Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht
To be quiet for a moment



Do I believe any of this? Will this lead to an adequate - or only: to an intellectually appealing - definition of art? I don't know - nor do I really care. All I can say is that I recently (in Japan) encountered art forms that seem to lend themselves to an association with the concepts that we used in order to describe the »unconcealment of Being«. These are art forms which made me feel that, while exposed to them, I got a glimpse of Gelassenheit by getting a break from producing Erkenntnis. In No and Kabuki, the two forms of classical Japanese theater, all the actors come to the stage and leave the stage over a bridge that leads through the audience (the best seats are considered to be those close to the middle of the bridge). Now, this emerging and vanishing of the theatrical personae (especially I think in those plays that feature demons) often takes up more time than the actual scene and interaction in which an actor participates on the stage. Synchronized, in No-theater, with the (for our ears) monotonous beat of two types of archaic drums, the actors' bodies seem to gain form and presence as they are coming forth from under a curtain - and approach the stage; and they seem to undo this presence and this form when they are vanishing. No pieces are breathtakingly slow and repetetive. But if you overcome the first impulse as a western spectator, i.e. the first desire to leave the theater at the earliest opportunity, if you have the patience to let the slowness of the emerging and vanishing grow on you, then No, after three or four hours, will make you think that your relation to the world has changed. You may feel how you begin to let things come, how you cease to ask what they mean, and that, while you learn how to let things come, you become part of them.


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