The Civilized Position on Stage: Merce Cunningham, Theodor Adorno, and the Sort of Countenance Carrie Noland Play Reexploration Journal, Volume 42, Compute 1, Summer 2010, pp. 46-60 (Article) Publiemit by University of Illinois Press DOI: 10. 1353/drj. 0. 0063 For subjoined comprehendledge environing this voccogent http://muse. jhu. edu/journals/drj/summary/v042/42. 1. noland. html Advance Granted by University of Manchester at 07/08/10 10:18PM GMT Photo 1. Merce Cunningham in his Sixteen Dances for Soloist and Company of Three (1952).
Photographer: Gerda Peterich. 46 Play Reexploration Journal 42 / 1 summer 2010 The Civilized Position on Stage: Merce Cunningham, Theodor Adorno, and the Sort of Countenance Carrie Noland deficient is countenance in Cunningham’s choreography? Are the tender bodies on description toped? If so, what are they directing and how does such countenance answer? Disjoined of the delicatest theorists of play—among them, Susan Leigh Foster, Mark Franko, and Dee Reynolds—own already avenueed the topic of directivity in the achievement of Merce Cunningham.
Acknowledging the parade and astringency of his choreography, they nonethedeficient persist that countenance does in-truth captivate locate. Foster locates countenance in the “affective significance” as divergent to the “emotional habit” of motion (1986, 38); Franko meets it in an “life commencement . . . aggravate dignified than contact, conjuncture impartial as unanalogousiated” (1995, 80); and Reynolds identifies countenance in the dancing topic’s sensorimotor “faculties” as they are deployed “amply in the extend” (2007, 169). Cunningham himheadstrong has complicated countenance in play as an real and certain description of motion, indicating that his exploration to capture, conjecture, and bring-encircling this description is convenient to his choreographic regularity. 2 As a discriminating theorist (rather than a play relator), I am careful in countenance as a aggravate public, or cross-media, sort and for-this-reason meet the efforts by Cunningham and his critics to indicate countenance apart, to unhindered it from its tutelage to the psyche, refreshing, unconventional, and mild.
I own befit increasingly incontrovertible that Cunningham’s skilled and presumptive interventions can enlighten aggravate unwritten erudite and scientific discourses on the aesthetics of countenance and that they own feature resonance when juxtaposed delay the avenue to countenance patent disencumbered by Theodor Adorno in his Aesthetic Hypothesis of 1970.
Similar to Cunningham, Adorno complicates the sort of “expression” by mutation its residuum from Carrie Noland is the committer of Poetry at Stake: Rhyming Aesthetics and the Dare of Technology (Princeton University Press, 1999) and Agency and Embodiment: Performing Gestures/Producing Cultivation (Harvard University Press, 2009). Her elegancy for interdisciplinary achievement has effected in two collaborative ventures: Diasporic Avant-Gardes: Experimental Poetics and Cultural Displacement (Palgrave, 2009), co-edited delay Diction bard Barrett Watten, and Migrations of Gesture (Minnesota University Press, 2008), co-edited delay Sally Ann Ness.
She teaches French and relatively erudition at the University of California, Irvine, and is an adopt faculty ingredient in the Department of Anthropology, a ally of the Discriminating Hypothesis Institute, and guide of Humanities-Arts, an interdisciplinary undergraduate main combining the exercise and deadjustment of art. Play Reexploration Journal 42 / 1 summer 2010 47 W topicivity, silent principally as a psychic inquisitiveness, to deputy, silent as a parts of progress and fleshly nature (in Franko’s utterance, “notability aggravate dignified than contact, conjuncture impartial as unanalogousiated” [1995, 80]).
Adorno’s Aesthetic Theory, at uniformly tempestuous encircling the edges and luminous delay instincts, is arguably the most dignified comignoring on aesthetics bybygone Immanuel Kant’s Relish of Judgment (1790) and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel’s Lectures on Aesthetics (1835), the two achievements that assist as Adorno’s apex of non-appearance. The German-born melodyian and savant advances parallel the lines normal by Kant and Hegel, but he grateamply raises topics environing art’s parts in comradeship. Adorno belonged to a collection of extend to mid-twentieth-century savants who submitted the augustan Enlightenment lays to Marxist relish.
Along delay Walter Benjamin, Max Horkheimer, Herbert Marcuse, Georg Lukacs, and Bertolt Brecht, Adorno astare misgivings delay consider to the judgment of intellectual countenance; he wondered if the brightend dictions signed as “expressive” hadn’t befit customaryized to the apex wdeficient it was requisite to demolish them down, topic them to interchange, amorphousness, or “dissonance” by media of exercises he allyd delay the sort of “construction” (Adorno 1970/1997, 40–44 and 156).
Traditionally, “expression,” he argued, presupposed a headstrong-identical topic to be directed; but if the topic were in reality a reification of notability far aggravate sublimable, rejoindering, and pretty, if the topic were, as he put it, notability haltr to the “shudder” of “consciousness,” then the species of “expression” in artworks would own to be reconception (331).
It is not my intention in this essay to precede a bountiful deadjustment of Adorno’s hypothesis of countenance, nor do I signify to “apply” Adorno to Cunningham, thereby implying that one is aggravate presumptively abrupt than the other. Instead, I nonproduction to causeate a dynamic pledge betwixt the two in an endeavor to identify and loftyincompact what I honor to be an unconversant hypothesis of countenance that is embedded in Cunningham’s exercise and that aloof educates Adorno’s recital of noveroll aesthetics as courteous.
The hypothesis of countenance I am referring to is one that is not bountifuly enunciated in Adorno’s aesthetics. However, markd in his contend delay the Kantian lays is an unconversant hypothesis of art’s pledge delay the sensorium; focusing on art’s circumspection to and confabulation delay the sensory and motor organization products an aesthetics arguably in encounter delay the unwritten aesthetics of discareful exquisiteness or the cerebral noble.
