Philosophy On Stage: The Concept of Immanence in Contemporary Art and Philosophy

Arno Böhler, University of Vienna
Eva-Maria Aigner, University of Vienna
Elisabeth Schäfer, University of Vienna


Toward an immanent conception of the arts and philosophy

This special issue of the Performance Philosophy journal—the first bilingual edition in German and English—is one output of the research project “Artist-Philosophers. Philosophy AS Arts-based Research”. A main question of the project was: “What happens to the traditional image of philosophy, once philosophers start to stage philosophy and implement arts-based practices into their discipline?”

With this question in mind we created the research festival Philosophy On Stage #4 “Artist-Philosophers. Nietzsche et cetera” at Tanzquartier Wien in November 2015, in which philosophers made use of artistic practices by developing lectures, lecture performances, artistic interventions, walks etc. in close transdisciplinary co-operations. We would like to invite you to follow this link to get an impression of the programme of our research festival ( funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF): AR275-G21 in the context of the Programme for Arts-based Research (PEEK).

All contributions presented at the festival were developed in three art labs over a year in a group of more than 60 artists, philosophers, artist-philosophers, and philosopher-artists, in order to put into practice the concept that meaning is not grounded in a single subject, as the subject of modernity wrongly assumed, but emerges from differential relations to others. Meaning does not reside in a transcendent, second world of pure possibilities, as if it existed independently in itself behind the empirical context in which it appears (see: Krämer 2004, 2001, 2002, Mersch 2001, 2002, Fischer-Lichte 2004, 2012, Wirth 2002). On the contrary, from an immanent perspective, it is created immanently—to wit, out of the differential relations somebody shares with others within a certain earthly milieu.

Hence, the affective capacity that allows bodies to affect other bodies, and ideas to affect other ideas and be affected by them, has to be considered a constitutive dimension of both, bodies and ideas, so that “an animal, a thing”, or an idea “is never separable from its relations with the world” (Deleuze 1988, 125). Neither ideas nor bodies exist apart from their affective capacities in a “Hinterworld” (Nietzsche), but rather they exist as parts of a worldwide web of relations, which form the world they are actually exposed to and embedded in. Bodies and ideas thus literally occur between one and another, in a collective rather than an individualistic manner: as a mode of existence among others (Deleuze 1992, 191–320, Spinoza 2000); as the singularity of a multitude that grows immanently out of processes of differentiation (Nancy and Schérer 2008, Deleuze 1994, Böhler 2014), as a form of Being Singular Plural (Nancy 2004, 1988, 2003).

From an immanent point of view neither thinking nor the production of art can therefore be considered the outcome of an isolated subject. Rather, both must be conceived as expressive modes of being-in-the-world, that is to say, of being-in-touch-with-others. In this context, ethics “is no longer a matter of utilizations or captures, but of sociabilities and communities. How do individuals enter into composition with one another in order to form a higher individual, ad infinitum? How can a being take another being into its world, but while preserving or respecting the other’s own relations and world?” (Deleuze 1988, 126).

Philosophy On Stage #4

Thus, the main purpose of Philosophy On Stage #4 “Artist-Philosophers. Nietzsche et cetera” was to compose a transdisciplinary field among philosophers, artists, scientists and the audience. And indeed, Nietzsche’s concept of the “Künstlerphilosoph” (artist-philosopher) became a guiding code of practice for us. Firstly, this is because he developed the conceptual persona of the artist-philosopher as the counter-ideal to the ascetic priest who in fact is the earthly milieu out of which, for Nietzsche, transcendent illusions are born. Secondly, this is because Nietzsche considers artist-philosophers to be a new species of philosophers whose taste and inclination are somehow the reverse of their precursors (Nietzsche 1966, 11) by overcoming the rancour against sensuality so typical for philosophers and their rational image of thought. Thirdly, this is because Nietzsche, being an artist-philosopher himself, displaced the classical image of art and philosophy in a direction that calls philosophers and artists to come to cross over the boundaries of their disciplines in order to re-create their traditional images anew; and precisely not to make them both, art and philosophy, one and the same. On the contrary, according to Nietzsche, by virtue of their differential combination, something is called to arrive that provides both disciplines with a power to overcome their past and to differentiate themselves from it, for the sake of a new philosophy and art to come.

