Screendance as enactment in Maya Deren’s At Land

Enactive, embodied, and neurocinematic considerations

Keywords: Screendance, Choreographer, Maya Deren, At Land, Enactive mind, Neurocinematics, Ritual, Perception, Intersubjectivity

Abstract

The dancer, choreographer, and filmmaker Maya Deren can be seen as one of the pioneers of screendance. Her experimental films have challenged conventional plot- driven mainstream cinema by emphasizing an ambiguous experience, open for multiple interpretations. For Deren film viewing is a socially determined ritual embodying intersubjectively shared experiences of participants. This makes her films particularly interesting for today’s neurocinematic studies. Deren’s ideas also anticipate the recent enactive mind approach, according to which the body-brain system is in an inseparable manner situated and coupled with the world through interaction. It assumes that both private, such as perception and cognition, and intersubjective aspects of human enactment, such as culture, sciences, or the arts, are based on the embodiment of life experience. Reflecting this discourse, Deren’s film At Land is analyzed as an expression of a human body-brain system situated and enactive within the world, with references to neuroscience, neurocinematic studies, and screendance.

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

References

BARTELS, Andreas, and Semir Zeki. “Functional Brain Mapping during Free Viewing of Natural Scenes.” Human Brain Mapping 21, no. 2 (2004): 75–83.

BENCH, Harmony. “Media and the No-Place of Dance.” Forum Modernes Theater 23, no. 1 (2008): 37–47.

BLÄSING, Bettina, Beatriz Calvo-Merino, Emily S. Cross, Corinne Jola, Juliane Honisch, and Catherine J. Stevens. “Neurocognitive Control in Dance Perception and Performance.” Acta Psychologica 139, no. 2 (2012): 300–308.

CLARK, VèVè, Millicent Hodson, and Catrina Neiman, eds. The Legend of Maya Deren: A Documentary Biography and Collected Works. Volume 1, Part One. New York: Anthology Film Archives/Film Culture, 1984.

DEREN, Maya. Divine Horsemen: The Voodoo Gods of Haiti. London: Thames and Hudson, 1953.

DEREN, Maya. “Religious Possession in Dancing.” In The Legend of Maya Deren. Vol. 1, Part One. Edited by VèVè Clark, Millicent Hodson, and Catrina Neiman, 480–497. New York: Anthology Film Archives, [1946], 1984.

DEREN, Maya. “An Anagram of Ideas on Art, Form and Film.” In Maya Deren and the American Avant-Garde, edited by Bill Nichols, 267–322. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001.

DEWEY, John. Art as Experience. New York: Minton and Batch, 1934. Reprinted by Penguin Books. London, England, [1980], 2005.

FRITH Chris D., and Uta Frith. “The Neural Basis of Mentalizing.” Neuron 50, no. 4 (2006): 531–534.

GALLESE, Vittorio. “Mirror Neurons and Art.” In Art and the Senses, edited by David P. Melcher and Francesca Bacci, 455–465. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.

GALLESE, Vittorio, and George Lakoff. “The Brain’s Concepts: The Role of the Sensory- motor System in Conceptual Knowledge.” Cognitive Neuropsychology 22, no. 3 (2005): 455–479.

IBSON, James J. “Theory of Affordances.” In: The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception. By James Gibson, 127–143. New York: Psychology Press, 2015.

GRODAL, Torben. Embodied Visions: Evolution, Emotion, Culture, and Film. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.

HARI, Riitta, and Miiamaaria V. Kujala. “Brain Basis of Human Social Interaction: From Concepts to Brain Imaging.” Physiological Reviews 89, no. 2 (2009): 453–479.

HASSON, Uri, Ohad Landesman, Barbara Knappmeyer, Ignacio Vallines, Nava Rubin, and David J. Heeger. “Neurocinematics: The Neuroscience of Film.” Projections 2, no. 1 (2008): 1–26.

HASSON, Uri, Yuval Nir, Ifat Levy, Galit Fuhrmann, and Rafael Malach. “Intersubject Synchronization of Cortical Activity during Natural Vision.” Science 303, no. 5664 (2004): 1634–1640.

HOLL, Ute. “Moving the Dancer’s Soul.” In Maya Deren and the American Avant-Garde, edited by Bill Nichols, 151–177. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001.

JÄÄSKELÄINEN, Iiro P., Katri Koskentalo, Marja H. Balk, et al. “Inter-Subject Synchronization of Prefrontal Cortex Hemodynamic Activity during Natural Viewing.” Open Neuroimaging Journal 2, no. 1 (2008): 14–19.

KAIPAINEN, Mauri, Niklas Ravaja, Pia Tikka, Rasmus Vuori, Roberto Pugliese, Marco Rapino, and Tapio Takala. “Enactive Systems and Enactive Media: Embodied Human- Machine Coupling beyond Interfaces.” Leonardo 44, no. 5 (2011): 433–438.

