File spoon-archives/habermas.archive/habermas_2001/habermas.0102, message 96

Date: Tue, 27 Feb 2001 20:44:05 -0800 (PST)
Subject: HAB: Artistry & Rationality

[This is a response to "HAB: Habermas London's Exploding Cinema," 25
Fed (#92)]


Yes, the references and themes you mention are very
interesting--enkindering. Thanks for sharing all that.

Soundscape...lightscape, moving 
Mindscape: lifeworld improvised
As multimodal communications 
Art I woke up
To codify.

(Badly improvised, I know...Anyway:) *Poetic* use of language is
topical--maybe more than that: What makes any and all arts kindredly
*artistic*? All media can be interpreted linguistically ("criticism"
is--can be--a specialty "reading" any medium); so, it could be that
there's an enkindering sense of "poeticality" that belongs to all art
media. Then various media of art may belong altogether in a
multimodality of art that historizes through its extended interplay
of modalities (tropescaping semiosis?), which shows in so-called
"low" (folk, pop) art just as authentically as in "high" art. 

So, the differentiation Habermas makes between "poetic" and
"communicative" language shows, maybe, how he comprehends the
kindredness of "pragmatic" and holistically artistic "language"
(linguistic and non-) [ _On the Pragmatics of Communication_, ch. 9].

Poetic use of language expresses the creative/artistic *self* through
its rhetorical *personae*, which "write" (interface)
scenographies--the theatre of meaningfulness--that may be called on
to be accountable and responsible, i.e., rational. Essential here is
the differing self in its presentings (Heidegger), its
"self-representations" (Habermas) through performed occasions.

Figure: this face.....Ground: myself.... Field: lifworld potentials. 

Interplay cohering as an historicality that coddles a new encoding
out of itself. 

I don't feel a *break* with Habermas' Project, when I think this way,
write this way. Rather, I feel a large sense of complementarity
(especially since philosophy itself, in his sense--a grand
interdisciplinarity--is easily characterized as a conceptual art).
Potential for public durability--rationalization--complements the
Moment of artistic performance (so much more than everyday activity's
enactivity, it's mundane reliability that is *opened* out of itself,
potentially, by art). 

Says, JH: "Rationalization of the lifeworld means differentiation and
condensation at once--a thickening of the floating web if
intersubjective threads that simultaneously holds together the ever
more sharply differentiated components of culture, society, and
person" (Philosophical Discourse of Modernity_: 346). In fielding
originary experience, Flow is barely threaded, gaining (grounding) a
weave at a figurative interface (that may be in any medium), *after*
itself--gaining some pragmatic afterFlow, having *made* what *may* be
called to question, to account for its responsibility; but in itself
its world-disclosing news answers to its own flowing ("Rationalise
THIS 'total quality assessment,' Juergen. Or don't.  SEE ya!")

All true art is "relatively outside of systemic constraints" (re: the
Exploding Cinema), you'd agree. And JH would agree as well! I
believe. But art *is* always played within a history--and so has
always already much to gain from participating in *that* endless
Conversation (Gadamer). Maybe *linguistic* articulation--through
criticism and interpolation--prevails at Day's end (in the wake of
each Movement's waning) to tell the *next* Art that pretends to
invent its Calling: *History* welcomes you and may even remember you.

The *validity* of art is not its body, its profundity of grasp (or
refusal of profundity); rather, just its *genuineness*, by which
normativity may *grow*--for "reason" needs (and already always
INCLUDES) what is genuinely represented (potentially including newly
into itself as reason what is First presented through "the
other")--not to *reduce* artistic "world-disclosure" to
representation! Rather to *preserve* art's differentiation (and
potential) from the bounded public business of accountable
responsibility--which *art* needs, too: ensurances of freedom, fair
opportunity, etc. in public life. But reason may have little to do
with art beyond ensurances for genuine self-representation. Reason
can become "Reason" to art (another medium, some reframed "reason").
In the face of art, bounded reason becomes apprentice to possibility
(if not openness as such). 

Yea, dance of life! Yea, that which the reporters come along to
journal, saying *that*'s what they were that's worth remembering, and
they were *that* (at least) in our *articulated* history. 

Well! This surely isn't Habermas! 

Rather a voice of solidarity with his profoundly threefold art of
*historical* cohering.

Meanwhile, the participants in any art don't wait for reported
cohering in their fine Flow--though it *was* there! It *took* place,
it *made* a Place in Time. Then, they moved on, to some next
Occasion, which is what an  art always does, without regard to the
speed of retropective articulation in its wake (among so many other
wakes in historicality). 

"But can high/literary theory be used to legitimate 'low'/non
literary culture?"

In my view, yes. And I bet you agree that it's just as
important--maybe more so--to ask: *Should* the high be used to
legitimate the low? Isn't this at some crucial point inimical to the
historical Surprise (and originality) that Art provides? 

