Speaking of Dance

unpina.jpgThe state of the current condition of humanity (and its implicit modes of communication) is best illustrated when considering a thought-experiment. Let us imagine a world in which every speech, political or otherwise, is followed by an ‘illumination’ – the speaker dancing her/his entire field of knowledge (sensitive, emotional, rational and otherwise) around the previously addressed subject. Not miming, but dancing. Really dancing. For a short period, silence is prevailing; the speaker steps out and dances his/her convictions.

I like to imagine the following scenario: United Nations Headquaters, all representatives in deep concentration attempting to extrapolate more information on the previously addressed subject from the now dancing and rather silent speaker. All starring at someone in a suit exploring his/her position with her/his entire repertoire of physical expression available for communications: moving, shaking, distorted face, grunting noised, rubbing the floor, choosing their rhythm, bringing fourth the unspoken, the vulnerable, the doubtful…or in the words of German philosopher Gernot Boehme: the other of rationality.

And not one, neither representative nor citizen finds this unusual, but expects it as an integral part of public human communication. What kind of consciousness and ethics would have to be inherent in society for such proceedings to be socially integrated – for the fullest possible spectrum of information to be communicated?

A system needs to hide aspects of information to function (famously we couldn’t see if we could see how we see…). This liberal capitalist system, like so many others, needs a highly specific choreography of a body in public situation. A body in defiance of this particular modes – despite her/his truth and wisdom it carries – is nothing but destructive to the system and constitutes a threat. Hence, we all ‘choreograph’ our movements according to the modes of the system, hardly ever ‘really dancing’ in public, but simulating, harnessing and controlling our movements, just as politicians do in their speeches, dancers do in Sadler’s Wells, and everyone else does on a daily basis.

What ‘the other of rationality’ could really achieve if brought out of its shameful corner is unpredictable. Such act would certainly destabilise the current status quo and, paradoxically, most would perceive it as a danger to society and democracy at large.

unpina.jpgis a choreographer and artist.

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