CineLab • Permanent Seminar

Image and Democracy in Deleuze’s thought

Diogo Nóbrega (NOVA University Lisbon)

The aim of this talk is to provide a close reading of Deleuze’s complex account of the concept of Figure in Francis Bacon – Logique de la Sensation, as well as in Cinéma 1 – L’image-mouvement. In the first part I show that Deleuze’s theoretical work on the Figure implies an extensive discussion of the greek vocabulary of the image. The Figure, he argues, is ‘an Image, an Icon’, that is, not an eídōlon, but an eikṓn, not the reproduction of an ideal visuality, but the rendering visible forces that are not themselves visible, not a matter of producing a lifeless body, a corpse, as in Plato’s account of the image, but of a body without organs, which serves as model to a different death, impersonal death inscribed in the time of Αἰών, in implicating the possibility of having been repeated, and to be repeated to infinity, all in liberating in each occasion intensive differences.

In the second part, I argue that this internalization of death in and as Figure, involving an ever-returning event of transformation, entails a complete rethinking of mimesis, that is, no longer the production of resemblance, the transcendental imposition of form and stability, but the doubling of transformation, of aionic time itself. Deleuze calls this mimetic commitment to transformation ‘perversion’. I conclude by focusing on the political implications of this perversion, arguing that it informs Deleuze’s account of democracy as becoming-democratic, taking on an idea already at work in Aristotle’s Politics.


Diogo Nóbrega is a researcher in Philosophy of Film at NOVA Institute of Philosophy (IFILNOVA). He holds a PhD in Artistic Studies – Art and Mediations (2023) at NOVA University Lisbon – School of Social Sciences and Humanities (NOVA FCSH), with a thesis on the political and ontological implications of Deleuze’s concept of ‘movement’. He was a doctoral researcher funded by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT). Between 2017 and 2020 he held a Visiting Researcher position at Scuola Normale Superiore, in Pisa, under the supervision of the philosopher Roberto Esposito. He is particularly interested in the relationship between cinema, politics, and philosophy, and regularly publishes his research in scientific journals in Portugal and abroad. He is currently working on his first book, dedicated to the relationship between ‘image’ and ‘democracy’ in Deleuze’s thought.

To join the session via Zoom, use this link.

Event supported by the Foundation for Science and Technology (Fundação para a Ciência e para a Tecnologia) of the Portuguese Ministry of Education and Science under the project UIDB/00183/2020.