mercoledì 15 dicembre 2010

The deceiving being - for a revaluation of appearances in Hip Hop Dance

Since childhood we led with the story that the "being" is more important than "appear". The growth of our inner life is more important than external, artificial. We grow to the sound of Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast and Superman: all heroes whose appearance deceive us. Everything that appears is thus an illusion. For Plato, our reality was a copy of the universal supercelestial apparent; for Kant, our senses themselves prevented us from accessing the "thing in itself"; the concept of avatar itself (the virtual representation of ourselves in cyberspace) is derived from religion Hindu, which is linked Schpenhauer speaking of reality as a "veil of Maya", which covers access to the knowledge of truth. We Grew up watching The Matrix, The Thruman Show and, of course, Avatar: everybody to tell us what our true self is overshadowed by the evil society of appearances.
Then something changes: the first disappointment in love ("but how?! I'm much better than other one!"); the first political delusions ("they are all corrupt!"); the first existential disappointment ("what a world of shit! I'm going abroad very nearly ..."). The appearance wins the essence, where "appearance" are associated to the others, and the essence are necessarily linked to us. Is the Other's fault if things go wrong, but luckily we can take refuge in the ego, the healthy kernel of our true being, the soft-white-kid in us and that the world still has not fouled. "To be and to have" is the title of the famous book by Eric Fromm, very popular in the 70s.

But today, after reading Paulo Cohelo or devote ourselves to Buddhism-Zen, one of the most common way to discover ourselves, is to dance. We used to say: "Dancing, I express myself" - evoking the gruesome image of our soul  crushed on the tip of a transcendental kind of juicer. Invigorated by this metaphysical orange juice we can go back to our dreary, artificial appearance. Yes, because the world goes like this; because, to paraphrase Fight Club, we can always take refuge in the "hidden cave."
According to the philosopher Slavoj Zizek, the idea of an "innocent me" (like the idea of a "glorious past") is the imaginary construction of our mind, to avoid dealing with emptiness kernel of our existence and to justify our conduct "artificial". The fact is that although we all know that "being" is more important than "appear", however, we continue to behave as if we didn't know. How do we do? Simply believing in the purity of our inner selves, that despite our conduct in the impure world of appearance, will remain a safe haven for our souls. It's the old military justification: "I only followed orders". We do not want to behave like that, but it is the Other that obliges us to do so. 
Which centers around this with the Hip Hop culture and b-boying? Mine, is not a a materialistic critic to humanity, but an humanization of matter that make up our appearance. If our being (the meaning) turns out to be a justification imaginary (a signifier), then the case will be to reassess the importance of appearance. Tarantino explains it well, when at the end of Kill Bill Vol.2 tells us his interpretation of Superman: Clark Kent is Superman's image of humanity. The real Clark Kent is Superman. His costume is made with the clothes he had been found as an infant.

In the world of Hip Hop we usually play as a character, a character different from what we are in everyday life. Like superheroes, we wear a costume and use our combined "super-skills" to win the battle, the challenge. Hip-hop is aggressive, but in the Latin term "ad-gredior" which means "to go to". Reach out to others, confront, express through the superficiality of our movements. Understand then how trivial is likely to be the phrase: "I express myself." If we really believe to express "ourselves", then there would be no need to do this through the metaphor of the artistic discipline, it's all already "expressed" by living our lives. What is at stake, in my opinion, is instead to embrace the so-called "appearance" to find on its surface a reality of our being that we do not normally express. That's because to be "ourselves" sometimes we have to become "other than us," and indeed, as Superman, thinking that the "superhero character" is real and that our "Clark Kent ego" is the idea that we give to the world.
Avatar, the Hindu's etymology, is the earthly incarnation of a god (the "meaning" that is embodied in a "significant", the concept embodied in the word, the substance that is poured into a glass) and the same is the case of cyberspace: the man (the meaning) that virtualizes a signifier (the accout of a role-playing game or a social network). Well in the case of hip hop, is exactly the opposite: it is the everyday person to be an empty signifier in search of numerous meanings to contain. Let me explain: it is our true self (the everyday) to be an empty glass while it is the character that we take dancing, to fill with content that void, our void. This is not to say that our life is worth nothing and that only art can give it meaning. In this case, go some way to take refuge in the idea of another imaginary "true self" hidden in the realm of art.
Zizek's solution is to find the sense on the surface of appearances, and not behind them, bacause in appearance there is already a part of our ego. Perform movements, gestures, attitudes away from us, means wearing the cloth of appearance that is already part of us (as in the case of baby-superman) and turn it into a superhero costume, not expressing what is in "ourselves" but what Lacan called "what is in us more than us". Much more honest.

 Yo! That's my first post in english. It's a translation of an italian one published one month ago. I hope you like and share it and maybe, one gloroius day, my blog will be bilingual (negative, bilingual doesn't reguard anything about bisex or oral experience). PS: Per gli italiani, potete trovare la versione originale cliccando qui

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