Freedom, Origination, and Irony

in The Philosophy of Improvisation

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2009 | ISBN: 9780226662787
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226662800 | DOI:
Freedom, Origination, and Irony

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This chapter attempts to make a strong case for free-improvisation by claiming that it is exemplary in its enactment of the beginning of art, thus bringing into view the tragedy secreted beneath the immaculate surfaces of “finished” works. Improvisation is a form of health, an exercise in healthy living. The art of improvisation is the art of making something happen and liberation from the absence of the work. The notion of freedom operative in free-improvisation at the level of aesthetic discourse appears to be hamstrung by both the negativity that runs through it, and the apparent inability to think freedom outside of the work where it is assumed, respected, and protected by myriad forms of “hyperawareness.” The pursuit of negative freedom is most likely to produce improvisations that are “hyperaware.” It is ideally believed that free-improvisation begins in freedom and ends with freedom before it, but it is itself unfree.

Keywords: free-improvisation; art; aesthetic discourse; negativity; finished works; freedom; hyperawareness

Chapter.  22239 words. 

Subjects: Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

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