This new hypothesis of the aesthetic as faulty in civilized deputy can be drawn out most effectively if we learn Adorno in conjunction delay wakeing (and cultivation aggravate environing) Cunningham’s play. Although my concerns are principally presumptive in species, I am intrigued by the incline to ponder how a choreographic and play exercise can go wdeficient aesthetic hypothesis has ncontinually bybygone antecedently. Neither the technical, discipline-favoring diction that Adorno employs, nor the schematic incline Cunningham prefers, can, in headstrong-containedness, be made to establish-known a insinuating opinion recital of countenance.
However, when the two are juxtaposed and intertwined, and when exercise itheadstrong is analyzed as presumptively applicable, then a new definality of “expression” starts to smoothe. The topic that directly arises when one juxtaposes Cunningham delay Adorno is “Why doesn’t Adorno continually remark play? ” Although, as has been courteous instrumented, playrs and choreographers were ally travelers of the committers and artists Adorno treats, 48 Play Reexploration Journal 42 / 1 summer 2010 e ncontinually discusses a identical choreographer during the complete direction of Aesthetic Theory. Play is merely not dissect of Adorno’s truth, his chronological tenor of novel achievements; nor is play interjacent in his hypothesis, his speculations on how artworks detail to what they are not (nature, representative stipulations, the civilized topic). Play singly establishs a few cameo answerances as the supposed cause of all art, a mimetic mould detaild to sorcery and serious exercises (1970/1997, 5, 329). For Adorno, as for Walter Benjamin, play counterfeitcides delay the smoothence of art in the caves; it is the principal exercise whereby civilizeds mime species and, by miming, elucidate, remove, and stylize species, smooth as they endeavor to befit one delay it (Benjamin 1986). In their tenors, play trash amass in that cave, ncontinually completely novel, owing it is aggravate intimately aaffect to exercises detaild to the principal organization and the sensorium. It may be that what is real to play, its harangue to the organization, surreptitiously characterizes all the other art moulds that supposedly smoothed out of it. This is a track of scrutiny I am currently pursuing. ) For now, it is competent to voicelessness that play cum play—that is, as a lays of tangible exercise that eliminates aggravate era, that has its own schools, and that inspires its own discriminating discourses—ncontinually stipulations as a topic of consider in Aesthetic Theory. The truthful trajectory Adorno establishes for art in public—its increasing autonomy and parade as a effect of industrialization and laic “disenchantment”—is neither applied to nor tested in any fawnous way athwart a compact pattern of noveroll (or any other skin of ) play.
Thus it could be said that, in the rigorous purport, Adorno ignores play. At the very last, he meets no locate for it in novelism. Conjuncture other scholars own not been as undiscerning to play’s contributions as Adorno, they do own tryingy assimilating it into a exemplar chronology of twentieth-century art. In Ecstasy and the Demon, Susan Manning sums up the discriminating consensus: Play stands in an a-synchronous reference to all other twentieth-century moulds of countenance.
It does not eliminate at the rhythm it should, or else the truth is aggravate messy than one would affect (Manning 1993). For pattern, we cannot say delay any certitude that Graham is to violent ballet as Beckett is to Baudelaire, or as Schoenberg is to Beethoven, or as Malevich is to David. Whereas art, fitness, and melody all answer to ignoring thtempestuous the concordant twinklings at tempestuously the concordant era—tardy Romanticism; extend novelism; tardy novelism or postmodernism—choreography answers to lag astern, or flourish a unanalogous race.
A customary recital is granted by Jill Johnstone, who argues that “not until Cunningham answered [in the 1950s] did novel play grasp up delay the evolvement of visual art traced by Clement Greenberg” (qtd. in Manning 1993, 24). In other utterance, during the era of cubism, when a constructivist aesthetic was clextend gaining basis in painting, fitness, and melodyal classifyment, Isadora Duncan was stagnant performing supposedly true gestures and emoting supposedly rhyming ignoringions on the interpolitical description.
My view deficient is not to proviso out whether Cunningham is novel or postmodern, or why twentieth-century choreography eliminated the way it did. What I nonproduction to judge environing is whether that a-synchronicity, the messier truth of play (and its insufficiency from Kantinspired aesthetics), tells us notability environing the inadequacy of the Greenberg-Adorno pattern. How susceptibility Cunningham’s achievement emit some incompact on Aesthetic Theory—its lacunae but to-boot its possibilities? How susceptibility Aesthetic Theory—opposing its inadequacies—be made to say notability of appreciate environing play?
Dance Reexploration Journal 42 / 1 summer 2010 49 To avenue these areas of topicing intelligently, we must pristine resumption that Adorno treats novelism not merely as a substance of increasing headstrong-reflexivity and parade but to-boot as a struggle—explicitly—delay countenance. His chronology of laic art could be encapsulated in the flourishing way (and deficient follows my urge series propoundment of Aesthetic Theory, which I longing summarizes clextend the living apexs of the rhetorical): The institutional relish binding for tardy impressionist and then cubist rt engenders a misgiving delay honor to illusionism; the transparency of illusionism then heralds the incorporate of countenanceism as a skin of anticonventionalism (judge of the German art motion of the 1920s, the Neue Sachlichkeit or New Objectivity); the succeeding exclusion of psychical truth and intellectual contact, so-far, entails a relish of countenanceism, which then leads ineluctably to an irritant, exterior constructivism (minimalism, interchangeal acts, fortuity operations, and so on). At each twinkling, countenance trash—how could it not? but it is reworked thtempestuous unanalogous moulds of relish. For Adorno, the tone betwixt countenanceism and constructivism befits paradigmatic of tardy noveroll art. A halt cultivation of Aesthetic Hypothesis reveals aid that for its committer, this tone is fertile of art itself. The melodyworthy apexs of assembly betwixt Adorno and Cunningham are that they twain semblance a noticecogent vill for view and they twain exclude psychical truth, yet they conjointly recover countenance as an certain ingredient of man-made fictions.
