Choreographies of the Living explores the implications of shifting from viewing art as an exclusively human undertaking to recognizing it as an activity that all living creatures enact. Carrie Rohman reveals the aesthetic impulse itself to be profoundly trans-species, and in doing so she revises our received wisdom about the value and functions of artistic capacities. Countering the long history of aesthetic theory in the West-beginning with Plato and
Aristotle, and moving up through the recent claims of "neuroaesthetics"-Rohman challenges the likening of aesthetic experience to an exclusively human form of judgment.
Turning toward the animal in new frameworks for understanding aesthetic impulses, Rohman emphasizes a deep coincidence of humans' and animals' elaborations of fundamental life forces. Examining a range of literary, visual, dance, and performance works and processes by modernist and contemporary figures such as Isadora Duncan, D. H. Lawrence, Virginia Woolf, and Merce Cunningham, Rohman reconceives the aesthetic itself not as a distinction separating humans from other animals, but rather as a
framework connecting embodied beings. Her view challenges our species to acknowledge the shared status of art-making, one of our most hallowed and formerly exceptional activities.
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Number of pages: 198
Weight: 420 g
Dimensions: 237 x 164 x 18 mm
Drawing on her intimate knowledge of dance as much as on her scholarly studies of literature, art, and performance, Rohman elaborates the thesis that in fact art has deep roots in the nonhuman world, and that the same creative force that impels us to make it also courses through the non-human animals from whom it-and we-are descended [...] Rohman makes clear, bioaesthetics calls for nothing less than a radical revision to our understanding of art [...] Rohman
presents her ideas with merciful clarity, and the book should be accessible to the art-curious from all disciplines [...] In an era that's witnessing a growing respect for the intelligence of the body, the bioaesthetic call for a rethinking of art could hardly be more timely. * The Brooklyn Rail *