In order to perform philosophy on an ele_mental (Fink 1977, Merleau-Ponty 1968, Böhmer and Hilt 2007) level as an arts-based research matter, Nietzsche was forced to call for a new kind of artist-philosophers to come—“philosophers of the future”—who are ready to demonstrate their ideas both on a conceptual and an embodied, corporeal level (Nietzsche 1980, 15–17, 59–63, Derrida 1997, 34 et seqq., GRENZ_film 2005). Staging philosophy thus makes sense in particular with a view to creating an image of thought (Deleuze 1994, 129–167, Rokem 2010, 177–194) that wants to remind us, philosophers and non-philosophers (Balke and Rölli 2011, 7–27), to remember the significance of the material conditions at work while somebody is doing science and philosophy. This is also what, for us, gives performance philosophy an essentially political relevance as it not only draws explicit attention to its own conditions of production, but also seeks to embody and communicate a form of philosophy that is relevant to the experienced world.

Performative Encounters

Starting from this philosophical assumption that meanings and possibilities are generated immanently out of the differential relations somebody shares with others within a concrete earthly milieu, we realised two main events in the course of the above-mentioned research project, on which this publication is based:

First encounter: Philosophy On Stage #4: Artist-Philosophers—Nietzsche et cetera.

From November 26 to 29, 2015 the PEEK-Project “Artist Philosophers. Philosophy AS Arts-based Research” and Tanzquartier Wien joined forces to investigate emerging interdisciplinary connections between philosophy and the arts. Over the course of four days, 43 contributions by philosophers, scientists and artists were presented in the course of the research festival to explore whether the connection of the arts with philosophy can constitute a laboratory for the future. During the research festival these contributions were exposed to our audience in order to compose collectively a more extended relational field of a collective body, stimulating new forms of being-with, of sharing a form of life with others.

The emergence of a particular immanent conception of philosophy and the arts during the research festival was hence the creative result of all those involved: the audience (more than 1,000 people over 4 days) and all the human and non-human bodies that shaped the field of the festival by virtue of their participation. Finally the collective field, shaped by singular events modulating the field, generated a form of life, governed by philosophical thoughts and art productions.

Second Encounter: Conference “The Concept of Immanence in Philosophy and the Arts”

The conference “The Concept of Immanence in Philosophy and the Arts” at Angewandte Innovation Lab (AIL) Vienna was a second core event on which this publication is based. It opened a space for intense discussions and reflections on our research thesis that the notion of immanence has become a key concept for contemporary philosophies and the arts. In line with Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, we discussed whether the entire history of philosophy can be presented from the viewpoint of instituting a plane of immanence (see Deleuze and Guattari 1994, 44)? For Deleuze and Guattari, Nietzsche and Spinoza developed the purest plane of immanence in the history of European philosophy because they made no compromise at all with transcendence. But the value of the category of immanence has also been variously conceived by subsequent thinkers from Alain Badiou to François Laruelle and Gilbert Simondon, to give just a few examples. At the same time, artists from Antonin Artaud to Allan Kaprow and others have contributed to the thought of immanence in their emphasis on art as a worldly, material practice (see Cull 2012). It is a core aim of this Performance Philosophy issue to discuss these philosophical and artistic approaches to constructing a plane of immanence.

According to the discussions in the conference, there are at least three key reasons why the concept of immanence is relevant for the arts and contemporary philosophies, and in particular for the crossover of the arts and philosophy:

  • Firstly, immanence becomes crucial when one seriously intends to intensify the attention for the collective field in which philosophy and the arts shall encounter each other empirically.
  • Secondly, intensifying the attention for the field means to think in relations and ask questions like: “How should individuals enter into composition with one another in order to form and modulate a collective field in which they are able to grow singular-plural?”
  • Taking care of the field also means that the audience gains a new significance as an active part of the research corpus.


