematic field to discuss the relations between the school everyday life and the images emerges with the movements, the tensions and the unfoldings produced by the research “Curricula, cultures and school everyday life” and “Curriculum, school everyday life and cliché”12, in which we had as a common interest the problematization of the images produced by the subjects who practice the everyday life of schools, resulting from their uses13 of the prescriptive curricular texts.

The different theoretical-methodological movements experienced in the everyday life of the schools investigated forced us to think14 the research in education and, consequently, the relations between the school everyday life and the images beyond the hegemonic model based, overall, on the principles of objectivity and search for the truth. With this, we claim that, to speak of the school everyday life in images to favor the exercise of the thought that differs, it is necessary to invest in another research attitude that considers the daily chaos15 as potency for the constitution of an immanence plane. For Deleuze and Guattari (1994b, p. 50), “From chaos the plane of immanence takes the determinations with which it makes its infinite movements or its diagrammatic features”.

Thus, the intensity of the chaotic movements lived in our research with the schools’ everyday life16 brought to us the need to question the conceptual foundations that believed, for instance, that there would be a “right way” to think the use made of the curricular proposals by the educators and, still, that to this way it would correspond another “right way” to understand and conceptualize the images17 produced by them with the mentioned uses, as Clareto (2011, p. 19-20) helps us to think:

[…] destitute of this image of security, of search for the truth, how does the research move? There are at least three possibilities. First, we are still attached to the image of the bubble and we pursue it as an ideal […]. Second, we are adrift in this indecipherable, wild ocean that does not submit itself to the bubble nor to the bubble image […]. Third, the research moves in the moving of the research and aims not to solve problems, but to problematize; it does not aim to represent the world, but to invent it. What does this imply? It implies, perhaps, the constitution of other values, of another ethics that are constituted in the immanence of warm-cold-clear-dark waters. Without images. With the untimely. Without representations. With the multiplicity.

Thinking the possible relations between images and school everyday life in our research responds to what the author considers as a way of opposing to the hegemonic model of understanding the research in education as a problem solver, favoring the creation of resistance movements by the sustaining of the problematic field related to the multiplicities and to the untimely. With the aid of our theoretical intercessors, we tried to escape not only from the representation-cliché18, so frequent in the problem solver research but, overall, from the prescriptive conclusions that, supposedly, would fulfill the function of correcting and/or improving the errors, the flaws and the absences detected with the accomplishment of the research.

The research as a problem solver uses to work by ways that put the method in its centrality: theoretical-methodological foundations are evoked to constitute what is called the question to be investigated. To develop an investigation, it is necessary to have a question [...]. An investigative enterprise that carries the question as a beacon and the theoretical-methodological foundations as the beacon’s holder [..]. There is a search for pointing ways, solutions, prescriptions or critiques to situations experienced in an empirical field (Clareto, 2011, p. 21).

As Clareto (2011) argues, the meaning assigned to problematic does not refer to the solution of problems, to something flawed nor to a doubtful result, but it is close to the Deleuzian thought of an event alongside encounters. It is as problematic as what resists to the hegemonic model, as what metamorphoses and hybridizes so that it is not left nameless nor captured in its complexity. As problematic as the exercise of differentiating in singularity.

The problematic field […] is resistance: to the instituted processes of research, the bubble-modes of being. Precarious resistance submerged in multiple waters. Resistance: monstrous, hybrid existence… […] Existence in the labyrinth of waters. Experience in the labyrinth. No way out. No entrance. Only between […].

The problematic, as an event that happens by means of encounters, is being in the waters. Not abstract waters abstractedly approached, but each water in its complex multitude. Each water in its singularity. Event. Unparalleled, unequitable. Singularity. Invention of the self and the world (Clareto, 2011, p. 223).

Returning, then, to the discussion of the construction of our problematic field, we will perceive some movements of resistance and focus in the deviating multiplicities that produce lines of flight or deterritorialization, amongst the uses that students and educators make of prescriptive curricula, in spite of all the attempts of guidance, aiming at the control of what happens in the classroom.

However, as these are movements that are woven amidst the complexity of the daily networks of the curricular knowing-doing, we also find movements of affirmation in this sense, that is, lines of segmentarity or stratification affirming prescriptive practices and, with this, defend adequate and coherent models of working with the curricular proposals.

In this discussion, it becomes necessary to consider that we are not understanding these movements as isolated and dichotomic situations. These are always rhizomatic movements that happen inside each other, that proliferate and ramify in lines, always through the middle, as, like Deleuze and Guattari claim (2005, p. 25), “A rhizome has no beginning or end; it is always in the middle, between things, interbeing, intermezzo. The tree is filiation, but the rhizome is alliance, uniquely alliance. The tree imposes the verb “to be,” but the fabric of the rhizome is the conjunction, “and... and... and...”

