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Gestural ImaginariesDance and Cultural Theory in the Early Twentieth Century$
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Lucia Ruprecht

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190659370

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190659370.001.0001

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Gestures between the Auratic and the Profane

Gestures between the Auratic and the Profane

Niddy Impekoven’s and Franz Kafka’s Reenactments of Liturgy

(p.151) 6 Gestures between the Auratic and the Profane
Gestural Imaginaries

Lucia Ruprecht

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on the ways in which Niddy Impekoven’s Bach dances and Franz Kafka’s “Conversation with the Supplicant” reenact the embodied tradition of liturgy. It singles out postures of inclination as poses of quiet ecstasy and devout submission to the divine, working closely with Dora Kallmus’s photographs of Impekoven. Impekoven’s posture is read alongside Benjamin’s observations on inclination (Neigung) in the Bible illustrations of medieval miniature painting, which he rediscovers in expressionist art, and which he links to historical instances of collective guilt. It is also read alongside an extravagant reenactment of prostration in Kafka, which constitutes an instance of Agambian profanation. Kafka shows how modified reenactments of a given gestural vocabulary undermine this vocabulary’s conditions of meaning; Impekoven in turn demonstrates how such conditions of meaning can be enhanced.

Keywords:   Niddy Impekoven, Franz Kafka, Walter Benjamin, Adriana Cavarero, posture of inclination, Neigung, aura, profanation, danced liturgy

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