Dr Laura Cull Ó Maoilearca

Research Interests

Performance Philosophy; 20th and 21st century experimental theatre and performance - especially Artaud, the Living Theatre, Allan Kaprow, Lygia Clark, Carmelo Bene, Hijikata Tatsumi, Marcus Coates & Goat Island; relationship between performance and Continental philosophy - especially Deleuze and Guattari, Bergson & Laruelle; concepts of authorship, collaboration, collective creation & audience participation in performance; affect; time and duration; nonhuman animals in performance; manifestos; relationship between performance and mental health - particularly schizophrenia.

Research Collaborations

Core Convener of the Performance Philosophy network

Joint editor of Performance Philosophy book series, Palgrave Macmillan

Secretary of Performance Studies international (PSi)

Member of Theatre and Performance Research Association (TaPRA)

Contact Me

E-mail:
Phone: 01483 68 6451

Find me on campus
Room: 04 NC 00

Publications

Journal articles

  • Cull LK. (2015) 'Editorial'. Performance Philosophy, 1 Article number 1 , pp. 1-3.
  • Cull LK. (2014) 'Performance Philosophy: Staging a New Field'. New Arts - Journal of the National Academy of Art, 34 (6)
    [ Status: Submitted ]
  • Cull LK. (2013) '‘Philosophy as Drama: Deleuze and dramatization in the context of Performance Philosophy’'. Modern Drama: world drama from 1850 to the present, 56 (4), pp. 498-520.
  • Cull LK. (2013) 'Philosophy as Drama: Deleuze and dramatization in the context of Performance Philosophy'. Special Issue on Drama and Philosophy (Winter 2013) Edition. Modern Drama: world drama from 1850 to the present, 56 (4), pp. 498-520.
  • Cull LK. (2013) ''A Response to Martin Puchner’s Drama of Ideas', in Forum on Martin Puchner, "The drama of ideas", ed. by C. Rozzoni, with M. Puchner, D. Kornhaber, L. Cull, T. Stern, M. Harries'. Lebenswelt: Aesthetics and Philosophy of Experience, (3), pp. 116-124.
  • Cull LK. (2013) 'Guattari, Deleuze, performance et « folie »'. Chimères, (80) Article number 6
  • Cull LK. (2012) 'Affect in Deleuze, Hijikata, and Coates: The Politics of Becoming-Animal in Performance'. Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, 26 (2), pp. 189-203.
  • Cull LK. (2012) 'Performance as Philosophy: Responding to the Problem of ‘Application’'. Cambridge University Press Theatre Research International, 37 (1), pp. 20-27.

    Abstract

    This article begins from the premise that a ‘critical turning point’ has been reached in terms of the relationship between performance and philosophy. Theatre and performance scholars are becoming increasingly engaged in philosophical discourse and there are growing amounts of work that take philosophy – from the work of Plato to Heidegger and Deleuze – as their guiding methodology for performance analysis. However, this article argues that we need to go further in questioning how we use philosophy in relation to performance, and that theatre and performance scholarship should attempt to go beyond merely applying philosophical concepts to performance ‘examples’. One way to do this, the article suggests, is by questioning the very distinction between performance and philosophy, for instance by exploring the idea of performance as philosophy. The article concludes by drawing from the work of figures such as Allan Kaprow, Henri Bergson, François Laruelle and John Mullarkey to argue that philosophers and performance scholars alike might extend their conception of what counts as thinking to include not only activities like performance, but embodied experiences and material processes of all kinds.

  • Cull LK, Gritzner K. (2011) 'On Participation. Editorial to the Special Issue.'. Taylor & Francis Performance Research: a journal of the performing arts, 16 (4), pp. 1-6.
  • Cull LK. (2011) 'Attention-training: Immanence and ontological participation in Kaprow, Deleuze & Bergson'. Taylor & Francis Performance Research: a journal of the performing arts, 16 (4), pp. 80-91.

