File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0103, message 3

Date: Thu, 01 Mar 2001 17:53:12 -0500
Subject: Re: unpresentable and unperformable

Julie et. al.,

Now we have the "unperformable" as well as the "unpresentable".  Last
Sunday, Diane D. posted a message I just re-read which refers to ideas of
Lyotard and Kant on the sublime
and terror.

Here is an excerpt:

> Again, Lyotard defines "the sublime sentiment," after Kant, as >"an
>combination of pleasure and pain: the pleasure that reason >should exceed
>presentation, the pain that imagination or sensibility should not >be equal
>to the concept"

I can't personally relate to the "sublime sentiment".

 Agree that  reason  may exceed presentation (can't find the words).

But  "imagination or sensibility not equal to the concept" is an expression
I don't understand.  What is the concept? what needs to be imagined or

However I think I understand what you are saying about Artaud and Grotowski,
although I don't know their work.  If memory serves, Artaud was friend of
Anais Nin, and she wrote about him
in her diary, except I don't conclude that "the sublime cannot be accessed
through the terrible".

Whose "sublime" are we speaking about?  Give artists a chance.  Eventually
they will produce something worth waiting for in response to the "is it
happening", and a new cycle will begin.

As a performance it will not be on the same plane as the occasionally
catastrophic beauty and terror of Mother Nature
doing her thing in this Year of the Earthquake.


Julie Manning wrote:

> some thoughts to throw into the mix:  Lyotard seems to explore the sublime
a lot
> in relation to art/theatre, and I think there are other artists who can
> throw light on it.  There was a suggestion of the sublime having been
> experienced as the beautiful, but not of terror, and therefore, is that a
> complete sublime?  (or something to that effect).  To remain using the
> theatrical mode, Jerzy Grotowski and Antonin Artaud both aimed toward a
> that included terror.  In both their work, without ever referring to it as
> sublime," they sought a moment in which the participants were,
> stripped of anything except the "is it happening."   Grotowski's
"Akropolis" was
> a study of the death camp.  His actors retreated from usual cliches and
> through a personal and emotional stripping that was described as often a
> process, to rid them of "acting" and bring them to a point where the
> was an "is it happening". Artaud worked for the same thing, only in a more
> abstract manner, with a more social agenda (he wanted to purge society).
> result?  Grotowski eventually left the theatre because it couldn't produce
> right "stillness", and Artaud's works are, essentially, unperformable.
> the conclusion to be reached is that the sublime cannot be accessed
through the
> terrible, though it may reference it.  At least not artistically.


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