For What Do We Need Performance Philosophy?


  • Esa Kirkkopelto University of the Arts Helsinki


In my short manifesto I consider the interrelation of the emergence of performance philosophy and the simultaneous emergence of practice-based or artistic research in the humanities and the higher education in arts. The need for performing artists to have recourse to philosophical discourse is motivated by an attempt to establish their new political and academic role as artist-researchers, as well as to understand the nature and the significance of the knowledge they produce. Performance philosophy opens up a new academic practice in which performance, performance makers and performers can make contact with philosophical thinking without the advocacy of intermediary disciplines and in equal dialogue with them, learn to think in their own terms, and become understood by others. It builds upon a collective attempt to give an answer to what performing arts and artists can do in an age where ‘performance’ has become a denominator of global capitalism.

Author Biography

Esa Kirkkopelto, University of the Arts Helsinki

[email protected]

Esa Kirkkopelto is a philosopher, artist-researcher, performer, former theatre director and playwright, convener of Other Spaces live art collective. Since 2007, he has been working at the Theatre Academy (University of Arts Helsinki) as professor of artistic research. His research focuses on the deconstruction of the performing body both in theory and in practice. Since 2008, he has conducted a collective research project “Actor’s Art in Modern Times” on the psychophysical actor training. He is the responsible leader of the Doctoral Programme of Artistic Research (Theatre Academy, Academy of Fine Arts, Sibelius Academy & Aalto University), as well as Asian Art and Performance Consortium (Theatre Academy Helsinki & Academy of Fine Arts) 2012-2014. He completed his PhD in philosophy in 2002 at the University of Strasbourg. Author of Le théâtre de l’expérience. Contributions à la théorie de la scène (Presses de l’Université Paris-Sorbonne 2008). He is a core convener of Performance Philosophy, a member of the editorial board of Theatre, Dance and Performance Training and the convener of the “International Platform for Performer Training” which gathered for the first time in Helsinki in January 2014.




How to Cite

“For What Do We Need Performance Philosophy?”. 2015. Performance Philosophy 1 (1): 4-6.



Performance Philosophy - Pasts, Presents, Futures

How to Cite

“For What Do We Need Performance Philosophy?”. 2015. Performance Philosophy 1 (1): 4-6.