Unlike a structure, which is defined by a set of points and positions, with binary relations between the points and biunivocal relationships between the positions, the rhizome is made only of lines: lines of segmentarity and stratification as its dimensions, and the line of flight or deterritorialization as the maximum dimension after which the multiplicity undergoes metamorphosis, changes in nature (Deleuze; Guattari, 2005, p. 21).

Thus, from the rhizomatic movements experienced during the development of our research, problematizing the school everyday life in images implies, before anything, to consider as powerful for our analyses the different understandings, uses and productions of these images in this everyday life19. That is, if we are working with the rhizome and multiplicity concepts20, it is necessary to problematize the different meanings assigned to the images of the schools as decals and representations and metaphors and illustrations and sensations and…, trying to escape from all and any claims of defining or choosing which meanings of image should be considered as the most appropriate to speak of the schools’ events.

On the Concepts of Image: from the image-representation to the image-sensation

In What is philosophy?, Deleuze and Guattari (1994b) advocate that there are no simple concepts and that every concept has components and is defined by them. This way, the concepts would be multiplicities and, at the same time, they would be constituted as a whole. When possessing irregular contours, and defined by the combination of its components, the concept is instituted as a fragmentary whole and, at the same time, it leads to a problem without which it would not make sense.

In its composition, every concept is crossed by elements stemming from other concepts, which used to answer to other problems. Each concept is constituted, then, as a fragmented totality, not fitting as a jigsaw piece, since its irregular edges do not coincide with the ones from other concepts.

The same pedagogical status of the concept can be found everywhere: a multiplicity, an absolute surface or volume, self-referents, made up of a certain number of inseparable intensive variations according to an order of neighborhood, and traversed by a point in a state of survey. The concept is the contour, the configuration, the constellation of an event to come (Deleuze; Guattari, 1994b, p. 32-33).

Deleuze and Guattari (1994b, p. 35) observe that, even though the concepts and the plane of immanence are strictly correlatives, we cannot take one for the other. The immanence plane would not be characterized as a given concept or as a concept of all the concepts. If plane of immanence and concepts were taken one for the other, “[…] there would be nothing to stop concepts from forming a single one or becoming universals and losing their singularity, and the plane would also lose its openness” (Deleuze; Guattari, 1994b, p. 35).

Concepts are events, but the plane is the horizon of events, the reservoir or reserve of purely conceptual events […]. Concepts pave, occupy, or populate the plane bit by bit, whereas the plane itself is the indivisible milieu in which concepts are distributed without breaking up its continuity or integrity: they occupy it without measuring it out (the concept’s combination is not a number) or are distributed without splitting it up. The plane is like a desert that concepts populate without dividing up (Deleuze; Guattari, 1994b, p. 36).

It is interesting to observe that different image concepts populated the plane-desert-work-of-Deleuze, constituting what we could call, using the author’s arguments, of self-referent multiplicities, composed of intensive inseparable variations according to a neighboring order. When trying to answer to the question “What can an image?”, Gallo (2014, p. 15) helps us in this discussion when inferring that there is a curious course in Deleuze’s work, when referring to the image:

In the 1960s, in ‘Difference and Repetition’, we find a critical perspective of the image as representation, being that the only possibility to escape to an ‘image of the thought’ would be the production of a ‘thought without image’, like certifying being impossible to think outside of the context of the representation. However, in three works from the 1980s, this changes radically and the image appears in non-representational perspectives and as a creative possibility for the thought. The first book was dedicated to Bacon’s painting: ‘Francis Bacon: The Logic of Sensation (1981) [2003]; the other two were dedicated to the cinema: ‘Cinema 1 - The Movement-Image’ (1983) [1997a] and ‘Cinema 2 - The Time-Image (1985) [1997b].

The critique made by Deleuze in the book Difference and repetition to the image as representation will invest in the idea of thought as creation, as difference in place of thought as copy, repetition or reproduction that defines the contours and the possibilities of what is to think. In his critique to the thought like reproduction and, consequently, to the notion of image as representation, the author considers that, due to the fact that everybody thinks naturally, it is presumed that everybody knows what thinking means. “According to this image, thought has an affinity with the true; it formally possesses the true and materially wants the true. It is in terms of this image that everybody knows and is presumed to know what it means to think” (Deleuze, 1994a, p. 130).

When discussing Deleuze’s critique on the thought as representation, Gallo (2014) helps us to understand the author’s investment in the idea of the thought being able to escape from the tyranny of representation for the exercise of creation, to what Deleuze names as thought without image, that is, a thought without predetermination, in which the image would escape from the destiny of the representation and would constitute itself as sensation, as image-sensation.