This special issue of the Performance Philosophy journal is divided in three sections:

  1. “Nietzsche Et Cetera—Philosophy On Stage”
  2. “Artist-Philosophers—Philosopher Artists. Writing Immanence”
  3. “The Concept of Immanence in Contemporary Philosophy and the Arts”

The first section comprises texts by Arno Böhler, Dieter Mersch and Andreas Urs Sommer. These investigate the role of Nietzsche’s work within the genealogy of the concept of immanence for contemporary ways of doing philosophy and performing the arts.

Arno Böhler starts the section with a text in which he reads Nietzsche’s critique of the “ascetic ideal” as an approach toward an immanent conception of philosophy. Arguing in line with Nietzsche, but also with Spinoza and Deleuze, Böhler states that the most explicit representative of a transcendent interpretation of life, the ascetic priest, dwells in a self-contradictory state of being-in-the-world. On the one hand, the ascetic priest has to make people believe in illusions of transcendence by denouncing our earthly existence. On the other hand, it is his appetite to persevere in being that secretly demands him to promote such a “will to nothingness”. Böhler interprets Nietzsche’s concept of the artist-philosopher as the arriving counter-ideal to the ascetic ideal performed by a new species of philosophers who no longer share the hidden aggression against sensuality but “stay true to the earth” (Nietzsche 2005, 106).

This leads him to the second part of his text, the analysis of the research festival, Philosophy On Stage #4 “Artist-Philosophers. Nietzsche et cetera”. The basic intention of the research festival was to stimulate an artistic-philosophical confrontation with Nietzsche’s art-like way of thinking by experimentally testing modes of arts-based philosophy, able and willing to counter in practice the ascetic image of thought. Arts-based philosophy hence gives back to philosophy its corporeality, materiality and fleshly sensibility by staging philosophy.

For Nietzsche, this sensory and sensual quality of philosophy is strongly connected to the figure of the Dionysian. “Who is Nietzsche’s Dionysos?”, asks the philosopher Dieter Mersch in his contribution—a text that was first presented in the context of a lecture performance developed with the artist Nikolaus Gansterer at Philosophy on Stage #4. While the Apollinian represents the “language of form”, Nietzsche associates the Dionysian with intoxication and the figure of the “fracture” (Riss). For Nietzsche, the “horror” that the Dionysian disruption entails serves as prerequisite for the emergence of the new. Although it remains dependant on the positive of the form, the Dionysian artistic force generates and makes visible a “crack” or a “break” and thus lets something “never before perceived” appear through the artistic medium itself.

For Mersch, the Nietzschean opposition of the Apollinian and the Dionysian therefore announces a transition from an aesthetics of representation to an aesthetics of difference, which also characterises the avant-garde movement at the beginning of the 20th century. The “untimeliness” of Nietzsche’s thought resides in having “pre-sensed” this transition. As Mersch emphasises, this also implies shifting artistic practices and creativity into a new terrain—away from the sovereign will of the genius-artist, closer to the vulnerability and the porosity of a lived-body. Going beyond Nietzsche, Mersch explores possible strategies of the aesthetics of difference, resulting from this “break”.

Further inquiring into the relevance of “immanence” for Nietzsche, the philosopher Andreas Urs Sommer traces the usage of the term “immanence” throughout Nietzsche’s work. Although Nietzsche hardly made any explicit use of the term “immanence” or, on rare occasions in his Late Notebooks, even refers to it in a very critical manner, Sommer poses the question whether it might still be possible to develop a strong concept of “immanence” within Nietzsche. This seems to be plausible with regard to Nietzsche’s opposition against the counter-term of “transcendence” and the image of a transcendent “world beyond”. However, as Sommer’s close reading of two passages from Beyond Good and Evil shows, Nietzsche’s work cannot be pinpointed to any definite position or category—as that of an “immanence philosopher,” for example. Rather, Nietzsche’s vocabulary remains experimental and thus, forever on the move. In this context, Sommer also addresses the problem of translation that stems from this approach—while his text itself engages in the experimental character of the spoken lecture and, in its original version published in the German edition of the issue, continuously shifts between two languages.