    Abstract

    In this essay I want to look at the works that the American artist Allan Kaprow (1927–2006) referred to as ‘Activities’, alongside the philosophy of immanence propounded by Gilles Deleuze (1925–1995) and with reference to the notion of ‘attention’ developed by Henri Bergson (1859–1941).

  • Cull LK. (2009) 'How Do You Make Yourself a Theatre without Organs? Deleuze, Artaud and the Concept of Differential Presence'. Cambridge University Press Theatre Research International, 34 (3), pp. 243-255.

    Abstract

    This article provides an exposition of four key concepts emerging in the encounter between the philosophical man of the theatre, Antonin Artaud, and the theatrical philosopher, Gilles Deleuze: the body without organs, the theatre without organs, the destratified voice and differential presence. The article proposes that Artaud’s 1947 censored radio play To Have Done with the Judgment of God constitutes an instance of a theatre without organs that uses the destratified voice in a pursuit of differential presence – as a nonrepresentative encounter with difference that forces new thoughts upon us. Drawing from various works by Deleuze, including Difference and Repetition, The Logic of Sense, A Thousand Plateaus and ‘One LessManifesto’, I conceive differential presence as an encounter with difference, or perpetual variation, as that which exceeds the representational consciousness of a subject, forcing thought through rupture rather than communicating meanings through sameness. Contra the dismissal of Artaud’s project as paradoxical or impossible, the article suggests that his nonrepresentational theatre seeks to affirm a new kind of presence as difference, rather than aiming to transcend difference in order to reach the self-identical presence of Western metaphysics.

Conference papers

  • Cull LK. (2015) '‘Doing Performance Philosophy: attention, collaboration and the missing “&”’'. University of Malta: Performing Interdisciplinarity
  • Cull LK. (2013) '‘Performance Philosophy: The “Mind the Gap” and/or “Performance as Philosophy” debate’'. Senate House, London: London Theatre Seminar
  • Cull LK. (2013) 'What is Performance Philosophy?'. Institute of the Philosophy of Language, New University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal: Conference Drama and Philosophy

    Abstract

    What is Performance Philosophy? This paper will reflect on the idea that we are currently witnessing the emergence of a new field: Performance Philosophy. Performance Philosophy, I will suggest, is not just a 'turn' within Theatre and Performance Studies, but potentially a rich interdisciplinary field involving philosophers and researchers from a wide range of disciplines. As well as outlining this recent development, the paper will also question to what extent we might wish to consider performance as a philosophical activity in its own right: not as the mere illustration of extant philosophy ideas nor according to a predetermined definition of philosophy (such that performance is called upon to produce logical arguments, rational deductions and so forth), but more as a practice that thinks in its own way, and indeed in ways that might equally call upon philosophers to reconsider what counts as philosophy. Drawing from the notion of non-philosophy (or non-standard philosophy) outlined by François Laruelle, as well as from relevant work in the field of Film-Philosophy, I will endeavor to articulate some of the myriad ways in which we might say that performance thinks.

  • Cull LK. (2013) 'What is Performance Philosophy?'. Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance: Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance – Research Seminar Series
  • Cull LK. (2012) 'Each one is already several… Collaboration in the context of the differential self. Notes on Goat Island & Deleuze & Guattari'. Middlesex University: On Collaboration
  • Cull LK. (2012) 'Performance-Philosophy: A ‘philosophical turn’ in Performance Studies (and a non-philosophical turn in Philosophy)'. Central School of Speech and Drama: Performing Research: Creative Exchanges
    [ Status: Unpublished ]
  • Cull LK. (2012) 'Schizo-theatre: Guattari, Deleuze, performance and “madness”'. Northumbria University: Situating and Interpreting States of Mind