Thinking in the context of an image of the thought is repeating what has already been thought; it is not thinking the new, the different. To think the new, the different, Deleuze claims being necessary to invest in the production of a ‘thought without image’, a virgin, ‘genital’ thought, without preset contours. Thus, if the image is representation and watchword, if it induces to the non-thought when defining what thought is from an image of the thought, a question is then raised: how to pull the image out of the primacy of representation? Would it be possible to think the image not as representation, but with some other epistemological statute? If possible, which would be the consequences of this new conception of image? […] We find in Deleuze himself a possible answer to the interrogation previously raised: it is an image-sensation that can become an image-thought (Gallo, 2014, p. 14-15).

As it was already noted, the idea of image-sensation proposed by Deleuze will be present, initially, in the work Francis Bacon: The Logic of Sensation, published [in France] in 1981. In this book, Deleuze (2003) claims that the representation (or the figurative) assumes a relation between an image and an object that it must illustrate, but implies, also, the relation of an image with other images in a compounded set that assigns to each one its object. The narrative is correlated to the illustration.

In the domain of the image-representation, the author considers that the act to isolate the Figure would be, then, the simplest means, necessary though not sufficient, to break with representation, to disrupt narration, to escape illustration, to liberate the Figure: to stick to the fact” (p. 3). However, this attempting to liberate the Figures, that is, of the emergence of Figures out of any figuration, of any possibility of representation would not be something obvious, immediate, as Deleuze warns (2003, p. 10-11):

Nor can we say that the renunciation of figuration was easier for modern painting as a game. On the contrary, modern painting is invaded and besieged by photographs and clichés that are already lodged on the canvas before the painter even begins to work. In fact, it would be a mistake to think that the painter works on a white and virgin surface. The entire surface is already invested virtually with all kinds of clichés, which the painter will have to break with.

Moving a little farther in this debate, especially from the dialogue he established with Cézanne’s and Bacon’s works, Deleuze (2003) says that it would there be two ways of surpassing, both from the illustrative and the narrative points of view, the figuration, that would be to follow toward the abstract form or toward the Figure. Cézanne called “sensation” or, yet, “to paint the sensation” the movement of following the figuration to the Figure.

Certainly, Cezanne did not invent this way of sensation in painting, but he gave it an unprecedented status. Sensation is the opposite of the facile and the ready-made, the cliché, but also of the “sensational,” the spontaneous, etc. Sensation has one face turned toward the subject […] and one face turned toward the object […]. Or rather, it has no faces at all, it is both things indissolubly, it is Being-in-the-World, as the phenomenologists say: at one and the same time I become in the sensation and something happens through the sensation, one through the other, one in the other.1 And at the limit, it is the same body which, being both subject and object, gives and receives the sensation (Deleuze, 2003, p. 34-35).

The notion of sensation in Cézanne is close to something that happens between the one who feels and what is felt. “Sensation is what is painted. What is painted on the canvas is the body, not insofar as it is represented as an object, but insofar as it is experienced as sustaining this sensation [...]” (Deleuze, 2003, p. 35). Bacon refers to this condition of “painting the sensation” as “recording the fact”.

Returning to our initial discussion on the constitution process of our problematic field and, consequently, to our interest in thinking the school everyday life in images, from the uses that both educators and students make of the prescriptive curricula proposal, we will engage us to think: Which daily events potentialize, in the schools, the movements to overcome the clichés toward the images-sensation?

From the Cliché to the Image-Sensation: the force of the chance, the encounter and the experience

In the book Francis Bacon: The Logic of Sensation, Deleuze (2003) refers to the cliché as ways to see, that is, illustrative or narrative representations, which compose what the author calls figuration.

In the first place, there are figurative givens. Figuration exists, it is a fact […]. We are besieged by photographs that are illustrations, by newspapers that are narrations, by cinema-images, by television-images. There are psychic clichés just as there are physical clichés - ready-made perceptions, memories, phantasms (Deleuze, 2003, p. 87).

With Deleuze’s thought (2003), we are interested, then, in problematizing the images-representation of the schools’ subjects as possibilities to escape from the clichés, taking advantage of the ethical-aesthetic-political force that moves the invention of the curricula in the everyday life of the schools researched, therefore, as Deleuze considers (1997b, p. 20),

Neither everyday nor limit situations are marked by anything rare or extraordinary […]. We see, and we more or less experience, a powerful organization of poverty and oppression. And we are precisely not without sensory-motor schemata for recognizing such things, for putting up with and approving of them and for behaving ourselves subsequently, taking into account our situation, our capabilities and our tastes. We have schemata for turning away when it is too unpleasant, for prompting resignation when it is terrible and for assimilation when it is too beautiful […]. It should be pointed out that even metaphors are sensory-motor evasions, and furnish us with something to say when we no longer know what to do: they are specific schemata of an affective nature. Now this is what a cliché is. A cliché is a sensory-motor image of the thing. As Bergson says, we do not perceive the thing or the image in its entirety, we always perceive less of it, we perceive only what we are interested in perceiving, or rather what it is in our interest to perceive, by virtue of our economic interests, ideological beliefs and our psychological demands. We therefore normally perceive only clichés.

