Learning by Swimming in Signs

  • Charles R. Garoian
Part of the Education, Psychoanalysis, and Social Transformation book series (PEST)


The swimmer learns how to swim by swimming, not by following a swimming manual according to Deleuze. Such learning is incipient—it occurs by way of asignifying sensations, affects, and movements as when the body and water are swimming-in-relationship. In doing so, the becoming-water of the body and becoming-body of water is constituted through the contingency of their encounter. In this writing, I explore the diagrammatic vectoring movements of swimming in signs in terms of emergent modalities of thinking and their relationship with the immanent creativity of art research and practice. The works of historical and contemporary artists will be discussed in relation to Deleuze’s concept of swimming in signs including an in-depth characterization of Mona Hatoum’s diasporic video performance Measures of Distance. Hatoum’s object as an artist is neither signification nor subjectification, neither the making of meaning nor the reproduction of herself, but the making of signs entangling with multiple other signs, signs upon signs, interminably, which constitute learning as perpetual swimming.


Great Barrier Reef Young Fish Abstract Machine Immanent Event Involuntary Memory 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles R. Garoian
    • 1
  1. 1.Penn State UniversityState CollegeUSA

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