    Abstract

    This paper will explore the concept of “schizo-theatre”: as a mode of approaching both the production and spectatorship of performance, as a way of rethinking the term “schizophrenia” and its relationship to performance and philosophy, and as a means to conceive anew the relationship between theatre and the ethics of its encounters with those who have lived experience of mental illness. In the existing literature (eg. Roberts 2007), readers of Guattari and Deleuze have rightly insisted upon a distinction between the conventional clinical definition of “schizophrenia” and the reinvention of the term in works such as Anti-Oedipus (1972). However, this emphasis has allowed an artificial separation of the philosophy from its clinical context, specifically Guattari’s radical work at La Borde. As such, the paper will attempt to interrogate the specific relationships between 1) the hospitalized schizophrenic (who tends to be presented as a tragic figure by Guattari and Deleuze); 2) the joyful “schizo” (whom they present as closer to “the beating heart of reality” than the Oedipalized subject) and 3) a process they call “schizophrenia” which is defined as “the process of the production of desire”. Having established this theoretical grounding, the paper will then aim to question how these relationships might play out in the context of a performance practice that seeks to re-evaluate the role of theatre in relation to “schizophrenia” as Guattari and Deleuze define it, but also to mental health service users and their lived experiences of mental illness. Can a schizo-theatre make these experiences communicable to others, in all their singularity? Might such a theatre prompt or support positive changes in the provision of mental health service and the ways in which “madness” figures in the public imagination?

Books

  • Cull LK, Lagaay A. (2014) Encounters in Performance Philosophy. London and New York : Palgrave Macmillan
  • Cull LK, Daddario W. (2013) Manifesto Now! Instructions for Performance, Philosophy, Politics. Intellect
  • Cull LK. (2012) Theatres of Immanence: Deleuze and the Ethics of Performance. Palgrave Macmillan , pp. viii-291.
  • Cull LK. (2009) Deleuze and Performance. Edinburgh : Edinburgh University Press

    Abstract

    Was performance important to Deleuze? Is Deleuze important to performance; to its practical, as well as theoretical, research? What are the implications of Deleuze's philosophy of difference, process and becoming, for Performance Studies, a field in which many continue to privilege the notion of performance as representation, as anchored by its imitation of an identity: 'the world', 'the play', 'the self'? Deleuze and Performance is a collection of new essays dedicated to Deleuze's writing on theatre and to the productivity of his philosophy for (re)thinking performance. This book provides rigorous analyses of Deleuze's writings on theatre practitioners such as Artaud, Beckett and Carmelo Bene, as well as offering innovative readings of historical and contemporary performance including performance art, dance, new media performance, theatre and opera, which use Deleuze's concepts in exciting new ways. Can philosophy follow Deleuze in overcoming the antitheatrical tradition embedded in its history, perhaps even reconsidering what it means to think in the light of the embodied insights of performance's practitioners? Experts from the fields of Performance Studies and Deleuze Studies come together in this volume and strive to examine these and other issues in a manner that will be challenging, yet accessible to students and established scholars alike.

Book chapters

  • Cull LK. (2015) 'Since Each of Us Was Several: Collaboration in the Context of the Differential Self'. in Colin N, Sachsenmeier S (eds.) Collaboration in Performance Practice: Premises, Workings and Failures London : Palgrave Macmillan Article number 7
    [ Status: Submitted ]
  • Cull LK. (2015) 'From Homo Performans to Interspecies Collaboration: Expanding the concept of performance to include animals'. in Orozco L, Parker-Starbuck J (eds.) Performing Animality: Animals in Performance Practice Basingstoke / New York : Palgrave Macmillan Article number 1 , pp. 19-36.
  • Cull LK. (2015) 'From Homo Performans to Interspecies Collaboration: Broadening the Spectrum to include Nonhuman Performance'. in Parker-Starbuck J, Orozco L (eds.) Performing Animality: Animals in Performance Practices 1st Edition. Palgrave Macmillan , pp. pp. 19-36.