Researching the complex relations between curriculum, school everyday life and cliché implies problematizing, permanently, the images produced by the subjects who practice the school everyday life with whom we developed our research, overall those who affirm commonplaces and forge stereotypes producing, thus, practical theories whose main goal is to harmonize the conditions of indetermination, openness and incompleteness that are manifest in these networks of images.

In general, what interests to us is to problematize the school everyday life during the weaving processes of the curricular knowledge, with the intention of potentializing, with the practicing subjects, the curricular networks that agency inventive processes in favor of a school related to the movements of expansion of multiplicity and difference in the lives of its practitioners, understanding, as Guerón (2011 defends, p. 12), that “[…] there are no big investigations on the cliché”.

Guerón (2011, p. 14-15) also infers that, when defining what is cliché, Deleuze, even being in full philosophical study on the cinema, never mentions the cinema itself. That is, for the author, the cliché is an essential part of our daily experience of the real - it inevitably constitutes this - and not something that concerns exclusively to the cinema and other mechanisms of image production.

In the book What is philosophy? Deleuze and Guattari (1994b, p. 150) defend philosophy as something that could lead us to put “our truths” into analysis and, perhaps, to suspend the certainties and the dogmatisms of the opinions searching for consensuses. When insisting on the fight against the cliché, they claim: “But we do not fight against perceptual and affective clichés if we do not also fight against the machine that produces them”. When analyzing the force of Deleuze’s (1994a, 1995, 1997a, 1997b, 2003) and Deleuze and Guattari’s texts (1994b, 2005), we find the strength of image-sensation as a theme in contrast with the cliché and, as well, the possibility of thinking about a differentiated and higher fight of art, philosophy and science against the effects of information, opinion and communication on the production of clichés. In the text From chaos to the brain, which is part of What is philosophy?, the authors observe that

[…] art, science, and philosophy […] they cast planes over the chaos. These three disciplines are not like religions that invoke dynasties of gods, or the epiphany of a single god, in order to paint a firmament on the umbrella, like the figures of an Urdoxa from which opinions stem. Philosophy, science, and art want us to tear open the firmament and plunge into the chaos (Deleuze; Guattari, 1994b, p. 202).

For Deleuze and Guattari (1994b), when sinking into the “world of chaos” to face it, the philosopher, the scientist and the artist bring different things. According to the authors, “What the philosopher brings back from the chaos are variations […]. The scientist brings back from the chaos variables […] The artist brings back from the chaos varieties […]” (p. 202). Thus, for them, the fight against the chaos implies an affinity with the enemy, because another bigger fight would have to be fought against the opinion that, all the time, intends to protect us from the chaos.

In a violently poetic text, Lawrence describes what produces poetry: people are constantly putting up an umbrella that shelters them and on the underside of which they draw a firmament and write their conventions and opinions. But poets, artists, make a slit in the umbrella, they tear open the firmament itself, to let in a bit of free and windy chaos […]. Then come the crowd of imitators who repair the umbrella with something vaguely resembling the vision, and the crowd of commentators who patch over the rent with opinions: communication. (Deleuze; Guattari, 1994b, p. 203-204).

The considerations made by Deleuze and Guattari (1994b) concerning the relations between cliché, opinion, information and communication led us to what Larrosa (2004) calls as destruction of the experience. As the author infers (2004), the experience, as a condition of thinking and being touched by the things that happen to us, is increasingly scarcer, in the extent that we live in a world bombed by the excess of opinions and information, alongside to the sensation that time is lacking to us.

Each day, a lot of things happen; however, at the same time, almost nothing happens. One would say that everything that happens is organized so that nothing happens to us […]. We never had so many things happening, but the experience is each time scarcer. First, due to the excess of information. Information is not experience. Yet, information does not leave room for the experience, it is almost the opposite of the experience, almost an anti-experience […]. Second, the experience is increasingly scarcer due to the excess of opinion. The modern subject is an informed subject who, besides that, gives his opinion. For us, opinion, just like information, became an imperative […]. Third, the experience is each time scarcer due to the lack of time. Everything that happens, happens too fast, each time faster. And, with this, it is reduced to an ephemeral and instantaneous stimulus that is immediately replaced by another stimulus or another excitement equally ephemeral and fugacious (Larrosa, 2004, p. 154-159).

