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Various Seminar Texts (3)


Ott, Margus 2012. Hõiva! Vikerkaar 2012(6): 45-59.
Hääletamise puhul on võimalikud valikud meil juba olemas ja me valime nende vahel - st otsus on tegelikult juba olemas, on käesolev, me peame ta lihtsalt teiste seast välja valima. Konsensuse puhul aga otsust ei ole veel, vaid see peab sündima vestluse ja suhtlemise käigus, see on "väesolev" ehk süntees, nagu Tarmo Jüristo avakõnes ütles. Hääletamisel on negatiivne roll: kõrvaldada ülejäänud variandid, nii et järele jääb ainult üks Konsensusel aga on positiivne roll: tekitada see variant, mis võiks kõigile sobida või mis vähemasti poleks kellelegi vastuvõetamatu. (Ott 2012: 45)
A perfectly valid observation, although it leaves a sense of the word consensus being somewhat malleable; e.g. this is not it's original meaning, in my mind.
Hääletuse ja konsensuse erinev ajalisus toob kaasa ka erineva rõhuasetuse: hääletamise puhul on olemus tulemus (milline variant osutub väljavalituks), aga konsensuse puhul protsess ise (kuidas me loome ettepanekuid ja käivitame ettevõtmisi). Kui hääletus ei anna tulemust, siis on tegemist läbikukkumisega ja hääletamisele kulunud aeg on mahavisatud aeg. Kui konsensusprotsessis aga ei jõuta ettepaneku sõnastamise või ettevõtmise sooritamiseni, siis õpiti juba selle poole liikumise protsessis midagi, nii et kulunud aeg pole raisatud, vaid hariv ning on võimalik, et sellest sünnib hoopis midagi muud, mida alguses polnud plaanitudki. (Ott 2012: 46-47)
This I have experienced personally (at BAM): there are no ultimate propositions or decisions formulated, just talking for sharing's sake. Even if it was educational and possible spark for something else to borne out of it, in the end it did felt like it was - aside from the phatic function - kind of pointless.
Vlokeerida tohib #OWS-võttestikus ainult siis, kui sul on alternatiivne ettepanek või kui suudad välja pakkuda viisi, kuidas võiks selliseni jõuda. Vastasel juhul on blokeering kehtetu. (Ott 2012: 48)
Well isn't that pragmatic?
(C) Üks huvitavamaid aspekte olid žestid: (C1) käetõstmine sõna taotlemiseks; näpu tõstmine täpsustava küsimuse esitamiseks ja c-märk selgituse palumiseks (inglise sõnast clarity; ja tõsi ta on, et c-märki on käega lihtsam teha kui s-märki). Praktikas selgus, et vähemasti esimesel korral käisid sellised nüansid üle jõu ja toimis ainult üks üldine käetõstmise märguanne - teisi märke küll prooviti, kuid suurema eduta. Neil oleks pidanud vahet tegema hõlbustaja, aga on enam kui mõistetav, et sellises uudses olukorras, kus ta pidi korraga nii palju eri asju silmas pidama, oli seda liiga palju tahetud. Selline asi tahab harjutamist. Pealegi istusid inimesed ringis - vestluse seisukohast oli see iseenesest hea, aga hõlbustajal oli raske kõiki korraga silmas pidada.
(C) Meeleolu-žestid: sõrmede võdistamine ülespoole - 'toetan', horisontaalis - 'olen äraootaval seisukohal', allapoole - 'ei toeta'. Sõrmi võib võdistada nii sõnavõtu kui ka otsuselangetamise ajal. Niimoodi saab kõneleja kohe tagassidet oma ettepanekule, samuti kõik teised osalejad (ja tean, et ka teised näevad ja tajuvad seda - mis on väga tähtis, sest niimoodi hakkab kooslus tegutsema parvena).
(C3) Veel: žest selle kohta, et jutt pole asjakohane või et rikutakse reegleid (kahe käe nimetissõrme ja pöidlaga moodustatav kolmnurk; selle märgi peale peaks hõlbustaja sõnavõtu katkestama).
(C4) Ja viimaks: blokeering (käed rinnal risti), kui on küsitud "kas meil on konsensus?" ja kui inimene leiab, et see on talle põhimõtteliselt vastuvõetamatu, ning kui ta oskab seda põhjendada ja välja pakkuda alternatiivi või kui siis viisi, kuidas alternatiivini jõuda. (Ott 2012: 50)
Quoted at lenght because I thought of translating the hand gestures into Estonian myself.
Smas võiks sedalaadi läbikäimine arendada ka demokraatiat ennast. Nimelt tugineb demokraatiate riiklik regulatsioon mitmes olulises aspektis hääletamisele (parlamendi ja KOV valimised, hääletamised igasugu komisjonides jne). Sellel aga on oht taanduda pelgalt valimiskasti juures käimiseks, käe tõstmiseks, nupule vajutamiseks - st ühekordseks aktiks (olgugi see akt perioodiline). See oht torkab silma just sellistes noortes demokraatlikes riikides nagu Eesti. (Ott 2012: 55)
Ott has here put voting into bodily behaviour terms.
Arvan, et vaikivas formaadis aktsioon on pikas perspektiivis palju tagajärjekam kui mingite kindlate nõudmiste ja seisukohtade esitamine või lamendilöömine. Sest kui esitada nõudmine ja seisukoht (või lamenti lüüa), on ametiasutusel lihtsal protestijatega tegeleda, neid paika panna, lahterdada, kustutada. Aga kui pole selge, milles rünnak seisneb, ei saa võim ka ennast kaitsta. Ja tuvastatava rünnaku puudumine võib esile kutsuda eriti koomilisi, närvilisi ja haledaid kaitsekatseid võimuesindajate poolt. Tuleks mõelda hõivamispoliitika peale, mida tehakse juba oma kohaloluga. Võtan oma kehaga koha - võib-olla isegi seisukoha - ja toon mängu oma kohalolu. Mitte energiline, vaid vägev poliitika. (Ott 2012: 58)
Haha, Ott is basically supporting nonverbal forms of protests.
Mouffe, Chantal 2012. Kui tähtis on sidumus riigiga. Vikerkaar 2012(6): 70-77.
Originally published as: Mouffe, Chantal 2009. The Importance of Engaging the State. In: J. Pugh (Ed.) What is Radical Politics Today. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 230-237.
Tänapäeva radikaalset poliitikat on tihti iseloomustatud kui pagemist, exodus't ja keeldumist seotusest olemasolevate institutsioonidega. Seevastu mina usun, et radikaalne poliitika peab tegelema sidumuse loomisega, kujundades välja võistlevaid, antagonistlikke poliitilisi nõudmisi. (Mouffe 2012: 70)
This very descriptive of current local situation. Our radicals have little to nothing to do with existing political institutions as these always bear the risk of either dismantled or integrated, "absorbed by the system", as Thomas Mathiesen put it (1974: 59). There are exceptions, of course - squatters having a meeting with the vice major of the city.
Nad [M. Hardt & A. Negri] väidavad, et see Impeerium kehastab endas uut imperialismi, mis asendab rahvusriikide püüdu laiendada oma suveräänsust üle riigipiiride. Vastupidiselt vanamoelisele imperialismile pole praegusel Impeeriumil ei territoriaalset võimukeset ega paikapandud piire; see on detsentraliseeritud ja deterritorialiseeritud, hõlmab kogu avatud ja üha laienevate rajajoontega globaalset välja. (Mouffe 2012: 71)
This is a familiar notion from hearsay about how today's imperialism is economic and cultural or something to that effect.
Tööstusliku tehasetöö roll on vähenenud. Selle asemel peetakse esmatähtsaks kommunikatiivset, kooperatiivset ja afektiivset tööd. (Mouffe 2012: 71)
At first sight it remains ubiquitous, but most likely it involves work that requires emphatic role-taking; I am unable to bring examples that don't seem ludicrous to some degree, but I guess I'll have to figure this out later.
Distsiplinaarses ühiskonnas, mis vastab kapitalismi akumulatsiooni esimesele faasile, rajaneb käsuvõim aparaadi hajutatud võrgustikel. Need loovad ja reguleerivad kombeid, harjumusi ning tootmispraktikaid selliste distsiplinaarsete asutuste abil nagu vanglad, tehased, varjupaigad, haiglad, koolid jne. Kontrolliühiskond seevastu on ühiskond, kus käsumehhanismid on vähem ilmsed. Kontrolliühiskonnas domineerivad arvukad globaliseerunud, postmodernse kapitalistliku ühiskonna mehhanismid, mis püüavad otseselt mõjutada aju ja keha (nii läbi interneti kui ka keerukate kaubandussüstemide kaudu. Mängus on otseselt elu kui sellise reguleerimine. Seda nimetavadki Hardt ja Negri "biovõimuks". (Mouffe 2012: 71)
In light of my recent readings in microsociology, I'd say that disciplinary society and control society are differentiated by the degree of or extent (or obviousness? visibility? etc.) of lines of command. In disciplinary institutions, the chain of command is somewhat obvious (military command is a better example, though), while in the Internet age there are really very few if at all such lines of command; rather command is implicit, as Mouffe put it, influencing the brain and the body through, what I would say, is the medium of information society. A case in point would be an ad that appears on billboard and television that propounds "iseloom" (character). I was quite offende by this, because the ad depicts an anthropomorphic animal with classes and orange pants leaning on a pipe - because this is exactly what I did and how I looked approximately 4 years ago. I dismissed the advertising, but then I started noticing that coursemates didn't, as they started using the word "iseloom" more often and with positive connotations. This description got muddled by my personal sentiments, but the essence of it is that personality schemes and styles are manipulated effectively by such trivial stuff as advertising.
Exodus'e strateegiat võib pidada Marxi kommunismiidee ümbersõnastamiseks. Nendel kahel vaatepunktil on palju ühisjooni. Muidugi ei ole Hardti ja Negri jaoks priviligeeritud poliitiline subjekt enam proletariaat, vaid Rahvahulk. Kuid mõlemal juhul nähakse riiki monoliitse domineerimisaparaadina, mida pole võimalik muuta. See peab "välja surema", et teha ruumi lepitatud ühiskonnale, kus pole ei seadusi, võimu ega suveräänsust. (Mouffe 2012: 75)
This is pretty descriptive of the anarchist or anti-statist agenda: getting rid of the state institution, because it is lagging behind the social advances of 21st century.
On selge, et meie ühiskonnas eksisteerivad erinevad nõudmised on tihti omavahel vastuolus. Seepärast tulebki neid sõnastada poliitiliselt, mis ilmselgelt kätkeb endas kollektiivse tahte, "meie" loomist. See omakorda eeldab "nende" määratlemist. See ilmne ja lihtne asjaolu jääb mitmesugustel Rahvahulga-eestkõnelejatel märkamata. Sest nad näivad uskuvad, et Rahvahulgal on olemas loomulik ühtsus, mis poliitilist artikuleerimist ei vaja. (Mouffe 2012: 76)
Here I recognize Ventse's "contruction of the "we"-category".
Zarilli, Philip B. 1984. "Doing the Exercise": The In-Body Transmission of Performance Knowledge in Traditional Martial Art. Asian Theatre Journal 1(2): 191-206.
"Doing the exercise" means that the performed and the exercise or act are one - and this "hee and now" actuality of performance is shared by both martial and traditional theatrical arts as praticed in asia. (Zarilli 1984: 191)
This is a familiar theme from some (unnamed) act philosophies: the actor and the act merge into one; you become what you do [tegevuse ja teo teineteisesolemine].
Both martial and many theatrical artists perform specific strips of codified behavior passed on to them by their master teachers. Or, if they improvise, they do so within such a restricted field of choice and with such precise vocabulary of techniques that the paramters of the actions are strictly prescribed. The performance in both cases is an act, a "doing," a present fact witnessed in the "now" moment. ""Performance knowledge" is the result of learning the codified strips of behavior and having them at hand for use in either structured or improvised performance. (Zarilli 1984: 191)
Firstly, martial and theatrical performances are very good examples of explicitly codified behaviour. Secondly, performance knowledge comes close to bodily knowledge or the Ancient-Greek paraskeue or gumnazein (as reported by Foucault (Hermeneutics of the Subject, 2005: 359).
Each student changes from street clothes into his lengoti, and enters the kalari by stepping first with his right foot. With his right hand, he then touches the ground (a pounded earth floor), his forehead, and his chest. (This sequence of actions is known as "paying respects.") [...] They congregate on the student's side of the kalari, the eastern side. Each student begins an exercise from that side, performing leg kicks across to the teacher's side (the west), and crossing back again to his starting place. Back and forth across the space, again and again, students first perform straight lef kicks and then turning, angle, circle, and combination kicks to stretch out the body and warm up the muscles. [...] As soon as the gurukkal enters, there is a hightened sense of expectation and anticipation. he too touches the floor and moves through the rituals of paying respects to the various deities. As he passes around the perimeter of the kalari, the students come forward individually or in pairs to touch the master's feet, and to receive his blessing for the day as he touches their heads. (Zarilli 1984: 193-194)
There is so much that is ritual in this martial arts training. The symbolic meaning of touching the ground, the forehead and the chest remind me of the christian cross gesture (apparently this kind of sequence of light touches has some significance in other cultures as well). And in the student-teacher relationship there is a marked asymmetry: they touch his lowest extremities, the feet; and he touches their most important body part, the head. "Who is the boss" is reified very obviously in this ritual. In a metaphorical sense, our military trainin is not far off - instead of dressing this fact in touching and blesses, the cadet's hair is cut, giving him a permanent "touch" from his superiors.
On any normal day the kalari is alive with constant activity - with students of varying levels practicing a variety of different exercises simultaneously. While instruction is individualized, practice is often in pairs or small groups, especially for the body exercises. When students are warmed up, either the teacher, an assistant, or a highly skilled advanced student leads small groups through the body exercise sequences (meippayatt). Students are matched according to relative ability and lenght of study, with beginners, intermediate levels, and advanced students each working in separate groups. (Zarilli 1984: 196)
That is, there is a hierarchy also among the students; the advanced leading the beginners.
While the student is learning kalarippayattu, he is also absorbing experientially the proper modes of conduct displayed within the kalari proper and in the changing and bathing areas. The kalari is as much a gymnasium, where one goes for a hard workout and for socializing with peers, as it is a temple. The sweat of the gym mingles with the smoke of incense and the joking of young boys and men. When the teacher enters, or when tere is advanced weapons training, there is often a hushed quiet as everyone focuses on those passing through the sequence. In contrast, there are also moments of casual relazed socialising, especially when the master is not present. (Zarilli 1984: 198)
That is, the presence of master or teacher is a factor in social control, by merely "being there", he incites order.
A student's regularity of attendance, attitude, seriousness of purpose, maturity, and emotional stability all come into play in the teacher's decision regarding advancement. None of this is expressed or spoken. The teacher collects and registers his daily impressions of students. There is no overt sign of approval, nor is reassurance or encouragement given on any regular basis. The individual is basically alone, confronting himself as he struggles awkwardly with the external form of the system, and with his internal reactions to the form and to advancement within it. (Zarilli 1984: 198-199)
To put it into more familiar notions, the advancements are not communicated, but self-communicated.
