Expression in the Performing Arts

Expression in the Performing Arts

Language: English

Pages: 305

ISBN: 1443819530

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


The performing arts represent a significant part of the artistic production in our culture. Correspondingly the fields of drama, film, music, opera, dance and performance studies are expanding. However, these arts remain an underexplored territory for aesthetics and the philosophy of art. 'Expression in the Performing Arts' tries to contribute to this area. The volume collects essays written by international scholars who address a variety of themes concerning the core philosophical topic of expression in the theory of the performing arts. Specific questions about the ontology of art, the nature of the performances, the role of the performer, and the relations between spectators and works emerge from the study of the performing arts. Besides, these arts challenge the unchanging physicality of other kinds of works of art, usually the direct result of creative individual artist, and barely affected by the particular circumstances of their exhibition. Expression is one of the issues that adopt a special character in the performing arts. Do singers, dancers or actors express the feelings a work is expressive of? How does the performer contribute to the expressive content of the work? How does the spectator emotionally respond to the physical proximity of the performers? Is aesthetic distance avoided in the understanding of the performing arts? How are the expressive properties of work, performance and characters related? And how are the subjectivities they embody revealed? The contributions presented here are not all in agreement on the right answers to these questions, but they offer a critical and exciting discussion of them. In addition to original proposals on the theoretical aspect of expression in the performing arts, the collection includes analyses of individual artists, historical productions and concrete works of art, as well as reflections on performative practice.

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even film studies, had been approached almost exclusively from theoretical perspectives, i.e. rarely were artistic practices included in the core research work of a doctoral dissertation. However, especially in the last decade, doctoral projects on theatre, cinema, music and dance have given way to new forms of doctoral theses in which performative art practice itself has become central to these projects and various research strategies. The performing arts are forcing us to rethink the current

can do that, in performing, one does not do. To sum up, I have argued that, first, silent reading to oneself is not to act as a “silent Ion,” since the oral Ions would not have been reading, a fact that furthermore changes profoundly the character of the actions they perform when performing. Second, I proposed that the complicatedness of the central cases of theatrical performance makes creative rehearsal and practice important preparations for it, preparations that have no analogue for reading.

can only be identified through its object–about the beauty of the musical piece. What moves us is not jus the perception of some expressive content, but that it is beautifully presented in the music. In fact, music may be moving despite lacking expressive content, for it is the beauty of the music and not its expressive character that moves us. As a coda, Kivy advances a hypothesis about the role expressive properties do play in our comprehension of the work. He defends the view that they are in

some cases where compliance with a notated score will generate the dancework. Then imagine a performance uncontentiously of that work, but failing to comply with our score—clearly the score includes some constraints not crucial for the work. So, here, dance-performances based on this score will reflect some features crucial to the dance (perhaps) but also some other constraints. Nor is this case merely a philosopher’s fantasy: the Stepanov score for Swan Lake presents precisely this situation! In

their mission was to remove the sutures that Hollywood editors deploy to stitch together film strips into coherent wholes which spectators then take to reflect their own subjective sense of unity. The movie narrative is also rent with gaps and ruptures. According to Stephen Heath, a narrative motion picture begins in a state of equilibriumʊperhaps the town in peace, as in the opening of The Magnificent Seven. But then that sense of equilibrium is disrupted. Bandits ride into the village demanding

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