The dissertation explores interpretive conditions of contemporary performance art and interdisciplinary studies. It sets out with a discussion of Richard Foreman's I've Got the Shakes (1995), which is perceived as a paradigmatic example of postmoderm performance. The event exposes two contradictory practices: one pertaining to a postmodernist mode of performance and the other to a culture-historic practice of ritual. This conflict leads to the interpretive challenge of writing about cultural practices that are only partially semantic. Theatre has always depended on practical modes of knowledge and action, and yet performance studies have traditionally focused on conceptual qualities of theatre. As long as scholars saw performance and language as mirrors of the world, a preconceived mimetic correspondence justified their analyses. This conformity has been disputed by philosophers such as Wittgenstein, Austin, Goodman, and Butler who rather consider communication in terms of a set of social practices. Performances by artists such as Lars Norén and Christoph Marthaler are thus interpreted by means of comparative schemes in relation to cognate cultural sites, events, and practices.