Deleuze and Performance

Deleuze and Performance

Edited by Laura Cull
Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 288
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  • Book Info
    Deleuze and Performance
    Book Description:

    Was performance important to Deleuze? Is Deleuze important to performance; to its practical, as well as theoretical, research? What are the implications of Deleuze's philosophy of difference, process and becoming, for Performance Studies, a field in which many continue to privilege the notion of performance as representation, as anchored by its imitation of an identity: 'the world', 'the play', 'the self'? _x000B_Deleuze and Performance is a collection of new essays dedicated to Deleuze's writing on theatre and to the productivity of his philosophy for (re)thinking performance. This book provides rigorous analyses of Deleuze's writings on theatre practitioners such as Artaud, Beckett and Carmelo Bene, as well as offering innovative readings of historical and contemporary performance including performance art, dance, new media performance, theatre and opera, which use Deleuze's concepts in exciting new ways. Can philosophy follow Deleuze in overcoming the antitheatrical tradition embedded in its history, perhaps even reconsidering what it means to think in the light of the embodied insights of performance's practitioners? Experts from the fields of Performance Studies and Deleuze Studies come together in this volume and strive to examine these and other issues in a manner that will be challenging, yet accessible to students and established scholars alike.

    eISBN: 978-0-7486-3505-4
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. 1-21)
    Laura Cull

    Was performance important to Deleuze? Is Deleuze important to performance – to its practical, as well as theoretical, research? What value might research in Performance Studies have for Deleuze Studies and vice versa? Such are the kind of questions this introduction, and indeed this volume as a whole, aims to address. Further, we might ask, what are the implications of Deleuze’s ontological prioritisation of difference, process or becoming for a field in which many continue to privilege the notion of performance as representation, as anchored by its imitation of an identity: ‘the world’, ‘the play’, ‘the self’? Correlatively, can philosophy...

  4. Chapter 1 Performing in the Chaosmos: Farts, Follicles, Mathematics and Delirium in Deleuze
    (pp. 22-34)
    Herbert Blau

    Let’s begin with the basics: ‘It breathes, it heats, it eats. It shits and fucks.’ Sounds like the body, which in a conventional theatre may have no trouble breathing or eating, or in various ways heating up, under the weight of a period costume, or angrily, passionately, or more or less imperceptibly, as in a staged embrace. But shitting and fucking, well, except in way-out kinds of performance, or scandalous body art, it’s more likely to be represented, and where shitting is concerned, even more so than fucking, it’s going to be in the wings, and even muted there, that...

  5. Act I Deleuze on Theatre:: Artaud, Beckett and Carmelo Bene

    • Chapter 2 I Artaud BwO: The Uses of Artaud’s To have done with the judgement of god
      (pp. 37-53)
      Edward Scheer

      These fragments taken from late Artaud texts, Ci-Gît (Here lies) and Suppôts et suppliciations (Henchmen and torturings), written in 1946 and 1947 respectively, represent a singular version of the twentieth-century avant-garde contestation of the world as it appears to be. They represent the artist claiming the right to be the author of himself, to create a more authentic version of the self. They have also become familiar for readers of Deleuze and Guattari’s own avant-garde adventure throughout the two volumes of Capitalisme et schizophrénie: L’anti-Oedipe and its sequel Mille Plateaux. Artaud’s apparent acknowledgement and denial (disavowal) of the Oedipal law...

    • Chapter 3 Expression and Affect in Kleist, Beckett and Deleuze
      (pp. 54-70)
      Anthony Uhlmann

      Given that Beckett’s apparent desire for control over the performances of his plays during his lifetime, and the subsequent ongoing insistence of the Beckett Estate that his stage directions be closely adhered to, are well known, I will, in this chapter, move away from what has become the standard debate – wherein the interests or intentions of the author are opposed to the creative freedom of producers, actors and directors – towards a different point of focus. This will involve an examination of the concepts of ‘expression’ and ‘affect’ which Deleuze develops through his reading of Spinoza and Leibniz on...

    • Chapter 4 A Theatre of Subtractive Extinction: Bene Without Deleuze
      (pp. 71-88)
      Lorenzo Chiesa

      In the introduction to Difference and Repetition (1968), Deleuze singles out Kierkegaard and Nietzsche as two thinkers of repetition who have introduced radically innovative means of expression into philosophy by elaborating an anti-representational notion of movement. These authors invent a philosophy that directly proposes itself as a theatrical philosophy, a philosophy in the guise of theatre. For Kierkegaard and Nietzsche, it is a question of ‘producing within the [philosophical] work a movement capable of unsettling the spirit outside of all representation; it is a question of making movement itself a work, without interposition’ (Deleuze 1994: 8). Such movement should therefore...

  6. Interval

    • Chapter 5 Performing, Strolling, Thinking: From Minor Literature to Theatre of the Future
      (pp. 91-106)
      Daniel Watt

      This begins, as does Anti-Oedipus, with a schizo stroll.

      I am imagining Heidegger. He is walking in those dark woods that surround ‘die hütte’ at Todtnauberg in the Black Forest. It is winter and there is a heavy snowfall. The thick canopy of branches has protected the Pathmarks but, deep in thought, he is still some way Off the Beaten Track. These mountain tracks – or to use the German of Heidegger’s book: Holzwege – are dead ends (as we shall examine later). They are paths that end abruptly, seemingly leading nowhere. In What is Philosophy? Deleuze and Guattari discuss...

