#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!