Although there is no official grading or system of "belts" in kalarippayattu training, there is an underlying unspoken system of ranking evident simply in the amount of "knowledge" an individual has - in how much he has been taught. The beginning student often looks longingly at advanced students moving, for instance, through a seemingly effortless exchange with daggers. The separateness is apparent; it is enhanced by the rituals, and provides a lenghty series of unspoken yet assumed goals toward which each student desires to move. (Zarilli 1984: 199)
That is, in this art there is no material reinforcement as there are in Western reflections of these systems. The student must be driven to learn the knowledge for the knowledge itself and what it entails in performance, not mere signs of it. In a similar manner, I would prefer to accumulate knowledge and display it by writing articles rather than receiving a degree.
According to tradition, the correct way of teaching is to allow a student to progress only after his body has achieved sufficient flexibility, balance, and control to be able to move through the physical forms correctly. But merely having correct physical form is not enough. The teacher must "look inside" each student and "know his heart." Only yo those special advanced students in whom the teaches has absolute trust and confidence does he pass along the more secretive aspects of the system. (Zarilli 1984: 201)
In a manner of speaking, advancement implies coalition. Trust and confidence are, for me, like foreign words; I have yet to find any piece of text to explain them (are they inexplicable?), but I might some day.
The achievement of mastery - the ability to simply "do the exercise" in the "here and now" - can only be understood by looking beyond the surface level of technique to the interior mental and in-body processes at work in the maturing student. What at first are difficult and mechanical exercises mimicked in a rough, exterior manner eventually become movements so totally "owned" by the individual that they are effortless and fluid. (Zarilli 1984: 204)
Assimilating movements into bodily repertoire, from rough and mechanical mimicking to effortless and fluid, appropriate, acton.
With practice, the individual moves from "trying" to "doing." It is only through the daily in-body routine and discipline that he can develop the physical skills for the correct doing: balance, control, flexibility, stamina, and correct form. When he has reached this stage of external accomplishment, he can allow the form to "drop away" from his consciousness. (Zarilli 1984: 205)
This is, essentially, automatization.
Elsenaar, Arthur and Remko Scha 2002. Electric Body Manipulation as Performance Art: A Historical Perspective. Lenoardo Music Journal 12: 17-28.
Electric performance art can be defined as the theatrical display of electically manipulated human bodies. (Elsaneer and Scha 2002: 17)
A preliminary definition.
Almost immediately, Gray began to investigate the electrical properties of the human body in public performances. The first piece of this sort premiered in London, on 8 April 1730. Its protagonist was a 8-year-old boy, suspended in mid-air on silk threads. The boy was subjected to a fairly complex electrical situation: A positively charged glass tube was held close to the boy's feet, inducing a negative charge in them; because the boy was electrically isolated from his environment, this created an opposite (positive) charge in his other extremities. In the demonstration, only his face and his hands were exposed; these were then seen to induce charges on small particles of brass leaf and to attract these particles through the air. (Elsaneer and Scha 2002: 17)
A demonstration by the discovered of electrical induction.
The "beatification" pieces of Georg Mathias Bose continued Gray's involvement with the electrified human body, while employing a different method to visualize the body's electric field. Bose would gradually electrify a person in a darkened room; when the person's surface voltage would get high enough, it would ionize the surrounding air, creating a bluish glow around the person. In the words of an eyewitness: "Finally his entire body was bathed in light and surrounded in the manner sometimes used to depict the glory of a saint by encircling him in rays of light". [...] His [Bose's] piece Venus Electrified, a.k.a. "the electric kiss," is a truly interactive salon performance. An attractive female person is secretly electrified; newly arriving guests are hit by strong electric sparks when they touch or kiss her.
Electric Venus is obviously a performance piece, set up for the entertainment of the onlookers. But from the point of view of the person receiving the "electric kiss" it is first of all an instance of what we may call "immediate art": an art experience that does not involve the perception of an external object through the senses; instead, the end-user's afferent nerves are directly stimulated by means of electric current. (Elsaneer and Scha 2002: 18)
Performances by Bose; definition of "immediate art".
The new electric power infrastructure was already claiming victims in the early 188s, as people sometimes made accidental contact with high-voltage lines. In 1881, the dentistry professor Alfred P. Southwick of Buffalo, NY, witnessed such an accident. He noticed that death occurred instantly, and realized that electricity might be the answer toa difficult but pressing societal question: how to administed the death penalty in clean, quick and painless way. (The established method for capital punishment in New York State, death by hanging, was increasingly experienced as undignified and barbaric). (Elsaneer and Scha 2002: 20)
Today it would seem that electrocution is much more barbaric than gas.
One series of photographs about facial expression was deliberately made with an old toothless man, with a thin face, whose features, without being absolutely ugly, approached ordinary triviality and whose facial expression was in perfect agreement with his inoffensive character and his limited intelligence". Duchenne explained: "I preferred this coarse face to one of noble, beautiful features ... because I wanted to prove that, despite defects of shape and lack of plastic beauty, every human face can become spiritually beautiful through the accurate rendering of emotions". (Elsaneer and Scha 2002: 23-24)
That is beautiful, Duchenne, just beautiful.
We are using insight from such systematic pieces in the development of a new theatrical genre. In "algorichmic facial choreography," the algorithmic approach to facial expression generation is combined with algorithmically generated music. (Elsaneer and Scha 2002: 26)
In a manner of speaking, the algorithmic facial choreography implies that we can make our faces "dance" to the music involuntarily.
One of the biggest challenges in the realm of computer-generated art is the production of fully computer-controlled dance and theater performances. Theatrical performances that do not involve people tend to make a rather limited impression on human audiences. The emotional impact of theater can have is the result of visceral resonances between the bodies on stage and the bodies in the audience.
Computer-controlled dance and theater performances thus present a peculiar difficulty: they require interfaces that make the expressive possibilities of the human body directly accessible to the computer. This paper has shown that there are viable techniques that solve this interface problem. These techniques derive from a long research tradition, which from the very beginning has been applied in many impressive manifestations of "electric performance art." But we may hope and expect that the best is yet to come.(Elsaneer and Scha 2002: 26)
You're scaring me, Arthur.
Cohen, Sarah R. Body as "Character" in Early Eighteenth-Century French Art and Performance. The Art Bulletin 78(3): 454-466.
This essay ... posits that the self-sustaining "character" of the drawings extends beyond Watteau's own graphic project into the more popular and material realm of bodily performance. I argue that the artisit's concentrated exploration of corporeal types and the procession of postures which eghoes his production in the Figures de différents caractéres epitomize a preoccupation in early eighteenth-century French culture with the construction of the body as a spectacle. Elaborated just before Watteau's era in theatrical as well as visual representation, corporeal display was itself valued as an independently fascinating object, capable of endless interesting permutations. (Cohen 1996: 454)
This seems to hold true for contemporary world as well. I experience this indirectly as I see from aside how some female students are preoccupied with the visual aspects of the body and it's relation to identity.
Teasing elite culture's preoccupation with identity as a product of its outward construction, the dancing body offered an ongoing social exploration... (Cohen 1996: 455)
In these terms those yound ladies interested in exactly this type of discourse today are... teasing elite culture? I'm having hard time making any sense of this article.
In his theoretical writings from the last third of the century, the choreographer Jean-Georges Noverre joined dance with painting in an effort to construct a fully narrative "ballet d'action." Noverre's pantomimic model of bodily expression has tended to dominate modern interpretations of eighteenth-century dance, although studies of the earlier form of dance are now exposing its prominence and complexity as a means of corporeal representation. Watteau's artful figures, also critiqued in the later eighteenth century for a lack of narrative drive, have more recently prompted a reconsideration of their original attraction and significance. In addition to the formalist studies mentioned above, several historians have observed in Watteau's figures an arch engagement of elite concerns with signs, surfaces, and social codes. (Cohen 1996: 456)
Sounds... semiotic. I am kind of impressed by the fluidity of the language used here: "bodily expression", "corporeal representation" - they are used as if disconnected with scientific fields that study these. I have very little what is "a more visually based, evocative body." (ibid)
Attending to the visual construction of the body formed a continuous occupation for early eighteenth-century Parisians with sufficient leisure. (Cohen 1996: 458)
As if this isn't descriptive of today's young people taking pictures of themselves with webcams and posting it on facebook for all - who know them - to see.
The intense visuality of a body, if displayed by an accomplished artist, appealed to the heart without recourse to any intermediary devices. (Cohen 1996: 465)
This seems to be the core of the argument in this article, although I may very well be wrong, I comprehend very little of it. As I have many more such articles to read, I may as well get use to this kind of murky language and saying-little-to-nothing nature of the text; I am stepping into the world of the artistic creativity. I may transform in the process.
Green, Gaye Leigh 1999. The Return of the Body: Performance Art and Art Education. Art Education 52(1): 6-12.
Like the subtle unraveling of an onion, defining performance art can be equally complex. Performance art is described by art historian Goldberg as "live art by artists" (1988, p.7). While this description is accurate, understanding performance art requires an exploration of its multidimensional nature to provide a more complete picture. Although the forms that performance art assumes are virtually unlimited, a number of characteristics are common to most performances. Firstly, performance art incorporates a variety of forms, such as film, video, dance, poetry, narrative, music, and movement. Second, the importance afforded the performance art process usually outweights that of the product. In this sense, performance art resists commodification. Third, performance art blurs the line between art and life by including everyday actions such as brushing one's teeth, chopping vegetables, or watching television as possible metaphors to express, for example, boredom or ennui. Likewise, incorporating daily routines into performance art meshes artmaking with life experiences as in the work of Dominique Mazeaud, who has, on the 17th day of each month since 1987, performed a cleansing of the Rio Grande. Fourth, performance art often relies on humor, irony, satire, and exaggeration as means to more serious ends. By combining unrelated or unexpected images, such as a man spending a week in a gallery space with a coyote, performance artists collage disparate elements to create new concpetual forms. Lastly, performance art may occur in more traditional locations such as art museums and galleries, but, most often, pieces are performed in atypical sites such as street corners, shopping malls, or isolated cornfields, making use of the particularities of such locales. (Green 1999: 7)
First, I'm good with - bricolage, yes. Second - process over product, yes. Does it resist commodification? By the looks of "flash mob" type advertising, I'd say no, not completely at least. Third I find extremely interesting because I might want to try to combine the other course I'm studying via articles, that of everyday behaviour. So the "artistic performance of everyday life" or something like that could be a possibility. Fourth, possibly, but not necessarily. Fifth - agreed. Not that I need to validate every argument, but this is how I check if my previous conceptions concur with new information.
COrporal Inquiry: Engagement of the body for both affective and cognitive expression permeated the workshops. Throughout the 4-day conference, bodies were stretched, exhibited, deconstructed, and transformed as the workshops emphasized breathing, touching, and moving. In education, addressing the importance of the body is visual, especially for students in middle to high school years when both their peers and the media place impossible expectations on their appearance. Viewing performance artists who deal with such issues in conjunction with performing works about body image can be invaluable for student esteem. Such activity helps students understand the physical, emotional, and cultural dimensions that affect body perception. (Green 1999: 9)
Corporal is the same as corporeal. The words used here are telling of what performance artists see their role as in education.
Theatre of Social Action: Addressing social issues such as sexism, ageism, prejudice, and violence, a performance art troupe of art education students from Western Washington University... (Green 1999: 11)
I'm leaving the paragraph at that, because what I'm really interested in is that 1) "ageism" is actually a word (I've thought what it might be, and whether this was it), and 2) Theatre of Social Action, not in the sense used here, but in a more serious way could designate protest action or direct action, such as the loitering in a bank proposed by Ott (2012: 58).
Performance art returns the body to contemporary scholarship, artistic practice, and pedagogy. Eschewed for decades, corporal knowledge is making a comeback in both the arts and sciences. (Green 1999: 12)
Personally I'm not so sure if body ever left the arts and sciences.
  • Carlson, M. 1996. Performance: A critical introduction. New York: Routledge.
  • Goldberg, R. 1988. Performance art: From futurism to the present. New York: Harry Abrams. [TÜR]