Trying to establish some relations between, on the one hand, Larrosa’s debates (2004) on our sensation of lack of time and the excesses of information and opinion as situations that inhibit the experience and, on the other, the Deleuze and Guattari’s debates (1994b) in terms of the unfoldings of opinion, information, communication in the creation and strengthening of the clichés, we become aware, in the first moment, of the possibility of thinking the experience (Larrosa, 2004) as an alternative to put the clichés under suspicion21.

However, what would it mean to use the experience as potency to eliminate the clichés produced in the school everyday life? Following the clues offered by Larrosa (2004, p. 161), we learn that the “subject of the experience” is defined not as much by his activity, but by his receptivity, his availability, his openness.

It is a subject who, as in the Deleuze and Guattari’s discussion (1994b), would put himself in flow, open to the chaos and the unexpected, to the uncertainty of life. A decentered subject, with openness to (com)pose and not (im)pose. Larrosa (2004, p. 161) says:

The subject of the experience is an ex-posed subject. From the point of view of the experience, the important is neither the position (our way of put ourselves), nor the o-pposition (our way to oppose), nor the im-position (our way to impose ourselves), nor the pro-position (our way to propose ourselves), but the exposition, our way of ex-posing us, with everything that it has of vulnerability and risk. The one to whom nothing happens, nothing occurs, nothing touches, nothing comes, nothing affects, nothing threatens, nothing hurts is unable to experience.

Thus, problematizing the images of the practicing subjects of the schools, as possibilities of manufacturing-deformation of the images-representation clichés toward the production of the image-sensation has meant, in a first movement of our research, exercising a certain way of constituting ourselves as subjects of the experience (Larrosa, 2004), who would not be the subject of information, opinion or communication, who would not be the subject of knowing or judging, a firm subject, self-determined, dauntless, unattainable, raising, anesthetized, apathic, defined by his knowing, his power and his will, but a subject that transforms himself and is receptive, accepting, interpellated, who loses his powers precisely because of he makes experience of what seizes him. Larrosa (2004, p.160) claims that

The experience, the possibility that something occurs or happens or touches us requires an interruption gesture, a gesture that is almost impossible in the current times: it requires to make a stop to think, to look at; to make a stop to listen, to think slower, look slower and listen slower; to make a stop to feel, to feel slower, spend time paying attention to the details, to halt the opinion, the judgement, the will, the automatism of the action; to cultivate attention and courtesy; to open the eyes and the ears, to speak about what happens to us, learn the slowness, listening to the other ones, cultivate the art of the encounter, keep quiet a lot, be patient and provide yourself time and space.

Thus, an initial movement carried through in our research, taking into account Larrosa’s proposal (2004) of fostering ourselves the experience, happened in the sense of exercising, with the subjects involved in our research, encounters so that we could talk on the curricular practical theories produced by them with the uses that they made of the prescriptive curricular proposals. Our intention was to affirm a philosophical attitude that could lead us to problematize, collectively, our truths, our metaphors, our clichés, our images-representation impregnated of certainties-violences, searching to potentialize a poetical attitude in face of life and, with this, as much as possible, to produce slits in the umbrella that we use to protect us from the chaos and the threats of the difference and the multiplicity. With a bit of luck and chance, to potentialize the production of images-sensation.

In our research practice, potentializing these meeting-talks with the educators and students assumed to favor attempts of approaching-mobilization of the experienced relations with them, that is, to think with them and not about or for them. This attitude of thinking with the other has taken us to the clue provided by Certeau (1994; 1996), in terms of the use that he made of conversations in his research.

Giard (1996), when referring to this use, highlights the concern that he had when, talking with ordinary subjects, he tried to establish a condition of unusual empathy without, at the same time, paying a directive attention. Always encouraging the people to speak, he aimed to listen to them, certifying the wealth of the spoken words. Certeau (1994, p. 50) believed that

The rhetoric of the ordinary conversation are practices transforming of ‘situations of word’, of verbal productions in which the interlacement of the speaker’s positions establishes an oral fabric without individual owners, the communications of a communication that does not belong to anybody. The conversation is a provisory and collective effect of competences in the art of manipulating ‘commonplaces’ and playing the inevitable of the events to make them ihabitable.

This search for the establishment of a closeness with the “Other” in the research does not result in a personal, individualistic approach, but, as already said, responds to the singularities of what occurs among the people, of what emerges and happens in the middle, intermezzo, privileging the relations that are established in/with the encounters and, with this, once again, focusing in a research that, as Clareto defends (2011), was constituted as event and invention of the self and of the world.

