Nietzsche’s (Dis)approval

Dec 14 2011

Friedrich Nietzsche recognized a disturbing trend of the modern world in The Birth of Tragedy. Following in the footsteps of philosophers such as Socrates and Plato, we have placed the utmost importance on rationality and the sciences, while abandoning emotion and the arts. According to Nietzsche, the balance has shifted greatly towards the Apolline rather than the Dionysian.

Would Nietzsche consider “I Don’t Believe in Outer Space” to be an oasis in the cold desert of rationality? I cannot help but believe that the answer is a resounding no. This cannot be the Dionysian art that Nietzsche revered so greatly. The performance included unorthodox dance movements and extremely limited plot development; it is in direct opposition to the majority of ballets. The talent of the performers is undeniable. One performer was impressively able to vary both her movements as well as her voice in accordance with the two parts that she played. However, this is not the nature of chaos that Nietzsche envisioned in art’s most perfect state.

Dionysian art is completely immersive. There may be chaos, but the audience is united in chaos. The performance only left me feeling alienated and annoyed. William Forsythe’s esoteric references only served to exacerbate these feelings. In addition, the most important form of Dionysian art, music, was relegated to a secondary role. Instead, dialogue and dance were put in the forefront. Dionysian art is supposed to be intoxicating. The only intoxication involved in this performance must have taken place while Forsythe produced it.

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