Body as expression. Gesture and emptiness according to Merleau-Ponty and The Acting with the Inner Partner

Author: Jan Puc
Filozofia, 2013, 68, vol. 5, p. 367-375.

The paper confronts the notion of bodily expression in Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology of perception with the notion gained from an analysis of The Acting with the Inner Partner. The Acting with the Inner Partner is a kind of dramatic improvised performance, developed at the Department of Authorial Creativity and Education at the Theatre Faculty of the Performing Arts in Prague. Whereas Merleau-Ponty grasps the experience of non-certainty, typical for the creative state of mind, by the schema empty intention – fulfillment, The Acting with the Inner Partner is based on the ability of bodily expression to create its own meaning. Thus the bodily expressivity is freed from the sense horizon given in advance, no matter if it is given as fulfilled (as it is in the case of imitation) or just empty intended (the case of developing of an idea). The improvisation offers a new means how to get to the “birth state” of our experience, as Merleau-Ponty calls the proper goal of phenomenology, and how to understand the intrinsic creativity of our own body.

Paper in the archive of magazine Filozofia