Mouffe, Chantal 1992. Citizenship and Political Identity. October 61: 28-32.
I want to make clear at the outset that my reflections will be inscribed within an antiessentialist theoretical framework according to which the social agent is constituted by an ensemble of subject positions that can never be totally fixed in a closed system of difference. (Mouffe 1992: 28)
That, is subjectivity is (positions in) plural, and they are not fixed (in a (social) structure).
...the political community should be conceived as a discursive surface and not as an empirical referent. Politics is about the political community, not something that takes place inside the political community. The political community, as a surface of inscription of amultiplicty of demands where a "we" is constituted, requires the correlative idea of the common good, but a common good conceived as a vanishing point, something to which we must constantly refer but that can never be reached. (Mouffe 1992: 30)
In this sense "communism" is a type of common good, although Mouffe here probably means more fluid social goals.
Mouffe, Chantal, Rosalyn Deutsche, Branden W. Joseph and Thomas Keenan 2001. Every Form of Art Has a Political Dimension. Grey Room 2: 98-125.
The distinction I make is inspired by Schmitt. It's certainly not made in the same way by Schmitt, but I think my idea is faithful to what he said. What I call "the political" is the dimension of antagonism - the friend/enemy distinction. And, as Schmitt says, this can emerge out of any kind of relation. It's not something that can be localized precisely; it's an ever-present possibility. What I call "politics," on the other hand, is the ensemble of discourses and practices, institutions or even artistic practices, that contribute and reproduce a certain order. These are always in conditions that are potentially conflictual because they are always informed by, or traversed by, the dimension of "the political." (Mouffe et al. 2001: 99)
Mouffe explains her understanding of Schmitt's distinction between "the political" and "politics".
Tulloch, John C. 1976. Sociology of Knowledge and the Sociology of Literature. The British Journal of Sociology 27(2): 197-210.
THere is little doubt that the 'world view' approach has itself been unnecessarily reductionistic, particularly in its neglect of artistic conventions (and often, with Goldmann, arbitrary in application as well). This is an argument of course for greater sophistication, whereas a feature of recent articles has been a narrowing down of options, and a characteristic silence on theories from outside sociology proper (such as those from linguistics and semioticss), as well as on complementary approaches from within the discipline, such as Elizabeth Burns' work on conventions, and a number of studies concerning the professional ideologies of those transmitters of literary meaning, the university critics. (Tulloch 1976: 197-198)
It is hard to make anything sensible out from this article thus far, as it seems to presume the reader to have already read Goldmann's work. It is good, though, to see mentions of linguistics AND semiotics.
Intellectuals, as Berger and Luckmann define them, are the 'experts whose expertise is not wanted by the society at large', counter-experts 'in the business of defining reality'. This conception has resonance not only in relation to the interaction of social marginality and a de-reified vision of reality, but also, more particularly, for the institution of literature itself and its traditions - the constant need to re-work the literary convention which mediates the genuine artist's vision, the ambivalence, which Frank Kermode describes, of innovation and the quest for an ending. (Tulloch 1976: 200)
Equally cryptic, but inspiring, in a negative sense.
  • Burns, Elizabeth 1972. Theatricality: a Study of Convention in the Theatre and in Social Life. Longman.

