#03 J.F. Martel on Thinking Virtual with Deleuze and Past Presence with Bergson

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At long last! Episode three has finally arrived.

I am pleased to bring you my conversation with author, filmmaker, and Weird Studies podcast co-host J.F. Martel, recorded shortly before a series of trips in the fall of 2018. Bonus tracks to follow for patrons. 


J.F. Martel is an author, screenwriter, and film & TV director from Ottawa, Canada. His screen work includes French and English-language documentary series and features focused on culture and the arts. He is the author of Reclaiming Art in the Age of Artifice, a book about the nature and power of art published by Evolver Editions in 2015, and released in Spanish by Ediciones Atalanta in 2016. J.F.'s writings on art, culture and philosophy have appeared in Reality Sandwich, Metapsychosis, The Finch, Disinfo, and other online magazines.

In this episode we explore:

  • The relationship between technology and the Real. What's the philosophical—perhaps ideological—difference between C.G. and technical effects in cinematic works of art?

  • Virtual Yodas and actual Yodas. You'll see what I mean.

  • Awesome puppets, scary puppets, ensouled puppets.

  • Does cyberspace, as a space, engender encounters with high weirdness, as it once purportedly did in its glory days? 

  • Can virtual reality create room for presence—Deleuze's concept of the "virtual"— or merely a simulacrum? 

  • Bergson, time and nostalgia (think V A P O R W A V E, Stranger Things, etc.).

  • Bergson on the idea that we can only 'grok' the quintessence of a period of time in our lives — a year, a season, a day — when it is past. The past and the future as more real, and accessible to us, than the 'now' of the present, because they are virtual.

  • Stranger Things and other nostalgic cultural movements as remembering the true quintessence of past decades; not merely sentimentality but reaching into a temporic Event .

  • Balancing the intellect (mental) with the other structures of consciousness (the mythical, magical, or the imaginal realities).

  • Chronological history is not the Event we remember. The latter passes, but the former is Real—and still accessible, presently.

  • J.F.'s meditations on Albert Camus and rebellion vs revolution.

  • Deterritorialization and reterritorialization.

  • Aristocratic, anarchic Taoism: letting people be.

  • The true meaning of the singularity in the Anthropocene.


J.F. Martel, "Consciousness in the Aesthetic Imagination." Metapsychosis.

J.F. Martel, "Reality Is Analog: Philosophizing with Stranger Things" on Metapsychosis, plus the "Stranger Things Mixtape," which includes our previous podcast about Stranger Things, Season One. 


With much gratitude to Lightbath, who has given permission for Mutations podcast to use the following tracks in this episode:

- "Guardian Suite" (intro/outro segments)

- "Cathedral Rock" (interludes)

Lightbath offers bonuses like patch notes, album downloads, livestreams, and one-on-one lessons at patreon.com/lightbath.

Subscribe to Lightbath on YouTube for brilliant live performances and check out his Bandcamp page for more tracks.

VISUAL ART: Thank you to my good friend and fellow contemplative artist, Archan Nair for permission to use his visual art!

PATREON: Join my Patreon to get involved with the monthly book club (where some Mutations guests will be featured for Zoom discussion groups), early podcast cuts, and drafts of my upcoming publications!

MUTATIONS - Episode 1: Le Guin, Fragments of Utopias, Deleuzian Flows, Teilhard


Dear listeners, 

This was one of my first solo salon riffs. Topics are mentioned below, with extrapolations from livestream participants. 

The first few episodes are, of course, me getting my bearings for this format. If you've already listened to these - great! Hope you enjoy the audio format now, too. 

With the exception of these ongoing solo riffs, most of my interviews with guests will be audio podcasts for maximum syndication. Many of my guests will be involved with Mutations and my book writing. I hope you enjoy hearing some new voices in this nascent but energized community.

Editing is left as-is for these older episodes, but newer sessions are getting an intro/outro tune (suggestions welcome).

Highlight - On Jordan Peterson, "Cleaning Your Room" and planetary thinking:

As a project of civilization I don’t think we can retreat into cleaning our rooms, and working toward the Jungian state of wholeness alone. It goes part in parcel with helping society, and the individual is obviously constructed by their society. There’s a dynamic here that is inextricable. If you’re thinking about human societies as living cultural ecologies that are embedded in planetary systems, social ecosystems, etc. then the idea of the individual is only an instance, a kind of rhizomatic “nub” in this larger interbeing—that’s just as important! If you’ve emphasized one, the other gets neglected. I think we need a continuum here. A much more sophisticated understanding of what it means to work towards a kind of Jungian sense of individuation at the same time as having a part to play in making this world better. Empathizing with that, having enough wholeness and integrity to understand - saying, “okay, you’ve got that” - now help other people.

Cultural ecologies and the evolution of consciousness; Deleuze and DeLanda's geographical flows and Teilhardian super-organisms; political fragmentation in the Left and the Right and the push beyond cultural romanticism; Gebser as a post-war thinker.

Support me on Patreon. Thank you!