“If the universe is meaningless, so is the statement that it is so,” Alan Watts wrote as he contemplated our seek for which means. “The meaning and purpose of dancing is the dance.”
It is a fertile metaphor, for the way in which we transfer by the world — and the way we transfer the world by the thoughts — shapes our complete expertise of it. Out of this existential choreography, which we carry out one million occasions a day in one million unconscious methods, arises our notion of actuality.
The metaphor comes alive with unusual vitality in The Choreography of Everyday Life (public library) by choreographer Annie-B Parson, who has formed residing artworks by cultural icons starting from David Bowie and David Byrne to Mikhail Baryshnikov and the Martha Graham Dance Company.
Reading the Odyssey as a type of secular theology and reckoning with Tik-Tok as the folks artwork type of our time, she turns a cautious eye to our menacing pandemic of selfing, observing the self-made nook into which we have now punished ourselves:
Social media varieties are performative solo varieties with an odd conflation of friendship and advertising; the physique is alone in a room performing the self, with an undercurrent of need for applause. Without a city sq. to collect in and hash out the day with neighbors, social media communications have a shading of loneliness beneath.
The manner out, she intimates, is motion — a motion of the spirit that mirrors the motion of our bodies towards the togetherness of the city sq., the place the place generative change takes place, for all creativity — which is the antidote to loneliness — is a type of dance we carry out not in isolation however with the world:
The extensive shot is the digital camera place that enables the viewers to see the complete physique of everybody within the scene of their setting, it’s essentially the most goal and probably essentially the most compositional of digital camera positions, and for very temporary moments I can understand our extensive shot: that we expertise contentment, then we endure, we slog by what we deem uninteresting, we get impressed, we see issues, we miss issues, we journey or fall or slowly crumble, we stand up, we combat, we reconnect, after which in despair or fascination or simply reflexively, we write about it.
And this need to articulate what you’re feeling and understand, to inform it, to title it, to describe it, that is as pure because the development from strolling to operating to leaping, to shaping that leap right into a sample of leaps, after which a bunch of leapers in unison — right into a dance.
And if I’m going into the intense extensive shot, I can see a generative duality between us and the world, a reciprocity between us perceiving the world collectively by artwork, and the world in flip studying us by what we make. In this mirror construction, I can think about the inventive act as world-actualization somewhat than self-actualization, that what we make turns into part of nature’s generative system.
Couple this fragment of The Choreography of Everyday Life with Zadie Smith on what writers can be taught from the good dancers, then revisit Helen Keller, upon visiting Martha Graham’s studio, on how dance is like thought.