In this research focus, we consider that the tensions and the clashes experienced in the daily chaos favor different situations of problematization of the clichés22 assuming, again, the potency of the experiences that are constituted as an ethical-aesthetic-poetical attitude of becoming in face of the talks-gestures that mutilate the images-representation and invest in the images-sensation.

We feel, here, that it is through the becomings that we will be able to be free from the clichés. As Deleuze and Guattari say (2005, p. 292), “We can be thrown into a becoming by anything at all, by the most unexpected, most insignificant of things. You don’t deviate from the majority unless there is a little detail that starts to swell and carries you off”.

In the book Francis Bacon: The Logic of Sensation, Deleuze (2007a) shows how Cézanne was able to escape from the cliché in his painting, as he assigned an entirely intuitive interpretation in his still life.

Here he is inimitable. His imitators imitate his accessories of tablecloths folded like tin, etc. - the unreal parts of his pictures - but they don’t imitate the pots and apples, because they can’t. It’s the real appleyness, and you can’t imitate it. Every man must create it new and different out of himself: new and different. The moment it looks “like” Cezanne, it is nothing. […] Clichés, clichés! The situation has hardly improved since Cezanne. Not only has there been a multiplication of images of every kind, around us and in our heads, but even the reactions against clichés are creating clichés. (Deleuze, 2003, p. 89).

Cândido’s text (2011), mentioned in the footnote, when problematizing the cliché based on the short story O Espelho [The Mirror] by Guimarães Rosa, infers on the difficulty that we must renounce to the cliché. For the author, no matter our efforts, the clichés multiply voraciously and are wrong if we consider them as natural.

Amongst the different modern machines created, the ‘cliché machine’ is highlighted […]. Although it affects all senses, we can say that the sense of vision is the privileged one […]. When approaching the cliché machine, we cannot run the risk pointed by Deleuze of engendering new clichés (much less appealing to old clichés). It is not merely about affirming that this machine is an ‘ideological’ machine, to quote a commonplace. It is a power machine […]. For that, in face of the cliché machine, one must search for a visual ‘blockage’. It is necessary to ‘learn not to see’, or ‘to see not-seeing’. An un-anesthetic look […]. We know that it is not an easy task. In an (increasingly) mediatic society, where the clichés surround us already when we are inside the womb, our own eyes, the eyes of each of us, are flawed, defects with which they grew and to which they became used (Cândido, 2011, p. 51-53).

The speed with which the clichés are produced and multiply in the current society lead us, again, to our interests of research, as well as to Deleuze and Guattari’s debate (2005) on what the authors call faciality or, yet, abstract machine of faciality which, in general lines, would be based on agencies of power in need of the social production of the face.

The face is not an envelope exterior to the person who speaks, thinks, or feels. […] A child, woman, mother, man, father, boss, teacher, police officer, does not speak a general language but one whose signifying traits are indexed to specific faciality traits. […] Concrete faces […] are engendered by an abstract machine of faciality (visageite), which produces them at the same time as it gives the signifier its white wall and subjectivity its black hole. […] To the point that if human beings have a destiny, it is rather to escape the face, to dismantle the face and facializations, to become imperceptible, to become clandestine […] (Deleuze; Guattari, 2005, p. 167-171).

Considering, thus, the possibility of reacting against the images-representation and the clichés, we make an effort to trigger, during the accomplishment of the mentioned research, different processes that could potentialize ways of escaping from the facializing, that is, getting rid of the faces that are created, daily, sticking the people to fixed identities, in labels. As Deleuze and Guattari certify (2005), the facializing fulfills the function of making the recognition of each one, inscribing him in the set of the square-lined abstract machine, rejecting those faces that look suspicious to us, as they are not in accordance with our models of normality, and accepting those we recognize as normal.

The face of a teacher and a student, father and son, worker and boss, cop and citizen, accused and judge […]. The abstract machine of faciality assumes a role of selective response, or choice: given a concrete face, the machine judges whether it passes or not, whether it goes or not, on the basis of the elementary facial units. This time, the binary relation is of the ‘yes-no’ type. The empty eye or black hole absorbs or rejects, like a half-doddering despot who can still give a signal of acquiescence or refusal. The face of a given teacher is contorted by tics and bathed in an anxiety that makes it ‘no go’ (Deleuze; Guattari, 2005, p. 177).

Deleuze and Guattari (2005) infer that the abstract machine of faciality produces binary relations between what is accepted in a first choice and what is not tolerated in a second or third choice. They exemplify (2005, p. 177), “A ha! It’s not a man and it’s not a woman, so it must be a trans-vestite: The binary relation is between the “no” of the first category and the “yes” of the following category […].”

