The Dance of the Return Beat: performing the animate universe

Authored by: Olu Taiwo

The Handbook of Contemporary Animism

Print publication date:  October  2013
Online publication date:  September  2014

Print ISBN: 9781844657117
eBook ISBN: 9781315728964
Adobe ISBN: 9781317544500


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The material existence of the universe can be seen as an improvised performance: an event that has not yet finished. When we episodically exercise our free will to improvise, reflect, organize and perform with expressive insight, we are partaking in the improvised performance that is the universe. Philosophically speaking, being, becoming and performance are the norms. By this I mean that just being alive, existing, living, playing, working, and so on, already constitute the universe’s dance. This dance continues manifesting a flow of change or living flux that facilitates life itself. Being born, existing and dying are all part of a performed event, which started with the Big Bang, evolved into stars, the incubators for the more complex elements, and ultimately resulting in our existence and becoming. These are my initial assumptions when conceptualizing the significance of expressive movement when we work, play, dance and act.

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