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The philosophy of staged dialogue: Joseph Beuyss Ja Ja Ja Ja Ja Nee Nee Nee Nee Nee (1968)

Hughes, HA The philosophy of staged dialogue: Joseph Beuyss Ja Ja Ja Ja Ja Nee Nee Nee Nee Nee (1968) In: What is Performance Philosophy? Staging a New Field, 2013-04-11 - 2013-04-13, University of Surrey, UK.

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This paper aims to explore the relationship between conversation and dialogue in performance looking at how pragmatics and phenomenology might interrelate to give an account of the both static and dynamic role of staged verbal communication. Dialogue represents the capacity for collective thinking and community but it poses several problems. Paul Grice’s cooperative principle developed in his William James Lectures is one starting point for the understanding of conversation as a collective enterprise. Sperber and Wilson have developed the cooperative principle by discussing the problem posed for pragmatic accounts of linguistic communication by the problem of mutual knowledge. How do partners in conversation know what their conversational partner knows so that they know what to say? Sperber and Wilsons solution is to weaken the idea of mutual knowledge and to replace it with the ideas of mutual manifestness and a shared cognitive environment. In this paper I will argue that such philosophical problems posed by the phenomenon of conversation are explored in the abstraction and staging of dialogue. Josef Beuys’s Ja Ja Ja Ja Ja Ne Ne Ne Ne Ne is a conceptualization and staging of the essentials of conversation pointing to it as a collective activity that at times affirms and at times negates the unity of the speaker and hearer. The idea of dialogue as an object which can be staged will be explored using Graham Harman’s development of Heidegger’s distinction between Dasein and Vorhandensein in his discussion of causation. Harman explains the burning candle as a unified object that changes within, rather than as one object – the flame – acting on another – the candle. Similarly, it will be argued that the partners in dialogue represent the unity of conversation (although this representation is made problematic through the knowledge that the dialogue is scripted). The actors’ role is to represent the spontaneous development of dialogue as an agent for unity and for change from within. Change within the unity of dialogue represents development for the parts within the whole as the object grows, ceases to exist, or becomes something else. Josef Beuys’s ideas about the artist involved an understanding of art as a collective social activity and as an agent for change. His Ja Ja Ja Ja Ja Ne Ne Ne Ne Ne is understood as an exploration of the unity of the community as it develops and of the possible redefinition of the community as a whole rather than as a number of separate objects acting on each other. References Joseph Beuys "Ja Ja Ja Ja Ja Ne Ne Ne Ne Ne", 1970, Mazzotta Editions, Milan, 33 rpm (excerpt 2:00) Grice, H. P. (1989). Studies in the way of words. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Harman, Graham. 2010. Towards Speculative Realism: Essays and Lectures. Winchester, UK: Zero Books. Sperber, Dan/Wilson, Deirdre (1995): Relevance: Communication and Cognition, Second Edition, Oxford/Cambridge: Blackwell Publishers

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > School of Literature and Languages
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Authors :
Hughes, HA
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 28 Mar 2017 15:52
Last Modified : 07 Mar 2019 11:18

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