    Abstract

    The primary aim of this chapter is to look at how we relate to nonhuman behavior and to what extent we are willing or able to include it in our concept of performance. Given this aim, the chapter begins by focussing on the ambivalent way in which nonhuman animals figure in one of the prominent theories of performance: namely, Richard Schechner’s ‘broad-spectrum’ account. Here, I draw from the definition of performance and its relation to the nonhuman as outlined by in his influential work Performance Theory (1977/2003). Schechner’s landmark book was first published in 1977, though Schechner recalls that he had been working on its contents from the late 1960’s onwards. Of particular relevance to our own concerns is that during this time, Schechner was reading Darwin’s book The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, and engaged with the work of ethologists such as Huxley, Lorenz and Eibl-Eibesfeldt – influences that can be felt throughout the final text. In what follows, I also make some brief, preliminary links between the broad-spectrum and the work of the contemporary French theorist François Laruelle, whose insistence on the need to expand our understanding of what counts as thought (from a non-standard philosophical perspective) has been recently shown to extend to a demand to rethink the relation between the human and nonhuman. Next, the chapter examines the emerging, interdisciplinary field of artistic practice known as ‘interspecies collaboration’, suggesting a link between these and what John Mullarkey calls ‘complete anthropomorphism’ (where anthropomorphism is no longer a pejorative term). Here, our interest lies in the notion of performance not only as a way of seeing – which would be to reassert the human tendency to focus on vision – but as a mode of existence or lived stance that can give the ‘benefit of the doubt’ to nonhuman life as we do, every day, in our relations with humans (Mullarkey 2012: 53). Can performance operate as a site in which those currently defined as human and nonhuman can open themselves to the affects of the other and develop a felt understanding of their continuity and difference? Can interspecies collaboration in particular open us up to new understandings of performance and, as such, to new concepts of the human as well? In summary, then, this chapter shows how the broad-spectrum thesis goes so far as to extend the definition of performance to allows animals in as performers – according to an openness or inclu

  • Cull LK. (2014) '‘Performance Philosophy’'. in Reynolds B (ed.) Performance Studies: Key Words, Concepts, and Theories Palgrave Macmillan , pp. 91-100.
    [ Status: Submitted ]
  • Cull LK. (2014) 'Deleuze’s bodies, philosophical diseases and the thought of illness'. in (ed.) Wissen wir, was ein Körper vermag? Rhizomatische Körper in Religion, Kunst, Philosophie Germany : transcript Verlag Article number 12 , pp. 185-198.
  • Cull LK. (2014) 'Performance Philosophy: Staging a New Field'. in Cull L, Lagaay A (eds.) Encounters in Performance Philosophy London and New York : Palgrave Macmillan Article number 1 , pp. 15-38.
  • Cull LK. (2013) 'Schizo-theatre: Guattari, Deleuze, performance and “madness”'. in Garcin-Marrou F, Querrien A (eds.) Schizodrames 80 Edition. Paris : Erès

    Abstract

    This essay explores the concept of “schizo-theatre”: as a mode of approaching both the production and spectatorship of performance, as a way of rethinking the term “schizophrenia” and its relationship to performance and philosophy, and as a means to conceive anew the relationship between theatre and the ethics of its encounters with those who have lived experience of mental illness. In the existing literature (eg. Roberts 2007), readers of Guattari and Deleuze have rightly insisted upon a distinction between the conventional clinical definition of “schizophrenia” and the reinvention of the term in works such as Anti-Oedipus (1972). However, this emphasis has allowed an artificial separation of the philosophy from its clinical context, specifically Guattari’s radical work at La Borde. As such, this essay attempts to interrogate the specific relationships between 1) the hospitalized schizophrenic (who tends to be presented as a tragic figure by Guattari and Deleuze); 2) the joyful “schizo” (whom they present as closer to “the beating heart of reality” than the Oedipalized subject) and 3) a process they call “schizophrenia” which is defined as “the process of the production of desire”. Having established this theoretical grounding, the chapter will then aim to question how these relationships might play out in the context of a performance practice that seeks to re-evaluate the role of theatre in relation to “schizophrenia” as Guattari and Deleuze define it, but also to mental health service users and their lived experiences of mental illness. Can a schizo-theatre make these experiences communicable to others, in all their singularity? Might such a theatre prompt or support positive changes in the provision of mental health service and the ways in which “madness” figures in the public imagination?