The binary relation established, in these cases, by the abstract machine of faciality can assume, under certain conditions, a tolerance or, yet, indicate that it is about an enemy who is necessary to extinguish whatever the cost. For the authors (2005, p. 177-178),

It is clear that in its new role as deviance detector, the faciality machine does not restrict itself to individual cases but operates in just as general a fashion as it did in its first role, the computation of normalities. If the face is in fact Christ, in other words, your average ordinary White Man, then the first deviances, the first divergence-types, are racial: yellow man, black man, men in the second or third category [...]. Racism operates by the determination of degrees of deviance in relation to the White-Man face, which endeavors to integrate nonconforming traits into increasingly eccentric and backward waves, sometimes tolerating them at given places under given conditions, in a given ghetto, sometimes erasing them from the wall, which never abides alterity (it’s a Jew, it’s an Arab, it’s a Negro, it’s a lunatic…). From the viewpoint of racism, there is no exterior, there are no people on the outside. There are only people who should be like us and whose crime it is not to be.

Returning, then, to Deleuze and Guattari (2005) on the force of what precipitates us in a becoming, that is, something unexpected, insignificant, a small detail that surprises us, that pulls us out from our comfort zones, we are going to be aware of the impossibility of having individual protagonists for the actions that aim to overcome racism, prejudice, the faciality or the cliché. There is no researcher intentionality that can make this. We need, always, to rely on chance!

But how does Deleuze (2003) understand the force of chance in the overcoming of the clichés and the production of the image-sensation? An initial clue that we find in the text The Painting before Painting refers to Cézanne’s furor against the cliché, leading him, sometimes, to transform it into parody. “He wanted to express something, and before he could do it he had to fight the hydra-headed cliché, whose last head he could never lop off” (Deleuze, 2003, p. 88). In this way, from Cézanne’s fight against the cliché, Deleuze (2003) suggests us the possibility of reaching an intuitive knowledge, as we get rid of the obsession of the concept and the universal solutions.

For Deleuze (2003), one only fights against the cliché with much astuteness, obstinacy and prudence, a task constantly carried through by Cézanne in the making of each picture and at each moment of each picture, since, “[...] Everything is already on the canvas, and in the painter, himself, before the act of painting begins. Hence the work of the painter is shifted back and only comes later, afterward: manual labor, out of which the Figure will emerge into view… (Deleuze, 2003, p. 98).

Still concerning the way how Deleuze perceives the force of chance in the unmaking of the cliché, we have, in the mentioned text, his discussion on the relation that Bacon established with the painting and the chance. As Deleuze thinks (2003, p. 93-94),

If we consider a canvas before the painter begins working, all the places on it seem to be equivalent; they are all equally ‘probable’. And if they are not equivalent, it is because the canvas is a well-defined surface, with limits and a center. But even more so, it depends on what the painter wants to do, and what he has in his head: this or that place becomes privileged in relation to this or that project. […] And it is when the unequal probability becomes almost a certitude that I can begin to paint. But at that very moment, once I have begun, how do I proceed so that what I paint does not become a cliché? ‘Free marks’ will have to be made rather quickly on the image being painted so as to destroy the nascent figuration in it and to give the Figure a chance, which is the improbable itself (Emphasis added).

When commenting on the way Bacon fights against the cliché, Deleuze (2003) infers that the “free marks” made by the painter in the image are, first of all, accidental, that is, they are produced by chance, randomly. A type of chance that would not designate a probability, but a certain choice, an action without any perspective. For the author (2003, p. 94) “These marks can be called “nonrepresentative” precisely because they depend on the act of chance and express nothing regarding the visual image: they only concern the hand of the painter”.

From start to finish, accident and chance (in this second sense) will have been an act or a choice, a certain type of act or choice. Chance, according to Bacon, is inseparable from a possibility of utilization. It is manipulated chance, as opposed to conceived or seen probabilities (Deleuze, 2003, p. 94. Emphasis added).

Final Remarks

As we could verify in the readings of Deleuze made by us, there is, on the part of the author, a concern in relation to the forms that we use to fight the cliché. For him, it would be necessary to pull out of the cliché a true image, the image-sensation:

On the one hand the image constantly sinks to the state of cliché: because it is introduced into sensory-motor linkages, because it itself organizes or induces these linkages, because we never perceive everything that is in the image, because it is made for that purpose (so that we do not perceive everything, so that the cliché hides the image from us…). Civilization of the image? In fact, it is a civilization of the cliché where all the powers all the powers have an interest in hiding images from us, not necessarily in hiding the same thing from us, but in hiding something in the image. On the other hand, at the same time, the image constantly attempts to break through the cliché, to get out of the cliché. There is no knowing how far a real image may lead: […] (Deleuze, 1997b, p. 21).