In their honorive and totally identical ways of judgeing they twain administer to re-indicate countenance—and they do so in surprisingly harmonious ways (although this may not at pristine answer to be the predicament). For Cunningham, no motion productd by the civilized organization can continually be rare in toped gratified, either owing the civilized organization firmly unites some skin of dynamic or owing the auditory ingredient maps onto the tender organization a identical discernment (see Brown 2007, 53). For Adorno, in contrariety, countenance in art “is the antagonism of directing notability” (1970/1997, 112; marrow pretended).
True countenance, he argues, is intransitive; tdeficient is no goal for the verb “to direct. ” As delay the verb “to progress,” tdeficient is a manifest mould: one can “progress furniture” as one can “direct a liquid”—say, juice from an orange-flame. But when referring to play (as divergent to painting), to be an inmanifest mould of countenance media that a organization must progress and thus direct delayout an exterior goal to be directed. Put apart, the toped motion is not opposed to exemplify everyfiction (smooth the melody).
And deficient is wdeficient Cunningham and Adorno converge: an brightend act can be conceived as antinarrative, apsychological, and yet bountifuly toped. The play can progress its auditory delayout contingent on trackos embedded in concoct, or life bring-aboutd as peremptory contact. Tdeficient is no exterior referent that the organization’s motion refers to; it is not directing aggravate than it is (or, rather, aggravate than it is doing). On this cultivation, countenance is borne by a representativeity—the tender organization—it can singly surpass by losing itself.
David Vaughan, Cunningham’s archivist, has complicated Cunningham’s purpose in stipulations that resonate in this context: “It goes delayout speech,” he writes, that Cunningham has not been careful in toped stories or exploring psychical referenceships: the topic substance of his plays is the play itself. This does 50 Play Reexploration Journal 42 / 1 summer 2010 not moderation that drama is lukewarm, but it is not drama in the purport of truth— rather, it arises from the concentration of the kinetic and melotinsel habit, and the civilized position on description. (1997, 7; marrow pretended)
By “concentration of the kinetic and melotinsel habit,” Vaughan is probably referring to the auditory’s habit; he is alluding to John Martin’s renowned hypothesis that we, as spectators, empathize kinesthetically delay the playrs (a hypothesis patent disencumbered by Expressionist playrs of the 1920s, or Ausdruckstanz). (He may to-boot be judgeing of Cunningham’s aforementioned right that ingredients of the auditory are unhindered to extend their own discernment into the productd motions. ) What is aggravate thrilling in this ignoringage, so-far, is the judgment of a “civilized position on description. What, certainly, does Vaughan moderation by a “civilized position on description”? What would a “civilized position” halt of? How could non-truth play product “drama” and accrue toped? Pointed of what? To exemplify what a “civilized position on description” susceptibility be, how it solicits an inmanifest countenance, and thus how it enlightens the unrecognized corners of Adorno’s hypothesis of countenance, I nonproduction to incline to a feature twinkling in Cunningham’s fruit as a choreographer, the date tempestuously from 1951 to 1956. During these years, Cunningham was impartial preface to test delay the fortuity acts he skilled from John Cage.
The two plays that are most appliccogent in this consider are Sixteen Dances for Soloist and Company of Three, a fifty-three-minute achievement pristine extended in 1951; Suite by Fortuity (1952–1953); and Solo Suite in Era and Locate of 1953, which tardyr became Suite for Five (produced in 1956). The pristine one, Sixteen Dances, is chronicled for disjoined reasons: it demonstrated the wave of Hindu aesthetics, which Cage had been exploring bybygone at last 1946, when he pristine remarks Ananda Coomaraswamy’s The Transformation of Species (Nicholls 2007, 36).
The concern depicts the nine “permanent” contacts brilliant in the Natyasastra, the commencementcomignoring of Hindu/Sanskrit augustan theater. These contacts were, as Cunningham recast them, Anger, Humor, Sorrow, Heroic Valor, the Abomincogent (or abomination), Wonder, Fear, the Erotic, and Tranquility (or Peace). Moreover, Sixteen Dances (accompanied by a classifyment Cage wrote conduct the concordant spectry) contained what susceptibility very courteous be the pristine play posteriority inveterate on the use of fortuity operations. 4 Thus, Sixteen Dances, the very choreography in which fortuity acts are extendd for the pristine era, is dissimilarly environing the contacts and their countenance.
Tdeficient is some laziness of certainly how—and to what quantity—Cunningham applied fortuity acts to Sixteen Dances. However, his comments in “A Collaborative Regularity betwixt Melody and Dance” and his fact voicelessnesss (in the Cunningham archive at Westbeth) mark that in at last one limb (the interlude behindcited Fear), he used charts and tossed counterfeits to indicate the aptop of the motion posterioritys (phrases), the era intervals, and the orientations and spatial ordainments of the playrs.
In “A Collaborative Process” he writes The view for the concern was to own each of the plays disturbed delay a favoring contact flouriemit by an interlude. Although the aptop was to fluctuate incompact and ebon, it didn’t answer to substance whether Sorrow or Fear came pristine, so I tossed a counterfeit. And to-boot in the interlude behindcited Fear, compute 14, I used charts of disjoined Play Reexploration Journal 42 / 1 summer 2010 51 motions for representative for each of the immodest playrs, and let fortuity operations glide the uninterruptedness. (qtd. in Vaughan 1997, 58; qtd. in Kostelanetz 1998, 140–41).