Jakobson, R., Ju. Tynjanov and H. Eagle 1980. Problems in the Study of Language and Literature. Poetics Today 2(1): 29-31.
The history of literature (art), being simulataneous with other historical series, is characterized, as in each of these series, by an involved xomplex of specific structural laws. Without an elucidation of these laws, it is impossible to establish in a scientific manner the correlation between the literary series and other historical series. (Jakobson et al. 1980: 29)
As we were told in literary semiotics, Lotman drew heavily on Tynjanov. Thus I find the notion of "structural laws" very familiar, yet have a hard time figuring out what it signifies. The general problem, it seems to me, approaches the interelation of literature with other systems (of literature or art) and extraliterary reality.
The idea of a mechanical agglomeration of material, having been replaced by the concept of a system or structure in the realm of diachronic study as well. The history of a system is in turn a system. Pure synchronism now proves to be an illusion: every synchronic system has its past and its future as inseparable structural elements of the system: (a) archaism as a fact of style; the linguistic and literary background recognized as the rejected old-fashioned style; (b) the tendency toward innovation in language and literature recognized as a renewal of the system. (Jakobson et al. 1980: 30)
This seems important: every synchronic system has it's own past and future; both can be viewed as something the system constructs. I recognize archaism as a fact of style in my own writings because some of the authors I use are quite outdates. And I try to resist too much innovation in language because it tends to grow to incomprehensible proportions in some others.
Manning, Peter K. 1973. Existential Sociology. The Sociological Quarterly 14(2): 200-225.
Although a number of labels have been applied to this developing set of ideas, e.g., micro-organization, phenomenological sociology, ethnomethodology, it will be referred to tentatively in this essay as "existential sociology." (Manning 1973: 201)
Thus the various theoretical perspectives that elsewhere are grouped under the headings of "sociology of everyday life" or "microsociologies", are here merely given another name.
The principal weaknesses of the Parsonian model (as representative of a general style and type of theorizing) were identified as (1) its tendency to opt for an equilibrium or homeostatic model of society which implicitly supported the status quo; (2) its corollary inability to account for radical, disruptive or total system changes; (3) its "oversocialized" conception of man; who in the strongest terms of criticism was seen as a submissive puppet who had internalized the dominant value system, was in passice agreement with the authority structure of society, and who lacked personal autonomy; (4) its assumption that society was an integrated moral unit; (5) its almost exclusive emphasis on moral rules and values as the basis for social order which overlooked the importance of compromise, corruption, conflict, and situational negotiation and power employed for purposes of control; (6) its misuse of the biological metaphor. (Manning 1973: 202, footnote 4)
There is a possibility that some day I will read Parson's Social Systems; in that case this list of criticisms should come in handy.
To the extent that it [conventional absolutistic sociology] deals with social order at all, and does not simply assume its existence, conventional theory directs attention to questions suggested by the query, "How is social order possible?" This approach assumes that order is a modal property of all societies and that it is maintained as such within some identifiable pattern or sequence. Conventional theory has further assumed that change, as well as order, is normative, i.e., that events are to be explained with reference to the normative order, or in response to that order. Aspects of coercive control, non-moral elements such as technological change, and the manipulation of reality that occurs as a result of the differential distribution of the power to define and disseminate mass meanings, are omitted or considered secondarily. Because it does not make social order problematic, this view tends to implicitly support order; a focus upon order-maintenance as a "quasy-automatic" function of a moral order fails to adequately explicate the alternative forms of social order which may emerge in the absence of social control or as a direct consequence of social intervention characteristic of active social control. (Manning 1973: 204)
In an above footnote, Foucault's Madness and Society was mentioned. This critique, in my mind, brings to fore the question of power previously lacking in sociology.
Berger and Luckman (1966) and Goode (1969), for example, call attention to the significance of investigating the degree to which there is a hegemony of control over meanings current in a society. How potent and extensive is the influence of a "politics of reality" employed by superordinate groups wielding the power ot limit the consideration of a diversity of human behavior and goals? A single conception of reality may be reflected and replicated in institutional orders, maintaining a controlling and legitimate force, excluding or restricting alternative meanings which may be attributed to events by actors. (Manning 1973: 204)
In baffling clarity, this passage unites semiotics and political theory in a very similar manner to later authors like Laclau and Mouffe.
Existentntialism above all was an attempt to place man at the center of philosophy, man as agent and creator of both meaning and action, a victim of himself, ominously threatened by imprisonment by society. A central theme was the need for a philosophy which would permit man to rise above his external societal existence and to create freedom for himself by acting according to his own self-perceived ("authentic") feelings, thoughts, and meanings. Existentialism is, if it is anything, a philosophy arguing that through his life, man makes decisions and builds up meanings in line with them (if possible, and is in fact forced to act, to accept freedom. Man creates meaning within social relations and his relationship to the world is established by his mode of perceiving his spatiotemporal position in that world. Any system of thought which sees man as only a partial creation, either of his mind, or as a victim of his body, is rejected in favor of a view which restores the wholeness of man: his emotionality, his sentience, his bodily basis for life, his ignorance and error. (Manning 1973: 209)
Making existentialism sound an awfully good perspective. As a sidenote, the book on my shelf, Decision and the Condition of Man, came to mind.
Man is neither a purely social being embedded in the collective structure (symbols, beliefs, and norms), an externalized symbolic representation, nor is he a wholly internally-oriented privatized animal. He is a creature demonstrating both social and emotional concepts. (Manning 1973: 209)
This passage continues to Heidegger (misspelt as Heidigger) and Cooley, and to sociocultural construction of emotion ("channeled by social learning through the filter of culture").
Traditional features of the self need to be systematically related to the perception that actors have of the conditions of their bodies. Conceptual links must be established between the person's self concept, which can be described as a socio-psychological entity, to his body conceived of as a physical entity. Some important developments in the conceptualization of the body are found in anthropological literature (Cf. Mary Douglas, 1970, the work of Birdwhistell, Hertz and Turner); however, this work in the Durkheimian tradition sees the body almost entirely as a collectively symbolized entity, or solely as the locus of feelings and the source of one's individuality. Psychological studies that include conceptualizations of the body (i.e., body image, body boundary perception, etc.) typically do not connect this material analytically with interactional process. On the other hand, social psychological and psychiatric literature which deals with interaction seldom incorporates the body as an integral feature. (Exceptions are the existential analysts such as Binswanger in May, Angel and Ellenberger and Goffman, discussed below). The latter generalization applies specifically to G. H. Mead, for although he spoke of the integration of mind and body, he failed to explicate and introduce this into the analysis of social conduct. In Watsonian behaviorism, Mead seemed intent upon establishing the dominance and importance of mind in social interaction. It is this attempt that has given subsequent social psychology a disembodied quality. (Manning 1973: 2010-211, footnote 14)
This article's footnotes are brilliant! The suggestion that Mead argued for the social mind to such a degree to disembody the body from human conduct I consider extremely important. The body-conceptions introduced here made me think of how "the visual construction of the body" is missing this vital aspect of interaction: it is seen as if on a pedestal, not living and moving, breathing and dodging, etc.
A key and significant development in the understanding of the body introduced by existential thinkers is to turn from generalized and global description of "the body" into discussions of the phenomenologically given fact that there is concrete only a given person's body in the world: my body (Schlinder, 1950). being is always being-in-the-body: mine, yours, ours, theirs; never, in any case, purely and simply organism or body as such. The spatial and temporal location of the body is precisely the locus of definitions and meanings. A key concept in this respect is intentionality, or the intention or project (plan) of the actor on the basis of which the world becomes meaningful. It follows that holistic social forms such as "bureaucracy," "university," "generation," "politics," will not be perceived nor defined uniformly. Like "society," "body" is fictive and exists initially only in the concrete, apparent and real. In this scheme, subject and object are merged in the attitude of natural life (the assumption of everyday life) which is in important ways shaped by the projects and intentions of others. (Manning 1973: 2011)
That is just gold. When speaking of the body, there must be a concrete body to be spoken about. Being is always being-in-the-body. Intentionality shapes meanings. I'm loving this.
Goffman exemplifies one linkage of self and body. In Goffman's paradigm of the body/self constellation, the self is an overall regulator while the body is a domain of self-awareness, a source of self-esteem, and a field for maintenance of appearances. The focus of Goffmanical anlysis is continuously with self as a ritual object, protected, masked, cloaked, and suffused with symbols, is merely (in his scheme) a cultural conveyor of the symbols of self, and a means for extracting deference from others. Goffman claims verbal expression is the most salient channel of communication, ruling the nonverbal codes (the "body language" of posture, gesture, and expression, especially the face), i.e., people attend most to verbal codes in social interaction. On the other hand, most people are aware of the primacy of verbal information and are most capable of controlling this source - this heightens the importance of non-verbal signs and symbols. The information game that is social interaction for Goffman is carried on primarily by means of tokens or sign-vehicles that represent ways of conveying messages to others making a claim to identity and self-hood. If the claim is honored by others, a negotiated consensus may be established. (Manning 1973: 212)
Yup, if there were a "like" FB button here I would click it so hard my mouse might break. "The information game that is social interaction..." Oh man, this summary of Goffman's work is so worthy of being quoted at lenght.
...the persistent question involves delineating situations; marking boundaries in such a way that situations can be distinguished one from another and can be analytically compared. This is the task of setting out the phenomenological boundaries of situations. One approach has been to identify the entry and exist behaviors of persons entering associations, another has been based on the study of distuptions of situations (Manning 1973: 214)
Manning is right on the mark again: delineating situations has very much to do with the segmentation of continuous behaviour, of chopping continuous flow of acts into discrete units, into integral "acts".
As meanings become more diverse, competition to establish meanings ensues, and a degree of disconnectedness becomes almost inevitable. Political phenomenon can be seen as intrinsically absurd or meaningless: very few political acts have clear, imediate, measurable meanings and fewer still have consequences which can be traced to a single causal sequence or event. Distant, complex, diffuse, and continuous events such as wars, elections, the passage of bills through Congress, the meaning of integration, riots, police actions, are ambiguous. They have the property of expressive action: they are captured by symbols, the intent of which is to condense and focus interest by means of limited symbols on a few of the possible themes. From these symbols, people may construct meanings relevant to their own concrete existence: political symbols provide a screen in which meanings can be projected, ambivalences dissolved or created, reassurances gained or lost, and a reading taken on the status of a given group in a social-moral hierarchy (Cf. Klapp, 1968). Politics in an abstract society involves the process of creating, projecting, and maintaining images; as such it is much a matter of appearances as it is a matter of accomplishments. (Manning 1973: 217)
Firstly, I wholeheartedly agree with the abstract nature of political acts; this came up in discussion on the Occupy Movement meeting style, which is markedly different from normal taken-for-granted abstract political process. That is, voting and representative democracy are indeed abstract to the point of absurd or meaninglessness, consensus and direct democracy on the other hand is purpose-oriented, it strives to achieve a solution to a concrete problem. In a sense, abstract politics is about self-interest and power; "consensus" politics is about general/human interest and direct action. Secondly, I see the possibility to interpret "the process of creating, projecting, and maintaining images" as "the construction of the "we"-category". Thus, when Mouffe suggests that "the political community should be conceived as a discursive surface and not as an empirical referent", she is hinting exactly at this construction of political symbols, maintaining an appearance of a political community.
  • define:chiaroscuro - "The treatment of light and shade in drawing and painting."

