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Post-modern Performing Art - Essay Example

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The essay "Post-modern Performing Art" discovers the performing art in the context of postmodern. Speaking of dance as a performing art is, implicitly, appealing to a contrast between visual and performing arts. Such a contrast leads us naturally to two important points…
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Post-modern Performing Art
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Post-modern Performing Art

Download file to see previous pages... One feature of recognizing dance as a performing art is recognizing its evanescence. Once we accept the transience of dance in this sense, we must still acknowledge its permanence: that the very same dance can be re-performed at some later date. But that fact itself must be explained. And if we want to understand the performing arts a little better here, it is first necessary to say something about the arts more generally. The critic writes an interpretation of a work of art—a poem, a painting or a dance. These interpretations are centrally, often exclusively, verbal in character, even when they are interpretations of dance or music. We call these ‘critic’s interpretations’. Second, there is the interpretation of the performer in a performing art. The performer is irrelevant to what the work of art (in a performing art) means, although my earlier remarks may have tended in that direction. It is not as though something that could be interpreted by the critic is instead interpreted by the performer. Rather, whenever the critic confronts the work of art itself (rather than the score, say) he necessarily confronts something already interpreted by some performer, if this is a work in a performing art. Works in the performing arts come, as we have seen, with a label reading ‘And now perform it’. The content of such a label is always relevant to the meaning of such-and-such a work of art. For only in performance is a token of that type-work available for criticism. The performer’s interpretation does not really....
But that fact itself must be explained. And if we want to understand the performing arts a little better here, it is first necessary to say something about the arts more generally. The critic writes an interpretation of a work of art-a poem, a painting or a dance. These interpretations are centrally, often exclusively, verbal in character, even when they are interpretations of dance or music. We call these 'critic's interpretations'. Second, there is the interpretation of the performer in a performing art. The performer is irrelevant to what the work of art (in a performing art) means, although my earlier remarks may have tended in that direction.
It is not as though something that could be interpreted by the critic is instead interpreted by the performer. Rather, whenever the critic confronts the work of art itself (rather than the score, say) he necessarily confronts something already interpreted by some performer, if this is a work in a performing art. Works in the performing arts come, as we have seen, with a label reading 'And now perform it'. The content of such a label is always relevant to the meaning of such-and-such a work of art. For only in performance is a token of that type-work available for criticism. This means that the performer's interpretation does not really constitute a level of interpretation at all. For one cannot confront the work of art except in this 'interpreted' form. So speaking of the dance/language analogy, and of the linguistic character of our understanding, emphasizes that the place at which the meanings of dances are most readily located is in discussions of those dances, that is to say, in the linguistic element which is ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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