Again, in “Two Questions and Five Dances,” Cunningham specifies: “the identical posterioritys, and the diffusiveness of era, and the directions in room of each were ascertained by uneasy counterfeits. It was the pristine such habit for me and felt affect ‘chaos has follow again’ when I achievemented in it” (qtd. in Vaughan 1997, 59). It is disencumbered that the pristine play Cunningham choreographed completely thtempestuous the collision of fortuity acts was Suite by Fortuity in 1953. Cunningham’s publiemit recitals of Suite by Fortuity are protractedly aggravate favoring delay honor to the use of charts and counterfeit uneasy than his recitals of Sixteen Dances (Cunningham 1968, n. . ; see to-boot Brown 2007, 39; and Charlip qtd. in Vaughan 1997, 62, 70). Carolyn Brown has markd that in Sixteen Dances it was the aptop of the motion turns that was complicated by fortuity, not the identical motions or positions delayin the motion turn. 5 The uninterruptedness at scaptivate in Sixteen Dances, then, would be the uninterruptedness betwixt turns, not identical motions. And yet, in an unpubliemit voicelessness from the archive, Cunningham marks that he was already careful—at last conceptually—in separating turns into identical motions and enumerating their multitudinous possibilities.
In other utterance, the logic generating his tardyr acts—the demolishing up of turns into identical motions that were then charted and appointed into posterioritys clarified by fortuity—already existed in an embryonic propound. Anticipating a exercise he would anteriorly-long brighten, Cunningham produces the flourishing roll of immanent motion representative in his fact voicelessnesss: “Legs can be low, intermediate or lofty in air; legs can be turn or straight; legs can be front, party, or tail” (Cunningham 1951). The schematic recital of motion choices (into what he fawns “gamuts of motion”) foreshadows the skins of taxonomies he would enucleate tardyr (Vaughan 1997, 72).
Photographic representations allude-to that at this apex in his success, Cunningham was stagnant choosing motion representative thematically. That is, the types of motion clarified for any attached contact had a culturally customary reference to that contact. Describing Sixteen Dances, Cunningham writes: “the solos were disturbed delay favoring contactal qualities, but they were in picture mould and not identical—a yelling hero for the abominable, a man in a chair for the funny, a bird-masked proviso for the wondrous” (qtd. in Vaughan 1997, 59).
Unfortunately, tdeficient is no video or film archives of the play, but from the current photographs, it is plain that Cunningham was achievementing delay a noveroll glossary; tdeficient is notability impercipient of Martha Graham or Ted Shawn in the tinsel poses, the off-cpenetrate leaps, and the straight nobleer organization that we do not see in his achievement tardyr. In Cunningham’s fact voicelessnesss (1951) for the concern—and tdeficient is no way of accomplished if these meditate the completed concern as it was so-far productd—he jots down the matter of introducing a customary balletic glossary for the enucleateed quartet on “tranquility. “Finale to profits from balletic positions, and reincline to them at all cadences!!! ” he exclaims. I honor Cunningham so emphatically chooses balletic positions as starting and finality apexs, as calm “rests,” owing they tender motion representative that is deficient allyd 52 Play Reexploration Journal 42 / 1 summer 2010 Photo 2. Merce Cunningham in his Sixteen Dances for Soloist and Company of Three (1952). Photographer: Gerda Peterich. by convention—at last, by Graham convention—delay feature contactal propounds.
As Cunningham writes environing the date: “It was approximately unuscogent to see a motion in novel play during that date not stiffened by erudite or identical connection” (qtd. in Vaughan 1997, 69). If “tranquility,” the ninth contact from the Natyasastra, signifies the surpassence of contact, then may-be a ballet glossary would be alienate, in-detail athwart the tailbasis of the earlier prospect, aggravate customaryly toped, “images” used for the solos and the erotic duet. During the years 1951–1956, Cunningham was perspicuously making ascertainies that would befit haltent elements of his exercise for years to follow.
In achievements such as Sixteen Dances and Solo Suite in Room and Era (1953), not singly does he extend fortuity operations but he to-boot enucleates an avenue to the organization as an toped organ. He chooses motion representative that susceptibility be considered customaryly toped as courteous as motion representative inveterate on classroom exercises, but he elects (or engenders thtempestuous fortuity operations) a posteriority of turns or poses that is not customary. In Sixteen Dances newly minted fortuity operations suffer him to test delay the aptop of the motion representative in a way that endangers the uninterruptedness of the play. But what he learns by endangering that aggravate customary Play Reexploration Journal 42 / 1 summer 2010 53 mould of uninterruptedness is that another mould of uninterruptedness can smoothe. As he underscores in his fact voicelessnesss for the 1956 Suite for Five (an extone of Solo Suite in Room and Era delay pretended trio, duet, and quintet): “Dynamics in motion follow from the uninterruptedness” (Cunningham 1951; marrow in the causeal). What would accoutre this uninterruptedness if not the assumed syntax of unwritten play moulds, if not the twinklingum of propulsive motions?
Over the direction of a year of facts for Sixteen Dances (the era it took to start the duets, trios, and quartets on Dorothea Brea, Joan Skinner, and Anneliese Widman) Cunningham endow his rejoinder. The uninterruptedness melding one motion to another would be procured from the playr herself, that is, from the way she endow to string simultaneously motions previously not linked by choreographic or classroom exercises. In “Two Questions and Five Dances,” Cunningham describes his satisfaction as he wakeed Joan Skarrest captivate a notoriously trying posteriority of motions and thlearn them simultaneously seamlessly delay her own organization.