  • douglas, Mary 1970. Natural Symbols. New York: Pantheon.
  • Schilder, Paul 1950. The Image and Appearance of the Human Body. New York: International Universities Press

Barton, Michael 1982. The Study of American Everyday Life. American Quarterly 34(3): 218-221.
John Sabini and Maury SIlver's recent Moralities of Everyday Life (1982) works ground that was first broken by Evring Goffman's The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life (1959), or, if one seeks an even earlier precedent, Freud's Psychopathology of Everyday Life. (Barton 1982: 218)
Historical continuity of this kind of study. This last note makes me wonder if I should take up that 1911 review of Freud.
Authentic everyday life scholarship describes what people do routinely, how and when they do it and why. Historical everyday life studies show changes and continuities in routines over time. Contemporary everyday life studies (a species of ethnography) use fieldwork notes or participant-observation records instead of historical evidence, but they are still headed toward the same goal of describing routine existence. (Barton 1982: 218-219)
The field-placement of everyday life studies: how it differentiates from historical everyday life studies.
...we have already found the most distinctive "accidental" study of modern everyday life. It was almost perfectly hidden from historians and ethnographers because it was written in the service of psychological theory. One Boy's Day: A Specimen Record of Behavior, written by Roger Barker and Herbert Wright in 1951, is, literally, a complete minute-by-minute account of the conduct of a seven-year-old Kansas small-town boy. The record was taken on April 26, 1949, by a team of observers. Barker was collecting data for his theory of the "stream of behavior," or what we would call its sequencing and organization. More work on his theory was published later, and now it comes under the general heading of ecological psychology. (Barton 1982: 221)
Personally I find these kinds of studies "perfectly hidden away" in disciplinary boxes to be one of the most rewarding aspects of 20th century science. It's good to know this one, especially as sequencing of behaviour is still a pertinent problem today.
  • Alfred Schuts, The Problem of Social Reality (The Hague: M. Nijhoff, 1962)
  • Roger G. barker and Herbert F. Wright, One Boy's Day: A Specimen Record of Behavior (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1951).
  • Roger G. Barker, ed., The Stream of Behavior: Explorations of Its Structure and Content (New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1963).

Mills, Trudy and Sherryl Kleinman 1988. Emotions, Reflexivity, and Action: An Interactionist Analysis. Social Forces 66(4): 1009-1027.
Current research on the sociology of emotion raises questions about the relation between emotions and cognitions (see Kemper 1978; Scheff 1983). Interactionists argue that people can use their thoughts to shape their feelings. This position follows from Mead's (1934) theory of the self. Blumer (1969), in interpreting Mead, argued that humans do not simply respond to the environment, but interpret what is going on around them as well as their own actions. Individuals make indications to themselves and this "self-reflexivity" enables humans to make choices. By being able to point things out to themselves, we can do "emotion work" (Hochschild 1979), that is, use our thoughts to mold our feelings. (Mills and Kleinman 1988: 1009)
Of how much I would like to see Kemper 1978, but that article must be paid for. On a whole this passage made me speculate if Mead and Blumer had something to do with what is todya known as "cognitive therapy", that is, using cognitive techniques to get rid of "automatic negative thoughts" or something to that effect. With Blumer's self-indication I am familiar on the surface; I mentioned it among other forms of self-communication in my seminar paper. And I must note to myself (self-communicate) that Hochshild's "emotion work" is related (perhaps loosely, but still) to Ekman's "display rules".
Symbolic interactionists calim that humans are capable of reflexivity and thus view individuals as active participants in their emotional responses. In contrast, positivists view people as passive receptors of stimuli that produce emotional states. (Mills and Kleinman 1988: 1011)
Good to know that the opposite viewpoints are so easily identifiable.
Dutton and Aron (1974) provide further support for the connection between vulnerability and falling in love with their experimental finding that men on a rickety bridge are more likely than men on a solid structure to feel sexual or romantic towards a woman they pass. (Mills and Kleinman 1988: 1014)
Kinda random, but also important. Reminded me of some experiments (no references, sry) which supported the connection between fear and (sexual/romantic) attachment.
The experience of routine action is quite unlike the experience of numbing we described in the previous section. The numbed women suspended reflexivity, but were also overpowered by their feeling of numbness. The filing clerk is not. People experience the numbed state as entrapping and debilitating; it inhibits action. Berger and Luckmann (1966) argue that routines actually free us up:
And by providing a stable background in which human activity may proceed with a minimum of decision-making most of the time, it [habitualization] frees energy for such decisions as may be necessary on certain occasions. In other words, the background of habitualized activity opens up a foreground for deliberating and innovation (p. 53).
As suggested in the earlier discussion on organized spontaneity, routine action characterizes periods of stability, not periods of change. When people operate in a highly stable environment, much is taken for granted; hence, emotions are less likely to come into play. (Mills and Kleinman 1988: 1017-1018)
All of this should be compared to semiotic habits, e.g., routinized semiosic processes vs unique ones.
Emotion work focuses on how people attempt to shape, create, or get rid of certain feelings. But feelings may shape or influence cognitions. Hochschild (1979) recognized this when she argued that we can use feelings as clues. Examining our feelings may help us understand what an encounter means to us. For example, if we notice that we feel tense or angry, we may begin to look closely at our situation to figure out why. (Mills and Kleinman 1988: 1020)
In a manner of speaking, emotions may become signs of some aspects of the situation (social encounter).
  • Bailey, F. G. 1983. Tha Tactical Uses of Passion: An Essay on Power, Reason, and Reality. Cornell University Press.
  • Hochschild, Arlie 1979. Emotion Work, Feeling Rules, and Social Structure. American Journal of Sociology 85: 551-575.
  • Sattel, Jack 1976. The Inexpressive Male: Tragedy or Sexual Politics? Social Problems 23: 467-477.
  • Scheff, Thomas 1979. Toward Integration of the Social Psychology of Emotions. Annual Review of Sociology 9: 333-354.
  • Swidler, Ann 1979. Culture in Action. American Sociological Review 51: 273-286.

Shokeid, Moshe 1992. Exceptional Experiences in Everyday Life. Cultural Anthropology 7(2): 232-243.
The definition of fieldwork and the context of anthropological enquiry has been expanded rapidly in recent years. Symbolic interactionism, reflexive anthropology, the anthropology of experience, and other new genres have radically changed the traditional borders of the discipline confined to the study of "a society". Almos any recurrent phenomenon of human behavior - the anthropologist's included - has gradually become a legitimate unit for ethnographic research and contemplation. (Shokeid 1992: 232)
That is, due to these new theoretical perspectives, ethnographs had to rethink their research into the routine everyday behaviours.
Those who have come to stud the formation of experience often relate to Dilthey (1976[1914]), who first offered a few specifications of experience. Thus, for example, Turner (1986:35) derived from his work the distinction between a mere "experience" and "an experience." The first indicates the passive endurance of experience versus the latter - an experience - which stands out from the evenness of passing time and forms what Dilthey (1976:185) called a "structure of experience." Turner explains that the latter does not have "an arbitrary beginning and ending, cut out of a stream of chronological temporality, but has what Dewey calls 'an initiation and a consummation'" (Turner 1986:35). These experiences relate to formative and transformative events, such as initiation into new lifeways (going to school, first job, joining the army, entering the marital status), love affairs, and entanglement in events of "social effervescence" (such as a political campaign, a cause célébre for public agitation, et cetera). (Shokeid 1992: 232)
It seems that both Dilthey and Turner were taking a jab at sequencing everyday life. In short this is very similar to finding out the "entry and exist behaviors" of social situations, but on a different scale or level (or so it seems at a glance).
An important contribution to the study of culture, although rarely acknowledged, has been made by Jaeger and Selznick (1964), sociologists who, departing from an anthropological conception of culture, tried to look into the forces that induce a culture-creating act. It seems they have independently reached a Geertzian interpretation of culture as they claimed: "The culture-creating act is an effort to make the world rich with personal significance, to place the inner self upon the stage ... to invest the environment with subjective meaning" (Jaeger and Selxnick 1964:659). They found support for these ideas in Dewey's (1934) analysis of experience. (Shokeid 1992: 233)
Some good-to-know stuff. The rest of the article consists of the author's personal musings on life experiences.
  • Jaeger, Gertrude, and Philip Selznick 1964. A Normative Theory of Culture. American Sociological Review 29(5):653-669.
  • Lyman, Stanford M., and Marvin B. Scott 1975. The Drama of Social Reality. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Schuts, Alfred 1970. On Phenomenology and Social Relations. H. R. Wagner, ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Mitchell, Timothy 1990. Everyday Metaphors of Power. Theory and Society 19(5): 545-577.
Across the different disciplines of social sciences, studies of power and resistance continue to be dominated by a single, master metaphor: the distinction between persuading and coercing. The metaphor seems as clear as the difference between mind and body, to which of course it corresponds. Power may operate at the level of ideas, persuading the mind of its legitimacy, or it may work as a material force directly coercing the body. (Mitchell 1990: 545)
Not surprisingly I have found this distinction also in my previous readings: the difference between persuading a person to jump off of a cliff, and between pushing him.
...the book's [Weapons of the Weak] anser to the question is that elites may control the outward behavior of the poor, but not their minds. "Behind the facade of symbolic and ritual compliance," we are shown "innumerable acts of ideological resistence." Although they do their best to drag their feet, pilfer and deceive, the poor find that "the realm of behavior" is where they are "most constrained;" it is "at the level of beliefs and interpretations" that they are "least trammeled." From this evidence it is argued that the notion that domination operates at the level of ideology, in particular Gramsci's explanation of power in terms of "hegemony," is unhelpful and indeed "likely to mislead us seriously in understanding class conflict in most situations." The concept of hegemony ignores the ability of "most subordinate classes ... on the basis of their daily material experience, to penetrate and demystify the prevailing ideology." (Mitchell 1990: 549)
That is, the elites can control the peasant's behaviour, but not their beliefs and interpretations. This is indeed contrary to the ideology/hegemony discourse of political theory.
The book [Weapons of the Weak] rejects the concept of hegemony, then, by arguing that the term implies some consensual and "internal" acceptance of things, whereas the peasants of Sedaka - and perhaps subordinate groups everywhere - exhibit only an external, rational decision to conform rather than rebel. "The conformity of subordinate class rests primarily on their knowledge that any other course is impractical, dangerous, or both." (Mitchell 1990: 556)
Internal ideological resistance, but extrenal helplessness. Loss of outward physical freedom, but retention of internal mental autonomy.
Finally, when one finds a "climate of fear" generated by the state security apparatus in cooperation with the large landowners, this is not just an obstacle placing limits on "the range of available options." It is s disciplinary mechanism so pervasice and yet largely so unseen that the ordinary individual is persuaded to become involved in the continuous monitoring of his own actions. As Foucault puts it, "he inscribes in himself the power relation" and "becomes the principle of his own subjection." (Mitchell 1990: 558)
Self-monitoring, self-censure, seld-surrender, self-represseion.
As we saw, the book's aim is to discover whether domination is exercised in "the realm of behavior" alone, or "at the level of beliefs and interpretations" as well and it takes for granted this distinction between a behavioral and a mental realm. The factors listed are left aside as obstacles are effects of power that do not easily fit such a distinction. Kinship strategies, for example, clearly belong to the "realms" of both behavior and belief; a mode of domination that operates by transforming relations of subordination into family ties works upon the physical body, determining how people eat, sleep, work for one another, and reproduce, and yet these practices are inseparable from the shaping of ideas, being the source of identity, loyalty and emotion. The obligation to leave the vilalge in search of casual labor is a coercion that shapes one's view of the world as much as one's place in it. The "dull compulsion of economic relations" operates at the level of such relations, which are equally practical and ideological. (Mitchell 1990: 558)
I have to make sense of this, but feel myself unable to at the moment.
Social interaction, Taylor and Geertz point out, is itself meaningful, for it depends upon the continuous interpretation of what others' actions mean. These meanings are not something private, but publicly shared understandings that constitute, in Geertz' words, "a multiplicity of complex conceptual structures" or public "frames of meaning" in terms of which particular actions are "produced, perceived and interpreted." Culture, it follows, is "ideational" without existing "in someone's head" and "unphysical" without being "an occult entity." The common metaphor used to evoke the public and yet not-quite-physical nature of this realm of meaning is to liken it to a written text. (Mitchell 1990: 560)
Ah, yes, "hegemony" was criticized, on to do the same to "text". I am at the same time offended because these notions are close to home, and at the same time very interested if this criticism pans out and reveals something unseen before.
...the theatrical metaphor erects an apparent artificiality essential for creating a contrasting sense of something unproblematically authentic... (Mitchell 1990: 563)
Exactly the criticism that should be raised against Goffman's dramaturgy which implies that behind out self-presentations there is an "unproblematically authentic" self.
  • define:egregious - "Outstandingly bad; shocking."; "Remarkably good."; outrageous

