Lecture by Henk Oosterling (philosopher) – Threefold embodiment: Researching performative ‘reflaction’. At ArtEZ University of the Arts’ Art Research Conference on 18 November 2016 in Arnhem, The Netherlands.
The artist’s body is present in all art disciplines. In the visual arts, in design and in architecture the artist’s body is indirectly involved. In the performing arts, however, especially in dance and theatre, and to a certain extent in music too, the artists’ bodies are structural aspects of performative interactions. The dancer and actor mold their bodies into skilled mediums. Yet, the presence of this body is not self-evident. It is part of a transformative process in which reflection and action crossbreed. Reflactive skills transform both the artist’s body and his mind, but they also transform the audience’s reflections. In order to adequately research these performative interactions,
a lectorate has to focus beyond three opposite formats: practice/theory, skills/knowledge and body/mind. Theory is not the opposite of practice, both are aspects of a cyclical feedback loop that connects skill with knowledge, creating a body of knowledge and skills. This ‘embodiment’ is articulated differently in dance and in theatre, as it is in education, where ‘empowerment’ is added to an artistic impulse. Valorization of research should take into account this cyclical unfolding of knowledge that is embodied in educational, artistic and scientific research.
Henk Oosterling is a philosopher and a strategic advisor. He studied philosophy, linguistics and Japanese in Leiden and Rotterdam. He studied and taught, and has written on martial arts. Since 1985, Oosterling has been teaching at the Faculty of Philosophy at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam. He is the Secretary of the Dutch-Flemish Union for Intercultural Philosophy, coordinator of the Centre for Philosophy and Arts and chairman of the Dutch Aesthetics Federation. He is the initiator of several cultural and social projects, including Rotterdam Skill City. In 2008, he received the Laurenspenning, an honorary medal, from the city of Rotterdam.
Oosterling has published philosophical and non-philosophical books.