  • Cull LK. (2013) 'An education of attention: The perception of change in Bergson and performance'. in Benedek A, Nyiri K (eds.) How to Do Things with Pictures: Skill, Practice, Performance Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Brussels, New York, Oxford and Vienna : Peter Lang
  • Cull LK, Daddario W. (2013) 'Analogue 0: Manifesto Now! (Again!)'. in Cull LK, Daddario W (eds.) Manifesto Now! Instructions for Performance, Philosophy, Politics Bristol and Chicago : Intellect , pp. 3-20.
  • Cull LK. (2013) '(One Less) Manifesto for a Theatre of Immanence'. in Cull LK, Daddario W (eds.) Manifesto Now! Instructions for Performance, Philosophy, Politics Bristol : Intellect , pp. 145-158.
  • Cull LK. (2013) 'Performance Studies'. in Leonard A, Shephard T (eds.) The Routledge Companion to Music and Visual Culture London and New York : Routledge , pp. 59-66.
  • Cull LK. (2013) 'Collective Creation as a Theatre of Immanence: Deleuze and The Living Theatre'. in Mederos Syssoyeva K, Proudfit S (eds.) A History of Collective Creation Palgrave Macmillan Article number 7 , pp. 129-144.
  • Cull LK, Goulish M, Hixson L. (2013) 'A Diluted Manifesto'. in Walsh F, Causey M (eds.) Performance, Identity and the Neo-Political Subject Routledge Article number 7 , pp. 119-137.
  • Cull LK. (2011) 'While remaining on the shore: Ethics in Deleuze’s encounter with Antonin Artaud'. in Jun N, Smith DW (eds.) Deleuze and Ethics Edinburgh University Press , pp. 44-62.
  • Cull LK. (2011) 'Performing presence, affirming difference: Deleuze and the minor theatre of Georges Lavaudant and Carmelo Bene'. in Lavery C, Finburgh C (eds.) Contemporary French Theatre and Performance Palgrave Macmillan , pp. 99-110.
  • Goulish M, Cull LK. (2009) 'sub specie durationis'. in Cull L (ed.) Deleuze and Performance Edinburgh : Edinburgh University Press Article number 7 , pp. 126-146.
  • Cull LK. (2009) 'Introduction'. in Cull LK (ed.) Deleuze and Performance Edinburgh University Press

Other publications

  • Cull L. (2015) Performance Philosophy. UK : Open Access / OASPA Performance Philosophy, 1, pp. 1-281.
  • Cull L. (2011) On Philosophy and Participation. London : Routledge Performance Research: a journal of the performing arts, 16 (4), pp. 1-142.

Theses and dissertations

  • da Silva K. (2017) Unconcealing experience : Heidegger, Stanislavski and the creation of ‘truthful’ characterisations in dance..
    [ Status: Approved ]

    Abstract

    Abstract Throughout the thirty years I have been watching and participating as a dancer in UK dance theatre, I have become increasingly aware of the ways in which female characters are frequently portrayed through limited representations of women. This research begins by acknowledging that this is a problem and proceeds to look at some of the ways in which such limited representations come about and subsequently how the individuality of the person is overlooked. The main objective of this research is to address this problem by offering a new choreographic approach to creating character in dance works. This has been done through an amalgamation of Stanislavskian and Heideggerian processual accounts of truth which intrinsically account for the Being and subjectivity of the performer and character. Through Practice as Research I have developed a new method of choreographing character which intersects dance practice, Heideggerian phenomenology and Stanislavskian approaches to acting. A principal aspect of my original contribution to the field of knowledge lies within the intersection of these practices. I propose that a key attribute towards resolving the problem is through taking time to ‘get to know’ the character; an idea at the heart of social psychological propositions towards resolving problems of social stereotyping. I conclude by making a call for choreographers to consider using techniques from theatre such as the one I outline in this research when creating and presenting female characters within their work. The implications of this research are that approaches from theatre and phenomenology are not merely ideas that can be applied to the body but in fact are practices which can be done and danced. Rather than resorting to limited and sometimes tired representations of women’s experience, the individual lived experience of the character can emerge and drive the creation and performance process to produce a choreographed character whose subjectivity and lived experience is clearly accounted for.

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