Transitioning to the Symposium 2020.3-2021.6


From the Cracked Body to the Wild Flower

Christine Greiner

I found in the diaries of Ko Murobushi, a short text written in 1998, that refers to Hijikata Tatsumi. It talks about “the cracked body” … “the dancing body opened to the concept of having no identity”.

In the last years, I have been thinking about this “cracked body” and the possibility of opening up to a non-identity. What does it mean?

In 1983, Murobushi used the term “accidental events” to talk about his butoh experience. Maybe, in a certain way, these “accidental events” can be related to the cracket body. This sounds interesting because, more than an eccentric aesthetical model or a system of dance vocabularies, I have always considered butoh as a kind of device (or apparatus) for breaking the given patterns, questioning identities and deepening the rifts. This could be, of course, a dance experience but, at the same time, a radical research about the connections among body-mind-environment, states of life and states of death, different levels of consciousness, and a challenge to question beliefs and habits (of both movements and thoughts).

Murobushi’s empathy with authors inspired by the undoing of the human figure (and human organism) seems to make perfect sense. I think about the notion of acéphale and informe in Bataille, the denial of the principle of identity in Lautréamont, the multiplicity of bodies (anti-organic bodies) and their territorialities in Artaud – especially in the way Uno Kuniichi analyzes … And, of course, there are many others.

In Brazil, some young artists still feel the power of these discussions, especially in times of acute political crisis, in which it is important to affirm their own voice, but it is also essential to be able to move from oneself to activate movements that are not content to be trapped in the given identity.

Recently, I also became very interested in some of the books written by Emanuelle Coccia about vegetal life. By reading his powerful texts, I think (again) of Murobushi and Hijikata, and their opening to other forms of life.

In this sense, the “cracked body” can be also a temporary organization of somatic bricolages that, like a flower, build an unstable space, which does not serve to internalize the world or to control it, but to bring about a surface of conjunction and “agencement”.

The flower does not design the flower organism to the external world. It just builds a landing space. Unlike the beautiful hana of the noh theater, the butoh flower could be like a flower in the wild: a non-instrument, non-organ that, as Coccia teaches, puts its fate (sexual and evolutionary) in the lives of the others.

Christine Greiner

Christine Greiner has a PhD from the Pontifical Catholic University of Sao Paulo and has been invited on different occasions to conduct research at the Nichibunken, Rikkyo University, Tokyo University, New York University and Paris VIII, among others Since 1999, she has been working at the Pontifical Catholic University of Sao Paulo as a professor of body languages and is active in various projects and research, including serving as director of the Research Center for Oriental Studies. She is the author of books and articles on performing arts and body studies.

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