Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Voice Talk

I would like to present you part of a talk that I was having with Enrique Pardo during the last few weeks. Enrique Pardo is one of the founding members of The Roy Hart Theatre, founder of PanTheatre and one of the few colleagues in Malérargues whose search about issues around voice and art is not only still continuing but is using Philosophy and Mythology as a strong source of inspiration. Our approaches are quite different though. But we share the urge to find words for a part of our research. Maybe our talk has some interesting aspects for those who are connected to the voice work of Roy Hart and Alfred Wolfsohn.
Enriques remarks appear in his blog.

Our discussion startet with his post: 

This is my first response:

Dear Enrique,

thank you for your inspiring thoughts and remarks about a doctorate on Roy Hart. I am always grateful for new considerations about „Roy Hart“ to think about.

I am not sure if I should feel addressed by your „reproach“:

I will also add that the main reproach I make to the new generation of “Roy Hart” teachers, is that they do not confront nor develop critically the philosophical and artistic ideals of Roy Hart, and often turn back towards the presumably romantic and less agitated / agitator formulations of his teacher, Alfred Wolfsohn, and settle for a “facilitation” model that I would call « soft », which could possibly be put in relation to a presumed soft side of Foucault’s notion of “care of self”.

But I would like to give an answer to it. You say above that this student who was asking you for a bibliography understood the experience of „body and pleasure“ that he/she had in workshops as a central aspect of our work. I agree this sounds a bit odd. I cannot judge how much this impression is adequate with what the „Roy Hart Teachers“ had in mind but I think it is at least also a „problem“ of the workshop structure in which we use to „teach“ in Malérargues. People come there to spend part of their holidays and expect to have pleasure. Nothing wrong with that but of course this should only be seen as one step on a journey that obviously (for this workshop participant) has just begun. Neither Roy Hart nor Alfred Wolfsohn of course would have stopped there!

(And the aspect of body and embodiment is something that needs more confrontation and development in my view, too! )

I have another view on the differences between the two „pioneers“ related to your remarks on „soft“ and „self“. In both directions of your assertion I would disagree. From what I know I am not sure if Roy was less devoted to the idea of a self than Awe. I remember this famous card he once wrote, saying: Enjoy your self, not your ego! This is pure CG Jung! And in both cases it is not necessarily related to a mere „care of self“ but to a serious intention for a research on something you can call „self“ (or find other words) through the voice.

On the other hand I don´t see Awe „softer“ or less agitated in his research than Roy. (Maybe he was more romantic, but he was aware of it and insisted on his Romanticism because of his experiences with modernity that led – in his view - directly to Hitler and the Holocaust. So he says in „The Bridge“.) They both incorporated two different (and impressive) mixtures of freedom and limitation. But for me it included in both cases radical thinking and acting. Less radical in Awe´s artistic ideas than in Roy Hart´s though.

As far as I can see for both of them the human voice was such an unique „medium“ of research into  - well: self, humanity, life, art – because the voice is always in contact with the inner situation and the body of the one who „sings“ and at the same time with the outside -  the listener, the space, the world. This is one reason why the voice work goes beyond psychology. Listening includes the other. It happens in a common space. If you want you can find the roots of this ideas in Romanticism. But I think Awe refers to it only because this is what got lost in the age of individuality. And here I can see very little differences between Awe and Roy.

For someone like me who never met Awe or Roy in person the writings of Awe give more material to „confront or develop critically the philosophical and artistic ideals" than what I know from Roy Hart. But in my own work that philosophically and artistically goes in other directions I feel the roots very strong which connect me to Awe and to Roy Hart.

He responded with this post: 

This is my last response:

dear Enrique,

thank you for your response! As far as I understand our positions are not that far from each other than it seemed to me. Still I would like to give or clarify my position on a couple of points.

