Updated: Apr 16, 2021
Improvise in the Blanks
By Sondra Fraleigh
Phenomenology is the study of experience. In particular, it studies consciousness of experience. Philosophical phenomenology is basic and emphasizes suspension of judgments in order to apprehend the obvious that is obscured by ordinary perceptions. In this performative essay, we travel through a series of phenomenologies while filling in the blanks with dance improvisations. I ask the reader to interrupt the text with movement by doing the short dance improvisations, or to simply imagine them. Mental rehearsal has its own rewards, as taught in somatic movement methods. The insertions of poetry indicate the blanks for audience/reader improvised participation. Use them as jumping off places in absorbing the whole, taking as much time for the dances as you wish. You could also perform the essay in a group: with a reader, an audience, and one or more dancers. The essay speaks of plural phenomenologies, and here we sketch six kinds at a glance: Transcendental, Existential, Heuristic, Hermeneutic, Performative, and Ecological.
Thumbnail of Phenomenologies
Transcendental phenomenology is expansive and illuminates our primordial belonging to world and spirit. Existential phenomenology is oriented toward lived experience, conceiving the self in relation to others and the more-than-human lifeworld. Heuristic phenomenology is oriented toward process, exploration, and discovery. Hermeneutic phenomenology is interpretive, contextual, and sometimes performative. Ecological phenomenology harks back to nature and the environing lifeworld. Performative phenomenology crosses between art and philosophy, advancing textual instances of performance that inspire performances in the arts.
Download two files below for the full performance (includes bibliographic references)
Take time to sense the blankness
let your body tell you what comes next
with others in mind.
Full text in PDF below