• “Élan vital … and how to fake it: Morton Feldman and Merle Marsicano’s Vernacular Metaphysics.”

    Author(s):
    Ryan Dohoney (see profile)
    Date:
    2019
    Subject(s):
    Dance, Musicology, Art and philosophy
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    Modernism, Philosophy and the arts
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/phv6-zw66
    Abstract:
    Scholars have explored the relationship between US experimentalism and vitalist philosophy largely through John Cage’s reception of Henri Bergson. Recent scholarship has shown the importance of vitalism to the wider New York School. Evidence from Feldman’s archive suggests he too absorbed Bergsonian philosophy. Feldman signalled this when he wrote of ‘Henri Bergson’s élan vital … and how to fake it’ in his unpublished lectures, New York Style. He borrows vitalist vocabulary for piece titles (Extensions and Durations) and, in an early sketchbook, describes his open-form Intermission 6 as ‘an outline of becoming’. These interests are also apparent in his collaborations. His nearly-lost dance piece Figure of Memory, written for choreographer Merle Marsicano, is Feldman’s only other open form piece (along with Intermission 6). Marsicano employed similar vitalist language to Feldman and applied it to her dance. Feldman’s collaboration with Marsicano signals a shared vernacular metaphysics mingling Bergsonism, self-abnegation, and aesthetic form.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    3 years ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
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