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Title: Performativities, virtualities, abstractions, and Cunningham's BIPED
Author: Stjernholm, Johan
ISNI:       0000 0004 2688 3825
Awarding Body: University of the Arts London
Current Institution: University of the Arts London
Date of Award: 2009
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This thesis explores the complex relations between subjective perception and dance movements, mainly exemplified by drawing on two short extracts from Merce Cunningham's choreography BIPED (1999). The central aim of the study is to formulate a performative phenomenological inquiry, which moves beyond an identification of essences, and towards an understanding of the lived experience of a dance performance as being grounded on iterations of the "abstract". The concept of the abstract primarily signifies an alternative mode of understanding Henry Bergson's notion of duration. Considering Gilles Deleuze's reading of Bergson's intuition as a method to divide the experience of a lived present into a temporal difference in kind between the virtual and the actual, this thesis suggests a complementary division of duration into virtual and actual kinds of abstraction. In addition to Bergson's method of intuition, the discussion is phenomenologically rooted in Maurice Merleau-Ponty's concept of the body image and Gaston Bachelards idea of non-causal reverberation. As with the case of intuition, those phenomenological concepts are applied unconventionally. Rather than serving as a pre-objective ontological basis for an analytical and scientific understanding of subjective embodiment, the notion of a reverberating body image is here treated as a form of mimesis, performatively constituted through symbolic and representational practices. Hence, in phenomenological terms, the rationale of the thesis is predominantly sustained by the philosophy of Ernst Cassirer, arguing that reality cannot be approached directly, but only through the concept of the symbol. The viewpoint from where I speak has performative cybernetic characteristics, continuously and dynamically transgressing boundaries and reconstituting itself through iterative and citational practices. Additionally, as I move between the analytical and the intuitive, as well as between the virtual and the actual, the formal structure of the thesis corresponds to a liminal transformation of the speaking subjectivity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Dance