Indiscernible Gestures: Contemporary Performance

Barbara Formis
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If you had a bird's eye view of contemporary art, you would notice the overwhelming presence of ready-made objects, everyday gestures, aesthetic banalities and poetics of the quotidian. If this situation could be interpreted as the dissolution of art, it leads instead to a new aesthetic paradigm. Such a paradigm is paradoxical: art affirms itself via its indiscernability with ordinary life. This is particularly evident if one considers contemporary body practices. Post-modern dance, happening, body art and Fluxus inaugurated a kind of democracy of the body by means of which the conventional authority of the artist, the object and the context disappeared within the work itself. Nevertheless, the integrity of art is preserved under this paradigm. To investigate such a paradoxical process, I propose to analyse procedures of re-enactment, walking art, and performances in public spaces through Wittgenstein's idea of language games. Following Wittgenstein, one can hypothesize that if the meaning of these works does not reside in their content, perhaps it inheres in their syntax.

Keywords: contemporary art, Wittgenstein, performance
Stream: Aesthetics, Design, Language, Linguistics, Philosophy, Ethics, Consciousness
Presentation Type: Plenary Presentation in English
Paper: Indiscernible Gestures

Barbara Formis

Lecturer of Philosophy, Department of Philosophy, Sorbonne University, Paris

Barbara Formis is a Lecturer at the Department of Philosophy at the Sorbonne University in Paris (Paris I). Her main focuses are: performance, walking art, body art, fluxus, post-modern dance, action painting and happenings. Her philosophical approach is predominantly phenomenological (Merleau-Ponty) but she also refers to French philosophies of difference and the event (Deleuze, Derrida, Badiou) and to investigations of language (Wittgenstein and Lyotard). She completed her undergraduate studies at the University 'Statale' in Milan and then obtained her graduate degrees (Honours and Masters) at Paris I. She currently writes for the Revue d'Esthétique.

Ref: H05P0821