Skarrest extendd “coordination, going from one fiction to another, that I had not encountered antecedently, physically” (qtd. in Vaughan 1997, 59). His comments extend what smoothes as a firm in his choreography. According to Carolyn Brown, Although the aggravateall rhythmic view and tempi were Merce’s, he nonproductioned me to meet my own phrasing delayin the sections. . . . Unaffect what happens in ballet, tdeficient is no other judgment, no subjoined commencement of intuition or life, no aural motive . . . Tdeficient is singly motion, skilled and rehearsed in hush.
In aptop for Cunningham playrs to be “musical,” they must ascertain, in the motion, out of their own arrest media and accidental melodyality, what I fawn, for nonproduction of a emend vocable, the “song. ” . . . Tdeficient is a discernment in continuallyy Cunningham play, but the discernment cannot be translated into utterance; it must be habitd kinesthetically thtempestuous the diction of motion. (2007, 195–96; marrow in the causeal) Dynamics are thus not preconceived by the choreographer but instead smoothe from the playr’s falsehood of unscripted, “discovered” transitions adventitious from one motion, or one motion posteriority (phrase), to the instant.
These transitions providing uninterruptedness are ascititious by the playr’s own coping mechanism, her way of assimilating each motion into a new posteriority, a new logic, that singly the organization can discaggravate in the regularity of many effort. In Sixteen Dances Skarrest granted him delay a discriminating instinct (reinforced by Carolyn Brown anteriorly-long behindcited), spectryly, that the directivity of the organization is lost neither when the elements of an toped motion glossary, a set of “picture moulds,” are re-mixed or forcibly dis-articulated, nor when the elements re-mixed are themselves as negative and unburdened by cultural contortments as feasible.
So what is the “civilized position on description”—to reincline to our earlier topic—and in what way can it be considered toped? I honor that what Cunningham was preface to uncaggravate in his achievement during this date, and that he bountifuly realizes in Suite for Five of 1956, is that the civilized organization is doubly toped: it can be toped dissimilarly, in an amply decipherable, culturally codified way, and it can be toped intransitively, merely by exposing its dynamic, arc-engendering fibre. This inmanifest directivity belongs to an revivify mould responding at what Adorno fawns the “proto” intellectual smooth (1970/1997; 112).
That is, the uninterruptedness-creating, coping organization is contingent on an aptop of sensorimotor 54 Play Reexploration Journal 42 / 1 summer 2010 sensitivity that is itheadstrong an toped ordainment, one that underlies and in reality renders feasible what we fulfill as the conversant signifying ordainment of customary toped “images” and “personal” contacts. 7 The “civilized position on description” can for-this-reason be summed up as a set of kinesthetic, proprioceptive, weight-bearing, and sometimes material problems to be solved. In the fact voicelessnesss for Suite for Five (1952–1958), these problems are enumerated succinctly.
Cunningham secure this concern by contingent on motion representatives whose posterioritys were complicated by the imperfections patent on a quibble of tractate. (Here, he was imitating Cage, who false the regularity delay Melody for Piano, which accompanied the Solo Suite. ) Cunningham tells us that the playrs had to tease environing (1) “where” they are; (2) “then wdeficient to” (wdeficient they own to get to); and (3) “if aggravate than one special [is] disturbed,” how the motions they establish get be monstrous by the other’s nearness on the description. In deficient, the spatial and interidentical referenceships extend the problems and institute the “civilized position on the description. The playrs are fawned on not to direct a feature contact, or set of contacts, but instead to enucleate brightend coping mechanisms for creating uninterruptedness betwixt disenunciated motions conjuncture accrueing impressible to their residuum in room. They must continue era delayout melodyal cues; purport the nearness of the other playrs on description; comprehend undiscerningly, proprioceptively, what these other playrs are doing; and adimpartial the timing and liberty of their motions conformably, thereby “expressing” the “civilized position” at index.
All this achievement is “expressive”—it belongs to the “sort of countenance”—insofar as it is demanded by a civilized position on a description and insofar as civilized positions on descriptions (or otherwise) institute an representative confutation to the extend twinkling, an representative confutation to the totally sole stipulations of nature at one attached apex in era. In an meeting delay Jacqueline Lesschaeve, Cunningham puts it this way: “You own to start to comprehend wdeficient the other playr is, delayout looking. It has to do delay timing, the referenceship delay the timing. If you hired circumspection to the timing, then, smooth if you weren’t facing them, you knew they were there.
And that created a referenceship” (Cunningham 1991, 22). Relationships, engendering inevitably the “civilized position,” are complicated as organization-to-organization referenceships, or indeed tender-body-to-moving-organization referenceships. As Tobi Tobias has allude-toed, “may-be motion is at the heart, the organization’s confutation foregoing the psyche’s” (1975, 43). Contemporary neuroscience is in reality preface to settle this apex of view: referenceships are ascititious kinetically, and thus the civilized drama starts at a prepsychological, may-be smooth preintellectual smooth of interaction delay the globe.
The achievement of Antonio Damasio (1999) and Marc Jeannerod (2006) in feature emphasizes the limit to which amply (although not completely) noncognizant operations of the sensorimotor ordainment—including visuomotor partss and kinesthetic, proprioceptive, haptic, and vestibular ordainments—institute the very stipulations of possibility for the smoothence of “higher smooth” regularityes of cognizant conception, symbolization (language), and contact. These scientists dub the moulder, aggravate somatic (and evolvementarily earlier) lamina of activity the “protoself. This protoheadstrong is detaild to homeostasis and the dignified rumor that identifys the countenance betwixt the topic’s organization and other bodies; it is thus the tangible substrate of topicivity silent as an apprisedness of nature a disjoined headstrong. 8 If we reincline to Cunningham’s propoundment, quoted aloft, we can see that a referenceship Play Reexploration Journal 42 / 1 summer 2010 55 ascititious merely by occupying the concordant period of era products a “civilized position” insofar as two bodies are obliged to accrue apprised of each other’s nearness.
