The Philosophy of Improvisation
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Improvisation is usually either lionized as an ecstatic experience of being in the moment or disparaged as the thoughtless recycling of clichés. Eschewing both of these orthodoxies, The Philosophy of Improvisation ranges across the arts—from music to theater, dance to comedy—and considers the improvised dimension of philosophy itself in order to elaborate an innovative concept of improvisation.
Gary Peters turns to many of the major thinkers within continental philosophy—including Heidegger, Nietzsche, Adorno, Kant, Benjamin, and Deleuze—offering readings of their reflections on improvisation and exploring improvisational elements within their thinking. Peters’s wry, humorous style offers an antidote to the frequently overheated celebration of freedom and community that characterizes most writing on the subject. Expanding the field of what counts as improvisation, The Philosophy of Improvisation will be welcomed by anyone striving to comprehend the creative process.
from Bernstein will allow these thoughts to arc back to the earlier discussion of “preservation”: c h a p t e r tw o 32 An exemplary work begins a new movement of history, and will act as a constraining provocation to a later genius. Further, as Kant’s genius-to-genius argument suggests, the audience of genius must itself respond “autonomously”; this form of response will be akin to the manner of Heideggerian preservers as opposed to connoisseurs or aesthetes.22 We will not on this occasion
heart-searching, we decided that justice was less important than getting dead scenes off the stage, and we said that any Judge could end any scene at any time (without consultation), but even then dreary scenes were sometimes allowed to continue while the bored judges toyed with their rescue horns but were reluctant to “do the deed.” These days the so-called Hell-Judges (improvisors who are sitting at the rear of the audience) can press a button when they’re bored. This flashes a red “Hell-light”
makes it pulsate, but it is the pulsation of dissonance that has the “life” M im e s i s a n d Cr u e l t y 93 required by both Adorno and Artaud, not the dead harmoniousness of an impossible mimetic sameness. Indeed, as Artaud himself admits, where he says “cruelty” he could just as easily say “life”: The idea being that because life, metaphysically speaking, accepts range, depth, weight and matter, it accepts evil in direct consequence and everything inherent in evil, namely space, range
the given, to make a home and play within it, thus parading an apparent freedom beyond the reach of nonimprovisors, that validates much that passes as improvised art. Perhaps this is especially true within the context of the cultural logic of postmodernism where the very modernist dialectic of backwardlooking improvisation and forward-looking innovation presented by the Amplify Your Effectivity group in the last chapter seems oddly out of touch with a reality that appears to have no problem in
same in such a way that each and every repetition makes a difference. Conclusion: Improvising, Thinking, Writing I believe in improvisation, and I fight for improvisation, but with the belief that Jacques Derrida it is impossible. : : : As even a cursory glance at the word will make evident, to conc-lude is to bring the ludic dimension of the text into a state of collusion with itself so that the differences within it, the contradictions, errors, and absurdities are made to make a certain