The possibility of overcoming the cliché, that is, to pull out from it a true image assumes, for Deleuze (2003), something beyond the parody, the emptying and the perforation of holes. In accordance with the author, “It is necessary to combine the optical-sound image with the enormous forces that are not those of a simply intellectual consciousness, nor of the social one, but of a profound, vital intuition” (Deleuze, 1997b, p. 22, emphasis added).

We emphasize, still in terms of our methodological focus, the fact that we were also attentive to the movements of research with the everyday life considered by Alves (2001), for understanding that these movements allow us a powerful opening for the experience, the conversation, the encounter and the chance, providing the condition of permanent openness and flexibility of the research. Alves (2001, p. 14-16) claims:

There are four aspects that I consider necessary to discuss to start understanding this complexity [...]. The trajectory of a work in the everyday life needs to go beyond what was learned with the virtualities of modernity [...]. It is necessary to sink with all the senses in what I wish to study [...] I have called this movement as the feeling of the world […]. To understand that the set of theories […] inherit by us [from] modernity […] is not only support and guider of the route to be followed, but, also and each time more, a limit to what needs to be woven. To name this process I am using the idea of upside down […]. The third one, incorporating the complexity notion, will require the widening of what is understood as source and the discussion on the ways to deal with diversity […]. I believe that I can call this movement of drinking from all sources. Finally, […] assuming that to communicate new concerns […] a new way of writing is indispensable […]. Perhaps this movement could be called narrating the life and literaturizing science.

In later texts, Alves (2005) extends her considerations concerning the proposal presented, inquiring: why do not we search to work a fifth movement that could, perhaps, in the honor of Nietzsche and Foucault, who were so worried about it, to call Ecce homo or Ecce femina, more appropriate to the everyday life of our schools? The author (2005, p. 17) clarifies:

Perhaps for not being as wise as the mentioned authors, or maybe for being a woman in a society in which those who have ideas are men or, still, because I leave the marks in little known terrains, wandering through spacestimes not already revealed - or hardly disclosed -, I was not able to elaborate what in the text was virtually written: what in fact interests in the research in/of/with the everyday life are the people, the practicing people, as Certeau calls them (1996) because he sees them in acts, all the time (Emphasis added).

Finally, returning once again to our interests of research, we observe that, just like we think on the conversations, the encounters and the experience as possible movements in the fight against the clichés, we also think about chance, the sense assigned by Bacon-Deleuze, as intensity that is proper of this fight. As we said, we need to count on chance as condition of production of the image-sensation.

In fact, we are assuming a problematizing research attitude, different from the one that, beforehand, would defend an objective use of concepts, categories and technical procedures intended to analyzing and escaping from the cliché. On the contrary, we use methodological movements provided by conversations-encounters-events that, like the artist’s hand in Bacon, could create free, accidental marks, made by chance, provoking poetical experiences in the everyday life of the schools involved in the research and, with this, to potentialize blocks of sensations and afecctions. On this question, Guimarães (1997, p. 63) manifests this way:

The set of enunciates that form an image is, rather, a block of sensations, percepts, affects, landscapes and faces, visions and becomings. In the work of art or literature - Deleuze and Guattari write - what is kept is not the material - either the linguistic sign, the stone or the color -, what keeps in itself is the percept or the affect. What is proper to the art is ‘to pull out the percept from the perceptions of the object and the states of a percipient subject, to pull out the affect from the affections, as a ticket from one state to another’.

Thus, we believe that there are no authentic and/or proper methodological ways to make us get rid of the cliché without passing through the sensations, the affections, the encounters, the chance. The research that we have accomplished are expressed as ethical-aesthetic-political working attitudes with the subjects who practice the everyday life of the schools (Ferraço, 2003), trying to follow the flows in a random way, giving us the hope, as Deleuze defends (2007a), of living the chance of the creation to have an opportunity of being able to react against everything that hinders the thought-creation.

Translated by Ananyr Porto Fajardo


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Received: April 26, 2016; Accepted: December 18, 2016

Carlos Eduardo Ferraço is an associate professor at Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo (UFES). Researcher on curriculum. Coordinator of the GRPEs/CNPq Curricula, everyday life, cultures and knowledge networks. Member of the Education Graduation and Research Association Board (ANPEd) and the Brazilian Curriculum Association (ABdC). Author of papers, books and chapters of books published in national journals and publishing houses. Email:

Marco Antonio Oliva Gomes is an adjunct professor at Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo (UFES). Researcher of the GRPEs/CNPq Curricula, everyday life, cultures and knowledge networks, developing investigations in the fields of curriculum, educators training and inclusive processes. Author of scientific papers and book chapters published in national journals and publishing houses. Email:

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