KAUTTONEN, Janne, Yevhen Hlushchuk, and Pia Tikka. “Comparing Functional Connectivity and Synchronization in Free-Viewing of Feature Films—An fMRI Study.” A poster published at the International Convention of Psychological Science (ICPS), Amsterdam, March 13, 2015.

KIVERSTEIN, Julian. “The Meaning of Embodiment.” Topics in Cognitive Science 4, no. 4 (2012): 740–758.

LAHNAKOSKI, Juha M., Pia Tikka, Juha Salmi, et al. “Stimulus-Related Independent Component and Voxel-Wise Analysis of Human Brain Activity during Free Viewing of a Feature Film.” PLoS One 7, no. 4 (2012): e35215. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0035215.

LAKOFF, George, and Mark Johnson. Metaphors We Live By. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981.

LAKOFF, George, and Mark Johnson. Philosophy in the Flesh. New York: Basic Books, 1999.

LUISI, Pier Luigi. “Autopoiesis: A Review and A Reappraisal.” Naturwissenschaften 90, no. 2 (2003): 49–59.

MAAS, Willard. “Poetry and the Film: A Symposium.” Film Culture 29 (1963): 55–63.

MERLEAU-PONTY, Maurice. Phenomenology of Perception. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, [1945]1962.

MICHELSON, Annette. “Poetics and Savage Thought.” In Maya Deren and the American Avant-Garde, edited by Bill Nichols, 21–45. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001.

NICHOLS, Bill. Maya Deren and the American Avant-Garde. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001.

NOË, Alva. “Art as Enaction.” Presented at the Art and Cognition Virtual Conference from November 2002 to February 2003). Last modified November 26, 2002. Accessed April 27, 2013.

NORMAN, Kyra. “In and Out of Place: Site-Based Screendance.” The International Journal of Screendance 1 (2010): 13–20.

PAMILO, Siina, Sanna Malinen, Yevhen Hlushchuk, Mika Seppä, Pia Tikka, and Riitta Hari. “Functional Subdivision of Group-ICA Results of fMRI Data Collected during Cinema Viewing.” PLoS One 7 (2012): e42000. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0042000.

PRAMAGGIORE, Maria. “Seeing Double(s).” In Maya Deren and the American Avant-Garde, edited by Bill Nichols, 237–260. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001.

RIZZOLATTI, Giacomoni, and Laila Craighero. “The Mirror Neuron System.” Annual Review of Neuroscience 27 (2004): 169–192.

ROSCH, Eleanor. “Natural Categories.” Cognitive Psychology 4 (1973): 328–350.

Simons, Daniel J., and Daniel T. Levin. “Change Blindness.” Trends in Cognitive Sciences 7 (1997): 261–267.

SITNEY, P. Adams. Visionary Film: The American Avant-Garde, 1943–2000. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.

SULLIVAN, Moira. “Maya Deren’s Ethnographic Representations of Ritual and Myth in Haiti.” In Maya Deren and the American Avant-Garde, edited by Bill Nichols, 207–234. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001.

TIKKA, Pia. “Cinema as Externalization of Consciousness”. In Screen Consciousness: Cinema, Mind and World, edited by Michael Punt and Robert Pepperell, 139–162. Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi, 2006.

TIKKA, Pia. “Enactive Cinema: Simulatorium Eisensteinense.” PhD diss., University of Art and Design Publication Series, 2008.

TURIM, Maureen. “The Ethics of Form.” In Maya Deren and the American Avant-Garde, edited by Bill Nichols, 77–102. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001.

VAN OVERWALLE, Frank, and Kris Baetens. “Understanding Others’ Actions and Goals by Mirror and Mentalizing Systems: A Meta-Analysis.” Neuroimage 48, no. 3 (2009): 564–584.

VARELA, Francisco. “Laying Down a Path In Walking.” In Gaia: A Way of Knowing, edited by William Thompson, 48–64. Great Barrington, MA: Lindisfarne, 1987.

VARELA, Francisco, Evan Thompson, and Eleanor Rosch. Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and Human Experience. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1991.

ZACKS, Jeffrey M., and Joseph P. Magliano. “Film, Narrative, and Cognitive Neuroscience.” In Art and the Senses, edited by David P. Melcher and Francesca Bacci, 435–454. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.

ZAKI JAMIL, and Kevin Ochsner. “The Need for a Cognitive Neuroscience of Naturalistic Social Cognition.” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1167 (2009): 16–30.

Published
2018-06-12
How to Cite
Tikka, P. (2018). Screendance as enactment in Maya Deren’s At Land. DAT Journal, 3(1), 9-28. https://doi.org/10.29147/dat.v3i1.66