Volume 4, 1999
Philosophies of Religion, Art, and Creativity
The Death of the Sign, The Rise of the Image in Merce Cunningham’s Choreography
It is not the purpose of the present paper to chronicle transformations in the recent history of dance but rather to demonstrate that an art in which the materiality of the body and the localizability of space are critical has nevertheless been engaged in a struggle between sign and image. This struggle cannot be understood without attending to the tensions between the visceral and the virtual, between site specific spatiality and cyberspace. Exploring changes in dance, an art not generally discussed in this context, may help to illuminate the conceptual underpinnings of structuralism understood as a theory of signs and the shift to a poststructuralist culture of images.