Fictioning a Thought of Performance

Tero Nauha

conference: DARE 2017: aberrant nuptials
date: November 22, 2017
venue: Orpheus Institute, Penthouse
format: performed
practice: performance
keywords: aesthetics, fictioning, form, theremin

abstract about the author(s)


Art and philosophy are non-parallel nuptials. Artistic practice often follows the forms of “philosophising,” but both art and philosophy are forms of thinking in materialistic terms. But how does performance think and can we regard the different series of thought, philosophy, and performance as conflating into one universal thought? In my presentation, my aim is to articulate the concepts of  mutation and clone as gestures of thought in performance and in relationship to the thought of Gilles Deleuze, Félix Guattari, and François Laruelle.

If performance is regarded as the act of restored behaviour, where one is acting as if being beside oneself, then the act is not a copy but a clone and a mutation. The thought of performance is not a copy but a mutation and a clone, which has a particular consistency. For Laura Cull, performance is a failed register in miming without a reference; it is a clone—a clowned version of the real.

Performance is not fiction, but indefinite fictioning, as similarly intransitive as becomings for Deleuze and Guattari. The term “fictioning” is based on the François Laruelle’s term fictionale. This presentation aims to articulate fictionale and fictioning as “improper” thought in performance. Fictioning does not correlate with the world as a proper gesture of thought, or through its resemblance to the Real, but it remains abstract. It is futuristic and atemporal. Artistic practice is not fiction, but rather an indefinite fictioning—that is, it is not a narrative way of telling the same thing. In fictioning, facts and stories do not mix, but they remain in superposition.

Performance as fictioning is not a liminal state, but enacting the between. It is thought on the delivery, like an advent of thought. Fictioning is indeterminate, where it differs from uncertainty. It does not function through resemblance, analogue, or similarity. Fictioning is superposition with the gestures of thought, a superposition of ontologically indeterminate states. Performance not only represents the body but also clones the body. There is no first knowledge or “standard” aesthetics of art, but a generation of the forms of thought. Fictioning is not an analysis of the world, but it is an organisation of the matter in the real.

Ilona Hongisto has been articulating the use of the concept of  “fabulation” by Deleuze in relation to documentary cinema, and my articulation on fictioning has certain relations with fabulation. Aside from fabulation, a thought from performance is fictioning that equalises decisional thought with other possible forms of  thought. It does not reduce the thought of a performance artist’s, actor’s, or dancer’s body into decisional and philosophical forms of thought.

The presentation will include a paper and an experimental part, which comprises a short performance with voice, electronics, and Theremin, remodelled by Derek Holzer, an instrument builder and sound artist based in Helsinki and Berlin (

about the author(s)

Tero Nauha

Tero Nauha is an artist, a postodoctoral fellow at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, and a member of the Academy of Finland–funded postdoctoral research project “How to Do Things With Performance.” He defended his doctoral research at the Theatre Academy of the University of the Arts in Helsinki in January 2016. In 2015, he published his first novel, Heresy and Provocation, for Swedish publishing house Förlaget. His performance art projects have been presented at the Frankfurter Kunstverein, Theatrediscounter in Berlin, CSW Kronika in Bytom, Performance Matters in London, and at the New Performance Festival in Turku, among other venues.

info & contact


Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, FI


teronauha [AT]