The text “Untimely Meditations” by Arno Böhler, which rounds up the section on Nietzsche, is an example of performing a philosophical encounter with the thinking of Nietzsche in the text corpus itself. Rather than “explaining” the given concepts through the use of philosophical terms and arguments, the text tries to perform Nietzsche’s thought by re-enacting his thinking processes in the process of writing. The text thus does not only reflect the concept of untimeliness, it tries to be itself an untimely intervention by stimulating a new image of thought that calls us to perform philosophy in untimely ways. Philosophy thus is neither pure theory nor a field of pure critique pertaining the status quo. Instead—closely following the philosophy of Nietzsche—philosophy becomes the potentiality to create new perspectives for a world to be shared by us by calling it into being.

Referring to the concept of the eternal return, the given text demands the return of what we affirm. Thus affirmation becomes the very heart of our shared existence. Because through affirmation we literally create the milieu in which we live together and open up new avenues and potentials for a truly “Gay Science” in the field of artistic research.


The second section comprises texts by Alice Lagaay, Elisabeth Schäfer, Marcus Steinweg, and Susanne Valerie Granzer in which the problem of how to write immanence is discussed. In these texts, the concept of immanence triggers experimental forms of writing in which the style of writing and performing immanence becomes a major issue.

Alice Lagaay’s text is a playful opening gambit. In fact it opened the conference, “The Concept of Immanence in Philosophy and the Arts” and is basically a reader consisting of key passages on immanence by Gilles Deleuze, Baruch de Spinoza, Giorgio Agamben, Henri Bergson, François Laruelle, Antonin Artaud, and Friedrich Nietzsche. The reader was put together before the conference, and a collage of its content was arranged by Susanne Valerie Granzer, who read out selected text fragments while her reading was sporadically interrupted by Alice Lagaay, whose comments served to draw connecting lines between the dense theoretical texts and the performative immanent context in which they were being read and digested. The potential for a self-reflexive, embodied reading/performing of the text thus exists here. The audio file of the live event can also be accessed online:

Following Lagaay’s and Granzer’s commentary, Elisabeth Schäfer’s essay offers a reflection on the situatedness of the writing process, and opens up new avenues and potentials for the discussion of topics such as life and writing, depth and surface, immanence and transcendence, but also the meaning of écriture féminine in the context of philosophical encounters of immanence (see Cixous 1976). The text thus intends to convey the relevance of immanence for the concept and the practice of writing as performance. It shows how presence, in its multi-faceted layers, can be thought and made visible. There are many layers of meaning and many conditional aspects that contribute to the making/performing of a text. But there is no sphere ‚beyond’, or inner depth, that the writing process might attempt to materialise. Everything, including the performed movement of the writing process itself, is flattened, containing different porous levels of meaning which take place on a surface.

The question of style and how to put the concept of immanence into play in art and in writing remains crucial within the essay of the philosopher Marcus Steinweg. His performative text traverses various terrains—the wasteland, the body, the chaos and more—in search of thinking of immanent transcendence. Thereby, he opposes the currently dominant view that contemporary philosophy was already perfectly situated within an absolute immanence. Against philosophy’s tendency to escape the “body’s dizzying depths” he situates it as the “theatre of thought”; as the archive through which we are connected not only to the history of humanity, but also that of the cosmos. For Steinweg, the fragmentation and obscurity of the remembered, as well as the forgotten, is mirrored in the experience of writing poetry. In it, truth is the reality of the failure of its object as the normality of the subject. Because of this, thinking means to break rank with what exists, without “closing one’s mind to cosmic indifference”, even if and because it is only a scrapheap. It is this dialectic that expresses itself in the élan and at the same time, resistance, as aspects of every creation. Although, as Adorno remarks, this dialectic is repeated in the work of art as a “contentious mediation” between the indeterminate and the determinate, Steinweg notes against Martin Seels’ “celebration of unknowing”, that this is not to crown obscurantism. Rather, the work of art shows the impossibility of creating a hierarchy between the two, and thus to reconcile them in a synthesis. With this irreconcilable gesture, his text enacts the “dialectic of restlessness” he seeks to describe. Steinweg’s contribution thus raises the question of which forces are immanently at play in creative processes, and in which spatial constellations processes of creativity can emerge and are situated.