Jones, Amelia 1997. "Presence" in Absentia: Experiencing Performance as Documentation. Art Journal 56(4): 11-18.
I use the term body art rather than performance art for several reasons. My interest in this work is informed by an embodied, phenomenological model of intersubjectivity; furthermore, the work that emerges during the period of the 1960s to the mid-1970s (before performance became theatricalized and moved to a large stage) was labeled "body art" or "bodyworks" by several contemporaneous writers who wished to differentiate it from a conception of "performance art" that was at once broader (in that it reached back to Dada and encompassed aby kind of theatricalized production on the part of a visual artist) and narrower (in that it implied that a performance must actually take place in front of an audience). I am interested in work that may or may not initially take place in front of an audienc: in work - such as that by Ana Mendieta, Carolee Schneemann, Vito Acconci, Yves Klein, or Hannah Wilke - that took place through an enactment of the artist's body, whether it be in a "performance" setting or in the relativey privacy of the studio, that was then documented such that it could subsequently be experienced through photography, film, video, and/or text. (Jones 1997: 18, note 1)
"Body art" suits me better also.
I was asked to provide a counternarrative by writing about the "problematic of a prson my age doing work on performances you have not seen [in person]." This agenda forces me to put up front: not having been there, I approach body artworks through their photographic, textual, oral, video, and/or film traces. {...} ...while the experience of viewing a photograph or reading a text is clearly different from that of sitting in a small room watching an artist perform, neither has a privileged relationship to the historical "truth" of the performance... (Jones 1997: 11)
This article seems to be about interpreting body art via mediated signs (texts, images, sounds) of it.
Body art, through its very performativity and its unveiling of the body of the artist, surfaces the insufficiency and incoherency of the body-as-subject and its inability to deliver itself fully (whether to the subject-in-performance her/himself or to the one who engages with this body). (Jones 1997: 13)
Firstly, I can comprehend the performativity and the "unveiling of the body" and the "inability to deliver itself fully" (do detach the body from subjectivity), but everything preceding this paragraph is incomprehensible: pre-Freudian culture, modernist and postmodernist modes of subjectivity, etc. are beyond my grasp. Secondly, a lot of this comes from feminist discourse: this article's case studies are about women performing naked. Thus when Catherine Elwes is quoted saying that performance art "offers women a unique vehicle for making that direct unmediated access [to the audience]." I am left to wonder if the hidden goal of these kinds of performances is to display the female body. Would a male performance artist strive for "direct unmediated access" to the audience in such a manner? At the outset it seems that sociobiology is at work once again when I can draw general conclusions that the female performance artists seek to display their bodies and male performance artists seek to display their potency/power/authority. I will keep this in mind in further readings.
Fisher, Jennifer 1997. Interperformance: The Live Tableaux of Suzanne Lacy, Janine Antoni, and Marina Abramovic. Art Journal 56(4): 28-33.
The affective power of live display is a key aspect of the nineteenth-century performative genre known as tableaux vivants, literally, "living pictures." Typically, performances would involve enacting masterpieces of sculpture and painting or the staging of moral and literary themes. Although the popularity of tableaux vivants waned in the early twentieth century, there are vital continuities and parallels with contemporary performance works. What persists in recent tableau performances are specific dimensions of living display as vehicle of affect, aspiration, and sensorial engagement. Yet there are significant distinctions as well. While the aesthetic staging of traditional tableaux vivants involved the unidirectional communication of symbolic representations, the contemporary tableau performances discussed here constitute zones of interperformance by which the terrain of fixed representation is transformed. (Fisher 1997: 28)
This is why these kinds of articles are useful: they introduce exactly these kinds of phenomena; I wouldn't had found out about tableaux vivants otherwise.
In mid-nineteenth-century America, the phenomenon of tableaux vivants evolved into two forms: erotic vaudeville, and a form of domestic entertainment and amateur theater, often under the direction of women. In elaborate mise-en-scénes, partitipants would most their postures, holding their positions and emotional expressions from two to twenty minutes. The performative technique of tableaux vivants became conventionalized following François Delsartre's method, a gestural vocabulary nuanced with Christian and moral themes, often depicting supplication, blessing, or appeal. (Fisher 1997: 28)
Another useful hint: François Delsarte developed "an acting style that attempted to connect the inner emotional experience of the actor with a systematized set of gestures and movements based upon his own observations of human interaction."
Haptic awareness engages the ontology of a performative situation through a kind of "distal touch," which perceives the ways enegies are galvanized to generate experience. Just as the haptic sense is engaged when the body is in motion, so too it is operative when the body is still. On the one hand, proprioception, an aspect of the haptic faculty, discerns spatial depth and the arrangements of objects. On the other hand, kinaesthetic awareness, another aspect of the haptic, gives a reflexive awareness of bodily comportment. But it is the even more subtle registers of the haptic that experience the resonance of affective climate. (Fisher 1997: 29)
I am amazed with the simplicity with which the author here hierarchizises these notions. I am unable to think anything else of it, as I haven't found any thorough handling of the senses yet.
Kaplan, Janet A. 1999. Deeper and Deeper: Interview with Marina Abramovic. Art Journal 58(2): 6-21.
Kaplan: is it your expectation that people will really participate in the work, that they will put on the shoes, take the hair whips, and beat the crystals?
Abramovic: It's a question of culture. If you do such a piece in Holland, people do it right away. In other culture, say Sweden, people are very reserved. Thre is the directive that you're not supposed to touch art. You're not supposed to get close. The whole idea of the temporality of the object is very important to me, so they have to be used and, by use, destroyed. This is totally against the idea of the art object that has to last forever. I'm very interested in temporality. Not just of objects, but of our bodies, too. That's why I call this new pieve Expiring Body. (Kaplan 1999: 10)
The cultural relativity of haptics. Body art as temporary, objectified art as something that "has to last forever."
Kaplan: But how much do you expect your audience to be able to follow you when, for example, you're sitting in a gallery on a bicycle seat for three hours?
Abramovic: I don't expect anything from the public. I only know what I expect from myself, and for me it's important that when I'm doing a performance that I am there with my body and mind 100 percent. You know you can perform with your body in the space, but your mind is in Honolulu. To be in the here and now is very important. It takes enormous energy and concentration. When that happens, the public gets trapped into this here and now, and they are there with you. I know if I slip even one second, somebody may leave, but if I keep this energy, nobody does. It's a very special state, and it really works. If I'm 100 percent here, I know I can affect the public very strongly. (Kaplan 1999: 11)
What I read of out of this is that by being "here and now" means being aware of the situation and concurrently keeping watch of it. In this way, even chance eye contacts with the public keep is "hooked". It gives the impression of not seeing someone merely doing something, but doing something for and with you.
We came back from the Aborigines with this idea for the Nightsea Crossing piece, in which we just sat for long periods of time opposite each other at a table in the museum. Nobody would see us start or end the performance. When the public arrived in the museum, we were already thre. When they left, we were still there. So they would see this image with no beginning, no end. The difference between us and the object in the museum is that the objects have another kind of energy, a static energy, but we have a live energy. And that was really the answer to the '80s. Working with the body, but with the mental area, opened in a different way. (Kaplan 1999: 13)
To be exact, images don't have beginnings and ends in temporal sense unless you mean creation and destruction. What Marina is talking about here is a performance without a seeming beginning and end, an everlasting act (for the public).
Kaplan: A lot of women focused on their bodies not because of issues of inequality but because of the specifics of being a woman in a female body. Is that of interest to you?
Abramovic: No. BUt, it's very intersting, this feeling of being feminine. I only started after I became fifty. Not before. In most of my performances, I use the body naked, but for a totally different reason, because it's the most natural, simple, architectural. All my early performances deas with the body and architecture, especially the pieces that Ulay and I made, because we were always in relation to space and time. But not because it was male or female. I'm more female in my private life. I don't think so much in my work, but in my private life very much. I'm in love with glamour, fashion, and so on, but in the '70s, it didn't exist for me. (Kaplan 1999: 15)
I said I will keep an eye out for this kind of discourse (female or feminist artists performing naked). Abramovic's position is valid: she performed naked because her pieces required her to be functional - she was essentially hurting herself, clothes would have gotten in the way. In case of Yayoi Kusama laying on a sofa covered with symbolic penises and presenting her rump to the camera, or Annie Sprinkle letting people look into her vagina with a flashlight, not so much.
Now we are entering the twenty-first century and, as Paul Virilio has said, we are sitting at home with the body in one space, but we are everywhere with the mind - by the Internet, by computers, zipping through the world. The body is becoming something very heavy, an obstacle. This separation will become so disastrous that body and mind eventually must come back together. And art has to have the answer. (Kaplan 1999: 16)
Well, I think Paul Virilio is right on the money. But this is nothing new. If I remember correctly then it was Plato's Apologies in which Sokrates mused over the body being a dreadful burden (I really should try to read that book again, I think I'm ready for it now).
Green, Charles 2000. Doppelgangers and the Third Force: The Artistic Collaborations of Gilbert & George and Marina Abramovic/Ulay. Art Journal 59(2): 36-45.
In these performances, although they occupied the same physical space as audience members, they stood above them [on the table]; indeed, they behaved as if they lived on an elevated mental plane, distant from the emotions and cares of ordinary mortals. This strategy was not shared by most performance artists of the period, who strove to bridge the gap between artist and audience. Gilbert and George had no such desire, and wished to distance themselves entirely from the genre and performance. According to Gilbert, "We never did performance, ever. We never called it performance, ever. We didn't like it. For many, many years, we wouldn't even show in the standard group shows to do with performance, because we felt it was something completely different." In interviews and in correspondence, they absolutely insisted on this difference, distancing themselves from the connotations of performance art made by charismatic personalities who emphasized bodily experience. (Green 2000: 38-39)
That is, Gilbert & George distanced themselves from private personality and preserved "only their public personae as artists" - they held on to the theatricity of performance. They were living sculptures.
Gilbert & George's robotic self-control and evasion of personal contact was redolent of the utter self-absorption of mimes. Indeed, their metallic face paint strongly recalled the makeup of these performers, and most English and Australian gallery audiences of the late 1960s and early 1970s would have been aware of and might have associated The Singing Sculpture with the then-famous French mime Marcel Marceau in particular. (Green 2000: 39)
I like these terms. Robotic self-control and evasion of personal contact.
Through this process, Abramovic/Ulay were digging through the sediments of culturally constructed gender roles, they thought, to the bedrock beneath and, at the same time, creating a new "body" outside the binary iterations of male/female or nature/culture. During their 1980-81 Australian journey, Ulay stated, it was "not important that we are man and woman. We talk of ourselves as bodies." Moreover, from the beginning of the collaboration, they spoke of themselves as parts of a "two-headed body." (Green 2000: 42)
This is quite reminiscent of Aristophanes. I like how "body artists" referred to themselves as "bodies".
Influential 1960s counter-cultural psychologists such as Richard Alpert and Timothy Leary - who had been significantly influenced by Tibetan Buddhist psychology, Islamisc Sufi dance, Christian mystics such as Nicholas of Cusa, and proto-counter-cultural theorists including Aldous Huxley - had over-romanticized extreme self-alienation, doubling, and depersonalization. (Green 2000: 45)
Huxley in a very weird collection of names and inclinations.