Often enough, it seems to me, highness finds its future in the "low"
riders, and needs to dissolve the difference in order to *validate*
its legitimating efficacy (Distinguishing validation and legitimation
is important). High articulation *made* the validating difference
between "low" and "high" (if not depending on the resourcefulness of
"low" freedom---all that jazz becoming some new musicology;
low-budget, auteur film becoming a new performativity; once-radical
guerrilla theatre now another idiom; bare performance art, another
kind of politics; this year's rock, another generationality.

"And can TCA be developed to frame such informal non-verbal diffuse
cultural media of consensus formation?"

That IS a good question. Only the artist can know for sure. But a
wider sense of Habermas' work could be useful: To what degree can the
*pragmatics* of communication arts be enjoined with the ever-Open
questioning of art itself? As the arts are ever-Open, hence
ultimately undefinable, it seems to be up to the artist to find her /
his enjoining to pragmatics, rather than it being discourse's
discretion to light the way of Art. There's something essentially
ahistorical about art--and science, for that matter--inasmuch as they
originate the terms of historicality that discourse might normalize
across generations. Pragmatics may give evolutionary potential to
what's otherwise merely "New", by bridging modes of
(re)consideration, across disciplines, and across Time (canonizing
what Stays with us). I don't think I'm being incommensurable with
Habermas, but I'm not merely anticipating another philosophical
discourse of modernity. 


You seem to be highlighting the *integrity* of folkish
irreverence--like the crowd's pleasure at The Globe, seeing a good
show (apparently regardless that the show may also exhibit strong
poetry). Yet, such integrity IS a *genuineness* of
self-representation, and this IS the subjective validity of the
"dramaturgical" mode of communicative action (that I'm also
exhibiting here), in Habermas' view. 

The passage by me earlier that you quote used 'performance' for a
very different kind of context. While (G)"...the issue of the
articulability of the lifeworld is different for the performer and
the scientist," the performativity of ordinary action is usually very
different than the performativity of art (*Indifferent* mundanity vs.
highly differentiating artistic performance). Art plays with the
difference between self and self-representation (presentation,
persona), while ordinary action "performs" just by carrying out
intentions to *do* something. When ordinary performance becomes the
content of artistic performance (which is so ordinary for art!),
there is an inherent distantiation or resonance (a liminality)
between performer and performance that reframes ordinary performance
in its own way (different from the ordinary way of the contained
activity or enacted intents). Such inherent reflectivity in artistic
performance is a very special kind of action.

Non-linguistic art has SO much to offer reflection into the
"articulability" of the lifeworld, I think, since so much of the
lifeworld is non-verbal. Only art provides many of the modes of the
multimodality that questions of articulability face. Facing the
multimodal interplay of the lifeworld primordially *can't* be a full
translation of the lifeworld into discourse. 

But only discursive questioning can really appreciate the
question--ultimate questioning of articulability. If this may lead to
concepts of self-formativity that really apply multimodally, that
couldn't be a reduction of  multimodality to the tropicality of
verbal texts, to discursive terms. But it *could* be that the
tropicality of this verbal-textuality is incomparable to the
tropicality of other modes of experience (that Derridean romance?).
It seems to me that Habermas spoke prematurely about this kind of
thing in some chapters of _Philosophical Discourse of Modernity_. So,
this provides good opportunity for the theorist of art who is
interested in Habermas' greatly *pragmatic* philosophy of language
for the whole of public life--an opportunity to bring artistry into
theorization of social evolution. 

You said you (S) "would like to hear what is a performer? and what is
the nature of that understanding?" I *too* want to know better what
is a performer--and I imagine this is an ultimately endless
questioning for an authentically artistic career and for all art,
inasmuch as art understands itself as especially performative (in the
differentiated sense above).

(S) On the discussion of MEANING. I go with the meaning is a dynamic
normative abstraction. 

(G) So, there's a belonging-together of dynamical (artistic)
abstraction and normative (pragmatic) abstraction. Likewise, too, for
"concretion"? (Yet, I don't particularly like the old distinction
between abstraction and concreteness, which invites metaphysicalist
rhetoric and cognitively retrograde analyses of understanding.)

(S) Blue doesn't have much meaning but it has a lot of associations.
Then whilst seeing blue, hear a church bell and between the two
fields of associations are a whole range of poetic possiblities which
may only be brought into focus by a contextual manipulation. These
extremely ephemeral meanings can then be held, by as it
were magnetic forces, and brought into a sequence by the performer.
No words. But the kind of resounding meaningful insight that an
aesthetic experience is capable of. 

(G) Lovely. The multimodality of experience is--can be--this way. 

Thanks for your inspiration!

All the best,


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