In her text, Susanne Valerie [Granzer] offers a detailed examination of the complex force relations traversing and constituting the process of acting on stage. She addresses aspects of the relationship between performance and philosophy, and offers insight into what such a relationship might be. This doesn’t necessarily have to be an equivocal relationship between the two. Some contributions emphasise how performance can help illuminate or rearticulate philosophical questions, or conversely, the way philosophical interrogation can help to illuminate or rearticulate questions broadly conceived of performance.

The main concern and personal matter of the article is—on close examination of first-hand experience—an interrogation of a network of connections and disjunctions at work in the process of acting on stage, supplanting the notion of mimesis with the more primary and creative concept of the plane of immanence as the field of potentially endless self-renewal and re-creation.


The third section comprises texts from Paulo de Assis, John Ó Maoilearca, Laura Cull Ó Maoilearca, Stephen Zepke, Tanja Traxler, and Freddie Rokem in which they investigate the role of the concept of immanence in contemporary philosophy and the arts.

Opening this section, Paulo de Assis’s essay discusses how Simondon’s idea of transduction could enable new possibilities to think processes of creation. Particularly aiming at the development of a dynamic theory of musical works and their performances, de Assis explores eight complementary ways of thinking transduction within Simondon with regard to their relevance for our conceptualisation of the “musical event”. Additionally, he links Simondon’s concept of transduction to Deleuze and Guattari’s notion of “haecceity” as well as to Massumi’s definition of the human body as a “transducer of the virtual”. De Assis argues how Simondon’s concept of transduction as well as the metastability which he attributed to technical objects can support our understanding of the body’s engagement within the process of music making. Being itself individuated in a process of permanent transduction, the performer’s body operates as a main transducer or a “capturer of forces” within the musical performance, which, in connection with other transductive processes and non-human components, shapes the actual rendering of the musical event from one immediate moment to the next. To be able to describe the many transductive transformations that constitute the process of the musical event, de Assis also introduces the term „micro-haecceity“, which he understands as a temporal radicalisation of Deleuze and Guattari’s concept which allows us to capture the high-speed succession of meta-stable actions in the musical performance. As this exploration reveals how transductive processes generate specific spaces that can be mapped without reference to a coordinate system external to this field, and are thus related to immanent processes of individualisation, de Assis argues that the concept of transduction emerges from “pure immanence”.

Shifting the focus from Simondon to François Laruelle’s conception of immanence, John Ó Maoilearca attempts to understand the radical democratisation of thinking by non-philosophy as a performance philosophy. By doing so, philosophy not only loses its exclusive right to determine what thinking is, but can also be used as raw material for other forms of thought. Through this “Non-Parmenidean Equation: ‘Practice = Thought’” it becomes possible to understand it as performance and to multiply it by mutation, instead of limiting it by a definition. However, one must be cautious not to introduce philosophy anew as supreme authority in this, for example, by leaving it to philosophy to define (in a non-performative way) what performance is. It needs a non-philosophy to expose these hidden hierarchies, to insist that “not everything is philosophisable”, and therefore to open up thought to non-philosophical performances. With Kirby’s works on happenings and his concept of simple acting, Ó Maoilearca can now designate non-philosophy as an act of restored behavior (of philosophy), a form of cloning that due to its expression includes mistakes and mutations. One has to understand this clone (of philosophy) as an act, a gesture within which philosophy is repeated as a whole. By it, the false authority of philosophy to enclose thinking in one act—grounding, reducing, subtracting, criticising etc.—is exposed and subverted.

