“Moving Ethically and Performing Positive Affirmation”
In this paper, I argue that performance is ethical multiplicity—ethical because performance is articulable and multiplicity because it is always becomings as and alongside affect. Performance is then responsibility without identity and through affirmation. The implications of such a model are that there can be no ‘post-’ nor ‘pre-,’ for both are an affirmative negation of becomings. Implicit in their logic is a replacement of one identity with another or several identities. I argue that performance cannot be analyzed nor created in terms of identity, but simultaneously does not have to do away with responsibility. Affirmation is always an ethical valuation. To make my argument, I focus on Gilles Deleuze’s Nietzsche and Philosophy (1962) as one script for performance which I put into interdisciplinary conversation with transversal poetics, affect studies, and select works by Bryan Reynolds, Alphonso Lingis, and Laura Cull. If performance is ethical multiplicity then analysis which follows an exclusionary logic is always already an irresponsible over-determination of performance such that it fails to affirm the actual performance and instead takes as performance the overly-determined negation. Hence, there is no judgment of the performance, but instead a judgment of negation for which there can be no real accountability. The repercussions of such irresponsibility are that the performance itself is negated and made to perform spectrally rather than spectacularly. Analysis must perform responsibly with intensity as performance.
- Cull, Laura. Theatres of Immanence: Deleuze and the Ethics of Performance. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.
- Deleuze, Gilles. Trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberiam. Bergsonism. New York: Zone Books, 1991.
- Deleuze, Gilles. Trans. Hugh Tomlinson. Nietzsche and Philosophy. New York: Continuum, 1983.
- Lingis, Alphonso. The First Person Singular. Chicago: Northwestern University Press, 2007.
- Reynolds, Bryan. Transversal Subjects from Montaigne to Deleuze after Derrida. New York: Palgrave Macmilan, 2009.
- Wolfe, Cary. What is Posthumanism?. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2010.
Sam Kolodezh is a doctoral student in the Joint Ph.D Program in Drama and Theatre at the University of California, Irvine and University of California, San Diego. He is interested in the intersection between technology and identity, affect studies, and performance philosophy, alongside Shakespearean drama, theatre and performance.