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From “Movement As Language”

I hate to simply copy-and-paste what has been posted here, but it’s been around three years, and I figure I’ll focus more on poet Laura Riding than on choreographer Len Lye. I’ve been interested in Riding, since I read these interviews with Lisa Samuels, so seeing these portions from the 1935 essay “Movement as Language,” er, moved me. Now I want to read the entire thing:

Movement is the result of a feeling in one thing of strong difference from other things.  Movement is always one thing moving away from other things – not toward.  And the result of movement is to be distinct from other things : the result of movement is form.  The history of any definite form is the movement of which the form is the result.  When we look at something and see the particular shape of it we are only looking at its after-life.  Its real life is the movement by which it got to be that shape.  The danger of thinking of physical things in terms of form rather than of movement is that a shape can easily seem more harmonious, more sympathetic with other shapes than its historical individuality justifies : there is a literary temptation to give it too much meaning, to read truth-signs where there are only life-signs.  But if we think of physical things in terms of movement we avoid the confusion of “life” with “truth”.  Movement is strickly the language of life.  It expresses nothing but the initial, living connotations of life.  It is earliest language.

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