File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0103, message 55

Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2001 14:49:42 -0700 (MST)
Subject: Re: Terror & the Sublime

Hugh, thanks for the feedback.  Raises lots of interesting questions.

> Hi Julie and All,
> This is, for me, a stimulating post.

> **Perhaps this means commonplace "feelings" instead of sublime feelings, as
> contrasted with an occasional experience of some degree of sublimity.**

--Do you mean 'commonplace "feelings"' in reference to trying to access sublime
only through beauty creating "sentiment"?  If so, yes, that is what I meant. 
Or, to go even further, commonplace feelings that are articficially heightened
to try to imitate sublime feelings.
> **Do audiences awaken, or go into a trance?  On TV, two persons who wrote a
> biography of O'Neill, described a very long and puzzling silence as the
> curtain fell after the  opening performance of "Long Day's Journey".   Then
> there were yells and thunderous applause.**

--Once when acting in a production of Macbeth, other cast members and I used to
gauge how well we had performed by counting the seconds of silence between
Macbeth's last word before intermission and the applause.  The longer the
silence, the more powerful we felt we had been. But is it a trance?  So
mesmerized by the events before them that they forget that they are sitting in a
play, forget that their role is to applaud.  If you are caught up in the events
of the moment, are you awake or asleep?  Do audiences awaken to remember to
applaud, or is the applause the process of coming down out of a different state 
of awareness--the sublime--back to the mundane?   

> The postmodern takes up signification and
> > representation as obstacles to the sublime.
> **Could be, but drama "is" signification and representation.   Sometimes it
> attains a degree of sublimity, often it fails.**

--All too true.  Perhaps that is why citing signification and representation are
such strong arguments against drama.  Peter Brook argues that drama, for the
most part, has lost its "authority"--the way it had it when drama was religious
ritual that had spiritual significance for all its participants.  Now, drama
often merely replicates or attempts to duplicate those things without the
authority to take them beyond representation.

> **Tyranny is one way of viewing it, but it is also an "offering" to a
> voluntary audience who may reject it.  Tyranny implies power over persons
> who can't escape.  So people walk out and lose the value of a ticket.  New
> art is a gamble, a chance ticket-buyers take.**

--Which is one reason critics make so much money; so the ticket-buyers feel like
they're taking less of a risk.  I think if the audience rejects the offering,
the sublime cannot be reached. Could it be sublime for just the performer?  Not
if the work is indeed an "offering."  Interesting question, though.  Who must be
involved in recognizing the sublime?



Driftline Main Page


Display software: ArchTracker © Malgosia Askanas, 2000-2005