Theses on the semiotic study of cultures


PealkiriTheses on the semiotic study of cultures / University of Tartu, Department of Semiotics ; [translated by Silvi Salupere ; edited by Ülle Pärli] = Kultuurisemiootika teesid / Tartu Ülikool, semiootika osakond = Тезисы к семиотическому изучению культур
IlmunudTartu : University of Tartu, 1998 [2.tr]
Linkhttp://tartu.ester.ee/record=b1048143~S1*est
ViideUspenskij, B. A., V. V. Ivanov, V. N. Toporov, A. M. Pjatigorskij, Ju. M. Lotman 1998 [1973]. Theses on the Semiotic Study of Cultures (As Applied to Slavic Texts). In: Ülle Pärli (Ed.) Theses on the semiotic study of cultures. Translated by Silvi Salupere. Tartu: University of Tartu, 33-60.

[1.0.0.] In the study of culture the initial premise is that all human activity concerned with the processing, exchange, and storage of information possesses a certain unity. Individual sign systems, though they presuppose immanently organized structures, function only in unity, supported by one another. None of the sign systems possesses a mechanism which would enable it to function culturally in isolation. (Uspenskij et al. 1998: 33)
This is essentially the premise of the semiospheric model. At the moment it brings to mind Benveniste's contention that we cannot "go back and see" a man without language. In a similar manner we cannot constue whatever type of sign system without all the others.
[1.1.1] From this [inclusion-exlusion] point of view the definition of culture as the sphere of organization (information) in human society and the opposition to it of disorganization (entropy) is one of the many definitions given "from within" the object being described, which is further evidence of the fact that science (in this case, information theory) in the twentieth century is not only a metasystem but is also part of the object describe, "modern culture". (Uspenskij et al. 1998: 34)
The translator has done a poor job in transforming the russian syntax into a comprehendible english one. As I understand it, there is opposition between organization (we) and disorganization (they), but this is a slanted view, as we are seeing this from "the inside" of culture.
[3.1.0.] The concept "text" is used in a specifically semiotic sense and, on the one hand, is applied bot only to messages in a natural language but also to any carrier of integral ("textual") meaning - to a ceremony, a work of the fine arts, or a piece of music. On the other hand, not every message in a natural language is a text from the point of view of culture. Out of the entire totality of messages in a natural language, culture distinguishes and takes into account only those which may be defined as a certain speech genre, for example, "prayer", "law", "novel", and others, that is to say, those which possess a certain integral meaning and fulfill a common function. (Uspenskij et al. 1998: 38)
This question has puzzled me for a long time. If any semiotic phenomena which is integral (whole - complete - entire - total - full) and functional (having a special activity, purpose, or task) then it almost seems that everyday behaviour can be viewed as text as long as it can be properly segmented and it's function clearly derived. E.g. situations with paradigmatic rules (such as rituals, ceremonies, regular occurrences, etc.).

[See the 2013 re-issue of the "Theses"]

From Isolation to Intimacy


AutorCaldwell, Phoebe; Horwood, Jane
PealkiriFrom Isolation to Intimacy : Making Friends without Words
IlmunudLondon : Jessica Kingsley Publishers
Linkhttp://site.ebrary.com/lib/tartu/docDetail.action?docID=10196787
ViideCaldwell, Pheobe and Jane Horwood 2007. From Isolation to Intimacy: Making Friends without Words. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

What they all have in common and what the thrust of this book is about is that in a world that is communication-dependent they cannot talk to us and we cannot talk to them. (Caldwell and Horwood 2007: 16)
This is how the authors define people who are non-verbal. To be honest, I've never thought that this term can be used as a label for a group of people. It does make sense, though.
Periodically Mickey says that his head is 'switched off', and sometimes he will come and say, 'Switch my head on please.' His father says that the correct response is to extend the wrist and rotate it - as in turning a switch - and that sometimes this is effective in helping his son to reconnect. (Caldwell and Horwood 2007: 22)
This is a neat example of a metaphorical gesture.
And each of us is different, we have our own special mix of nature and nurture, our flavour, what one might call our own affective signature. This is important, because it is here we are going to have to direct our attention if we want to relate to each other, focusing on this essence, this core. (Caldwell and Horwood 2007: 24)
Wow this is a good notion. I almost want to use it in an insult, for example, Mildred has the affective signature of a roll of wallpaper.
How often do we meet someone by walking into their room, an unknown stranger and greeting them in our language? When I am working with someone who is very disturbed, I wait outside their door until I have picked up enough of what they are doing to introduce myself in their language, using their sounds or rhythms, in effect saying, 'Hello, here I am' in such a way as tells them I am not going to do anything that they will perceive as threatening. (Caldwell and Horwood 2007: 29)
Ah! Ingenious! These kinds of passages are really enjoyable to envision.
At a conference, delegates on the spectrum may say they are 'peopled out' and retire to their rooms for a while to recover. (Caldwell and Horwood 2007: 34)
At this point I'm as if learning the language of autism researchers. I welcome these kinds of notions, because neurotypical too people can become "peopled out".
All of us are involved in an ongoing neural brain-body conversation. The brain is sending messages to the body telling the various parts of it what to do. The body sends feedback to the brain saying that it has done whatever it is. Whether or not we are aware of it, this brain-body dialogue is going on all the time. The most obvious example of this is in the conversation between the brain and the lungs. Highly simplified, the brain says 'breathe in', and the body sends a return message telling the brain that it has 'done it'. Should this process fail we should die. Although we are not conscious of this rhythmic exchange unless we are panting from exertion, or are deliberately focusing on it as in some forms of meditation, people who have withdrawn into their inner world may be listening exclusively to the feedback they are receiving from their own body rhythms (especially those who have severe learning disabilities or are on the autistic spectrum). (Caldwell and Horwood 2007: 38)
Quoted at lenght because this passage made me conscious of breathing. Not a bad piece of suggestive description to keep in store for future meditations on proprioception.
Perhaps the main emphasis in the way I practice and teach is that I encourage students to immerse themselves in their partner's body and facial language. Just like verbal language, they will find it has different elements expressed in different ways, a vocabulary and grammar of its own. What is important is what it is that is familiar and recognizable to our partner's brain. (Caldwell and Horwood 2007: 57)
This is where I disagree with the authors. But I guess I shouldn't, thus far the metaphorical nature of this book has made it a pleasure to read; I can't be too mad at them for associating or drawing an analogy between vocabulary and grammar with nonverbal communication where there is very little in the way of actual homology. The problem is not a simple one to tackle and the basic semiotic inference they draw seems natural: for "what is important" can be interpreted as signs or what is "familiar and recognizable" as the shared meaning of signs.
So how can we convey worth? Think about communication. First of all there is the casual greeting. Walk down our village street and almost everyone you meet, regardless of whether or not you know each other well, will look at you and say, 'Morning', 'Hello' or if it's a particularly sunndy day, 'Grand day isn't it?' These passing exchanges are a form of social reassurance, of grooming. If you odn't believe this, just recall what happens if you smile and say 'Hello' and someone fails to respond, looks right through you. You feel momentarily rejected and possibly mutter to yourself 'Didn't think much of them anyway' or 'Must be a stranger'. What you are doing is internally rejecting them in order to right the balance in yourself.(Caldwell and Horwood 2007: 86)
I should mole this over in relation with #avoidance.
It is the ambivalent reaction of coyness, bashfulness and embarassment which are usually seen as self-conscious because they seem to oindicate a much more complex tension between affiliation and avoidance with an explicit acknowledgement of the self that is exposed.
This quote most likely comes from Vasu Reddy's 2006. Feeling Other Minds (which I am unable to find on the internet). The reference is not given, but the quote is important since I did not know before that affiliation is the antonym of avoidance. On another note, associating coyness and embarassment with blushing reaches back to Darwin's Expressions. The authors here note that people on the autistic spectrum rarely exhibit this simple connection.
...by using frame-by-frame analyses of video material it is possible to code the growth of interpersonal engagement in terms of four variables - eye gaze, proximity to the partner and positive emotion. (Caldwell and Horwood 2007: 109)
Somehow I counted three. The first two being oculesic and proxemic indicators and the third being emotional expression, presumably in/on the face, but this is where the fourth paremeter could be invented (although not necessarily so) - emotional arousal as a general quality of arousal and/or activity (tonus? although this is loosely related to emotions).
  • define:neurotypical : Neurotypical (or NT) is a term that was coined in the autistic community as a label for people who are not on the autism spectrum.
  • define:vituperative : Bitter and abusive.
  • define:vestibular : Of or relating to a vestibule, particularly that of the inner ear, or more generally to the sense of balance.

