Choreography after Henri Bergson: Between intuition and analysis


A lecture workshop

Philosopher Henri Bergson, in An Introduction to Metaphysics, makes a distinction between two forms of knowledge: intuition “by which one places oneself within an object in order to coincide with what is unique in it and consequently inexpressible”; and analysis “which reduces the object to elements already known”. Subsequent and diverse fields such as Social Choreography (Andrew Hewitt), Existential Anthropology (Michael Jackson) and Non Representational Theory (Nigel Thrift) however point towards a third, intermediate, form of knowledge that is experienced from within yet points towards to things beyond the immediate experience. Such embodied knowledge is exemplified by dance, performance and choreography. This paper, and the accompanying practical-workshop, suggests how these theories of embodied and performed knowledge might sit within Bergson’s original conception of analysis and intuition. And with reference to my own emerging practices as well as those of Michael Kliën and Guillermo Gómez-Peña it will suggest how choreography can then be applied practically as a mode of political thinking and action.