This apprisedness is not necessarily colored delay affect; that is, the “civilized position on description” is not necessarily charged delay contact. To that quantity, we can say that Cunningham’s choreographic act attends to intimacies answerring on the smooth of the preintellectual lamina of interaction betwixt civilized natures; “presubjective” would not moderation pre-identical or pre-individuated but rather conspicuous deputy in an interintellectual milieu antecedently that deputy penetrates a truth, a customary, politically complicated reference to the other.
The reference to the other, as Cunningham apexs out, is viewd by era; in a duet, for prompting, the choreographic peremptorily is that bodies should be doing feature fictions at feature twinklings in a predecided posteriority. Yet at the concordant era, the cohabitation of that political and spatial configuration that is the description creates a position—a “civilized position”—in which two or aggravate bodies must befit apprised of one another’s motions; they thereby penetrate into a reference on the “presubjective,” or prepsychological, smooth.
In Aesthetic Hypothesis Adorno indicates certainly this preintellectual lamina of nature as the cause of toped action: that is, the prepsychologized organization, detaild in his inclination to the civilized “sensorium,” is itheadstrong the commencement of toped gratified. Beyond—or underlying—the manifest, customaryized gratified of artworks is another gratified: the sensorium’s “objective” cognizantness, as he puts it, of the extreme globe that it probes. In their countenance, artworks do not represent the impulses of identicals, nor in any way those of their committers”; instead, he continues, artworks are affectness (mimesis) “exclusively as the affectness of an exterior countenance” (1970/1997, 111–12; marrow pretended). This exterior countenance is best taken by the melodyal term “espressivo,” he continues, bybygone it denotes a dynamic that is completely intransitive, “remote from psychology,” although engenderd by a civilized topic.
Significantly for our purposes, he adds that the “exterior countenance” of topicivity is consistent delay the lamina of nature “of which the sensorium was may-be uniformly cognizant in the globe and which now subsists singly in artworks” (112). This “sensorium”—a “consciousness” not yet headstrong-reflexive yet nonethedeficient a cognizantness—is secure of a set of receptors of intimately to the exterior globe.
The lamina of nature taken by the sensorium may be considered the exterior presentation of topicivity, the globe-sensitive, outer-directed, comprehendledge-seeking, coping organization that is the endowation on which a psychic topicivity, a identicality, builds. Ultimately, for Adorno, it is the habit of this exterior lamina of nature (the “consciousness” of the sensorium) that artworks trace to “express. ” “Artworks,” Adorno writes, “bear countenance not wdeficient they unite the topic, but rather wdeficient they revert delay the prototruth of topicivity” (112).
Another fraught way to judge of the reference betwixt the “prototruth of topicivity” and countenance can be endow in the achievement of Charles Darwin. As incredible as it may answer, tdeficient is a continuum adventitious from Darwin’s The Countenance of the Emotions in Man and Animals (1872/1965) thtempestuous Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology of Perception ( wdeficient he relies heavily on Darwin for his knowledge of the toped organization), to Adorno’s Aesthetic Hypothesis and its judgment of a initiatory sensorimotor apprehension taken mimetically in art.
Adorno’s sensorial “consciousness” or “presubjective” lamina of nature in the globe looks surprisingly affect Darwin’s knowledge of “tangible intensities”—robust 56 Play Reexploration Journal 42 / 1 summer 2010 defilements, firm publicity, and their multitudinous manifestations on the faces and bodies of voluptuouss and civilizeds. These “tangible intensities” are moulds of countenance—or “proto” countenance, if you affect—that assist as the preproviso for the fruit of aggravate culturally decipherable, codified toped gestures (such as the blench or the encourage).
In The Countenance of the Emotions in Man and Animals, Darwin’s hypothesis of directivity links the fruit of what we fawn emoting to principal neurological and physiological confutations engenderd by a sensorimotor rumor. What we fulfill as puff, he writes, is in-effect caused by a confutation engenderd in voluptuouss by the autonomic circulatory ordainment; action that follows to be designated as enrage (for the spectator) starts delay an firm glide of class, conjuncture action signed as joy or brilliant satisfaction is underwritten, so to talk, by the quickening of the publicity.
What we fulfill as “suffering” is directed thtempestuous the defilement of a expanded multiformity of muscle collections. Aggravate the direction of era, robust defilement in public follows to be allyd delay angst, although the favoring collections of muscles straight susceptibility diversify from cultivation to cultivation. For prompting, one cultivation susceptibility ally disinclination delay the defilement of the facial muscles, for pattern, in a grimace. A unanalogous cultivation—or indeed, a subculture, such as novel play—susceptibility ally disinclination delay the defilement of muscles in the abdominal planeness, sternum, and pelvis.
In twain predicaments, the adaptive action, robust defilement, can be observed as disconcordant from the political significations it follows to procure. Animals and civilizeds twain inarrange actions that are haltly allyd delay contacts, but presumptively it should be feasible—and this is Darwin’s view—to conjecture the protointellectual topedness of the organization (muscle defilements, autonomic confutations) from the customaryized, codified gestures into which this directivity has been conjugated.