The Elements of Yoga


AutorDevereux, Godfrey
PealkiriThe elements of yoga / Godfrey Devereux
IlmunudShaftesbury : Element, 1994
Linkhttp://tartu.ester.ee/record=b1949723~S1*est
ViideDevereux, Godfrey 1994. The Elements of Yoga. Shaftesbury: Element.

The methods of yoga are many and encompass a number of systems, or paths, each with a different emphasis. What makes them yoga is their common purpose, similar effects and shared result. Their purpose is to liberate the individual from unnecessary confusion and pain. Their effect is to generate a quietening and refining of the mind. Their result is peace, joy and happiness in a rich, fulfilling life. In effect yoga is a science of skilful living rather than a religion, it is practical rather than hypothetical. (Devereux 1994: vi)
I have noticed that when I exercise and/or jog, I spend my surplus energy on the body and have less to spend on worrying about minute stuff (but also, less energy to read books, for example). I've noticed all these alleged effects of yoga while doing basically anything physical. I'm getting into yoga now because I think this might be a way to exercise without spending too much energy; to train my body without losing the ability to concentrate on my readings. Stretching and breathing exercises seem to be ideal for my current purposes.
Whoever begins yoga and continues regularly and consistently will soon benefit from its fruit. These include suppleness, strenght, energy, good posture, improved respiration, circulation and digestion, bright and clear eyes, smooth and shining skin, even muscle tone, normalized body weight, perceptual and verbal clarity, concentration, tranquility, self-confidence, openness, honesty, temperance, enthusiasm, appreciation and gratitude. It gives one the means and the desire to live life fully, to engage directly with the flavours and textures of life with enthusiasm and joy. However, yoga has a very different curve of progress for each individual. Some people progress physically faster than they progress psychologically, and vice versa. Yoga is more truly about the mind than the body and one should avoid establishing unrealistic goals and mileposts based on what one would like or has seen in others. If it makes you happy about yourself it is working, no matter how much or little flexibility, strenght or stamina you develop. These will come with time and practice. (Devereux 1994: vii-viii)
All's well and good. Perceptual and verbal clarity sound doubtful, but whatever. I'll still give it a whirl.
Yoga means union. As the goal and fruit of yoga it means union of the individual with the universal, the self with other, inner with outer, finite with infinite.
Samadhi refers to the state of consciousness in which liberation is experienced, through extinguishing the movements of the mind caused by desire, confusion and attachment. It is the ultimate state of consciousness, the final fruit of yoga. In it there is neither suffering, nor attachment, nor illusion. There is only the bliss of freedom from limitation and identification of the finite self with the infinite reality.
Moksha means liberation. Often it is thought that yoga is a flight from the world. This is not so. Yoga is a journey into the heart of the world. It is not the world that we leave behind in yoga, but our illusions, our preconceptions about it, especially our deluded sense of our self as separate from God, as apart from all other elements of existence. Free from illusions we become one with the entire universe.
Kaivalya means aloneness. This refers to the fact that when one has become one with God, one with the whole of existence, there is no other, and so one is all alone. This does not imply solitude or loneliness. In it the singular interconnectedness of all is realized. (Devereux 1994: X)
I know from other sources that "union" is a very one-sided interpretation, etymologically it is more close to yoke or rope (hey! these even sound alike!). Reaching the state of consciousness without movements of mind... a negative interpretation would be that yoga makes you stop thinking. And I don't agree at all that our sense of self as separate from God is deluded. Rather, the sense of being one with the whole of existence is deluded: either we are one with the whole universe to begin with or it is impossible; no amount of stretches, breathing exercises and feeling or belief is going to change that. This religious side of yoga is starting to annoy me so I'm gonna see what google:define has to say about these terms:
  • define:yoga - A Hindu spiritual and ascetic discipline, a part of which, including breath control, simple meditation, etc.
  • define:samadhi - A state of intense concentration achieved through meditation, at which union with the divine is reached.
  • define:moksha - In Indian religions, Moksha (Sanskrit: मोक्ष ') or Mukti (Sanskrit: मुक्ति), literally "release"...
  • define:kaivalya - Kaivalya, which is the ultimate goal of yoga, means solitariness or detachment..
Welp, now I'm doubting if I can get into yoga because the spiritual stuff repulses me.
Patanjali is often regarded as the father of yoga. However, the Hindu god Siva is traditionally regarded as the source of esoteric yogic knowledge. Many of the tantras, agamas and other works begin by stating that the information contained within was given by Siva to his consort Parvati. In one instance he was overhear by the king of fishes, Matsyendra, who subsequently took on human form and bevame the founder of Hatha Yoga. The popular Hindu god Krishna is the source of yogic teachings in the Bhagavad Gita, referring especially to the paths of devotion and action. (Devereux 1994: 9)
Neat: the variety that on the surface seems most sensible, has the most absurd origins story.
Similar to the Yoga panishads are a collection of manuals describing the beliefs, rituals and practices of Tantric Yoga. Howevery they focus more closely on the techniques of awakening the shakti power of the kundalini. This involves physical and psychic concentration inside the spinal column. They also include detailed descriptions of the subtle energy body, the chakras (energy centers) and andis (channels of energy throughout the body). They also claim that in this age of materialistic delusions Tantric Yoga is the only yoga powerful enough to awaken us from the thrall of our delusions. (Devereux 1994: 11-12)
Dammit, book, you're not making very much sense. This sentence could very well mean "the sperm-producing powers of the groin". Help me, Google, let me be one with you:
  • define:shakti - The female principle of divine energy, esp. when personified as the supreme deity.
  • define:kundalini - (in yoga) Latent female energy believed to lie coiled at the base of the spine.
I wasn't even that far off.
It [Svatmarama, the most respected Hatha Yogo text) outlines seven limbs of yoga practice: purification, posture, gesture, internalization, breath control, contemplation, ecstasy. (Devereux 1994: 12)
Thus, for all intensive purpose, yoga is a tentative hindu etiquette.
Many people think that yoga is a withdrawal from the world in which a detachment is cultivated which leads to isolation. Although this may be the effect of faulty practice it is not the intention of yoga. Yoga means union, not separation. The underlying psychology of yoga is sophisticated but simple. A key concept is illusion, or maya. Maya is a sanskrit term which refers to the unreal world in which we life. Many have taken this to mean that the world in which we live - of material bodies, birth and death - is not real.
In fact maya refers to the tendency of our minds to develop and hold on to conceptual images. These images result from past experience held in our memories. Every experience tends to be stored as a tapestry of images which feed off and into those remaining from other experiences. Long before childhood is over we have built up a complex, sophisticated web of images in our mind. This web is so powerful that we begin to impose it between ourselves and our experiences. When we do this we are no longer experiencing reality. Instead we are projecting an image, based on our past experience, and are living in a world of abstract images rather than concrete reality. This is the illusion of maya. (Devereux 1994: 28)
This also sounds very familiar to the semiotic modelling a la Sebeok and Danesi.
Yoga allows us to cut through the frozen web of images that suggests a separation of subejct and object, of self and other, and access the experience of life directly. We learn to live without the filter of the mind's projections, in and as the electrifying energy of each moment. (Devereux 1994: 30)
Oh, so yoga teaches you to live in and as energy that attracts small particles. Hmm, that's interesting, says the critical reader sarcastically.
Asana, the third limb of yoga, is a term describing the series of physical postures which are an integral part of the practice of yoga. However, there is a subtle but profound difference between yoga asana and a stretch exercise: the former is characterized by a combination of physical alignment and mental awareness, whereas the latter is merely a gymnastic exercise. By establishing the correct alignment of each part of the body, only achieved by directing the attention inwardly throughout the whole body, posture becomes asana. (See pp. 78-103, where the asana postures are described and illustrated.) (Devereux 1994: 43)
I fail to see this subtle difference as something important. Rather I see an ideological practice of denying "merely gymnastic exercises" the quality of mental awareness. As if gymnastic exercises don't require conscious effort to pull off correctly. Personally, I consider this extra "mental awareness" - in the "profound" sense meant here - to be unnecessarily spiritualistic. These very same (stretching and breathing) exercises are available on the internet without any notion of "union with God". What differentiates ordinary exercises from yoga is that the latter has a prestigious qality of being exotic, spiritual, mystic, "different"; yet unnecessarily so. These "asanas" can help my health and I'm not going to be drawn into something I don't believe in just because these exercises were so thoroughly recorded in foreign and/or religious language. I am all for secular yoga.
The actual experience of meditation is to cultivate a profound, living awareness of the mechanisms of our mind. Thereby we begin to lose our attachment to habitual thought patterns, mind states, emotions and ides, which we cling to as a means of identifying ourselves in external noises. We simply observe the pattern and tendency of our mind. We notive our response to external stimuli. But we do so openly, generously, without evaluation, judgement or analysis. We just observe and allow. In effect the process of meditation is one in which we make friends with ourselves in a very deep way. This we do by refraining from any tendency to criticize, judge, deny or repress the activity of our minds. (Devereux 1994: 48-49)
A note on how to meditate and achieve "unity" with oneself.
Many people assume that because yoga is not always a form of moving exercise it does not develop stamina. In fact it requires much more strenght and muscular stamina to execute a posture slowly than fast. By holding the postures when they have become more comfortable muscular stamina is developed very quickly. Stamina is especially developed by the standing and inverted postures - the latter often being held for half an hour at a stretch. When postures are connected together into a flowing sequence, as in Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, the development of cardiovascular stamina is rapid and impressive. (Devereux 1994: 63)
Well, this is comforting/encouraging.