Meredith Morse

Meredith Morse is Assistant Professor of Humanities (Art History) at Yale-NUS College in Singapore.

  • Soft Is Fast

    Soft Is Fast

    Simone Forti in the 1960s and After

    Meredith Morse

    An innovative analysis of Simone Forti's interdisciplinary art, viewing her influential 1960s “dance constructions” as negotiating the aesthetic strategies of John Cage and Anna Halprin.

    Simone Forti's art developed within the overlapping circles of New York City's advanced visual art, dance, and music of the early 1960s. Her “dance constructions” and related works of the 1960s were important for both visual art and dance of the era. Artists Robert Morris and Yvonne Rainer have both acknowledged her influence.

    Forti seems to have kept one foot inside visual art's frames of meaning and the other outside them. In Soft Is Fast, Meredith Morse adopts a new way to understand Forti's work, based in art historical analysis but drawing upon dance history and cultural studies and the history of American social thought. Morse argues that Forti introduced a form of direct encounter that departed radically from the spectatorship proposed by Minimalism, and prefigured the participatory art of recent decades.

    Morse shows that Forti's work negotiated John Cage's ideas of sound, score, and theater through the unique approach to movement, essentially improvisational and grounded in anatomical exploration, that she learned from performer and teacher Ann (later Anna) Halprin. Attentive to Robert Whitman's and La Monte Young's responses to Cage, Forti reshaped Cage's concepts into models that could accommodate Halprin's charged spaces and imagined, interpenetrative understanding of other bodies.

    Morse considers Forti's use of sound and her affective use of materials as central to her work; examines Forti's text pieces, little discussed in art historical literature; analyzes Huddle, considered one of Forti's signature works; and explicates Forti's later improvisational practice.

    Forti has been relatively overlooked by art historians, perhaps because of her work's central concern with modes of feeling and embodiment, unlike other art of the 1960s, which was characterized by strategies of depersonalization and affectlessness. Soft Is Fast corrects this critical oversight.

    • Hardcover $29.95

Contributor

  • VOICE

    VOICE

    Vocal Aesthetics in Digital Arts and Media

    Norie Neumark, Ross Gibson, and Theo van Leeuwen

    Perspectives on the voice and technology, from discussions of voice mail and podcasts to reflections on dance and sound poetry.

    Voice has returned to both theoretical and artistic agendas. In the digital era, techniques and technologies of voice have provoked insistent questioning of the distinction between the human voice and the voice of the machine, between genuine and synthetic affect, between the uniqueness of an individual voice and the social and cultural forces that shape it. This volume offers interdisciplinary perspectives on these topics from history, philosophy, cultural theory, film, dance, poetry, media arts, and computer games. Many chapters demonstrate Lewis Mumford's idea of the “cultural preparation” that precedes technological innovation—that socially important new technologies are foreshadowed in philosophy, the arts, and everyday pastimes. Chapters cover such technologies as voice mail, podcasting, and digital approximations of the human voice. A number of authors explore the performance, performativity, and authenticity [(or 'authenticity effect') of voice in dance, poetry, film, and media arts]; while others examine more immaterial concerns—the voice's often-invoked magical powers, the ghostliness of disembodied voices, and posthuman vocalization. [The chapters evoke an often paradoxical reassertion of the human in the use of voice in mainstream media including recorded music, films, and computer games.

    Contributors Mark Amerika, Isabelle Arvers, Giselle Beiguelman, Philip Brophy, Ross Gibson, Brandon LaBelle, Thomas Levin, Helen Macallan, Virginia Madsen, Meredith Morse, Norie Neumark, Andrew Plain, John Potts, Theresa M. Senft, Nermin Saybasili, Amanda Stewart, Axel Stockburger, Michael Taussig, Martin Thomas, Theo van Leeuwen, Mark Wood

    • Hardcover $45.00