Thinking Dance in Relation to Deleuze’s Nietzsche

Deleuze’s treatment of Nietzsche draws upon and elaborates a number of Nietzschean concepts that construe the activity of dancing as the work of bodies and forces. Deleuze’s reading of the body as a relation between active and reactive force makes possible a typological evaluation of the action of dancing, one that distinguishes between dancing (as a form of activity) and the dancer (as a reactive formation). Although Deleuze is pretty dismissive of the subject (dancer) as a metaphysical ground (as agent), this work paves the way for a strategic approach to subjectivity. From a practice-based point of  view,    this approach can be discerned within postmodern dance insofar as it calls forth a form  of movement beyond the self. Yvonne Rainer speaks of “recusing” the self, others of “voiding” the self, or creating a certain kind of absence within subjectivity. In the context of this paper, this might be seen as a form of “active destruction” on the part of the subject, a key element of the Nietzschean shift towards overcoming. Although dancers inevitably remain on the plane of the subject, there is a sense in which postmodern dance, and perhaps other practices further afield, tip the scales towards a more active interpretation of, and engagement with, force.

Unformed Sound in Multimedia Composition: The Šarapovas Project Silver Dust

The idea of the presentation is based on the Deleuzian concept of the deterritorialisation of refrain, using unformed sound and an investigation into how this type of sound works in the multimedia project Silver Dust. The experimental video project, created by Lithuanian artist Andrius Šarapovas, is interdisciplinary, comprising music, dance, and poetry (Nivinskas, Juodkaite, Navakas, and others). The uniqueness of this project is that Šarapovas has been interested in Deleuze’s philosophy for a few years and framed the composition by following some ideas of Deleuze. In the video project Silver Dust, different art lines run separately, parallel, or in different directions, are full of cracks, and at the same time create unity through the invisible links. The project is compounded from twelve short pieces.

How does Deleuze and Guattari’s mention of “broken tones” and “raw sounds” in What is Philosophy? stimulate the appearance of the art’s machine, vibration, and clinches between the different art lines in the composition Silver Dust? How much raw sound and how much sound modification during the sound editing deterritorialises the refrain of composition, mentioned in Deleuze and Guattari’s Thousand Plateaus (1987)? How does this machine erase the boundary between natural and artificial unformed sound in music and produce clinches with dance and poetry? Is it the work of a dark precursor, described in Deleuze’s early work Difference and Repetition?

We don’t pretend to identify where the pick of interconnection and resonance becomes obvious and which unformed sound is of crucial importance. Everyone perceives the appearance of resonance slightly differently. Unformed sounds are welcomed into the composition; later sounds are recreated by design, engineering, and montage. As Šarapovas stated in an interview, “When everything is said and all harmony, rhythmic things step aside, there is nothing in front of you; the new briefing and intensity for creation approaches”; the pretext for that is raw sound (in a wrong way, an old double bass sound, a phone call, and the sound of an opening door are played). These sounds from one side are the cracks of a line, a bridge to counterpoints and a condition for experimenting with the intensity of frequencies while searching for deterritorialisation. They are also clinches, in Deleuze and Guattari’s words first of all—flesh, which leads to blocs of sensation, percepts, and affects and waiting for resonance. “Flesh is only the developer which disappears in what it develops: the compound of sensation” (Deleuze and Guattari 1994, 183). Unexpected and unformed sounds inspire the performance’s team, and first of all Šarapovas reacts to the moment “the one which ‘is lacking in its place’ as it lacks its own identity” (Deleuze 1994, 120). That provokes new turns in the art machine. Raw sounds quiet down and, to the contrary, some musical sounds are re-created into a loud noise, experimenting with different pitch and rhythm in the process of sound editing. Consequently, sounds are held, as Deleuze and Guattari state, in their “extinction,” “production and development” by the multimedia art machine. Moreover, Šarapovas tries to compound raw sound/noise in music and poetry and the raw view/noise in image to allow their interconnection during montage, opening conditions for vibrations and couplings between heterogeneous elements, as well as division. “All that, however, would be possible only because the invisible precursor conceals itself and its functioning, and at the same time conceals the in-itself or true nature of difference” (Deleuze 1994, 119).


Deleuze, Gilles. 1994. Difference and Repetition. Translated by Paul Patton. London: Continuum.

Deleuze, Gilles, and Félix Guattari. 1987. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Translated by Brian Massumi. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

—. 1994. What is Philosophy? Translated by Hugh Tomlinson and Graham Burchell. New York: Columbia University Press.