Adorno and Cunningham twain target—the pristine to theorize, the prevent to achieve—this principal aptop of protointellectual topedness contained in, but immanently dissocicogent from, the customaryized gestures to which it gives run. The “civilized position on description” that is so “dramatic” or “expressive” (in Cunningham’s glossary) is one in which civilized bodies own been released from the prefabricated shapes and congealed (“stiffened”) discernments imposed by a attached choreographic glossary or gestural regime (qtd. n Vaughan 1997, 69). Cunningham trusts that by preventing the customary sequencing of motions delayin a turn (thtempestuous the collision of fortuity acts) he get seduce playrs to inarrange dynamics that are at uniformly aggravate “objective”—in the purport that they are engenderd by coping mechanisms rather than contactal propounds—and totally identical—radically intellectual, we susceptibility say, in the purport that they are engenderd by the conspicuous organization of the playr confronting an totally sole “civilized position on description. In “The Impermanent Art” (1952), Cunningham follows very halt to naming Darwin’s “tangible intensities” when he evokes an aptop of robust dynamics released from contortment delay customary contacts, such as ignoringion and enrage. Deficient he writes that Play is not emoting, ignoringion for her, enrage athwart him. I judge play is aggravate unadorned than that. In its nature, in the bareness of its life it is the commencement from which ignoringion or enrage may children in a feature mould, the commencement of life out of which may be channeled the life that goes into the multitudinous contactal
Dance Reexploration Journal 42 / 1 summer 2010 57 actions. It is that braying educateing of this life, i. e. , of life geared to an concentration lofty ample to dissolve steel in some playrs, that gives the protracted fluctuation. (qtd. in Vaughan 1997, 86) The “braying educateing” of an tall tangible life bears a reference to what Darwin fawns the educateion of “tangible intensities” by voluptuouss that can singly be said to be “angry” or “ashamed” if we anthropomorphize their motions.
Cunningham answers acutely attuned to what Darwin to-boot voicelessnesss: our predisposition to elucidate (anthropomorphize) voluptuous actions, a predisposition he markdly identifies delay the public’s yearn to learn psychical discernment into the tall tangibleities of the playrs on description. One could smooth say that Cunningham endeavors to de-anthropomorphize our knowledge of civilized action on description; that is, he nonproductions us to de-reify, to cite from the customaryized, psychologizing modes of play spectatorship, the motion action “blatantly” educateed in his choreography.
He asks us to habit smooth the attractive, plangent duet of Suite by Fortuity delayout instructive aggravatelay, as though it were merely an prompting of protointellectual directivity unfolded by two tender bodies faulty in a “civilized position on description. ” May-be not incidentally, Cunningham’s most mild evocation of this “protosubjective” lamina of directivity answers in a ignoringage on voluptuouss and melody—and it is delay this ignoringage that I would affect to determine. Cunningham is talking environing his reasons for separating melody from his horeography, explaining why he avoids giving his playrs melodyal cues delay which to era the period of their motions or engender their toped dynamics. At application to tender a indisputcogent recital of what he is traceing, he voicelessnesss instead that the polar irreconcilcogent of what he aspires to in his collaborations delay Cage may be “seen and heard in the melody appertaining the motions of violent voluptuouss in the Disney films. [This melody] robs them of their instinctual rhythms,” he rights, “and leaves them as caricatures.
True, [the motion] is a man-made ordainment, but what isn’t? ” (qtd. in Vaughan 1997, 10). Let us apprehend for a twinkling the Disney animator as cave painter, miming—affect the “primitive” playr of Benjamin’s “On the Mimetic Faculty”—the rule of the voluptuous totem. In an act of natural confutation, troubling the countenance betwixt mime and mimed, the animator studies the voluptuous, acquiring its rhythmic measure, the toped dynamic of its way of grumbleing or extending a paw.
Without accomplished accurately what the voluptuous media, how that grumble or extone signifies in an voluptuous globe, the animator copies, uses whatcontinually conventions and pictures—whatcontinually man-made ordainments—she has to avenue the causeal in its presubjective, prepsychologized motion propound. That, for Cunningham, is what can be unhinderedd thtempestuous the a-breaking-up of uninterruptedness, thtempestuous the trick of the rigorous, implaccogent disciplines of interchange and fortuity.
The protointellectual aptop of the violent gesture is what we susceptibility see if it were unaffected by truth, if it could be taken delayout the omnipresent, strip-mall swelling melody of the Disney globe in which we all too repeatedly bathed. Ultimately, the “civilized position on description” is, opposing years of facts and revivals, a set of “violent gestures” directing what it is affect to be a sensorium tender on description. The dare that trash is to indicate twain how Cunningham’s choreographic exercise establish-knowns the achievement of the proto-headstrong and how that achievement educates (and is etd by 8 Play Reexploration Journal 42 / 1 summer 2010 the exigencies of ) the view of artworks, that is, the view of plays for auditorys in favoring truthful settings delay demands of their own. Another dare arises delay honor to Adorno and my consanguineous purpose of cultivation play tail into Aesthetic Theory. If, as he rights, artworks—not plays, but paintings, sonatas, and poems—“revert delay the prototruth of topicivity,” then wdeficient is this “reverberation” to be located?
Wdeficient (or when) in the regularity of art making does protosubjectivity glide-away as an substitute, as a constituting fibre? And if, as Adorno implies, we are no longer sensuously lively (“the sensorium was may-be uniformly cognizant in the globe,” he writes), then how do we identify the nearness of the sensorium’s wave on the classifyment of artworks? What trash of the sensorium in art, of the sensorium in play? These topics inmould the instant mien of my exploration, the contours of which I own singly begun to contour.
Notes 1. Jose Gil produces disjoined delicate articulations of Cunningham’s purpose in “The Dancer’s Body” (2002). I consent delay Gil that, in an endeavor to “establish grammar the discernment,” or “establish organization apprisedness enjoin cognizantness” (121), Cunningham “disconnects motions from one another, as if each motion belonged to a unanalogous organization” (122); so-far, I do not honor that the objective playr ends up delay a “multiplicity of constructive bodies” (123), a “body-without-organs” (124).
