Performance after Deleuze:
Creating ‘Performative Concepts’ in Contemporary Dance in Europe
In my PhD I am researching how performance creates its own concepts on the basis of the analysis of a varied but coherent selection of works (including the work of Xavier Le Roy, Boris Charmatz, Mette Ingvartsen, Jonathan Burrows et al.) that have been presented as “contemporary dance” in Europe in the last decade. The theory of performance I am aiming to produce departs from two manoeuvering lines in the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze: on the one hand, concepts, problems and ideas representing the transcendental field or the virtual, and on the other, a contextual, contingent, situated in the medium of performance, conceptual practice, comparable to Deleuze’s theory of cinema. My main claim is that performance cannot be reduced to an act that reinforces the normative structure of theatrical representation or transgresses it (the speech act). The ontology of performance can be approached by the question of how performance produces knowledge, i.e. specific modes of perception, action, affection in performance, which gives rise to its own practice of concepts.
Chapter 1: Situating the six works in a performance practice
Chapter 2: “Performative” concepts: three registers of their expression
Chapter 3: Resourcing Deleuzian conceptual imagery as methodological or critical notions
In chapters 1&3, the six performances constituting the “material” of my research (Self-Unfinished (SU) and Untitled (U) by Xavier Le Roy, 50/50 by Mette Ingvartsen, héâtre-élévision (e-e) by Boris Charmatz, Weak Dance Strong Questions (WDSQ) by Jonathan Burrows and Jan Ritsema, Powered by Emotion (PbE) by Mårten Spångberg) are situated according to a common problematic: the critique of representation in theater they share and the relevance/independence of a Deleuzian conceptual imagery in the critical or methodological (self-)interpretation of these works for “performative” concepts. The central chapter in Part 1 elaborates the problem of expression in perception, action and affection/event as the registers that envelope making, performing and receiving performance.
Chapter 4: “Idea”, “problem” and “feigning”
Chapter 5: Movement as object: “material”, “composition” and “rhythm”
Chapter 6: Movement as relation: “process”, “act” and “repetition”
Chapter 7: Movement as event: “affect” and “thought”
Part 2 begins by developing notions from Spinoza’s and Bergson’s theories of knowledge (adequate ideas, three kinds of knowledge, intuition, time as duration) and how they relate to Deleuze’s own interpretation of these sources in Bergsonism, Expressionism in Philosophy, Difference and Repetition, and Logic of Sense. In this chapter “performative” concepts are defined as ‘expressive’ concepts, or ideas whose real objects are problems. The “problematic” is regarded with the idea of expression in a triadic scheme: expression determines concepts as problems, as a logic and as a practice. The act of thinking performance is the same act that creates performance. I will argue that imagination (“feigning”) characterizes the kind of knowledge performance yields to. In subsequent chapters three kinds of “performative” concepts around the central idea of movement: movements as objects where relations are perceived at the place where they occur (“material”, “composition”, “rhythm”); movements as relations where relations transform and implicate the gaze of the spectator (“process”, “act” and “repetition) and movements as events (affect and thought).
Chapter 8: A Deleuzian concept of performance: ‘creative individuation’
Chapter 9: Conclusion
Part 3 presents a conclusion by discussing the ways in which a Deleuzian concept of performance “individuates audience into spectators” forcing thought as creation.
During 6M1L, I am working on chapters 2 and 4. The material for these chapters you can find in the following drafts:
on Spinoza´s concept of adequate ideas, three kinds of knowledge, intuition and ¨feigning¨:
> How do we form adequate ideas?How do we form adequate ideas?
on Bergson´s concept of intuition:
The problem of intuition in BergsonThe problem of intuition in Bergson