Caduta (Fall)

Caduta (Fall)
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Caduta (Fall)

 

Mauro Folci’s performance FALL, commissioned for the White Night of Scientific Research, was first presented at the Institute of Nuclear Physics in Frascati on 22 September 2006. It was inspired by a story narrated in Plato’s Teeteto, in which Thales of Miletus’ fall into a well while he is contemplating the sky provokes laughter in a Thracian servant, who mocks him for his contemplation of distant things and his distraction from what is near him.
The initial project required that a scientist invited to give a lecture on astronomy at the Institute during the White Night event would feign a sudden fall whilst walking on or off the stage.However when none of the scientists agreed to participate, the original idea was modified and actors were hired to enact sudden falls in key places in the Institute. The participants in the performance fell down the stairs leading to the main hall and lost their balance on their way to sit
amongst the audience.
Widely considered as the first philosopher, Thales was primarily a naturalist. The philosopher’s figure has been evoked several times in the history of western philosophy and is still significant in our times, as Hans Blumenberg reminds us in his book  The Laughter of the Thracian Woman: APrehistory of Theory. Blumenberg points out the separation between theory and practice that the anecdote recounted by Plato highlights. Referring back to Thales, Mauro Folci continues to investigate his favourite themes: in this case, the fall and the ensuing laughter are two elements that can be ascribed to the invariables of human nature. In the hilarity provoked by a fall we would acknowledge our human characteristics of fragility and insecurity.
Eachfall at the Frascati Nuclear centre stirred surprise and laughter.The project aimed to investigate precisely the phenomenon of laughter,defined as a censory one by French philosopher Henry Bergson . In his study of this human phenomenon, the philosopher came to the conclusion that laughter springs from a censure towards body postures and movements which betray a sort of mechanicalness, looking as if they were effected by an object rather than by a person.
Laughter has the same punitive value of a blow with a stick, it is a pedagogic mechanism of natural selection: if I laugh when you fall, you will try not to fall again in the future. Mauro Folci finds in the connection between laughter and that which has provoked it, the expression of a true empathic acknowledgement. Far from being censorious, the servant’s hilarity is the empathic acknowledgement of the philosopher’s share of humanity. Absorbed by the contemplation of the sky, the philosopher is pulled back down to earth precisely by his fall. Suspended between his celestial aspirations and his ties to earth, Thales, by falling, makes the servant laugh because she recognises in the fall a metaphor of the human condition itself. If for Bergson a fall reveals something which is not entirely human, Folci sees it as an instance of being ‘too human’.

 

text by: Marta Roberti, Working whilst talking. Talking whilst working. Language at work in Mauro Folci’s art device.

 

It was inspired by a story narrated in Plato’s Teeteto, in which Thales of Miletus’ fall into a well while he is contemplating the sky provokes laughter in a Thracian servant, who mocks him for his contemplation of distant things and his distraction from what is near him.
The initial project required that a scientist invited to give a lecture on astronomy at the Institute during the White Night event would feign a sudden fall whilst walking on or off the stage.However when none of the scientists agreed to participate, the original idea was […]

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