Singular-Plurals in Contemporary Choreography: From Aesthetics to Social Aesthetics
- 1. Academy of Fine Arts Vienna
Staging processes and choreographies of contemporary dance and performance: do they have to be perceived as a mere passing of choreographic notations from a single choreographer to dancers who have to repeat them “mindlessly” (Laermans 2015, 196)? Or should these rather be discussed as a reciprocal situation providing aesthetic experiences for participants in a singular- plural mode? To put it differently: Might choreography have the capacity to create an environment for the refinement of a democratic grass-roots consciousness? In order to discuss these questions, I have adapted various scientific perspectives in my research (Julian, forthcoming, autumn 2021). The starting point of my studies lies in theatre studies based on comparative methods. Artistic practices are juxtaposed in order to highlight their specificity. In a second step––inspired by the discourse as developed in theatre studies (Tatari 2017; Ruhsam 2011) ––I discussed staging processes in conjunction with an ontological principle as conceptualised by the philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy (2000): the specificity of being-with makes it possible to theorise a range of infinite possibilities and differences that evolve by the mere execution of movement patterns. The third perspective is based on sociological methods that were adapted in order to embed the staging process in real-life conditions. My consideration here is that only by knowing imbalances that may exist in social life we understand the dynamics unfolding throughout a group that gathers in order to create a piece. The fourth perspective I apply in this article is based on a method called the aesthetic field as conceived by the philosopher Arnold Berleant (1970): having similarities to being-with makes it possible to cover not merely human interactions and social conditions but also interactions and permeations with a thing world, such as architectures, a stage design, costumes. Thus, the thing world can be seen as co-choreographing the work.
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