In Laura Cull Ó Maoilearca’s dedicated contribution we follow the author in an extension of Laruelle’s non-philosophy to a critique of a recent series of works on the philosophy of theatre by Alain Badiou. Coming from a standpoint which advocates performance’s “own thinking” rather than performance or arts in general being the object which philosophy has to think, Cull argues against the philosopher’s self-assumed role as the “gatekeeper” to the definition of both theatre and thought. That is, the author reconstructs Laruelle’s critique of philosophical authoritarianism and the subsequent counter-model of a democracy of thought, especially following the line of argument in Laruelle’s Anti-Badiou. From here, Cull engages with Badiou’s works on theatre, which, at a first glance, appear sympathetic regarding theatre’s own thinking and therefore raise hope that Badiou is able to avoid philosophical authoritarianism. However, as Cull convincingly shows, essentially Badiou also plays the role of the gatekeeper, insofar as he takes the position of knowing what theatre is and indeed both the nature of its thought and its relation to philosophy. Cull identifies four characteristics which highlight this performative positioning towards theatre. On the one hand, Badiou’s examples of proper theatre tend to be works of classical, white, male, European playwrights. On the other hand, Badiou’s characterisation of theatre is formally limited to the appearance of characters, combination of language and bodies (which excludes mime for example), and the distinction from dance and cinema. In turn, his explicit accounts of theatre’s conditions reproduce Badiou’s role of the gatekeeper, as does his distinction of Theatre as truth-event and theatre as mere entertainment. Cull closes her unmasking critique of Badiou’s philosophy of theatre with a reflection on Laruelle’s immanence of thought as an ethico-political project which enacts a democratisation of thought, which allows us to prefer pluralistic rather than authoritative thought practices, whatever form they might take in a given situation.

Following on from Cull’s chapter, the philosopher Stephen Zepke sets out to confront Deleuze and Guattari with the contemporary hegemony of “postconceptual art” by invoking a concept of “minor contemporary art”. The three aspects of photography, technology in the arts and the “conceptual turn” in contemporary art will serve as bones of contention in this discussion. By reducing sensation to a single plane (the conditions of the experience of time and space) through the production of snapshots which spatialise time and subject it to representation, photography homogenizes every ontology of difference. The revolutionary potential of art to disrupt “the structure imposed upon perception by the understanding” by creating explosions within perception is thereby diminished and substituted by a cliché. At first glance, the cinema with its evolution from movement-image to time-image might have the ability to subvert this representational image of thought. But Deleuze is quick to point out that above all the electronic image reduces art anew to an “unlimited finity” through a process paradigmatic to the societies of control, the ubiquitous transformation of all processes of life into information. Nevertheless, this cybernetic calculation contains within itself a point of resistance against it. With Guattari’s new concept of the readymade, which he sees less determined by intention or meaning, but rather by a “problematic affect”, Zepke manages to find a way out of conceptual art by going through it and advocating proper post-conceptual art.

Tanja Traxler highlights immanence in the context of space conceptions in physics. She begins with an analysis of the conceptual history of space in physics in the context of transcendent conceptions, which postulate space as a super-structure to objects, and immanent conceptions, in which space emerges through the relation of objects. Thereby an alternative framework is provided instead of the classical dichotomy of absolute and relative space. While the transcendent accounts stayed dominant throughout the history of physics, immanence has just prominently entered the stage of physics with Einstein’s general theory of relativity. Leaving behind the absolute-relative-divide, transcendence and immanence allow for a complementary conception of space which takes into account elements of both.

