Tainan, City Pluriferent

February 14, 2018

Highlights from David Liu’s talk at the John Hope Franklin Center’s weekly Wednesdays at the Center series.

This talk is a Sebaldian exercise in narrating Professor Liu’s native city “from the outside.” Playing with Gilles Deleuze’s notions of the virtual/actual and exo-/endo-consistency, Liu will weave a diegetical tapestry of that city through its wealth of (trans)historical vectors to/from all over the world. These vectors also give occasions for tangents and excursuses by which to meditate on the porous MULTIPLICITY of such a locale as its myriad relations equally external and internal. This is what Professor Liu wants to show of Tainan’s “pluriference.”

What such a differential web of ties presents is an exo-consistency of lines and surfaces sutured to an endo-consistency, the virtual with the actual, in a perforated spatio-temporality. That, in turn, suggests a new way of discerning the ontology of cities no less than other things. Of Tainan itself, we might say that its complex profile intones not simply the resurgent Phoenix City of its sobriquet, but of a floating abode, ever extending and renovating its pluriference.

David Liu is a Visiting Scholar in the Department of Religious Studies, where he also received his PhD before teaching at NCSU and back at Duke. Before coming to Durham, David also spent time learning and researching in Tokyo, Rome and Jerusalem. His work ranges from theory of religion, Continental and transcultural philosophy, to aesthetics and critical new media studies.