As I instrument tardyr in this essay, Cunningham’s most prosperous playrs (in his eyes and my own) own been those who are cogent to retain the motion posterioritys into their own organization; the grammar’s inflexion, the posteriority’s assimilation thtempestuous the organization’s conspicuous dynamics, is what so-far lends the play “meaning” in the way Cunningham signifys. 2. See “The Impermanent Art,” pristine publiemit in Arts 7, no. 3 (1955) and reproduced in Kostelanetz (1989) and Vaughan (1997). 3.
See in-detail the appendices to Adorno’s Aesthetic Theory. The achievement was not finiemit during Adorno’s lifeera (Adorno died in 1969. ) 4. Sixteen Dances for Soloist and Company of Three was pristine productd in Milbrook, New York. It contained the flourishing posteriority: solo, trio, solo, duet, solo, quartet, solo, quartet, solo, duet, solo, trio, solo, quartet, duet, quartet. See Vaughan (1997, 289). 5. Carolyn Brown, identical despatch delay the committer, June 24, 2009. 6. Cunningham extends what he is getting at as ollows: “You do not disjoined the civilized nature from the actions he does, or the actions which achieve him, but you can see what it is affect to demolish these actions up in unanalogous ways, to suffer the ignoringion, and it is ignoringion, to answer for each special in his own way” (qtd. in Vaughan 1997, 10). 7. Mark Johnson (1987) and Daniel Stern (1985/2000) to-boot honor that our ability to be toped in the aggravate conversant way—to unfold civilized contacts such as enrage or pity—is predicated on a preintellectual parts to shape habit into “picture schemata” ( Johnson) or “vitality affects” (Stern).
The neuroscientist Antonio R. Damasio has aggravate recently argued that a protoself, or neural substrate of sensory feedback, is the proviso of possibility for contacts per se (1999). What is “expressed” by this protoheadstrong is motion, a nonthematized apprisedness of orientation, a purport of et. Cunningham’s choreography answers to be fawning on its playrs to “express” certainly these partss; they are what produce the uninterruptedness, the dynamic, that is so tender to wake. On the sensorimotor protoheadstrong and our advance to it, see my Agency and Deputy (2009). 8. See Damasio (1999) and Jeannerod (2006).
Damasio persists that the protoheadstrong is completely nonconscious, but Jeannerod produces insinuating testimony that kinesthetic apprisedness is repeatedly availcogent to the cognizant headstrong. See to-boot Joseph LeDoux (2002) for a concordant recital. Play Reexploration Journal 42 / 1 summer 2010 59 Works Cited Adorno, Theodor W. 1970/1997. Aesthetic Theory, edited by Gretel Adorno and Rolf Tiedemann. Translated and extendd by Robert Hullot-Kentor. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Benjamin, Walter. 1986. “On the Mimetic Faculty. ” Reflections: Essays, Aphorisms, Autobiographical Writing, edited by Peter Demetz, 333–36. New York: Schocken.
Brown, Carolyn. 2007. Fortuity and Circumstance: Twenty Years delay Cage and Cunningham. New York: Knopf. Cunningham, Merce. 1951. Fact Notes. Merce Cunningham Archives, Westbeth, New York City, New York. ———. 1952–1958. Fact Notes. Merce Cunningham Archives, Westbeth, New York City, New York. ———. 1968. Changes: Notes on Choreography. Edited by Frances Starr. New York: Notability Else Press. ———. 1991. The Dancer and the Dance: Merce Cunningham in Conversation delay Jacqueline Lesschaeve. New York: Marilyn Boyars. Damasio, Antonio R. 1999. The Contact of What Happens: Organization and Contact in the Making of Consciousness.
New York: Harcourt Brace. Darwin, Charles. 1872/1965. The Countenance of the Emotions in Man and Animals. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Foster, Susan Leigh. 1986. Balbutiation Dancing: Bodies and Subjects in Contemporary American Dance. Berkeley: University of California Press. Franko, Mark. 1995. Dancing Modernism/Performing Politics. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Gil, Jose. 2002. “The Dancer’s Body. ” In A Shock to Thought: Countenance behindcited Deleuze and Guattari, edited by Brian Massumi, 117–27. London: Routledge. Jeannerod, Marc. 2006. Motor Cognition: What Actions Tell the Self. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Johnson, Mark. 1987. The Organization in the Mind: The Bodily Basis of Meaning, Imagination, and Reason. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Kostelanetz, Richard. 1989. Esthetics Contemporary. Buffalo, NY: Prometheus. ———, ed. 1998. Merce Cunningham: Dancing in Room and Era 1944–1992. New York: Da Capo. LeDoux, Joseph. 2002. The Synaptic Self. New York: Viking. Manning, Susan A. 1993. Ecstasy and the Demon: Feminism and Nationalism in the Dances of Mary Wigman. Berkeley: University of California Press. Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. 1962. Phenomenology of Perception. Translated by Colin Smith. New York: Routledge. Nicholls, David. 2007.
John Cage. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. Noland, Carrie. 2009. Agency and Embodiment: Performing Gestures/Producing Culture. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Reynolds, Dee. 2007. Rhythmic Subjects: Uses of Life in the Dances of Mary Wigman, Martha Graham, and Merce Cunningham. Hampshire, England: Play Books. Stern, Daniel. 1985/2000. The Interidentical Globe of the Infant. New York: Basic. Tobias, Tobi. 1975. “Notes for a Concern on Cunningham. ” Play Magazine 42 (September). Vaughan, David. 1997. Merce Cunningham: Fifty Years. Edited by Melissa Harris. New York: Aperture. 60 Play Reexploration Journal 42 / 1 summer 2010