The third section of our issue comes to an end with Freddie Rokem’s contribution that addresses the appearance of supernatural creatures like the deus ex machina in theatre. As Rokem argues, the intervention of such supernatural forces can be thought as an integral aspect of the theatrical “dispositive”, through which the theatrical medium, sometimes ironically, explores its own conditions and limits. Rokem exemplifies this by way of a detailed reading of Brecht’s Threepenny Opera which also involves G. W. Pabst’s cinematic adaptation of the play from 1931. Rokem demonstrates how the figure of the deus ex machina —especially in the shape of the mounted messenger at the end of the play—functions as a tool of estrangement or alienation (Verfremdung), interrupting the course of action and revealing and subverting the absurdity of traditional power structures. From a philosophical perspective this raises the question for Rokem why the figure of the deus ex machina in theatre still serves as a powerful metaphor for ideological, social and personal conflicts, through which Utopian notions are critically reflected—even after Nietzsche’s proclamation of the “death of God”. To approach this question, Rokem sketches Walter Benjamin’s argumentation for the necessity of the intervention of “mythical” or “divine” violence, which he develops in his Critique of Violence. In his attentive reading of Benjamin, Rokem reveals how this “mythical violence” serves as a deus ex machina in Benjamin’s essay itself, and how it thus even seems to haunt the philosophical text.

Composed of these three sections—each addressing immanence from a different perspective—this special issue of Performance Philosophy in itself is about to form a research-corpus, immanating in the field of performance philosophy. In accordance with Deleuze, we call the process in which something takes place, immanation. “Immanation is a life of immanence within itself“ (Böhler 2014, 172). Since the very nature of immanence can only “immanate” by virtue of a research performance that demonstrates a proper “fleshly” mode of its temporary becoming, another task of this publication was to provide a space for various textual styles trapping that “fleshly” mode. A space that is able to design a text-corpus on a plan(e) of immanence that allows immanence to express itself in a particular mode through a special configuration of “texts” in various styles, pictures, media, etc… To speak about the style or performativity of language/texts is to speak of what their effects are on readers and the world. This volume of Performance Philosophy explicitly seeks to embody an immanent conception of the arts and philosophy. A conception immersing into the continually live performance of being in the experienced world, “[…] contrary to a deeply rooted belief, the book is not an image of the world. It forms a rhizome with the world […]” (Deleuze and Guattari 1993, 11).



This special bilingual issue of Performance Philosophy has been realized in the context of the research project “Artist-Philosophers. Philosophy AS Arts-based Research”, funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF): AR275-G21 in line with the programme for arts-based research (PEEK). We would like to thank the Austrian Science Fund for making possible this publication and supporting our research.

The editors like to express their deepest gratitude to Laura Cull Ó Maoilearca and Alice Lagaay for their co-operation in the course of the research project “Artist-Philosophers. Philosophy AS Arts-based Research” and for enabling this special collaboration with the Performance Philosophy journal, as well as for their valuable guidance and support throughout the publication process.

We’d like to thank all contributors and participants who took part in the AIL conference “The concept of Immanence in Philosophy and the Arts” in May 2016, on which this volume of Performance Philosophy is based, as well as the authors of this issue and the anonymous reviewers for their contribution to the quality of our published work. Thank you Babette Babich / Jens Badura / Laura Cull Ó Maoilearca / Paulo de Assis / Oliver Feltham / Barbara Formis / Susanne Valerie Granzer / Jack Hauser / Sabina Holzer / Alice Lagaay / Anna Mendelssohn / John Ó Maoilearca / Frans Poelstra / Freddie Rokem / Elisabeth von Samsonow / Andreas Urs Sommer / Marcus Steinweg / Tanja Traxler / Stephen Zepke / Alexandra Graupner, AIL Vienna.

We thank all those involved in the realization of this publication, especially our colleague Eckardt Lindner for proofreading and Theron Schmidt, for developing the layout for this issue and his constant assistance during the publication process; Mirko Wittwar and Gratia Stryker-Härtel for their thoughtful translations of the contributions into German and English; as well as Susanne Valerie Granzer and Jonas Oßwald for their help with the copyediting and the introduction.

