Difference and repetition in both sitting duet

Topoi 24 (1):15-28 (2005)
In this paper I identify and explore resonances between a contemporary dance piece – Jonathan Burrowss and Matteo Fargions Both Sitting Duet (2003) – and some theories from Gilles Deleuzes Difference and Repetition (1994). The duet consists of rhythmic, repetitive patterns of mainly hand movements performed by two men, for the most part, sitting on chairs. My argument, with Deleuze, is that the repetitions in the dance are productive rather than reductive. They are never repetitions of the same. The ways in which the hand patterns are played with constitute the multiple differences and repetitions we witness. I discuss these in relation to Deleuzes theories of repetition, specifically the ways in which repetition differs from resemblance avoiding the limitations of notions of origin and representation. I argue that, because of these differences which are bound up in the affective qualities of the duet that characterise the distinctive relationship between the two performers, the work, like Deleuzes theories, is transgressive with potential for change. I demonstrate this through its resonances with Deleuzes notions of simulacra and importantly his discussion of the Other. In the process, I aim to show how dance and philosophy can open up something of each other and, in this instance, suggest ways of thinking encounters otherwise. My aim is to foreground the transgressive potential of the extended repetition of the dance for making differences that matter between self and other.
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