Personal profile


Giulia Palladini is a researcher and critical theorist.

Her work focuses on the politics and erotics of artistic production, social and cultural history. She explores relations between labor and pleasure, work and free time, temporality and affect, historiography and the archive, addressing both contemporary performance and performance history. Her approach is informed by historical materialism, Marxist and feminist theories, and queer theory. 

Giulia has joined the Department of Drama, Theatre and Performance in 2017. She was an Alexander von Humboldt fellow at the University of Erfurt (2012-2014), and has taught in various international institutions, including the Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weißensee, the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Bogotá, SNDO in Amsterdam, Bern University of the Arts. Her texts appear in several international books and in various languages, and she has collaborated as theorist in a number of critical and artistic projects (e.g. Taking Time, Helsinki 2013; Experimenta/Sur, Bogotá, 2014; Zu ICH um WIR zu Sein, Leipzig, 2014; Accionar (en) la Distancia, Merida, 2017). 

Research projects

Giulia is the author of The Scene of Foreplay: Theater, Labor, and Leisure in 1960s New York (Northwestern University Press, 2017). The book proposes the idea of foreplay as a theoretical framework for discussing a particular mode of performance production, existing outside of predetermined structures of recognition in terms of professionalism, artistic achievement, and a logic of eventfulness. Matching an original approach to historical materials and theoretical reflection, The Scene of Foreplay addresses the peculiar forms of production, reproduction, and consumption developed in the 1960s scene (observed in particular through the figures of Ellen Stewart, John Vaccaro, Ruby Lynn Reyner, Jackie Curtis, Andy Warhol, Tom Eyen, Jack Smith, and Penny Arcade) as labors of pleasure, creating for artists a condition of “preliminarity” toward professional work and also functioning as a counterforce within productive economy, as a prelude where value is not yet assigned to labor.

She conceived and co-edited (with Marco Pustianaz) the book project Lexicon for an Affective Archive: supported by the National Audiovisual Institute in Poland (NInA), and by the Live Arts Development Agency (LADA) in the UK, this edited collection challenges the traditional function of a lexicon as a reference tool characterized by sufficiency, and creatively engages the critical and affective potential intrinsic in activating different modes of encountering archival remains, on the part of researchers, artists and archivists. The book appeared in Polish in 2015 and in English in 2017 (published by Intellect/LADA), and includes contributions by 25 international authors, each offering an entry giving a particular access to the scope and resonance of the idea of affective archive.

Giulia also engages practices of contemporary performance, both in writing and in collaboration with artists, such as the Colombian theatre group Mapa Teatro. Recent work in this direction pivots around the idea of a ‘domestics of performance’: a category Giulia is using for reflecting on performance as a technique figuring ways of living and working together not (only) in terms of democratic consensus, but rather in terms of proximity, organization of material subsistence and modes of dwelling, in time and space. 

Giulia is currently working on a long-term research project entitled ‘The Free Time of the Nameless: Lumpenproletariat and Performance’. The first instance of this project will be a book, focusing on 1920s nightlife entertainment, free time, political potentiality and unemployment in Berlin and New York. 

Research interests

Giulia's research interests and areas of specialism include: performance labor and free time; performance history and historiography; politics and poetics of contemporary theatre; live arts in Europe, US and Latin America; camp and queer performance; gender and sexuality; memory, archive and affects; political philosophy, Marxist theory and Italian operaism; materialist feminism; cultural studies, political performance.

Consultancy work

Giulia has an expertise in research and theoretical analysis of performance and performance histories, critical engagement with artistic practice on an international level, as well as teaching and advising at undergraduate and graduate level. She has conducted a number of research seminars, theoretical and practical workshops involving established and emerging artists in both the academic context and the cultural sector. She has presented her work in various art institutions and theatre festivals, such as Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid, Palais de Tokyo in Paris, Kampnagel in Hamburg, Galleria Augusta in Helsinki, Tanzquartier in Vienna, Steirischer Herbst in Graz, Mapa Teatro in Bogotá, Tapanco Cultural Centre in Merida, Universidad de las Artes in Guayaquil, Universidad San Francisco in Quito.