Nomadic Performativity and the Immanent Ethics of Life


  • Audronė Žukauskaitė Lithuanian Culture Research Institute



nomadism, nomadic performativity, the body without organs, Deleuze and Guattari, Artaud, Bene, Castellucci


This essay discusses Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s notion of nomadology, which can be used as the basis for an ontological and aesthetic alternative to our understanding of representational theatre. Referring to different meanings of nomadology, the essay argues for the notion of nomadic performativity, which can be applied to recent non-representational performative practices. For this purpose the essay makes an indirect comparison between Deleuze and Guattari’s philosophical ideas and their sporadic insights into art, such as Francis Bacon’s paintings and Antonin Artaud’s theatre. Deleuze discusses theatre in “One Less Manifesto”, his only text directly dedicated to theatre and to Carmelo Bene’s productions. Referring to the structural deformations in Bene’s work, Deleuze argues for non-representational theatre, based not on representation and identity but on continuous variation and differentiation. In other words, if theatre as a form of representation creates a striated and hierarchized space that embodies and increases power, the non-representational theatre creates a nomadic smooth space of continuous variation, which transposes everything into a constant becoming. In this respect nomadic performativity covers these meanings: first, it is a distribution of intensities, which come to replace forms, bonds, organized hierarchies; second, it refers to fusional multiplicities rather than self-identical subjects; and third, it opens up the potential for change and “becoming-minor” instead of representing major figures of power.

Author Biography

Audronė Žukauskaitė, Lithuanian Culture Research Institute

Audronė Žukauskaitė is senior researcher at the Lithuanian Culture Research Institute. Her recent publications include “Ethics between Particularity and Uni- versality” (Deleuze and Ethics, Edinburgh University Press, 2011); “Potentiality as a Life: Deleuze, Agamben, Beckett” (Deleuze Studies, vol. 6.4, 2012); “Intensive Multiplicities in A Thousand Plateaus” (Understanding Deleuze, Understanding Modernism, Bloomsbury, 2014); the monograph Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari’s Philosophy: The Logic of Multiplicity (Baltos lankos, Vilnius 2011), and an edited volume Intensities and Flows: Gilles Deleuze’s Philosophy in the Context of Contempo- rary Art and Politics (LKTI, Vilnius 2011). She also co-edited (with Steve Wilmer) Interrogating Antigone in Postmodern Philosophy and Criticism (Oxford University Press, 2010) and Deleuze and Beckett (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015).


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How to Cite

Žukauskaitė, A. (2015). Nomadic Performativity and the Immanent Ethics of Life. Nordic Theatre Studies, 27(1), 10–21.



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