Expression and Bodily Faith in Natalie Heller’s First Impressions

Authors

  • Adam Loughnane University College Cork

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.21476/PP.2016.21106

Keywords:

Phenomenology, motor-perception, perceptual-faith, contemporary dance

Abstract

In this essay I place choreographer Natalie Heller in dialogue with Merleau-Ponty on issues of motor-perception, expression and bodily faith. I analyze her new work First Impressions to demonstrate how she responds to a similar impulse that drove Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology, particularly in his last writing, The Visible and the Invisible. Both Heller and Merleau-Ponty seek to go beyond the representational understanding of motion and perception in order to articulate and experiment with a type of expression, which is beyond the distinctions between motion and motionlessness, activity and passivity, visibility and invisibility. While Merleau-Ponty writes about this form of expression, Heller’s performers show that beyond these binaries is a form of expression that is ambiguously situated between impressing and being impressed upon, and that to engage the world or the city as such, requires a motor-perceptual form of faith.

Author Biography

Adam Loughnane, University College Cork

Adam Loughnane is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at University College Cork, Ireland. Adam specializes in comparative aesthetics and phenomenology in the Continental European and East-Asian traditions.

References

Heller, Natalie. 2014. “Research Blog.” Last updated April 24. http://www.natalieheller.com/research-blog

Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. (1945) 2002. Phenomenology of Perception. Translated by Colin Smith. London and New York: Routledge.

Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. (1952) 1993. “Indirect Language and the Voices of Silence.” In The Merleau-Ponty Aesthetics Reader: Philosophy and Painting, edited by Galen A. Johnson, translated by Michael B. Smith, 76–120. Evanston IL: Northwestern University Press.

Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. (1961) 1993. “Eye and Mind.” In The Merleau-Ponty Aesthetics Reader: Philosophy and Painting, edited by Galen A. Johnson, translated by Michael B. Smith, 121–149. Evanston IL: Northwestern University Press.

Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. (1964) 1968. The Visible and the Invisible. Edited by Claude Lefort. Translated by Alphonso Lingis. Evanston IL: Northwestern University Press.

Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. 1973. Prose of the World. Edited by Claude Lefort. Translated by John O'Neill. Evanston IL: Northwestern University Press.

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Published

29-07-2016

How to Cite

Loughnane, A. (2016). Expression and Bodily Faith in Natalie Heller’s <em>First Impressions</em>. Performance Philosophy, 2(1), 115–129. https://doi.org/10.21476/PP.2016.21106

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Articles