Events Spring 2023: Reading, Lecture and Discussion with Shomo Choudhury



April 28th, Friday, 6pm: Reading "Treatise on Nomadology - The War Machine" (second part), A Thousand Plateaus (pp. 380-423), online

May 16th, Tuesday, 5pm: Lecture of Shomo Choudhury (Jawaharlal Nehru University) "Theatre, War and the Limits of Scenario-thinking", online and at Rote Bar/Volkstheater (organized by Arno Böhler).

May 26th, Friday, 6pm: Discussion and Reading with Shomo Choudhury, online


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Information about the Reading Circle here.


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Shomo Choudhury: "Theatre, War and the Limits of Scenario-thinking"

Abstract: My talk will be called "Theatre, War and the Limits of Scenario-thinking". The talk will start with Deleuze and Guattari' s concept of the "war machine." It will discuss their first main reference in the chapter from A Thousand Plateaus, which is to Georges Dumezil. I will discuss the chapter' Nexum and Mutuum' from Dumezil's book Mitra Varuna. I'll bring up the question of debt, defaulting and clemency as the three moments of the structure of sovereignty, in which the notion of militant clemency from Dumezil will signify the opening on to the concept of the war machine.

After this I will make a historical investigation of Shakespeare's history plays, particularly Richard III, as an example of the war machine, in its political exteriority to sovereignism and its legitimation strategies of the modern age. This will also include a short detour into the notion of Holy War in Theology as a genealogy of legitimization of modern state Warfare.

The third sequence of the talk will involve a reading of Antonin Artaud's theatre and the plague as an extreme theatricalization of the war machine (during a plague) as a theatre of cruelty. The mode of this "cruel" theatre thinking is the scenario. The other reference from Artaud will be his 'Scenario the conquest of Mexico.' This sequence will reach up to present day preoccupation with biowar as well as biopolitics, so much in currency during the COVID period. The last part of my talk will explore the limits of "Scenario-thinking" during the neo-liberal period of Capitalist globalization where all wars are in a sense part of a generalised Capitalist civil war. In this regime, the crisis of legitimization is particularly exacerbated by the extreme relativism of media society where one scenario crosses out another, such that war becomes nearly banal and structural. The particular reading I have in mind for this section is Peter Sloterdijk's Terror from the Air.

In the conclusion I'll take up the example of the Ukraine-Russia war as both the manifestation of crisis of legitimation in contemporary media society as well as a "symptom" of global civil war. 



Shomo Choudhury is Professor at the School of Arts and Aesthetics/ Jawaharlal Nehru University (New Delhi). His research practices combine „classic“ philosophy, performance, theatre studies and own theatre productions (as director as well as performer). He follows an intercultural approach that emanates from European as well as Indian artistic and theoretical tradition.