  7. Act II Confronting Deleuze and Live Performance

    • Chapter 6 Becoming a Citizen of the World: Deleuze Between Allan Kaprow and Adrian Piper
      (pp. 109-125)
      Stephen Zepke

      Deleuze often remarked on the ‘break’ between The Logic of Sense and Anti-Oedipus. It is a break between the rigorous distinction of the virtual and actual realms in Deleuze’s earlier work and the beginning, with Félix Guattari, of ‘trying to find a single basis for a production that was at once social and desiring in a logic of flows’ (Deleuze 1995: 144). This is a move from an ‘expressionism’ by which the ‘actor’ actualises, or ‘dramatises’ the virtual realm, to a ‘constructivism’ of the virtual in the ‘act’. This was, Deleuze says, a shift from the ‘theatre’ to the ‘factory’,...

    • Chapter 7 sub specie durationis
      (pp. 126-146)
      Matthew Goulish and Laura Cull

      Latitude has not disappeared, nor is its disappearance imminent. This I propose, respectful of the threat posed by accelerated communication, as theorised by Paul Virilio with a mapmaker’s care, to the latitudinal parallel, the imaginary east–west circle measured in degrees along meridians equidistant from the equator on representations of earth. What thought haunts each thinker? In considering latitude I have been haunted by that of Henri Bergson. The brain does not have thinking as its function but that of hindering the thought from becoming lost in dream; it is the organ of attention to life.

      Last December I accepted...

    • Chapter 8 Thinking Through Theatre
      (pp. 147-160)
      Maaike Bleeker

      Deleuze and Guattari define philosophy, art and science as three modes of thinking, each moving in their own way: art thinks through affects and percepts; science thinks through knowledge; and philosophy thinks through concepts. These three modes of thinking take place on different ‘planes’ and utilise different ‘elements’. The brain is the junction, not the unity, of these three planes.

      Deleuze and Guattari introduce these ideas in What is Philosophy?, the final book they wrote together. They are not, of course, the first to ask the question ‘what is philosophy?’, but, they observe, many of the answers that have been...

    • Chapter 9 Becoming–Dinosaur: Collective Process and Movement Aesthetics
      (pp. 161-180)
      Anna Hickey-Moody

      This chapter puts forward two arguments. First, I contend that bodies with intellectual disability are constructed through specific systems of knowledge; namely, schemes of thought that are grounded in medical models. These medically based knowledges generate particular systems of affect – where affect is understood as taking something on, as changing in relation to an experience or encounter. Deleuze employs this term in differing ways, but for the purposes of this chapter I am primarily interested in the notion of ‘affectus’, understood as a kind of movement or subjective modulation. In Spinoza: Practical Philosophy Deleuze describes ‘affectus’ as ‘an increase...

  8. Interval

    • Chapter 10 … of butterflies, bodies and biograms … Affective Spaces in Performativities in the Performance of Madama Butterfly
      (pp. 183-200)
      Barbara Kennedy

      For too long the arts and humanities have been haunted by a theoretical impasse which has prioritised the liberal humanist subject, projecting theories of subjectivity, identity, the affective and the aesthetic through recourse to a range of critical theory, such as psychoanalysis, with which to explore the exigencies of the human subjective response to the arts. All that is fresh, passional, scintillating and inspirational about the pleasures of performance has been lost in a theoretical diatribe from semiotics, structuralism, post-structuralism, active audience theory, reception theories, postmodernism, psychoanalysis and social constructionist theories, all of which prioritise ideological and political foci to...

  9. Act III A Digital Deleuze:: Performance and New Media

    • Chapter 11 Like a Prosthesis: Critical Performance à Digital Deleuze
      (pp. 203-220)
      Timothy Murray

      While the work of Gilles Deleuze might not always resemble a theatre of problems, it consistently grounds its readings of philosophy and its musings on cinema and art in the always open question of representation. Indeed, Deleuze opens the philosophical text framing his lifelong project, Difference and Repetition, by contrasting the theatre of representation with the more dynamic theatres of movement and repetition. The theatre of representation, whether on the classical stage or the philosophical page, is said to subscribe to a naturalised reliance on the presentation of ‘sameness’. This sameness of representation revolves around the quadripartite structure of representation...

    • Chapter 12 Performance as the Distribution of Life: From Aeschylus to Chekhov to VJing via Deleuze and Guattari
      (pp. 221-239)
      Andrew Murphie

      It is still perhaps possible to underestimate the importance of performance to life as lived. In this chapter, performance will be understood as an important activity within life. Performance, even within the theatre, will not be taken as a repetition of life from a remove. Rather, performance will be taken to fit perfectly within Gilles Deleuze’s description of the task of life itself. This task is to bring repetitions together onto the same immanent plane, to make ‘repetitions coexist in a space in which difference is distributed’.

      Performance adds something to life’s mix. A modulation of life within life is...

    • Chapter 13 The ′Minor′ Arithmetic of Rhythm: Imagining Digital Technologies for Dance
      (pp. 240-260)
      Stamatia Portanova

      In 1968, in his book Changes: Notes on Choreography, Merce Cunningham imagined a future digital technology that would allow the composition of a choreography through the representation of 3D figures on a computer screen. Ever since his first creations, Cunningham’s choreographic method has always implied an exploration of movement in itself, considering it as a non-conscious, non-intentional and random process; in this sense, his use of the Life Forms (and, later, the Dance Forms) software has brought about an expansion of his analytical and creative procedures. Everything can be decided simply by chance: the selection of body parts, their number...

  10. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 261-265)
  11. Index
    (pp. 266-282)