Dancing and(/as) Philosophy

Monday April 28, I had the pleasure to participate at a symposium about the senses at a Danish dance festival called SWOP festival.

Here I gave a speech called “Aisthesis and Dancing – and exploration of dancing as philosophy” , building on the thinking of Aristotle, Heidegger and Adorno.

I argued that dancing can be a way of interpreting the world on a pre-linguistic level adding perspective to the knowledge facilitated and shaped by words, i.e. spoken and written language.

Understood in this way, dancing is much more than just having fun and getting good exercise (even though this is definitely also the case).

The bodily movements simultaneously contains, carries and expresses knowledge of the structures of meaning (often also articulated and understood in words) that we are always already embedded in – and it offers an opportunity to challenge this inherent knowledge, with an artistic exploration of additional meaning.

Dancing can hence be said to carry a philosophical potential, since exploring additional perspectives – that would otherwise be unrevealed, when only concerned with the kind of knowledge accessible through words – is a philosophical practice, at least in the way Adorno understands philosophy as critique.

These perspectives inspired the following discussions at the symposium, and I hope the speech can inspire you to. You can see the complete speech and bibliography by clicking on the picture:

 Screen Shot 2014-04-30 at 9.52.51 AM

I have (of course) tried to integrate an artistic visual component in the presentation ‘form’/design aiming at:

  • Presenting the content in a more intuitive way (than with a traditional powerpoint show)
  • Making the presentation more appealing and sensuously engaging

– and thereby also adding aesthetic perspectives to the linguistic content, trying to counterbalance/challenge an understanding solely facilitated by words.

By also making the presentation something else than just a presentation of words (it could be interpreted as a graphic picture/a map/shapes and colors, etc. in its own right), I intended to build in meaning beyond words – and hence also a conscious attention to the limits of words.



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