[dance-tech] There is no dancer behind the dance__We have always been zombies and cyborgs

  • From: "Jaime del Val" <jaimedelval@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <dance-tech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 16 Apr 2008 15:45:12 +0200

Hi all, Johannes,

>>>Jaime,  do you see dance as primarily a form of "non-verbal
communication"  ?   but surely in interactive and emergent virtual scenarios
how do you separate the dancer from the dance, and what is the
"choreographic" in the extended sense of sensorial flows and projected flows
we sought to imagine? <<<

>>>is the "choreographic" not the kind of "object" you deconstructed, Jaime?
...  a non object, a non structure, an already-reproducible mutation.<<<

Choreography can be analysed as a form of non verbal communication (I am
careful in saying "can be analysed", rather than "is" for the issue in not
to generate new ontologies but to locate our subjects of concern within
contingent frameworls of analysis that are necessary in so far as they are
useful tools to  any of us.)

Choreography can also be anlysed as part of the humanist project for a
hegemonic subject, and therefore implies a subject-dancer, capable of
repeating discreticized and intelligible entities, and a subject
choreographer that generates them.

Choreography is thus an attempt to tame and reduce the continuum of the
non-verbal and of movement and of embodied experience in terms of repeatable
and controllable agency, that points or gets near the fictions of
universality of language within western thinking, ignoring the uncotrollable
and unrepeatable within it or categorizing it as an error.

Choreography, as a form of écriture of the body, is a form of
discretisation, based upon a number of naturalised assumptions about what
the body is and can and should be, what is intelligible and acceptable as a
body, it is therefore a tool to draw the line between the intelligible and
the unintelligible, the sovereign and the abject, within contingent contexts
of culture and power.

But Choreography is also a sedimentation of bodies' improvisations, of its
lines of escape, of digressions from norm, in which the lines of the
intelligible fluctuate over time.

However choreography is based upon the assumption of repeatability, which
always necessitates discrete forms to operate, and stresses the repeatable
vs. the irreducible, it must perforce leave out whatever here and now is not
reducible and repeatable. Certainly what is reducible and repeatable changes
over time as the metaformative processes that conforms culture as field of
potential meanings and discretionalities, evolves through multiplicities of
bodies' interactions.

The dancer as a subject is only there in so far as we want to reestablish
the humanist (or other) notion of the subject within  specific regimes of
discourse and culture. But going back to Jeannette's quote from Nietzsche,
some would argue that, like "there is no doer behind the deed", THERE IS NO
DANCER BEHIND THE DANCE: we need not look for a subject-substrate in the
dancing body unless we want to reproduce the fiction of the subject as a
coherent whole that accounts for the settling of the boundaries between the
speakable and the abject.

Note the difference between dance and choregraphy: choreography needs the
subject dancer, whereas postchoreography and dance attempt to get away with
(Body without Organs): the body defies reduction to organicity in its
intensive capacity for transformation, as a field of forces rather than
fixed materiality. So does dance defy reduction to choreography. What this
implies in the end is that both concepts: dance and choreography are under
constant transformation, redefining the boundaries of the discreetable.

>>>I like what Zizek wrote about the melancholia of the choreographers.   We
are not too sure about the virtualization of reality... "but it also opens
up the possibility for the one who manipulates the machinery which runs the
cyberspace literally to steal our own (virtual) body, depriving us of the
control over it, so that one no longer relates to one's body as to 'one's
own.' What one encounters here is the constitutive ambiguity of the notion
of mediatization." The theft of the body may present a very likely trauma to
contemporary dance.  <<<

Indeed this makes me think of Stelarc's absent bodies. When he was with us
in Madrid in December it struck me how insistently he referred to his work
in terms of choreography: choreographies of the absent body controlled by
remote agents, choreography of the robot arm, choreographies of split
physicalities, choreography of the third arm controlled by his stomach
muscles... and of course underlying a project for new anatomical
architechtures of the body in which there is not much room for subjectivity
and split physicality, phantom bodies and zombies are seen as an extrusion
of awareness which implies no subjectivity. Indeed, quoting him: WE HAVE
ALWAYS BEEN CYBORGS AND ZOMBIES: we have never been fully in control of
ourselves, we have always been acting according to forces that drive us, we
have always been construed as subjects that behind the fake appearance of
being whole and independent act according to norms that we embody and

If this is the case then maybe the new forms of being a zombie in cyberspace
will not represent such a risk of our falling appart, though the nostalgia
will inevitably arise in so far as the "theft" is made explicit, theft of  a
fiction of the subject in which we tend to believe. What we need to pay much
attention to are th implicit mechanisms of control, the technologies that
are defined with the purpose of making us into zombies at the service of
market driven forces whilst we believe in free will and autonomous agency.
What we need to counteract are the increasingly implicit and hidden
technologies of the self that we are embodying at every moment in
latecapitalist circles.

The posthuman-postself-postchoreographic, is perhaps an attempt to do away
with the fiction of the subject as an entity in selfcontrol, it is an
attempt to make explicit all the implicit structures and technologies of
power that make us into zombies before we have the possibility to realise
it... in order to open up the possibilities to redefine "ourselves" as
bodies beyond the naturalised assumption of subjectivity and aware of the
fact that we are never under definitive control of anything whatsoever in



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