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[Xmca-l] Re: Collective moments and perezhivanie - the Bowie phenomenon

Thanks, Susan.

What I have noticed in NYC about David Bowie's death day of his death is a
lot of people crying in public or talking about crying in public earlier in
the day.

It is sort of weird.  With other celebrity deaths I have seen people
talking and sometimes a few tears but not so many people crying.  I think
embodied emotion is a key part of perezhivanie that makes it generally
harder to experience in a large group.

I thought I was just having this reaction because of my age/what this
particular artist meant to me, but I wonder if reactions to his death are
actually different than reactions to the other deaths mentioned above.  His
being in role so often is important for perezhivanie, as is the lack of
violence in his death, I think.


On Wed, Jan 13, 2016 at 11:23 PM, Annalisa Aguilar <annalisa@unm.edu> wrote:

> Hi Susan and others,
> Yes, it does feel like over the past few days, at least in the media,
> there has been a kind of "global" perezhivanie for those who actually found
> meaning in the music and performance of David Bowie upon learning of his
> passing.
> As I've been considering his koan-like methods of creating art, perhaps a
> reason we feel kinship with him is not only because we may have grown up
> with this music, and we might have felt communion with his artistic content
> of difference and how that is joined with liberation. Perhaps also because
> he created large gaps that we could fill in ourselves and thereby construct
> our own meanings interwoven in his lyrics, so the work became "cognitively
> interactive" for want of a way to say it "differently."
> One of the most hilarious stories I read recently is that when he lived in
> (walled) Berlin in the 80s one time on a whim he took the stage unasked at
> a cabaret and sang Frank Sinatra songs. The Berliners wouldn't have it.
> They "shrugged and asked him to step down." The article doesn't say so, but
> I can imagine him actually reveling in that experience.
> There are all these different meanings colliding:
> What is: a Berlin cabaret in the 1980s?
> What is: a Frank Sinatra song?
> What is: David Bowie singing in a cabaret unasked?
> What is: being rejected by Berliners (who lived behind the wall)?
> Thinking about this (like this) functions similarly to the way his art
> took form, all these overlapping meanings that must somehow be filled in my
> own summation, by what I bring to all those "meanings." Humor is also about
> filling in gaps.
> However, on a more somber note, one of the aspects I consider while
> reflecting on David Bowie's lifework, is his short-lived fascination with
> fascism. I want to understand that too. I'm pretty sure he wasn't one, but
> rather, as an artist he was exploring how that worked, as in "taking on the
> body" to see its inner architectures and mechanisms, as performance artists
> are wont to do. Who knows if this was conscious or unconscious (probably
> both). I'm not claiming it was totally innocent, but there was something
> more going on than trying to shock for its own sake, nor was it some
> pathological desire for world domination.
> There is something "inside" fascism about filling in gaps that functions
> similarly, and, much like Arendt, and perhaps Bowie himself, I feel
> compelled to know how that works.
> Does this also pertain in some way to "global" perezhivanie? If it does,
> what makes it the same? And how it is different. Does it have to do with
> consent (or lack of it)?
> Does it mean there is a responsibility not only for the positive aspects
> of what one does, but also the absences as well? Which seems to be about
> not acting, or non-doing.
> Then, how does this link to ethics? I mean, we could be heroes.
> Kind regards,
> Annalisa

Beth Ferholt
Assistant Professor
Department of Early Childhood and Art Education
Brooklyn College, City University of New York
2900 Bedford Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11210-2889

Email: bferholt@brooklyn.cuny.edu
Phone: (718) 951-5205
Fax: (718) 951-4816