Who is “we”? Good question and I understand very well that you don´t want to be included in a “we” that is not appropriate. When I said “we” I was just thinking of the group of people who care about Malérargues and/or the voice work that is related to the name Roy Hart. Is there such a “we”?
I liked very much that Linda consulted the I Ching for asking what role the name of Roy Hart should/could play for “us”. I agree with the answer No 48. In the german translation (of Richard Wilhelm) it is the “well” and it says “You can change the town but you cannot change the well”. The “we” I am talking about is the people who “drank/drink” from this well although they are situated in very different “cities”.
As far as I can see you and I disagree about the importance and effect of "ancestral movements”. For me it is still “moving" and I understand my work as having a root in the history, movements and personal relationships starting with Awe, through Roy Hart, Paul/Clara, Marita, Jonathan/Rosemary to name the most important in my case. It is more than just the influence of thoughts. Yes we do choose our teachers! And the “we” could be described as the people who choose a teacher who choose a teacher who choose Roy Hart as a teacher?!

When I quoted Roy´s “enjoy your self, not your ego” I only wanted to claim that he was not that far from Awe in his ideas than it sometimes sounds in what you write. But Awe himself was not just a follower of Jung. Maybe Jung´s influence on him sometimes is exaggerated by “us", too. He for instance starts his “Orpheus” with a critical remark on a student who did too much of Jungian dream analysis that lead her into difficult directions. And the dreams and experiences Awe himself had with Jung tell that they never really came together.

Embodiment: Yes, a lot to explore! You mention this french tradition of Foucault, Derrida, Deleuze. I would add ancient chinese thinking (and acting and practicing). In current neurosciences the word embodiment also plays a key role since about ten years and it would be very interesting to explore what they see and what they oversee in their concepts. I think of the aspect of different degrees of embodiment. And who if not “we” can add the fact that embodiment is something you can hear?

Beyond psychology?  What I mean is that in european psychology/psychoanalysis there is/was a strong tendency to look for problems and solutions “in” the client/patient and that if the clients change their self definition their relation to the world will change, too. In other words, the social aspect of life is only included in the effect that the self analysis would have (I know what I say is much to simple and rough). But the voice is always immediately and at the same time in contact with “oneself" and with the world (something Derrida has pointed out in “Voice and phenomenon”) The starting point is moving in two directions and contacts. The exploration of the voice can lead to a concept that is positioned before (not historically but logically) the modern differentiation or split of psychology and sociology had happened. Listening to ourself is not a mere personal thing and listening to somebody else is always informative for the listener.
I found some inspiring ideas around the problems of the split between psychology and sociology in the french tradition following Marcel Mauss and his writings about the “don”, donation. Alain Caillé´s book about the “Anthropology of donation” was very instructive for me.

Thank you for the two memories about Roy and his words about “transmission” from Awe, and the story with Grotowski! I like both stories very much. My first thought about Grotowski´s reaction was: Did he sense the ancestral authority so strongly because Roy used not to acknowledge Awe´s role for him as much as would have been appropriate? I remember Sheila telling that she sometimes was so angry about Roy because he on some occasions claimed the whole idea of the voice work as being his without mentioning Awe.
Transmission: I don´t want to open the whole question about how and when new teachers should get the permission of teaching in the name of Roy Hart (or whatever it will be called in the end), but I like the way transmission is understood in Buddhist contexts. There you have (at least) two forms of transmission. Your main teacher can give you a transmission that allows you to teach and to create your own style and way of teaching the “dharma”. This includes becoming part of a lineage and this is independent from the question if you want or plan to teach or not. And then you can receive transmissions for studying specific texts, meditation practices or topics. These transmissions sometimes include an authorization to teach these things, but this is not the main issue. In other words: One can and should learn from different teachers but the main transmission has to be from the one teacher whom you “follow” for a while. And the question whether this transmission is meant as an invitation to teach is not the central point. This is another idea than the one “we” seem to follow in the discussion about the teacher training. And I think it would be interesting to consider the idea that teaching and training teachers is not the only and maybe not even the most important way of transmitting the work “we" practice.

so far for now!

No comments:

Post a Comment