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Parker Dixon, Martin J.C. (2014)
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Languages: English
Types: Part of book or chapter of book
Subjects: PN0080
In this chapter I explore the interrelatedness of practice, rehearsal, and performance and their applicability in the domain of “life.” These relationships are complicated when, in reference to Adorno’s Minima Moralia, the content of critical-essayistic production (which is analogous to aesthetic production in many ways) is ultimately that of the life of the author. I propose that to a large extent, the categories of practicing, rehearsing, and performing that are derivable from artistic-productive experience can be extended to lived experience. Working and living seriously and critically have significant points of convergence. What I attempt to disrupt is the presupposition of any “natural” hierarchy between these categories, whereby, for example, performance – connoting the tangible accomplishment of goals and the visibility of that accomplishment – takes precedence over the open-ended tasks of practice and rehearsal.
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    • 208 Martin Parker Dixon 212 Martin Parker Dixon 214 Martin Parker Dixon 216 Martin Parker Dixon 218 Martin Parker Dixon 220 Martin Parker Dixon
    • 1. I gratefully acknowledge a Research Grant from The Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland which greatly facilitated my work on this chapter.
    • 2. The short story The Secret Miracle by Jorge Luis Borges also entertains the notion of the mutability of time, in this case, a divinely contrived suspension of actual time for a writer sentenced to death. He is taken out before a firing squad at which point time is frozen and he is granted an extra year to complete - in his imagination - a play. As the last words fall into place, normal time is resumed and the execution is carried out.
    • 3. In marked contrast to the prospects of the heathens: “But the multiplying brood of the ungodly shall not thrive, nor take deep rooting from bastard slips, nor lay any fast foundation” (King James Bible, Wisdom 4.3).
    • 4. A theological register is extremely important in framing the utopianism of Ernst Bloch. For both Bloch and Adorno, the abolition of human death was the key determinant of utopian thinking. See, for example, their exchanges in the interview “Something's missing”: “Utopian consciousness means a consciousness for which the possibility that people no longer have to die does not have anything horrible about it, but is, on the contrary, that which one actually wants” (Bloch, Utopian Function 8).
    • 5. “For she goeth about seeking such as are worthy of her … and meeteth them in every thought. For the very true beginning of her is the desire of discipline; and the care of discipline is love” (King James Bible, Wisdom 6.16-17).
    • 6. W.B. Worthen for one takes issue with what he calls “Austin's cavalier dismissal of theatrical performatives - hollow to whom? in what sense?” (See Worthen, “Drama” 1095).
    • 7. See for example Gillespie, “Translating Adorno.”
    • 8. “It is arguable that the professional philosophical paper is an evolutionary product, emerging by natural selection from a wild profusion of forms Darwinized into oblivion through maladaption, stages in the advance of philosophy toward consciousness of its true identity, a rockier road than most. But it is equally arguable that philosophers with really new thoughts have simply had to invent new forms to convey them with, and that it may be possible that from the perspective of the standard format no way into these other forms, hence no way into these systems or structures of thought, can be found.” (Danto, Philosophical Disenfranchisement 142)
    • 9. The German title for this section is Hinter den Spiegel.
    • 10. See Müller-Doohm, Adorno 57.
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