Wednesday, January 9, 2008

authorship/authority

Benoît and I have been grappling with how we can relinquish control without relinquishing authorship.

In Gabriel Josipovici's brilliant article in the TLS (Times Literary Supplement, November 30, 2007) on modernism (from which I found the extracts from Kirkegaard and Sartre), he writes:

Finding the conclusion means giving what has gone on before meaning. Giving something an end is not the same as giving it meaning, any more than life acquires meaning simply by coming to an end. The trouble with novels is that the only meaning they can have is conferred on them by their authors: but what authority do they have to confer meaning?

Is a dance work like a novel?
I think there is desire for dance works to act as novels: what is the meaning of this? people often ask, looking towards an external authority - the choreographer - to give them meaning to their dance experience. But all attempts to confer meaning on the dance take away the mystery that is the core of the dance experience, the life experience: the glimpse of the unknown, the unknowable. Should I catch even a glimpse of you, I would lose my wits. And if I should see you completely, I would lose myself.

Perhaps authorship means creating structures and places in which the participants - dancer and audience - have the opportunity to reflect and come to their own conclusions.

All we have to do as choreographers is to hold space.

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