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A Study on The Otherness(Alterity) : Dance Art's Another Subject - Focusing on E. Levinas' Philosophical Thought -

ji-won Lee 1

1이화여자대학교

Candidate

ABSTRACT

How to define the human subject was one of the key controversies of Modern Philosophy. In today's world, the direction of philosophy, especially with France, proclaimed the death of the subject and denied an absolute subject, a rational subject, a subject as a world's meaning giver. Thus, the question of verifying the subject, which has been emphasized in philosophy, the question of perception, the question of awareness and etc was transformed into a question of power and desire. Then it began to destroy an icon of rationality. Levinas, more than any other philosopher, was interested in the question of 'The Other' in what we experience daily. He emphasized that this discloses the meaning within the order of human existence. It is to say that the existence of 'The Other 'is an element that defines the human existence. Therefore, he asserts that there is a request for altruism in the meaning of 'The Other', and thus, with the advent of the other, the self must give up its egoistic desires and take responsibility for the other. The fulfillment of a responsible self can be realized by dance. Levinas suggests that a reflection on the essence of human is a deduction based on empirical facts of human existence. So it is possible by the meeting of bodies in the way of dance. Through the body, one self can interact with the other and define one self. As in Levinas' words, the display of the face as well as the meeting of the bodies can help us realize who we really are. The stage where the bodies converse or where the face of humans meet is not only an visual image of a subject but is a place where altruism expresses itself. As Marie Chounard has said "The dancing body's existence is an expression of awareness", and so by focusing on the movement of the body and its expressions, we can encounter our lives with those of others. After meeting and experiencing these others, one self can reevaluate the privilege of the self, realize that we must all coexist and define how human beings should lead their lives. Lloyd Newson and Michael Clark, an understanding of the other is invaluable because it suggests one beyond an individualistic and empirical fact, and enlightens an absolute difference of the other from an intrinsic view of human being. So they presented an opportunity of communication and transcendence of a more original sense to meet the others' psychological pain through the body. Choreographers become the dancers make a story about themselves not a description of what is seen of the subject by the majority, self. They are not beings searching for empathy or love but a being with independence and transcendence. They become an equal being as they state their stance on the innate imperfection of the other. Also they revive the meaning of being the self as a self and the other as the other through the face, gaze, and speech in the meet of bodies. The moment dance portrays the meet with the other is when the meaning of the self and other is completed. Transcending this work to the world and history, while weaving this timeless image into time, carries great meaning beyond any ethical value. Levinas philosophy moves the pivot of life to you in front of me and me in regards to you not us. So it not only prompts a responsible behavior from individuals but also questions the place where we have situated ourselves. In works of Lloyd Newson and Michael Clark, the bearer of this contemporary which are 「Dead Dreams of Monochrome Men」(1989) and 「Wrong」, it clearly highlights the meaning of coexistence and the nonexistence of the other as a infinite concept through revealing the face. This is important in the sense that it makes a place which is possible of a altruism of the other. Levinas' thought on the other goes beyond a selfish and egoistic world view and entails a possibility of a conversion of culture and ethics on a wider and pluralistic view. Observed through the dance, Levinas 'thought of revealing the face has attained attention to the human body and through it has contrived a framework that can reevaluate the meaning of 'the painful body' and read in diverse viewpoints 'focused on the behavior of the body'. Body in itself is a symbol of its existence. This is an altruistic explanation that does not maintain or overlook conflict with the other but leads to accept and respect the other in the name of co-living(상생). 'Facing each other 'is another critical way of reading and interpreting dance and is expected to be a foundation for extension and creation of a dance point of view. In the process of observing the body movement of the other there are certain limitations of a researcher looking at traces of pain. However, it is important in the sense that it discovers possibilities that can approach the other by opening the gateway of communication through the process of verbalization. It is hoped that Epistemology, ontology, ethics, metaphysical approaches vivid in Levinas' thoughts can be interpreted in many aspects such as the phenomenology of dance, women's studies, Postmodernism.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.