Anthropologies of Rhythm

Elena Vogman studies the intersections of the paradigm of rhythm within a constellation of artistic, social, ethnological, ergonomic and medial practices of the 20th century. In singular fashion, in its scientifically and artistically tested culture of experimentation, the Soviet avant-garde made rhythm into a potential power for corporeal knowledge. This applies to contemporary artistic techniques of expression (for instance, the biomechanics of movement in Meyerhold’s theater, Foregger’s machine theater and Nikritin’s projection theater; the cinematic experiments of Eisenstein, Ermler and Vertov; the “Factory of the Eccentric Actor,” etc.); but it also applies to a variety of epistemic, didactic and ergonomic practices (Aleksei Gastev, Andrei Bely, Aleksei Sidorov, Rhythm Institute, the Choreological Laboratory at GAKhN, etc.).

As a first step, the project analyzes certain so far neglected constellations of material traces that can be grouped together under the concept of “dynamography”. The term dynamography denotes different forms and apparatuses for recording and transcribing movement: notes, drawings, blueprints, artistic and scientific notations, diaries. They stem from the domains of film, theater, psychology and anthropology, and from the typography, poetry and poetics of the 1920s. The next step consists in placing these case studies in relation to other artistic and scientific experiments in the second half of the 20th century. The project thereby aims to conceive rhythm as an anthropological paradigm, which by way of new technologies comes to mobilize a political, epistemic and poetic potential.