Finally, we would like to acknowledge with gratitude all artist-philosophers and philosopher-artists who participated in the research festival Philosophy On Stage #4 “Artist-Philosophers. Nietzsche et cetera” on which this issue of Performance Philosophy Journal is partly based. Thank you Kamal Aljafari / Bernadette Anzengruber / Daniel Aschwanden / Paulo de Assis / Manora Auersperg / Anna Babka / Jens Badura / Milli Bitterli / Tess Denman-Cleaver / Laura Cull Ó Maoilearca / Karlheinz Essl / Nikolaus Gansterer / Volker Gerhardt / Susanne Valerie Granzer / Franz Hautzinger / Agnes Heginger / Richard Heinrich / Hans Hoffer / Saskia Hölbling / Jörg Holkenbrink (Theatre of Assemblage Bremen) / Corinna Kirchhoff / Barbara Kraus / Alice Lagaay / Veronica Lion / Erin Manning / Brian Massumi / Anna Mendelssohn / Sarah Mendelsohn / Dieter Mersch / Wolfgang Michael / Birgit Michlmayr / Wolfgang Mitterer / Sandra Noeth / Samuel Nyholm & Class / Nicholas Ofczarek & Chor Max Reinhardt Seminar / Graham Parkes / Helen Parkes / Philosopohy Unbound / Frans Poelstra / Martin Puchner / Hester Reeve / Robert Schnepf / Michael Schwab / Peter Stamer / Sublin/mes. Philosophieren von Unten / Rainer Totzke / Tanja Traxler / Matthias Vieider / Violetta L. Waibel / Simone Weissenfels / Frank Willens / Diana María Acevedo Zapata / Conny Zenk et al.

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Arno Böhler is an associate Professor at the Institute of Philosophy of the University of Vienna. He is the founder of the performance festival Philosophy on Stage and currently heads the „Artist-Philosophers: Philosophy AS Arts-based-Research” research project at the University of Applied Arts Vienna, funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF): AR275-G21. He is the co-founder of BASE (research centre for artistic research and arts-based philosophy, India) and the director of the residence programme there.

Research visits at the University of Bangalore, the University of Heidelberg, at New York University and Princeton University. Invitations to visiting professorships at the Institute of Philosophy of the University of Vienna, at the University of the Arts Bremen, University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna (Max Reinhardt Seminar) and at the University of Applied Arts Vienna. In 1997, together with actress Susanne Granzer, founder of wiener kulturwerkstätte GRENZ-film.

Eva-Maria Aigner is a Ph.D. student at the University of Vienna, Austria. She completed her master’s degree in philosophy 2017 with a thesis on Derrida’s concept of the “secret”. From January to September 2017 she held the position of a Student Assistant in the research project “Artist Philosophers. Philosophy AS Arts-Based research” [AR 275-G21; sponsored by the Austrian Science Funds FWF] at the University of Applied Arts, Vienna (principal investigator: Arno Böhler). Fields of interest: deconstruction, ethics of writing, hospitality, arts-based philosophy, negative performance, philosophy of silence and the secret.

Elisabeth Schäfer held a Postdoc position from 2014–2017 in the research project “Artist Philosophers. Philosophy AS Arts-Based research” [AR 275-G21; sponsored by the Austrian Science Funds FWF] at the University of Applied Arts, Vienna. She is also affiliated to the Department of Philosophy at the University of Vienna, where she teaches since 2010. Her main teaching and research areas include: Deconstruction, Queer-Feminist Philosophy, Écriture feminine, Philosophy of the body.

In 2013 Schäfer edited together with Esther Hutfless and Gertrude Postl the first German translation of Hélène Cixous’ famous essay “Le Rire de la Méduse”, which has been published at Passagen Press Vienna. In 2017 she edited—again together with Esther Hutfless—“Conversation avec l’ane. Écrire aveugle” by Hélène Cixous, published at Zaglossus Vienna. Schäfer is currently working on a research project on “Trans*Writing. Immanence and Transformation. Towards a Political, Ethical and Aesthetical Theory of Writing as Arts-based Research“, for which she applied for a research-grant.

Copyright (c) 2017 Arno Böhler, Eva-Maria Aigner, Elisabeth Schäfer

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