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Thinking Through Tragedy and Comedy A Symposium on Performance Philosophy and the Future of Genre

Kélina Gotman


Gilles Deleuze posits that judgment is the crowning principle governing tragedy and modern philosophy at the same time (“Pour en finir avec le jugement,” in Critique et Clinique, 1995). Drawing on Antonin Artaud’s final radio play, Pour en finir avec le jugement de dieu [To Be Done with the Judgment of God], Deleuze argues that Artaud, like D.H. Lawrence, Kafka and Nietzsche, suffered from the judgment of others inasmuch as he was individuated; his body was made to have organs – in other words, to suffer a hierarchy between brain, stomach, anus, etc. – even though he saw himself as utterly porous, without differentiation and without hierarchy. Returning to the concept of judgment and to Artaud’s final years, this paper offers a schizoanalytic reading of this tragedy of individuation, to ask whether Artaud’s theatre of cruelty – finally manifest in Pour en finir avec le jugement de dieu – can be read as a performance philosophical act without drama and without philosophy. In other words, it asks whether we might conceive of the pure drama of disindividuation – Artaud’s vision of a porous, horizontal self – eschewing the very philosophical and dramatic acts imputed to it.

Kélina Gotman is Lecturer in Theatre and Performance Studies at King’s College London, and a Core Convenor of Performance Philosophy. She is translator of Félix Guattari’s The Anti-Oedipus Papers, and writes on dance, performance, and cultural studies of science. She has collaborated on many theatre and dance productions in Europe and North America.